I'm considering marrying a non-Catholic and my grandfather is vehemently opposed


#1

Alright, so I first want to say that I'm not Catholic, but that my whole family is on my mother's side. My grandfather especially is extremely religious--he wouldn't let my father marry my mother without first converting to Catholicism (he did convert, my dad, although the sincerity of his faith is questionable, I admit).
I was raised in a fairly Catholic household, but I never really got into the religion. I mean, yes, as a kid, I prayed and went to church, but that wasn't because of some deep rooted faith on my part, but more because my mom wanted me to. It turns out, I just...don't believe in God, or in the conservative stance the Church takes (but I respect the religions of all people, including Catholics).
I would say that I am an athiest, insofar as I don't really believe in God or a lot of sections of the Bible or anything.
Recently, my long time boyfriend (agnostic) proposed to me, and I'm thinking of accepting. However, my grandpa heard about it and he flipped out. He's been ranting nonstop about how I should even think about marrying this guy because he's not Catholic.
What should I do now? Please help, it's really bothering me, because my grandpa says if I marry my byofriend, he won't want to see me anymore (my grandfather, not my boyfriend).


#2

It seems to me; awfully unchristian to refuse to see you; for whatever reason. It is particularily opposed to charity and forgiveness.

I can understand him being upset; but you should ask him what is more important; his pride or his love for you? What little faith this poor man has that he would judge you so harshly; however it does seem like he loves you; but is frustrated at being unable to stop you doing something he believes is wrong. Don't get me wrong; I think that interfaith marraige is not a good idea; but I do not think it is a reason to sever contact with your loved ones; it instead provides redoubled reasons to pray for them and have faith - like Saint Monica in her son; who later converted and became St Augustine.

That said however; if you have been baptised you are a Catholic. If your family is a Catholic family it is almost certain you were baptised. In which case you would have only lapsed from your faith.

Your Grandfather should try and emulate Christ more. He forgave and tolerated tax collecters and sinners and kept their company. If he (Jesus) is humble and loving enough to have sinners as friends; cannot your Grandfather have the humility and love to care for you even despite disagreeing with you?


#3

Well, first off, your grandfather has no room to pull emotional blackmail on you. That is what you are describing, if he means it. Realize, though, that expecting one of prospective mixed-religion spouses to convert so that both parties were at least nominally of the same faith prior to marriage used to be very common....and not just with Catholics. Also, I have had relatives "flip out" and threaten their children and grandchildren with all sorts of things because they didn't like a marriage that was on the horizon. In spite of the very stubborn people in our family, few ever stuck it out and followed through with the threats, or at least not for long. Either recognition that the choice had been good or pity over the fact that it hadn't been good would bring them around eventually.

If you respond to your grandfather's threats with, "I'm sorry you feel that way. I wouldn't have like to think that you would let anything or anyone come between us. I hope you change your mind. No matter what you do, though, I will still love you, Grandpa." Don't paint him in a corner with counter-threats, he may come around. If you let him run your life with this form of social agression, though, be very sure that he won't hesitate to return to this form of control. You will have taught him that you accept intimidation. That is not good for anyone, including your grandfather. If he tries to persuade you to think his way, just let him say what he has to say, reply that you'll think about it, and then make up your own mind. Discourage other family members from getting involved. Be willing to live with it if your grandfather tries to make good on his threat without buying into the drama he's trying to create. This is what healthy adults do. Oh, well, look at the bright side: it will get you ready for having kids. The ability to ignore artificially-generated dramas while continuing to love the foolish actor trying to stage it is a very important skill for parents!

As for you and your boyfriend, my advice to the lukewarm and the unsure is the same as it is for those who are strongly religious: Talk about what you're going to do if one of you changes. It is very important not only to have mutual tolerance of each other's views, but to try, as much as possible, to be actively supportive of each other's spiritual lives. And yes, even if you are agnostic or atheist, you still have a spiritual life, one that will grow and change as you age. How are you going to handle it, if one of you starts a spiritual practice, let alone "gets religion"? Are you going to be willing to accomodate the investment in time and money that this will take? If you have different practices (or lack of them), how are you going to raise your children? What if neither of you becomes religious and one of your kids decides to be a Catholic? A Wiccan? A Muslim?

