How Catholics View Non Denominational Christians? (Relationships)


#1

I’ve ran into many people who are catholics and have had conversations with them about this subject. Most of the time you hear about non denominational christians judging the catholics on their practice. But in this case, it is the oposite. I believe, no matter what denomination you may choose to be from, you choose it because you feel it is the best way to grow your relationship with Jesus Christ.

A year or so ago I started dating my now girlfriend, everything about our relationship is so great. Recently we have been talking about the future. She mentioned to me she would only marry a catholic man. She said she wanted a man that shared her own faith. Correct me if I am wrong, catholics are christians. I believe I have a stronge relationship with Christ. I follow the bible with all my heart. Because there are a few different practices than the other dominations, do Catholics believe they cannot be yoked with non denominational christians?

I love some of the practices of the Catholic church, I believe it is a great church. I would like to know more about it, but I feel like there is a pressure one should not have by basically saying do or die.

reasons, explanations, help…


#2

The Catholic Church allows for non-Catholics to marry Catholics, however there are rules that must be followed in order for the marriages to validly occur:

1.The two individuals need to ask permission from the bishop of the diocese.
2. The two must marry within a Catholic Church, unless they also receive permission from the bishop to not have the ceremony within a Catholic Church (but this permission is usually NOT granted, so the marriage would HAVE to be within a Catholic particular church in order to be valid)
3. Both parties must agree to raise the children Catholic and have them baptized as soon as possible (under pain of mortal sin).

There may be more requirements but I am unsure, and not an expert on Canon Law.

Your girlfriend has a faith that is unlike any protestant denomination. The Catholic Church can seem harsh when one examines the above rules, but they are NOT rules that were made by men who want people to obey arbitrary rules. They were put in place by God when Jesus told Peter that “upon this Rock I shall build my Church”. Your girlfriend is simply obeying the Law of Christ by indicating that she will only marry a Catholic man.

The Catholic faith is so much deeper than anything you will encounter in protestantism and I recommend taking a look into the tenets of the faith as well as the history of the Catholic Church (especially in association with the protestant denominations). The Catechism of the Catholic Church is available for free on the Vatican’s website at:
vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM

Take a look and find out what your girlfriend believes.

God bless you.


#3

Hullo, Alex. Welcome to the forums. :) And I congratulate you on your curiosity.

Yes, Catholics are Christians. We are supposed to love the Word of God, and to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. However, we are very different from the vast majority of Protestantism on many important aspects.

One important difference is that Protestants do not accept Christian history - which the Catholic Church calls "Sacred Tradition" - as having the same authority as Scripture. For Catholics, not only is the Bible important, but the things Christians taught after the Bible was written are also important because, we assume, Christ gave us one way to follow Him - one Truth. Granted, that truth is found in the Bible. But it is found in interpretations of the Bible. The Bible, like any book, has to be interpreted.

Case in point, our second major difference with most Protestants: the body and blood of Jesus on the altar. We read John 6 and Matthew, Mark, and Luke, as well as 1 Corinthians 11, and take Christ very, very literally when he says "This is My body and this is My blood" at the Last Supper. We believe that, in context, Christ can mean **nothing* less* than that bread is now His flesh, and that wine is now His blood. I'm going to guess that you are with the majority of non-Catholic Christians, and believe either that the bread and grape-juice possesses either a spiritual presence of Jesus, or is completely and only symbolic.

We differ so very widely on this issue because we interpret the Bible in different ways, and it has real consequences. Which leads me to the third difference: we believe Christ is really present in the bread and wine - that is, His flesh and blood really, physically are where once there was a white wafer and grape wine. We worship His flesh and blood and treat it with the utmost respect. Most Protestants have no such respect for their bread and grape juice, and feel free not to reverence it.

Now this leads to a fourth difference I should like to point out, and probably one good reason a Catholic would want only to marry a Catholic. The first three differences are, usually, so. Therefore, the typical Protestant must conclude that the Catholic is engaging in a form of idolatry, albeit accidentally, for he is giving glory to bread and wine what is due only to God. The Catholic, on the other hand, must conclude the Protestant is being, again accidentally, disobedient to Our Lord's and to St. Paul's commands, and the Protestant is deprived of a very important spiritual grace.

