Catholic marrying a Berean


#1

I got engaged just over a year ago, right before I started graduate school school. However, we decided that it was best for us to wait until I finish school before getting married, so that when we actually do get married, we can start our married life together right away and not be living 4 hours apart from each other while I finish school. As of right now the plan is to get married in October of 2014.
I don’t want to rant, but I need some guidance. My fiance is Berean (bfcnetwork.org/about-us). We have thoroughly discussed what religion we would be getting married (and what this would mean for our future children), and he had finally agreed to get married in the Catholic Church, as long as we do not do the Eucharistic Rite (he does not like how he and his family would be excluded from our communion, despite my attempts of explaining the reason to him), which I can live with if it makes him happy and our marriage would still be considered valid. It’s not like I’m telling him to convert to please me.
We were considering getting married in a Catholic church kind of in the middle of our two hometowns. However, when I called the parish to see if I could arrange a meeting time with the pastor, I found out that non-parish members essentially rent out the church for the wedding and must provide their own priest as none of them will perform the marriage. This was a bit discouraging to me as that was another reason I was opting to not have the wedding back home in my home parish (our priest tried to close our local church rather than help save it, which the parish community was able to save, but he is still stationed there). When I talked to the priest at the church we were considering he said he would allow one of their priests to do it, if it was okay with my parish preist, and that he would check and get back to me. Well he hasn’t gotten back to me and in the mean time, my fiance feels that they are essentially “refusing” to marry us (among his other discretions against the Church), and that he no longer agrees to getting married in the Catholic Church.
We have discussed this so thoroughly, but we continually agree to disagree. I love him very much, and we both feel that God brought us together, and that He has a plan for us – I don’t feel that separating would be the answer. I guess this whole rant is just to see if you have any suggestions on how we should approach this matter further, or if there is an option that we are missing (I’ve read about dispensation and convalidation, but I just don’t know much about them).
I don’t know how much you know about Bereans, but it is very Bible based Christian faith. Do you think it would be unfair or confusing to our future children if we exposed them to both, like alternate weekends for which church we would attend (going as a family is important to the both of us). He thinks that it would be confusing to the children, but I don’t think it necessarily would be, as they could learn about both faiths (and others) and then when they are old enough, they could make an informed decision. He thinks the best compromise is for us both to convert to different, but agreed upon, Christian faith, this way we are both changing and not just one of us is bending over backwards for the other. Anyways, in summary, I just want to know if you have any guidance to share with me.


#2

Starting out with the hurdles you face must be very discouraging. You probably need to back away from wedding plans and get to the bottom of your issues. Coming from 2 very different faiths is not something that can not be worked out but you will need to raise your children Catholic and going every other week to each others churches will not be OK. Catholics attend Mass each week. Commit to working these issues out and then proceed to the wedding plans.


#3

First of all, welcome to Catholic Answers Forums! :wave:

Now, I'm afraid you're not going to like what I am going to say. You should not marry this man. He comes from a fundamentalist background; you are a Catholic. Have you gone through pre-Cana (pre-marriage) classes at your church?

You cannot be married in another church or your marriage will not be valid. And if your fiance' is already saying that the Catholic Church is rejecting you, and you should convert to some other 3rd religion, what do you think is going to happen if and when you do marry him?

You are bound as a Catholic to raise Catholic children. That is simply a requirement. And if you leave the Church, you are not an ex-Catholic, but a Catholic who is no longer fulfilling the Sunday obligations and cannot experience the grace of the sacraments. I am sad that you would ever consider walking away from Jesus for any man. :(

This sect he and his family belong to was started in 1932. Our Church was started by Jesus, in 33 AD. How can you ever give up your faith?

Yes, children would be confused if you tried to take them to both churches, but worse than that, they would likely end up as having no faith at all, neither Catholic nor this "Bearean" group. That's what happens when kids are told "This is the truth" by two separate churches and 2 parents who can't agree. The kids end up atheists.

If you were my daughter, I'd never have allowed you to date a non-Catholic and if you became engaged to one, I'd have to do some kind of intervention on you. But then, a daughter of mine would grow up in love with her Church, to the point where marrying out of it would be unthinkable.

I will pray for you, but you really need to decide where this relationship could end up. Your soul is at risk.


#4

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:3, topic:312831"]

If you were my daughter, I'd never have allowed you to date a non-Catholic and if you became engaged to one, I'd have to do some kind of intervention on you. But then, a daughter of mine would grow up in love with her Church, to the point where marrying out of it would be unthinkable.
QUOTE]

Well, you can't say that for sure... and if your daughter were an adult, you would not have that kind of authority over her.

