I’ve been a silent member for app. 6 months and have really enjoyed viewing CAF. The responses I’ve read to the questions are quite informative - especially in the Apologetics forum; it is encouraging to see so many actively and accurately defend our faith. I have learned a lot and hope to continue to deepen my faith through these boards.
On to my question, which I’ll try to make brief:
I am entering into my 1st marriage in a few weeks with a wonderful Catholic woman from my parish, who I actually met through a mutual friend of ours in the Knights of Columbus - imagine that! This is my first marriage and she’s been married before. She has 4 children - one older daughter who is out on her own and 3 boys - 15, 12 and 10. Her former spouse is a cradle Catholic, like me, but is far from the Church. When married to him, my fiancé would endure mocking comments from him and his parents about “how holy she was”. He became more bitter and hateful when my fiancé’s annulment was successfully granted in 2012. He no longer takes his boys to Mass and, we believe, poisons their minds with “anti-Catholic” comments, although ironically, he continues to send all 3 to Catholic schools.
They have shared custody but the boys spend more time with their dad in the house my fiancé formerly shared with him. He is a pretty good dad to them other than his anti-Catholic sentiments, although he is very controlling in all areas of their lives.
When the 2 younger boys are with us we take them to Mass, so at least they are making the Sunday obligation about every other week. The older one refuses to go and tells his Mom “I’m not as Catholic as you”. He seldom comes over to see his mom - as the oldest son, he is the closest to his dad and seems to have many of his personality characteristics.
We are in the process of buying a house which we will be in after we’re married later this month. I want to start with a clean slate and set certain ground rules for the boys while they’re with us, the most obvious one which is that while under our roof, all will observe the Sunday obligation.
I know there are no magic bullets, but we would love to get others’ opinions as to how we should handle this situation. Just for the record, we have met with our pastor, who was helpful. We also try always to set good examples for them: they hear us discussing Mass, Catholic radio programming, etc. and they see us reading Catholic books. Their mom has several bibles, statues and other religious items prominently displayed in her condo, so they know where our loyalties lie! I’m an active member of the KofC and we’re both active members of our parish.
We welcome any and all suggestions - thank you very much in advance!