Lapsed Catholic with questions!


#1

Hi all. I’m new to these forums. I hope I’m posting this in the right spot.

I’m a lapsed Catholic (I did the whole thing…1st. communion, confirmation, was devout until I went to college) who is considering returning to the Church after some spiritual experiences I’ve had since the birth of my first child.

I do have some questions, mainly pertaining to my marriage.

  1. I was not married in the Church (civil ceremony performed by a friend). I realize I would have to get my marriage convalidated.

  2. The problem with this is, my husband considers my re-entering the Catholic faith to be a “worst case scenario” for him. When he met me I was mainly agnostic after dabbling in various faiths since I went to college, but never really finding a home in any of them. The “me” that is considering returning to Christianity is kind of freaking him out (understandably, he didn’t think this would ever happen when we met…neither did I!!!). He is agnostic, but I think he’d call himself a flat-out atheist if he were being honest. I think he would agree to get married in the Catholic church just to make me happy, except I don’t know if it is possible. This is why:

  3. There are two things I am pretty sure he will never personally agree to:

One: To raise our children as Catholics (although I think he would agree for them be baptised and go to mass, I doubt he would want them to have communion or confirmation unless they really wanted to do it and chose it of their own free will). Ironically, he was baptised in the Catholic church but his parents never followed through with anything else, including ever taking him to mass. They did it for my FIL’s parents, I think.

Two: to not use traditional contraception, instead using NFP. Which I’m not sure why he is so opposed to it now, since we used FAM/NFP before we were married because I react to hormonal BC, and I never got pregnant. But now all of a sudden he is totally against it.

Given these issues my husband would not agree to follow regarding Catholic teaching, would we even be able to have our marriage convalidated? If I could somehow still get the marriage convalidated, and my husband insisted on using contraception, could I even receive Communion?

I am probably going to end up going to mass anyway regardless, and I am trying to psych myself up for going to confession (eek!). But the thought of years without receiving Communion is kind of eating away at me. I’d really like to know what my options are.

Thank you in advance for your responses.


#2

congratulations on coming back!!! you have some obstacles to deal with. may i strongly suggest you sit down with your parish priest and have a chat. that way you get it straight with no mistakes.


#3

[quote=Alicewyf;5903286
]

Ask around your parish for the name of a good, compassionate, and sound priest to consult with on these matters. Now I know you probably don’t know anyone yet at the church. So you may want to call and ask for the RCIA coordinator. Not all priests are the same and recommendations come in handy when you are new to a parish. Also, I am sure the people in RCIA have had many situations like yours coming through their doors. Friends help.
WELCOME HOME!
[/quote]


#4

Ok, if he is a true agnostic, what you are doing in his mind are simple, trivial, little superstitions things that have no affect on him in the real world, so why would it bother him if you practice being a Catholic again? It’s not hurting him, there should be no complaint.

BC, can’t get around that one, he’s just being stubborn, trying to put an obstical in your path, just to steer you another direction… That is a control thing and he needs to be told to back off and have respect for your decision, you would not get in his way if he decided to buy some fancy car or something, it’s the same difference.

P.S. Welcome home !!!


#5

Hi there, and welcome home!

As far as I know, neither of the two issues you mentioned should bar you from having your marriage validated or from receiving Communion.

The non-Catholic spouse in a “mixed” or interfaith marriage is no longer obligated (as was the common practice prior to Vatican II) to make any promises concerning how the children will be raised.

Also, when one spouse insists on practicing contraception over the other’s objections, the spouse who desires to remain faithful to Church teaching may continue to have sexual relations and does not thereby commit sin, provided that the “faithful” spouse is not practicing any form of birth control themselves and makes a reasonable effort (doesn’t have to be constant, but at least occasional) to persuade the other spouse to change his or her ways. If your husband insisted upon practicing birth control despite your best efforts to talk him out of it, that would be his choice, not yours.

I believe both of these issues have been dealt with in more detail in the “professional” apologist forums, which you could search for more information.

In any event, do not hesitate to talk to a priest whom you trust about these matters. If it helps, make an appointment to go to confession instead of trying to wait in line on Saturday afternoon and rush through it.

Good luck and God bless you!:thumbsup:


#6

My husband never had to promise anything. He isn’t Catholic. :shrug:

I had to promise to continue to raise our son Catholic. I am Catholic. And it was a simple, will you do this, yes I will.

My husband and I both agreed that the Pill is bad for woman. And really bad for me. So the pill was out. That left barrier methods and NFP. I told him that since it effects my salvation, NFP it is. He lives with it. :blush:

We have been married, civilly for almost 18 years. And our Convalidation was 6 1/2 years ago.


