How do I return to my Catholic faith while my husband and children are Lutheran?

What is the correct thing to do in this situation, besides turn back time and change the mistakes I made in my life???

I am a catholic who had fallen away from the Church in my teens-twenties. I was married in my mid twenties, and because of my indifference to the Church, felt it was not a big deal to be married in the Lutheran (my husband’s) Church. This did not cause any problems until just recently when I realized that the Catholic faith is the truth through some wonderful revelations.

Now I find myself being torn, between staying married to the man I promised God I would spend the rest of my life with 6 years ago, and being able to raise my children in the truth, without causing damage by introducing two faiths to them.

My husband is very adament and always has been that he will never become Catholic, or allow our children to be raised Catholic. (However, that doesn’t stop me from praying for his conversion. ) It seems that God has gone through great lengths to show me the truth, why then does it feel like the truth is tearing my family apart? I have faith that if I have patience and humility God will take care of the rest, but as of now I find this situation leading me to sin.

It is scandal to take communion at a church other than Catholic. Well, how am I supposed to sit in the pew when we go to my husbands church while he takes the children up? What am I supposed to say to them? Every time we go there (which is every other week, we alternate churches now) I find myself full of anxiety the whole service, knowing that within that hour I am either going to end up sinning or confusing my children, and causing them to ask questions that would confuse them even more. I’ll be honest. I haven’t been able to justify this, and in trying to keep our family unit together, I do go up with them.

It also seems that any truth about my faith that differs from his, is putting a wall up between us. I feel so torn. If I gave in, perhaps I could once again find a marraige to salvage- but in doing so I feel I would be turning my back on God.

I realize it was my choices that have got me to this point. Maybe there is no good answer…

Dear to,

To begin with, you must have experienced some kind of conversion to have brought you to the point where you want to live as a Catholic again. That experience didn’t happen in a void. It had to be by the power of the Holy Spirit. So know that you are not in this alone. This is the context in which you are operating. God is well aware of your plight—since He is the instigator. Even though it may seem an impossible situation, it is not impossible for God.

Certainly, your situation is messy. For starters, your marriage is not considered valid by the Catholic Church. You need to have it convalidated (blessed) by the Catholic Church. I expect that your husband would not take kindly to this. However, unless it is blessed by the Catholic Church, you sin mortally every time you have sexual relations with a man to whom you are not married. Should you choose to live celibately until such time as your husband is willing to have your marriage blessed, you could go to Confession and receive Holy Communion. At this point, you should not be receiving at Lutheran services. You can tell your children that it is a private matter if they are under six. (You mention that you have been married six years.)

You also need to attend Mass every Sunday—even if you go by yourself. Certainly, there are plenty of Mass times—even on Saturday night. You need to do what you can. It will not be easy. But remind yourself that it wasn’t easy hanging on a cross for three hours either. But you were worth it to Him. He is giving you a chance to reciprocate. The crosses He give us are truly, gifts. Trust Him in all this. He will lead if you let Him. Only good will come from this. Remember that He initiated it. He will bring to completion what He has begun. You are in our prayers. Write again to let us know how things are developing.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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