Secretly Catholic


Is it a sin to not tell your wife and family that you’ve converted to the Catholic faith. I understand that it is a sin to lie but if no one asks you directly is it a mortal sin to just not mention it? Of course, this is not at all in the spirit of the faith and I know Catholics are meant to spread the gospel. But isn’t it a matter of prudential judgement when and how one does that?



I don’t know it’s a sin but it seems like a very important thing to keep from your wife.


It is probably not a mortal sin, though you might want to ask your priest. But Jesus said “Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory . . .”

It is indeed a matter of prudential judgement when and how to tell your family about your conversion. But why would you not tell your wife, or at least discuss it with her? Why did you not mention to her previously that you were considering conversion?

I can think of some possible reasons-- maybe she was raised in a virulently anti-Catholic family and you’re afraid of losing her?

But you will have to tell her eventually. Why not bring up the idea to help her get used to it?

You might want to read "Rome Sweet Home " by Scott Hahn. His wife was utterly opposed to his conversion. Their story might be helpful.
God bless.


I can’t imagine how this even works- how should a person living with you not notice you have catechesis, go to church, fast, pray?
And more important, if you don’t trust your spouse enough to share this, you probably have bigger problems in your marriage than disagreement on faith issues. When I entered catechumenate, I was a bit nervous of my DH reaction, but I was sure he would support me.


That reminds me of when my grandmother converted. She was a Methodist. Then one day out of the blue she went to the communion rail to receive communion. That was how the family learned that she had converted.


Where do you live?


I don’t believe it is a sin not to tell your family. My concern is why you are not telling them. I would be happy to announce that I have come to the Catholic faith. Something or rather someone has brought you to the Peace and the Love of Jesus… To share that with your loved ones should bring you joy and pray that they may come with you. My prayers are with you. God bless you.:butterfly:


One paragraph isn’t sufficient. This is obviously a layered and loaded question. There must be much more here as to why you wouldn’t tell your wife or family and kept your conversion a secret.

So, this is something to talk to your pastor about in real life. This isn’t something people on the internet can simply tell you “yes” or “no” about after reading less than 50 words about it.

Don’t ask these sorts of complex questions here. Talk to your pastor.


Invite her to come to Mass with you. She’ll find out then.


Hi 1ke,

Thanks for your reply.

I should have clarified that I am not actually Catholic - I’m seriously thinking about becoming one and have been for a while but right now I’m just asking questions and trying to learn as much as I can.


Why would you be contemplating keeping this a secret then?

Talk to your local Catholic pastor about this.


Hi Viki63,

Thank you for your reply.

I’m not Catholic but I have told her that I’ve been thinking about converting and it has caused a bit of tension as she and her family are all atheists and fairly anti-Christian. I think she has accepted that it might happen and I think would work out but right now it’s just something we’re sort of avoiding talking about. We will definitely talk about it more, if and when I feel certain that I want to convert. Right now I’m just asking questions and trying to learn as much as I can. I was really asking from more of a “technical” point of view, for want of a better word! I absolutely hate the idea of going behind her back but it’s just something that pops in to my head every now and then.


Because I’m weak, 1ke!

I don’t intend to actually convert and live secretly as a Catholic. It’s just a silly thought that pops into my head every now and again and I was just curious as to whether it would be technically possible and/or morally licit.


This is why I encourage you to talk to your pastor IRL and discuss your reasons.

We simply cannot give you an answer.

There may be times that keeping conversion a secret is warranted-- people living in China, North Korea, the Middle East, an abusive situation, and more that are less “severe” than these examples but real issues nonetheless.

There are times when it probably is not warranted.

We can’t speak to your situation. You need pastoral advice to address your situation and your fears.

I know you want a “yes” or “no”, but it’s not a yes or no question.


No, I’m quite pleased with the responses I’ve received, I would have been very disappointed had I only received a yes or no.

I understand that for my specific situation only talking to a pastor IRL is sufficient. However, for now, I’m just interested in the abstract/theoretical sense and to that end your response has been very thought-provoking, so I appreciate you taking the time to respond.


Another important reason to tell your wife would be that there are certain moral practices you are expected to observe as a Catholic (particularly related to the lack of artificial contraception) that you really need your wife to agree to.


Thank you for sharing about your journey! Jesus Christ will give you compassion and courage on your way. Show your wife much love and compassion, emphasize her good qualities and character! Focus on what you have in common not what separates you. Don’t hide, let her see your light! Let her be glad you’re becoming a Christian because it makes you a better man. That is your first step, that your wife sees you are a more loving man because of Christ, not that you’ve studied some books. Praying for you!


Yes, this really is the biggest road block.


Yes, I feel that, even though I am not yet Catholic, I have become a better man just from studying the faith and trying to live as closely as I can to the Christian ideal. Obviously, I am nowhere near that ideal but a tiny bit closer than before and I can feel the positive effects already.

I have talked to her about it but it is difficult because she and her family are all sceptics and think Catholics are in some sense backward. There are many prejudices and misconceptions I will have to untangle but the thing is I am still trying to untangle them myself as I, too, have spent most of my life as an atheist.

It will all take time and much patience but I feel optimistic!


Thank you for sharing! Yes there is a stereotype that Christians are rather dopey and the real intelligent people are athiests. I guess I’m happy to be a dopey one then!

I will pray for your discernment as you make this journey forward. Your wife is key, her family quite secondary but you already knew that.

It depends on the strength if her objections. Does she mind Christian objects in your home? Would she watch a faith based movie with you? You know her best, most spouses are afraid of losing the other.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit