Boyfriend not well catechized - can I help him?


#1

I’ve recently started dating a guy who is Catholic, but not well catechized. He attends church every Sunday and goes to a young adult group, but he also holds some liberal moral views that I believe are merely the result of poor catechesis and growing up in a liberal city. For instance, he doesn’t think homosexuality is wrong. We haven’t had a direct conversation about this yet, I’ve just figured it out from some comments he’s made. I’m trying to figure out what’s prudent before I bring it up.

He is however great in a lot of other ways, and because he is a regular churchgoer, I am hoping that with a little education he’ll come to accept all of the Church teachings.

My question is if I continue to date him, how can I help his formation? And should I just confront him directly about it or be more indirect and see if he comes around on his own?


#2

I wouldn’t advise you to be direct or to “teach” him. It’s not your place, and it might create problems in your relationship.

Maybe what you could do is read a Catholic book together that would address the issues you want addressed, but without you telling him “hey your views on life are wrong, let me correct you”.


#3

Congratulations.

I wouldn’t ump to to many conclusions to fast. Tollerance of gay individuals is part of being Chistian even though tollerance of gay acts is not. He may also be conditioned by society to not act like he is bother by homosexuality. Give him a supportive but honnest environment where he can be free to talk about those issues of morality that are in conflict with pop culture.

To help with education you may want to invite him to bible studies (non protestant) or to listen to radio shows that explain the faith such as those broadcast on Catholic radio. You may also consider getting him a copy of the Catechism as a gift recognizing his interest in the church.

You may also want to steer him away from fringe groups that teach distorted variations of Christianity.


#4

I’m not sure you can both date and mentor him in the faith. This is called “missionary dating” and it seldom goes well. The one being “evangelized” feels pressured and on unequal footing. The one doing the evangelizing keeps “hoping” the other person will come around so they will be more of the person that he/she wants them to be.

Don’t base a dating relationship on what you **hope **the other person will become.

I suggest you explore your beliefs directly and in an adult manner. If you find serious disagreement, then you can explore whether it’s based on ignorance or assent. Then, is he willing to embrace the truth or not? Do this platonically, not in dating context.

He may not be willing, he may see nothing wrong with what he thinks/believes. He may be willing, and he may be moved by rational discussion and learning what the Church teaches.

It may be that you part ways for a while, it may be that he matures and later you are able to date him as a spiritual equal.

But, I think you should not become emotionally attached to him until you know of what his character is made.

The faith is central in marriage. If you turn out to be unequal in your practice of the faith or fidelity to the Magesterium, it’s best to see him as “not a potential mate” and walk away rather than continuing to date and thinking “if I could just…” YOU can’t change him.


#5

hi hodie,

It’s really difficult to sum up the whole of someone’s beliefs when they say “homosexuality isn’t wrong.” I have sometimes found when people say this they are expressing in a really poor way that what they truly believe is 100% in accordance with the Catholic Church’s teaching. In other words, they are simply saying people should not be hated simply because they are gay. Unfortunately, others DO mean they believe something outside of Church teaching when they say it, so the point is we can’t understand the full extent of their beliefs on only summary statements.

Likewise it is difficult to address a sort of “total belief” system. The way to illuminate is to narrow it down to specifics and try to tackle those one at a time. One of the things you can do is to educate yourself really well on the Church’s social teaching as it effects this particular matter. Go find and read the encyclicals, understand the reasons why the Church teaches as it does. Read commentaries on these encyclicals that help explain them further still. All of that is easily found on the net. Then when you discuss these issues with him, you will be in a better position to know where his “sticking points” might be, and you can better focus discussion or reading on things that speak to that particular issue.


#6

Ke,

Your advice is sound. I am struggling with whether to find out immediately what he really thinks so that I can potentially cut my losses early, or if I should take a slightly longer timeframe (a few more months) to let the relationship develop and suss out more subtly what his sticking points are and whether he’s open to the Truth. Either way, you’re right that it’s not prudent to enter a marriage unequally yoked. It’s a bit too late for “platonic”, I’m afraid.

There’s risk in waiting longer, but I also don’t want to drop a great guy who maybe just needed to read the right book!


#7

Have you gone with him to any of his young adult group functions? Sad to say, some groups may not be conducive to supporting authentic Church teaching.


#8

No, I haven’t.


#9

Though i agree with everyone you shouldnt try and be the “teacher” or the “missionary” i dont see why its wrong to ask what his thoughts are on subjects and introduce your views and why (because the church teaches this or that). when first dating my husband and i talked about everything!! not always church related though. for some they dont even think about a particular topic till someone brings it up. maybe bring up a topic and give him time to think it over. then talk about it later.

its such a fine line because if you just wait for it all to play out it might be a year and you could be head of heels in love and find out he is not going to budge and by that time your brain will not be doing the thinking and you might not want to end the relationship. on the other side of things you dont want to ask him 20 questions every date till you’ve figured it all out.

i dont know how old you are but some people dont have all their beliefs figured out. my husband hadnt thought about many of the different church teachings but over time i would bring it up and he Thankfully accepted them wholeheartedly. but i was lucky, it could have been bad if he had not. when we first married he wasnt confirmed yet, as i dug deep into our faith i worried he wouldnt be along for the ride. but the man he is now i could never have imagined i would be lucky enough to spend the rest of my life with. after confirmation and talking a lot, and listening a lot to catholic radio he is completely in line with the Church.

Bless you for thinking ahead and i hope you’ll get the answers you need. it seems so hard for young catholics to find one another that you are fortunate in that, but dont let your guard down!!!


#10

We are both in our early 30’s.


#11

I’d ask him directly, not confrontationally but directly. And, I’d do it sooner rather than later. You will continue to build an emotional attachment to him while you wait around for it to “come up” or for you to try to figure it out “subtly.” What wrong with being direct and charitable?

Simply say, “I wanted to ask you about your views on some Church teachings because right now your position on them isn’t clear to me…” and go from there. If he’s mature, which he should be in his 30s, then he shouldn’t mind. That’s what the dating process is for.

If his answers reveal what you fear, it’s not like you have to get up and walk out of the restaurant or whatever. You will then have the *information *you need for your next course of action-- discussing the issues, determining his openness to Church teaching, and assessing the future of your relationship.

Don’t wait around on hopes and wishes. Build your future on facts.


#12

(amira_morris0@yahoo.com)
Hello dearest,
I am contacting you to show my interest in you after going through your profile
which you posted in this site(www.catholic.com).I.I) will love and like to know
you more, also probably we can be a good friends.(amira_morris0@yahoo.com) Then I will tell you more about me with some of my photos OK bye!
Miss Amira.


#13

By this, do you mean that he was not given a thorough education in what the Church teaches? Or does he have a complete understanding of Church teachings, but just doesn’t believe them?


closed #14

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.