Post # 1
My fiance and I only became engaged within the past month. We’ve started to talk about wedding plans and I reminded him that in order to get married at the Roman Catholic Church that I grew up attending that we would have to attend Pre-Cana. I should back up a little and say that my fiance is not Catholic but is a very devout Christian. He is an American Baptist and currently has a part-time job directing music for a Baptist church in our area. We have talked about faith a lot and although he respects my decision to practice Catholicism he does openly disagree with many tenets of the faith. From the beginning, even before we were engaged, I have said that I wanted to get married at my home church. He has always been fine with this, but after discussing Pre-Cana within the last week, we have hit a snag.
Pre-Cana requires that the non-catholic spouse in an interfaith marriage agree to raise the children Cathoilc. Although we don’t plan to have kids anytime soon he is now saying that he doesn’t feel comfortable promising to raise his kids Catholic. What now? I’ve been thinking a lot about it and I want to be able to compromise with him but I’m not sure how that can be achieved here. Is it okay to say you will try to rasie the kids Catholic even if you have a different agreement with your fiance? Plently of Catholics bend the rules, go through Pre-Cana, nod and smile just to have the Catholic Weddings they’ve always dreamed of.
I don’t want to be a hypocrit but sometimes you have to jump through hoops to get what want. I want to reassure him that just because we may not be able to abide by everything the Catholic Church asks of you at Pre-Cana does not mean that we won’t benefit from it. As long as we are on the same page as a couple, I don’t care what other people think.
I suppose if it were up to me I would be fine as long as we raised the kids Christian, because after all, I think that’s what matters most. I’m just not ready to give up on my dream of getting married in the church I grew up in.
Post # 3
I think, that if the topic of which faith to raise your children in does come up at pre-Cana, that you will promise to raise your kids in the Christian faith, which it sounds like is already agreed upon by your fiance. I would tactfully try to stop the conversation there, so that no one is lying or going against what they believe in. If they won’t let you get married in the church unless you all promise to raise the kids Catholic….that would be such a tough pill to swallow. If it were me, I’d walk, but I it sounds like only this one church will do (since you were raised in it). So I would just tactfully try to stick to the "we’re raising our children as Christians" and be done with the conversation.
Post # 4
Wow…I think this is the toughest discussion involved in wedding planning. Maybe you should talk to your priest about it. I’m sure they encounter this all the time, and maybe they can help you through the process. But I can see how this could be extra stressful.
With your Fiance being very much set in Baptist church, it will be difficult, but it is really a good thing that you are approaching this issue VERY early on.
I really think that your priest will be able to give you some good advice on this.
Post # 5
One another thing to consider is that, as part of the actual marriage ceremony, you and your fiance must promise to raise your Children catholic (the priest will say "Do you promise to raise your children according to the Catholic faith?" and you say together "We do." – I am paraphrasing, but this is the general idea). So, it does go beyond pre-cana – you would also need to get him to agree to promise to raise the kids Catholic at the wedding ceremony itself. I am pretty sure you have to include this (that’s what my priest said, but who knows, he was really really strict and conservative) but someone correct me if I am wrong.
As for -re-cana, I went to pre-cana, and there are plenty of people there who were interfaith couples, and plenty of people who were Catholic who did not agree with all the church’s teachings (i.e. natural family planning, something they always talk about at pre-cana). Perhaps you’d be best to seek out a pre-cana like the one I attended where you are more just listening to lectures and get a workbook to do on yoru own as opposed to one where you have to talk a lot about your personal relationship in front of others, so you won’t feel like you are lying in any way.
Post # 6
Wow, I really feel for you on this. I think religious differences are the most difficult to overcome. I think it’s a great idea to seek the advice of your pastor. He’d help you through this.
