My mother very upset with me

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-06-2007
My mother very upset with me
6
Mon, 08-23-2010 - 3:50pm

Hi,
I don't normally check in on this board, but my mother is so upset with me that I need some opinions. Or maybe some stories, so I don't feel like we're the only family with this problem.

My husband and I were born, baptized, raised and married Catholics. Our mothers are devoted parishioners to their churches. My father is Baptist but goes to church with mom. My father in law is Catholic but stays home on Sundays. Our first child was baptized Catholic 2 years ago. She is now 2 1/2 and we have a son who is 3 months old.

In the past 6 months, we have been practicing at a Lutheran church. The reason is because there are no churches in the area that have babysitting. I had checked with the diocese and they responded that they couldn't even find a church with babysitting. They did give us the name of a church with an enclosed area for families with kids but it's a 1/2 hour away and so noisy in there that we were unable to listen to what was going on at the altar.

Meanwhile, there's a Lutheran church within walking distance from our home that has babysitting. Many of our friends attend that church so we've been going there most Sundays.

We have our son scheduled to be baptized there in 3 weeks. My mother is furious and will most likely not be attending the ceremony. She is upset mainly that three of us are Catholic and he is being baptized a Lutheran, that we are making him feel like an outsider. She is ashamed to talk about our decision with her friends and says that this is one of the biggest mistakes of my life. She said she'd allow me to make my own decision except this one, because it's like I am committing him to a religion that he will never be able to change. (By the way, I am 40 years old, not 19.)

My argument is that he can become Catholic when he is ready to make that choice. Her response is then, "Why have him baptized now? Let him wait and be baptized a Catholic when he's ready." She'll also come up with any and every reason that my husband and I should be attending a Catholic church, despite the lack of daycare.

I'm asking for your opinion because I feel like I'm stuck in the middle. I want him baptized now and be a part of the Christian family. However, I don't want him to feel like an outsider of the family because we made this "bad" decision. My mom's emotions are clouding my judgments.

I have made an appointment with the local Catholic priest for next week.

Is there anything you can recommend my husband and I think about? Are we doing the wrong thing?

Thanks,
Gisele

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-07-2003
Mon, 08-23-2010 - 9:13pm
You are not going to like what I'm about to say. Babysitting is not a reason to leave your Church. I have 6 children and all of them have attended mass right next to me in the pew from the time they are 6 weeks old. If children are not taught to behave during mass at a young age they may never behave. I never took advantage of the "crying rooms ". Thats not to say that there weren't many a time that DH or I walked an unruly child to the back of the Church. And of course wondered why we bothered. I have no pateince for the people who throw the glares your way if your child makes a peep. Jesus welcomed the children to be at his side. If your only reason is convenience then you may want to rethink your reasons for baptising your child outside of the faith. The one thing my DH and I have always reminded our kids is that our weekly attendance at Mass is the single most important thing we do as a family. FYI my kids are 18,14,13,10,8,and 6. Yes even the 18 yr old is with us every week. I agree with your Mom that maybe you should wait especially if you yourself are not making the full commitment to the Lutheran Church. It might be a mixed message to your kids. But ultimately you have to do what is right for your family. I'll say a prayer that you make the decision that is right. Its obvious that your faith means alot to you or you wouldn't care what anyone thought.
Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Tue, 08-24-2010 - 5:06pm

I don't think anyone can answer the question, "Are we doing the wrong thing?" because there are SO many things going on here.

Some people leave the Catholic faith because they have real issues with either doctrine (e.g. teaching on the sacraments, especially transubstantiation or reconciliation, or the papacy) or moral teachings (usually having to do with sex). Some people leave because they don't feel at home in a highly liturgical church and want a church that puts the "personal relationship with Christ" above everything else (e.g. nondenominational churches), or one that emphasizes human relations and has a real "community" kind of feeling, with lots of church activities and a sense of "fun." Others feel driven away because of misinformation about the church, or because of bad experiences with a member of the clergy or a family member who was Catholic (this always seems saddest to me).

I have to say that I've never heard of anyone leaving the Catholic church because the Lutherans offered babysitting, so I'm wondering if there is more to it than that. Has something changed in your faith?

Before you do anything, I'd suggest you and your husband think very hard about what you believe and what you think your responsibilities are as a parent in the area of faith formation.

Without knowing what you believe, how can you pass it on to your children? If you're practicing a faith without knowing what is in it, how can you teach it? Can you explain how the Catholic and Lutheran churches differ? What does that mean to you? Parents (not Sunday school teachers) are the primary educators of their children, so it behooves you to know what you're teaching.

When you married in a Catholic church, you promised to accept children lovingly from God and raise them in the Catholic faith, which you were doing up until six months ago. I must say that I never find the argument "when he's old enough, he'll choose" to be a strong one; the upshot is almost always that kids choose *nothing* because the message is basically that religious conviction doesn't matter. Besides, how and when will he choose? When he's 18? Certainly at some point we all have to do this, as adults or young adults; but they have to have some foundation for making a decision. How can he "choose" the Catholic church if you don't take him there?