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#5

RKat...

Wrt: I don't know how much you know about Bereans, but it is very Bible based Christian faith. Do you think it would be unfair or confusing to our future children if we exposed them to both, like alternate weekends for which church we would attend (going as a family is important to the both of us). He thinks that it would be confusing to the children, but I don't think it necessarily would be, as they could learn about both faiths (and others) and then when they are old enough, they could make an informed decision. He thinks the best compromise is for us both to convert to different, but agreed upon, Christian faith, this way we are both changing and not just one of us is bending over backwards for the other. Anyways, in summary, I just want to know if you have any guidance to share with me.

It seems that you have the idea that if you marry, your family can alternate churches. It seems your finace might not like that idea, but worse, you would not be fulfilling your duties to Christ, Who died on the cross for you.

Additionally, one week your children would be hearing the truths of the Catholic Faith, and the next, whatever truths the Bereans have decided to keep well-mixed with whatever they have come up with from reading the Bible with no help in interpretation.

This will not be good for the children. It is hard enough to keep them Catholic if you are doing it full-time!

Your fiance's idea is based on his idea of Protestant denominations. Protestants change (Protestant) churches pretty easily, for reasons ranging from differing personal interpretations of the Bible to preferring the groups offered. To him, the offer he is making is relatively minor. To you, it is or at least should be tearing you away from the fullness of the truth, from the Body of Christ in the Catholic Church, from the Eucharist, the Real Presence of our Lord. I am assuming your fiance doesn't really get that...

All in all, this will be a very difficult situation, embedded in a situation which is already so difficult that God made it a sacrament so we could receive special graces to see it through. A married couple should share as much as possible, and one's love for God should be the basis of our lives. To not share what ought to be a very important part of one's life, beyond the mere cultural expressions but infusing your outlook on everything, with one's spouse is very difficult.

I hope that you will pray a lot about this marriage before you further your plans. Maybe a 54-day Rosary novena (I will link in a following post).


#6

[quote="Jade_Tiger, post:4, topic:312831"]

Trust me...There are ways. Anyway, you missed the larger point, which is that my daughter would grow up knowing that Catholic is more than a label, it's who she IS from her soul to the outside of her. The OP has missed something along the way if she even entertains for a minute the idea of marrying outside her faith and swapping churches like you change your socks.
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#7

Link to 54-day Rosary novena.


#8

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:6, topic:312831"]

:confused: I think that you missed the point, if it was just like changing socks, this issue wouldn't even be an issue and I wouldn't have shed many tears over the situation, instead I would have just changed all willy-nilly without a second thought. Thank you for judging me. :(
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#9

[quote="rkat369, post:8, topic:312831"]

That was not meant for you. Please read my original post to you. You are in a quite precarious position already, since you are engaged to be married outside of our faith. Please go and talk to your priest about this as soon as possible.
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#10

Sorry, it may not have been "meant" for me but I took it personally since you mentioned the OP and this whole forum is visible to me. And no decisions have been made, and if I have anything to say, it's that at the very least I want to make my marriage valid, even if by dispensation or convalidation (i just don't know a lot about them). Even with alternating churches with the family, I could still fulfill my obligations by attending another mass by myself, and as to raising my kids Catholic, I would do my best to bring our kids up Catholic by exposing them to it as much as I possibly could, however, I do want them to be, dare I say it, free thinkers (dangerous, right??) I don't want them to believe in God and find a home in the Catholic community because I do, I want them to believe in God because they have come to know and love him and want to join into the Catholic faith. Maybe that's the wrong attitude to have on that matter, but that is my personal opinion, and I would appreciate that no more judgemental comments be made on matter and instead ones that offer more advice, constructive criticisms and support. Thank-you


#11

"Free-thinkers" end up agnostic at best, atheist at worst. You have to give them faith in SOMETHING and exposing them to 2 or more religions does not build one faith. It builds in confusion and chaos. I am sorry that you cannot understand that. Many Baby Boomers tried this with their own children and have seen that faith is not built through an open mind to every religion on the planet. Because there really is just ONE truth, and it's the Church Jesus created and that still exists today.

By the way, we Catholics baptize our infants into the faith, they don't "come into it" the way Protestants do. So your children would in fact, BE Catholics from baptism, they'd just end up confused Catholics.

Go talk to your priest.


#12

I will try to provide answers to your questions:

  1. As a Catholic marrying a non-Catholic you may get married in a Catholic Church outside of Mass. If your fiance objects to Communion your marriage will be a shorter ceremony and it will not be during a Mass.