This leads me to my final difference I will note. Why and how could a Catholic and Protestant come to such shockingly contradictory conclusions? The answer is simple: the Protestant is using the Bible, isolated from history and the context of what it is saying, to make interpretations. The Catholic uses the Bible, in conjunction with history and its historical context within history, to draw conclusions. As Blessed Henry Cardinal Newman once said, "To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant." Thus the Catholic has only one set of dogmas, while Protestants, sadly, have divers contradictory sets of dogmas all drawn from the same book, isolated from its context, so that it might mean any number of things. That is why there are Anabaptists, Baptists, High Church Anglicans, Low Church Anglicans, Lutherans, Calvinists, Reformed Baptists, Southern Baptists, non-denominationals, post-denominationals, postmillenials, Seventh-Day Adventists, nontrinitarians, evangelicals, evangelical reformeds, Methodists, Quakers, Shakers, and dozens upon dozens of other types of Protestants all originating from the same understanding of the Bible: sola scriptura.

Now you might say, "But I don't believe all these different churches to be what I believe." True. Very true. But you all use practically the same method and materials to derive these contradictory beliefs, do you not? What is different in form between the way a Baptist and the way a non-denominational interpret Scripture? Not much, except the results. :shrug:

My point, then, basically is not to incriminate you particularly, but to point out that, frankly, all Protestants truly do interpret the Bible through the lens of sola scriptura - the Bible alone and isolated from anything or anyone but the interpreter - and this is a vital, almost incompatible difference between Catholics and Protestants.


#4

Interfaith marriages are very difficult. Beliefs and practices are divided. The early Church in Acts all met “of one accord” - total agreement. Imagine how much that eases a relationship! I was not Catholic when I married a Catholic woman. I was not even Christian - never having been baptized. However, through a series of what can only be described as miracles, I entered the Church. As with most converts, I have desired to absorb the faith like a sponge. I could go nowhere else, and frankly, when I visit other communities for weddings, funerals etc, they feel somehow empty. I have heard that the Catholic Church claims to have the “fulness of faith” and I believe it.

One excellent resource for learning about the Catholic faith in an easily read and understood form is Catholicism for Dummies. I highly recommend it. Anything that it does not answer may be addressed here.

If you truly desire the most Spirit-filled, intensely personal relationship with our Lord that you can possibly have - one that can vault your faith into hyper-space, please continue to investigate the Catholic Church. When you receive the grace of faith to know that Jesus is truly present in the Holy Eucharist, it can bring tears. To spend time with Him in prayer - in His true presence - can reveal miracles. I have seen too many to doubt that He is there.

Ask your girlfriend if she ever goes to adoration, or what may be known as “Holy hour.” The practice is based on Matthew 26:40. That is where Christ in the Holy Eucharist is exposed on the altar for our worship, praise and thanksgiving. Amazing things occur during prayer in His presence. Please consider going and spending an hour with Him in prayer, scripture reading, or contemplation. Ask Him to reveal His presence to you. You might be amazed sooner, or you might be amazed later, but when you are aware that He is there, you will be changed.

But, do not consider becoming Catholic because you are in love with your girlfriend - consider it for the only reason there is: because you are in love with Jesus Christ.


#5

Your girlfriend has just basically told you she will not marry you. You are not getting any younger and t sounds like she is taking you for. a mug. I would generally not advise Protestants who care about their religion to marry Roman Catholics, because the latter are under a great deal of pressure and the Protestant party must submit to the RC Church’s will with respect to the raising of children and other matters.

If you refuse to do so the Church can declare your marriage invalid and your wife can divorce you without the Church’s disapproval (I wonder whether God accepts these conditions?). The best you can do is marry a lukewarm or non practising RC. Her family might try to put pressure on you but that is an ideal time to assert yourself as head of the household. Roman Catholics believe they belong to the One True Church so this is why they behave this way. Don’t take it personally.


#6

[quote="Alex_Smith, post:1, topic:309097"]
I've ran into many people who are catholics and have had conversations with them about this subject. Most of the time you hear about non denominational christians judging the catholics on their practice. But in this case, it is the oposite. I believe, no matter what denomination you may choose to be from, you choose it because you feel it is the best way to grow your relationship with Jesus Christ.

A year or so ago I started dating my now girlfriend, everything about our relationship is so great. Recently we have been talking about the future. She mentioned to me she would only marry a catholic man. She said she wanted a man that shared her own faith. Correct me if I am wrong, catholics are christians. I believe I have a stronge relationship with Christ. I follow the bible with all my heart. Because there are a few different practices than the other dominations, do Catholics believe they cannot be yoked with non denominational christians?

I love some of the practices of the Catholic church, I believe it is a great church. I would like to know more about it, but I feel like there is a pressure one should not have by basically saying do or die.

reasons, explanations, help...