It is not a good idea to simply assume that nothing like this will ever happen. It happens all the time. You should discuss how you want to go through this, and also things like one of you deciding he or she just can't stand the profession you both sacrificed years to get a degree in, how you are going to handle it if one of you gets a very time-consuming or money-consuming hobby, and so on. That doesn't mean you decide once and for all. It just means that if the problem comes up, the conversation has already been opened when heads were cooler and your affection was at a high point.

I don't get the idea that you are foolish enough to accept your boyfriend's proposal precisely because your grandfather is trying to stop you from doing it. That is very wise.


#4

your grandfather needs to be reminded of the catechism of his faith:

2230 When they become adults, children have the right and duty to choose their profession and state of life. They should assume their new responsibilities within a trusting relationship with their parents, willingly asking and receiving their advice and counsel. **Parents should be careful not to exert pressure on their children either in the choice of a profession or in that of a spouse. **This necessary restraint does not prevent them - quite the contrary from giving their children judicious advice, particularly when they are planning to start a family.

i would argue that the option to exert undo pressure is NOT communted the the grandparents.

but we can see from this one super-packed passage the adult child is to willingly seek the counsel of his/ her parents. but if your grandfather is ranting, he is in no position to give good counsel. ask him to stop ranting, show him this passage from the catechism, and ask him if he has any counsel to give you. if he offers threats instead of counsel, you get to jettison them.

but for yourself, personal connection to Catholicism or not, please seek God's counsel on the choice of a spouse. God knows who would be good for you. ask God, Who loves you beyond understanding.


#5

[quote="lemmingsanfy, post:1, topic:206163"]
Alright, so I first want to say that I'm not Catholic, but that my whole family is on my mother's side. My grandfather especially is extremely religious--he wouldn't let my father marry my mother without first converting to Catholicism (he did convert, my dad, although the sincerity of his faith is questionable, I admit).
I was raised in a fairly Catholic household, but I never really got into the religion. I mean, yes, as a kid, I prayed and went to church, but that wasn't because of some deep rooted faith on my part, but more because my mom wanted me to. It turns out, I just...don't believe in God, or in the conservative stance the Church takes (but I respect the religions of all people, including Catholics).
I would say that I am an athiest, insofar as I don't really believe in God or a lot of sections of the Bible or anything.
Recently, my long time boyfriend (agnostic) proposed to me, and I'm thinking of accepting. However, my grandpa heard about it and he flipped out. He's been ranting nonstop about how I should even think about marrying this guy because he's not Catholic.
What should I do now? Please help, it's really bothering me, because my grandpa says if I marry my byofriend, he won't want to see me anymore (my grandfather, not my boyfriend).

[/quote]

Have you ever been baptized in the Catholic Church? (Like, when you were a baby?) If so, then you are legally bound by the rules of the Catholic Church, even though you don't believe in its teachings right now.

This means that you need to get a Bishop's permission to marry your agnostic boyfriend (unless at some point in the past, he was also baptized in the Catholic Church).

If both of you were baptized Catholic at some point in the past, then you are required to celebrate your marriage in a Catholic Church.

If neither of you has ever been baptized, then none of the rules of the Church apply to you, and you can do whatever you want. :)

If you're not sure what your status is, ask your parents.


#6

[quote="jmcrae, post:5, topic:206163"]
Have you ever been baptized in the Catholic Church? (Like, when you were a baby?) If so, then you are legally bound by the rules of the Catholic Church, even though you don't believe in its teachings right now.
.

[/quote]

How can someone be bound by something if they don't believe it? I ask this question out of confusion, nothing else.

