Marriage Question


#1

So my DH (protestant) and I were married in a Catholic Church by a Catholic priest. The priest said it would be alright for our future children to attend Sunday services with their protestant father in addition to attending mass we me. In otherwords we would all go to both the mass and the service every week. All sacraments and religious eduction would be done in my Catholic faith.

I was so in need of my DH's love and care and I didn't want to loose him that I said yes, after all the priest okayed it and I've seen others do this. It was against my better judgment, but I agreed anyways.

Did I commit a mortal sin in allowing future children to be raised dual faith?

Fast foward 4.5 years, we've been really discussing/debating this again. Being infertile, it hasn't really been an issue. But as we are nearing a point in our lives were we might be able to start taking more steps towards adoption this is all rearing its ugly head.

What should or can I do? We agreed pre-marriage with the advice of a priest upon the dual raising. I no longer wish to do this, but my DH doesn't want to give in on his side either.

Would that be the best solution in all this? Is an annulment necessary? Or should we just not adopt children? Should we be extra cautious and use NFP instead of just relying on our infertility? Are there any other options?

I'm just in :crying: about this! Please help! Thank you.


#2

(Please see my responsive post under Engaged to Protestant and having doubts thread. It gives my 'story' of dual faith households. It may be of interest to you.)

In your situation, I would ask this of your husband: For clairity for the child or children, can they be raised in the Catholic church so that they may receive all Sacraments? You in turn will agree to always attend, with the children, special events at his church per his request (on these days, you would of course attend Saturday Mass). Once they are Confirmed and old enough to understand things more, he can teach them more about his faith.

It is tricky and hard and often really tears apart at a marriage. But, I have seen it work. In the end, all things CANNOT be equal. The kids need to be a member of one church, and respect the other. Start now advocating for your church, especially because of the Sacraments.

Hope this helps.
anngrace


#3

[quote="prolifewife, post:1, topic:201606"]
So my DH (protestant) and I were married in a Catholic Church by a Catholic priest. The priest said it would be alright for our future children to attend Sunday services with their protestant father in addition to attending mass we me. In otherwords we would all go to both the mass and the service every week. All sacraments and religious eduction would be done in my Catholic faith.

I was so in need of my DH's love and care and I didn't want to loose him that I said yes, after all the priest okayed it and I've seen others do this. It was against my better judgment, but I agreed anyways.

Did I commit a mortal sin in allowing future children to be raised dual faith?

Fast foward 4.5 years, we've been really discussing/debating this again. Being infertile, it hasn't really been an issue. But as we are nearing a point in our lives were we might be able to start taking more steps towards adoption this is all rearing its ugly head.

What should or can I do? We agreed pre-marriage with the advice of a priest upon the dual raising. I no longer wish to do this, but my DH doesn't want to give in on his side either.

Would that be the best solution in all this? Is an annulment necessary? Or should we just not adopt children? Should we be extra cautious and use NFP instead of just relying on our infertility? Are there any other options?

I'm just in :crying: about this! Please help! Thank you.

[/quote]

First, calm down. :)

This is **not **a nullity issue even though I think the priest gave you some bad advice. I don't think you sinned because you made your decision on the basis of a priest's advice. But children raised in two faiths tend to discount both. Occasional visits to the services of another faith are one thing. Treating them as equals (in practice) is not a good idea.

But first, a question... Does your husband attend his church now? Or is this something he claims to want for his children? My guess is that unless he faithfully attends two services now he's not going to be interested in doing so with children. (It's usually hard enough to get children to one location.)


#4

Thank you for sharing your story. :hug3:

I have been advocating for them to attend only with me. But my husband says no. I agreed to the other and I should stick to my agreement.

I just can’t take this. It’s too much for me. The only options I see in my future are an annulment or using NFP to avoid having children. And I don’t want to avoid having children, but I can’t do this too them spiritually either. :crying:


#5

[quote="SMHW, post:3, topic:201606"]
First, calm down. :)

This is **not **a nullity issue even though I think the priest gave you some bad advice. I don't think you sinned because you made your decision on the basis of a priest's advice. But children raised in two faiths tend to discount both. Occasional visits to the services of another faith are one thing. Treating them as equals (in practice) is not a good idea.

But first, a question... Does your husband attend his church now? Or is this something he claims to want for his children? My guess is that unless he faithfully attends two services now he's not going to be interested in doing so with children. (It's usually hard enough to get children to one location.)

