Becoming Catholic while husband is Church of Christ preacher


#1

Hi there! My husband is a Church of Christ preacher and I am in the process of becoming a Catholic. There is no doubt in my mind that the Catholic faith is the fullnest of the faith and I thank God everyday for seeing this. Just wished I had seen it sooner for my childrens sake. My husband is very angry and upset over my decision to become Catholic. He feels like it is a slap in his face and that he will be humilated . He has not told the congregation about this and feels he could lose his job. My husband is also an attorney and is useing threats of divorce to stop me from becoming a Catholic. The priest at my church knows about the situation and gave me a book for my husband to read. My husband refusses to read the book and has developed this hatred towards the Catholic church now. I would like to be more open with my faith at home and in my everyday life. A friend told me to keep quit about the faith until I get confirmed. I find this very hard. My question is do I have to stay in my marriage or can I leave without sinning? We were both unbelievers when we got married.


#2

[quote="Lynne_Bilbrey, post:1, topic:224301"]

We were both unbelievers when we got married.

[/quote]

... And look how far you've come to reach this point! I would encourage you to keep praying for your husband, and I will pray for the two of you.

:blessyou:

Praying from today's Liturgy of the Hours:

We sat in the gloom and the shadow of death, and you brought us light:
give us also virtue, justice and peace.
– Most loving Son of God, hear us.

Give us sincere and upright hearts, that we may hear and receive your word:
may it bear ever more fruit in us and in the world.
– Most loving Son of God, hear us.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Amen


#3

[quote="Lynne_Bilbrey, post:1, topic:224301"]
Hi there! My husband is a Church of Christ preacher and I am in the process of becoming a Catholic. There is no doubt in my mind that the Catholic faith is the fullnest of the faith and I thank God everyday for seeing this. Just wished I had seen it sooner for my childrens sake. My husband is very angry and upset over my decision to become Catholic. He feels like it is a slap in his face and that he will be humilated . He has not told the congregation about this and feels he could lose his job. My husband is also an attorney and is useing threats of divorce to stop me from becoming a Catholic. The priest at my church knows about the situation and gave me a book for my husband to read. My husband refusses to read the book and has developed this hatred towards the Catholic church now. I would like to be more open with my faith at home and in my everyday life. A friend told me to keep quit about the faith until I get confirmed. I find this very hard. My question is do I have to stay in my marriage or can I leave without sinning? We were both unbelievers when we got married.

[/quote]

If he was honest, he'd ask himself where this hatred is coming from. It isn't from God, so that leaves only one other source.


#4

[quote="Lynne_Bilbrey, post:1, topic:224301"]
Hi there! My husband is a Church of Christ preacher and I am in the process of becoming a Catholic. There is no doubt in my mind that the Catholic faith is the fullnest of the faith and I thank God everyday for seeing this. Just wished I had seen it sooner for my childrens sake. My husband is very angry and upset over my decision to become Catholic. He feels like it is a slap in his face and that he will be humilated . He has not told the congregation about this and feels he could lose his job. My husband is also an attorney and is useing threats of divorce to stop me from becoming a Catholic. The priest at my church knows about the situation and gave me a book for my husband to read. My husband refusses to read the book and has developed this hatred towards the Catholic church now. I would like to be more open with my faith at home and in my everyday life. A friend told me to keep quit about the faith until I get confirmed. I find this very hard. ** My question is do I have to stay in my marriage or can I leave without sinning? We were both unbelievers when we got married**.

[/quote]

You have made this question the main point of your post (thanks for the clarity!), so I will address that.

The Catholic Church will assume that your marriage is valid, until it is proven otherwise (via the annulment process). Thus there is not the option of you leaving the marriage, except for the normal valid reasons, such as your husband initiating a separation, or cruelty, or extreme hardship. The Church will want you to do everything within your own power to preserve your marriage. If your Catholic faith causes a separation, then that must be your husband's choice. This is my understanding, as a reasonably well informed Catholic. Feel free to get a second, or third, opinion :), as to how it applies to your particular case.

With regard to the many other issues here, I hope that others can give advice. I myself suffered the ongoing trials of a "mixed marriage" (although in my case it was ex-wife leaving the Church, rather than myself joining it), and we have seen them many times in these forums. It is not easy! Keep praying and trusting.

