Non-religious girl dating a Catholic man


#1

I was raised non-religious, although I was baptized Catholic when I was a baby. My family left the church shortly after I was born, and I have never attended church in conscious memory.

I am dating a Catholic man. We’ve known each other for six months, and have been dating for one month. He has asked me to start attending church every week.

I have no objections to Catholicism, but I don’t know much about it. I know that if I were going to join a church, the Catholic church would be my first choice, because I respect its traditions and I have not found Catholics to be rudely evangelical like other Christian denominations. However, I don’t particularly feel a calling to become Catholic. I don’t really know much about heaven, and I’m not certain I believe in it.

I love this man, and I know he is a good man. He has let me know that he expects to be the head of his household, and his children must be raised Catholic. I don’t object to raising any children Catholic, but I’m not sure I want to convert myself. I could attend church, but I’d want to convert in my own time, if at all. He can be a stubborn man, but I know that I couldn’t in good conscience convert to Catholicism unless I really believed. I refuse to live a lie.

I want to know if my attitude is going to be a problem in this relationship. I fear that if I continue dating him, even if I attend his church, we’ll end up locking horns and being unhappy.

He already has two children from a previous marriage that was annulled. His wife left him (she said she needed a vacation and never came back) and his mother is raising his two daughters, while he is working away from home to make money.

I want to know whether his family and friends, who are all Catholic, are going to have serious objections to us dating and perhaps even marrying. I also want any advice you can give us. Also, my doctor put me on oral contraceptives because I bleed heavily naturally, and I am hesitant to stop taking them due to the risk of anemia coming back. I know if I start going to church, I should stop taking contraceptives, right?

Advice, anyone?


#2

Have you guys attended a Christopher West seminar together?

www.christopherwest.com

In the situation you describe, it sounds best to proceed slowly. Certainly, practicing the faith with him can be a very uplifting and uniting aspect of your lives. But, it is still a huge change for you and almost like a culture shock.


#3

To me, you sound mature and receptive. Continue to maintain this level of respect for him and the Church especially as the newness of the relationship fades.

To help discern whether or not you are called to be a Catholic, I recommend the Green Scapular devotion. You buy the green scapular at a Catholic Supply Store. It is like a necklace, made of string and cloth, and they are very cheap, like $1. It needs to be blessed by a priest which takes 5 seconds. When need be, I’ll ask him after Mass once he’s finishing up saying hi to parishioners. You can wear it around your neck or just place it in your room. The prayer that is said every day is “Immaculate Heart of Mary pray for us now and at the hour of our death”. If you are willing to have the scapular but don’t want to say the prayer then I will say it for you as it can be said on another’s behalf. Michelle


#4

my best advice is to enroll in an RCIA class or adult confirmation class, because that will help you get an informed, systematic answer to questions you have about the faith, and help you decide where you want to go with this personally, and in the relationship. It will also help you understand your BF better, since it is a key part of his identiy. There is absolutely no commitment involved in participating in this class.


#5

If you attend a Catholic Church, you don’t have to stop taking the contraceptives. That’s assuming you’re not married, yet, and not having sex, anyway. The issue of the Pill for medical purposes is a separate issue and you don’t have to cross that bridge until/unless you come to it.


#6

Actually, since you are baptized you ARE Catholic. But since you have never been instructed on the meaning of your ‘faith’ you are ‘uncatechized’.

As Puzzleannie suggested, you probably ought to enroll in inquiry classes at a nearby Catholic Church (it doesn’t have to be your boyfriend’s parish unless that is where you wish to go) just to get a better idea of what it means to live as a Catholic and/or with a Catholic.

We here have no way of knowing how his family and friends will feel about him dating you. But since you yourself are concerned about how you two could build a life together it makes sense that they would be wondering the same thing.

As far as the oral contraceptives go… The Catholic Church does not forbid the taking of oral contraceptives for serious medical reasons, even if this results in the prevention of pregnancy or the unfortunate failure of a pregnancy to continue. We don’t give medical advice here but you’re likely to get several suggestions to contact a pro-life doctor to see if he/she knows other ways to treat your anemia.


#7

Thanks for your advice, everyone. It does seem like culture shock. I’ve been reading through other posts on here and trying to research what is expected of me, and what Catholicism is all about. I’m going to go to church with him this weekend, and I’m a little nervous, but I think I’m making the right decision.

