(Closed) What to do about this situation?

posted 8 years ago in Catholic
Post # 3
Member
593 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

I went through something sort of similar. I was raised Catholic and always envisioned my wedding in a church ever since I was little. Even after I drifted away from the church in my late teens, I still figured I’d have a church wedding because that is just how it was done in my family.

When I first starting dating Darling Husband, I was actually very upset to learn he is an athiest. Just the whole idea that he thinks *nothing* happens to you after death was very unsettling for me. But, I came to discover we have almost the exact same morals (he’s actually more anti-abortion than I am, go fig) which was ultimately much more important to me than sharing a belief in god. We had an outdoor wedding; I chose to believe god gave it his blessing and Darling Husband didn’t. It worked for us. Luckily my parents were very supportive.

It sounds to me like you are more concerned about putting your FH in a uncomfortable spot and don’t wish to force any belief system upon him than you are with the idea of not being married in a church. If that’s the case, try and talk with your parents. Maybe you are only assuming they will have a problem with it? Your grandfather is probably a lost cause–meaning you most likely aren’t going to change a 70ish year old’s mind. But if he loves you he should come around.

However, if I read into your post incorrectly and you think not being married in a church will really bother you then my advice is moot!

Post # 5
Member
4123 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

The church can’t deny you Marriage because you live together. while acceptance with “grace” varies by priest, that is not a valid reason to impede your marriage. Many Many bee’s here have gone into a meeting worried and left totally at peace about the whole “living” situation.

Pre-cana is so easy. I would rec. the Engaged encounter weekend. It’s actually more about you as a couple and not just “christ centered.” It’s geared towards all faiths and levels of belief. Many many couples are in your same position and have found that it sounds a LOT worse than it actually is. 

No where in there did you clearly state what YOU want. The first half it sounded like your faith and religion was really important to you, but now it’s unclear. What are YOUR thoughts?

While it could be a “headache” to find out it really doesn’t matter if your Fiance is baptized or not. It’s just a matter of a form to fill out.  He does NOT have to become Catholic in order to have the wedding in a Catholic church. In order to switch parishes all you have to do is find the one you want to attend and then pretty much just “sign the registry.” That’s it. It’s like signing a guest book, they MAY have a form to fill out, but basically all that is will be your name, address, if you have interest in helping any ministries etc. Nothing “personal.” 

Honestly, You’re making it sound worse than it is. This isn’t the whole headache you’re assuming it will be. You don’t have to do a full mass, and if he isn’t Catholic you probably wont. All that would happen (but in a church and through the church) is the typical bridal entrance, a blessing (which you choose), The 3 readings, Old & New Testaments / Gospel, a homily (just like any other wedding) and the rite of marriage. i.e. vows and rings. After that you’ll say the Lords Prayer and be done. So while “Jesus” is there it’s not a full Catholic shebang… and is pretty much the exact same as any “christian” wedding, but in a Catholic church… and it is about you as much as it is him.

If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

Post # 8
Member
593 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

@FutureMrsH11: Ok, so I am correct in thinking that a Catholic ceremony isn’t a make or break thing for you? You’d prefer have a secular or at least non-denominational wedding?

I’m don’t know PA’s laws, but I was able to have a good friend officiate our wedding. Would you be able to travel a little bit outside of your hometown to find a venue/officiant? If you get really stuck, you could make it official at the town hall and have a celebration afterwards. It just seems strange there are no options for couples looking for a non-church wedding.

I think it’s great that you don’t want to force a certain type of ceremony/counseling on your Fiance, and I hope he recognizes that he is lucky you are able to make such a compromise. Has he voiced any opinions on what kind of ceremony he wants (other than feeling out of place at a church wedding he attended)?

Post # 9
Member
350 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

You don’t need to apologize for length.  🙂  I probably do need to apologize for length, but you made a lot of points that I want to hit one-by-one. 

