Husband won't allow children to be Catholic


#1

I’ve been married 11 years.

My husband and I were both raised Catholic. We had both left the Church.

8 years ago, had our first child. At this time, I decided that I wanted to become active in the Church again, but I was still (am still) strugging with my faith in the Catholic Church. I have so many questions and doubts, but am praying for my faith to be strengthened.

My husband agreed to have our child baptized and agreed that I could raise her as a Catholic. We now have 3 chidren.

Last week, our oldest child received First Communion. My husband attended the Mass. After the Mass, he said that drinking blood and eating flesh were barbaric, that the beliefs were ridiculous and un-supportable, and that he wanted our children to no longer have anything to do with the Catholic religion. He started grilling me on my beliefs and asking for proof, and said that unless I could give some sound, reasonable anser for why I believed what I did or why he should allow our children to continute to attend, he wouldn’t allow it.

Again, I am not perfect in my faith by a longshot. I still have my own doubts. But I am trying. And I want to pass along what faith I can to my childred with the help of other Catholic teachers and family.

But now, it seems my marriage is on the line. And one sin continues to follow another.

Please, I don’t need any “I told you so” responses. Out of goodness and kindness and faith in the power of God to make all thing possible, please, please help me to see some way through this. Where do I go from here?

Thank you.

Libby


#2

Well, my first reaction is that he did agree to raising them Catholic in the first place, so he is the one who needs to provide something more than what he has.
No man or woman is supposed to have the authority to make unilateral decisions in a family. He has overstepped his bounds, not you, IMO.
I’ve known a few families who have gone through very difficult times over disagreements about the faith, some families have fallen apart and some have come through stronger. There is no way to predict what God will allow for your family, but I will say you must choose Him first and trust Him.
For the time being I would say you must continue to catechize (did I spell that right?) your children, although it may be best done while he’s at work.
When Sunday rolls around, I would take your daughter who has received, and yourself, and go to Mass, period. Not knowing how your husband will react, I would prepare for what you know is the worst. (I’m assuming violence is not an issue)
And above all, and you’ll hear this from everyone here, pray!


#3

Quick starting question: was your wedding Catholic?


#4

Follow on…
what does your husband think is the right religion? Is he a Christian because he believes in Christ, or just because that is what he was born into?


#5

We had a Catholic ceremony, but not Mass.

He seemed to be okay with the children being raised Catholic until our oldest child began askin him whether or not he believed in God. He does not believe, but he gave her a non-answer.

I think that he is afraid of being challenged, or his children thinking badly of him because he does not believe.

The answer I gave my daughter was that her father was a very good and moral person, and that ultimately his relationship with God was his own. That some people sometimes go through periods of doubt, and that faith is a journey, just like the rest of life.

I don’t know whether my answer is supported by the Catholic Church, but as I said, I’m still a fledgling and tried to do my best when put on the spot.

I don’t think my husband would be violent; he can sometimes get depressed.

I could continue to try bringing my daughter to Mass and see where things go from there. I could also speak with my priest, possibly see whether my husband would be okay with meeting with the priest as a mediator. I think having a witness to any decision might help him stay more true to his word.

Any other thoughts or advice or words of wisdom would be much appreciate.

Thank you.

Libby


#6

It seems to me your husband feels pretty much abandoned in his “ex-Catholic” identity. He used to have you for a partner in not being Catholic, and it is very hard for him to see you change, to see you grown into something he is not able (because not willing) to follow you. I think this is intended to test you, your loyalty to him in general. If you wanted the kids to be Buddhist, he would behave in the same way. For the first time, you are not in agreement over this serios matter, and he is afraid you are growing apart from him.

Try to assure him of your loyalty and love, and try to make him understand that he doesn’t have to follow to be loved by you. I think he s simply in panic - unless there is a particular reason for his hostility towards the Catholic Church. However, if he had, he would never have allowed your child to be baptised.

I think you should definitely talk to him about it - don’t go to Mass in secrecy, make him understand that this is important for you, but do it lovingly and reassuringly.


