I'm agnostic and she is catholic

I need help!!
My other half has recently re-affirmed her faith and is truly working towards getting back to where she used to be within catholicism many years ago.
we were having pre-maratial sex and now thats stopped, something by the way that although i do find hard completely support her on and have recently started to understand why this is a HUGE thing within the religion but this is not the problem, far from it.

I’ve started to attend church on the off occasion, trying to go to mass (which i still can’t sit through because it is to intense for me at the moment and scares me a little bit) and i have been reading books about catholicism, the mass and other things, i have also started to attend bible readings (or studies) as a sort of ground floor understanding of the bible and why the bible is the word of god not man (something that i didn’t quite grasp until someone explained it to me).
We recently got into a discussion about children and she can’t understand why although i believe that there is a higher power, i still might not convert to catholicism.
i dont want to convert to catholicism just to please her or just for marraige, i’d rather if i do in future convert do it on my own terms and because i have been brought round to beleive in the teachings and the word of god, not just because she wants me to but because i want to.
I want my children to be raised catholic as i see nothing wrong with it and i do truly believe that being brought up catholic well benifit their lifes immensly in everything that they do, that the teachings of god and not just their parents, will show them a better life than i had when i was younger
For 24 years i have lived without the word of god and although yes because of it, ive made mistakes, i’ve learned from my mistakes and it will be good teaching for my children, the right from the wrong because i certainly have done alot of the wrong in my life. I feel i could be a guide if the children sway from the faith

she has issued me with an ultimatum of you acknowledge that Jesus = God or we are through

I do not know what to do, i love her more than anything else in the world and i am trying incredibly hard to grasp everything she believes but at the same time its hard and i do not want to be forced into a belief that i do not understand

please help

In all honesty i’m a little angry with her. No one can force you to acknowledge God. That’s for you to do, or not, on your own terms. For her to issue this ultimatum knowing about who you are seems wrong. If she can’t love you for the person you are I wouldn’t want you to be with her. However, if it were me and my love, I would fake it. I’m actually getting married to a previous Catholic soon, and I plan on faking ceremony stuff for her parents. So, is she worth it, lying to yourself and her for as long as it takes to sort your religious matters out?

in a way i can see your views on this but faking my through a relationship and certainly a massive belief is something that i think is wrong

i want to be able to do it on my own terms and learn at a pace that i feel comfortable with after all if your in a group you only go as fast as the slowest person and i think that should work for me here

i’ve suffered through depression and have come out the other end of that personal hell with a new sence of life and a new belief that certainly anything is possible but i couldn’t lie to her just to be with her

she has to accept me for who i am and what i choose to or not to believe, just like i accept her for her beliefs, everyone is different and everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and opinions

i just dont understand why she is as closed minded and narrow minded as this

Your full of deceit man. You are no gentleman.
The young man who started this thread is infinitely more ethical than you.

You will build your relationship on a lie and you wont be able to keep it up.
If you truly love a woman you will not deceive her.

can i ask what you think grace?

can anyone help me in my search for what is right?

The only advice I can give you is to talk to her. Be honest. Tell her why you think she is being unreasonable and tell her everything you told us. Try to understand why she said what she said. Explain to her what you are going through.
Also, if she is really interested in continuing this relationship you could go see a priest and discuss this. The Catholic Church doesn’t force you to be catholic for your marriage to work. Your children can still be brought up catholic and bring many fruits.
I honestly don’t think there is much more I can tell you.
She may sound unreasonable but you only told us part of what she thinks… I also don’t know you well enough to see the effort you are putting on the relationship and on making the relationship to work or honesty regarding faith issues.

I hope this helps.
God bless you.

