Post # 1
Dear Fellow Bee’s
My boyfriend is Catholic and although I am not yet engaged I think the moment is round the corner. I am protestant and so is my family although they are not very religious.
I want to get married in a church and will not be persuaded otherwise and my boyfriend refuses to get married in a protestant church (he said a registry office etc would be his other option).
I am very comfortable with converting to Catholicism, I believe I share the same fundamental values with the Catholic church. Also I want to start a family in the near future and it is important to me they are brought up in one religion or the other.
Does anyone have any experience with converting, was it easy, difficult, what was involved in the process?
Post # 3
I was born and raised Catholic. I am not sure if it is different in the U.K. but in the U.S., you take classes (I think for a year). On “Easter Eve”, all adult converts are baptized, confirmed, etc. This is known as the Easter Vigil Mass.
You do not have to be Catholic to be married in the Catholic church, you do have to agree to raise your children Catholic. Conversion is not a tremendously difficult process. My Boyfriend or Best Friend and step-father recently converted. My BF’s husband was confirmed as an adult (usually happens at age 13-ish), although the Catholic church is always big on the rigamorole (sp?).
Post # 4
@Miss_DitsyD: I sponsored a friend in the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) which is what the Church calls the conversion process. It’s not particularly difficult; it’s exactly as described above. Takes about 8 months, as I recall – starts in September or so, and finishes up at Easter.
You can be married in the Catholic Church if the groom is Catholic, whether or not the bride is Catholic (and vice versa). After you are engaged, you just make an appointment to go and talk to a priest and they start the process. It’s really not daunting – you have an interview with the priest but the quetions are about whether you have any impediments to marriage (do you have a previous marriage, are you able to bear children, are you capable of performing a sexual act). They will ask you whether you are planning to raise your children in the Catholic Church, but they don’t ask you things like “do you believe in the Church’s stance on homosexuality” or “have you had intercourse with your betrothed.” Yes, they use the word betrothed! I think that’s cool, but I digress. The interview was quite painless; we really weren’t sure what to expect, but it did not make us uncomfortable at all, and we were a bit worried it might. Just don’t lie, and you’ll be fine.
Then you take a 7 week (one night/week) marriage preparation course. We just finished week 5, and it has actually been quite good. A lot of practical things, and mostly not doctrinal or theological, actually. Just things about building a strong relationship and strong marriage. About 25% of the people in the course are not Catholic, and are not getting married in the Church – they just take the course beacuse it’s helpful.
So, there are i’s to dot, and t’s to cross, but nothing is difficult. It won’t be weird or stand offish, at least not in my experience. Everyone will welcome you and treat you like a normal person.
Post # 5
My husband converted before we married but a catholic and non- catholic can marry in the Catholic Church.
the first step is to contact your local church and ask them about RCIA. Every church does it a little bit differently.
some have you meet in large groups with other RCIA canidates and in a smaller church, you might be the only one so its just you and your sponsor.
RCIA ends on Easter so it’s a lengthy process.
now, most priests I’ve met would be happy to have you convert before you’re married to have you start your life together in one faith. Others however might say you shouldn’t convert just because you’re getting married or you should convert after you’re married so that you’re 100% focused on it. It really just depends on the priest.
If you convert or not, you have to meet with a priest to get married in the Catholic Church and go through pre Cana.
feel free to PM if you have questions.
Post # 6
@Miss_DitsyD: I have a coworker who converted after he was married. His wife is Catholic and they married in the Catholic Church. I was born and raised Catholic so I’m not sure of the steps involved to convert.
Post # 7
@Miss_DitsyD: Well if you actually want to convert you may want to wait until after the wedding as it is not required to get married in the church.
I urge/ beg/ warn you that you shouldn’t convert if you can’t agree with the fundamental teachings of the Church. I am not trying to turn you away, I would love to see you convert home but there is some things that are strong points many protestants cant accept. Fi being one I know personally.
All these fundamentals like the Saints or Eucharist would be explianed in what is called RCIA.
RCIA normally is a night time weekly class that takes place during the traditional school year. Then you actually convert and recieve your sacraments on Easter. It is a truelly special experience. That said it takes at least 6 months of preperation and classes normally don’t start until fall.
You can have a wedding ceremony in the church and convert after the wedding. If time is an issue you, you may want to look into this as traditionally you would be looking at recieving your sacraments spring of next year if you started this fall.
You do need a Sponsor who is a confirmed Catholic. It sounds as though your Fiance might be so you may be able to have him sponsor you if he desires.
