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Jeremy Scherr wrote:

Hi, guys —

I'm a 24-year-old male who was born, raised, and confirmed as a Catholic.

My situation is a difficult one. I love God and Jesus so much. I am currently engaged and I love my fiancée very much. The only problem is that I am a devoted Catholic and she is a devoted Baptist.

I have let her know that I am not going to abandon my Catholic ways and she has let me know that she will not abandon her Baptist ways either. We were both born and raised in our own faith and accept who we are. I am not one to judge and that is why this is so hard. Lately, I have had a lot of anxiety about our future children.

If we have children, I told my fiancée that I will let them be Baptist as long as they go to church every Sunday with their mom. I also said that I will still go to Mass on Saturday nights but that I would then go with them on Sundays to their church. I've told her I am still a Catholic and I will always go to my Church.

I am just so scared that me and my fiancée will not go to Heaven because I am allowing my kids to belong to another denomination.

I try and tell myself that this is satan trying to get into my head and that we are all God's children as long as we worship Him, His Son, and our Savior, Jesus, and live a good life.

  • I just need advice please.

Jeremy

  { Can you provide some advice for a devout Catholic fiancé and a devout Baptist fiancée? }

Mike replied:

Hi Jeremy,

Thanks for the question.

I was confused by your question because while you say you are a devoted Catholic, you have already thrown away the faith of your children to the desires of your fiancée. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says this on the issue:

Mixed marriages and disparity of cult

CCC 1633 In many countries the situation of a mixed marriage (marriage between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic) often arises. It requires particular attention on the part of couples and their pastors.

A case of marriage with disparity of cult (between a Catholic and a non-baptized person) requires even greater circumspection.

CCC 1634 Difference of confession between the spouses does not constitute an insurmountable obstacle for marriage, when they succeed in placing in common what they have received from their respective communities, and learn from each other the way in which each lives in fidelity to Christ. But the difficulties of mixed marriages must not be underestimated. They arise from the fact that the separation of Christians has not yet been overcome. The spouses risk experiencing the tragedy of Christian disunity even in the heart of their own home. Disparity of cult can further aggravate these difficulties. Differences about faith and the very notion of marriage, but also different religious mentalities, can become sources of tension in marriage, especially as regards the education of children. The temptation to religious indifference can then arise.

CCC 1635 According to the law in force in the Latin Church, a mixed marriage needs for liceity the express permission of ecclesiastical authority. (cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 1124) In case of disparity of cult an express dispensation from this impediment is required for the validity of the marriage. (cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 1086.)

This permission or dispensation presupposes that both parties know and do not exclude the essential ends and properties of marriage; and furthermore that the Catholic party confirms the obligations, which have been made known to the non-Catholic party, of preserving his or her own faith and ensuring the baptism and education of the children in the Catholic Church. (cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 1125.)

  • Is your fiancée aware of this portion of the paragraph 1635?

that the Catholic party confirms the obligations, which have been made known to the non-Catholic party, of preserving his or her own faith and ensuring the baptism and education of the children in the Catholic Church.

If not, I think it is important for her to know what the Church teaches on this issue. It's also important that you get permission from the bishop. This is what CCC 1635 is referring to when it says:

According to the law in force in the Latin Church, a mixed marriage needs for liceity the express permission of ecclesiastical authority.

Marriage is a life-long commitment Jeremy. I don't want to discourage you but she has to be made aware of what we believe.

Does your fiancée understand the beauty and the awesome power of the Sacraments Jesus established before ascending into Heaven?

Someone in your situation could just say,

"The heck with the Church, I'll marry wherever and whoever I want outside the Church."

What is lost is the sacramental grace that comes from a blessed marriage. This sacramental grace is the Krazy Glue that bonds the man and woman for life.  The word sacrament means
to swear an oath. God is swearing His Oath of assistance and help in every sacrament of the Church.

Does she understand the Divine origins of the Catholic Faith (Matthew 16:13-20), contrasted to the man-made origins (John Smyth) of the Baptist faith?