Let me address a few concerns up front:  first, your Fiance does not need to be Catholic or even baptized to be married in a Catholic Church.  A priest will marry you regardless of his religious beliefs.  He would not need to go through Catholic courses or convert or do anything at all.  Neither you nor the priest will force religion on him.  So don’t worry about that.  To marry a non-Catholic, the priest will need to file one of two forms, and they’re different for baptized vs. unbaptized future spouse, so the priest will probably ask.  If he doesn’t know, it’s OK to say that, the priest will probably just fill out the form for an unbaptized spouse (the priest fills it out, not you).  Your Fiance will not have to agree or promise anything, you will be asked to make a promise to remain Catholic and raise your children with knowledge of the Catholic faith to the best of your ability. 

Second, the pre-cana counseling that’s done in the Catholic Church is just like any secular pre-marital counseling:  session on proper communication and arguing, session on planning household chores, session on raising your children, session on splitting holidays and dealing with in-laws, etc.  The most Catholic thing usually discussed is Natural Family Planning.  Sometimes they’ll mention Catholic things in the meetings (like there will probably be a prayer at the beginning), but about half of all Catholics marry non-Catholics these days, so there will be a number of non-Catholics in the counseling with you. Sometimes there are “Catholics marrying non-Catholics” sections.

Third, don’t worry about living together.  The Church doesn’t encourage it, but more than half of all couples married in a Catholic Church cohabitate before marriage.  The priest will still marry you.  In fact, when you take the FOCCUS test (a test to see what you have and haven’t talked about before counseling starts), there’s an entire section for cohabitating couples.  Having sex before you’re married is a sin.  Living together before you’re married isn’t (except that it gives the appearance that you’re having sex). 

Fourth, as a Catholic, you must be married in a Catholic church or your bishop must give you permission to marry outside a Catholic church (to get this permission, you must meet with a priest and request it – it’s called a Dispensation from the Canonical Form of Marriage).  If you do not do this, you’re in an “irregular situation” where the Church does not recognize your marriage (it considers the marriage invalid because you violated Canon Law to get married).  If this occurs, you should not present yourself for communion until you have it resolved. This is why many Catholics may not attend your wedding if you marry outside of the Church.  If your Fiance doesn’t want to be married in a Church, you can meet with a priest, ask for the dispensation, and ask the bishop to give you permission to marry elsewhere. 

 

<<Up until this point we wanted to have an outdoor wedding, but We’re having trouble finding venues in our area that are affordable, and every officiant we’ve e-mailed has NOT returned our e-mails.>>

Many Catholic Churches have outdoor alters where you can be married by a priest or deacon outside.  But this depends on whether or not outdoor weddings are authorized in your diocese. 

 

<< I don’t know what it’s like to switch churches, because I’ve gone to the same one my whole life.>>

You attend a different church.  If you like it, you check the website or ask a priest how to “register” with that parish.  There’s usually a 1 page form where you list your name, address, phone number and they ask what sacraments you’ve received so far (this is in case they need to send a letter for you to be a God parent).  Sometimes they ask where you’ve attended in the past.  It takes 5 minutes and you’re registered with the new parish.

But you don’t need to register with a parish to get married there.  You’re Catholic.  You can get married in any Catholic church anywhere in the world (even the non-Roman rites).  If you want to get married somewhere other than where you live, you just need to contact a priest there. 

 

<<I really don’t know what to do about this entire situation because I’m faced with family pressures to get married catholic, and then the fears of pre-marital counseling, and I really don’t want to force my religion onto FH. >>

Step 1.  Don’t worry about the pre-marital counseling or forcing a religion on your Fiance.  Neither are a problem.

Step 2.  Go visit some of the Catholic churches in the area and talk to some of the priests and deacons.  Find a nice priest or deacon that you like (either can marry you).

Step 3.  Meet with that priest or deacon.  Tell him your situation, he will walk you through everything, even if you want permission to be married outside of a church building.

 

I hope that helps.  As always, feel free to PM if you have additional questions.

 

Post # 10
Member
350 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

@FutureMrsH11: <<I discussed it with my parents and they were like “well you have to do this and this and this and there’s all this work involved and you gotta do this, and then you have to do this.” and it was making me feel really overwhelmed, like we were gonna have to go.>>

It’s really not overwhelming at all.  The priest tells you everything. The most complicated thing is getting the marriage license, and you have to do that anyway.