I would start by going to mass on the weekends and see what you think. Then talk to the priest at your parish and he can help you get that ball rolling.
Post # 8
@LaTortuga: I agree.
@Miss_DitsyD: It sounds to me from reading the original post that him being Catholic and you being non-Catholic is not a factor in the decision to marry (meaning you would marry each other anyway). If that is the case, then please study Catholicism before you decide your faith path. Catholicism and Protestantism are not “fundamentally” the same. Though both worship God, there are major differences in beliefs and practices for some of the most basic, core elements of religion. I am in no way saying one is better than the other; just that there are some issues in which one says X exists and is the only way and the other says X is not the way but Y is the only way.
If you learn and accept Catholicism, excellent! If not, that’s okay too. The two of you can figure out a way to make it work.
Post # 9
@Miss_DitsyD: we are in the process of deciding between conversion and permission for our upcoming wedding. one thing that previous bees have not mentioned is a notarized letter from the archdiocese which allows you to have a sacramental church marriage without conversion. the catholic church websites are helpful with this process for specific areas.
If conversion is your absolute goal, you will have to undergo lessons and attend church regularly. in addition, you will need to complete pre cana and a final.baptism at Easter. depending on your church, this process can be rather expensive and time consuming. all included his church quoted close to 3200 for ceremony, pre cana, and conversion. Your best bet to start the process is to contact the church you will be attending and/or married in. they will be able to direct you to (usually the deacon) who is in charge or marriage prep and church related paperwork.
Post # 10
@Miss_DitsyD: You do not have to be Catholic to marry your Catholic fiance in a Catholic church. While converting is not “difficult” it is time consuming. I would really discourage you from converting if it’s *just* to get married. You can totally do that without the conversion. RCIA is a really interesting process, though, and might be beneficial so you can understand your SO’s faith. You can attend the first set of classes even if you’re not planning to convert.
Post # 11
Thank you all very much for your advice it has been very helpful. Some wise words about not converting just to marry. I didn’t think a priest would marry you both if you weren’t both Catholic. That said, if I had children they would most likely be Christened Catholic and I would feel less a part of that being non-Catholic. I would definitely look into the values / teachings of the Catholic church before converting.
Post # 12
@Miss_DitsyD: to get married in a catholic church, you both do not have to be catholic – only one of you do and as long as the other one is a baptized Christian you can have the full mass. Just letting you know. If you want to convert though then that’s cool
Post # 13
@Miss_DitsyD: Also, just to correct a couple of PPs on a detail: Since you are already a baptized Christian, you would not be re-baptized at Easter after going through RCIA.
There are two slightly different routes to joining the church. Unbaptized persons (aka “catechumens”) receive Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation. You, however, would be a “candidate,” not a catechumen. As we say in the Creed, “We believe in one baptism …” – that means one Christian baptism. Even though in popular speech we talk about being “baptized Catholic/Lutheran/etc.”, we are all actually baptized Christian and, as long as it has the proper form (i.e. using water and the words “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,”) the Catholic Church recognizes your previous baptism in your Protestant tradition as valid, and you won’t have to have a do-over. Candidates receive First Communion and Confirmation when they join the Church at the Easter vigil.
Also, check with your parish on what the PP said about the cost. There is no charge for the actual sacraments. When you have a wedding in a church (as opposed to just solemnizing the marriage at a regular Mass or having a tiny private ceremony) most churches ask a donation/stipend, and some of those can get pricey; and I can see a small charge for materials, etc. for going through an RCIA class; nonetheless, I was really surprised to see a PP quote a four-figure price tag for conversion. That doesn’t sound right to me, and I would check with your parish & diocese to find out the relevant details for where you live.
Post # 14
@KCKnd2: this is true, the church does reconize baptism from other christian faiths. I can tell you that our church is apparrently not with the trends of our diocese or others too so pricing does vary. As far as conversion there isnt a cost in our church though some charge for the workbooks. Weddings however- We are paying close to 800 to the church alone in fees and stipends.
Post # 15
- Wedding: October 2014 - UK
@Miss_DitsyD: You shouldn’t need to convert to get married in the Catholic church over here. My FH was baptised Lutheran and they’re fine with us marrying in the Catholic Church because I ticked off all my things with them (baptism, 1st communion, confirmation).
Particularly with CofE/Anglicans it’s pretty common for mixed marriages over here, and as long as he’s been baptised Christian they’re fine. There are some branches of Christianity they are iffy with, but you’re best talking to the priest about that.
Post # 16
This is good news!! Thanks