You said:
We are all God's children as long as we worship Him, His Son, and our Savior, Jesus, and live a good life.

Whether we worship him or not, we are all God's children, but unlike animals, God gave man and woman an intellect and an ability to form their consciences based on Catholic Christian principles. Jesus did not found the Baptist church. He founded the Christian Church on St. Peter and his successors.

Because men re-defined what Christian means in the early centuries of the Church's life, the Church had to use a word that meant a faith according to its totality. This is what the word Catholic means thus faithful Catholic Christians hold to and believe the totality of the Christian faith . . . not part of it.

I don't think satan is telling you these things, I think your Catholic conscience is telling you these things. I would talk with her about what Catholics believe and the importance of bringing your children up Catholic. I would also talk to your pastor about this issue.

Most of all, I recommend prayer. Seeing it is a Scriptural prayer, if she is willing to pray the Rosary with you that would be the best.

I used to run a free Rosary for Protestants program that sent Rosaries to seeking Protestants and non-Christians but no longer have the financial or operational means to do this anymore. Nevertheless, if you wish get your hands on a free Rosary just Google for one.

It's a great devotion because whether you are a Catholic Christian, Protestant Christian, or non-Christian, we are meditating on the lives of both Jesus, Our Lord, and Mary, His Mother and it has many blessings attached to praying it.



If she is interested in what those nutty Catholics believe, encourage her to consider buying a cheap copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to learn everything we believe as faithful Catholics.

There is no obligation for anyone to become a Catholic, if they are not interested. All she would be obliged to do is, be a witness to your promise to raise the children of your marriage as Catholics and not interfere.

My colleagues may want to chime in. I will keep your relationship in my daily prayers.

Hope this helps,

Mike

Mary Ann replied:

Jeremy —

Neither extreme alternative is true. You can both go to Heaven, as Catholic and as Baptist:

  • as long as you are truly following the truth that you know, and
  • are honestly seeking God's truth and living according to His law as you know it.

You and your fiancée must both follow your consciences. You know that the Catholic Church is Christ's Church.

  • Why would you deny your children the true faith and the sacraments, especially the Bread of Eternal Life in the Eucharist?

You would be going against your conscience if you did that, which is a grave sin. Moreover, when you marry, if you are given a dispensation to marry a Baptist, you must promise to raise your children in the Catholic faith. and the Protestant spouse must promise not to interfere. Otherwise, you will not be allowed to marry as a Catholic in the Church.

  • Why would a woman who loves you ask you to surrender your beliefs about the children ahead of time?

The only reason would be if she believed that Catholicism was wrong and harmful, and that she had a duty to protect her children from it.

  • What kind of basis for love is it when your faith is held in such an opinion?

Your conscience must judge. That's what it does. It judges right and wrong in particular situations, on the basis of divine law and revealed truth.

That does not mean that you judge the moral worth, or subjective guilt or innocence, of another soul, but you must judge truth, and right and wrong.

You are surrendering ahead of time to avoid conflict, and in essence selling your possible children short. Your wife does not need to become Catholic but you need to pass on the truth and the life of the sacraments to your children.

These questions seem slight at the beginning of the marriage, but they soon become the most important ones, and sources of great conflict and pain down the road.

If you cannot agree in a way that honors both of your consciences, you ought not to marry.

Mary Ann

Mary Ann replied later to Mike's reply:


Great response.

Mike replied:


Thanks!

That's why they pay me the big bucks : )

Jeremy replied:

Hi guys,

  • So are you saying that if I am a devoted Catholic and I continue to go to my church but let my kids be Baptist, like their mom, I am turning my back on my faith?

I cannot believe this.

Jeremy

Mike replied:

Hi Jeremy,

When you said you are a devout Catholic, I'm assuming you believe in the Catholic Church.

If you truly believe in the Catholic faith because you think it is best for your well being and your salvation:

  • Why wouldn't you want that same faith for your fiancée and your children?
  • How long have you been dating your fiancée?
  • Has there been a relationship that has entailed more than just formal dating, like going to the movies and having dinner out?
  • Has there been intimate physical contact in the bedroom?

