Feeling lost


#1

I married my protestant husband 15 years ago and have been with him for 20 years. He has been nothing but a wonderful husband to me in nearly every way, and he is the father every woman would want for her son. When we married, we married in a protestant church. (I was a lapsed Catholic at that time and guess I still am in many ways. There is a lot of Catholic doctrine I do not, and don’t feel I ever could follow) I’ve never had our marriage convalidated, yet I have always taken communion at mass which I’ve always attended although not always regularly, and Dh has never tried to prevent it and has gone with me many many times. I also, however, often take communion at this church. We agreed our son, would be raised protestant but very much exposed to his Catholic heritage. I am a product of Catholic school. OUr son was baptized in protestant church

For a number of reasons, we find our son in Catholic school. He started in 1st grade and is now in 2nd. I don’t know. The uniforms, being involved with his school events, etc. have made me feel nostalgic I guess. I would love for my little boy to take first communion and have his first reconciliation.

I’ve casually mentioned this to my husband, and while he did not say “no” he did not seem at all supportive, saying he was for letting our son explore his Catholic heritage, but didn’t see how he could let him take part in the sacraments.

I don’t know how I feel. I feel torn. I see his points, but I also know how I feel. I think it’s going to break my heart to see my neices first communions knowing our son could be doing that as well.


#2

Why do you want your son to receive the sacrements in the Catholic Church? Is it because you belive the Eucharist IS the body and blood of Jesus and you want him to have that… or do you think the ceremonial part of it is nice and you’d like him to experience that? I think yours if a really difficult question, because on one hand I think - yay… he’d be Catholic, and that is wonderful… but on the other hand I think he’d be so confused because his parents aren’t really Catholic… and now he IS… but only sometimes unless you take him to mass weekly, which isn’t likely… so he’d be sort of a lapsed Catholic and Lord knows we already have enough of those.

I totally feel for you and I appreciate your honesty… I guess I’d suggest that you speak to good Priest who can help you sort it out. Part of me wonders if maybe this is how God will bring YOU back - all the way… and then maybe your husband will follow and that would be the very best thing possible… I know that sounds far fetched at this point… but not too long ago I was a Protestant who thought Catholics were crazy… and yet, here I am… Catholic today. That didn’t happen in one fell swoop… I attended really good instructional classes to really LEARN the Catholic faith … something similar would help you I am sure. There are LOTS of things I disagreed with until I fully understood the teachings.

Sorry, my advice isn’t very good - I know. What I’m going to do is give you this :console:
and tell you that I am going to pray for your family today. That you are led to make the best decision for your son.


#3

[quote="Looking_back, post:1, topic:186290"]
I There is a lot of Catholic doctrine I do not, and don't feel I ever could follow) I've never had our marriage convalidated, yet I have always taken communion at mass which I've always attended although not always regularly, and Dh has never tried to prevent it and
[quote]

[/quote]

before you consider your child's status you have urgent work to do on your own. And it will be driven not by sentiment for your childhood (which certainly can be a good thing, and boy your are right, doesn't being inside a Catholic school do it for you!) I can state objectively that for a Catholic, married outside the Church, to attend Mass is good, very good, to receive communion however not since you are not actually in full communion with the Church. We are not entitled to partake in the sign of unity if we ourselves have created and persist in disunion. Stating the objective facts however does not entitle me to direct you in your own personal situation, you need to see a priest, now, and get moving. I think you know that and that is why you are asking.

Welcome Home. It will happen, with some unexpected road bumps and delays, but you will get here. Your child may enter the door ahead of you, but you won't be far behind.

the way to deal with your understanding of Catholic doctrine is to study it more deeply and thoroughly, admitting humbly that possibly it is your own understanding that is deficient, not the doctrine.
[/quote]


#4

[quote="Looking_back, post:1, topic:186290"]
I married my protestant husband 15 years ago and have been with him for 20 years. He has been nothing but a wonderful husband to me in nearly every way, and he is the father every woman would want for her son. When we married, we married in a protestant church. (I was a lapsed Catholic at that time and guess I still am in many ways. There is a lot of Catholic doctrine I do not, and don't feel I ever could follow) I've never had our marriage convalidated, yet I have always taken communion at mass which I've always attended although not always regularly, and Dh has never tried to prevent it and has gone with me many many times. I also, however, often take communion at this church. We agreed our son, would be raised protestant but very much exposed to his Catholic heritage. I am a product of Catholic school. OUr son was baptized in protestant church

[/quote]

You should refrain from receiving the Eucharist in the Catholic Church until you have reconciled with the Church. You are currenlty in an invalid marriage and as such are not in a state of grace to receive the Eucharist. Doing so is an additional grave offense.

Also, Catholics may not participate in non-Catholic communion and therefore you should also refrain from doing this.

