What Prevents Non Catholic Spouse from RCIA


If you are not Catholic and married to a Catholic, what is preventing you from enrolling in RCIA? I met a couple this week at Mass, he is Catholic and she is not. They have been married 30+ years and both attend Mass together. We’re starting to publicize our fall RCIA program. Thanks all.


It is also called “inquiry” classes. No obligation. But - have a catechism handy, as QC on RCIA teachers varies widely. I suggest Catholicism for Dummies which is a truly excellent, easily read and digested explanation of the faith. An alternative would be the Compendium of the Catechism, which deals with the faith via Q&A.


I’m not quite sure what you mean by “prevent” in your question. Perhaps the wife is simply not interested in converting. Nothing is “preventing” here from doing something she doesn’t want to do. By all means hand her your RCIA leaflet, and you may even gain an extra convert that way, but don‘t be surprised if she just politely says “No, thank you.”


There is nothing to prevent anyone from starting RCIA. An individual may attend RCIA literally up to Holy Week and choose not to convert at the Vigil. Enrolling in RCIA does not commit anyone to joining the Church.

How do RCIA classes work?

I’m wondering why people who attend Mass faithfully for many or few years do not want to come into the Church. What is preventing them - don’t believe it, just indifferent, think it’s too difficult, etc. What is it that keeps them personally from joining the Church. I’m hoping someone out there is in this position and can give me some insight. I’m a catechist at my church and eager to help others.


So maybe simply what keeps you from becoming Catholic?


I see several in our parish in this situation. They attend Mass week after week, year after year, but don’t take that final step. I guess we just leave it to the Lord and pray.


I think praying is the best thing you can do. I would also say, make sure you talk about RCIA in the announcements after Mass leading up to the beginning of RCIA this fall, and make sure you extend the invitation to anyone who would like to learn more about the faith or about joining the Church. Put an advertisement for it in the bulletin. I’d be wary about approaching people individually because you don’t want to cause offense, but it depends on how well you know them.

RCIA at my parish is very well-run by a whole team of people who take turns teaching the classes, and we have several returning members who come every year to learn more and to help the new inquirers.

But we unfortunately don’t have any other Bible studies or Faith Formation classes for adults right now, so the RCIA is the only chance for some to keep learning.

I’m sure many people don’t join the Church because of a problem with certain beliefs of the Church, or irregular marriages, or not wishing to abide by the moral requirements. Perhaps they belong to a different religious denomination and don’t wish to convert but go to Mass to support their spouse. Perhaps they had an abortion in their past and feel shame from that. Perhaps they were denied an annulment…the reasons could be endless.

I know some people personally who left the Church because of the terribly harsh way they were treated by nuns or priests or other religious persons. One woman in my RCIA class this year was raised without religion because of what a nun said to her mother, so her mother left the Church and still won’t return.

Even Mother Angelica’s mother was treated harshly and left for a long time. Such a sad, sad testimony and a reminder of how careful we should be in the way we treat others.


What prevents them are usually themselves. I, myself, was the major obstacle for being received into the Catholic Church. I had a Catholic faith for 20 years before I started RCIA and there wasn’t anything regarding faith and believes that I had objections to. The problem was that I couldn’t see myself as a Catholic. Catholics were all foreigners and more or less “sort of like exotic creatures that look like human beings but aren’t”. There were no Catholics around me that I could really talk with.


Your comment shows the importance of friendships within our parishes. Thanks for the response.


I knew a man, now deceased, who loved Catholicism, eagerly read Church writings, loved to defend them, was convinced the Church was true–and never came into it. It was inexplicable to me, but such is human nature some times.


Maybe more important is that Catholics let other people know around work, school, sports and where they hang out know that they are a Catholic Christian.


I think this is the best answer you will get to your question.


Maybe they had tried but gave up? That was our situation until we found assistance at an Eastern Catholic parish.


I was raised in a mainline protestant church but never practiced any religion nor attended any religious services as an adult - until I married my Catholic wife. She is a weekly Mass-goer and had occasionally expressed sympathy for the many women who attend Mass on their own. So in the interest of family unity/harmony, I attend Mass with her every Sunday. At first I regarded it as simply a sacrifice that I made for my wife, but over the years I have come to look forward to Sunday morning. I find that attending Mass is a quiet, reflective way to begin the week. The liturgy of the church I grew up in was similar to the Mass, so I find Mass to be a familiar, comfortable experience. I try not to be a distraction to others, so I stand, sit, and kneel at the appropriate times. The parish is a community of good people that I am happy to be associated with.

So what keeps me from personally joining the Church? I don’t really believe it. Not a word of it.


@Steve4321 explained it well. I’m sure it varies but for me, I sometimes attend mass with my wife because it makes her happy. No idea why she wants me, a nonbeliever to accompany her, but oh well. I have not the slightest desire to join any church at this time. I feel I understand the logic behind a lot of the liturgy and what’s taught.

Basically, I disagree with the church on key issues like the existence of God, the “pelvic issues”, and others. Enrolling in RCIA would be disingenuous, give others false hope of conversion, and run afoul of my personal “no mockery” rule.


I appreciate your honest response.


Thanks for taking time to answer. I do appreciate your honesty.


I disagree on your church’s policies on married priests. I grew up as the son and grandson of Lutheran ministers.


Thanks for your input.

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