What does one do if he/she falls in love with a non-catholic?

I was raised in a very traditional catholic family. My parents always taught us of the importance of the catholic faith and how we should find someone of the same religion to share our beliefs with. I was lucky enough to find that special someone. Together we had five beautiful children which we tried just as hard to teach them what we were taught about the catholic faith. Our children are all grown and date various people of different religions regardless of what we have told them of how difficult it may be if their relationships become serious. Last year one of my daughters got married to someone of a protestant faith outside of the catholic church. She then had a baby and the father refused to have the baby baptized or their marriage blessed within the catholic church. I was devistated as well was my mother and my siblings. They told my daughter that she and her daughter would never have a chance to make it to heaven to see God. They still don’t talk to her. Recently, my oldest daughter got engaged to a baptist who also refuses to marry, bless the marriage, or have their future children participate in the catholic faith. Again, I am devistated as well as my mother. I feel that I have failed in their teaching of the catholic faith. My mother and sister have expressed their feelings to her that she will not be recognized as part of this family any longer as they will no longer be able to find their way to god. I don’t know how to feel towards my family or children. I am so confused and lost in myself and for my family. I love my children and want them to be happy but I want them to continue to belong to the Catholic church. By changing or losing their faith would god reject them even though they still believe but don’t participate in the sacraments? My mother now says that Catholics are the only ones guaranteed salvation in heaven. Is this really true? Please give me some guidance.

We all find our way to God when God shows us our way; in and outside of our religious practices. The grace we receive through Mass and our Catholic faith is not to be confused with our direct connection to God ~ God is in our hearts and we are not to judge others ~ lest we be judged. Love all of your children; be thankful for their faith in God and pray they will find their way back to the Catholic faith. Don’t ostracize their new families or exclude them from their family (you); these are opportunities to love them back to the church and live the example Christ taught so that your Protestant children can learn from your example the beauty of the real church and want what you have.

Firstly, No - it is not just catholics who go to heaven. There is nothing whatsoever in catholic theology that suggests this, and your family who have shut out your children because they won’t be going to heaven are in error on this point.

Secondly, you may or may not have done a good job at educating your children, but no matter how good a job you did, when they are adults it is up to them. You cannot force your own faith onto them, and you must respect their right to make their own choices. You can still be an example to them of the catholic faith and where relevant provide advice and support to them if they want to practice it more fully.

As a parent, I encourage you to love your children, accept their choices (within reason), and remain part of their lives. Your family who have cut them off are not practicing the true catholic faith by doing so. You should not follow their lead, or feel pressured by them to do so. If you cut them out for turning away from the catholic faith, you will almost certainly reinforce any negative opinions that they and their partners hold. Be an example of non-judgemental love to them.

If you are concerned that their turning from the catholic faith has distanced them from God, the best remedy you have is prayer. Pray for them, that God will love them and bring them into a true faith in Him.

My heart goes out to you as regards your children’s marrying outside of the Catholic faith. Today’s generation of young adults live in a far different world from the one that you may have grown up in. The values and traditions of the church you knew and loved are not necessarily the values and traditions of this generation.

As a Catholic, you’re probably feeling guilty over this, but if your children are adults, they are now responsible for their own salvation. What you can do for them as a parent however, is to always pray for them, no matter what. I don’t think it’s a matter of getting them back to the church so much as getting them back to God.

Just because you’re a Catholic doesn’t mean you’re saved. Being Catholic is a path to salvation that can lead you to God but it requires more than Sunday church attendance. Going to church on Sunday is the place where we come to find God in praise and worship, but it’s also what we do after Mass that counts as well. I don’t think Catholics will get to heaven based on their church attendance but rather on how well they loved. We are the Body of Christ and even though Jesus has resurrected to heaven, He still works through His people to spread the message of the Good News to those around us-namely our family, friends and yes, even our enemies.

So, while there is no question Jesus established the church, sometimes we can get too comfortable thinking that being Catholic is our salvation. In the end, we will not be judged according to our religion but on our faith in God and our love towards our neighbor. The bible says, “without faith it is impossible to please God” and also, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). Jesus came to simplify the Good News for us, all we have to do is turn to Him–He has ALL the answers.

If your mother is cutting off members of the family who marry outwith the Catholic Church, how can she reconcile that with loving our enemies as Christ told us to. As other posters have said, it isn’t just Catholics who go to Heaven, and being Catholic isn’t an automatic ticket either.