I would love to encourage you to get married in the Catholic church, but I think if you are not willing to follow what is being asked of you, you shouldn’t. You would be lying. Your priest already told you that you two need to agree on this. It sounds like you want to get married at this church for… well, not the best reasons. I can understand if the church is pretty and you want great pictures. Or if you grew up there, like the priest, close to the reception, has a beautifully long aisle, etc. But if you want to have a Catholic wedding, you need to take the vows seriously. Agreeing (and lying) by saying you will raise the children Catholic when you don’t intend to is grounds for anullment, meaning your marriage really wouldn’t be valid. I’m sure you don’t want to live feeling like that.
Catholic marriage requires so many "hoops" to jump through, because it’s not just about a white dress for a day. It’s a sacrament. It’s taking vows to God and your spouse. It’s saying you finally discerned that your vocation is married life, as opposed to holy orders (priest, nun). So of course your priest is trying to make sure you’re prepared and fully aware of what it means to have a Catholic marriage.
I really don’t want to sound harsh. I’m sure this is very difficult. Iwish you well, and pray for you to make the best decision for you and your Fiance. God Bless.
Post # 7
I don’t know if this is splitting hairs or not, but your Fiance doesn’t have to agree to raise the kids Catholic- YOU have to promise that, and he has to be OK with it.
Does he want the kids rasied Baptist? Is he OK with you raising the kids Catholic?
I was raised Catholic, but I went to mass at the Catholic Church and then went down the street to the Baptist Church for Sunday school because it was so much more fun! I went to Vacation Bible School there, I even taught it there when I was older. I still when to mass at the Catholic Church, but it didn’t mean I could take part in the activities at the Baptist church.
If your Fiance is against you raising the kids Catholic, then I think you are going to have to compromise and give up your dream of marrying at your home church. Perhaps you could find a priest that would marry you outside the church without that stipulation. But I think to be married in the church, and have it be a sacrament, you have to agree about raising the children in the church.
Post # 8
There are a lot of faithful Catholics around here who won’t take your assessment of pre-Cana and the other stuff required to prepare for the sacrament of marriage as ‘jumping through hoops’ too kindly.
That being said, I don’t think you’re wrong at all – I also know people who are not very Catholic who married in the church. I know people who lived together and married in the church, and I’m pretty sure that had to involve lying to a priest somewhere along the way. My family has devoutly religious people, but it also has C+E’rs.
The whole "lying to a priest" thing might sound palatable to someone who bluffed their way through high school religion classes, but will not go over well with people who are strongly attached to their personal convictions. My FH is a hardcore athiest. I assumed he would think nothing of fibbing to the priest, since he doesn’t take the church seriously at all. It turns out that he just can’t betray his own values like that, even for the sake of expediency.
Post # 9
I’m gonna have to agree with Tanya123 on this one. A Catholic wedding ceremony is not just about having a beautiful, traditional place to get married in. It is an important Sacrament that goes well beyond professing your devotion and love for each other in a pretty dress.
Acaldwell09 – you seem like a pretty devout Catholic, so I can’t imagine that you’d be ok in the long run with "just jumping through hoops" to satisfy your future husband and the priest. Are you really ok with not raising your kids as Catholics.
I know this sounds a little harsh, but if you and your Fiance don’t believe in some of the basic ideas that the Church requires in order to perform the wedding, maybe you should reconsider having a Catholic wedding. Of course, it is nearly impossible to expect that you will live up to every promise you make in the church – we are human! But, when you start out already intending to defy something you have promised to do…that just doesn’t seem right.
No matter what you decide, I am sure that you will have a wonderful wedding no matter where it happens! Best of luck!
Post # 10
question: does your pre cana class have that requirement? at our pre cana nobody even asked us if we were catholic. we were even told at our pre cana that it was ok if we didn’t have kids. with the catholic church, it really depends on the church you go to. maybe you should look around for other pre cana classes that fit you and your Fiance better than the one you are looking at. we benefited so much from our pre cana – it truly was a milestone in our relationship and how we get through conflict together.
Post # 11
Thank you for all the posts. In a way everyone’s thoughts have helped me to clarify my thoughts.
I am worried that I will feel guilty if my fiance and I agree to one thing, but change our minds (in ten years) when actually have these theoretical children.