Your situation is remarkably similar to another post today, by a woman who is joining the Church, and is the wife of a Baptist pastor.

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=524025


#5

Why would you want to leave? He is the one that threatened divorce, so are you saying now you would want to counter-threaten? What about your feelings for him that you could leave, wouldn't that be difficult? If he leaves, that's no fault of yours, and it would be on him. If you initiate the divorce, that could be a problem for you. Did you try the forum called "Ask An Apologist"? Or perhaps the pastor of your new church?

It's rather amazing that you came to the conclusion that the Catholic Church is the fullness, after being the wife of a Church of Christ preacher. From my exposure to that denomination, they can be rather contentious.


#6

Did you talk to your husband about wanting to become Catholic prior to making the commitment? Has your husband been pastor of this other church a long time? Was he a pastor when you got married?

It sounds like you made a decision, but didn't include him in making that decision and now he's not agreeing with the decision you made. While becoming Catholic is a worthy goal, it seems (at this point in time) that this may cause your family to break apart. I would recommend talking to your husband about why you want to become Catholic before making the leap.


#7

[quote="the_phoenix, post:2, topic:224301"]
... And look how far you've come to reach this point! I would encourage you to keep praying for your husband, and I will pray for the two of you.

[/quote]

:extrahappy:

Amen!


#8

[quote="Bob_Crowley, post:3, topic:224301"]
If he was honest, he'd ask himself where this hatred is coming from. It isn't from God, so that leaves only one other source.

[/quote]

Have you had any exposure to this denomination? They have special feelings about Catholics. I've found enough ex-Catholics there.


#9

Put your marriage first - it is the most important thing.

As the Pastor’s wife, I suppose you have an active role in his ministry as a Sunday School teacher and Bible study leader. He is probably upset that you will be unable to fulfill these roles. You will have to explain to him that more and more these days, Pastor’s wives no longer fulfill these roles, for a variety of reasons, including working outside the home to make a second income, and including being of a different religion. Mixed marriages are very common nowadays. His congregation will have experienced this before; they won’t be as upset as he fears they might be.

Take it slow and easy - I know you feel like you want to become Catholic “yesterday” but patience will have its own reward. :slight_smile:

Include your husband as much as possible in your discernment process, without “forcing” anything on him. Freely discuss what you are learning with him, just as if you were taking a creative writing class or an accounting class - just say things like, “Today we learned about the hypostatic union - did you know that Catholics believe that Christ is one person with two natures, human and divine? I think that’s fascinating. I think I’ll make beef stew for supper tonight, what kind of buns do you want with it?”

Be clear with him that this is your journey, and that you don’t expect him to also become Catholic. If he fears that you will convert him, assure him that you see that as God’s job; not yours.


#10

What a tough situation! :( You have even more on your plate than others in your situation because your husband is a protestant pastor.

I think this webpage might help you understand your options: christian-marriage-today.com/equally-yoked.html
Scroll down to the part that says I'm Married to an Unbeliever: What Should I do?

I also thought of 1 Corinthians 7:13-15
"And if a Christian woman has a husband who is not a believer, and he is happy to live with her, she must not divorce him. The husband who is not a believer is made holy through his believing wife. And the wife who is not a believer is made holy through her believing husband. If this were not true; your children would not be clean, but now your children are holy. But if those who are not believers deicide to leave, let them. When this happens, the Christian man or woman is free. But God called us to live in peace. "

Your relationship with God is the most important relationship in your life - yes, much more important than even than the one with your husband. For that reason I would not suggest ignoring God's call to the Catholic Church simply because your husband is upset about it. Who knows what God has in store for the both of you if you trust that He is leading you where you need to go? If your husband is furious enough to leave you over it, the bible says he can leave, but I hope his love for you and the respect he has for the years you've spent together is strong enough that he wouldn't do that! If he would divorce you just for converting, it would make me wonder what kind of husband he really was! :eek:


#11

OK, you were both non-believers when you married. He became a preacher. You supported him. you feel called to make this same decision in another faith - you feel you should be respected. Take it slow.

As far as if he leaves you. Were either of you baptized- what denomination? Where were you married - civilly or Church? You are presumed valid but if he leaves without working on things than you are an innocent victim and as long as you chaste (unless you get a decree of nullity) then you can still receive Eucharist. God bless.