[quote="Looking_back, post:1, topic:186290"]

For a number of reasons, we find our son in Catholic school. He started in 1st grade and is now in 2nd. I don't know. The uniforms, being involved with his school events, etc. have made me feel nostalgic I guess. I would love for my little boy to take first communion and have his first reconciliation.

[/quote]

It's not as simple as your son "taking" first communion and "having" reconciliation.

Your son would have to make a profession of faith and actually BECOME a Catholic in order to receive these Sacraments. From that point on, he would be a Catholic and bound fully to Catholic law and doctrine as you are. It is only your son, since he is now at the age of reason, who can make the decision to become a Catholic, not you. Has he stated he wants to convert to the Catholic faith?

If you are not prepared to straighten out your own faith life, convalidate your marriage, live the Catholic faith-- then what evidence can you give to the priest who will weigh whether or not to receive your son into the Catholic Church that you will uphold the commitment he makes by taking him to Mass every Sunday and by discontinuing his participation in your husband's non-Catholic ecclesial community?

This is a serious thing. It's not just a ceremony where your child can go up and receive the sacraments and yet remain a non-Catholic. You need to fully understand what he would be asking of the Church and what commitment he would be making-- and since he cannot get himself to Mass at this age, what commitment YOU are making.

[quote="Looking_back, post:1, topic:186290"]

I've casually mentioned this to my husband, and while he did not say "no" he did not seem at all supportive, saying he was for letting our son explore his Catholic heritage, but didn't see how he could let him take part in the sacraments.

[/quote]

Has your SON asked to receive the Sacraments? Has your SON asked to become a Catholic? That is the person you should be having the conversation with.

[quote="Looking_back, post:1, topic:186290"]
I don't know how I feel. I feel torn. I see his points, but I also know how I feel. I think it's going to break my heart to see my neices first communions knowing our son could be doing that as well.

[/quote]

The Eucharist is not a treat or a reward or a pageant. It's a sacrament. If you are not fully prepared to return to the sacramental life yourself, be an example for your son, and also to have your son become a fully practicing Catholic, then you should not pursue this with him or the parish.

If your son WANTS to be a Catholic, you should not hold him back. But if this is just your idea of wanting to see him dressed up in a little suit, processing up the aisle with all the other cute little kids-- then stop the dreaming, you are misguided in the seriousness of the Eucharist and the commitment it entails.


#5

Hello and welcome to the forums!

I too have married a Protestant husband, so I do know about the complications that can arrise from differing beliefs within a marriage.

I think the question you need to ask yourself is whether you want your son to be Catholic or not. For that matter, you should probably ask yourself the same question! There is no middle ground here. Your son can't receive his First Communion and continue to be raised as a Protestant. He will have to be initiated into the Church, and he will have the obligation to go to a Catholic Mass every Sunday and Holy Day for the rest of his life. And he will have to be educated in the faith, married in the Church, ect. Are you willing to do all of this?

As was stated previously, First Communion is not some lovely, cultural ceremony. Nor is being Catholic a heritage in the same sense that my grandmother's French roots are part of my heritage. Catholicism--like any religion--is a system of beliefs, which you must choose to follow or ignore. Catholics believe that the Eucharist is the Body of Christ. Do you want to raise your son believing this?

As a Catholic, I'd love to tell you that you should raise your son as one. However, if you agreed with your husband to raise your children Protestent, then you should probably be true to your word. Let your son be exposed to the Mass sometimes--your husband doesn't seem to mind this--and perhaps he will choose to become Catholic when he is old enough to make decisions for himself.

I would also like to respectfully advise you not to receive Communion at Catholic churches anymore. Conditions for receiving Communion include being in a state of grace. Since your marriage isn't valid in the eyes of the Church, and since you aren't going to Mass every Sunday, you don't meet the requirements for receiving. We take the Eucharist very seriously--it's the Body of Christ, after all--and so we'd appreciate it if you respected our teachings. If you find that you're longing for the Eucharist, get your marriage convalidated, and start coming every Sunday! It's quite possible that God is calling you back to full communion with the Church.

Good luck!


#6

[quote="1ke, post:4, topic:186290"]

Has your SON asked to receive the Sacraments? Has your SON asked to become a Catholic? That is the person you should be having the conversation with.

.

[/quote]

Great advice - except for this part in my humble opinion. Her son is in 2nd grade.. he's probably 7 years old. I have a 7 year old son. If I asked him if he wanted to be Catholic he'd probably tell me he'd rather be a ninja instead. I don't think asking a child of this age what religion he wants to be is appropriate. He may say Catholic.. because the kids at his school are Catholic and they're talking up 1st Communion... but I seriously doubt he fully appreicates all that being Catholic entails. If he were a teenager, that would be different... but at his age, his parents need to decide in which faith he'll be raised.

