Post # 1
My girlfriend believes in god; I do not. We’ve always been very respectful of our respective beliefs. We were both baptised as Roman Catholics and raised in Roman Catholic families.
As a Roman Catholic woman, you have a responsibility to marry someone of faith, to grow spiritually with them in marriage and to raise your children as Roman Catholics. I understand what it would mean for her to marry a non-believer and to forgo the spiritual dimension of a marriage with this person. I appreciate her willingness to do so. Conversely, she understands how disconcerting it would be for me to make *religious* vows before God in a church ceremony and to partake in future religious responsibilities. She appreciates my willingness to do so.
What has been challenging is the topic of children. Understandably, she cannot imagine a scenario where children are not raised as Roman Catholics. She worries about the divided message a believer and a non-believer would send their children (as opposed to parents of two different faiths, but faiths nonetheless). She doesn’t expect me to attend church on Sundays or to actively cultivate the children’s faith in God but a vocal non-believer could negate her efforts to do so no matter how respectful and supportive dad is of mom’s beliefs. One option is for dad not to be vocal on this topic. I’m not opposed to children being raised with Roman Catholic values but I would hate to lie to them about my beliefs. Another option is not to have children.
I would appreciate any input or advice you could offer. Do you have any experience with this as a parent or child? Are you a believer/non-believer? Thank you for your insight.
Post # 3
@FirstName_LastName: Let your children pick what they want to believe.
Post # 4
My mother is Catholic and my father was a pagan. Of course, they had an extremely rocky divorce (absolutely not what my mom would have chosen) and us kids grew up with parents who tried to push their beliefs on us. There are three of us. None of us turned out Catholic and none of us turned out pagan. My dad hated for us to go to church but we always wanted to as kids so my mom kept sending us to church. My mom hated for us to take part of rituals with my dad but we did anyway.
Seriously, I don’t think it’s a big deal. Have kids, let your wife try to get them to be Catholic, tell them the truth about your beliefs. But do not stand in the way of her trying to let them believe in God. Your children will each have their own personal beliefs, no matter what you or their mother tells them. They will find it in their hearts, on their own, and all you are really good for is supporting them in whatever path they choose.
Post # 5
I was born Roman Catholic, raised RC, schooled K-12 in RC schools. I am not currently practicing. I am also not planning to have children.
However, if I was going to have children, it would only be with someone with similar or shared beliefs. If I was the wife and mother of children whom I was trying to rear and educate in a particular religious tradition and my husband spoke contrary to my lessons and beliefs, it wouldn’t work for me. It just wouldn’t work. I would feel like we’d be putting the children in the middle of two very different, conflicting and mature topic areas. Areas of thought I would not expect most children to entertain until they were at least teens or beyond.
Frankly, I’d see a constant message in complete opposite view of my beliefs sent to my children as toxic. I’d see my spouse’s behavior as “poisoning” them. I don’t think it’s fair to put little people in the middle of this. If you agree to raise them RC, the other party needs to accept it and shut their trap.
Post # 6
I’m a roman catholic and my FI is an atheist. We plan to let our children choose their own religious path, as the kids in my family were allowed to do.
Post # 7
I would be honest with them. Daddy believes xxxxxx, mommy believes yyyyyy, and we want you to make your own choice. Mom would like for you to attend church/sunday school/whatever so you can really get to know Catholicism and make and informed choice.
I wouldn’t make them take communion or be baptised unless they ask.
Post # 8
I am Roman Catholic and planning to marry an atheist. He has a son who goes to a mixed school and I have a two year old baptised catholic. I want more children and he has agreed on another one in maybe five years time. We are big into compromise. I explained although I do not want religion to be domineering in my children’s lives, I do want it to be a part and I want them to have values that I learned through my religion. I also need to respect the fact that my husband will not believe the same things as me or what I teach my children. He has compromised on allowing them to be baptised and receive the sacraments in return for me being open with them and as they get older explain that not everyone believes the same things and that it is ok to explore different religions. I will take my children to mass but maybe nt every week And will not expect my husband to come, which I know he won’t. As they get older we will be open to questions of other faiths etc. I don’t think it will be that big a deal. Religion is important but it does not need to cause issues. I want to have a laid back attitude to life with my children and that includes flexibility in religion. I respect my partner a lot for compromising on this issue because to be honest I’m not sure I could agree to bring them up athiest so maybe he is a bigger person that me. It is certainly not a reason I would consider forgoing children over.