#12

First of all keep your eyes on Jesus. The persecution can bring you closer to our Lord. Our vocation is our marriage and we took a vow until death do us part. Let your husband know as a Catholic you take the scriptures seriously and do not believe in divorce. If a divoce happened, it would not keep you from becoming Catholic or recieving the Eucharist. (My husband tried that route).

The Catholic church will assume your marriage is valid unless you go through an annument process to proove otherwise. You say you were both unbelievers when married, but..... when you both were baptized it became a valid sacrament if you were married in a church.

I am married to an anti-Catholic United Methodist, and have been Catholic for 6 years. I go to Mass, then I go to his worship service. This was advised by my priest to keep our marriege together. I do not participate in his communion or any other church activities, but I do sit with him in Church on Sunday. Our two sons were grown when I was confirmed, so that may be different for you if you have young children. I know since your husband is anti-Catholic, most of his church may be the same, so be ready for lots of persecution, but God will help you.

Pray your rosary everyday for his conversion. Claim the graces you recieved when your marriage became a sacrament. You need to be the Catechism that he will not read. Learn to speak up when a comment is made and correct him is he makes negetive comments about our church, such as my husband made a comment the RCC does not let its members read the Bible. I explained all the scriputure that is in the mass and that we are encourage to read the Bible. Then he said they do no have Sunday school and teach the children well, that did not last for long as I started teaching CCD and became Director of Religious Education. Pray the Holy Spirit will give the right things to say at the right time.

Pray, pray, pray for his conversion.


#13

[quote="CatholicBoy1957, post:8, topic:224301"]
Have you had any exposure to this denomination? They have special feelings about Catholics. I've found enough ex-Catholics there.

[/quote]

Not particularly. I'm ex-Protestant myself, although as my father was Catholic (he lost his faith though), and I didn't cop much exposure to anti-Catholic fanaticism.

But reality is that if the Catholic Church is the true church, then the hatred it's antagonists feel against it basically comes from the devil, regardless of denomination. There are only 3 possible sources - God, themselves or the devil. Now it's not going to be God. If it's not God, then why themselves would they feel hatred towards it. Has it done something to them? In most cases the answer is that they have not themselves suffered one iota from the Catholic Church.

This leaves only one source for the hatred. And if they examine their motives carefully, they'll find something within them which is highly antagonistic to the original church, or any possibility of a unified church.


#14

Thank you all for such great advice. My husband has been a Church of Christ preacher for 14 years. When we married we married in the Methodist Church where we were attending. Growing up I went to the First Church of the Nazarine and my husband went to the Church of Christ. I have NEVER been completely saticfied or felt the fullness of the faith with any other religion until now. My husband was aware of my discontent with the Church of Christ as he also discontent, but feels that his church is the closest to what he believes. My husband knew I was searching for the truth, but he thought I was leaning more towards the Assembly of God. He said he could have accepted me being an Assembly of God but not a Catholic. I must tell this for you to understand Gods hand in all of this.

I had been reading and talking to one of my friends in Florida where I grew up about the Catholic faith. Being aware of my husbands dislike for the faith, I had to figure out how I could go to RCIA classes and he not know it. I wanted to be sure that what I was doing was the right thing. I did not want him to lose his job or hurt him.

My mother became very ill which required me to stay with her for sometime. While I was staying with her I made arrangementsI to go on Sundays to RCIA classes and Mass rather than with my husband to church. My husband thought on Sundays I was caring for my mom and could not attend church with him. I never told him that he just assumed it. I don't know how I could have ever made this decision to become a Catholic had my mother not got sick. By the time my husband found out what I was doing, which was about 2 months, I had come to the conclusion that the catholic faith was truely what I had been looking for all my life.

My question is since my husband and I were unbelivers at the time of our marriage and later both of us were baptised in the Church of Christ is our marriage seen as one with Christ? Is it a sacramental marriage?


#15

Baptism might be valid, and a sacrament, in many non-Catholic Christian denoms. A marriage might be a sacrament between 2 validly baptized Christians, subject, of course, to the other necessities of what constitutes a sacramental marriage. Even if it's not a sacrament, it can still be valid.