[/quote]

He attends mass with me most Sundays, but when we have children he says we will attend both. :shrug:


#6

It's strange, because even with all this heartache and turmoil, I love my DH and would probably marry him all over again if given the chance. I must be really bad I know. God help me. :(


#7

[quote="prolifewife, post:6, topic:201606"]
It's strange, because even with all this heartache and turmoil, I love my DH and would probably marry him all over again if given the chance. I must be really bad I know. God help me. :(

[/quote]

you are certainly not bad for loving someone. but love is more than needing and wanting, especially in marriage it has to be reciprocal, and one party cannot be asking another to abandon a belief that is core and part of his or her identity. Too bad the priest did not encourage the total honestly that is essential in marriage preparation, but the fact is as a Catholic you must do your best, even when you best is less than adequate, to raise your children Catholic. Will this be a bone of contention throughout your years together? Yes by its very nature. Can you still get along and have a good marriage? yes, but not by compromising your own belief and practice of your faith. Annulment is not even on the table because divorce is not even on the table. Not possible. Never. No.


#8

Any chance you might be jumping the gun a little on this discussion? Sometimes when DH and I are arguing over hypotheticals we find that when the actual situation comes to fruitition our hypothetical arguements fly out the window. Maybe you could agree to have your kids taken to both the Catholic and Protestant services on Sundays (say yours in the morning, his in the evening or vice versa) starting at the time the child is born. Then when the child is six months or a year, revisit the arrangement and see what's working and what's not working. Maybe he'll find that he gets more out of the Catholic service and isn't so rigid on attending every Sunday Protestant service? Maybe you'll find that the worship at the Protestant service gives more fellowship with others and you won't feel to wrong about attending that service? I think trying to settle this arguement right now, without any children actually involved, is putting the horse before the cart. Talk about it, but there's no need to decide an answer set in stone right now.

Good luck!


#9

prolifewife I'd advise you to talk to another priest about this. The priest who told you you could raise them in both faith's gave you bad advice. Non Catholic spouses have to agree to raise any children Catholic for permission to marry to be ganted. It's not your fault that you guys were told wrongly, BUT, you need someone to help you iron this out since you married with a misunderstanding in this regard. Also, if you do have children or adopt you're going to need support in explaining the inevitable questions that WILL come up from the children. There are a lot of significant differences in Catholic and protestant theology. Kids will get that, and ask about it.


#10

[quote="shannyk, post:9, topic:201606"]
prolifewife I'd advise you to talk to another priest about this. The priest who told you you could raise them in both faith's gave you bad advice. Non Catholic spouses have to agree to raise any children Catholic for permission to marry to be ganted. It's not your fault that you guys were told wrongly, BUT, you need someone to help you iron this out since you married with a misunderstanding in this regard. Also, if you do have children or adopt you're going to need support in explaining the inevitable questions that WILL come up from the children. There are a lot of significant differences in Catholic and protestant theology. Kids will get that, and ask about it.

[/quote]

I've been trying to chat with one of the ones on here. I no longer have a spiritual director (he moved) but will try to discuss this with another parish priest also.

Nowadays the Catholic is required to do "all in their power" to raise the children Catholic. The non-Catholic party no longer has to agree to anything, they are only required to be notified of the Catholic's promise.

I choose this priest because he was more lenient. I had left religious discernment due to the manifestation of my OCD, so I thought this priest would be more likely to allow me to marry. When he allowed my husband to take the children with him too, this made sense as it is allowed for adults of mixed marriages. I didn't feel comfortable with it, but I wasn't sure it was definitely wrong either. :shrug:


#11

Very strong advice. You don’t have any kids yet plw, and even if you got pregnant right now or something, it would still be quite some time before the child had any concept of what was happening in church. My 2 year old understands that Jesus is in church and he’s supposed to be quiet (not that such knowledge stops him from the occasional outburst!), but I’m under no illusions that he understands the concept of God, much less any of the sacraments.

You’re concerned about solving a problem that is at least three to four years away from possibly happening. Don’t be so worried about that. As long as the children receive Catholic sacraments and are officially “raised Catholic” and your husband is fine with that (it’s what he signed up for when he married you) then you should be fine. And in any case, you need to relax because like I wrote a moment ago, these are problems that are years away no matter what, unless you adopt a six year old tomorrow.


