Can a Protestant raise Catholic children?

My husband is Catholic and I was raised Protestant. Our 22-month-old daughter was baptized Catholic at 4-months-old, and our 2-month-old son will be as well. I have not converted to Catholicism, but attend Mass rather than going to a Baptist church. I’m struggling with converting, but I don’t want to confuse my children while they are young. Is conversion an immediate need, or can my husband and I have them attend Mass, and receive their sacraments while I work through this? Will my not being Catholic invalidate their first Communion, confession, etc.?

God bless you for your willingness to raise your children Catholic and your insight that it is important that children be raised with a clear understanding of the faith in which their parents have chosen to raise them. “Mixed marriages,” in which the couple has different religious affiliations, are often difficult; but they have the best chance of success when the family chooses one religion for the children and the spouse of another religion does not share contradictory religious information with the children during their formative years.

There is no immediate need for you to convert and your status as a Protestant will not impede your children from receiving the sacraments. Since you are comfortable with attending Mass with your family, you and your husband will be able to provide them with an invaluable example of their family attending church together on Sundays and holy days. Your husband should take primary responsibility for the children’s religious education, particularly if you eventually choose not to enter the Church.

Your question indicates your interest in Catholicism, so I encourage you to study it more closely. You can do so on your own with materials you can find at Catholic Answers’ online shop, and you can also attend RCIA at your parish. Joining RCIA does not mean that you must convert; it only indicates that you wish to learn more about the Catholic faith. If you choose not to convert, or if you choose to defer conversion, you do not have to proceed to sacramental initiation at the Easter Vigil.

If Catholic Answers can be of further assistance to you, please feel free to contact us directly. God bless.

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