[/quote]

Hello,
I'm actually a convert from the Non Denominational Church, and hey I will tell you that the Non Denoms are great people, I just no longer agree with all its teachings, and I found the fullest of the faith in Catholicism. I suggest you shall learn more about the Catholic Faith. A good way of doing this is asking questions here on the forums, reading books, listening to EWTN radio etc. God Bless You


#7

Mixed marriage is not always easy and your girlfriend is just being realistic about it. For the same reason, there are Protestant denominations that would dislike or discourage their children to marry Catholics.

If you don't mind too much, I would suggest you explore Catholicism and see if you find it okay with you. You were saying the choice of denomination is one where you can grow in your relationship with Christ. You also said that the Catholic Church is great and love some of her practices. Considering your position now, surely you have nothing to lose in delving into Catholicism and you may be surprised by your findings.

God bless you in your relationship with your girlfriend.


#8

[quote="Alex_Smith, post:1, topic:309097"]
I've ran into many people who are catholics and have had conversations with them about this subject. Most of the time you hear about non denominational christians judging the catholics on their practice. But in this case, it is the oposite. I believe, no matter what denomination you may choose to be from, you choose it because you feel it is the best way to grow your relationship with Jesus Christ.

A year or so ago I started dating my now girlfriend, everything about our relationship is so great. Recently we have been talking about the future. She mentioned to me she would only marry a catholic man. She said she wanted a man that shared her own faith. Correct me if I am wrong, catholics are christians. I believe I have a stronge relationship with Christ. I follow the bible with all my heart. Because there are a few different practices than the other dominations, do Catholics believe they cannot be yoked with non denominational christians?

I love some of the practices of the Catholic church, I believe it is a great church. I would like to know more about it, but I feel like there is a pressure one should not have by basically saying do or die.

reasons, explanations, help...

[/quote]

I told my children they should not date people whom they did not plan to marry, and that religion is a HUGE aspect in marriage. So to me, that's something to say up-front.

You have probably met Protestants who "church-shop," right? And they try the Methodists, the Baptists, the church down the street,.... but they don't put the Catholic church on their list! There is a difference between Catholicism and Protestantism as a previous poster so well described.

Do not convert for your girlfriend. Looking into the Faith is good for everyone, but the reason one should convert is that one wants to love Christ more fully, not to marry a particular person.

A bi-religious family can be very difficult. Each parent usually wants the children raised in their own religion, and there are also areas which should be shared but which instead become a source of tension, like whne the Protestant spouse wants to sleep in on Sunday and doesn't understand the Catholic's getting up anyway. So, it's little things to big things...


#9

:thumbsup:

Ask your girlfriend if she ever goes to adoration, or what may be known as “Holy hour.” The practice is based on Matthew 26:40. That is where Christ in the Holy Eucharist is exposed on the altar for our worship, praise and thanksgiving. Amazing things occur during prayer in His presence. Please consider going and spending an hour with Him in prayer, scripture reading, or contemplation. Ask Him to reveal His presence to you. You might be amazed sooner, or you might be amazed later, but when you are aware that He is there, you will be changed.

:thumbsup:


#10

[quote="Indifferently, post:5, topic:309097"]
Your girlfriend has just basically told you she will not marry you. You are not getting any younger and t sounds like she is taking you for. a mug. I would generally not advise Protestants who care about their religion to marry Roman Catholics, because the latter are under a great deal of pressure and the Protestant party must submit to the RC Church's will with respect to the raising of children and other matters.

If you refuse to do so the Church can declare your marriage invalid and your wife can divorce you without the Church's disapproval (I wonder whether God accepts these conditions?). The best you can do is marry a lukewarm or non practising RC. Her family might try to put pressure on you but that is an ideal time to assert yourself as head of the household. Roman Catholics believe they belong to the One True Church so this is why they behave this way. Don't take it personally.

[/quote]

First a note to Alex, then to Indifferently,

Alex,

I would encourage you to do two things. First, take the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults class with the church to find out if you might want to convert. There is NO OBLIGATION to convert so I highly encourage you to look into it...you'll get good info on what the Church trully teaches.

To Indifferently,

You are incorrect on several accords. I am not sure where you're getting your disinformation. First, the protestant party does NOT have to "submit to the RC Church's will with respect to raising of children and other matters." Before a marriage between two people of different faiths is allowed the CATHOLIC party must agree to do everything in their power to raise the children Catholic...not the non-Catholic person. The Church will NOT anull a marriage simply because the children are not raised as Catholics. I have never seen a "great deal of pressure" applied to anyone with regards to Catholic/Protestant marriages.


