RCIA candidate engaged to agnostic baptized


Hi everyone,

My fiance and I have been together for five years. I was a strict scientifically-minded materialist atheist when we met and fell in love. She has always been very vague about her beliefs or non-beliefs. I had a conversion experience about 10 months ago. I am now an RCIA candidate and plan to be a confirmed Catholic by Easter. We were engaged before my conversion experience. We have been planning a wedding for Dec. 20 of 2008.

So, tonight we went to our first wedding meeting at the church, just for general info and to pick up some forms. Among the forms was the bubble sheet and questions regarding our partner and our religious beliefs, etc. This led to a conversation about how we are going to raise the children. We both want kids. I of course expressed my obligation to raise them Catholics, which I had talked to her about before. This led to further discussion and disagreement. She was raised in a home bereft of real belief or religion. Nobody attended church, etc. I grew up an Episcopalean and was in the choir. By the end of the night, she said that she wants to raise the children without any religion. Of course I cannot have this. Raising the children Catholic is a non-negotiable. She suggested that we should call of the marriage. I asked her if she still wants to marry me. She said that she doesn’t now and will have to think about it. I have tried many times to explain the faith to her, even in terms that I know a non-believer can appreciate. I love her with all of my heart, and will never leave her, unless she leaves me first. But I will raise my children Catholic.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Prayers would be very helpful too. Her name is Scarlett. Thanks for reading. God bless.



Prayers for you and Scarlett.

I’m not sure I have any really good advice. I will only say that you do have a genuine problem that needs to be resolved before you can reasonably marry.


Advice I can not give, but prayers I can. We will pray for both of you.



She’s right.

I think you are being silly with this “I will love you til I die, you must be the one to leave me” attitude. What, exactly, does that get you?

She is looking at it very realistically and maturely-- you do not share religious values or beliefs and she has clearly stated she has no interest in religion. You are not going to change her, only God’s grace and the Holy Spirit can do that if she cooperates with that grace.

Be thankful that she is being realistic. I am sorry that this did not work out-- but be glad this all came to a head BEFORE you married, after all that is the purpose of marriage preparation.

You will find a woman who shares your love of God and the Catholic Faith.


Thanks for your prayers. Hi 1ke. Yes, you’re right. That is a silly attitude. I’m afraid I put it poorly. What I meant was that I am not ready to dissolve our relationship over this. However, if there comes a time when she says that her children will not be Catholic, period, then of course it will have to end. Things are still hopeful though. Your prayers mean the most. Thank you again.



Crisis averted. Our children will be Catholic. Thank you to everyone for your prayers. God Bless.



How firm is the belief? If you were to die would she continue to raise the childern catholic or would she let the relgion slide?

Just be honest with yourself. take some time and just write what God’s want in a spouse for us and what you want in a spouse. Don’t think about her, just write and then look at her and see if she is capatible with what you see yourself being with. you might relaize that celebrating the Eurchrist with a spouse is something you want.

Don’t rush into the marriage. Your becoming catholic and about to go through a life-changing experience. The next year will be so filled with new feelings as your embark on your journey with God. you might find out that the person you are is not the person who wants to be with your agnostic bride. Just continue to pray!


I think you underestimate the amount of conflict such drastically different religious views will have in your household.

Your children will see their mother as a role model, every day. This role model will **not **be teaching them their prayers, praying at meals or rosary, going to church, supporting them in their faith development, or be able to answer their questions about God and the Church. Worse, she may intentionally or UNintentionally undermine their faith and beliefs. Moreover, can she 100% embrace Catholic moral teaching regarding sexuality and the intrinsically disordered nature of contraception?

You need to think about all of the long-term ramifications of this decision.


Beckers and 1ke.

Yes, these questions have occupied much of my time since my conversion. Thank you very much for your continued advice. Also, I have been studying Catholic philosophy, Church tradition and the Bible for decades now. I am well aware of scriptural and traditional church teaching on these matters. In addition, my mother, who knows her faith better than most I’ve met, has been a continual and unflagging support and font of inspiration and education my whole life.

As a result, my finacee and I have been discussing these issues for a while now, even before my conversion. Of course my fiancee does not embrace the faith, but she does support me in doing so, and she views most church teaching on practical family matters as good and based in common sense. I’m afraid that I misunderstood the issue I raised in the beginning of this thread, and my fears were unfounded.

On another note, I will be attending my first formal protest march of the abortion laws in the country here in Chicago next Sunday. Does anyone have any advice on what I might expect and look out for during the march? I have little idea of how big the march will end up being. Thanks very much for your help.

God Bless



You sound like your well educated. Best Wishes maybe your are the light she needs in her life.

I haven’t been to a pro-life march but have participate in pro-life prayer groups like 40 days for life. My only suggestions is remember that people who aren’t a part of the demostration for either side can see you and if someone is getting mean and nasty in your face to not be mean and ugly no matter how angry you get.


Jon, will your fiance go with you to this march? She should be encouraged to attend with you.

As other posters have stated, tread lightly into your marriage prep. Has she agreed to raise the children Catholic out of fear of losing you? If so, then you may be entering your marriage invalidly (it will be the same type of force as is placed on an unmarried pregnant couple to marry). I know too many marriages where one person basically lied because they were too afraid to lose the other and well, they divorced and caused a greater amount of pain because they didn’t pay attention to those red flags and part ways before the "I Do"s were said.

How will you react when you’re looking at families attending mass together (husband, wife, children) while you sit alone with your wife at home (when your newly married) or while your wife sits at home while you and your children attend mass? Just read through the numerous threads on these forums and you’ll find out just how much pain many had to go through for marrying outside the faith (there is a small precentage of successful marriages, but a larger number of unhappy marriages or unhappy former marriages that were not equally yoked).


Beckers, thanks very much for your suggestions. It shoud be a very eye opening experience.

Hi gmarie. Thank you very much for your considered and measured response. It was very helpful.

God Bless.



Hey, thanks for replying to my thread.

I realize this is an old post, but it’s something I can relate to, from the other side. I was a die-hard atheist for a long time, and I fell in love with a wonderful Catholic. Eventually, and perhaps inevitably, our relationship ended because I wasn’t sure I was okay raising Catholic children.

…I’m an idiot.

In my opinion, if she loves you, she’ll eventually understand how important it is to you, even if it takes years. Who knows, maybe she’ll even come to embrace Catholicism itself. If it happened to me, it can happen to Richard Dawkins… I’m sorry things are rough for you two, although I’m glad they’re looking better. Best of luck :slight_smile:


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