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Josh wrote:

Hi, guys —

My fiancée is Catholic and I am not. We have been trying to figure out if our marriage will work or if we need to break up now before bringing kids into the mix. Our biggest problem seems to be when it comes to raising kids. She wants them to grow up believing everything the Catholic Church teaches. I have told her I am fine with raising them Catholic but I myself do not want to become one.

I do not agree with several teachings of the Church but have agreed not to object in front of our kids. She feels that, with me not practicing the faith, she will be the bad parent making them do everything and having to explain to them why dad doesn't.

My feeling is that we should believe whatever we want to believe and if God really does love us then he will accept us for who we are and what we believe. I feel that the Catholic Church requires you to do as she has said or you will not be accepted into Heaven. I do not bash on any religion. You are all free to believe what you want. I do believe in God but I don't believe in religion, mainly because there are so many out there and nobody on earth knows the real truth. I am also sick of seeing people put down other religions that are not their own. I know that a lot of people don't do that, but many do.

My fiancée does not agree with everything that the Church teaches but still says that her faith is the most important thing in her life. I am not asking her to change that. She is asking me to change my beliefs to better fit her faith.

When we started dating she was fine with me not being Catholic or having any desire to be Catholic. As the months and years went on, she started trying to push me towards the Church. I have been going to classes to learn more about the faith but my opinion hasn't changed. We are less than 4 months away from our wedding and she is now getting angry because I still don't want to become a Catholic.

We've been together for almost three years and I really hate to throw it all away but I don't know what to do. Again, I am not bashing anyone's religion, I'm just expressing my feelings and looking for answers on how to make my relationship with her work.

  • If you could provide some guidance, it would be appreciated.

Thank you.

Josh

  { Do I have to become Catholic in order to marry my pushy Catholic fiancée when I don't believe? }

Mike replied:

Hi Josh,

Thanks for the good question and don’t worry about this issue.

The desire of your fiancée that you join the Church does not out weight your decision not to.
We are not Muslims so we don’t force people to join the faith.

In a mixed marriage, the issues you are bringing up are important and I applaud the seriousness with which both of you take child rearing.

The only one that is making a promise in a mixed marriage is the Catholic to-be spouse. They promise to do the best they can to raise the children as faithful Catholics. The non-Catholic spouse is only a witness to the promise being made by the Catholic spouse so put your mind at easy.

You said:
I feel that the Catholic Church requires you to do as she has said or you will not be accepted into Heaven.

While the Church does teach that outside the Church there is no salvation, She also teaches that those, who through no fault of their own have not heard the Gospel, or fully accepted the Gospel can still be saved if they are striving to understand what the Church believes as opposed to dissenting from the Church's teachings.

If they are non-Christians it is key that they follow the natural law to the best of their ability. Those who know the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ, as the sole means of salvation, yet refuse to join cannot be saved.

The Church teaches this not because She is trying to be mean to non-Catholics but because we have to remain faithful to what Jesus left us after His glorious Ascension into Heaven. He is our one God who established His One Church on St. Peter and his successors.

That said, keep studying and striving to understand why we believe what we believe.

As a side note, anyone who tells you the Catholic Church puts down any other religion is bringing a bias to the table. I can’t think of any other Church other than the Catholic Church that:

  • Has so many agreements on faith issues with other Christian and non-Christian faiths, and
  • Is always working, in truth to Her identity, toward the unity Jesus expressed in John 17:9-11.

Mike

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