This was originally posted on Christian Family Life,
**but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isa
Well, my post got realllly long, and I want to apologize.
It's a similar scenario here for us. I married a Southern Baptist 14+ years ago and it hasn't been without its challenges. We eloped and haven't married in the church. I didn't realize this would be an impediment for communion, when I got married at 18. However, I live with it. I did fall away from the church for a while, and I've dealt with dh saying some very unkind things about Catholicism over the years. He's slowly softened his stance on things, but he has plainly stated he has no interest what so ever in converting, nor do I ask him anymore. We did originally agree to take the kids to church in both faiths, but attending a Baptist church was short lived. I didn't participate in their communion, as I was taught in 6th grade that it violated the Covenant with God and Jesus to partake of another church's communion that was outside of the true Eucharist. I understand it a little better now, but 13 years ago, I just didn't feel right pulling off a hunk of bread from the loaf and taking a sip of grape juice from the plastic serving tray. I passed the basket and tray down to the next person. I swear to you that on that day, people who'd been normally welcoming to us were cold-shouldered towards us after services. It was rather palpable. No one asked why I hadn't joined them, they just didn't talk to us on the way out the door like they'd done before. The next Sunday, I was getting ready to go and dh said he wasn't going. um...ok. A while after that I went back to Mass after a long time of being away, and it was like "welcome home!" for me. When I signed the kids up for religious ed, dh balked. My solution was that he could take them to church on Sunday, but I needed to know beforehand so I could get them to Mass on Saturday so they'd be available the whole morning for Sunday School and services. Even his own mother said "well if you're not going to teach them your beliefs, you have no room to complain that she's taking them to religious ed classes. She's offered a compromise and you're not taking it." DH also won't go to church without me, citing that people will ask where his wife is, and he'd have to explain that I am Catholic and I'm at my own church etc. So that right there tells me he knows he'd be subjected to judgment from his own congregation and doesn't want to deal with trying to explain and counter their arguments. I've had my share of some of his friends challenging me about Catholicism not being "Bible Based", or Sola Scriptura. Well if they'd like to carefully read the book of Revelation and attend Mass, they'd quickly find that Revelation lays out details of the Mass. The readings are from the Old Testament, the Psalms (for the responsorial), the New Testament and the Gospels. We don't just make up these little stories along the way folks. It is indeed Bible based, and lived daily - because we have Mass every single day except Good Friday.
Scott Hahn and his wife Kimberly struggled with how their theological studies challenged every single aspect of their faith and everything they'd been taught previously. Catholicity.com offers free audio cd's and one of them is about Scott Hahn's conversion to Catholicism during his studies to become a Presbyterian minister. I haven't read any of his books yet, but after hearing him and Kimberly speak, I don't know that I can devour enough lol. Read "Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth" and it might help you with some of the reactions you're getting from your dh's congregation. I would recommend finding some kind of adult catechism classes in your area, even if it means utilizing another parish's program. What you're feeling is a lack of balance. You've been bombarded by the vibes of judgment coming from the other church, and not balancing it with sound theological teaching. When you study and analyze some of the things other churches teach (Rapture for instance) they don't hold up against solid theology. Things like the difference in the number of books in a Catholic bible versus NIV or KJV - well those Bible texts were ratified by 3 different councils (Trent, Nicea, & Constantinople) with three separate groups of people before any kind of information traveled fast beyond city gates. The "added" ones were later found, having been missing many ages because someone who shall remain nameless deemed they should be removed. That someone was a single person, versus the groups of people who ratified them in the first place.