I don't understand it. You had no choice if you where baptizeda as a baby. Shouldn't Christianity be just that-a choice?

:shrug:


#7

Have you told your Grandfather you don't believe in God?

You are breaking your grandfathers heart and seeing you would bring him only pain that is why he would not want to see you any more. The only thing you can do is what he says otherwise you will just have to accept his decision concerning seeing you.


#8

[quote="Rascalking, post:6, topic:206163"]
How can someone be bound by something if they don't believe it? I ask this question out of confusion, nothing else.

I don't understand it. You had no choice if you where baptized as a baby. Shouldn't Christianity be just that-a choice?

:shrug:

[/quote]

Once the choice has been made, it can't be unmade. This is normally a good thing. It's the same as being bound by the laws of the country you were born in, regardless of whether you "agree" with them or not - or speaking the language that your mother taught you, even if you like other languages better, etc. :)


#9

[quote="Rascalking, post:6, topic:206163"]
How can someone be bound by something if they don't believe it? I ask this question out of confusion, nothing else.

[/quote]

By virtue of your baptism. Baptism changes the character of your soul. It imparts a character that is permanent. It incorporates you into the Body of Christ. It cannot be undone.

[quote="Rascalking, post:6, topic:206163"]
I don't understand it. You had no choice if you where baptizeda as a baby. Shouldn't Christianity be just that-a choice?

[/quote]

Christianity, Catholicism specifically, is the family of God. It is a kingdom, the Kingdom of God.

When one is born into a family, one does not choose the family. When one is reborn in baptism as a child, your parents are incorporating you into God's family. It is their duty.


#10

In know some Christian denominations don't allow members to marry outside their groups which is good in some way. However, I personally think that marrying a Non-christian is a good think. Marrying a Non-christian is an opportunity for you to win a soul for Christ. It is an opportunity to save a soul. You can easily convince your Non-christian partner and draw them closer to God by living a Christian life and teaching your spouse what Christianity is all about. Marrying a Non-catholic is an opportunity for you to draw a soul closer to God. It is an opportunity to teach your partner what Catholicism is all about and what it means to be a Christian.


#11

[quote="jmcrae, post:8, topic:206163"]
Once the choice has been made, it can't be unmade. This is normally a good thing. It's the same as being bound by the laws of the country you were born in, regardless of whether you "agree" with them or not - or speaking the language that your mother taught you, even if you like other languages better, etc. :)

[/quote]

Thank you to you and 1ke!

Interesting. I see what you guys are getting at, I really do-but to use the country metaphor, you can learn a new language, swap countries, etc. Sure, it doesn't effect where your born-but your no longer bound by those laws if you leave countries. Yes, I know religion is different than nationality, but it still doesn't make alot of sense to me.

Again, I do NOT mean anything offensive in my question. Thanks for answering and not just screaming or lecturing! ;)


#12

[quote="Rascalking, post:11, topic:206163"]
Thank you to you and 1ke!

Interesting. I see what you guys are getting at, I really do-but to use the country metaphor, you can learn a new language, swap countries, etc. Sure, it doesn't effect where your born-but your no longer bound by those laws if you leave countries. Yes, I know religion is different than nationality, but it still doesn't make alot of sense to me.

[/quote]

You can't just leave your country and start living somewhere else, though, and pretend that you are a citizen there. There is a whole process of immigration that takes place, and can take many, many years. In some cases, you even have to re-do part of your schooling, in order to be up to the same standard as the people in your profession in your new country. (I was just speaking to a man from Sri Lanka today who has to go to a Canadian medical school to get his Canadian medical certification - his Sri Lankan certification is no good here.) You also have to go through a process of denaturalization with the country that you are leaving, so that you are no longer bound by their laws.

It's the same with changing religions - you have to go through a whole process of formal renunciation of your faith - you can't just get up one day and declare yourself to be a Protestant or an atheist. You have to go to the Bishop's office, and apply to be disfellowshipped from the Church. It takes many years to complete. They don't just say, Okay, you're not a Catholic any more.