#7

Thanks for the responses! I have increased hope that I will be able to make this work for our family.

Last night my husband said he would come to mass with me, every week, because he thinks we need to do that stuff together as a family regardless of his personal his beliefs. So I think we are all going to go on Sunday! I’m so excited! Hopefully my three month-old does okay…

Thank you again for the warm welcome. This forum seems very friendly so far! :smiley:


#8

Hi, Alicewyf! Welcome back!

I just wanted to chime in with some support for you. I was raised Catholic but fell away in college. My husband was baptized Presbyterian, but not really raised going to church. When we got married, religion was not even an issue that we discussed. We did get married in the Church, and baptized our children Catholic to appease my parents.

After my son was baptized, I decided to return to mass. That was 3 1/2 years ago and began my coming into full communion with the Church. Praise be to God!!

Everything was OK with DH until I got to the point in my reversion that I needed to face things regarding the marital act and contraception. That was a very difficult time for us. He has since admitted he is “agnostic”. He does not understand how I could have believed certain thing were OK before and now believe they are wrong… We worked through it and now we use NFP (with him using a barrier during fertile times).

Be patient with him - he probably feels like he’s losing the wife he once knew. At least that’s what my DH said. But when I really pushed him to tell me what negative effect on his life my practicing my faith would have, he couldn’t come up with anything that wasn’t completely selfish. He now comes to Mass with us every week for much the same reason your husband is.

I just want you to know you’re not alone! Pray to St. Monica for him. And I will keep you and your family in my prayers as well.


#9

Welcome Home!! By all means follow through with your plan to fully return to the Church and the sacrements. I would take it easy on evangelizing your husband, in the begining , though. Make an appointment to see your priest about marriage convalidation, after he meets with him and is re-assured that he will not be required to “convert” to Catholicism, it should be much easier to proceed. After your husband sees how happy you are and the positive changes returning to the Church has brought to you, don’t be surprised if some time down the road he starts RCIA. :slight_smile:


#10

It was a couple years ago that I became active in living my faith once again, and I asked my wife of 15 years shortly afterwards if that bothered her (she’s Protestant). Her response was that she couldn’t possibly have any complaints considering the difference it’s made in how I treat her and all our friends.

A few months ago she agreed to take NFP classes and was all but screaming (I kid you not!) on the way home after the first one about how stupid schools are for not teaching something as obviously beneficial, simple and free of side effects as NFP in health class :thumbsup:

One step at a time. I hope the next one will be to attend Mass with me.


#11

Both of you are baptized Catholics but did not practice. You did not marry in the church.

Your case is rather straight forward. All you need to do is to make a good Confession and then receive the Holy Communion during the mass. You can arrange for your marriage to be convalidated at a convenient time after which both of you will be a full fledge Catholic couple. Of course for that you have to discuss with your parish priest.

It a good step for your husband since he agrees to accompany you to mass. Time will heal and it should be very easy for him to make that Confession once both of you start practicing the faith. There is nothing much to it as both of you are Catholics. That’s the mercy of God - all you need to do is to return to him, like the proverbial prodigal son, by making that Confession.

Do not feel it’s such a big deal thinking there will be all kinds of obstacle for you to return to the Church. It is not that difficult actually. Once you start to attend mass, you may want to learn about Church Catechism or you can always join similar instruction in the parish; otherwise you can always read the book on your own and find out more about your faith.

The first step to go back to the church is the hardest part after a long absence. You feel alien and out of place. It is always the same for most of us. Once you step in you will find yourself belong to the community of believers as you has always been.

About family planning – NFP is the best option whether you’re a Catholic or not. Artificial birth control is dangerous to women. You can find out what are the side effects easily from books and the internet. Do not risk your body for the convenience of ABC. The regret you will suffer later from having the side effect making the practice of BC simply senseless, not to mention of the sin committed.

God bless you and maybe you will share with us again after that Confession. :slight_smile:


#12

If your husband has agreed to go to Mass with you, that’s half the battle right there. :slight_smile: Perhaps he is more agreeable to your conversion than you realized.

And maybe NFP won’t be the huge obstacle you thought it would be. He may have balked initially at the idea of going back to it, but with time he might come around, especially since you indicate you have done something like it before (Fertility Awareness Method).

God bless you all and hope everything goes well :thumbsup:


#13

Thanks for all the support…reading your stories has really encouraged me! I feel a lot lighter of spirit than I did when I first posted. Thank you!!!

He definitely wants to come to mass w/ me on Sunday. He insisted! I asked him if he’d rather stay home with our 3 month old, but he wants to come.

