Teaching a convert

My husband is a recent convert to Catholicism. He entered the Church at the Easter Vigil last year. He says he converted because during Mass he felt better than during any other church service.

Still, he doesn’t understand many teachings of the Church, and therefore ignores them or, worse, disagrees with them. I do my best to explain them, and in a way it’s a blessing because it makes me take a deeper look at my faith and have to find the reasons that I believe the things I do.

But, it’s also placing a strain on our marriage. We practice NFP, but he’s always pressuring me to use barrier contraception during my fertile phase. He doesn’t understand my devotion to Mary, and even doesn’t know some basic universally Christian teachings about her (such as her virginity at the time of Christ’s conception and birth). He disagrees with me on what constitutes a sin (i.e. small lies that ‘hurt no one’ are not sins; big lies, especially those lies told to him by anyone, are sins). He won’t go to Confession (or watch our son so I can more easily go), because he doesn’t think either of us does anything ‘that bad’.

There are many more things that I could go into, but I think the general idea is clear. When I try to gently correct him or explain to him a Church teaching he appears to be listening (most of the time), but then doesn’t understand or goes on acting the same way. Sometimes when I correct him he acts as though it’s not my place to do so, and gets mad at me for pointing out his errors.

I have thought about purchasing books on Catholic doctrine and dogma for him to read, so it wouldn’t be just me telling him, but someone in authority, but I know he won’t read them (he has refused to read such books and others in the past). He has ADHD and, I suspect, dyslexia, so he finds reading difficult and doesn’t really absorb much of the information anyway. He also won’t talk about his ADHD, and refuses treatment.

So, advice? Has anyone had a similar experience? How do I present the information he needs to know in a way that he can learn it? How do I show him that I’m just trying to help him get to heaven?

Thank you!

Do you have a copy of the Catechism?
Actually, I think that would be the most effective in your situation. It’s not as much of a “book” as it is a “reference manual”. It’s very well organized and categorized into specific sections - so it may be easier for him to read considering the ADHD issues…
You can find a copy at most parishes!

There is a great book the USCCB puts out that is the Adult Catechism - it is a chapter by chapter explanation of the Catechism - he may find this easier to read. God bless,

If he has trouble reading, would he listen to a cd or an ipod? Lighthouse Catholic Media at www.lighthousecatholicmedia.com has a cd of the month club and you can order cd’s or mp3 files for all kinds of talks by well know speakers on all kinds of topics. Also, I recently heard Father Larry Richards at a conference and was very impressed. He recently wrote a book called “Be A Man!” It is available on his website in cd form as well. His website is www.thereasonforourhope.org. After you provide these resources, the most important thing to do is to pray that God will open his heart to hear. Ask St. Monica to pray with you.

Hope this helps!

Be patient with him. Remember that God is working on him and allow God’s timetable (not that you have a choice, you know…). Live your faith without pointing out where he’s got it wrong. He doesn’t have to agree with you on everything, but he has to allow you to live according to the teachings of the church. He may not think you need confession, but you do. Explain what it means to you and how it impacts you, not so that you can get him to confession, but so that he can understand that YOU need it. Johnette Benkovic spoke at a conference once about her situation, which sounded a lot like yours. She pointed out on a regular basis where her husband needed to change, and for some reason, he didn’t like that. (Go figure!) So be patient. Let God work on him. Talk about what YOU need to do, not about what HE needs to do. And pray constantly (fasting helps too).

There are programs on EWTN that I would recommend. (There are also programs on EWTN that will drive him up a wall.)

EWTN is also on youTube.

What your husband seems to have missed, is that our journey with Christ is an ongoing process of purification and deeper attachment to Him.

I’d recommend these EWTN programs:

“Journey Home” with clergy convert Marcus Grodi - new episodes are aired on Monday night but they also rerun and they are all available on EWTN youtube.

Father Corapi’s “Catechism” is also on EWTN.

“Crossing the Goal” is on EWTN and is a program designed to help men.

I just listened to 2 of these today - and they were FANTASTIC!!! “Theology of the Body” and one by Scott Hahn’s wife, forgot her name. Kathy? Anyway I picked them up at church last weekend and I’m going to join the club. Just wonderful teaching on these CDs.

By the way it’s lighthousecatholicmedia.org

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