Husband's mortal sin.. what's a nagging wife to do?


#1

My husband grew up Catholic but knew very little about the Faith. He left the church when he was in his 20’s but he agreed to come back when I converted. He wasn’t thrilled about it… but wants our family to be one faith. He had his first marrage annulled & went to confession & presto… he’s Catholic again. It’s been great… although I’m praying that he grows to love the Catholic Church as much as he loved our Evangelical Church. So far he’s lukewarm at best.

OK… so he misses mass for no good reason on Sunday. I tell him that he must go to confession prior to church this coming Sunday. He says no way… doesn’t believe it’s that big of a deal… doesn’t buy into the whole “moral sin” thing… where is that in the Bible etc. etc. Obviously he’s got a long way to go before we’re on the same page here.

My question: Do I nag him to death until he agrees to go to confession or do I let the Holy Spirit work on convicting him, even though that means he’ll take communion in a state of mortal sin… but is it even mortal sin if he doesn’t have full knowledge or understanding that it is??? If he only goes to confession to please me… does that even count?


#2

I have some trouble with same from convert husband. (I’m a cradle.)

I would suggest a few things that are working for me.

  1. Nag by example, not by word.
    If hubby doesn’t want to go to Confession for missing Mass, then I go to Confession. Sin to confess? That whole “splinter in the eye vs. plank in the eye” thing. His mortal sin is his and mine is mine. Yes as married couples his affects us and vice versa but it is still his sin. Recently hubby wanted to sleep and skip Mass (he works weekends) so I just packed up the baby and went alone. He showed up about 5 minutes in looking very sheepish.

  2. Be patient.
    Remember it takes awhile to shed his “Evangelical cover.” It is a lot easier to be an Evangelical, because if you don’t like a teaching you can just ignore it. He told me that himself. Being a Catholic is hard work, and yet at the same time we know it is “light work.” Our husbands haven’t gotten to the “easy yoke and light burden” part.

I’ll pray for yours and ask you to pray for mine.


#3

Pray, pray and then pray some more. Be an example to him…NEVER miss Mass unless the situation is dire (you are dying for example :wink: ). You have done your part, you have instructed the sinner, a spiritual work of mercy. Now it is up to the Holy Spirit to draw him. To hear the truth and to reject it ( I don’t like it and therefore don’t want to believe it) is serious sin. But remember, faith is both our willful response to God’s grace and a gift of the Holy Spirit.
Nagging has never won 1 single heart, but it sure does work on God…don’t nag your husband, nag God. Nag him when you wake up, everytime you think of your husband, before you go to sleep. Add some clout to your nagging by fasting and offering up your daily task, annoyances, pains, frustrations for your husbands true conversion.
And as far as your husband, just concentrate on loving him.


#4

Don’t need to go to confession to go to mass. Just need to be free of mortal sins before recieving the eucharist.


#5

My husband is not on the same page as I am when it comes to our Catholicism…we used to be, but as the kids hit their teens I delved into church teaching regarding dating, marriage, vocations…

as a result, I’m almost a walking apologist in my home now. At first I was getting the raised eyebrows and rolling eyes when a news story would come up on tv or in the paper and we’d start discussing it - me, taking the Church’s position on the matter and using the discussion as a means to teaching the lesson.

Then I sat down with hubby and explained what was happening in our house. The kids are dating age. We cannot let them go it alone out there, following the crowd. We have to give them a true compass and that is Church teaching (he agreed with that premise). For that reason I’ve spent a lot of time researching all these topics. He doesn’t have the time nor the desire to do so himself, fine. But he will not undermine my efforts…regardless of his own personal opinions on Church teachings, he is to keep his mouth shut in front of the kids about them, and he’s supposed to support the teaching while in front of them. As with all other matters up to that point we must present a united front, particularly with regard to moral teachings.

He agreed with that completely and it has worked. I took it further to say he also needs to step up to the plate and actually get involved with the church now to set an example for our son. I signed them both up to be readers at mass, and they’re going to the Men’s Conference on Saturday. My son has joined the Youth Council and volunteered for the Kairos Team.

So while hubby is still not on board completely, he is taking his responsibility as father and role model to the children seriously by adhering to Church teachings whether or not he personally agrees with them or practices them himself.

Perhaps this approach would work for you. Explain to your husband that he is the role model of a good Catholic for your children. Everything he says and does around the kids should reflect Church teaching, whether he buys into those teachings himself or not. He can still go to mass but he cannot receive communion, and when the kids ask why Daddy didn’t go up he can explain it’s because he forgot to go to mass last week and didn’t get a chance to go to confession about it yet. Remind your husband of the wedding vows, that you two are the #1 teachers of the faith for your children and they learn more by example than by books and lectures.


#6

Don’t need to go to confession to go to mass. Just need to be free of mortal sins before recieving the eucharist.

I think she was saying he needed to go to Confession because he would skip Mass, which is a mortal sin.

