No flames please - but how do would you/have you responded to this question from a 6 year old? My husband is very supportive of my taking DS to church, being members of the parish etc but has no interest in doing so himself. I pray for him and try as best a can to live by the church’s teachings - but the toughest things are these questions from my son. any suggestions?
I always said, “We’re Catholic, Daddy isn’t. His Church doesn’t say he has to go to Church every Sunday but the Catholic Church does. Daddy knows how important it is that you come to Church with me, that’s why if I’m reading or being a minister of Communion and he’s not working he comes with us so he can be with you.”
I feel your pain. I’m there, too. My husband has fallen away, and although I pray for his return, it will take a major miracle to make it happen. Not that I don’t believe in miracles…
I tell my girls that their dad is an adult and makes his own decisions, and he will have to answer to God on his own. Since I am responsible for my children’s faith formation, not only do I have to answer to God for my self, but also for my children until they are old enough to answer for themselves.
So the short answer is usually, “I’m not in charge of Dad. I’m in charge of you. And you are going to church.”
I also tell them to pray for their daddy.
But I will also not make excuses for him. When they ask me why daddy doesn’t go to church, I tell them that’s a question they need to ask their dad. I’m not going to sugercoat anything and make excuses for him. The girls know missing Mass is wrong.
It’s a tough spot. I would give anything for us to go to Mass as a family, and have my husband take his rightful place as the spiritual head of our family.
I would have the child ask their father, put him on the spot. Make him realize how he is affecting the life of others by making that choice of not attending Mass.
Be prepared to rebuttal though. No telling what he might say to the child that can affect him greatly.
God Bless all you do in the name of Jesus
Yup, let the FATHER explain it to the child! He’s the one who’s not going, so he’s the one who should explain himself.
Personally, I would never accept this situation: a child will learn that ‘going to church is an option, not a duty, because daddy doesn’t go…’ My grandfather on my mother’s side was a Jew and accompanied his family to church ‘for the unity of the family, and it’s only 1 hour’…he admitted it meant very little to him, but he WENT! My mother then married a Mennonite and during her marriage accompanied him to his church, again UNITY as a family! MY BIL’s girlfriend (long story) accompanies him and the children to church every Sunday: UNITY!
You cannot raise a child as a good Catholic who understand the Sunday Obligation, and then turn over in bed for another 40 winks or to watch the football…it just won’t wash! The child will think ‘Well, daddy ain’t doing it so it must be alright to miss Mass sometimes…all the time…why even bother’:shrug:
This is very sad. Was this the understanding when you married? Did your husband fall away from the Faith - if so, his kids may be the thing that gets him back to the Faith.
Tell your husband that he is teaching your son that men do not go to Church, that church is for women and little kids. Based on his dad’s example, the chances are very high that around age 15 your son will refuse to go to church. Ask your husband if he is okay with that.
Pray and pray and pray.
Actually it’s a little more complicated. Neither of us were particularly faithful when we were married, not even when we first became parents. Frankly we were too self absorbed with school, careers, social life in the big city etc to spend much time thinking about spiritual matters and salvation. A serious illness on my part, and becoming a parent led me to return to the church ~3 years ago after over 20 years away. Being a parent and feeling responsible not just for my own but for my son’s faith was a big factor. At first I was just relieved that DH was not against it, but now it would mean so much to share this as a family (especially with things like first Eucharist coming up in a couple of years). I’ve tried to get him to come along (for unity, as another poster said) but he feels that would be hypocritical.
If it helps…I know many people who ‘hypocritical’ tagged along, heard the Word, got interested and slowly slowly grew in Faith! I only found out after his death my dad was an agnostic…Just tell him you’d REALLY want him to sacrifice 1 hour a week to his family, 1 hour! That’s all…
I like this idea. The Word bears fruit sometimes without us knowing or trying, “of itself,” as the gospel says. It can’t hurt to hear the gospel every week.