When you encounter people who openly cast judgment, speak their language, and throw some Scripture back for them to digest. Matthew 7 specifically addresses the topic of judgment, so you can simply say "I'll ask you to re-examine the size of that thorn in your own eye so you can go back and re-read Matthew 7:2 and it's accompanying passage. It seems you have forgotten about that instruction." In the "pillar.." booklet it gives a very good answer you can use to counter some people's stance on salvation etc -summarized in that we are not saved by works but by grace, given freely by Jesus when he laid his life out on the cross to pay for our sins.It's entirely possible that God put you together to enlighten and educate those in DH's congregation, and your dh. As I've become more involved in my own parish, and got more IN my Bible during my CRHP journey (visibly spoke DH's language there), I've dragged my husband to functions with my Catholic friends who love him, welcome him, and cast no judgment on him. The most recent one was the parish picnic. In the past he questioned why there was alcohol at a function. He understood the use of wine during communion, but not alcohol socially on parish grounds, since he'd been taught alcohol was sinful etc. He comes from a family of alcoholics and I half-joked that I'd think he'd embrace it, not question it so harshly. In any case, after having been around my fellow parishoners enough, this time he walked into the parish hall and asked "so where's the beer?" LOL. Later he was off in a corner with some of the others guys from my church, playing horseshoes. For my husband, THIS was progress. Then one of my CRHP sisters jokingly teased that she questioned the existence of my elusive husband. He was trying to leave and I had to drag him back inside and introduce him to L., who then said "oh good, you really do exist. We were starting to get worried about her because we'd never seen you before now." as she twirled a finger around her ear for that sign to indicate someone (meaning me) was crazy in the head. Would your dh be comfortable inviting your priest over for dinner one evening, or perhaps for lunch on a weekend so that your husband can talk to the priest more on a social level than a pastoral one?
Honestly I don't see how a couple could raise their children as Catholics and Jews...... one believes Christ is the Messiah and the other is waiting for Him.....My guess is the children ultimately decided for themselves as they got older or sadder yet ended up with no faith practice.
Additionally, we have discussed having a child together. We got married in my Catholic Church and agreed to raise any future children Catholic. Now he says he wont support that and says he will encourage the truth (meaning his Church's way).>>
I would not have a child with this big conflict in the way.... but that's just me.... my faith is too important to me to not raise my children in it....
Wife to Scott
Mom to: Madeleine, James,
Seems like you have two things going on here: one, the issue of coexisting lovingly with your DH so that your religious beliefs don't pull you apart; and two, how to get along with other people outside your religion who disrespect your beliefs and don't even attempt to hide it.
The good news is that working out #2 *may* help with #1. Trish gave you good advice and suggested good books. While catholic.com gives great answers to typical evangelical/fundamentalist objections to the Catholic faith, you might also want to read "Catholic and Christian" by Alan Schreck, which takes a more conciliatory approach to apologetics by looking for more of the common ground between Catholic and Protestant beliefs. You need to have a pretty good grounding in Catholic doctrine and Tradition to have anything like a reasonable discussion with rabid fundies, a thick skin to deal with willful ignorance, and a charming personality to actually convince anyone (I lack that last one!!), but it will help *you* even if it doesn't help them.
On #1 - getting along with your DH - well, I have some pretty strong opinions about the need for spouses to respect each other. DH is agnostic but very well versed in Catholic doctrine from being married to me for almost 20 years. He does not say or do anything to undermine how I am raising the kids, and he stands up for me around his atheist friends who say, "Kelly is so smart, how can she possibly believe all that stuff?" For my part, I try not to overwhelm his life with all that goes along with being Catholic. He attends mass with us, but doesn't participate in any of the sacraments or say grace or other prayers with us. About 10 years ago I asked him if he'd consider being confirmed and he said definitely not, so I leave it alone. He is supportive of me, and vice versa.
As for the challenge of having kids, I agree with others that you need to make sure you and your DH are on the same page about the religious tradition you'll choose for them. The problem with "we'll let them choose when they grow up" is that they usually choose nothing. You also need to know what your limits are. All the guys I dated seriously before DH were Jewish; I knew that if I married a Jewish guy, I'd want to raise my kids to respect their Jewish history and traditions, but they would receive their Catholic sacraments and be raised Catholic. If my boyfriend couldn't agree to that, we would have to part ways - I can't deny that Jesus is the Son of God and that the Catholic church is the one he gave us.
Hi Trish ~
I knew I would end up over here sooner or later as I continue to find my way back to my "home" within the Catholic Church.
I am not sure if I mentioned that I fell away from the Church a long time ago. Although I am a Cradle Catholic and had all the Sacraments of the Church including Marriage (twice). It was never a constant growing up for me. I felt as though it was not important enough to be consistent since we never went regularly as kids.
Oddly enough, my mom and grandma told me that my dad was an alter boy when he was a kid. Hmmmm.....cant see that one since for as long as I can remember he wont step foot inside a church unless for a wedding or funeral. Ah well...it is what it is.