#12

[quote="puzzleannie, post:7, topic:201606"]
you are certainly not bad for loving someone. but love is more than needing and wanting, especially in marriage it has to be reciprocal, and one party cannot be asking another to abandon a belief that is core and part of his or her identity. Too bad the priest did not encourage the total honestly that is essential in marriage preparation, but the fact is as a Catholic you must do your best, even when you best is less than adequate, to raise your children Catholic. Will this be a bone of contention throughout your years together? Yes by its very nature. Can you still get along and have a good marriage? yes, but not by compromising your own belief and practice of your faith. Annulment is not even on the table because divorce is not even on the table. Not possible. Never. No.

[/quote]

Thank you Annie, this is very helpful and reassuring. :hug3:


#13

Sorry I grouped you two together, but you had similar posts. :o

Yes, it is premature to think about this maybe, but I’d rather get this out in the open now so we don’t fight about it around the children. :frowning: God has given us infertility for a reason. Maybe it’s simply just His will and our cross to bear, or maybe it is His way of giving us more time to work this out before the kids (bio or adopted) come. Either way the time to work on this is now, not later when the kids arrive IMHO. :shrug:


#14

[quote="prolifewife, post:1, topic:201606"]
So my DH (protestant) and I were married in a Catholic Church by a Catholic priest. The priest said it would be alright for our future children to attend Sunday services with their protestant father in addition to attending mass we me. In otherwords we would all go to both the mass and the service every week. All sacraments and religious eduction would be done in my Catholic faith.

I was so in need of my DH's love and care and I didn't want to loose him that I said yes, after all the priest okayed it and I've seen others do this. It was against my better judgment, but I agreed anyways.

Did I commit a mortal sin in allowing future children to be raised dual faith?

Fast foward 4.5 years, we've been really discussing/debating this again. Being infertile, it hasn't really been an issue. But as we are nearing a point in our lives were we might be able to start taking more steps towards adoption this is all rearing its ugly head.

What should or can I do? We agreed pre-marriage with the advice of a priest upon the dual raising. I no longer wish to do this, but my DH doesn't want to give in on his side either.

Would that be the best solution in all this? Is an annulment necessary? Or should we just not adopt children? Should we be extra cautious and use NFP instead of just relying on our infertility? Are there any other options?

I'm just in :crying: about this! Please help! Thank you.

[/quote]

I do think the priest gave you bad advice. The teaching of the Church is very clear that children of Catholics are to be raised Catholic when the parents are in a mixed marriage. If you really didn't understand that at the time, then you probably aren't in any danger, though I advise seeking the advice of a different priest to make sure! It sounds to me that you had an inkling that it was a bad agreement to make, but love blinded you ;) Also, since you don't have any kids and haven't actually done anything, I don't see how you could be sinning.

If you now decide to have kids, and went along with it, you would be committing sin since you now realize that you have an obligation to raise them up Catholic. You can't treat each religion as equal if you are supposed to be raising kids Catholic. That makes absolutely no sense. Just because you did agree to that pre-marriage doesn't mean you have to go along with it now since you have come to a greater understanding of the truth.

I don't know about annulment/NFP, etc. Being a mom myself, I can say that it would be near impossible for us to go to two services a day. If your husband went into the marriage never intending to allow you to raise your kids Catholic, then you may have grounds for an annulment, but since you are infertile I think that it really isn't a huge issue. However, if there is a possibility that you could become pregnant, then that is another thing.

Seek the advice of a good priest.


#15

[quote="rmbrulotte, post:14, topic:201606"]
I do think the priest gave you bad advice. The teaching of the Church is very clear that children of Catholics are to be raised Catholic when the parents are in a mixed marriage. If you really didn't understand that at the time, then you probably aren't in any danger, though I advise seeking the advice of a different priest to make sure! It sounds to me that you had an inkling that it was a bad agreement to make, but love blinded you ;) Also, since you don't have any kids and haven't actually done anything, I don't see how you could be sinning.

If you now decide to have kids, and went along with it, you would be committing sin since you now realize that you have an obligation to raise them up Catholic. You can't treat each religion as equal if you are supposed to be raising kids Catholic. That makes absolutely no sense. Just because you did agree to that pre-marriage doesn't mean you have to go along with it now since you have come to a greater understanding of the truth.

I don't know about annulment/NFP, etc. Being a mom myself, I can say that it would be near impossible for us to go to two services a day. If your husband went into the marriage never intending to allow you to raise your kids Catholic, then you may have grounds for an annulment, but since you are infertile I think that it really isn't a huge issue. However, if there is a possibility that you could become pregnant, then that is another thing.

Seek the advice of a good priest.