Catholic churches rarely ever offer daycare. The reason is that church is for EVERYONE. Kids learn to behave eventually, and they'll always know that you took them there, so it must have been important. Faith isn't a matter of convenience. If you truly believe in the sacraments, then nothing gets in the way. My parents went to different masses so that one of them stayed home with the under-4yos; my DH stayed home so I could attend mass with our over-3yos; but once it was possible, we all went together, both when I was growing up and with my own family.

I'll share with you a beautiful little true story. When my DDs were 5 & 2yo, I had to go to church alone with them. The usher seated us in the front row, right in front of the priest, and my DDs couldn't have behaved more stressfully (for me). I was nearly in tears by the time I went up for communion. After giving me communion, the priest put his hand on my head and said, "God bless you and your children." It was a huge moment for me that told me that no matter how *I* felt, *God* wanted me to be there with them.

I hope you will pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit for what to do. If the answer is becoming Lutheran, then so be it, but I hope it will never be because it is just more convenient than being Catholic. Think of what our world would be like if Mary had chosen convenience!

Kelly

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-06-2007
Tue, 08-24-2010 - 10:24pm

Hi again,
Thanks for taking the time to write back. Firstly, I am withdrawing our son from the Lutheran baptism. Although I love going to the church, I do intend to remain Catholic and want to share that with our son. Taking the wrong first step would not be helpful.

I obviously have to look deeper into the differences of the religions before I can make an educated decision. It's hard when 2 priests from my high school and the priest who baptized me have all been charged or convicted with sexual assault. I also worked with a monk who was discharged and sent to FL where he could have no contact with previous coworkers. It's also going to be hard when my husband doesn't know why he is still a Catholic.

In the meantime, I have to find a church that is closest to what I feel comfortable with. I have a feeling that I may be attending both the Lutheran and Catholic ones simultaneously, ridiculous though it may sound.

As for our son's baptism, it will be indefinitely delayed until we find a church again....

Gisele

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Wed, 08-25-2010 - 10:45am

Gisele, I am glad that you are going to think further about this. Oftentimes having children forces us to examine beliefs and attitudes we took for granted, which I think is always a good thing.

When my kids were little, I knew I wanted to raise them Catholic, but it took a visit to a Presbyterian service for me to understand WHY - because Jesus was NOT in that church in the appearance of bread and wine. He was there in the hearts of the congregation, but that is true of any group of Christians. I needed to have him there in the Eucharist. And if I were going to do that, I needed to have some good answers for my kids as to why that was so important.

Here are a couple of the books that I read early on in my faith formation as an adult in my mid-30s: "Why Do Catholics Do That?" by Kevin Orlin Johnson, and "Catholic and Christian" by Alan Schreck. I recommend them both as being VERY readable, and more interested in explaining than in providing deep theology.

An entertaining and concise book is "How to Survive Being Married to a Catholic," which is a cartoon-like paperback that a friend gave my husband.

Another book you can try is "Rome Sweet Home," by Scott & Kimberley Hahn about their conversion to the Catholic faith. Scott is an inspiring writer and speaker, but I found it helpful to have a foundation in the basics that I got from the first two books before reading it.

It is so very important to separate what GOD wants from us, and what God has given us in our Catholic faith from the acts of certain individuals. Catholics are as human as anyone else, and so are the clergy and religious. Just as you wouldn't give up the idea of marriage because you knew people who had made a mockery of it through their awful behavior, you can't give up on the Church because of the actions of a tiny percentage of people. The Church was Jesus's gift to us - don't deprive yourself of the great sacramental life of the church because you knew of some people who did bad things.

Incidentally, my DH is an agnostic but goes to church with us faithfully every Sunday. He views it as supporting *me* in what I believe is important.

I will pray for your spiritual journey.

Kelly

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2009
Thu, 08-26-2010 - 8:58am
I recommend you go to CAtholic Mass weekly. Babysitting is not necessary to attend Mass. I have 5 children and only sometimes did our churches havea nursery (we are military so moved every 1-2 yrs).... or you can go to one Mass and dh to another so that there is someone home to watch the kids if you can't find a way to attend Mass with them.....
attending service at a Lutheran church is not Mass, it's not Catholic and I can understand your mils being upset about this baptism

Renee


Wife to Scott


Mom to: Madeleine, James, Abigail, Theresa & John


www.reneesuz.blogspot.com

Renee


Wife to Scott


Mom to: Madeleine, James,

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2009
Thu, 08-26-2010 - 9:02am
I should have read ahead. Glad you canceled the Lutheran baptism.... hope you are still keeping that appt with the priest. There are LOTS and LOTs of good priests out there (most of them for that matter) but only the bad ones make the news because there is still a certain amount of anti-Catholicism in the US..... read and learn about the Catholic faith

Renee


Wife to Scott


Mom to: Madeleine, James, Abigail, Theresa & John


www.reneesuz.blogspot.com

Renee


Wife to Scott


Mom to: Madeleine, James,