#16

[quote="Lynne_Bilbrey, post:14, topic:224301"]
Thank you all for such great advice. My husband has been a Church of Christ preacher for 14 years. When we married we married in the Methodist Church where we were attending. Growing up I went to the First Church of the Nazarine and my husband went to the Church of Christ. I have NEVER been completely saticfied or felt the fullness of the faith with any other religion until now. My husband was aware of my discontent with the Church of Christ as he also discontent, but feels that his church is the closest to what he believes. My husband knew I was searching for the truth, but he thought I was leaning more towards the Assembly of God. He said he could have accepted me being an Assembly of God but not a Catholic. I must tell this for you to understand Gods hand in all of this.

I had been reading and talking to one of my friends in Florida where I grew up about the Catholic faith. Being aware of my husbands dislike for the faith, I had to figure out how I could go to RCIA classes and he not know it. I wanted to be sure that what I was doing was the right thing. I did not want him to lose his job or hurt him.

My mother became very ill which required me to stay with her for sometime. While I was staying with her I made arrangementsI to go on Sundays to RCIA classes and Mass rather than with my husband to church. My husband thought on Sundays I was caring for my mom and could not attend church with him. I never told him that he just assumed it. I don't know how I could have ever made this decision to become a Catholic had my mother not got sick. By the time my husband found out what I was doing, which was about 2 months, I had come to the conclusion that the catholic faith was truely what I had been looking for all my life.

My question is since my husband and I were unbelivers at the time of our marriage and later both of us were baptised in the Church of Christ is our marriage seen as one with Christ? Is it a sacramental marriage?

[/quote]

Wait - you said you were married in the Methodist church but you were both unbelievers? You did it just for the family or something? My husband and I were both lapsed Catholics, I had never completed my formation and never been confirmed, but he had. We married civilly and then spoke our own "vows" to each other next to a river in the mountains.:shrug: We never considered a church wedding, of course we were 29 and there was no family nearby so why go through that show?

You need to get this sorted out with a priest, maybe the diocese tribunal office. I am glad you have found your true church home and I wish you the best going forward!


#17

[quote="jmcrae, post:9, topic:224301"]
Put your marriage first - it is the most important thing.

As the Pastor's wife, I suppose you have an active role in his ministry as a Sunday School teacher and Bible study leader. He is probably upset that you will be unable to fulfill these roles. You will have to explain to him that more and more these days, Pastor's wives no longer fulfill these roles, for a variety of reasons, including working outside the home to make a second income, and including being of a different religion. Mixed marriages are very common nowadays. His congregation will have experienced this before; they won't be as upset as he fears they might be.

Take it slow and easy - I know you feel like you want to become Catholic "yesterday" but patience will have its own reward. :)

Include your husband as much as possible in your discernment process, without "forcing" anything on him. Freely discuss what you are learning with him, just as if you were taking a creative writing class or an accounting class - just say things like, "Today we learned about the hypostatic union - did you know that Catholics believe that Christ is one person with two natures, human and divine? I think that's fascinating. I think I'll make beef stew for supper tonight, what kind of buns do you want with it?"

Be clear with him that this is your journey, and that you don't expect him to also become Catholic. If he fears that you will convert him, assure him that you see that as God's job; not yours.

[/quote]

I think this is really good advice - you need to do everything in your power to put your marriage first, but at the same time, you need to obey what you feel it is that God is calling you to do. Pray that your eyes and heart will be opened to God's Will for your situation.

Have you ever read the book "Rome Sweet Home" by Scott Hahn? He was a Protestant (I think) preacher and felt the same calling that you are experiencing now. There was also a lot of anti-Catholic sentiment within his circle and it sounds like he had a lot of the same struggles that you are having now... probably a good read in your situation. Maybe somebody already mentioned it - I haven't read through all the responses....

God bless you! what courage you have to do God's Will!!!! I'll be praying for you.


#18

[quote="CatholicBoy1957, post:15, topic:224301"]
Baptism might be valid, and a sacrament, in many non-Catholic Christian denoms. A marriage might be a sacrament between 2 validly baptized Christians, subject, of course, to the other necessities of what constitutes a sacramental marriage. Even if it's not a sacrament, it can still be valid.