Many thanks for your advise all i can tell you is i am going to see a preist to talk about this and i have been talking to her about it but she has only one view and that view is that if we were to get married and have children that i’d have to be catholic.
Just because i’m not catholic it doesn’t mean that i do not agree with the teaching of the faith infact i agree with alot that the church has to say on many issues and the principles it installs in everyones lifes

i have been working extremely hard on this relationship to make things work, although i have been putting everything into this i still feel that its slipping away because im not sure that i want to convert (i’ve only been reading into the religion for a month), i think its still to soon for definitive answer

Many thanks

I think YOU are the more honorable person in this relationship. Unfortunately, in her zeal for returning to the Catholic faith, your girlfriend has gone too far. It is not necessary for a spouse to convert, only to agree to raise the children as Catholics, which you do agree to. I think you should BOTH go and talk to a priest, and you should state to him what you have stated here, that you are learning about the faith for the first time in your life, that it seems a good guide for life, and that you do agree to raise the children as Catholics. You didn’t mention not contracepting; have you and your girlfriend discussed that subject? That’s pretty key also, you need to be open to the possibility of life through your sexual relationship.

I can tell you that from my experience, the children can still end up Catholics with only one parent practicing, but it’s harder. In my case, neither my husband nor I were practicing when we met and married, and in fact, I had never been confirmed (quit going after my mother died when I was 10 and Dad as a convert stopped attending Mass, etc.). I had no intentions of returning to the Church and then we had our first child. I had some problems in the early part of the pregnancy and as people sometimes do, I started to pray. After our son was born I saw the miracle of life (that sounds cliche’) and also believed that God had really heard my prayers, and I wanted to go back to church. My husband did not have that experience and in fact, 22 years later, he is still in the same position as he was when we married - may not even believe in God. He has gone to church with us the whole time, and of course the boys got baptized, First Eucharist, etc. but as far as participating in anything other than Mass, no. One of our sons is devout, the other has stopped attending Mass for quite a while (he’s 17) but may be open to returning soon. It’s been hard for me to be the spiritual leader of the family, that role feels unnatural and wrong to me. The boys have no idea that their father may be an atheist. I guess you could say it’s a lie but in our case, it was the only way for us not to fight about religion through our sons.

You are actually in a better position than my husband because instead of rejecting a lot of what the Church teaches you do see that much of it makes sense. So you could support those things without getting into arguments about it or criticizing the Church in large or small ways. Nothing will tear down a child’s growing faith faster than having a parent as a critic.

Your girlfriend is right to be concerned that she not end up in that position. I’m sure she wants to share her faith with you, if she loves you she also wants the best for your soul, but setting an ultimatum isn’t a very attractive way to lead you to the faith.

Ask her to make an appointment to talk to the priest. Explain your situation to him with her present. If she still maintains that it’s her way or nothing, well, you will have to decide what to do next, but no one should put a gun to someone else’s head and tell them “Convert!” =

Welcome Home!
you are still at the front gate, considering starting on the path to the front door, but your thinking, your experience and most of all your openness are making you receptive to God’s grace.

But her way is not the way this happens. Conversion is an inner experience of God that cannot be forced and no person has the right to demand this of another person. Your instinct not to convert simply for her sake is correct. This must be a complete inner transformation effected by the action of the Holy Spirit, and a full, free will, informed acceptance of the Truth, and it happens in His time, not hers.

Ask her to speak privately with her own priest about her demand and her feelings and to get his guidance. She will have to do this in any case if you are contemplating marriage.

Yes she might be right, however, that the relationship may have to chill for a while especially if the tempation is still strong to return to former ways. Premarital sex is so damaging to intimacy and to the future marriage that it is simply not an option, and too dangerous for both of you. You are working through something you admit is almost too intense to bear right now, and need the freedom to do it without pressure. Ask her to pray for you daily.

We too are all praying for you.

You might, the next time you visit a church, simply ask God, if he is there, to speak. This will most likely happen through a human means–such as those who wrote down God’s Word in the bible, and those who proclaim it–or the example of faith of someone else, or in a way you don’t expect, but if you are listening with an open heart and mind he will speak.

Dear friend… my sister just came to visit so I was kept from sending this:)


You are on the right path.
Your girl friend is probably scared and that’s why she has treated you unfairly.
My guess is that she already knows this. If not, when she comes closer to Jesus through her new found faith I am sure He will tell her.

You have already gone a long way in understanding your girl friend and she should be very happy and grateful about that. She has to honestly find out with herself if its sufficient, though.