In many ways, a Catholic wedding is easier than a non-Catholic wedding.  The priest will help you in planning your wedding way more than a normal officiant, and they’ll hand you a book that gives you the entire ceremony, you just pick the readings (and the book has recommended readings).  Plus, most churches give you a free day-of ceremony coordinator. 

Post # 12
Member
593 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

I guess you have to weigh how important it is that “this person and that person” will approve/attend vs. what makes you and your Fiance happiest. It sounds like you may be struggling a little bit with letting go of the idea of a Catholic ceremony so please make sure that is all sorted out openly with your Fiance so there is no chance of lingering resentment from either one of you depending on what you ultimately decide.

My grandfather almost did not attend his son’s (my uncle’s) wedding because my Aunt was already a few months pregnant and (gasp!) Protestant. Luckily at the last minute, he changed his mind and it is a good thing too because fast forward 28 years and they are still happily married and have two children. It would have caused so much pain if he had remained unapproving/unaccepting of their relationship and by extension of his own grandchild. Hopefully your more strict/traditional family members will come around but if they don’t–it’s all just things you need to take into consideration. Good luck!

Post # 13
Member
4123 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

“I was devastated to see people that aren’t even Catholic come to church for my grandfather and he didn’t go”

It sounds to me, like you two have a lot to discuss. Religion aside, Family is family and I can totally understand why you would be so hurt by him not coming. If your family was celebrating by attending church, then he should have gone. Have you discussed what will happen with children down the road? Will he not attend their baptism, first communion (if raised Catholic) etc.? Is he OK with his kids going to church and learning about Jesus? This kind of goes beyond grandpa.

To me, it’s one thing to be uncomfortable, and it’s another to be stubborn. 

Bottom line, a Marriage is about TWO people. It’s about the both of you and it sounds like your kind of walking on egg shells to please everyone else. If your faith is important to you, and a church/Catholic wedding is important to you, than he should respect that enough to do a non-mass version. If he want’s the beach, perhaps find a venue that is down at the beach or do your photos on the beach after. But Marriage is about sacrificing oneself for the good of the other. To build each other up.

It may be corny, but it reminds me in Twilight how Edward had “lost his soul” but would do anything to protect Bella from loosing hers. I.e. He may not believe in an afterlife, but if you do he should make sure you attain it.

Did he apologize for hurting you by not attending the birthday celebration? Does he understand why you’re hurt? It may just be you both need to talk. Obviously, I don’t know the whole story, but sometimes we come to realize we’re more passionate about things than we thought. i.e. A church wedding or not wanting a church wedding. But it’s crucial to discuss these things now, because after marriage the “issues” just become deeper and more hurtful. Much better to get it all in the open now so expectations aren’t crushed later. 

 

Post # 14
Member
80 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

@FutureMissH11

I will try to comment on what you wrote, in the order the statements were made. Please do not take any offense by what I am saying…

 

“I always wanted to get married in the church I grew up in, but then as we got engaged, I kept feeling bad, because I dont’ want to force him into my religion.” —- You wanting to get married in your Church is not forcing any religion on him.  Getting married in your Church does not mean he has to convert.

“The thing is though – Pre-marital counseling and all that stuff, I know FH would not like at all” —- My brother in law is not Catholic, but was open to it. In the end, he said that he loved it.  So there is a good chance that you FH would also enjoy it.

“plus, he believes IN a god, but he doesn’t believe in any specific organized religion, and I for some reason could see a priest not wanting to marry us for this reason.” —- Priest will not refuse to marry you if he is a non believer.  They simply require that you both agree to raise your children up Catholic.  Again, your FH does not have to convert.

“I’m one of the ones that would rather live with someone first before marrying them because that’s another whole level of “getting to know each other” —- I can appreciate your sentiment here. However, studies will show that this does not increase chances of a happy marriage. The reason being, is that if one lives with the other first, then after they are married things are no different than before. With this being the case, why marry and subject oneself to marriage.  The reality is that marriage is the start of the bond, to which will need to grow over time. Please bear in mind that I am not judging you here, just simply stating the point at hand.