Post # 9
@FirstName_LastName: that is probably one of the top most tumultous questuins to ask. I’m a christian and my SO is catholic. we have two children together and we still hav difficulty with this as Catholicism has statues they pray to which I don’t believe in. The best thing to do is leave the door open for your children to choose by providing them with both sides and allow them to choose. By providing both sides make sure you are careful not to humiliate ( best word I can think of at the moment) the others belief
Post # 10
@FirstName_LastName: your problem is clear. DON”T force a religion/ non-religion on them, mommy beelieves in ______ and daddy beleives in_____, neither is rite or wrong. Unless GOD himself walks into your living room to have a cup of tea with you, you are not WRONG in telling your child what you both beleive in- I hate that religion is forced onto children. What if your child grows up Buddhist, would that be a bad thing? Teach your children morals and they will be a perfect human…thats what we need in this world not religion!
Post # 11
@housebee: @bebero: +1
I don’t believe in indoctrinating children. Allow them to explore beliefs on their own and choose their own path.
Post # 12
@FirstName_LastName: My mother is a devout Roman Catholic. My father is an atheist. We attended Catholic schools but also learned about my father’s philosophies on religion, life, death, etc.
Out of us three siblings, one is Catholic, one is agnostic, and one is Episcopalian. Regardless of how you raise them, children will make up their own minds.
Post # 13
Well I’m an athiest (raised RC) and so is DH. I couldn’t have married or have wanted to raise children with someone who had vastly differing beliefs, personally.
In this situation I would probably say that “Mom believes X” and “Dad believes X” and expose them to both and let them decide. Children SHOULD be exposed to differing belief systems IMO (through culture, school, museums, etc) and should be taught to think for themselves. But you both would have to be okay with that. I don’t think you should lie about your beliefs. Is she opposed to you telling them your beliefs?
In the end, they’ll make up their own minds anyway regardless of how you raise them. You can’t prevent them from being exposed to athiesm or other religions in the end.
Post # 14
When the kids ask why dad isn’t going to church, just explain that he has a different belief system and that going to church isn’t for him.
Since you’re OK with it, I would let your wife raise your kids Catholic as long as they’re OK with it. By this, I mean if your kids were to have a “legitimate” belief reason why to not do the Catholic things, they should be allowed to go do what they want. (By legitimate reason I mean they truly question the belief, not that they want to sleep an extra hour.) I definitely think your kids should be baptized and go through catechism as long as they aren’t anti-Catholic, but they should also learn about your beliefs, as well as others- Judaism, Buddhism, other forms of Christianity, the works.
Post # 15
@FirstName_LastName: My mom was catholic and my dad is prettymuch athiest. My brother and I attened catholic school up to high school. We would go to church on Sunday with my mom. My dad would go on Christmas and Easter.
I never really questioned it and it only became a problem when I didn’t want to go to church anymore around 10 or 11. My mom forced us to keep going and that’s what really then started a lot of fights on Sunday morning about why dad isn’t going. at that point I didn’t believe in god, I stopped believing at age 7 or 8.
My church attendence dissipated in middle school and by high school I only went occasionally when my mom had a hissy fit.
So I think it works if your wife takes them to church, but she should not force them into religion.
Post # 16
My mom was raised Catholic and my Dad is reform Jewish. They raised me to be aware of their beliefs and as an adult I made my choice. I went through RCIA am a practicing Catholic now but just did that at the age of 24.
My parents decided for this to be my choice. If you are getting married in the Catholic church, you are agreeing to raise your children in the faith. If you both agree to that, I don’t think you need to lie to your children about what you believe. There are many couples that have their kids in some sort of religious education even if both parents believe and practice different things.
I don’t think one way is right or wrong because this is a very personal choice that you and your FI should make together. I am happy that my parents gave me freedom to choose my religion but when I was young I did feel I missed out since most of my friends were involved in Sunday school, Catechism classes or went to synagogue regularly.
I do agree with the PP that no matter how you raise your kids, they will ultimately decide on their own. My mom was raised in a very devout Catholic household and does not practice.