[/quote]

Thank you very much for your reponse. My husband and I will have been married 30 years tomorrow. When we first got married I was not in love with him. I wanted to show him love because he had never had it before. I felt that I could learn to love him and did. The only problem was the love was not the in love kind of love (soulmate) it was the caring kind of love. We are complete opposites. He is liberal and I am conservative. We have had many trials in our marriage and our children have suffered because of our indifference. I do not want my grandchildren to suffer like my children did. I feel that I can make a difference with Gods help in their life.

At Christmas I asked my grandson who is 8 years old what Christmas was about. He told me he did not know and so I said it is about the birth of Jesus. When I was over at his house he wanted me to read a letter he wrote to Santa. I read the letter and whispered in his ear that he should mention something about Jesus. Well my daughter quickly asked me what I said to him. I looked at my grandson and said, what is Christmas about and he said the birth of Jesus. I looked at my daughter and said is that not right and she said with her head down yes. My family does not want me in anyway to talk about the faith or God. They feel that I am being mislead.

If when my husband and I became christians and were baptised did God see us as one with him? Do we need to renew our vowls? Yes I know our marriage is valid according to state, but is it valid according to God?


#19

You might want to contact the Coming Home network: chnetwork.org/ run by Marcus Grodi.


#20

[quote="Lynne_Bilbrey, post:18, topic:224301"]
Thank you very much for your reponse. My husband and I will have been married 30 years tomorrow. When we first got married I was not in love with him. I wanted to show him love because he had never had it before. I felt that I could learn to love him and did. The only problem was the love was not the in love kind of love (soulmate) it was the caring kind of love. We are complete opposites. He is liberal and I am conservative. We have had many trials in our marriage and our children have suffered because of our indifference. I do not want my grandchildren to suffer like my children did. I feel that I can make a difference with Gods help in their life.

At Christmas I asked my grandson who is 8 years old what Christmas was about. He told me he did not know and so I said it is about the birth of Jesus. When I was over at his house he wanted me to read a letter he wrote to Santa. I read the letter and whispered in his ear that he should mention something about Jesus. Well my daughter quickly asked me what I said to him. I looked at my grandson and said, what is Christmas about and he said the birth of Jesus. I looked at my daughter and said is that not right and she said with her head down yes. My family does not want me in anyway to talk about the faith or God. They feel that I am being mislead.

If when my husband and I became christians and were baptised did God see us as one with him? Do we need to renew our vowls? Yes I know our marriage is valid according to state, but is it valid according to God?

[/quote]

Be careful with your enthusiasm for God, not to be seen as undercutting your childrens' authority over their children. I know it's hard, but if you start trying to convert your grandchildren without their parents' permission, you could be cut off from seeing them. You can't undo everything that's been done over the years, to make your children want Christ's presence in their lives. I know you want the best for them and your grandchildren, but it's so harmful to the children to undermine what their parents have taught them. If your daughter and her husband are not harming their children, you should not interfere with what they are doing.

My experience with this is that my FIL went behind our backs and told our son that it was fine for him to have sex with his girlfriend ("sex is good for you" he said) and that we are "old-fashioned" because we expect our sons to control their physical urges and I believe in purity until marriage. He gave our son tacit permission to lose his virginity to his girlfriend and yet FIL, when confronted, said he has NO responsibility in the case of an accidental pregnancy. Out of everything we've gone through with this son, his beloved grandfather supporting premarital sex was THE most harmful. My son got dumped by his girlfriend and was in extreme emotional pain, especially when it became clear to him that I had been warning him wisely. Did grandpa comfort him in his pain? No. FIL did this for his own motives, and he really doesn't care about our son, only to use him as a pawn for his own sick reasons. I know you are not being selfish but please approach this another way. Do not sneak and teach the children behind your childrens' backs. Your children may end up hating you and everything you are trying to do will be ruined.

I told my son that one analogy would be if he has kids and he decides that they should all be vegetarians. As long as the kids are healthy and growing well, it is not my business to decide that they should try a hamburger, "Oh, your parents are silly, they're over-reacting, it's just food, and meat is good for you," and take them out for hamburgers whenever they are with me. That is destructive of his authority over his children that will have ramifications down the road. I know that's a silly analogy compared with the state of their souls, but it's better to support your children and find another way, LIVE the faith and be the best example of Christ that you can.


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