Often my 7 year old (the ninja) would rather stay home in his PJs and watch cartoons, rather than going to mass. What he "wants" with regards to his religious upbringing is never considered.


#7

What doctrines do you have a problem with and why, is the best starting point.


#8

[quote="yellowbird, post:6, topic:186290"]
Great advice - except for this part in my humble opinion. Her son is in 2nd grade.. he's probably 7 years old. I have a 7 year old son. If I asked him if he wanted to be Catholic he'd probably tell me he'd rather be a ninja instead. I don't think asking a child of this age what religion he wants to be is appropriate. He may say Catholic.. because the kids at his school are Catholic and they're talking up 1st Communion... but I seriously doubt he fully appreicates all that being Catholic entails. If he were a teenager, that would be different... but at his age, his parents need to decide in which faith he'll be raised.

Often my 7 year old (the ninja) would rather stay home in his PJs and watch cartoons, rather than going to mass. What he "wants" with regards to his religious upbringing is never considered.

[/quote]

That is one of my DH's points. He doesn't think our son should make that decision at all at his age either and so does not want him to have any sacraments of initiation other than baptism. At DH's church kids have first communion and are confirmed at the same time, at around age 14 after a 2 years of catechism. I was shocked when he said our son could make a decision then. If he wants to be Catholic, he'd be fine with it at that time. I'm not sure I can ask or hope for much more than that.


#9

[quote="yellowbird, post:6, topic:186290"]
Great advice - except for this part in my humble opinion. Her son is in 2nd grade.. he's probably 7 years old. I have a 7 year old son. If I asked him if he wanted to be Catholic he'd probably tell me he'd rather be a ninja instead. I don't think asking a child of this age what religion he wants to be is appropriate. He may say Catholic.. because the kids at his school are Catholic and they're talking up 1st Communion... but I seriously doubt he fully appreicates all that being Catholic entails. If he were a teenager, that would be different... but at his age, his parents need to decide in which faith he'll be raised.

Often my 7 year old (the ninja) would rather stay home in his PJs and watch cartoons, rather than going to mass. What he "wants" with regards to his religious upbringing is never considered.

[/quote]

You aren't understanding what I'm saying. Over the age of reason a child is considered an ADULT under Canon Law regarding the Sacraments.

Below the age of reason, the parents can make a profession of faith on the child's behalf and decide they want him to be Catholic.

Over the age of reason (approximately 7) the CHILD is the one who makes the profession of faith and the only one who can make the decision to become a Catholic. The parent cannot make this deicision or conversion on the child's behalf (although obviously parents can heavily influence children by the statements they make and behaviors they exhibit).

Therefore, it is important to talk to the child about it and determine what their religious sentiments are. If they have no desire to become Catholic then they should not be pushed in that direction, especially when one parent is not Catholic and the other is a lapsed Catholic who isn't practicing the faith. The priest would interview the child before they made a profession of faith to determine their sincerity, readiness, and etc.


#10

[quote="crazzeto, post:7, topic:186290"]
What doctrines do you have a problem with and why, is the best starting point.

[/quote]

I think there is a difference between "I disagree" and "I don't get it, but I'll grudgingly accept it, and ask God when I die 'hey? What's up with this'? " We all need to remember that.


#11

I am in the "I disagree" camp. I prayed and thought and studied and hoped for months that I would get to even the "I don't get it" stage. I did not on a number of things. I guess that is why I am not a very good Catholic according to many. I've even gotten to the point on certain aspects of Catholic teachings and look at what I believe and think: "It's possible for me to be wrong, but I know in body, mind, and soul, that I'm not," which makes me what? A heretic?


#12

No - not a heretic. Stubborn maybe?

Do you have any interest in discussing what you disagree with? Like in the apologetic section of the forums? It may be that someone else can explain some of the more difficult teachings in such a way that they make sense to you? Not saying then you need to jump on board… but maybe you’d have a better understand of why the Church teaches certain things… ??


#13

There is a diffrerence between hersey and heterodoxy.

I am NOT a theologian, nor a canon lawyer, so if I'm not trying to lead you into sin or anything like that. Just let me tell you a bit about how I feel.

I'm in the "disagreement x 3" phase sometimes. Some priests I meet come across as cold, some lay people the same way. I have some theological problems with the church, and social stances as well. Alot of orthodox Catholics make me deeply confused and angry.

It boils down to this, for me-I think Jesus founded Christianity, and this is the church that you can trace all the way back to Him. Are there problems with it? Without a doubt-no one is perfect. Do things make me crazy sometimes? Yes 100 times. But when push comes to shove, this is home.

Probably won't help you, but just to let you know, you are NOT alone.


#14

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