So discouraged: NonCatholic dad and Catholic mom

If both father and mother attended church regularly then 33 per cent of their children became regular churchgoers, a further 41 per cent irregular attenders and about a quarter not practising at all.

  • If the mother was a regular church attender but the father irregular then only 3 per cent of their children became regular church attenders, 59 per cent irregular attenders and 38 per cent non-attenders.
  • If the father was non-practising and the mother regular only 2 per cent of children were regular and 37 per cent irregular church attenders. 61 per cent did not attend church at all.
  • Surprisingly, if the father is a regular church attender the children’s religious practice varied in an inverse relationship to their mothers’ practice. If the mother was regular 33 per cent of children were regular. If she was an irregular attender then 38 per cent of children were regular. If the mother was non-practising then 44 per cent of children became regular attenders.
  • Even when the father is an irregular attender and the mother non- practising 25 per cent of the children were regular attenders and 23 per cent irregular attenders.

In summary, if a father does not go to church, no matter how regular the mother is in her religious practice, only one child in 50 becomes a regular church attender. But if a father attends regularly then regardless of the practice of the mother at least one child in three will become a regular church attender.

So, because when I was 22 and an uncatechized Catholic, I married a wonderful but not religious man, my kids have all the odds stacked against them.


Is your husband Catholic and not religious or not catholic and not religious?

Dont worry about if you are catechized yet. You can take care of that.
Dont worry about polls and statistics.

Worry about what you can do, get yourself if you have not already more comfortable with your faith.

Show your children by example what it is to live your faith out.

Pray for your husband. Netilsmom did it. Her story is very compelling.

Start any thread you want and vent anytime, you are not going to give up on those kids, and neither will we!:slight_smile:


Honestly, sometimes I think it’s a crapshoot. My father was one of seven kids in a very traditional and conservative Mexican-Catholic family. His parents insisted on Sunday Mass attendance and religious devotion. Maybe two of those seven kids are regular Mass attendees. One has converted to a Pentacostal church. I’m one of the only cousins on that side of the family who is involved in any church- another cousin and his family are Evangelical Protestants, but I think that’s about it. My parents attend Mass probably a couple of times per month, and I’m pretty sure they don’t go to confession. This was pretty much the normal pattern throughout my childhood. Somehow they managed to produce a kid who firmly believes in Church teaching, attends Mass every Sunday and Holy day, and who goes to confession regularly.

I also married a non-religious non-Catholic. He’s the grandson of a very devout Congregational minister, and when he was growing up, his father was one of the elected officials of their congregation. DH was pretty much raised in his church, almost literally. So far I have been unable to convince him to darken the door of any church unless it’s Christmas, Easter, a wedding, or a funeral. I just keep praying and thanking God that 1) he doesn’t stand in the way of my faith or religious practice, and 2) he is totally fine with us raising any children we might be blessed with in the Catholic church. And of course 3) he was fine with dropping artificial birth control in favor of NFP even before we found out we were infertile. After some of the things I’ve heard from friends who married Catholics-in-name-only, I’m so grateful for my DH.

Love God with all your heart, mind, and strength, and put your love for your children into living actions. Just live your faith and have faith. Let the kids know that living your faith is an expression of your love for God and His love for you. Let there be joy in your and their expression of faith.

Statistics are just numbers. Love your children, live your faith, seek out opportunities for your children to experience their faith at their level, and let God handle the rest.


Statistics are meaningful, but they do not determine your destiny or that of your children. Having the knowledge is a large advantage-- you know you have to compensate for an irreligious husband and that might make all the difference.

There are always exceptions and I’m sure you will find lots of people on CA who came from backgrounds who defy the statistics.

Do not let these sorts of articles discourage you. Prayer is a powerful weapon and can overcome many obstacles.

One thought here is that it looks simply at church attendence. It does not consider how actively the faith is practiced at home. Does the family regularly pray together? Or is mass their only religious activity of the week?

Obviously, in families where one member is not practicing the faith, it is less likely that the children will be consistently involved in the faith and will more likely to see Church as an obligation. I wonder how that statistics would be if the question included, prayed with the family regularly at home?


Pretend you are planning a vacation to Florida. You check the weather reports and there is a high possibility of a hurricane. Perhaps you would re-think the travel plans.

Now, if you took the same trip to Florida but were not aware the weather forecast. You end up seeing some storm clouds in the distance. Well, you just begin to make plans to deal with the storm if it hits.

If you were contemplating marriage to a someone who did not share your faith, there is time to change the plans.

Now, you find some statistics but you are married and committed. The thing to do is pray and work hard.

My own DH was raised by a non-churchgoing set of parents, he converted in his late 30’s after more than a decade of marriage… he now is a heck of a practicing Catholic! People beat statistics every day.

My mother is Catholic, but my father is Lutheran. He is religious, though. We attend church with him on Sunday’s as well as my own Catholic church. He attends with us.

If anything, it has made me sort of stronger in the faith, because i know what is true. The Catholic church is, of course. I’m just hoping my dad will come to realize this as well.

Don’t worry, it will be fine. My family is fine.

Best wishes!!:slight_smile:

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