My dad and the Church

Hi!

I had a few questions concerning divorce and re-marriage and a few other things. My stepdad got a divorce and re-married my mother. Is this a sin? Some people have told me that a man can get a divorce but can’t re-mary. I’m a little familiar with the Catholic view on divorce but definitely not the most knowledgeable. Just a little background information on my dad: I don’t think he prays daily or much at all, doesn’t really care about the Church teachings, barely goes to mass (which affects me), doesn’t receive communion or show much interest in confession, and his favorite excuse to not pray is “I don’t have enough time” or “God will save me if He is truly the loving God I think He is”. My father also isn’t very educated on the RCC and doesn’t allow me to go in depth when I try to talk to him about church teachings. If he wasn’t my dad I would have by now snapped on him because he acts like the only sins are killing someone and stealing. “Dallas, I never lie, cheat, or steal”. I really love him and want him to be saved because he commits venial sin (cause he doesn’t know what he is doing is wrong) frequently. I just have no idea on how to get him to listen to the church or even me at this point. He always put God after our family and work. He works really hard and does night shift so sleep can’t hurt but I always try and get him to go to mass and he usually declines. My patience is running low because of the promises he made to take me to mass every 1-2 weeks if I kept my grades up (which I have been), he would let me attend RCIA if my good grades were consistent, and that he would not pester me about praying (because apparently there is such thing as praying too much). How do I get him to return to the church and be devout? He shows no interest whatsoever at this point in time to even go to mass. Sorry if this post is a little choppy, I’m kinda sleepy.

PS My dad is a baptized Catholic

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There is no such thing as getting remarried in Catholicism. Catholics believe in one marriage, because it is a sacrament in which two are made one. There is the possibility of getting an Annulment, but this is to declare the “marriage” as invalid, as in the sacrament of Holy Matrimony never took place. This would have to mean that something preventing the marriage from being valid would have to be true, such as the people involved were coerced and not of their own free will.

As for getting your dad more involved in his faith, the only advice I have is to live your life faithfully and hope he is struck by your overall happiness and virtue, and drawn to the faith through you. I don’t have too much advice, as I am also struggling with the fact that my best friend is atheist…

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Hello, thanks for the reply! I don’t think my dad was married in a Catholic church. Are all marriages sacramental? Also, my friend is a mormon and he often goes to church to pray with me (not mass just prayer) so we are both in the same boat, that is the boat of trying to convert our friends. Praying for both you and your friend. God bless you.

I don’t know how old you are, but in general, parents don’t accept advice from their children. And according to the Fourth Commandment, a child’s job is to honor parents, not tell them what to do.

I hope you’ll pray for your father and show him what it means to be a joyful, faith-filled person.

If there is advice forthcoming, it should probably be from your mother.

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I’d argue that the best way to honor one’s parents is to live faithfully. His age is irrelevant. He is a compassionate human being worried about his father.

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Not sure ,when you mention step dad and dad are they the same person?
Wondering if he doesn’t receive communion from knowing where things stand in his heart ?Perhaps the same goes with not getting to mass as much too?

Mixed marriages are more complicated, but I do know that for the marriage to be valid both need to have valid Baptisms. Some protestant Baptisms are acknowledged as valid such as (I think) Lutheran.

Sorry for not specifying this I’m quite tired :sweat_smile: Yes when I say “dad” in this post I am referencing to my stepdad. I know he would like to receive communion and if he really tried he could make it to confession and be a great servant of the Lord. I think on the inside he likes mass but he often ditches it for the gym just to stretch. He has this battle inside where he does want to be faithful but has this notion that the Church will limit his life and I think that is why he doesn’t want to go to mass and doesn’t want to go to confession.

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Your job is to bring honor to your parents, to be a loving son who is so full of joy that your parents brag to their friends “wow, you should all get your kids to to to Mass, it has turned Dallas into the most amazing person!”

I do my best to honour them. As for the bragging thing, I don’t think they do that. My mom has previously stated that she believes I am possessed because I pray so much. I don’t allow her to influence me to stop praying because she is the one that says all priests are rapists and doesn’t even want me to be alone with a priest. She also states that the crucifix attracts demons. My dad claims I am obsessed with praying and makes it sounds like a bad thing. None the less, I still respect their beliefs although I twitch at them sometimes lol. It is true, the Church has changed me a LOT for the better. God bless you!

Only if there’s some likelihood he’s going to improve things. If he oversteps his boundaries he may make them far worse.

