(Closed) An atheist and a catholic – How do I make it work?

posted 7 years ago in Interfaith
Post # 3
Member
4803 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@JoJo Bananas: You find a happy medium by going, not every Sunday, but on the ones where his dad and brother are being honored. Of course the masses are for the living and to give them peace, but to say that you don’t get peace from them and don’t want to go seems pretty selfish, to be honest. Your husband is one of the people it brings peace to, and clearly it would mean a lot to him if you would attend just those few masses so that he feels as if you support him and his family. I really don’t think that’s asking very much, he isn’t asking you to go every single week, that would be unreasonable but this is not.

Put yourself in his shoes – he has lost his father and his brother so close together. Church makes me uncomfortable too, but I would deal with it to be there for my Fiance in an awful situation like this. It seems like a very small thing to do for him, only taking up one hour every few months, and I’m sure it would mean the world to him.

 

Post # 5
Member
404 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2016

I agree with Courtney.  You say you get nothing out of it, but that’s not why you’d be going anyway.  You’d be going to give support to your husband, to show him you are there for him in good times and in bad.  He needs you now, and to realize that you aren’t able to see past some of your differences to be by his side would be very very hurtful.  Consider this:  what if a Jew and a Catholic had married, and the Jewish person’s family member died, and was being honored at sinagogue.  I would deem it highly inappropriate for the Catholic person to not attend the service because the Jewish family “didn’t believe in the same things”.  He’s not asking you to believe in what he believes, or even convert to Catholicism, he’s just asking you to honor his father and brother’s memory, and to be by his side.  If you don’t feel you want to be there for him in this capacity, I’m not sure I understand why you married him?  Not meaning this as an insult, I just can’t understand why you wouldn’t want to do everything in your power to be by your husband’s side through such a terrible time.

Post # 6
Member
95 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I agree with the previous poster. In a situation like this, it’s not about you at all – it’s about supporting your husband. You don’t have to listen to the sermons or “buy in” to whatever anyone is saying … you just need to be there for him.

Post # 7
Member
1474 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011 - Bent Creek Winery (Livermore, California); Reception: Family Residence (San Ramon, California)

@Wonderstruck: Well said! He’s not asking you to convert to Catholicism or to attend mass every Sunday. He’s asking you to attend mass on particular days that are important to him and when he needs emotional support from his wife. You don’t have to share his beliefs or get anything out of being at mass. What you get out of the experience is being there to support your husband when he needs you. 

Post # 7
Member
1474 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011 - Bent Creek Winery (Livermore, California); Reception: Family Residence (San Ramon, California)

@Wonderstruck: Well said! He’s not asking you to convert to Catholicism or to attend mass every Sunday. He’s asking you to attend mass on particular days that are important to him and when he needs emotional support from his wife. You don’t have to share his beliefs or get anything out of being at mass. What you get out of the experience is being there to support your husband when he needs you. 

Post # 9
Member
6248 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 1900

@Wonderstruck:  I don’t think it could be said any better than this.

Post # 10
Member
2107 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

@Wonderstruck: Well said!  My fiance is an atheist, and I’m Catholic, and like the original poster’s mom and brother, we have masses said for my mom and grandparents.  While he doesn’t come to the mass for my grandparents, he is always there for my mom’s mass every year.  He might not believe in what is being said, but he will listen and even talk about the sermon after the service.  It’s a little thing, but it shows how much he cares. 

Post # 11
Member
2104 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

I agree with the other posters. I am the agnostic and my husband the christian in our relationship. I don’t care to go to church, but when it’s important to him, I’m there. It’s uncomfortable for me, but it’s a small thing in the big picture.

Post # 12
Member
981 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I just wanted to throw in there that saying masses for deceased relatives is a normal thing for Catholics, and the offering for masses is $15 at my parish, $20 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. So this isn’t something extreme that your Mother-In-Law is doing, it is the norm.

Post # 13
Member
2742 posts
Sugar bee

@Wonderstruck: OMG, you are so perceptive and brilliant. This is the answer I would give if I could have marshalled my thoughts together. To the OP, I remember you telling us of the loss of your Father-In-Law and BIL so close together and how your Mother-In-Law was going through a bad phase and you were grocery shopping, cooking etc for her. This is just an extension of that but on a much less time consuming scale. You don’t even need to go to the Mass said on their birthdays etc. Maybe the memorial mass?? It seems like your husband is not a big church goer either and he started going only because he lost his brother and father. People cling to religion usually after a loss like this. Understand where he is coming from please.

I am not a church goer. I don’t believe in what’s being said at the pulpit. But when I visit my mum, it means so much to her to have me in church even though she knows I am not a believer. If it gives her that much peace, I do it for her. I don’t think the price of taking a principled stand is worth the sadness it would bring to her. Please please please, go to a few masses with your husband. Even, suggest it before he brings up the next one. It would mean so so much for him. I feel so bad for his family. Losing two members so close to each other 🙁

Post # 14
Member
7431 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2009

I agree with pps, and I as well do not believe in the teachings of the church. But, since you married a man who does, I agree that going to those special masses will bring real peace to him and his mom. Just go to your husband and say something like, “I have been thinking a lot about this situation, and I have decided that I will go to the dedicated masses to support you and your mom. Just please don’t ask me to go to any other masses.”  That way, you are compromising, so he will see that, and not ask you to go to regular Sunday mass.

Post # 15
Member
2233 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I agree with the others as well. 

Fiance is Catholic and I am atheist and I just go to mass with his family. I only go for Easter and Christmas or when we happen to be at his parents for an extended time period. He doesn’t go on his own and his parents live far enough that he won’t drive there to go with them.

I completely understand being uncomfortable, I am super uncomfortable each and every time I go. It’s only gotten slightly easier because I sort of get when to sit/stand/greet neighbours etc. but the sermons and entire service are not really fun to sit through. I do it because he is expected to go and appreciates that I come with him. 

I would rather go and keep the peace between me and Fiance (and his mom). Especially in this case where it involves family members who have passed away. You just need to be there to support him, not listen to the sermon. 

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