Mom became a "Bible Thumper" after my nephew passed away at 7 weeks old (this was 17 years ago this Sunday). Mom pushed me to baptize my daughter since my nephew was not baptized prior to his passing. I didnt do it because I was sure I was "truly" Catholic or if I was agnostic.
The following year my son was born and mom was still pushing. Finally when my son was just over a year old I baptized the kids to get mom off my back so to speak.
Over the years mom has been really good about preaching but not so much with the practicing. She has gotten better in a lot of respects, but it was tough especially when you dont know what to believe because there was never any real religious structure in the home.
I did everything out of tradition and not really out of my desire or need to do it. If that makes sense?
I decided that I wanted to get married in the Church and in order to do so I had to go through RCIA in order to get confirmed. I followed the process and did my kids dad...but I still wasnt too sure. Why then did I do it? I felt pressured to do so, by my mom as well as some guilt that I felt with the pain my grandmother had for me having the kids out of wedlock etc.
After my first marriage failed, I completely fell away from the Church. I was not understanding how a God that was supposed to be so good and so loving and so gracious could cause so much pain in a single person's life. I lost my grandmother in 1995 - she was my best friend, my support, my rock and foundation with anything. Then my marriage began to fail as I believe with every fiber of my being that my ex had at least 3 affairs that I know of and he was very emotionally and mentally abusive - he is an alcoholic and addict. I knew I needed to get out.
I began going to church in 1998 for the solice - still not knowing if I truly believed. I made an appointment with the Priest and explained that my heart was telling me to divorce, but as a "Catholic" I knew I was not supposed to. He told me that based on the information that I provided him, God would agree that no person should have to endure a marriage such as the one I was in.
I chose to divorce my kids dad, and life just went spiralling downward from there. Again leading me to wonder how can a God so great cause a single person so much pain. I then became an agnostic as I did not know what to believe. I knew I needed to find my path and my way. Unfortunately, the devil took hold of my depression and uncertainty and caused greater and greater pain and hurt and anguish in my life. I didnt think there was any other way and life was what the devil was making it..encouraging me to continue to be a sinner. Greater and greater sins were occuring and life was becoming unbearable. I began to think the unthinkable.
I remember the day that I hit rock bottom....I knew I could not do it alone. It was spring of 2002. I dropped to me knees and begged God to show me how Gracious and Just he was. How merciful and kind he could be. I begged him to help me turn around and get out of the darkness and back into the light.
With His guidance - I relocated 1200 miles away from everything I knew. From Southern California to the Boulder Colorado area. My kids dad did not fight me taking the kids with me, I had a job opportunity presenting itself and everything seemed too good to be true.
I followed the lead that God gave me and still wasnt sure about Church. After about 3 months of being in Colorado, things started getting difficult again and I was starting to see myself spiral back to where I was in California. I prayed that God show me the way as I was not interested in going back to the path of the devil.
I opened up the yellow pages and found 2 Churches in my town and I chose St John the Baptist. I went to Mass and was not thrilled to find out that the sermon that day was on the state of the Church (financials). Usually when the Church would do financials they would just ask for more and more money. One priest at a Church I went to actually told the congregation "If all you can afford to give is a dollar...keep it you need it more than we do." Excuse me...what?!?!?! If all I can afford to give today is a dollar you should be gracious and thankful. Ah well...again another reason I struggled to embrace my Catholic traditions.
The priest however at St Johns was amazing. He even preached that if you cant tithe in monetary form, that is okay. You can also tithe with Time and Talents. Volunteering and teaching and helping all counts in God's eyes. It is about giving back to the community and helping the community. I was simply amazed at this sermon not being all about $$$$. I knew then that I found my "Home" as I made my way back to Catholicism.
I have been going to St Johns for almost 4 years now and I still enjoy it. I wish the Church community had more to offer in the way of Bible Study and women's Groups. It seems that most of the activities are during the day and during the week. With my job, it makes it difficult to partake.
I know that no matter what wrongs I did while I was under the control of the devil, nothing can change the fact that Jesus died for my sins and God has forgiven me and I will be saved so long as I continue to practice my faith and continue to grow with God.
I am looking into so many different things right now to grow with my faith and to continue to build up my beliefs and my faiths and with the negativity it seems to me that is the devil trying to get the foothold again.