  • I dated an atheist in the past who was deceitful, had no respect for my Christian identity and pushed me for sexual contact, so your thoughtful and sincere seach for truth stands out as something very positive.

Christianity is about living in the Truth and as such its a great human resourse as you have become aware of…
Christ is the Truth, and as Christians we are to live in honesty, even when its sometimes unpleasant.

I am sorry for you that you have suffered through depression. I too have experienced that … having gone through such a border-experience of life certainly does create a firm need to live authentically. and in correspondence with what is truly good and beautiful.
Religion is about being truthful.

Have courage.
Your life is being held in good Hands every moment. If you always seek to live according to honesty and goodness you will be lead to a still greater peace.
Your girl friend may choose what she wants. In all fairness she can say that she wishes to create a Christian home with a Christian man, but she has no mandate to demand that you become one and you faking something will only create much bigger problems later on.

In any case, you are clearly a wonderful and thoughful person and I pray you have courage to keep searching for the truth.

I don’t understand everyone jumping on the girl here and saying she is being unfair…Perhaps she is just being honest…

I don’t want to say that either one is wrong in this matter.

To the OP,
If she had undergone this reconversion before you guys had met, you and she would never have seriously dated or come to the is point…

What HAS happened is that one of you has changed. This is something that can happen in any relationship.

She now feels that it is critical that her husband be Catholic.
It is better that she discover this before the wedding than after.

You, on the other hand seem ot have been caught a bit off guard by this change and have been struggling to catch up and make sense of it. You are trying to grasp the concepts and learn as much as you can as quickly as you can absorb it.

I actually commend both of you in this.
She, for being so firm in her faith and wishing to build a truly Catholic Christian home, and you for striving so hard to come to terms with the faith, but in Truth and not just to please her.

So I think that the best advice any of us can give has already been given.
Be honest.
Meet with a priest.
Continue your studies

I do have one question though - - Why does the mass scare you?


I second James… Why does the Mass scare you? Is it because you feel pressured… or is it because of the Otherness and Greatness of God and the Message that you get in Church?

Greetings from Edinburgh :wave:

I understand where your girlfriend is coming from, because several years ago I started living my faith with much passion and wanted desperately for my boyfriend to convert. I also believe that your girlfriend should not make such demands. It is not fair on you and it is not fair on God. He deservs more than a person converting out of pressure.

It’s great that you are so open to all of it and that you are also seeking. Try talking to her (several times if needed) about this and why you think she should not pressure you. I hope that she will see how open minded and generous you are and help you grow in faith, rather than push you away. I can understand that she wants a boyfriend who shares her faith and it is not unreasonable to want to marry a catholic. I think it’s great that she realises the importance of that. It is also good that you now know where you stand. If you decide to get married you know what you’re getting yourself into.
However, if she persists and demands conversion before you’re ready, you must think about what it would be like to be married to her one day. Would she pressure you on other matters? It really is all about being able to live happily and in peace with another person and not resent them.

I don’t know if this has been at all helpful but I hope that you will manage to have an honest conversation with her and that she’ll see your point of view. You’re doing everything right and I’m confident things will work out one way or the other.

Best of luck and God bless.

  1. yes that might be true but so what? we have found each other and everything happens for a reason so bringing the past up like that is irrelivent, i am not letting go, the only way to make me let go would be to tear me limb from limb and even then i’d still hang on with my jaw

  2. we BOTH have changed, before january i was in all honesty one of the most unthoughtful, self absorbed people i have ever known, i took her for granted and i wasn’t paying attention to what was going on out side my bubble, i am no longer that person i have beaten that person and i use the thought of that person to spur me on in challenges that i thought i would never have even contimplated taking never mind trying to overcome them

  3. i don’t see why its so critical for her husband to be catholic if he supports the church, supports the views, supports the teachings and can see how it can benifit a life.

  4. yes i have been caught off gaurd and yes it is a surprise but it does not mean in the slightest that im struggling to catch up and make sence of it all. What i feel is fear, im entering a world that i’ve only read about that i’ve only seen on tv, i’m immersing myself in something that i do not understand and will not understand for a good while.
    I’m not trying to learn as fast as i can as i think that would be wrong you have to crawl before you can walk and you have to walk before you can run, im still crawling and for a while i do not see myself grabbing a ledge and pulling myself up, it will take time and effort.