I'm just looking for more insight so I can better address the issues involved in your head.

This may help as well. It is from the Catechism.

  • What is Faith?

The Catechism tell us this:

CCC 166 Faith is a personal act — the free response of the human person to the initiative of God who reveals himself. But faith is not an isolated act. No one can believe alone, just as no one can live alone. You have not given yourself faith as you have not given yourself life. The believer has received faith from others and should hand it on to others. Our love for Jesus and for our neighbor impels us to speak to others about our faith. Each believer is thus a link in the great chain of believers. I cannot believe without being carried by the faith of others, and by my faith I help support others in the faith.

CCC 167 "I believe" (Apostles' Creed) is the faith of the Church professed personally by each believer, principally during Baptism. "We believe" (Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed) is the faith of the Church confessed by the bishops assembled in council or more generally by the liturgical assembly of believers."I believe"is also the Church, our mother, responding to God by faith as she teaches us to say both "I believe" and "We believe".

  • Does this make it more understandable?

It also may help to remember the Trinitarian nature of a Catholic marriage.

If one digs deeper, we can theologically see a manifestation of the Trinity propagated down through Christendom from generation to generation:

  • with the husband, representing God the Father
  • the wife (in a certain way) representing His Son, Jesus, and
  • the Love between to Two Persons of the Trinity being so great that it brings forth the Holy Spirit, the fruit of their physical, conjugal embrace: their children!

If my human explanation is hard to understand, try this article.

That oneness in the Trinity cannot be a oneness in a marriage if the engaged couples differ on faith issues.

Mike

Mary Ann replied:

Jeremy —

To be married as a Catholic to a non-Catholic, you must agree to raise your children Catholic.

  • If you lie and say you will, when you intend not to do so, your marriage will not be valid.
  • If you tell the Church that you do not want to do so, which is your free choice, then you may not be married in the Church.
  • If you marry out of the Church, while a Catholic, then your marriage is not a valid sacramental marriage.
  • If you have formally left the faith in good conscience, not believing it to be true, then the Church regards you as a non-Catholic, and you can go get married in a non-Catholic way or civilly.

You should know these things up front as a Catholic, so that your conscience is formed and you can make a decision. The Church has had centuries of experience and knows that mixed marriage often means the loss of faith of the Catholic spouse, and of the children. The grace of the sacraments, and eternal life, are important.

Your fiancée should respect your convictions and those of your Church, and want you to honor them. If she has an animus against the Church, which is common among Baptists due to many misconceptions, then there may be serious conflict in your marriage.

Mary Ann

Jeremy replied:

Well . . .

If we all believe in God and Jesus Christ as our Savior and live a good life then we should all have eternal life.

It just seems like you guys are judgmental.

Jeremy

Mary Ann replied:

Jeremy,

It appears that you are not reading the responses, or reading them very rapidly, with some preconceived ideas, filtering out what you don't want to hear. As to what you said about salvation:

To believe in Jesus Christ means:

  1. to believe His Words and
  2. to do His Will, as He Himself said.

Besides keeping His Commandments, we should be keeping to His Words and His Will as people who are part of His Church. We eat His Flesh and Blood (which is only available through His Church) so that we may live in Him and have the strength and power to live His life.

We are not being judgmental, we are just being faithful to His Word.

Mary Ann

Mike replied:

Hi, Jeremy —

You never answered my questions:

  • How long have you been dating your fiancée?
  • Has there been a relationship that has entailed more than just formal dating, like going to the movies and having dinner out?
  • Has there been intimate physical contact in the bedroom?

You said in your original question:
I love my fiancée very much.

I want to throw out this question for you to pray and ponder on:

  • Do you really love your fiancée very much, or do you really love the way she makes you feel when, and if, you have close, intimate, physical contact in the bedroom?

There are two type of love in play in our society today.

