Rejoin the church?


#1

Hi.

I am 31 years old and I stopped going to church regularly when I was 14, other than the Holy Days during Christmas, Lent and Easter. I never receive the Eucharist when I do go to Church. I have never stopped believing in the foundations of Catholicism, nor in the loving, forgiving nature of Christ. I stopped going to church because I felt/feel that many Catholics are judgmental hypocrites while the Church is decked in opulence in concurrence with so much suffering, poverty and starvation in this world. I have kept a close relationship with God and Jesus.

My wife is atheist. We have no children yet. She would be willing to convert but without her truly believing, I must ask, what is the point? Honestly, my wife is more important to me than the church stating that my marriage isn’t valid in the eyes of God. Only God can judge me, not the church. We plan to raise our children Catholic but according to church teachings, if and when we have children, they would technically be born of fornicators and will be subject to eternal damnation. How could I possibly explain this to them? Could I even rejoin the church?

Would it be possible for me to rejoin the church, after professing my sins? What would the church advise regarding my marriage and possible children? How would it eve be possible to instill the foundations of Catholicism into my children?

**I’m not posting this for others to judge me… You are not God or Jesus… I’m looking for honest, theological advice and answers to my questions. **


#2

Awesome! Truly, we are members of the Church because of Christ, not because of other Catholics or Christians…

I stopped going to church because I felt/feel that many Catholics are judgmental hypocrites

That might be a good reason not to associate with them in certain contexts… but to stop going to church because of people? That’s like stopping eating because you find grocery store employees offensive! Doesn’t quite make sense… :shrug: (Yet, I do get what you’re saying – I made the same move away from the regular practice of my faith in my 20s…)

while the Church is decked in opulence in concurrence with so much suffering, poverty and starvation in this world.

So… you’ve given up your citizenship in the U.S., too, then, since there’s a whole boatload of opulence here, in spite of suffering, poverty, and starvation? :wink:

My wife is atheist. We have no children yet. She would be willing to convert but without her truly believing, I must ask, what is the point?

Right: a ‘fake’ conversion doesn’t do anyone any good. However, is it reasonable to re-state what she’s willing to do, in a different way? Are you saying that she’s willing to go along with your practice of the faith, for your sake or the sake of future children, although she’s not anticipating being converted? That’s a good thing… and a good start!

Honestly, my wife is more important to me than the church stating that my marriage isn’t valid in the eyes of God.

Of course, your marriage could be valid… you know that, right? You could get a Church wedding, which would be valid, or you could possibly get what’s known as a ‘radical sanation’, which would also mean that your marriage would be considered valid ‘in the eyes of the Church’.

We plan to raise our children Catholic but according to church teachings, if and when we have children, they would technically be born of fornicators and will be subject to eternal damnation. How could I possibly explain this to them?

That would be a tough one, wouldn’t it? On one hand, you value certain teachings of the Church; and on the other, you seem to have decided to disregard certain teachings of the Church. To “raise children Catholic”, one would expect that this would include regular attendance at Mass; are you willing to re-embrace your faith by attending Sunday Mass? If not, then it would seem that you’re trying to have it both ways – you want what you perceive to be good in the Church, but without any kind of commitment that would demonstrate to your children that you, too, believe in the things that they’re being taught. The problem, it seems, is the danger of a certain hypocrisy.

Would it be possible for me to rejoin the church, after professing my sins? What would the church advise regarding my marriage and possible children?

Yes; but, the Church would also ask that you regularize your marital situation. That might mean a convalidation of your marriage (presuming that there aren’t any impediments in your wife’s and your backgrounds (previous marriages, etc)) or a radical sanation. You could easily make an appointment with the pastor of a local parish and start this discussion with him…!

How would it eve be possible to instill the foundations of Catholicism into my children?

By living those ideals yourself! Sure, you’ll have to explain why Mommy doesn’t believe what Daddy believes, but that discussion will come around anyway, once they’re old enough to see the differences in what you two believe. (And, to tell the truth, once they’re old enough, and if they’re perceptive enough, you’ll still get the question, “Wait, Dad – you say that you’re Catholic, but you don’t go to church or anything. What’s up with that? Do you really believe what you say you believe?”, whether or not you put them in a Catholic environment for Catholic formation!)

So… you teach your children a faith tradition in the same way that you teach them anything: you put them into good, solid environments in which they’ll learn the values you wish to instill in them; and you, yourself, actually put into action those values which they are being taught, so that they see them in real-life application; and, in your active witness to the ideals they’re learning, you make the statement that there’s value and meaning for them in their personal application of the things that they’re being taught!


#3

Hello! Welcome to Catholic Answers. I will attempt to answer your questions to the best of my ability.