#11

Mixed marriages are difficult, and your girlfriend is being up-front about what she feels she can cope with. If you were faced with a long-distance relationship, you’d expect to be up-front about whether you could cope with that at the beginning, wouldn’t you? It is the same with a mixed marriage.

The reason a Catholic/non-denominational marriage can be difficult is because of strong differences in belief, and basic views of truth. Imagine you have children: the Catholic believes that the children must be Baptised as soon as possible, and that this is a Salvific Baptism by which the children are born again. You believe that any church that grows your faith is the best place to be, but the Catholic believes that the Catholic Church has the fullness of faith and the complete Truth. You presumably believe that Communion is just a symbolic re-enactment that everyone can join in with, but the Catholic believes that Communion in the Catholic Church is the actual Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, which the children should receive, but which it would be spiritually dangerous for you to receive, and that the children should definitely not receive Communion in any other church because it causes confusion. The Catholic believes that attending Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation is non-negotiable and important.

All of this, plus more, makes a mixed marriage difficult, and both parties need to be fully informed and have discussed exactly how to handle it. It is entirely reasonable to say that you cannot cope with this.

You girlfriend cares so much about her relationship with Christ, and her future children’s relationship with Christ, that she cannot face marriage to someone who would (with the very best will in the world) be out-of-step with her on important theological and practical issues. Your girlfriend has laid her cards on the table, and now it’s your move.

So, your good options are probably:

a) end it now, for whatever reason.

b) explore Catholicism (involving at least reading about it from a Catholic point of view, attending Mass several times, and praying about it; at the most, joining an RCIA programme beginningcatholic.com/), and then make a decision.

If you take option b, make sure that any decision about whether to convert is separate from your decision whether to continue the relationship. Ask yourself whether you’d want to be Catholic if the relationship ended tomorrow. Be honest and up-front with both yourself and your girlfriend about what you’re doing.

Even if your girlfriend hadn’t said anything, you’d probably still have wanted to take option b before getting married, so that you understood where she was coming from. And if you’re going to discover that Catholicism has the fullness of Truth at some point, you’d presumably want it to be now rather than after breaking off the relationship! But don’t convert just to marry her: that would be a really bad idea for all sorts of reasons.


#12

Alex,

I also wanted to add that I do NOT recommend a mixed marriage. I was in one, they are difficult, and if both parties are faithful to their religion the marriage will almost certainly fail.


#13

Lots of wonderful advice above. I too would recommend the Catholicism for dummies book as a good introduction.

There is a basic difference in thinking among modern protestants (and I realize that you might not consider yourself protestant) that is quite different than the Catholic viewpoint.
As someone mentioned above, protestants can and do “church-hop” among various groups and no one bats an eye. That is because there is a feeling among them that one denomination is just as valid as another. And frankly I would agree with that.
But as Catholics we do not hold with that view as it relates to the Catholic Chruch.

But the difference is that the Catholic Church is NOT a denomination. It is the foundational Church from which the protestant groups separated. It is the Church which Jesus founded upon Peter, with the authority to bind and loose “whatever”, gifted with the Holy Spirit on Pentecost and continuing in unbroken line from that day to this.

Several people have mentioned Church History. It is well and important that they do so. The reason is this…While you rightly revere and follow the bible to the best of your ability…The concept of “Sola Scriptura” is a man made doctrine - man made tradition - that did not exist before 500 years ago. This new - man made tradition - along with the rejection of a visible authoritative Church has led to the many different and contradictory “flavors” of protestant thought and interpretation.
As proof of this you need only look at the two ancient Christian Churches…the RC and the EO…neither of which teach Sola Scriptura - and both hold to the biblical model of an authoritative councilior Church. Few protestant churches even attempt to follow this biblical model.

I do not wish to overwhelm you here…But I will offer to you some wonderful testimonies by people who have come from the non-denominational background into the Church. You might find them helpful…
Click HERE and and click on any of the programs listed.
Something that you will note in these is that those who convert NEVER feel that they left things behind but rather that they are so much more fulfilled as Christians…

Hope some of this helps.

Peace
James


#14

Except maybe the Orthodox, Non-Catholic Christian are heretics, or followers of a heresy, in the eyes of the Church and in reality. There is no good reason to marry a heretic or a heresy follower.