Neither he nor I wants to date someone if it couldn’t potentially lead to marriage. We’re both in our late 20s, and I’m not going to waste my time dating someone who isn’t interested in having a long-term serious relationship.

Actually, it’s double culture shock, because it’s also an intercultural relationship. He’s Philippino, I’m Canadian, and we both live in Korea. I’m a little apprehensive about going to church because I’ll probably be the only white girl there as well as the only non-Catholic attending.

Anyway, thanks for the advice so far. More advice is always appreciated, and I’ll be checking out this forum and others regularly.


#8

RCIA
That is where you need to be. It will help you to understand the faith. Even if you decide not to become Catholic, it will help you to understand his faith. I will be praying for you.

In Christ

Pam


#9

lol Just wondering,
don’t worry about being the only non-white girl there. :slight_smile: I’ve had that experience for so long in my life in Catholic churches that have had all white members (since I’m not white); that’s not what it’s about. I don’t consider myself any different from a person of white skin. I just stand out. No body really cares. It’s actually a beautiful thing to see diversity! All nations gathered together under One.


#10

Catholic means Universal…people around the world, of different races, creeds, and colors are members of the Catholic Church. You may be surprised to see other “white” people in the church this Sunday.

Oh, BTW - I’m Filipina - my husband is Canadian…go figure! :smiley:

God Bless you in your discernment!


#11

lol Just wondering,
don’t worry about being the only non-white girl there. :slight_smile: I’ve had that experience for so long in my life in Catholic churches that have had all white members (since I’m not white); that’s not what it’s about. I don’t consider myself any different from a person of white skin. I just stand out. No body really cares. It’s actually a beautiful thing to see diversity! All nations gathered together under One.


#12

:thumbsup: I think this is wonderful that you are open and honest with yourself and willing to learn about it. I do think RCIA would be good but you should also look into a woman named Kimberly Hahn. She was not Catholic when her husband converted to the Catholic Church. The book is called Rome Sweet Home by Kimberly and Scott Hahn. It does help alot. Also keep studying and being honest with you boyfriend (on every issue but especially on this) and ask him not to push you towards it but be understanding.

I will pray for you and your boyfriend! God Bless!


#13

If we were in the same town I’d love to have coffee with you! :coffeeread:

Just some thoughts…It’s really important for you to convert on “your own time” (which is really God’s time). Don’t let your questions go unanswered. Are you a reader? St. Augustine’s *Confessions *and Thomas Merton’s Seven Storey Mountain are great examples of Christian conversion. I recommend them highly.

RCIA is a good recommendation…however, I would be careful. Some programs are better than others, and that’s just the state of the Church right now. You want to check what they are saying against the official teachings of the church, which you can find on the Vatican website and the catechism for starters. I mean, if you’re going to be Catholic, it makes sense to know what the Church truly stands for, not what someone interprets it to be.

God bless you!


#14

You are drawn to this man for some reasons. You want a certain type of relationship and his values and behavior may be a big draw. You have a lot going on now. He has children and he is religious and he expects to have his children raised Catholic. I know that marriages where both parties are religiuos have a much better chance of survival in this secular world.

So, the time you spend getting to know the Catholic religion and your male friend will be very beneficial whether or not this relationship will end in marriage. I think the fact that he wants to introduce you to his religion, his life- is very respectful. He certainly had a rocky first marriage an he may be trying to never repeat any of the mistakes that he made in that relationship.

I will say a prayer that you find Christ in your life and that your relationship holds the promise you want. Pray for a positive outcome and for God’s will in your life. Even if you don’t revert to Catholic roots God always answers our prayers. God bless you.


#15

Hi Just Wondering,

I am known on this board for the mantra “don’t date outside your religion”. But, I say that to everyone, Catholics, Methodists, Hindus, purple-polka-dotted people from Mars-- and people who don’t have a religion.

I certainly hope you do investigate God, Christianity, and the Catholic faith-- but not in order to stay in a relationship or make someone else happy. Investigate because you seek to know the Truth.

I don’t know if you would be happy long-term with this man, especially should you decide not to convert. He has clear expectations, and I do think that it would be difficult for you to raise your children Catholic if you don’t believe in God.