#7

Your husband is right: Christian beliefs are ridiculous and unsupportable. But there have been believers for some two milennia now and no end in sight. There is no proof for anything in Christianity, beginning with the existence of God. The point is that you must begin from the basis of faith in a set of unprovable propositions. Even mathematics begins this way. If you don’t believe in the base propositions, nothing which follows is intelligible.
Send your husband to the pastor of your parish. The pastor may be able to help explain some of the groundwork.

Matthew


#8

Paired with Margita’s advise, something for you to remember is that since both of you had a Catholic identity when you married, that he was wiling to be married Catholic, and agreed to allow you to raise your children Catholic, it really is his burden to prove to you why you and the rest of your family should not continue to be Catholic. Just grilling you on your beliefs with some the common anti-Catholic misstatements and insults is a non-starter, as he is making a radical change to the basic terms of the relationship.

It is his change that needs proving first so you have a clear picture of what needs defending, and he’s not going to have that proof at the level he’s demanding from you. All he’s really got is jealousy of the hope he sees in the attitudes of his family that he is too proud to quit rejecting right now…


#9

Thank you so much!

Yes…you are so right. I didn’t think of it from the point of view that he was jealous, may feel threatened, etc. My MO is to go into debate mode and butt heads, and I think this is just confirming for him those fears that I am abandoning him.

I need to take a step back and approach this in a more loving manner, and as much as possible, not engage in the confrontation right now. That would be a first good step.

And yes, I do believe this would have played out the same no matter what religion I was involved in.

“Even mathematics begins this way. If you don’t believe in the base propositions, nothing which follows is intelligible.”

How to explain faith to someone whose first question is “show me the empirical evidence”? But this above is a good analogy. Thank you.

Thank you. Any other thoughts or advice are welcome.

Libby


#10

First suggestion, when you come home from Mass - come home as the happiest most loving wife on planet earth.

Second, book suggestion:

Mere Christianity by CS Lewis

Lewis was an athiest who came to be a believer and one of the greatest Christian minds of the modern time.

Another is the Strobel books - starting with “the Case for Christ”.


#11

Amen. He made the promise, now he has to stick with it. You are in the right.


#12

Pointing out here that someone asking for evidence subject to natural law to prove the supernatural is nonsense, as the supernatural is outside the realm of natural law by definition. Its a founding premise of most militant atheists, a challenge that is actually more nonsensical than allowing for the possibility that there are things which are real but not empirically measurable. Witness testimony and direct observation are the only valid verifications of the supernatural because those events cannot be reproduced as per the scientific method because they are not triggered by entities limited to the empirical realm. Again, this demand to see the evidence from others is a position based on emotion, logic is just a cover for he frailty of their starting position.


#13

Hi Libby–so your husband doesn’t believe in God at all? So, it’s probably more about theistic faiths, than just about being Catholic. I’m not sure what to say in this case, because something must have happened over the years to cause the disbelief…do you know what that might be? Maybe if you chip away to that answer…you will be able to better understand is strife with The Church…and maybe healing can begin. Typically, when people lash out in anger over Catholic teaching…something happened over the years perhaps questioning if there is a loving God…or God at all…to spur on a reaction like his. You’re in my prayers.


#14

My husband was a very combative agnostic when I married him, and nearly denied me the right to take our children to Mass. But over the years, when I lovingly continued to practice my faith and refused to get into long and pointless arguments AND continued taking the children to Mass, he eventually converted and is now the happiest (still combative though, this time PRO) Catholic there is.
Be patient but do continue to take your kids to Mass; just be as loving and firm as you can. It will pay off eventually! and don’t forget to pray for your husband every single day!


#15

Catechize your kids strongly, taking them to Mass and to visit Jesus in the tabernacle often. Be frank and honest in praying for their father, enlisting their help. I would be honest with kids 7 and older. They should have a grasp of salvation and hell and the temptation of the devil and his efforts to obtain us for his evil, so they need to be warned of the danger that surrounds them and become prayer warriors for those that they love. Pray constantly that the Holy Spirit will protect your children and lead your husband back. I think your kids will help him to come home, eventually.


#16

Don’t confront him, don’t fight with him, don’t put him down. Don’t be pushy or sanctimonious - and don’t make him feel small. Kindness and good example is worth more than all the preaching in the world.


#17

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