In this case, the marriage involves the OPs mother as well as stepfather. She would be the logical one to talk with her husband and influence him.

No.

A perfectly valid marriage can take place between two unbaptized people or between one who is baptized and one who is unbaptized. Baptism makes the marriage sacramental, not valid. Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, and other non-baptized people can enter into perfectly valid marriages.

I do honour my parents. I try to always respect them and their beliefs. Is it wrong that I simply want both of their souls to be saved and that I want to see them in heaven? Is it wrong that as the most religious and spiritually knowledgeable person in my family that I give them advice? While they are greater in authority than me and I obey them, I see no harm in having a spiritual conversation concerning the salvation of their souls. It’s not like I am forcing them to listen or commanding them to do anything. When I speak to them I do so respectfully and I calmly suggest and advise them in their spiritual life. My dad has no problem with me “taking the wheel” when it comes to leading our family spiritually, he just doesn’t listen to the meaning of the words I speak and always has some excuse as to why he cannot go to mass or confession. I never get angry or yell at him for not listening, I just hope he hears me and thinks about my words. My mother has bad experiences with religion and is leery of every religion because her parents forced her to attend JW services 4 times a week when she was poor in the Philippines on top of all house chores and taking care of her 2 other sisters. She has a pre-conceived notion that the RCC will be like that even though you are only required to attend mass every Sunday if you are baptized. So my mom avoids religion all together, thus resulting in her not wanting to go to mass or give advice to influence my step-father. God bless you!

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You better watch out for the sin of pride there.

Your parents are your parents. They have likely been through things in their life you can’t begin to comprehend.
Your job is to

  • be a good son and honor your parents
  • set a good example living your faith
  • pray for your parents constantly, that they return to the Faith or at least get closer to Jesus, but also ask for the grace to be a good son and have good communication with them and love and understand them

You can invite them to Church or make little suggestions but you shouldn’t hound them or argue with them or be pushing them. That won’t work anyway. You need to be very patient, it may take them years to come around. And meantime, focus on your own spiritual life.

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I meant valid within Catholicism…

It sounds more to me like he is stating observation than boasting in pride, and whatever incomprehensible experiences anyone has been through doesn’t excuse sin, but I agree with your advice.

I just worry whenever a kid is stating he knows better than his parents about something.

Now I know in some cases maybe that is true…but it’s bad form for a son or daughter to be announcing that in public when the parents are reasonably responsible, as these folks seem to be,.

@Tis_Bearself I appreciate your concern and I thank you very much for looking out for me. My parents both recognize that I try to lead them to Christ and let me assist them in their faith journey. I by no means I am claiming that I know more than my parents in any subject, even concerning religion. I apologize if I offended you by sharing that I lead my family spiritually, especially when they come to me with questions and need help on prayer; I only stated that to fully illustrate to our members that my parents admire and look up to me spiritually. I thank you for sharing your words of wisdom with me and I am working hard to implement them into my life. The only time me and my parents “debate” is in a playful manner where my dad will take a protestant view of something and see how I attack it to prove it false. Once more, I thank you for your advice. God bless you!

It is only prideful if it gets to your head. It is not prideful to state a fact, that you do know more about religion than they do when it is relevant to your story.

Do also remember that God’s law trumps man’s law. That means if your parents ever try to force you to give up on your spiritual life (though I don’t think they would) or stop you from going to mass, etc., then you can kindly refuse.

Whatever is done humbly for the betterment of souls is good. Obedience can take a back seat if what they are asking is not in alignment with the teaches of the Catholic Church.

Also, what I like to do when trying to influence someone is to read a religious book in their company quietly, and at certain moments mention an interesting part of the book. I like books on saints because often there are some really interesting miraculous points in their lives that even non religious people can become confounded at. St. Padre Pio is a good example of this. You could also tell them about Our Lady of Guadelupe, the Eucharistic miracles, the dancing sun at Fatima, and the crying Mary statues. Just make sure they are approved by the Church.

God bless

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Thank you very much!

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It’s not wrong to want what’s best for your parents. But you also have to realize that you are not in control of the situation. Your parents have the free will to make their decisions.

Itt sounds like your stepfather would need to pursue a declaration of nullity for his earlier marriage. For him to do that and to return to the Church, he would have to see some possible benefit. I think that possibly the benefit could be in looking at his life and feeling that there is something missing or looking at someone else’s life and saying"I want what he has."

And the question is, what can you do to show him that you’re living that kind of life?

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