I am actually a very devout Catholic. For years I have gone to church every Sunday, abided by every rule and even taken social hits for my convictions. I’ve done all this gladly as an expression of who I am and what my faith stands for. For the first time I’m facing an issue that puts me at odds with the church.
My fiance and I have talked since I posted. Of all the requirements asked of us by the church this seems the ONLY ONE we are concerend about. How is this different from couples who do not practice abstinence or natural family planning, but still have Catholic weddings? In my opinion it is not. I feel this conflict is simply evidence that we are human. It is unlikely that we would be able to abide perfectly by every rule, even if we do not disagree with why the rules exist. Bottom line, I want a Catholic wedding because I am a Catholic, NOT just because I want to get married in a pretty church. Yes, the church is beautiful but it is also a place that holds importance for me in a spiritual way. Not only do I want to share this part of myself with my fiance, but I think this whole experience (even the challenges we are facing with this decision) is going to make us a stronger couple.
In the meantime I will be talking to my priest and praying for discernment. I’m sure that there IS a way to resolve this matter without committing heresy or suffering from massive amounts of Catholic guilt.
Post # 12
good for you! at the end of the day, at least it has gotten you and your Fiance talking about how you will raise your children if you are someday blessed to have them.
Post # 13
"How is this different from couples who do not practice abstinence or natural family planning, but still have Catholic weddings? In my opinion it is not."
On one hand, you are right. It is not different. Unmarried couples should be abstinent. And married couples should be practicing NFP. The fact that they do these things anyway, doesn’t make it right or more acceptable. On the other hand, the difference is that, with couples who live together or have premarital sex, at least by getting married they are looking to do "the right thing." After marriage, those things they were doing would become acceptable. But in your case, you would be doing your "one beef with the Church" continuously, once you had kids. (If that made sense..)
But I feel for your situation. Best of luck, discenring and discussing this with your priest. Please keep us updated.
Post # 14
I would talk to your Fiance about how you want to raise your kids in THE faith. Catholicism is a Christian religion. Where is your common ground? What exactly would he be opposed to about how you raise your children? Is he opposed to you taking them to Mass? Is he opposed to them being baptized as infants? He is opposed to them receiving the sacraments?
Basically find out what his perception is of raising a kid Catholic would be and what your perception of it would be. Maybe you can sync it up and come to an agreement on raising the kids Catholic provided that you define just what it means to raise them Catholic. You also might discover more about each other’s religious beliefs and differences.
Post # 15
Parents who are strongly attached to their own different faiths and churches can encounter real difficulties when they try to practice their faiths together. How do you deal with it now? One way to get around this when you’re just dating or when you’re married but childless is to each do your own thing, live and let live. But I agree with twoangels that the marriage-vow question of raising your kids as Catholic really boils down to one of how are you going to raise them spiritually—"Christian" is a start, but I’m talking logistically—which type of church, which Sunday school, will you attend church together as a family, etc. You won’t avoid the question by lying to just get on with things, changing the marriage ceremony to omit the question, or getting married at another church, or on the beach, or on the moon :).
Even though it’s all Christian faiths we’re talking about, and they have a lot in common, little kids aren’t good at tolerating ambiguity; they’re going to want to know, yes or no. And it’s clear your faiths are very important to both of you, so one or both of you is going to have to compromise. If both of you compromise, which seems to me like what you might be getting at by saying you would be happy to raise them Christian, I would fear that trying to practice both faiths would really result in doing neither.
Personally I think that this question is in the pre-Cana materials and in the marriage ceremony itself becaue the church has discovered what an important issue this is, and they have supplied one satisfactory, specific answer (raise the children Catholic). Don’t put off this discussion until you have kids. It’s hard to talk about because it’s so hypothetical right now, I know! That you are on the same page is the most important thing, and you are making a great start from what I can see 🙂
Post # 16
Ithink things have changed. Talk to a priest and ask him. Pre-Cana here didn’t say anything like that.