Serious dilema regarding marriage and child


Sorry, this is really long…

I am Catholic. My husband is a non-denominational fundamental Christian. He was baptized Lutheran. He listens to Baptist programs on tv and the radio and he attends non-denominational services on Sundays.

We were originally married civilly, and at the time, he told me we could have our marriage blessed in the Church. I told him this was essentail to me. He said that it was important to him too that we be married in the eyes of God and the Church and that he considered Catholics “Christian” so he would be ok with it. We were supposed to do this in August and had already met with my priest. (I will continue now to meet with him on my own to get some counseling on all this as well).

He told me last night that “it was no reflection on my faith” but his “convictions” did not allow for him to stand up in a Catholic Church in front of a Catholic priest. I stopped him and said that I would appreciate him not saying it was not a reflection on my faith, because it is a direct reflection on his beliefs of what Catholics are and are not (which is not based on any truth whatsoever, only on what he has been told). But that is a different issue.

Orignially, our different faiths were not a huge obstacle because I saw that at least we would be in a valid marriage. We had also decided not to have children and so we could both practice our faiths separately, which is not ideal, but it was what it was.

Complicating matters is the fact that I am now pregnant (3 months). This has led to serious issues already because he has adamantly said he will not allow the children to be raised Catholic (though he doesn’t even know what it means, only what he has been told it means by his pastors). His newest revelation to me that he refuses to be married in the church has taken on even more signifance now.

I know that I am not allowed to receive communion as I am in an invalid marriage and a state of mortal sin. My first question is can I remedy this when my husband absolutely refuses to make our marriage valid? Is there some kind of dispensation I can apply for?

Also, I am sincerly struggling with the fact that my child will not be raised Catholic. He will not allow the baby to be baptized. I am now full of sorrow and guilt that I am going to be responsible for my child not being raised in the faith because when I married my husband I didn’t consider our religious differences to be a large issue.

And don’t get me wrong, my husband is a very good man and I love him. I don’t know that I consider divorce and then confirmation of the invalidity of our union an option. Especially now that I am pregnant. He means well and feels he has a strong faith. I will give him that and only comment that it is strong in what it is, but very incomplete and somewhat illogical. Like most fundamental Christians, his knowledge of scripture is immense, but there seems a valid disconnect between what he professes and what he sometimes says and does in real life.

I know there are no real answers to my problem. I know it will take prayer and faith and humilty to try and work through it and I am grateful I have my family and my parish priest, who is awesome. But I just wanted to see what other people thought about all this. As I said, I am very distraught at the moment, as it all seems so hopeless and I take the responsibility of my child SO GREATLY.

I will be attending a St. Monica’s group at Church that my mother helped found. So that is at least something. Thanks everyone for letting me talk. Again, sorry for the length.



**I’m sorry:console:

I don’t have anything to offer but my prayers for you and your child and your husband.**


Prayers are good! I will take as many as I can get :slight_smile:


Go talk to your priest.

Radical sanation may be an option BUT as others with hostile spouses have found out the hard way… it may not be something you want to pursue until you are sure there is no divorce looming.

Also, your and his intention against children could have consituted a defect of intent.

This is something you really need to talk to a person about, not the forum. Not because we don’t want to help, but anything we say is mere speculation.

I am very sorry about your situation. Don’t take “no” for an answer on baptism. Keep bringing it up with your DH. Get literature on the faith that responds to his fundamentalist beliefs.

And, above all, PRAY.


No. I know. I don’t expect real answers, just wanted to hear what people thought mostly. My priest and I have already set another meeting, but he is in Ireland right now. So I just thought I would throw my situation out there.

I intend to try and work it out the best I can and do EVERYTHING I can to see if there is a way to get my child baptized and such. I appreciate peoples input though, just to get different perspectives.


You also have my prayers.

It seems almost certain you do not currently have a valid marriage with defect of form (Catholic marrying outside of Church) and defect of intent (intention against children).

Before doing anything to contract a valid Catholic marriage, you have to decide if this union will work long term. As of now, you could likely get a degree of nullity easily.

I won’t give any advice, but I will say that I (personally) could not be married to anyone who would prevent me from raising my child as a Catholic.