#15

[quote="Alex_Smith, post:1, topic:309097"]
I've ran into many people who are catholics and have had conversations with them about this subject. Most of the time you hear about non denominational christians judging the catholics on their practice. But in this case, it is the oposite. I believe, no matter what denomination you may choose to be from, you choose it because you feel it is the best way to grow your relationship with Jesus Christ.

A year or so ago I started dating my now girlfriend, everything about our relationship is so great. Recently we have been talking about the future. She mentioned to me she would only marry a catholic man. She said she wanted a man that shared her own faith. Correct me if I am wrong, catholics are christians. I believe I have a stronge relationship with Christ. I follow the bible with all my heart. Because there are a few different practices than the other dominations, do Catholics believe they cannot be yoked with non denominational christians?

I love some of the practices of the Catholic church, I believe it is a great church. I would like to know more about it, but I feel like there is a pressure one should not have by basically saying do or die.

reasons, explanations, help...

[/quote]

The Catholic Church has a membership of a billion people. I would not take the opinion of one to be the view of the majority.


#16

Why make the Orthodox an exception. They, too, are not in communion with the Bishop of Rome. They deny Purgatory, the IC, the Filioque.

Originally Posted by Alex Smith
I’ve ran into many people who are catholics and have had conversations with them about this subject. Most of the time you hear about non denominational christians judging the catholics on their practice. But in this case, it is the oposite. I believe, no matter what denomination you may choose to be from, you choose it because you feel it is the best way to grow your relationship with Jesus Christ.

A year or so ago I started dating my now girlfriend, everything about our relationship is so great. Recently we have been talking about the future. She mentioned to me she would only marry a catholic man. She said she wanted a man that shared her own faith. Correct me if I am wrong, catholics are christians. I believe I have a stronge relationship with Christ. I follow the bible with all my heart. Because there are a few different practices than the other dominations, do Catholics believe they cannot be yoked with non denominational christians?

I love some of the practices of the Catholic church, I believe it is a great church. I would like to know more about it, but I feel like there is a pressure one should not have by basically saying do or die.

reasons, explanations, help…

All the issues of intercommunion marriage should be worked out prior to a ring and a date, it seems to me.
The fact is there are more differences than in practices. Doctrinal differences are real. As a non-Catholic, I would encourage you, if you feel strongly about this realtionship, to enroll in RCIA to see if you can accept the Catholic Church’s teachings.
Just my two cents, and I will pray for you.

Jon


#17

Everyone else in the thread has tried to sugarcoat it but this user has got the naked RC perspective on your faith. There is of course no ‘obligation’ with RCIA but you will be evangelized in very strong terms so proceed with extreme caution.


#18

[quote="Andre1000, post:14, topic:309097"]
Except maybe the Orthodox, Non-Catholic Christian are heretics, or followers of a heresy, in the eyes of the Church and in reality. There is no good reason to marry a heretic or a heresy follower.

[/quote]

This is put rather crudely in light of how the Church deals with this issue in the Catechism.

Yes it is true that non-Catholic Christian groups have embraced a number of heresies. However, it is not quite correct to say that members of those groups are (necessarily) heretics. From the Catechism:
818 "However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church."

HERE is a link to the section of the Catechism on "Unity" which contains the above quote. It also deals with "wounds to unity" and also we are to relate to those who are either not Catholic or not Christian at all...

For the OP - it is well worth the read...:thumbsup:

Peace
James


#19

[quote="Indifferently, post:17, topic:309097"]
Everyone else in the thread has tried to sugarcoat it but this user has got the naked RC perspective on your faith.

[/quote]

This is incorrect. See the Church teaching in the Catechism linked in my post above. The post you refer to may be that person's understanding...But it does not entirely square with official Church teaching.

There is of course no 'obligation' with RCIA but you will be evangelized in very strong terms so proceed with extreme caution.

Have you been to an RCIA that pressured you?

Peace
James


#20

[quote="Indifferently, post:17, topic:309097"]
Everyone else in the thread has tried to sugarcoat it but this user has got the naked RC perspective on your faith. There is of course no 'obligation' with RCIA but you will be evangelized in very strong terms so proceed with extreme caution.

[/quote]

Formally, you are correct, Protestants are, by definition, heretics.

But due to the fact that they've been separated from the truth for 500 years, really don't know what the Catholic Church is, and have developed what I can only call a spiritual immune reaction to Catholicism, we consider Protestants to be validly baptised - usually - but otherwise separated from the rest of Christendom (except in marriage).

As for RCIA, well, what did you expect in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults? :shrug:


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