[/quote]

I signed the papers and gave verbal consent to raise the children catholic. My husband agreed to this too. What was the problem was that the priest and my husband agreed, and I reluctantly agreed to also allow them to attend Sunday service at their dad's church.

I from day one have intended to raise my kids Catholic, my husband intended that too, it's just this other agreement that's the problem. Them attending both churches.

There is a very slight chance of pregnancy, but less than 5%. What is more likely is that we hope to foster or adopt children someday in the semi-distant future. That's the main problem.


#16

[quote="prolifewife, post:10, topic:201606"]
I've been trying to chat with one of the ones on here. I no longer have a spiritual director (he moved) but will try to discuss this with another parish priest also.

*Nowadays the Catholic is required to do "all in their power" to raise the children Catholic. The non-Catholic party no longer has to agree to anything, they are only required to be notified of the Catholic's promise. *

I choose this priest because he was more lenient. I had left religious discernment due to the manifestation of my OCD, so I thought this priest would be more likely to allow me to marry. When he allowed my husband to take the children with him too, this made sense as it is allowed for adults of mixed marriages. I didn't feel comfortable with it, but I wasn't sure it was definitely wrong either. :shrug:

[/quote]

The bolded part is not true everywhere.

In both dioceses {we did our pre-cana in one and were married in another} my husband had to sign paperwork promising to raise our children Catholic. He had to forfeit any "right" to raise the children Lutheran which he did without issue.

Now that we're due any day now, it is still a non-issue. The children will be raised Catholic with no Lutheran influence.

That priest gave you very bad advice. I'd definitely get some guidance from a priest and sit down with your husband.


#17

[quote="financemom, post:16, topic:201606"]
The bolded part is not true everywhere.

In both dioceses {we did our pre-cana in one and were married in another} my husband had to sign paperwork promising to raise our children Catholic. He had to forfeit any "right" to raise the children Lutheran which he did without issue.

Now that we're due any day now, it is still a non-issue. The children will be raised Catholic with no Lutheran influence.

That priest gave you very bad advice. I'd definitely get some guidance from a priest and sit down with your husband.

[/quote]

I was also under the impression from what I have heard from friends etc. that the non Catholic spouse has to promise to raise the children Catholic???

I'm sorry you were given poor advice prolifewife. It makes me a little mad on your behalf.:mad:


#18

[quote="shannyk, post:17, topic:201606"]
I was also under the impression from what I have heard from friends etc. that the non Catholic spouse has to promise to raise the children Catholic???

[/quote]

This is true. I was previously engaged before I married my husband. My boyfriend at the time was Evangelical Protestant. He had to sign a document stating that he would raise the children Catholic, and the priest insisted on speaking with both of us individually to discuss this before he would allow us to continue with marriage preparation - which also included a declaration of nullity for him because he was previously "married". And this was NOT a super orthodox or conservative priest either.

Sadly prolifewife was given bad information - this is the result of priests just doing their own thing out there and not adhering to proper Church protocol. It has massive implications they have no idea they are causing. It is horribly sad, and the Bishop should be made aware this is happening.

~Liza


#19

Um...okay. I didn't know it varies diocese to diocese, but I guess it does. :shrug:

So, am I actually married in the church's eyes? I sure hope so.

My husband and I talked about this, and he's not willing to change the prior agreements.

So....we see not having children, bio or adopted, as our only choice. It's a sad, heartbreaking choice, but what else can be done? :(

Do you think we should continue to rely on our seemingly permanent infertility or should we practice NFP to be extra super safe? :confused:

Also, I am a very scrupulous person by nature. Did I commit any mortal sins here? Do I need to get to confession for this?


#20

[quote="prolifewife, post:19, topic:201606"]

So, am I actually married in the church's eyes? I sure hope so.

[/quote]

Yes - every marriage is considered valid until/unless a Marriage Tribunal determines otherwise.

My husband and I talked about this, and he's not willing to change the prior agreements.

So....we see not having children, bio or adopted, as our only choice. It's a sad, heartbreaking choice, but what else could be done? :(

Do you think we should continue to rely on our seemingly permanent infertility or should we practice NFP to be extra super safe? :confused:

You must be open to life. You can not contracept - this would not be seen as a grave reason such as possible death due to pregnancy or transfer of disease, that would warrant the use of NFP as birth control. I am not one to advise you on NFP, there are others here who know far more than I on the subject.

Talk to a different priest. Someone who is not wishy washy and will help you with this situation. You need to trust in God, that He will do what is right for you and your husband in this. Don't feel you are alone in this.

~Liza


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