God Bless and I will pray for you.


As of now she would not need a decree of nullity since her marriage is doesn’t enjoy any presumption of validity.


If she was civily married and later wanted to marry someone else in the Church she would need a decree. However, it would be very simple to get. She would just need to show proof of Catholic Baptism and that the wedding was civil. The paperwork can be completed in a matter of weeks.

This happened with my sister’s husband. He had been baptized, but not raised, Catholic, and married (and divorced) civily. He still needed the decree but the parish priest was able to obtain it readily with just a little paperwork.

God Bless


As a recent convert who can explain the ins and outs of the fundamentalist lies please feel free to PM me and I’ll send you my email so he can write :slight_smile:

In the mean time, go buy him Born Fundamentalist Born Again Christian and just ask him to read it with an open mind. That should at least make him want to do some research rather than listening to the BS he is hearing from people at his Church who have no clue.


PS - My best friend is Evangelical and has totally changed his understanding of the Church, my mom is life long Baptist and is considering conversion as well.

In the meantime I will be praying for you, your husband and child.


Thanks, Joe.

It is hard. He won’t even talk to me about it. We can’t have a religious discussion because deep down he doesn’t believe I am capable of having them or of having a relationship with God. He would never say that to my face, but I know that is how he feels and I know what he has been told. Sometimes I get confused as to why he asked me to marry him when he feels that way deep down about Catholics. He says he doesn’t, but his words and actions show the opposite. I didn’t know that until we were already married and started to live together, he kind of hid the way he really felt before that - and I guess to I wasn’t directly challenging him with my faith, you know.

I am not mad at him, I guess more just sad for him. I mean I know he must be really torn. He loves me and he knows I am a good person and same with my family, yet we are all Catholic and that is kind of a dichotemy for him. I understand where he is coming from in terms of what he hears. He means well and thinks he is right. But yeah, things have totally changed now for me with the baby.

I will look into that book. He would not read it though, I already know that, but maybe it would be good for my own edification. And maybe I could leave it out and he would pick it up…but if I gave it to him and asked him to read it…oh, would there be a fight.

Thanks for the prayers, we will need them.


Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.


While a particular diocese may go that route, simply documenting the facts of the invalid marriage by the priest may be all that is required as the bishop informed my pastor who was preparing to submit a petition to the Tribunal. After checking for record of a dispensation from canonical form and finding that such was never granted, the bishop said, “This marriage was invalid, just record the facts, no need involve the Tribunal.”


Hindsight is great isn’t it? I will keep your family in my prayers so that you can all come to know, love and serve the Lord together.
God bless you and try to have some peace until you can talk to your Pastor (I wish I was in Ireland.):smiley:


I’m sorry this is happening to you. My daughter was civilly married to a Methodist man who promised that she could raise the child she was carrying Catholic, and that they would have their marriage blessed. Then, he wanted to hold off. Every time it was another excuse. Another baby came, and then he wanted to do the whole thing when they “had enough money to do it right so my family can give us presents” (baptize two children and get the marriage blessed). His mother was influencing him the whoel time. Even tough Methodists as a whole have no problem with Catholics, this guys was from a small place in Pennsylvania, and their type of Methodist did. Long story short, he left, she had the kids baptized Catholic. So, I feel for you.

This is what canon law says:
Can. 868 §1. For an infant to be baptized licitly:
1/ the parents or at least one of them or the person who legitimately takes their place must consent;
2/ there must be a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion; if such hope is altogether lacking, the baptism is to be delayed according to the prescripts of particular law after the parents have been advised about the reason.
Note- His permission is not necessarily necessary. Will it create a giant shockwave if you do it without his consent? Most likely. Will the priest who baptizes need some sort of founded hope that the child wil be raised Catholic? Most definitely.

If it was me? You’re only 3 months along (congratulations). According to my count, you’re not due until late December or January. Wait on your priest to come back from Ireland. Sort it out with him, or another priest. Maybe one of them can sit down with him and pinpoint hs objections, explain things to him- If he’ll sit down with them.You’ll have to insist he go with you, perhaps on the basis that he first promised you that the children could be raised Catholic. Keep going to the St. Monica’s group.

