Post # 1
I’m somewhat new on here, and this is my first “serious” post as it were. I’m just looking for some advice and I didn’t know where else to turn…
My Fiance and I went yesterday to meet with the deacon of his church to start our pre-marriage counseling (interview and such) and I have to say, after four months of being engaged I was pretty excited!! Of course my dad waits until I get home from that to NOW tell me that he is very unhappy and nervous about our marriage.
The Background: I am protestant, Fiance is devout Catholic.
This does not bother me, because ultimately I know that Fiance and I both love and serve God and want to do His will; my family, on the other hand, could not be more nervous. I really don’t understand why there is such an attitude of fear on the subject — we are both Christians for crying out loud.
Do traditions of your church really make you so different from one another?
Can we really be incompatible in our faiths because of our different churches?
I’m just…confused. I have never been more sure about anything in my life (and I know that Fiance is the one God wants me to marry), but why does there have to be this separation? Why can’t two Christians simply get married and leave it at that?
Post # 3
Would your dad feel better if a pastor from your church also was at the wedding? Did your dad express more specifically what his concerns were or just generally that he has a problem that your Fiance doesn’t go to the same church but didn’t explain why he thought that was a problem?
Post # 4
My mother was born and raised Lutheran and my father was born and raised Catholic. They decided to raise their children as Catholics and my mother converted when she was pregnant with my older brother. (This was mainly due to the fact that my father’s mother would totally freak out if her grandchildren were not baptised Catholic…my mother’s mother did not care as long as we were religious). So technically, my mother is a Catholic now, but she still holds on to her Lutheran beliefs. They have been married for 32 years. It can work and there is no reason for your father to think that it can’t. The two religions are NOT that different considering they started as the same religion.
Post # 5
I’m really sorry your family is nervous. The reality is though, that unfortunately, a lot of protestants are misinformed about Catholics… many of them from a young age. More than likely, your dad and family believes these “mis-informations” about our faith. Don’t blame him, many times us Catholics are used to it 🙂 In fact, a lot of Christian book stores have books about how to “save your catholic friends from hell.” I want to commend you though, because obviously you see that we both (protestant and Catholic) are Christian, and love and serve the same lord.
Truly, it’s more than likely a typical case of misinformed protestants.
There are some things you can do. Start educating yourself more deeply into WHY we do certain things. Here are some books…
Reasons to Believe: How to Understand, Explain, and Defend the Catholic Faith by Scott Hahn (Author)
The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth by Scott Hahn (Author)
Signs of Life: 40 Catholic Customs and Their Biblical Roots by Scott Hahn (Author)
The best way to approach this, is for you to learn and know the answers, so that when your dad comes to you about a common misconception (i.e. Are Catholics, “Saved?”) you can answer what your fiances faith believes. You can also ask us or message me any specific questions he may have so we can explain it.
Post # 6
- Wedding: June 2010 - Indiana Memorial Union
I think this sort of anxiety just stems from not really knowing much about Catholicism. There’s a book called “Catholic and Christian” — it explains the traditions and their symbolism. Often these are all misinterpeted.
But you’re right, you both have the same core beliefs. Talk to your dad about his concerns and use the book as a reference.
Post # 7
Are you planning on having a ceremony or full mass? We just went with a ceremony because a lot of my family is protestant, including myself, and it is a bit weird to not be included in communion. If your dad is already hesitant, I would lean towards the ceremony and not full mass.
Post # 8
I didn’t have this problem because I married within my faith, but I can remember a guy that I dated who’s parents about had a heartattack because I was mormon. I won’t say what religion they are, because I don’t want to make it seem like a religion bashing post from me (because to this day I think they are wonderful people who just had a big misunderstanding). They had been taught that basically mormons were the anti-christ, didn’t believe in Jesus, the men had a bazillion wives, and we were some crazy cult….So, when they heard their son was dating a mormon, they were genuinely concered for his salvation. lol But…once they got to know me and asked me a bazillion questions about my religion and realized what they had been taught/heard was false, they relaxed a ton! The thing that really helped is that I was completely willing to talk about my religion and they were completely willing to listen. Maybe your dad’s fear is just a fear of the unknown or the fear of all the crazy things he’s heard. Maybe having a sit down with your dad and Fiance to talk about your FI’s religion could really help!
Post # 9
Wow, thank you SO MUCH for the numerous replies — I’m feeling slightly better already!
@bvig — I think what my dad is nervous about are the traditions in the catholic church. He doesn’t understand why they are so important when they aren’t necessarily found in scripture (as you know, Protestant churches are supposed to be based solely from scripture)…does that make sense? He also mentioned his concern about having to raise our children Catholic (and there are so many issues I have with his argument with that one — it would take all day!).
