married to an atheist

So I have this problem I am married to an atheist, he basically hates organized religion and it makes me uncomfortable.We recently found out that I am pregnant and i therefore have become more involved in my faith, iv allways had a very active spiritually life albeit not active in practice. I am getting confirmed before the baby is born and have been attending RCIA and going to mass. My question is there anyone with advice on how to raise our baby in a Christ centered home with a completly atheistic and adverse husband ?

I hope you two discussed this prior to the marriage. When I married my husband, he was a non-practicing “believer”, but was also soured about attending church after some past experiences that left him anti-church.
But, our children came…he was OK with having them baptized, watching them while they were too small to go to church, and not interfering with them attending CCD classes, or any of the later sacraments. He just didn’t come to church with us.
Twenty-five years later, out of the blue, he decided to begin RCIA! I didn’t push, badger, or lean on him in those 25 years…he just was touched by the Holy Spirit he saw in his family.

I hope the same will happen for you. Scripture promises the unbelieving spouse will be saved through the believer…it sure happened in my marriage!

God bless you THREE!

You know that atheists go to hell? atheism is just satanism disguised… and Jesus is very clear.

Mark 3:29

But whosoever shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit hath never forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin:

And if you raise your sons as atheists you commit the same mortal sin…

well i intend on raising my children as good catholics like i was raised , and yes we did discuss it somewhat before we got married, there has been some contention on whether allowing them to choose to go to church or not at a certain age like 12. the other problem im worried about is when the child(ren) get older and ask why daddy doesn’t have to go to mass and what not. I hope that i can be the believer that leads my husband to Christ so idk keep me in your prayers. also we only got married civily does that mean the church doesnt recognize the marriage?

You have no business judging who goes to hell; That is reserved for Christ. At any rate your comment in no way addresses the OP’s questions.

I am sorry to tell you, but you are not married but living in an adulterous state. A civil marriage is a contract. Marriage (true marriage as defined by the Church) is a sacrament that cannot be bestowed by the state. I know that is bitter pill but I offer it in response to your direct question and in charity. To not be living in sin you must marry your (civil) husband in the Church and live as brother and sister until then. He does not need to be Catholic for that to happen, he only needs to agree to accept children and raise them in Christ’s church. You are in a difficult situation and should be in touch with a priest who act as your spiritual adviser and guide you through this.

If I understand what you are saying you were baptized as a Catholic? But you stopped practicing prior to being confirmed? I think this must be the case since you list your religion as Catholic.

If that is the case then the Church considers you bound to the Catholic form of marriage which means that your marriage would not be recognized by the Church.

But if you were baptized in some other Christian denomination then the Catholic Church does not hold you to the Catholic form. The Church recognizes civil marriages as valid for those who are not Catholic (so long as there is no other impediment like a prior marriage, close familial relationship, or other such problem.)

The validity of your marriage is something that should have been discussed when you signed up for RCIA. I’d go see your priest as soon as possible to see where you stand.

You need to make an appointment and speak to your priest about these issues. He will be in the best position to advise you.

It only took mine 20!! But it was worth the wait. :smiley:

Thank you for the ray of hope. My husband’s faith is wavering, with questions I cannot answer. Even if I could, he’s in a closed mind kind of state (though I think he’d say he was being open-minded to all things!). But I pray for him daily and raise our children in the Catholic faith to the best of my ability. I am blessed that he is not opposed and will participate in some things. Every week I ask him to come to mass with us. Maybe one day - soon - he’ll join us. Thank you! :slight_smile:

Just as an aside I had a friend in a similar situation - you may want to also ask your priest about Radical Sanitation - it is a way of having your marriage recognized after the fact without your husband’s involvement if your husband is opposed to the Church. God bless you. This may be one point that you just need to put your foot down and say that your are Catholic and your children need to be raised Catholic as long as they are in the house.

Here is the Canon on Radical Sanitation(or at least the references to it to start with):

Convalidation: (1) Simple convalidation; (2) Radical Sanation

  Simple Convalidation. (canon 1156ff): A marriage which is invalid due to problems w/consent, impediment or form. RENEWAL OF CONSENT is required. This renewal of consent is a NEW ACT of the will (canon 1157).
  Radical Sanation. (canon 1161): Convaliadation without renewal OF consent with a dispensation from impediment or canonical form. BUT CONSENT MUST BE PERDURING (canon 1163). Granted by: Apostolic See or diocesan bishop in individual cases (canon 1165§§1-2). But diocesan bishop cannot grant radical sanation when the impediment is (1) orders; (2) public perpetual vow of chastity in a religious institute; (3) crime; (4) divine law impediment which has ceased to exist (ligamen).

**Pray to Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur,

A French woman married to an atheist named Felix Leseur, who became a priest after her death because of the example of her loving faith as a Catholic!

From the article, "Following her death from cancer in 1914, Félix discovered in her papers a note directed to him: "In 1905, I asked almighty God to send me sufficient sufferings to purchase your soul. On the day that I die, the price will have been paid. Greater love than this no woman has than she who lay down her life for her husband."**

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!