Men become strange when they become fathers. :wink: You might gently remind him that your life is changing as well as his.


If I were you, I would continue to love and pray for my husband, and live peacably with him. However, you should refrain from sexual relations since you as a Catholic are not validly married.
You also have a responsibility to your baby to have him/her baptized and raised in the Catholic Church, regardless of what your husband says. If he is a reasonable man, and he sounds like a nice person, surely he will understand what you are trying to convey.
Sit down first and write down the key points you think you should cover. It will help clarify your mind. Remind him of his promise to you and tell him that for YOU it is essential.
He’ll probably refuse to listen at first, but stick to your guns and do what is right in the eyes of God.
That’s what I did and my husband is now a fervent Catholic. (It took several years but he finally saw that I was totally serious.)
Hugs and prayers,


Well, that might be enough alone to make him re-think his position. I mean not to manipulate, but if you are going to be a practicing Catholic, this is appropriate. I would also remind him of the agreement he made with you and let him know you are going to hold him to it.

And if he is learning about Catholicism from his non-denom preachers, you should suggest that he goes and learns about the Catholic church from the Catholic church. Prayers for you…


Wow… real catch, this guy.

You sure you want to stay “married” to a person who has such a low opinion of your capabilities? What will he do to your Catholic child if he believes this? What else does he think you incapable of?

This man has no respect for you. Be prepared for that to raise its ugly head on other issues before long.

No advice, but prayers…


Well, it’s not really like that. Although I can understand how it could sound that way. But if you have had experience with fundamentalist or Protestant Christians, they are not bad people who disrespect others and are selfish and what-not…at least not on purpose. Most are really good people who mean well and truly, often have a good faith. Like I said before, it is just incomplete and skewed and a bit illogical. They also don’t quite get that judging others or condeming others is not really Christ-like.

My husband is a very good man. I would not have married him otherwise. He does love me and he does love our child. But he has been taught that Catholicsm is bad and wrong and he has accepted that. He has fashioned his whole life around his beliefs as a Protestant Christian and I am seriously challenging those. Many Protestant Christians can’t have religious conversations with Catholics - we scare them, what we believe in (or what they have been told we believe in) scares them. Alot of there doctrine is illogical and not based on historical reference. They just quote scripture at you, but can’t really talk. So it’s not that he’s bad, just confused. And with all due respect to him, he feels he is right. I just happen to disagree.

Am I extremely disappointed that I felt I was lied too and that he should have made it clear in the beginning that he refused instead of pretending he would? Yes, I am. I am deeply concerned about the religious issues that have come up so vehemently with the pregnancy? Yes, I am.

But please, I don’t want anyone to think he is a bad person or that I feel he is. It is just a very challenging spot we have found ourselves in and I am hurt and having to re-evaluate a lot. I don’t plan on giving up. Marriage is a committment and I will do my best to honor that, honor my faith, and honor my child. That will not be easy here, undoubtedly. But leaving is not necessarily the answer either.

Thanks everyone. I love to get feedback. It’s nice to hear what others think.



Maybe buy a copy of Rome, Sweet Home by Scott Hahn. He was a Presyterian minister and apologist before he converted to Catholicism. The Surprised by Truth series by Patrick Madrid also has a lot of former Evangelicals and other Protestants who tell what about Catholicism made them see the error in the things they had been taught about it. Or Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating, which directly addresses attacks on Catholicism and refutes them.


Marriage is a committment

yes it is. but as a Catholic, you are neither validly nor sacramentally married.

another poster advised you live in peaceful abstinance. i agree with this suggestion wholeheartedly until you can be sacramentally married.

in the meantime, and during your pregnancy, storm the gates of heaven. pray ten or fifteen or twenty decades daily. confess often. attend Mass as often as possible. receive Jesus in the Eucharist. choose a patron saint for him and seek intercession non-stop. recommend him to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. ask his guardian angel to increase his intercession. thank his guardian angel for being so faithful.

may your family live in peaceful unity of faith. in Jesus’ Most Holy Name. amen.

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