@KLP and Ribbons — Thank you SOOO much for the book recommendations! My dad gave me a bunch to read (all from the Protestant view, of course), so I’ll tell him that I will read his if he will read mine. I think it is completely unfair for him to place an argument like that without investigating both sides.
Oh, and I’m thinking we would just do a ceremony (because my family is already VERY nervous about getting married in a Catholic church…I think a full mass would really freak them out!). I feel so bad for his family/friends about not having a full mass, but they are incredibly supportive and seem to be much more compliant and willing to make this work than my family is. 🙂
I guess overall it just seems so silly to me. Here we are, supposedly practicing a faith based off of love and grace, yet we turn to any church that is slightly different from our own and claim that “They” are doing it the wrong way. Eesh.
Post # 10
You hit on the million dollar question: why don’t ppl just get along???!!! I wanna know that too. But misinformation is definitely a big problem. One thing I wanna suggest is that if there are any questions that your dad poses that are difficult to answer. Invite the deacon/priest from your FI’s church for like coffee or beer or something. I’m sure the priest would be happy to answer your dad’s questions. A priest (supposedly) has undergone >5 yrs of formation and was required to theology and history classes. They’re in good positions to answer any esoteric questions.
Assuming your dad is reasonable and civil, I’m excited to see interfaith dialogues. It really makes all of us learn quite a bit.
This is on a tangent but I would like to mention an issue that you raised but can be posed for either side of the debate. For sola scriptura (scripture only position), 1 of the question I often have for protestants is “which scripture”? cannonized at which council? Do you believe the council of nicea more than any other council? Why? Do you think u should use the hebrew bible or the greek Septuagint? A lot of decisions are made arbitrarily if there is no teaching authority on earth.
Post # 11
@Pren that is a really good question you posed! I actually was asking my parents a similar question (in regards to where the New Testament came from in the first place!) a while back…they never really answered.
See I think it is a good idea to get both sides together for a discussion. Dad is amicable (and not likely to huff and puff in a public get-together), and I think that if he has questions about the Catholic church he needs to ask someone WHO KNOWS. I cannot defend my FI’s faith because I have just started studying the church, so it is not really logical for him to attack me for something I’m still learning about.
Post # 12
I agree with Ribbons. There are a lot of things that people don’t really understand about the Catholic church. I was raised Catholic and though I’m not religious, I learned a lot from going to Catholic schools; there are a lot of misinterpretations.. I would encourage him to learn more about Catholicism…of course kinda giving him more Protestant friendly books. I think he’ll come around..
Post # 13
I don’t know if this helps, but I was raised as a Protestant and my Fiance is Catholic.
I decided to convert after going to midnight mass with Fiance on Christmas Eve and being scared to death at how different mass was to the service I was used to and if our wedding was like that then I might feel very uncomfortable.
My family weren’t very happy about it for similar reasons as the one your dad suggestion.
Anyway, while I’ve been converting I don’t feel that I’ve had to change any of my beliefs at all, just how I practice them on a Sunday. We still want the Catholic wedding without the mass as I don’t want my Protestant family and friends to feel as lost during the wedding as I did on Christmas Eve, but I honestly feel as though the fundemental beliefs of both religions are very, very similar.
I think you are totally right; you are both Christians.
Hopefully your dad will come round soon
Post # 14
i was raised, baptised, confirmed in the united methodist church. Fiance is devout catholic.
we’ve never had issues with either church and/or families. at the end of the day, both of us have accepted JC as our Lord and savior and we believe no matter where we are… his church or mine, we are worshipping our same God.
yes there are major practices that are different… but at the core, isn’t faith just about believing and servitude?
Post # 15
@Missy and Worldfairy — so how do you deal with the practices being different? Is it ever uncomfortable of go against your “Protestant Roots” in any way? So far I have been totally fine with the differences and they haven’t bothered me in any way, but people keep reassuring me that I simply haven’t discovered them all yet.
Post # 16
I would think the big ticket issue that you would have is what religion you raise your children. You might have to deal with what church to go to every Sunday too. bu that doesn’t seem to be as big a deal to me. If Fiance is Catholic, he should be going to a Catholic mass every Sunday, otherwise he’s commiting a sin the weeks he doesn’t go. If you feel the need to go to your church every sunday, then you might deicde to go your seperate ways for church, or both go to each service etc. (Personally, I wouldn’t feel bad about going separately. Many couples of the same religion do that anyway, especially with little ones. It gives them a chance to focus on worship, not sippy cups and runyn noses.)
But you will haveto figure out the kids. For your Fiance, part of Catholicism (including your wedding vows) will include raising the kids Catholic. If that’s OK by you, no problem. If not, it’s somethign to discuss.
Good luck with your dad. My guess (being that your FI’s family is devout in Catholicism) is that if the shoe was on the other foot, FI’s family would be as upset as your dad. Hopefully he’ll come around.