My advice would be to slow down the relationship (note: I did not say “end” the relationship… just take it very slowly), and start with exploring what you really believe and what your vision is for your life, your family, and your faith life.

If you two don’t share the *same *vision, no matter what that is, then he’s not for you.

As for his friends, I don’t know them so I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all answer. They should treat you with Christian kindness… but you know, there are sinners in every group.

And, as to the Pill-- I presume you two are not having sex outside of marriage… being a Commandment and all… so there would be no problem with you taking this as a medication for you female trouble. OTOH, it would become problematic were you to marry, because the Pill has potential abortifacient properties. There are also a number of physicians that disagree that this is the best course of treating the symptoms you describe (but that’s another thread).

I hope you will conintue to pursue learning about God and Catholicism.


#16

Thanks a lot for your advice. I really appreciate that so many people have put a lot of thought into the advice they gave me. The comments from 1ke have a lot of meaning to me, since 1ke claims not to be a supporter of marriage outside one’s own religion.

My advice would be to slow down the relationship (note: I did not say “end” the relationship… just take it very slowly), and start with exploring what you really believe and what your vision is for your life, your family, and your faith life.

I think this is the most important point. I really appreciate your honesty. People sometimes get caught up in the day-to-day details of their lives (or the romance of falling in love with someone new and exciting) and don’t stop to think about what’s really important. And you’re right - I need to take some time out and think about what I really want and what I need to be doing. And then, I need to have a long talk with my boyfriend about what he wants for his future and the future of his family and children.

If you two don’t share the same vision, no matter what that is, then he’s not for you.

It’s a difficult decision and not one to be made quickly. Thanks for your input.


#17

Hi,

Marriage is a sacrament. The word “sacrament” means a visible sign of God’s love. The unselfish love and joy of husband and wife is the love of Jesus. Jesus said the two shall become one flesh. Read the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 19, Verse 5 (19:5).

usccb.org/nab/bible/matthew/matthew19.htm

The sacraments are not symbols only but Jesus is actually present in the sacrament. For example when you were baptized you received the life of Jesus with the Father and the Holy Spirit and you truly became a new creation. Read Romans Chapter 6, Verse 4 (6:4):

usccb.org/nab/bible/romans/romans6.htm


#18

I think everyone here has given you wonderful advice. I agree that you should look into this for YOURSELF and not for anyone else and I too agree for you not to let any questions go unanswered. I admire you for coming forward with answers already. I too believe you ARE Catholic since you were Baptized when you were little. Please ask any and all questions that you might have. And that will lead/help you with your decisions. There are wonderful people here that will answer your questions and offer support.

I will definitely be praying for you. God Bless you.


#19

**I was not Catholic when I met and married my cradle Catholic husband. I would not recommend you enter into a marriage until you know for sure what your beliefs are.

My husband and I lucked out. I heard a calling and followed it right into the Catholic Faith. But it could have just as easily gone the other way. I often think about what our lives would be like right now if I had not converted…it would be so difficult, especially now that we have a daughter.

So, since you are much like me in that you do not want to feel coerced or forced to convert, I suggest you start learning about your faith (as I to believe you are already Catholic) in whatever way appeals to you. For me it was books and the internet (just e careful of the sources!!!). Once I wanted to proceed I contacted my hubby’s parish (that I had been attending with him for years) and we took the necessary steps…

Oh, and don’t worry about going to Mass with him. I can’t speak to what it will be like if you’re the only white girl there but I can speak to what is was like as a non-Catholic. Before I went I was positive that everyone would know I was an “outsider”. I thought I would be horribly embarrassed to have to stay in the pew during Communion while everyone else went up to receive our Lord. Well, guess what? LOTS of people don’t go up, for lots of reasons.

It took a lot of going before I started to feel comfortable but eventually I did. You will too.

This can be a very good thing for your relationship. It will give you a way to see how your boyfriend reacts and whether he is going to be respectful of your pace and level of comfort. It will also force him to become more knowledgeable about his faith. My husband never realized just how much he didn’t know until I started asking question after question after question, lol.

I will pray for you and your boyfriend and his children. May you all be open to God’s will in your lives.

malia

p.s. I almost forgot. When I was trying to decide if I should pursue converting, I said a daily prayer that was along this line:

Dear Lord, please open my mind and my heart to Your will. Allow the Holy Spirit to work in me. Amen.**


#20

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