  1. One is motivated out a life-long commitment where you and your future wife cooperate with God in being co-creator's with God of new life;
  2. the other is motivated out of selfish pleasure.

You see, God created both man and woman, with a kind of hierarchy of pleasures to be used according to His Divine Providence.

Used in the way that the Lord has ordained for both men and women, pleasure is not only OK and very good, but intentionally built into both men and women.

When our Lord created us, he attached certain types of pleasure to things we do.

  • What am I talking about?

Well, whether you are at work or at home, I am sure there are a number of times you have to go to the bathroom during the day and it has nothing to do with grooming yourself. In our family we call this:

Taking a mother nature break.

I don't think there is one reader of this web posting that will disagree that there is a big pleasure in taking a mother nature break.

  • Why is pleasure attached to going to the bathroom?

Because if we didn't go to the bathroom, the toxins in our waste would kill us and we would die.

  • How about eating and drinking?

Surely everyone will agree that, for most of us, this is a pleasurable activity.

  • Why?

Because if we didn't eat or drink, over time, we would die.

What we see during our daily lives are various levels of pleasures attached to certain activities that both men and women do, including:

  • holding on to our [boy|girl] friend during a date.
  • petting during a date.
  • getting our back or feet rubbed by our [boy|girl] friend or spouse
  • kissing our ([boy|girl] friend) or (our husband or wife)

Of all the pleasures attached to all the activities we do, probably the greatest pleasure is that of sexual activity.

  • Why?

Because it has the potential each time to bring a new life into the world!!

A new life made in the image and likeness of God, made for a specific purpose in life.

Pleasure in our life has it's purpose but we have to use it within the guidelines God has provided.

If we don't, we can get caught up in extreme and addictive sexual activities that are hard to break.

Pornography is a big demonic problem we have in our culture today. If someone has no spiritual life and is addicted to pornography, it's like a man in plain clothes with no weapons being dropped in the middle of a war zone. In this type of demonic warfare you at least need:

a set of rocket launchers for the week spiritual equivalency Sunday and, if possible, daily Mass on a regular basis in a state of grace
(most damaging weapon)
a Kriss Super V
sub machine gun
(with high stopping power)
Good for CQSC
Close Quarters Spiritual Combat
spiritual equivalency (praying) the Holy Rosary daily
(second most damaging weapon)
An Interceptor Vest
lined with dragon skin and Abrams Kevlar
spiritual equivalency a blessed St. Benedict medal and a blessed Brown Scapular around the body and neck

a pack of impact grenades spiritual equivalency blessed pictures and statues of saints around the house with a holy water font at the entrance
a pack of partial and full med-kits spiritual equivalency Saying the Act of Contrition; and receiving the sacrament of Confession on a regular basis

If you are asking, where did I get this idea from:

My nephews got me addicted to their military video games and the analogy was a perfect fit.  I watched a few shows on the Military channel as well.

Hope this helps,

Mike

Malory Ammerman commented:

Hi Mike,

I have been reading through this web posting and wanted to comment on your reply. I am a devout Baptist and my fiancé is a devout Catholic just as Jeremy states in his question. As I read through the commentary I have multiple questions to ask. I have no intention of being judgemental or hurtful. I’m just searching for answers and am highly confused.

  1. Your responses to his question refer to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and are asking if she (his fiancée and Baptist believer) has read different passages in this book.

    Baptists have not obviously read the book because we are not of Catholic faith.

    • Why would she, and possibly I, need to read it?
    • especially if we do not believe what is inside is correct and true?

    I believe Truth comes from the Bible.

  2. Jeremy states, she is a devout Baptist.

    • Why are your answers implying that she should convert?
    • If she is devout in her faith, why make her convert?
    • What makes one think she will convert?

  3. I am not Catholic; therefore, I do not plan on raising my children in the Catholic faith. My fiancé has agreed, much like Jeremy, that he will not require his children to be raised in the Catholic faith.

    • Why is this so wrong?
    • Why should I raise my children to believe something that I do not agree with?