“I also am not considering the church I grew up in anymore, but that’s because both priests that I would have wanted to marry us have left our church.” —- Keep in mind that at a wedding there are 3 important people… you, him, and GOD.  In fact, at a wedding, it is you and your FH that convey the sacrament upon each other.  The Priest is simply there as a witness and to convey the mass. So you really don’t have to even like the priest…(obviously, it helps if you do)

“I’m faced with family pressures to get married catholic” —- They want what they feel is best for you. Don’t consider it pressure.

“and then the fears of pre-marital counseling” —- Anything new will come up as fears, but don’t worry… it’s actually a pretty awesome experience.

“and I really don’t want to force my religion onto FH.” —- Wanting a Catholic wedding is not forcing your religion on your FH. Again, he does not have to convert. Not having a Catholic wedding on the other hand, is to ignore what the Church requires you to do, so you would be depriving yourself of what you need.

“I’ve gone through the whole nine yards up to this for the steps to be a “full-fledged catholic” but we don’t even know if FH got baptised, or if he’d have to go through the steps to become catholic” —- No, he does not have to convert or do any of that.

“and then do pre-marital counseling and become members of a new church.” —- Again, premarital counseling could only help, not hurt.

“I don’t know what it’s like to switch churches, because I’ve gone to the same one my whole life.” —- Catholic Churches are all the same. We go through the exact same readings every week as any Catholic Church in the world, and we all have the Eucharist… which is the most important part about mass.  That is one benefit of the RCC… we are uniform in practice, everywhere in the world.

“What are the steps to switch churches?” —- Go to the new Catholic Church, and register as a parishoner. It’s that simple.

“What do you have to do for pre-marital counseling and would he have to “turn” catholic?” —- For counseling, you have to simply show up. Listen, have some discussion, and maybe attend a retreat.  As for the “turning Catholic”, there is a program for adults called RCIA (Rights of Catholic Initiation of Adults). But again, your FH does not have to convert.

“Up until this point we wanted to have an outdoor wedding, but We’re having trouble finding venues in our area that are affordable, and every officiant we’ve e-mailed has NOT returned our e-mails.” —- As a Catholic, we are required to have our ceremony/mass at the Church. It can’t be outdoors, as there is no outdoor tabernacle, and hence Jesus is not present in the flesh.  We got married at a Catholic Church and our reception was outdoors at a winery.

 

GOD BLESS…

Post # 15
Member
350 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

@RumbleBee: Hi RumbleBee.  Good advice, but I want to mention a few things for clarification:

“They simply require that you both agree to raise your children up Catholic.”

The Catholic has to make this promise to the best of her ability.  The non-Catholic does not need to make this promise.  I’ve seen cases where a husband and wife marry, and the wife makes the promise.  Then, later, the husband completely refuses to have the children baptized and threatens divorce.  The wife then does not baptize the children because to do so would cause more harm than good, so she did all that she could.

Of course, you shouldn’t go in planning to do that. That would be dishonest.  But it highlights the fact that the non-Catholic doesn’t have to give away any parential rights in the process (which might bother some).

 

“In fact, at a wedding, it is you and your FH that convey the sacrament upon each other.  The Priest is simply there as a witness and to convey the mass.”

With an unbaptized spouse, you can actually not have a Mass (because it’s technically not considered a sacrament).  The marriage has to happen in a Rite of Marriage without Mass (so like a 30 minute ceremony that looks identical to a protestant ceremony – no communion).  So your Fiance doesn’t have to worry about half of the room taking communion while the other half watches.  Also, no kneeling, which bothers some non-Catholics.

 

Post # 16
Member
350 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

I feel like the mean church lady correcting people.  I don’t mean to do that.

It’s just that I’ve seen so many of the “excuses” given to not be married in a Catholic Church and I want to cut them off because they cause a problem.

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