  2. A dispensation in the context you are referring to it, I believe is permission from the Bishop to hold the marriage in a church of another denomination. (if I'm wrong on this I'm sure another poster will correct me.)

  3. Convalidation is simply another term for marriage. It applies to Catholics who married outside the Church and now want to be married with the permission of the Church. Some people refer to it as having your marriage "blessed' by the Church. It does not apply to your situation as you are not married.

  4. Each Catholic parish has a geographic territory and the pastor is responsible for the Catholics who live in his parish's territory regardless of whether they are registered at that parish. So the pastor of the church where you are not registered was correct in telling you that he needed to get permission from the pastor at your home parish before allowing you to get married in his parish.

  5. It is pretty apparent from your questions and comments that your fiance is anti-Catholic. He doesn't understand the laws of the Catholic Church and may or may not be open to learning more about them. Marrying him will not improve this situation. Sure, he may have a conversion experience and become a Catholic, but then again, he may not. Are you willing to spend the rest of your life in a marriage with a man who doesn't understand and hates your religion?

  6. I agree with your fiance when he says taking your children to both churches will be confusing to them. As a Catholic your responsibility and duty is to do everything you can to raise your children in the Catholic faith. How does your fiance feel about your children being baptised in the Catholic Church when they are babies? Will he agree to that? How will you feel if he doesn't agree?

  7. Your fiance thinks you should both convert to a third Christian denomination, one where you can have a fresh start as a couple. That is an easier compromise for him, perhaps, than for you. If you marry outside of the Catholic Church you will no longer be able to receive Communion or the other sacraments. Your fiance is not used to the concept of sacraments as he has never had them. You will lose more than he will.

  8. Would your fiance be willing to go to RCIA with you? Not to convert to Catholicism, but just to learn more about what Catholics really believe? Would you be willing to go to RCIA without your fiance? You could learn more about your religion and perhaps learn better ways to explain it to your fiance.

  9. In order to be married in the Catholic Church you and your fiance will have to take pre-Cana classes. Is he willing to go to these classes with you?

I hope I have answered your questions and given you some additional questions to think about.

I will say from my own experience that I was married outside of the Church because I was not practicing my faith when I met my husband. When I returned to the Church my husband was very unhappy about it. He did agree to have our marriage convalidated, but the differences in our religions proved to be too great and six years later we are now separated and planning to divorce. Religion is a very big issue in marriage and it is not something that will just go away.


#13

[quote="rkat369, post:10, topic:312831"]
Sorry, it may not have been "meant" for me but I took it personally since you mentioned the OP and this whole forum is visible to me. And no decisions have been made, and if I have anything to say, it's that at the very least I want to make my marriage valid, even if by dispensation or convalidation (i just don't know a lot about them). Even with alternating churches with the family, I could still fulfill my obligations by attending another mass by myself, and as to raising my kids Catholic, I would do my best to bring our kids up Catholic by exposing them to it as much as I possibly could, however, I do want them to be, dare I say it, free thinkers (dangerous, right??) I don't want them to believe in God and find a home in the Catholic community because I do, I want them to believe in God because they have come to know and love him and want to join into the Catholic faith. Maybe that's the wrong attitude to have on that matter, but that is my personal opinion, and I would appreciate that no more judgemental comments be made on matter and instead ones that offer more advice, constructive criticisms and support. Thank-you

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You have a right to marry who you want.My grandfather came from a Bavarian catholic family and he married a woman whose family were Prussian Lutherans from Riga ,Latvia.
they met in Milwaukee back in the 1900s. Grandma agreed to let their kids, my dad and his brother Uncle Tom be raised as catholics.Grandma's family weren't that devout as Lutherans and she even went to mass with her husband and sons. Grandma later in life converted and became a catholic.It's possible your protestant future hubby may do the same.My sister's husband is jewish,they don't have any kids right now. Ross has attended weddings and other things at the catholic church by them.Jessica has gone to family events like a bar mitzvah at the synagouge for his side of the family. Ross's sister Stacy is married to Paul.They live in Chicago and Paul's a Polish catholic.Everybody seems to get along.

Taking your children to two churches would be confusing to them which I agree.
Maybe he could attend some classes of RCIA or something.Also many catholic churches do have bible study groups which he might like and also studies in apologetics too.
Maybe if he got information on the church, or read some of Bishop Fulton J.Sheen's works
or some good catholic books it might make hoim more receptive to raising the kids to be as catholics.


#14

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