You are right though, we do not have to go to confession unless mortal sin is on our souls…but oh…isn’t it wonderful to go to confession and have your soul fully cleaned and then go into the presence of our Lord?


#7

You’ve all given me something to think & pray about. Thanks so much.

CM


#8

“doesn’t buy into the whole “moral sin” thing… where is that in the Bible etc. etc.”

Being an ex-Protestant, here’s chapter and verse!

1 John 5:16-17.
“If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that. [size=2]17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal.” (RSV)[/size]

Note that this isn’t St John’s Gospel, but the first of his letters. Seems like everybody tries to look it up in the 4th book of the NT! :rolleyes:


#9

[quote=YinYangMom] …But he will not undermine my efforts…regardless of his own personal opinions on Church teachings, he is to keep his mouth shut in front of the kids about them, and he’s supposed to support the teaching while in front of them. As with all other matters up to that point we must present a united front, particularly with regard to moral teachings.

He agreed with that completely and it has worked. I took it further to say he also needs to step up to the plate and actually get involved with the church now to set an example for our son. I signed them both up to be readers at mass, and they’re going to the Men’s Conference on Saturday. My son has joined the Youth Council and volunteered for the Kairos Team.

So while hubby is still not on board completely, he is taking his responsibility as father and role model to the children seriously by adhering to Church teachings whether or not he personally agrees with them or practices them himself.

Perhaps this approach would work for you. Explain to your husband that he is the role model of a good Catholic for your children. Everything he says and does around the kids should reflect Church teaching, whether he buys into those teachings himself or not. He can still go to mass but he cannot receive communion, and when the kids ask why Daddy didn’t go up he can explain it’s because he forgot to go to mass last week and didn’t get a chance to go to confession about it yet. Remind your husband of the wedding vows, that you two are the #1 teachers of the faith for your children and they learn more by example than by books and lectures.
[/quote]

It seems to me that you have instructed your husband to lie to and to mislead his children, (and others as well by activly participating in Church functions). Is this in accordence with Catholic moral teachings? Do you think this is good for his relationships with them? Is it good for his conscience to be insincere? What happens when your kids discover the truth? What are you communicating about your respect for honesty and truth (and the Church’s) to your husband and (in the long run) to your children?

Michael


#10

[quote=MichaelLewis]It seems to me that you have instructed your husband to lie to and to mislead his children, (and others as well by activly participating in Church functions). Is this in accordence with Catholic moral teachings? Do you think this is good for his relationships with them? Is it good for his conscience to be insincere? What happens when your kids discover the truth? What are you communicating about your respect for honesty and truth (and the Church’s) to your husband and (in the long run) to your children?

Michael
[/quote]

Good golly no.
I’m asking my husband not to spread his misconceptions to the kids at such an impressionable age and to teach, by example, obedience to the church.

How is that contrary to Catholic moral teachings?

Hubby and I were raised in the 70s in California in Catholic schools. It was only two years ago that I began to find out that what we were taught was not ‘kosher’. Since we have teens in the house I’ve crash-coursed my way through the Catechism and other Vatican documents so I could get up to speed as our kids approached confirmation preparation.

My husband, on the other hand, is having a difficult time accepting his priests and nuns were wrong. But, he at least acknowledges that there is a stark black-and-white difference between what he’s hearing on Relevant Radio or reading in the church bulletin regarding the Church’s position on several matters.

I teach the kids about Catholicism through everyday conversations - it could be a matter my daughter shares about a friend’s situation, it could be part of a discussion with my son about his athiest friend - mostly it’s from newspaper, radio and television news stories (yes my kids read the newspaper every day, have done that since they were in middle school). At first they didn’t like me taking the Church position on everything but when I explained how I was surprised and disappointed to find out the priests and nuns who taught me misled me and that I wanted to make sure they knew how to find out for themselves what being Catholic really means, they accepted my approach.

For a while there the kids would comment about a story, I’d state the Church’s position, and my hubby would counter me with not so pleasant words. The four of us would get into an argument and the lesson I was trying to get across would be lost. So one night I asked him to stop doing that in front of the kids and I explained why.

He agreed that if he continued to talk in that manner about the Church in front of the kids it could lead them to follow his Catholicism instead of the Catholicism I was trying to teach - and he knows I’m going by the book. So he bites his tongue when discussions come up where he disagrees (or was taught differently, really). When he does agree he speaks up and helps me get the message across. In the meantime he teaches, by example, obedience to the Church by going to Mass, Confession, receiving Communion, stations of the cross, etc. He believes very much in God, Jesus, the Trinity and the Catholic church. He appreciates the liturgy, the rituals the traditions. He gets caught up in all those cafeteria-type issues.

The kids respect him for being honest about not agreeing with certain teachings, for not trying to influence them against the teaching, and for loving them enough to make sure they are able to think for themselves about being Catholic. I respect him for honoring my request even though I know this is all very hard on him - having to face the deception of all those years.