I even talked to a lady at my DH's church and we talked about Mary and Protestants dont understand why we look so highly to Mary. I explained to this lady that I dont understand how you CANT give such reverence to Mary. After all she was only 14 years old when she became the virgin
I understand that the faith conflict is a huge issue when it comes to bringing children into a marriage.
I continue to pray about it. God knows what is in my heart and he also knows what is in DH's heart. I hope that all the conflicts can resolve in order for us to be harmonious in our family and beliefs.
It is great to see that co-existing in a marriage of different faiths/beliefs is possible. I think I am still just a baby learning to walk when it comes to my Catholic beliefs as I turned my back on the Church and God for a very long time. I am taking baby steps in getting everything I need with regards to education in Catholicism.
Any tips or trick on getting to the harmonious state when issues of difference come up within the marriage based on personal beliefs?
I think I have a pretty thick skin, not sure about the charming personality though. HA!!
I can't offer you much been there/done that advice with interfaith marriages.
Thank you...thank you....thank you....thank you for this website. It is so amazing to see all the things that show how good God is!!!!
In the last several hours, I have been reading this website, with my Bible in hand. I have learned so much tonight about my beliefs and the Holy Church. I am so grateful that you posted this link here for me.
I know that God is working to bring me back to salvation and this
You are very, very welcome.
To answer your question CRHP is a renewal retreat formation process, it is short for Christ Renews His Parish, and the abbreviation is pronounced "chirp". Just on the weekend alone, participants are well fed in every single sense of the phrase. Physically there's usually tons of food. I can eat as much as my teenagers, and I put away some food. I actually got to a point that I did not want to even THINK about another bite of food going in my mouth. It was all delicious and the calories don't count because Father said prayers over the food to make it so. lol. Emotionally, I was cared for and I got my love cup refilled. I was sucking fumes and a dark cloud hovered over my life and my whole being. I found common threads with several other ladies on the weekend and during the follow up after it. These women are my sisters in spirit, and if ever I need anything several come running. My husband hasn't seen anything yet, till this baby arrives. Between CRHP and MOMS (Ministry of Mother's Sharing) we honestly will experience the full scope of Christian Community. Because I'd gotten my love cup refilled, I wasn't a shrew to my husband anymore. I was able to start reacting in love and not anger and in turn DH wasn't a jerk anymore.Spiritually, there is no way I can appropriately articulate the palpable presence of the Holy Spirit at the weekend. The follow up I did was incredible. I hated missing any of the meetings, and if I missed one, everyone around me knew it immediately. I was never in my Bible much, but I got into it with such joy and vigor and desire to get as much from it as I could. I really think that further impacted my relationship with my dh because his background is "Sola Scriptura" and here I was finally reading the Bible, and even aloud to him. In essence I was speaking his language.
If you ever get the opportunity to experience a CRHP weekend, take it. You will not regret it. My CRHP family has been very instrumental in helping soften my DH's stance and opinion on Catholicism. They've also been instrumental in helping get my ds14 from being a sloppy kid wearing stained t-shirts and pants, sitting in the bushes and playing at the retention pond, to now being an Usher/Greeter, complete with coat and tie. I had nothing to do with his transformation, except granting my permission for my CRHP sister and her husband to encourage him to help them with things during Mass. In my journey with CRHP, I got some much needed healing from past hurts, including those I'd brought to the table myself. I was able to forgive myself, despite the devil's continued attempts to pull me back into those memories, I no longer dwell on them like I used to do. While I'm sure you're long past ready to shed those dark haunting feelings that keep following you, just remember that God has a plan for those feelings and experiences you hold. You will be surprised who you encounter that needs to hear your story to begin the process of their own healing. In helping someone else heal their hurts, your own will mend too. Just because your relatives felt strongly about what YOU should be doing, you have to do things from here on out of your own accord. Your grandmother merely wanted what was best for you, and the only way she knew how to help you get that was to push you. Your love for her lent you to consent to do things you didn't feel 100% certain about doing. Your father may have been pushed too hard by his mother. He may have had some other negative experience that prompted his departure from the church. Unless he's willing to share that information, you may never know. It's your job to pray that he heals that hurt and makes amends with whatever it is keeping him away.
I'm glad someone was able to give you a link with the information on Revelation and the Mass. I was going to ask if you'd be willing to accept a scanned copy of the notes from that particular catechism class lol.