#13

[quote="Gloria1, post:10, topic:206163"]
In know some Christian denominations don't allow members to marry outside their groups which is good in some way. However, I personally think that marrying a Non-christian is a good think. Marrying a Non-christian is an opportunity for you to win a soul for Christ. It is an opportunity to save a soul. You can easily convince your Non-christian partner and draw them closer to God by living a Christian life and teaching your spouse what Christianity is all about. Marrying a Non-catholic is an opportunity for you to draw a soul closer to God. It is an opportunity to teach your partner what Catholicism is all about and what it means to be a Christian.

[/quote]

I disagree. The husband and wife need to be working together. One of them cannot be considering himself or herself to be the other one's teacher - that's not what marriage is about.

Instead, they should begin their marriage with shared values, and shared goals, which they work towards throughout their life together, as partners in the founding of a new family. Including missionary work, if they are called to that, since a Christian couple working together can win many more souls to Christ than one partner alone, trying to convince his or her spouse to become a Christian against his or her will.


#14

[quote="Rascalking, post:6, topic:206163"]
How can someone be bound by something if they don't believe it? I ask this question out of confusion, nothing else.

I don't understand it. You had no choice if you where baptizeda as a baby. Shouldn't Christianity be just that-a choice?

:shrug:

[/quote]

I've used this analogy before - baptism is like being born into a particular biological family.

You didn't choose that family. You might loathe them and everything they stand for, you might move away and change your name and refuse to acknowledge any relation to them. Regardless, that DNA link that you were born with remains and binds you to those people for life.

And it imposes certain obligations. For example you can't sleep with your biological siblings or parents, even if you view them as total strangers rather than family.


#15

You should marry the person you love, regardless of religion and what your grandfather thinks.

It's as simple as this: how often does anyone find true love? If you have it, cling to it and be strong in that love.


#16

[quote="LilyM, post:14, topic:206163"]
I've used this analogy before - baptism is like being born into a particular biological family.

You didn't choose that family. You might loathe them and everything they stand for, you might move away and change your name and refuse to acknowledge any relation to them. Regardless, that DNA link that you were born with remains and binds you to those people for life.

And it imposes certain obligations. For example you can't sleep with your biological siblings or parents, even if you view them as total strangers rather than family.

[/quote]

The analogy works to a point. Like all analogies, they are still not the same thing (Religon and family DNA). It's a really cool subject though.


#17

Sounds like you need to tell pawpaw bye bye.just my opioion.:D


#18

[quote="Rascalking, post:6, topic:206163"]
How can someone be bound by something if they don't believe it? I ask this question out of confusion, nothing else.

I don't understand it. You had no choice if you where baptizeda as a baby. Shouldn't Christianity be just that-a choice?

:shrug:

[/quote]

Parents make a lot of choices for their children that stay with their children for life. My children are American citizens, not because of any choice of theirs, but because of my choices. To that extent, one's life in Christ is like one's biological life. It is a gift you did not choose, and which you live fully, squander, or ruin, but which you cannot give back. If the OP has been going to Mass on a regular basis, though, she's been reciting a renewal of baptismal vows every year at Easter time. In that sense, she's done some choosing in her time, if only by a weak and mostly tacit approval.

Although there is nothing that can remove baptism, any more than there is something that can remove the fact that someone is native-born to a particular country, a person can remove the legal requirement to follow certain parts of canon law concerning marriage if the person abandons the faith by a formal act. It would be a bit like renouncing your citizenship. Merely disagreeing with the way things are run doesn't do it. You have to formally notify your bishop that you are leaving the faith.

Of course, most Catholics who leave with no intention of coming back aren't going to trouble themselves to write to inform their bishop, and those who think they might come back don't want to make their departure an official one!

