Post # 1
This might be a bit long so please bear with me!
Iwas baptized church of england but never confirmed. 3 years ago i met the love of my life, later moved to mexico to be with him and we got engaged at christmas 🙂
Even though i got a bit lost religion wise and stopped going to church for many years I know i believe in god and i want to raise my children as christians and going to church regularly, and i want to be able to go to the same church as my husband and children. My fiance hasnt pressured me either way (even my future mother in law hasnt said much although i know she truly would like me to be catholic) So i’m doing my best to learn about the faith to make sure that i know 100% what im committing myself to and im getting overwhelmed. here are the most important issues
1)my mother is making snarky comments -shes a COE vicar and is not remotely happy that im considering becoming catholic. i dont know if its because despite her best efforts when i was younger i didnt show as much interest as she hoped in the church, whether she thinks im doing it to please my fiance, whether she fundamentally disagrees with aspects of catholicism..or what. she wont talk about it specifically and its causing a rift. for example i mentioned talking with a priest and i got snarky comments about how it was going with my effort “to do my utmost to be a good little catholic girl”. more the tone than the words, but stuff like that is a bit passive aggressive. i need to solve this as im worried comments/eye rolling would pretty much ruin my wedding day happiness
2) language issues. my Mother-In-Law has spoken to the bishop and literally every priest she knows to work out how to go about this. theres a language barrier (im english living in mexico). so finding a way to have all the classes that i need *and* obviously to understand them…its challenging. Future Mother-In-Law has been looking for a way to fast track conversion but i’d like to do it the slow way. as i understand it, as im already baptised i can still get married in church so id quite like to take as much time as i need – if necessary finish the process after the wedding
3) i kind of feel if you convert you have to accept/believe everything as it is. mostly my beliefs are compatible but there are one or two things like contraception that worry me. like i do believe in family planning.my fiance laughs at me and says its not a big issue (not in a mean way but he thinks im being silly)…but you cant say “i commit to this faith with the exception of these issues etc etc”. i know there are catholics with a more flexible approach to issues like this but still. am i being silly?
any and all advice/comments welcomed!
Post # 3
I’m not sure I really have any advice…Do you feel like you have to become Catholic to get married to your FI? Have you thought or talked about raising your family in a non-denominational Christian church?
As far as your mom goes can you talk to her about her reactions and comments and let her know how it’s making you feel? Maybe she doesn’t think you’re serious but if she knew you were she wouldn’t make snarky comments.
I was raised Catholic but as a grew older I realized there were just too many things I didn’t agree with and could no longer identify as Catholic. It’s a tough choice but you have to decide if you’re ok with not accepting everything..for me I wasn’t and that’s why now I just consider myself Christian. The Catholic church isn’t going to change their minds about things anytime soon!
Religion is tough, I’ve had my own struggels with beliefs…I hope you’re able to work things out for yourself! Good luck!
Post # 4
I grew up Methodist (Father) and my Mother was Anglican (Canada’s name for Church of England).
For the record, as someone that looked into converting myself when I was with my first Husband (for our family unit, as we were raising the kids Catholic)
I can tell you that the demands of BECOMING a Catholic are a lot tougher than they put upon those that are born into the Religion
In the end I decided that being a Catholic and sticking with THE VOWS that I would have taken would have been too difficult (hypocritical) for me
So although, the Church’s position on Birth Control isn’t a BIG Deal to your Hubby (know many Catholics who don’t follow the Church’s Guidelines on this topic) it is a BIG DEAL if you find yourself converting and needing to make a VOW before God to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church
I couldn’t do that… so I never completed the conversion process
I therefore technically remain a Protestant… and somewhere in the vast land of Christianity somewhere between all 3 of my now lifetime experience in the 3 denominations…
The one thing I personally discovered, is that I am more spiritual than being a “building based” Christian… too many “human” downfalls to organized religion, I much prefer the one-on-one relationship that I have with God and the world I live in (nature etc) and living a life where I try to be a better person each and every day.