“there has been some contention on whether allowing them to choose to go to church or not at a certain age like 12. the other problem im worried about is when the child(ren) get older and ask why daddy doesn’t have to go to mass and what not. I hope that i can be the believer that leads my husband to Christ so idk keep me in your prayers.”

My husband did not want me forcing the kids to go to mass. I took this to mean that if, in adolescence, one suddenly started really acting out, I wouldn’t physically force him/her. (I’d seen this scenario with my sister, and it didn’t help her faith any.) I misunderstood. He meant if they didn’t feel like going, I wouldn’t make them. In other words, they’d have a choice. I wasn’t about to give a 5 year old a choice, of course he’d opt out!!! I finally did convince him to accept that they would have to go up to at least 12-13 years of age (until they were confirmed) By that time, they were all used to going (I now have 3 confirmed) and do not protest. I also told my husband, he NEED NOT tell them they have a choice. All my children still go. (My oldest is almost 19) Although I worry that some of them will give it up, once out in the world on their own.

I have tried to make the faith interesting, through books, games, movies, and cultural things, like St-Nicholas Day, Three Kings Day, the Day of the Dead, observing Lent and Advent, etc, etc. I pray with them every day. At least a little bit. I bless them every morning before they leave to go to school. It is the little things, done every day, I believe, that will eventually make a difference. I hope so. Also, it is important to have oneself, a spiritual life. Your kids will see how you react to things and how HE reacts to things, how patient you are and how patient HE is, and they will SEE the difference.

There is NO GUARANTEE that your husband will ever convert. I have known mine for almost 18 years (yes I was a single mother when I met him, if you do the math). He has shown absolutely no inclination towards converting whatsoever. In fact, as society heads further and further “left” and more godless, so he follows. There are things he has said that I have been utterly shocked at, that came up years after we’d been married. I hope in your case, that he does convert. Many do. But there is no guarantee. Free will and all. The best you can do, the best I can do, the best anyone can do, is to plug along and do your thing anyway. Despite him. It won’t be easy. You’ll want to throw in the towel and give up. But in the end, it’ll be worth it. If only simply because you did what you had to do, and you did it to the best of your means. It’s when we’re in the thick of it, we don’t see the ending. Like Sam and Frodo in the Lord of the Rings:

Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam.
Sam: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.

You’ll keep on fighting, because that good is worth fighting for, and your children are worth fighting for.

I wish you would have started your own thread. The one you “woke up” is 3 years old. This forum does not encourage tagging onto a previous thread.

For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 1 Corinthians 7:14

I think this applies…maybe.

the other problem im worried about is when the child(ren) get older and ask why daddy doesn’t have to go to mass and what not.

This is a great exercise for your children. Yes, it would be cool that daddy wants to go to church but it isn’t a necessity for you to raise them so they can go to Heaven when their time on earth is over.

They will learn to respect others and to pray for others. Don’t impose the religion but instead inspire them and pray. Children love bibles, Jesus story etc… If they ask about daddy, say, it is how he feels but we can pray for him so God will grant him this grace of faith some day.

I wasn’t into religion at all and sadly didn’t put much work to educate my child. When i resume to Church, i prayed. You bet now, that i raise my child and educate her as much as possible. She no longer (on her own wants) watch any Barbie movie etc… but want only my catholic family dvd or anything related to Jesus. My secret, simple: Mother Mary. She is totally amazing, my husband is converting to Catholic, my daughter is praying every night, i am telling you, all i did, i prayed Mother Mary to help and still do.

Don’t worry, truly don’t. Pray now and enjoy this great little soul in you soon to be born. You can start reading your baby stories from the bible. Or a children book (Catholic).

Congratulations and i pray for you to have all the support you need and a smooth and easy delivery.

Blessings and love!

Hi. I’m actually the other half here. I’m an Agnostic husband married to a Catholic girl. We have two children. Before marriage we discussed allowing her to bring up the kids Catholic although I never agreed to regularly attend church. Well, because I know she needs my assistance I have begun attending weekly. Seriously though, children do not have 1 hour attention spans for mass! I was raised Protestant and we had Sunday school, and I think you guys could learn a thing or two. LOL Anyway, I will say that if your husbands are truely Athiest you might have a shot, but if they are Agnostic I highly doubt it. Ask them a simple question “Do you believe that God absolutely does NOT exist or do you just think it’s highly unlikely?” If they answer “absolutely not” you might have a shot, I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but trust me on this one.

I actually have a question. Does anyone know what they teach in CCD? I’m really hoping they don’t teach Creationism because that is about the only place I will absolutely put my foot down and I don’t want to create a huge argument between my wife and I.

Thanks…good luck everyone.

Evolution is compatible with Catholic teaching. Catholics are not fundamentalists, if you have a copy of the Catholic Catechism it will explain the church’s teaching on almost any major topic.

Thank you! That’s great new for me.

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