Post # 1
So, Fiance & I have actually been looking forward to Pre-Cana (for non-Catholic bees: it’s just pre-marital counciling that is required by most Catholic churches before you’re allowed to get married in the Church). We’re both really looking forward to our wedding (and our marriage!) and have been awaiting the start of these classes.
But then…we got a package in the mail from our diocese. In addition to the Pre-Cana book, it was filled with pamphlets & fliers about how good Catholics should be living their lives. It isn’t like we haven’t seen this stuff before, but the sheer number of pamphlets was insane! What bothers me is that in addition to the handful of “Why CoHabitation is a Sin” and “Pornography Pollutes” type ones, there were seven different pamplets that all boiled down to “be fruitful and multiply”. Everything from (mis)information on how dangerous birth control is to how the WHOLE POINT of a marriage should be to bring forth new life.
I guess this is more a vent than anything…Fiance & I have no intention of basing our decision of whether or not to have kids on a handful of pamphlets our church sends us in the mail…it’s just that suddenly we’ve gone from “I’m excited to go through Pre-Cana and grow together as a couple” to “I’m dreading sitting through classes every week feeling like the choices we’ve made are somehow evil”
Post # 2
- Wedding: July 2012 - The Gables Inn, Santa Rosa, CA
amanda.417: I was raised catholic, but could never identify as one. So much so that when I was in high school I couldn’t bring myself to get confirmed (to much dismay from my catholic parents!) This exact scenario was a lot of why I have so many issues with the catholic church.
That being said, just because they’re sending you the stack of pamphlets (mostly because I’m guessing they have an excess and are getting rid of them because no one picks them up after pre-cena) that doesn’t mean the classes will be filled with that though. Sure, there’s gonig to be some degree of it, but by this point, you’re getting married so a lot of those classes will look forward from this point and how to best prepare yourselves for your future marriage and then probably ask you to go to confession to atone for the sins of your pre-married life.
You have separate the good from the rest when it comes to those classes. You’ve made the choice to cohabitate, etc. already knowing what the church’s position is, now you’ll just have to hear the church’s position a little louder in order to have the wedding you want.
Post # 3
My advice…reserve judgement until you actually attend the classes. The couples that lead the sessions are very real and down to earth. The dogmatic stuff is put in pamphlets or optional sessions for a reason, so that it’s available for those who want to read it and can be ignored by others.
Post # 4
There was definitely some NFP, porn isn’t good, etc. at our class. But everything else was awesome for my fiance and I (lots of chatting about just general family things). Our class was set up so they would present a topic and then we had couples time to discuss it. So we watched a porn is bad video, but then we had time to privately discuss how we felt about it. So even if you disagree with the view presented, there was time for us to discuss those feelings together and if there was anything we felt like we could take from the topic (For example, we don’t plan to use NFP to prevent pregnancy, however, we talked about it and felt like it could be useful when we do want to conceive).
Post # 4
Those type mailers are a large part on why we moved out of our parents diocese. It’s backwards and not friendly. Our diocese doesn’t like people cohabiting, but they run people off for it either.
I’m still Catholic, so meh. I get those mailers still and just giggle at them. We considered making them into a drinking game but opted to avoid the alcohol poisoning.
Post # 5
That sounds pretty bananas, but did you guys know that part of the marriage rites involve the priest asking you whether you will accept children lovingly from God? Our priest – who was generally a pretty liberal guy – told us that he refused to perform his CBC sister’s wedding ceremony because she didn’t intend to have children. For real, no judgment from me, but how you feel about answering that question on your wedding day is probably something you want to seriously discuss with each other. (I don’t want to sound like I’m moralizing or anything if you did know this, but just in case you didn’t…)
Is an Engaged Encounter weekend an option for you? We were given the choice of doing the EE weekend or pre-Cana through the diocese, and we decided to get it over with and do the EE. We both ended up loving the experience. You’ll sit through a discussion led by two married couples and a priest on a bunch of different topics and then you get to discuss each topic privately with your fiance. No one checks your answers or anything, and I thought it was surprisingly really valuable. And ours had none of that bad science birth control stuff. They obviously mentioned NFP and talked about what they enjoyed about it, but no one was like, “OMG the pill = cancer!!!1!” or anything like that.
Post # 7
Like the other ladies have suggested, reserve judgement until after you get to your class. You know the Catholic church’s position on BC and they know that it’s very contrary to our modern society’s take on the subject, so they do often put an emphasis on it just because it’s such a hot topic. My Fiance and I loved our Pre-Cana class though; we got a lot out of it and it sparked some really good discussions for us. They talked about NFP for about 45 minutes out of the 8 hours we were there, then gave us info about how to sign up for Natural Family Planning classes.
Having said that, I am currently taking the NFP classes required by our diocese and there is a lot to it. It’s a minimum of 4 classes, spread out over several months because you are supposed to track your cycles and bring charts to your one-on-one meetings, etc. I’m fine with NFP and am again getting a lot out of this but if I had a problem with it, all these classes would definitely rub me the wrong way. Not sure what your diocesan requirements are but for me, it would be pretty tricky to get married in the Church if I didn’t agree with their teachings on this subject, just because they do require these in-depth classes.
Post # 8
Just because they teach you about something doesn’t mean you are required to follow everything to the letter. I would go to your classes with an open mind and see what comes out of it. If you have any concerns thereafter, talk with your priest.
We got asked about our plans for children (maybe? not now, for sure) and nobody judged us based on our honest response. I actually think they just wanted to ensure we were on the same page.
I would encourage you to have an open mind about NFP. My Darling Husband and I practice it, and even if you don’t choose to use it, you still will learn a lot about your body and your cycles from charting.
Post # 9
amanda.417: My Pre-Cana experience was soured by the manipulative and scientifically innacurate connection that was made more than once between hormonal birth control and breast cancer (not just any cancer, but basically saying The Pill = Breast Cancer), so there’s that. However, from my experience and the meetings with my priest so far, no one has explicitly said, “How many children do you want? When do you want to start your family? Will you definitely have children?” It has been only, “Will you accept children?” I mean, I think it’s even in the vows. I’m sure others might disagree, but I think as long as you answer that question with the possibility in your mind of, “Well, if my birth control fails (or, when I decide to go off bc…not sure if you are hoping to be CBC for life or just right now), we would raise that child together” as “yes,” then you’ll have no problem, it’s an honest response, and really it’s not anyone’s business when you want to start a family. Considering that the Church does not refuse to recognize marriages between older couples where the woman is probably if not definitely post-menopause, I don’t think you are obligated to out yourself if you feel like your answer to the question is “no.” Because again, you never know what might happen or how your feelings might change in the future.
And yes, I know birth control is verboten, but an honest priest would admit that the Church lost that battle in the ’60s.
Post # 10
We did Engaged Encounter and really loved it. Ours was a two night two day weekend and it included all of the Pre-Cana info in that one experience.
Darling Husband and I are both regular Churchgoers but both of us have been negatively effected by the legalism and hypocracy of today’s Church.
Ultimately a husband and wife have to develop a moral compass that allows them to live in the Church as well as in the world.
Hope your wedding is beautiful.