Post # 5
as far as my fi was concerned, we could have just had a civil wedding if i wanted -in mexico church and civil weddings are entirely seperate, one is married in the eyes of the law the other is married in the eyes of god and you cant do them at the same time. so a catholic wedding has no legal standing. i just thought its better if the whole family can go to the same church and youre on the same page as to what you teach your children. my fi definitely wants to raise children as catholic
however he is happy picking and choosing which aspects he believes in, well not quite, but he has no issues with pre-marital sex and contraception for example. and i started to panic…thinking that i dont want ten children but if im becoming catholic i shouldnt believe in contraception.
its hard, different priests seem to say different things. one friend has a very modern priest – he said if you are in a comitted relationship then he wont condemn you for sleeping together. another friend had pre-cana classes where the priest told her she could only have (married) sex in the missionary position!!!
as for my mum, i dont know how to handle it. she tried to act as if she was joking, but it ws pretty clear she was serious. at least im not trying to become muslim/hindu/buddhist…then things would really get dramatic
Post # 6
yes technically being Catholic means you belive in ALL the ways of the Catholic church and EVERYTHING it stands for and belives in and if you dont then you are not truly Catholic. but honestly I doubt there are many if really any who 100% belive and follow everything the Pope and Catholic church preaches. I think most Catholics end up being hypocritical, people have their own way of thinking and its hard to really believe 100% in one religions ways, If you want to be a “true Catholic” you have to follow the rules to a T.
For me I can see the good and the bad in all religions and I like to look at the positive morals each represent, the Catholic church is too much head and not enough heart, while it has some really good aspects I can not say I agree 100%. I would rather be someplace that is accepting of all opinions and welcomes with both the head and the heart!
Post # 7
Sigh, technically speaking you should believe everything the Catholic Church states. However, I don’t so I guess I’m not Catholic anymore. I will say that most American Catholics utilize oral contraceptives and still receive, it seems either they’re ignorant which I doubt or they simply feel the RCC is out-of-date and they apply only what they feel is important to them.
Post # 8
I’d simply tell my mom that her comments are hurtful. Maybe she feels that she has the right to make those comments, but would she say them if your Fiance and Future Mother-In-Law were present? In My Humble Opinion, if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it at all.
She needs to support you no matter what you choose to do. You’re an adult. She needs to trust that you’re going to make a good decision and if it’ll rift you two apart, then her loss. I was raised Catholic and for some reason or another, I have never gotten seriously involved with a fellow Catholic. I just didn’t rate it as a necessity and although I’m surrounded by Catholics, many of them go to church out of habit, rarely out of devotion.
I had once been strictly Catholic. I followed everything to a T, went to mass almost daily. But I suppose you can say I’ve “fallen”. I have always been in a committed relationship and my views on sex haven’t agreed with the Church’s although I do understand why we disagree. That’s what matters.
So I’m pretty positive that’s what your mother is thinking. “Why is she considering?” If you could answer that without your Fiance in the equation, I’m sure she’ll learn to back off on her own if she respects your decision.
Post # 9
The closer you get to God, the easier it will be. Though the church says no BC if I come to a point where it just isn’t feesable to almost get prego we may just do sterilization. I’m going to pray about it when the time comes. Besides there are a lot of classes on Natural Family Planning and a lot of couples tell us it works. I am happy with using that in terms of not getting pregnant. As for people being snarky about religion…well you will always have that problem regardless of the religion you choose. Your family will get used to it. Eventually!
Post # 10
Hey there..I do understand. I’m a cradle Catholic and I deal with snarky comments when people find out that I’m Catholic. I don’t usually go around advertising it…but now that I’m getting married and my Fiance has agreed we will get married in my church (he’s a non-catholic christian as well) is when the problems started. I’ve had even his brother say offensive thigns when my fiance’ considered converting to fast-track our engagement rahter than go through a bunch of red tape to get his first marriage annulled….in the end i idnd’t want him to convert if he wasn’t comfortable but his brother made some nasty comments about the faith….mostly based on what’s been going on in the media.
I too have trouble with the contraception thing…and yes, you will find that most Catholics are what we call ‘cafeteria Catholics” they sometimes chose to ignore the birth control thing…..as well as others. Personally, I struggle with this aspect of the faith as well..I’m getting married and entering nursing school simultaneously and I would be in a heap of trouble if I came up pregnant soon after the wedding! I’d have to drop out of school! If you miss even one clinical or exam you fail, no exceptions. So, it’s tough…I knnow there is always NFP but who knows when I will get around to getting properly educated on it….plus I”m sure it takes alot of practice.
Just don’t give up, I personally welcome you to the Catholic faith…and I hope you enjoy learning about it and practicing it with your new soon-to-be hubby. Being Catholic is as good and morally rich religion as any, with beutiful traditions but yes, some old and seemingly outdated rules…but it’s not as if you’ve gone an joined a cult or something. Your family should definetly ease up and support you.
Good luck with your classes. I’m getting married in mexico and I dont’ speak the language that well either…it’s going to be a challeng for sure but i’m 2 months away. msg me if you have any questions.