  1. I am sorry to hear that you stopped going to Church regularly. Although I am glad you have attempted to keep your relationship with Christ and live the commandments, I would encourage you to return to the Church! People can and will always fail us, but Jesus is always present for us in the sacrament of the Eucharist. The Church is the Body of Christ, authorized by him to carry out his mission.

  2. Your wife should not join the Church without believing everything that it professes. It would be very sacrilegious to attempt to join the Church without believing its teachings.

  3. I don’t know where you got your information, but your children would absolutely not be punished because of the actions of the parents. Children are never ever held responsible for what there parents have done. If you intend to raise them Catholic, your children should be able to be baptized in the Church like all the other Children.

  4. You are already a member of the Church. But you need to return to full communion/good standing. You need to make an appointment with a priest about this and discuss these issues with him, including the marriage issue.

  5. Your children will automatically become members in good standing when they are baptized.

In Conclusion, two more things:

  1. I just want to say it again: Whatever you choose or do not choose to do, your children can not be “subject to damnation” because of what someone else does. Those born out of wedlock are just as valuable and precious in the eyes of the Lord as other Children, and can be baptized Catholic if the parents intend to raise the Children Catholic.

  2. I would recommend you learn more about the Church for respectable sources! I am not sure how much catechesis you have had, but a reading a respectable source such as “The Compendium To The Catechism of the Catholic Church” might do you a lot of good.


#4

This will help: catholic.com/quickquestions/is-there-a-concise-way-to-respond-to-criticisms-of-the-churchs-wealth

The Church is one of the organizations that does the most for the Poor etc

Read that link from CA it can be of help.

I see others are helping with other aspects…I very much encourage you to sit down with a Priest…that too can help. You could also call the CA apologist line for a live conversation with an apologist.

I am not saying this so others do not respond here – all sorts of good advice is possible…just adding that in addition.

Jesus of Nazareth loves you. In him is true life (and thus in his Church).


#5

Converting would involve Faith. So perhaps she can begin (and you a well for her) to pray – for faith. If she would be willing to seek to convert with out believing - which is not really the way to go–she will be willing to pray for sure :slight_smile: Even if at this time she is a an atheist.

By the way - there were two Intellectuals – Jacques and Raissa Maritain. They become Catholic Christians and become great Catholic Intellectuals -and even at the moment just prior to baptism they experienced doubts --but they went ahead and received baptism…when baptized they vanished (the doubts -not them ;)) And they had great Faith.

I am not saying to have her be baptized…one really should as an adult “repent, believe and be baptized”…but simply giving their experience.

Faith is a gift. One we must cooperate with by grace -one we are open to. Both a gift and something that involves us.

It is so very good that she is willing to look into these things etc. Those who are say are open to gazing at a beautiful painting or listening to beautiful music or the beauty of nature - are more open to receiving that beauty within themselves. Of coming to know them selves-- that beauty.

It is above all the encounter with Jesus of Nazareth. In him is true life.


#6

A book of interest: conversiondiary.com/books

(hint: she was an atheist)


#7

You never really left the Church, canonically speaking. At worst, you have some sins in your soul that you ought to confess, so you need to take a deep test of conscience and confess the sin, get their absolution and take the Eucharist and it’ll be like you never left the Church in the first place. :thumbsup:
Additionally, if you’ve been a very long time away from the Church, it’d be a good thing to get an indulgence (no they’re not on sale :p). Here’s a list of how to receive them. :slight_smile:

On your marriage, the ideal situation was to sacramentalize it, but given that your wife is an atheist, I don’t really think there’s much of a problem in a civil marriage. But I’m no expert in Canon Law, so I’d recommend to ask an apologist here in CAF or look it up on the web. It’s usually not difficult. :wink:
On your wife, if her conversion is honest and she ends up believing in Christ, that’d be complete awesomeness, and it’d be no question about wheter she should do it or not. But if isn’t honest, I think your discouragement to do so would be better than allowing her to a secondary conversion that isn’t very truthful. :thumbsup:

On the topic of the fate of your kids, where on earth did you learn that as a “Church teaching”? Your children come primarily from God, and secondarily from you. Your actions don’t affect your children minimally, neither the circunstances of their birth or anything that happened before they reached the age of reason.

And one more thing…

I think anyone has the right to call you up when you’re faithful to Christ, and you’re not behaving like He told you to. We were told to look for each other, and that’s how people become saints. So the Church may not be God or Jesus, but She is His mystical
body and a certain amount of authority was given to Her, and calling for one’s sins seems more like charity and care towards your improvement on holiness than judgement. But you judge however you wish… But don’t complain afterwards that others are doing the same to you.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/t1/1475979_272319059584510_257155524_n.png

Sorry, but I had to put this after you called me and my fellas a bunch of judgemental hypocrites! :rolleyes:


#8

I think its great that someone wants to rejoin to the church. Best of luck and God bless :slight_smile:


#9

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