Should I attend my wife's Evangelical church?


#1

My wife and I were married in a Catholic church. After 18 years of marriage, my wife left the Catholic Church and joined and Evangelical church, taking our three children with her. This has become a major conflict in our marriage. Over the past four years she has become very critical of me. She has come to terms with her hatred of me and the Catholic Church and is trying to be kinder towards me. She is still trying to create doubts in my Catholic faith. Now she is asking that I attend her church (as well as my Catholic church) so that I will support my children and her. Is this okay within Catholic doctrine?


#2

Ordinarily speaking, a Catholic – especially one in an interfaith marriage – is permitted to attend Protestant services occasionally as long as he does not receive Protestant communion and as long as he meets his Sunday obligation to go to Mass. (This can be done by going to the vigil Mass on Saturday if need be.)

However, in your case, I cannot recommend attending your wife’s church. Because of the history involved with her having left the Catholic Church, having converted your children, and having pressured you to join her church, this appears to be an unsubtle attempt to continue to seek your conversion away from Catholicism. Unless and until she accepts the fact of your Catholic commitment and ceases to attempt to plant doubts and to attempt to convert you, attending her church would very likely only fuel the campaign for your conversion and give her reason to hope that you might be persuaded to change your mind.

I strongly recommend that you seek counseling from a Catholic marriage counselor. I recommend asking your wife to join you, but if she will not join you, that is certainly her prerogative. Even so, you should still seek such Catholic marriage counseling for yourself. You can obtain a referral through your pastor, through the Pastoral Solutions Institute, or through CatholicTherapists.com.

Recommended reading:

A Marriage Saved in Heaven by Robin Maas
The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur by Elisabeth Leseur


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