Someone who was raised in even a "fairly" Catholic home should not assume she will never want to embrace the faith of her family in a deep way. History teaches that this is a door that ought to be kept open. When people decide to come back, it is fairly common that they come back in a serious way by the time they're done, even if that wasn't the starting intention. Her would-be spouse would be very wise if he never tried to get between his wife and what her spirit prompted her to do, even in theory. That is a road to marital disaster. When a thirst for spirituality is wakened, it is a very powerful force, indeed.

[quote="HauntedJame, post:15, topic:206163"]
You should marry the person you love, regardless of religion and what your grandfather thinks.

It's as simple as this: how often does anyone find true love? If you have it, cling to it and be strong in that love.

[/quote]

Well, yes and no.

Yes: You shouldn't ignore your own opinion in favor of someone else's when you choose whom you will marry. As for the OP, she certainly shouldn't cave in to emotional blackmail on a marriage she would otherwise not have misgivings about.

No: You shouldn't ignore it if you and your spouse have differences in religion, not without careful reflection. Furthermore, you are very foolish if you totally ignore it when your friends and family have misgivings about your choice, too. Love is blind far more often than it is "true". You don't have to hand over the choice to them, but you'd do well to at least hear them out. If you are mature enough to marry, you're mature enough to hear what your family has to say, and then make your own decision.

People find "true love" and wind up divorced with great regularity. Legion are those who wish that clinging and being strong could have kept their marriage from falling apart. It doesn't work that way. Religious or not, a wise person thinks through marriage carefully before embarking on it, and makes certain that the union will have more than emotion and willpower as its foundations.


#19

yes parents make a lot of choices for their children. but not this choice. and not for their adult children.

2230 When they become adults, children have the right and duty to choose their profession and state of life. They should assume their new responsibilities within a trusting relationship with their parents, willingly asking and receiving their advice and counsel. Parents should be careful not to exert pressure on their children either in the choice of a profession or in that of a spouse. This necessary restraint does not prevent them - quite the contrary from giving their children judicious advice, particularly when they are planning to start a family.

the points about whether (potentially baptized) OP should seek dispensation of the bishop to marry unbaptized person (disparity of cults) is a good point, though.

OP is baptized, she and grandpa are both obligated to follow the teachings of the church.


#20

[quote="lemmingsanfy, post:1, topic:206163"]
Alright, so I first want to say that I'm not Catholic, but that my whole family is on my mother's side. My grandfather especially is extremely religious--he wouldn't let my father marry my mother without first converting to Catholicism (he did convert, my dad, although the sincerity of his faith is questionable, I admit).
I was raised in a fairly Catholic household, but I never really got into the religion. I mean, yes, as a kid, I prayed and went to church, but that wasn't because of some deep rooted faith on my part, but more because my mom wanted me to. It turns out, I just...don't believe in God, or in the conservative stance the Church takes (but I respect the religions of all people, including Catholics).
I would say that I am an athiest, insofar as I don't really believe in God or a lot of sections of the Bible or anything.
Recently, my long time boyfriend (agnostic) proposed to me, and I'm thinking of accepting. However, my grandpa heard about it and he flipped out. He's been ranting nonstop about how I should even think about marrying this guy because he's not Catholic.
What should I do now? Please help, it's really bothering me, because my grandpa says if I marry my byofriend, he won't want to see me anymore (my grandfather, not my boyfriend).

[/quote]

Sorry about the strain w/ you & your Grandpa. With or without the drama, you probably mean a lot to him. Don't know him, but if he's a fervent Catholic, then, it's your soul he's most concerned with. He'd probably like to see you not get further away from the Church. IMO he sounds desperate for you and is doing what little he can to put his foot down on something that he sees as being a step in the wrong direction. I don't agree w/ his ultimatum (an emotional response perhaps), but in addition, I think he probably prays a lot for you too.

Are you a baptized Catholic.

You say you don't believe in God and sections of the Bible. Are there other sections that you do believe.


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