  4. As a non-Catholic, I do not wish for my marriage ceremony to resemble a Mass or the same structure as a Mass — my fiancé has made it very clear that it is not a Mass since communion will not take place.

    • What are your thoughts?

  5. On a side note, I have a very important question to ask as a Protestant Christian.

    • How does a Priest have the authority to convert bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ?

    From a weak attempt at researching this, I found essays that revealed a Pope instituted the Communion of the Body of Christ and years later another Pope instituted the Blood of Christ; therefore Christians could fully eat and drink the Body and Blood of Christ.

    • Can you share how a Pope came into existence and how they have the authority to create such ceremonies?

Just as a devout Catholic does not desire to convert to a different faith, I do not plan, nor wish, to convert to Catholicism. I only wish to understand his faith and beliefs.

Thank you kindly for taking the time to review this and respond. I hope none of this was taken offensively.

Blessings,

Malory

Mike replied:

Dear Malory,

Thanks for your feedback to my answer. My intent was not to say what you implied and for this reason, let me clarify my answer.

You said:

  1. Your responses to his question refer to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and are asking if she (his fiancée and Baptist believer) has read different passages in this book.

I said:
Is your fiancée aware of this portion of the paragraph?
.
.
If not, I think it is important for her to know what the Church teaches on this issue.

I don’t expect a devout Baptist to know what Catholics believe, but I expect devout Catholics to share with their [fiancées|fiancés] what the Church expects out of them.

If Jeremy had a the-Hell-with-the-Church attitude, it would be one thing, but because he is interested in practicing the faith, it is important for him to make his fiancée aware of his, not her, marital obligations.

  • What are they?

In CCC 1635 it says: . . . that the Catholic party confirms the obligations, which have been made known to the non-Catholic party, of preserving his or her own faith and ensuring the baptism and education of the children in the Catholic Church.

The only obligation the non-Catholic party has is to be a witness to the promise that the Catholic party has made and not interfere with his obligations. Period! That’s all!

What would happen if either the Baptist Church or the Catholic Church said,

You can join our faith and raise your children as atheists!

  • Would that make sense to either a devout Baptist or a devout Catholic?

Of course not; I would expect a Baptist Minister to encourage his Christian flock to raise their children in the Baptist faith.

  • Why wouldn't you expect the same thing from the Catholic Church?

It is sad that your fiancé does not appreciate or follow his faith. Many in our Church are either uncatechized or dissent from the faith.

That is one of the purposes of our work; not to convert people. No! Each person has to decide which Church is the one Church Jesus founded. That is obviously is the main criteria — seeing both Jesus and St. Paul warned about other false Christs that would come in the future. (Matthew 24:24, Galatians 1:6-10, 2 Peter 2:1-3)

We just clear up the misperceptions out there.

I never said anything about, and the Church does not expect, devout Protestants to covert in order to be married in the Church. That issue was changed over 60 years ago. At the very end of my answer, I said:

There is no obligation for anyone to become a Catholic, if they are not interested. This is important for her to know.

You said:
I believe Truth comes from the Bible.

I do too, but the pillar and Foundation of Truth according to the Bible is not the Bible:

1 Timothy 3:15

You said:

  1. As a non-Catholic, I do not wish for my marriage ceremony to resemble a Mass or the same structure as a Mass — my fiancé has made it very clear that it is not a Mass since communion will not take place.

    • What are your thoughts?

Don’t take this personally, but my thoughts are you don’t know what dynamite graces you are missing out on and do not understand what the Mass is. Before Jesus ascended into Heaven He established seven sacraments through which the faithful can be strengthen and purified in this life. Most Protestants don’t acknowledge this because they don’t acknowledge Oral Tradition which is just as binding as Scriptural or Written Tradition. See my Scripture Passages page for more:

You said:
From a weak attempt at researching this, I found essays that revealed a Pope instituted the Communion of the Body of Christ and years later another Pope instituted the Blood of Christ; therefore Christians could fully eat and drink the Body and Blood of Christ.