It’s only hypocritical if he pretends to profess the faith when he doesn’t believe it, or participates in the sacraments when he doesn’t believe in them. Otherwise, I can’t see why it would be hypocritical, no more than it would be hypocritical for me to attend a Protestant service weekly if I were married to a Protestant woman. Do you think your husband, belkowl, would be open to this type of response to the idea that its hypocritical?
One of my younger siblings asked why I and some of my older younger siblings go to church, and my father doesn’t. He said that it was because we were nice people. Don’t say that, it implies that you’re a bad person!!
I agree with the people who said that they should ask the dad themselves. Hopefully he has a better answer than my father’s.
I totally disagree that you should pass the question off to Dad. His reasons may be totally sincere, and that’s the problem. Children are much sharper than we tend to think, but they’re not theologically minded. So, if Dad’s answer is compelling enough, or he’s “the favorite,” and therefore his opinion weighs more, you may find yourself battling for your kids’ souls, too. I can imagine Dad’s questions being compelling for the kids, and what if you can’t answer the question in an equally compelling way?
So, I disagree. I say that you should explain to your children that sometimes people have a harder time believing, or they’re in a different place on their walk to Christ than you, etc., etc. You wouldn’t send your children to an anti-Catholic pastor to learn about the Eucharist, would you? Not that Dad is anti-Catholic (I have no idea what he believes), but to ask a non-believer to explain his problems with Catholicism to an impressionable child is to ask for a very big headache.
I agree with montanaman. Obviously daddy justifies it in his own mind, why would you want him to spread that justification into your child’s mind?
I am going thru the same thing. My boys aren’t old enough to ask, and God-willing by then we’ll be over dad’s ‘slump.’ The thing I have a hard time accepting, but nonetheless we must remember is that faith is a gift, and gifts can either be accepted or rejected.
To paraphrase Fr.Corapi (poorly), a gift is only received to the degree that the receiver is open to receiving it. If anyone is familiar w/ this, help me out here
Sadly this has led to a bout of indifference on my part, but I know that like all relationships, faith has it’s ups and downs, you just keep up on it and rely on God to give you the grace to keep going. The only thing you can do it to remain faithful yourself. My biggest struggle is facing the crowd at church and people asking ‘where’s your husband?’ I know they only have the best of intentions since he didn’t go for a while due to illness, but I think they are finally getting the idea that he isn’t coming.
Believe me, I’ve laid this on my husband too and asked him how he’d like to explain my absence to his family at one of their gatherings. If only our presence together at mass carried the same weight that it does in attending family gatherings (i.e. if you don’t show up together, you must be getting a divorce - not really, but you get it).
I can’t fully support or reject any of the suggestions I’ve heard thus far, but I will issue a warning about using the kids or your own arguments on your husband. If he really just doesn’t want to go, pushing him may just push him farther away or he may feel manipulated. As our priest told my husband when he was considering the faith, you must do it for yourself. Yes it would be great if he would make the sacrifice for our sake, but he has to come to that determination on his own. I’m not saying give up, but maybe duke out your fight thru incessant pray. One of my faves is P.U.S.H. - pray until somthing happens.
Praying for you. We had a few spouses come into the church last year of parishoners who have been married for 10-30 years. I hope your wait and mine won’t be that long!
I am in the same situation. I continue to be a good example to my husband and attend church weekly and go to confession. I pray for him. I ask him each week if he would like to go, but I don’t push it. He has to come to the realization himself that it is important to go–he already knows how I feel about it and it would be bad to harp on him each week about it. I do not want to humiliate him. We only have a small baby, so the issue hasn’t come up yet. I hope that it changes by then. If not, I would just say that the kids have to go and I would ask my husband to support me on this.
Don’t worry, that’ll end soon. No one ever asks me where my wife is anymore.
Now if I don’t bring the boys, that’s a different story…
Yeah, getting that right now . . .kinda have to pick and choose which one to take since they are both under 2 and I can’t ‘man’ them both on my own:P