And the reason why im scarred of mass is because its a huge part of your faith, when you walk in you kneel at the seat, you say prayers (none of which i know)
So think of being on my end and walking into this group of people you do not know, feeling left out and lonely (not through heart of trying), i feel vunerable and when i do things wrong i can see people stare, they know i dont belong there and it freaks me out

I think I can answer this one. It matters because then the marriage would have God at its centre. It is one thing to support the spouse and another to share the faith. My husband is super supportive and respectful and interested but he still does not share my faith. I love him and I’m glad I married him but sometimes I feel lonely because of this difference. We don’t pray together- I pray alone. He’ll support me in raising children in faith and take them to church and not undermine our faith, but he will not be a part of it. (unless he converts of course).
It makes all the difference you see. You can have a very happy life together even if you don’t convert and she decides she could live with it, but these things matter. One of you will always be more aware of it.

I can see where you are coming from and in terms i do agree, i would never undermine the faith
I do though pray, every so often, just little ones, nothing to big…kind of like starter prayers haha
im not saying that i wont be part of the faith, im still certainly wide open to converting but its still a while away.
i can see how much a difference it can make just by reading your posts and although at the moment im not converting i dont think i would ever want my other half to feel so isolated and alone because of her faith, i try and interact with her as much as possible

Thankyou for listening to me and for understanding me

This is very true. You and I share this experience. But I never told my husband, “either you have a conversion experience or we’re through.” I think that’s pretty hard-line. Even if that becomes the result of this situation, his girlfriend could communicate her deep desire for a united fully Catholic union without the ultimatum.

My situation is a little different in that my husband is outwardly Catholic while inwardly not believing much if anything that the Church teaches. So he can effectively “fake it,” for the boys’ sake, but in the end, they are missing a great deal of what having a faithful dad would mean. I was watching “Crossing the Goal” last night on EWTN and I ached inside for my sons. They will have that hole in their development that an engaged and faithful father would have provided. I pray they find great father in laws who can support their walk with Christ.

You sound like a super nice guy and she is a lucky girl.
I wish you best of luck with everything. And welcome to the forum btw. I encourage you to stick around and ask all sorts of questions that can help you understand things better. I know that encoutering faith and religious people can be really intimidating if you’re not used to that sort of thing and you probably feel out of place. (I’m pretty sure people don’t stare at you at Mass LOL. They’re probably just curious who the new person is.) Most people will not be judgemental and will be willing to help.

Hi, I’m the said terrible gf who gave an ultimatum…although it wasn’t exactly an ultimatum, it was just honestly saying that I don’t see a future when our beliefs are so differing. I can’t understand how we could both completely support our children being Catholic and living as a Catholic family if he didn’t believe in the teachings. I struggle to understand how someone can support the church’s message and yet not want to be a part of it. For example, how can we teach our children about the Eucharist when one of us doesn’t believe? And if we both believe then why wouldn’t he want to take part as well?

I’m going to be completely honest…Would I like him to convert? Absolutely. I believe in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I believe in the Catholic church. I believe in God’s mercy and I believe in the resurrection and the everlasting life through God. I love my bf and I want him to be part of that. I want him to experience the happiness, comfort, love and mercy that I feel from God. I think the main problem here is that neither of us properly communicated with each other.

I’m a cradle Catholic so it is difficult for me to understand where he is coming from because my life has always been Catholic (even though I did stray for a bit - I never lost faith in God or the church). My entire family are Catholic. All my education up until university was Catholic and I even considered joining the religious life. I appreciate all of your insights and thank you for reaching out to the both of us. I hope that I’ve explained myself a bit more clearly.

To say it was an ultimatium was slightly harsh, I have never wanted to force anyone to be Catholic but I am very proud and defensive of my faith and will support it to the very end and I hope that people will come to the church themselves but if I can help nudge someone in the direction of the Lord then I’m going to take that opportunity. It’s out of love for him that I want him to be Catholic. I want us to be able to share this and I want him to know and love God like I do.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.