He and our son went to the men’s conference today and they came back so charged up! He definitely wants to go next year. We’re looking forward to seeing Fr. Corapi in February. Little by little I’m exposing him to new teachers and priests who will speak the Truth to him…I think this is how he will come to embrace it. In the meantime he listens to the conversations the kids and I have and later, when we’re alone, he’ll often ask for links to references supporting what I was saying since it sounded contrary to what he was taught.

In the short and long run, I believe this approach is working quite well and is not deceptive nor is it contrary to Catholic moral teachings.


#11

I asked my dad about this…sort of. I want my DH more involved, I wish he actually looked forward to mass (with two little ones, he’s not jumping up and down to go) and I wish he could find the comfort I do in my faith…My dad said this “If you want to change a man, start with his grandfather” – he has to want it for himself. Watching you, seeing you face challenge after challenge, watching you forgive and forgive and forgive yet again…all of that will entice him, but it has to be his doing, or it won’t be whole…set the example just like you would with your kids. Let him come to it on his own, because he WANTS what you have, not because he WANTS you to stop nagging him… pray for him, and I agree – offer up the daily sacrifices for his recognition and realization…hth some


#12

Hi Carol Marie:wave: ,

I personally would approach it from a children point of view. He came back because he wants the family to worship together. So being there for his kids seems important.

Talk to him about how important you think it is to try to show the kids that there is an ultimate authority. (or whatever issue will make your point;) ) “Look even Dad goes to confession even though he doesn’t agree with the Church”. We teach our kids more by example than words. Make sure he sees how important it is for him to be that good, obedient example.

And Pray. And when YOU go, take the kids with, if they are old enough to sit quietly even if not old enough to actually go themselves. If older, always mention when you are going and offer to take them and any friends. Frequently, when I go, I end up with my kids as well as several friends. We always talk about how much better we feel afterwards. What a beautiful miracle God provides for us.

God Bless you.

Maria

ps Every time I pray for my husband to convert (he is a baptized never gone since 5 lutheran) I will try to remember to pray for your husband’s heart renewal! Maybe you could do the same for me if you think about it?


#13

As to whether or not it is a mortal sin, although we are responsible to conform our conscience to the Church, you do have to have knowledge that what you are doing is mortal. It really doesn’t sound like he understands any of that. He doesn’t believe in mortal sin, and doesn’t understand his responsibility to find out why the Church is right.

So I would just put my trust in God and pray that God will have mercy on him.

And if it is just venial, communion is the best thing for him!

No nagging, though, present the case once, then let it go and let God.

God Bless,
Maria


#14

This thread hit home with me. And I must say, after yesterday I am feeling more and more hopeful.

My husband and I are converts together and we are still learning together what it means to be a true and faithful Catholic. I have taken to it a little more than he has simply because of my inquisitive nature. I cant help myself but to research and read book after book and find every sort of resource to deepen my faith. He is not as “scholarly” in nature and does not enjoy that kind of hobby as I do. So, we have developed at a slightly different pace. We will have many talks and sometimes I have to express to him my concerns. Mainly with confession - his lack of it.

I do not want to nag, or judge, or harp on him. But, I have seen times where I think he should not be taking communion and does anyways. Partly because he still does not understand all the in’s and out’s of mortal sin; but partly because he wanted to avoid confession like the plague. That seems to be the hardest thing for him to overcome from our protestant past. Well the other day we had a heart to heart - I laid out my concerns and reasons why and he listened. I told him it was not something to fear and since we have an addition to our family on the way - he needed to embrace our faith to prepare for being our family’s leader. Well, it was very well received. He went to confession with me yesterday. We prayed together then took our turns, prayed more, and when we were walking out the doors he turned to me - gave me a kiss and said “thanks for having me come with you today. I feel better than I have in a long time.” I was so happy. I know now he won’t dread it anymore.

So, it was big progress made with a little step. Do not give up and just be honest and open. Pray for him to open up and see the graces that are given to us freely, if only we let them into our hearts. Saying things outright like- “you cant take communion” or “dont you know you are in mortal sin” will generally not be taken well. But if you make invitations to go with you to confession, or sneak a little book or pamphlet about confession in his reading materials, or gently discuss things it should be acceptable to let him know how you feel in this regard. If he doesnt want to hear it yet, maybe he is just not ready.


#15

I’d like to add a nice thing to this thread (perhaps to offer some hope?) Today in church, when we went forward to receive communion, my DH was in front of me with dd in his arms; while the eucharistic minister gave her a blessing, I saw him bow at the waist before receiving…my heart did a flip flop with joy! This is the first time I’ve ever seen him make that gesture of humility, and I remembered that last week my ds (4yo) asked why I do it; I explained to him that this is one of the greatest gifts we can receive from God and that I bow in reverance to the miracle of body/blood and in thanksgiving for the opportunity to receive such a wonderful gift from the Lord…I didn’t even think he was listening (my son asks a ton of questions, so once the other one has made clear they’ll field “this one”, the other usually tunes out…lol!)

Baby steps…baby steps…:thumbsup:


#16

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