We had a kind of disagreement last night about me choosing to go back to Catholicism, and I had to hear and try to defend (after not being involved for about 5 years!!!) his problems with the molestation stuff, anti-gay marriage stuff, abortion stuff (he is very liberal…I’m not quite as liberal as he is but I am on the liberal side of things). It really was a good test…do I really want to do this?? But my heart never wavered. He is a really, really good debater and he didn’t sway me one bit. I think that’s how I know this is the right decision.

I think he might be okay with NFP after my fertility returns, as I am breastfeeding. He just doesn’t see it as being as reliable while breastfeeding (which it isn’t), so I think he will insist on using a barrier method until my fertility returns.


#14

I’m glad your heart was set, despite all his efforts. Salvation is the most important thing we have to work on while we’re alive, our own. Keep your resolution, hopefully your husband will continue attending mass with you. Christ’s presence is there, if he continues attending I would wager that, while it will take time, he will be converted just as you have been.


#15

Hi Alice, I too had to have my marriage convalidated after coming back to Catholicism. I just wanted to tell you that what Rueben told you is not totally correct. Yes you will be able to receive communion AFTER you have your marriage convalidated. You will also need to go to confession AFTER the convalidation before receiving. The other posters were right about the abc. I think you do need to talk to your pastor about the promise to bring the children up Catholic because since your husband was baptized Catholic that means he is Catholic too. I’m not sure but he may have to promise to bring the children up Catholic too.


#16

onmyknees,

Thanks for the clarification! Yeah I was pretty sure I could not live in a non-Church marriage and receive the Sacrament, but I want to go to confession anyway! I have a lot to confess!

I am not sure about my husband’s religious status either. He was baptised Catholic but was confirmed in the Episcopal church. Now he is agnostic. I’m sure a priest will let us know what we need to do.


#17

Hey everyone, just wanted to post an update.

My husband and I went to mass this morning together! I had a really good time. I think he did well too. He was more excited about the fact that a famous basketball player attends the church we went to…than the readings or the homily. But still. I am glad he went. We left our daughter with my in-laws, mostly because I have a friend whose baby got swine flu in a church nursery, so I was paranoid. They love to spend time with her, so it worked out for everyone.

When we got home we all took a long nap, and while I was napping I dreamed he said he wanted to go to RCIA. So I don’t know if that is a sign or not!! I did pray the Rosary before getting in bed so who knows.

I am waiting to go to confession for a very good reason…I don’t feel 100% contrition for all of my sins yet. I want to make sure my confession is really good, but after living for 5+ years completely secularly, some things just stopped seeming like sins. It is hard to start thinking that way again, even though I know there is very good reason behind it. So that is why I am waiting. But we will definitely continue to go to mass!

I will continue updating.


#18

Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I wanted to thank everyone who originally responded to my questions. On Wednesday my husband and I had our marriage convalidated in the Church, and our daughter was baptised 8/1/10! My daughter and I are now in full communion with the church, and my husband even attends with us (when I ask) and also prays the Rosary with me regularly. I am hoping he will eventually convert, but I'm not pushing or rushing it. All in God's time!

I wanted to thank you all. Without your advice and prayers, of course along with the work of the Holy Spirit, we would not be here today. :blessyou:


#19

[quote="Alicewyf, post:18, topic:175346"]
Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I wanted to thank everyone who originally responded to my questions. On Wednesday my husband and I had our marriage convalidated in the Church, and our daughter was baptised 8/1/10! My daughter and I are now in full communion with the church, and my husband even attends with us (when I ask) and also prays the Rosary with me regularly. I am hoping he will eventually convert, but I'm not pushing or rushing it. All in God's time!

I wanted to thank you all. Without your advice and prayers, of course along with the work of the Holy Spirit, we would not be here today. :blessyou:

[/quote]

That's great news. Congratulations. I can't even get my husband to pray the rosary with me and he is Catholic. Sounds like he is on his way to converting. :thumbsup:


#20

[quote="Alicewyf, post:18, topic:175346"]
Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I wanted to thank everyone who originally responded to my questions. On Wednesday my husband and I had our marriage convalidated in the Church, and our daughter was baptised 8/1/10! My daughter and I are now in full communion with the church, and my husband even attends with us (when I ask) and also prays the Rosary with me regularly. I am hoping he will eventually convert, but I'm not pushing or rushing it. All in God's time!

I wanted to thank you all. Without your advice and prayers, of course along with the work of the Holy Spirit, we would not be here today. :blessyou:

[/quote]

No need to apologize for resurecting the thread with this news, WELCOME HOME! :thumbsup:


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