  • Can you share how a Pope came into existence . . .

The Church St. Paul is referring to can be found here:

Matthew 16:13-19

This is where Jesus, Himself established the papacy and how the Pope came into existence. Note verse 18, Jesus talking:

18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build MY Church.

Don't fall for the phony Greek arguments. Scholars will attest that Jesus most likely spoke Aramaic, not Greek and there is only one word for Rock in Aramaic.

The Bible, historically, is a Catholic book, written by Catholics and their ancestors, for Catholics, for use in the Catholic Mass, our worship service. It was never intended to be a Catechism, book of teachings, or recipe for sermons. Plus, we didn't even have a Bible until 382 A.D.

You said:

  • . . . and how they have the authority to create such ceremonies?

First, the sources you used for research are anti-Catholic and contrary toward what historically happened.

The Pope did not institute Holy Communion. Jesus, at the Last Supper, on the night before He died, instituted the Eucharist (Matthew 26:26-29Mark 14:22-25, and Luke 22:17-20) and later instructed Peter and his Apostles on how to celebrate the Eucharist within the context of the Mass, our worship service. The word Mass, in Latin, means to be sent because after we are strengthen with the Eucharist, Catholic Christians are called to fulfill the mission Jesus gave us at the end of Matthew’s Gospel:

Matthew 28:16-20

Because of my vocation as an Evangelist and Apologist, instead of saying that I go to Mass (which is perfectly fine), I prefer to say I renew my Sunday Covenant with the Lord.

  • Why?

Because it is more understandable in this culture.

You said:

  1. On a side note, I have a very important question to ask as a Protestant Christian.
  • How does a Priest have the authority to convert bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ?

Though what you say appears to be true, priests do not convert bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. <Jesus does, through the priest.>

Out of the seven Sacraments Jesus instituted before His glorious Ascension into Heaven, one of them was Holy Orders.

Because Jesus was a Man, down through history He has called faithful lay Catholic men to act in His place in order to consecrate and distribute the sacraments from generation to generation.

The sacrament of Holy Orders blesses the priest in a way where Jesus, a man, is now able to use the body of another man, the priest, to bring sacramental graces into the world.

For this reason, women can never be priests. Not because the Church is sexist but because a Man’s body (Jesus) cannot use a women’s body. Grace builds on nature and never destroys it. As my colleague Eric has said:

As a husband unites himself to his wife and imparts his life to her, to make her fruitful, so Christ unites himself to His Bride, the Church (through the Eucharist), to impart to Her His divine life and make her fruitful. He does so through His representative, the priest. The priest acts in persona Christi, in the person of Christ — in other words, in a mystical and symbolic way he takes on the role of Christ.

Because Christ is the Bridegroom of the Church, and because the priest participates so intimately in the Eucharist, which is the consummation of the relationship between the Bridegroom and the Bride, it is necessary for the priest to be male. Otherwise, the symbolism breaks down.

And as my colleague John said:

In the case of Holy Orders, a bishop cannot ordain a woman, because the woman cannot receive this sacrament. This has nothing to do with any ability, or lack of, she might have. It has to do with who she is. Christ was man; hence, a priest who stands in the place of Christ and offers Christ's Sacrifice, must also be a man.

If you need more in order to understand this, read this list of search results from our AskACatholic database.

You said:
Just as a devout Catholic does not desire to convert to a different faith, I do not plan, nor wish, to convert to Catholicism. I only wish to understand his faith and beliefs.

Bingo! That is the main purpose of our site and why we do this work for free.

By the way, you may be interested in my other site on the Early Church Fathers. These were the very first Christians who lived from 100 A.D. to 850 A.D. (Make sure you read the About this site page to understand the layout of this site.)

BibleBeltCatholics.com

I hope this helps,

Mike

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The Early Church Fathers Church Fathers on the Primacy of Peter. The Early Church Fathers on the Catholic Church and the term Catholic. The Early Church Fathers on the importance of the Roman Catholic Church centered in Rome.