This must be giving the non-Catholics who have married into your family an awful idea of what the Catholic Church actually is. they must see it as a religion of prejudice, hate and rejection. Is it any wonder they have refused to have anything to do with it?

Pray for your daughters and speak to your priest. Perhaps he can talk to your mother and get her to change her behavior and apologize to your daughters. Christ tells us that if we don’t love our brother whom we can see, how can we love God who we can’t see.

As a convert, I have to say if this had been my experience of Catholicism, I’d certainly never have joined.

Do you know the church teaching on marriage outside the Catholic faith?

Have you ever heard the expression, “God has no grandchildren.”

thread title does not address the family drama described in the thread, which seems to be more about control issues than it does religion.

What a Catholic does who falls in love with a non Catholic who wants to force the Catholic to give up her religion is to run, don’t walk, away.

What a Catholic does who has left the Church, rejected her faith (and her family) for the sake of the non-Catholic spouse who is dictating her own conscience is get counselling. That is out of the control of the OP however.

What the OP does about malicious family members who are attacking her and her daughter is in their control. The daughter is free to cut those people out of her life, but at a great cost. The mother can and should say something to those relatives.

All concerned should read Patrick Madrid’s Search and Rescue, the best book on the topic of what to say, and more important, what not to say, in these situations. The malicious relatives may be responsible for destroying what chance and impulse the daughter might have to return to the faith by their words. Before any of the
Catholic relatives go about dictating to others on the basis of what the Church teaches about salvation, they had better get it right themselves, because they are way off base and show a clear misunderstanding of the teaching.

I have 6 children , 5 who are married (3 who married non Catholics) Yes it is easier when you marry in the faith, but I guess I am the lucky one, because my sons-in laws and daughter in law, see the value in raising the children Catholic. They were all married in the Church because they know and understand the love my children have for the Church. I pray every day for their conversion and know that when they are ready , they will have our love and support. If they do not convert, they still have our love and support…
When they were dating and preparing for marriage, knowing that we are strong Catholics, we told them and their parents we are not here to force you to become Catholic, that is not our job but the Holy Spirit’s. I think that took a lot of pressure off them. They attend Church with their spouses occasionally Our son’s wife is active in the Catholic school that they send their children too, so I just keep praying for their conversion.

I guess I’m the odd person out on this one. Maybe it’s beause I haven’t been called to marriage, I don’t know. But it seems to me that the primary purpose of marriage is to raise children; after all, falling in love as a basis for marriage is a relatively new phenomenon, historically speaking (or so I’ve read). That being the case, the person falling in love with an unbeliever needs to let the head prevail over the heart, for “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, RSV)

Whatever happened to “Do not be mismated with unbelievers?” (2 Corinthians 6:14, RSV)

As for how to deal with children who do this, I don’t know what to say.

either convert the person or fall out of love real quick to save yourself alot of problems

Would your relatives who have cut off your daughter think this is a good prayer… That every separated brother outside the Catholic faith, who love scripture, who love Christ, who seek His will in their life, would come to love Christ in the Eucharist? Can you imagine how the Church would change if people like this came into the Church with a love and zeal for the Eucharist? Wow. These in-laws who married a Catholic may have that ‘insider’ that can gently bring them in to the Church. They may one day have a great zeal for all things Catholic when they understand who and what she is. Cutting them off seems like they have no vision of what may be in 10 years from now. Their actions may have well frustrated the Holy Spirit doing a work in that family.

However, that said, I always encourage young Catholics to seek other Catholics to marry so that they can enjoy the sacraments together, grow in holiness together through the years, and bring up their children with one heart. In our Eastern Rite, I LOVE seeing toddlers learning how to kiss the icons, and do the sign of the cross onto daddy’s head like the priest does. Brings me to tears. If I, who love poorly and selfishly can be moved to tears at the sight, I wonder what God our Father must feel!

No, I haven’t. What’s it mean?

:thumbsup:Marry her. Why does everyone think that you can only marry a catholic? God sends people to certain people who He thinks will be great in their lives. Good luck. I have had this deleted several times. I hope it is posted now. God bless you!

It means even devout and real catholic grandparents have some success passing the faith onto their children. The children are less devout, and more like luke warm. They typically go to church every sunday and that is about it. Their children, the grandchildren of the devout couple, are even more secular. It has the effect that the third generation rarely has anyone that can be classified as being in the state of grace upon death. In other words, they most likely spend eternity in hell. Hence, God has no grandchildren.