Post # 11
@Future Mrs K:
I’d have to disagree that if you have trouble understanding or believing in all aspects that you are not truly Catholic. Any of us who received the sacraments will always be Catholic unless we renounce it in our hearts. Perhaps you meant to say you aren’t truly a practicing Catholic….which then I’d agree to an extent.
I think it’s normal to have questions and some struggles within one’s faith. My priests urges us to question our faith….I think anyone who doesn’t look for the answers if they have questions is blindly following their religion.
I do agree those who feign “good Catholics” while not at least respecting their faith and it’s laws…do end up proving to be hypocrites.
Post # 12
@jessitaylor: First off, I really admire your honesty and thoughtfulness re. wanting to be thorough in your preparation and sincere in whatever promises you make, and avoid the hypocrisy of a promise you don’t intend to keep. This is something I suspect my dad has been contemplating for a while, incidentally: he is Protestant (Methodist) and married my Catholic mother 40 years ago. They’ve had a long, healthy, functional mixed marriage and raised four kids who are all dedicated, practicing Catholics. I think my dad is kind of drawn to the Church but something is holding him back from taking the plunge into full communion – he was raised Protestant at a time when (in the US, at least) there was a pretty deep breach between Protestants and Catholics. Could be that your mum is feeling some of the same reverberations.
Re. the language barrier (and the possibility of mixed messages/hearing different interpretations from different priests), I would suggest looking for some English-language books on Catholicism and Catholic theology to get you started. (You may notice the words “imprimatur” and “nihil obstat” somewhere on the title page of the books, followed by someone’s name. Those mean that the book has been reviewed and found to be sound in its doctrine, i.e. free of misrepresentations of what the Catholic Church believes and teaches.)
You might want to start with an Amazon search and see what you come up with. I know that a couple of years back I read a book called “Why Do Catholics Do That?” (Kevin O. Johnson) that I found illuminating – that might be a nice starting point. It was in question-and-answer format. There’s also one called “What Catholics Really Believe – Setting the Record Straight” (Keating) that might be a helpful resource when talking to your mum about why you are thinking of doing this. If she’s a vicar, she probably has greater depth of theological knowledge than the average person on the street, but she might still have some misconceptions about Catholicism.
Another topic you might seek out some reading on is Theology of the Body (Pope John Paul II’s meditations on the sacramentality of sex and marriage, and the underlying reasons why Catholics reject artificial birth control but accept the practice of NFP.) “Good News About Sex & Marriage: Answers to Your Honest Questions About Catholic Teaching” (Christopher West) is another Q-&-A-style book that goes over the basics. If you want something that goes into more depth, JPII’s own writings are the source par excellence – although that’s a LOT more depth! Christopher West also has several more books that go into TOTB at different levels of detail.
I hope those suggestions are helpful! Blessings on you and your Fiance as you prepare for marriage!
Post # 13
I just wanted to second your recommendation about looking into theology of the body and Good News About Sex and Marriage. Both of these literally changed my life; sounds extravagant but since reading into both of these and other Christipher West books and audio recordings I’ve come to better understand and appreciate the church’s teachings on sexuality.
Post # 14
Also, my DH also converted to Catholicism about 9 months before we were married and he got a lot of snarky comments from his family, mostly his brother. He was often accused of converting “for” me which really bothered him at first but eventually he simply responded by saying “techincally I am converting because of her, seeing as I wouldn’t have been introduced to the faith without her. But I’m converting for me.” he also chose a saint for confirmation who was big in apologetics which seemed to strengthen him a little as well.
I definitely applaud you for wanting to go through the process without speeding through it. I found the classes usefil for me even and I’ve been a catholic my whole life. It’s a big step and one that shouldn’t be done with thought and prayer.
Post # 15
One of the things the church teaches is the primacy of conscience. Technically, very few statements are de fide (defining the faithful) – they include belief in angels and the virgin birth. The otherss aren’t optional – you should consider them carefully – but you can disagree if your conscience dictates otherwise and still be a Catholic.
Post # 16
Thanks for the support One of the books mentioned, Theology of the body, seems to be available on kindle and the rest i can hopefully pick up on the next trip to Laredo/Mcallen. I know Future Mother-In-Law is trying to be helpful by speeding through the process, but i think i’ll have to ask her to slow it down a bit
Its strange how many people have mentioned snarky comments, its just sad how many people think its acceptable to say negative things. sigh.
well i have a lot to think about. i dont want to be a hypocrite so im not quite sure what ill do. ideally id love to talk it through with my mum but even if i said negative comments were hurtful to me, i dont think an in depth conversation about conversion would go very well!