It is not a rule without exceptions of course but holds in most cases. It is more like words of wisdom. Take the typical family of today for example. A majority of catholic women that attend mass regularly (every sunday that is) use contraception. A slight majority will vote for a pro-abortion candidate when a viable alternative is on the ballot in America. This is also grave matter but most ignore the church statements on the matter.

Can you imagine what the next generation will be like?

I don’t think the main problem is your children’s marriage, I think the main problem is how the religion was taughg to you (and consequently how it was passed to your children0.

A ‘traditional’ Catholic family is basically just that. They go through the motions because it is a tradition. A practicing Catholic family on the other hand tries their best to follow God’s ways. If your mom can be so bold (and incorrect) as to tell people they will go to Hell for leaving their faith, she obviously is NOT practicing and has totally missed the point.

And that is the problem. Parents need to teach children to discern God’s will. There is NOTHING wrong with marrying a non-Catholic. Case in point, the church marries a non-Catholic to a Catholic all the time. Parents should NOT tell you who to marry.

You brought up your children in a very different time than you grew up in. Years ago young adults listened to their parents. Society now encourages people to find their own way. Which is a good thing. God wants us to come to Him out of a free choice, not because we were ordered to do so. Parents need to pray for their kids and pray for acceptance of their choices.

WIth all due respect that decision is between your daughter and no one else. Your mom and siblings have no right to judge

Unless they repent, they will have to answer for that on judgement day

Love your children. Also, it appears your mom and siblings have some co-dependant issues they need to look at. Set you boundaries with them

The phrase actually means that every person is a child of God. No exceptions.

I can perhaps speak from the daughters POV.

I married a non-Catholic. He, at that time, was against all things religious. He and his parents have had some very negative experiences with in the church(Non catholic churches), some I’m told are very disturbing, hence the hesitancy with being part of a church community.

The Catholic church at that time we were getting married, insisted if we were to marry in the church, he’d have to convert(yes, I know NOW, this is false), so we didn’t marry at church, at any church, just a civil ceremony. My mom told me that my grandma(a very devout Catholic), was worried because the church wouldn’t recognize it, mom told me not to worry, that was just old fashioned thinking.(she was wrong)

I fell away from the Catholic faith, yet, when it came to school, our kids went to Catholic schools. God has been working on my gently for a long time.

When I took the girls out of school last year, they registered with a Catholic homeschooling board. I initially wanted secular curricula, then it was Christian, and now it’s fully Catholic(in just a short period of a year, the changes were huge). I’m struggling! It’s a lot of learning for me. I’m always reading ahead, trying to have any answers for any questions they may have.

And in this journey, I realized that the exact thing I was avoiding due to misinformation and outside misinformed influence, was exactly what I did need and want.

I am back. I’m learning, praying, and in the pews most Sundays with 1-4 children. I will not force them to come with, I allowed the older 2 the choice, they often come on their own.

My younger kids are now registered in RCIC in the fall. I’m prying my elder ones will chose to go to RCIA. I will sit through the classes with them in support of them if they chose to do so. If they do not, they’ll be in my prayers, as they are now, to find their path to God.

I have met with the parish priest, I am setting my spiritual life right. I am going to be speaking with dh about getting the marriage blessed. I hope he agrees, if not, well, we’ll deal with that when we get there.

So even with your children marrying non-Catholics, it doesn’t mean they will never return. They just need to find their path. God will be whispering to their hearts, they’ll just need to be ready to listen.

As to the grandmother and aunt, it is petty. But with time, perhaps they’ll accept that not everyone takes the same path.

My grandmother never disowned me. She accepted all my choices, bad as they were at that time. Even when I was a young single parent, she never passed judgement, she simply told me, she was proud I was taking care of my responsibility so well, that her great-grandchild was so well loved, she told me to pray and she’d be praying for me. She was very devout, mother of 17, with most of her children being ‘cultural’ Catholics, if they practiced at all. She loved each and everyone of them. She worried for them, prayed for them, even was disappointed in them, but she never gave up.

She was my biggest influence, but I still needed to find my own path. I’ve taken one filled with twists, curves, broken bridges, roadless/pathless mountains that have seemed insurmountable. But I’ve made my way back, I think she’d be proud.

Still lots to do, but I am back. I guess this ramble, is simply, one never knows the path.

The only concern I’d have is if the spouse/fiance is insisting she cannot go to the Catholic church. Where one chooses to worship is a personal choice, and should not be dictated. If she wants to experience another Christian religion, then let her. She’ll find everything she isn’t looking for and eventually find her way home.

@cominghomecc–you are probably coming home because of her continued prayers.


Awww… thank you for the reminder. I miss her so much.

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