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Catholic Weddings

Parents don't like that FI is Catholic

Hi ladies. My FI is Catholic, and I am not. However, my family does not regularly attend church (CofC), and for financial reasons we are having the wedding in his hometown, thus we are also having the wedding at his church.

A deacon from FI's church is officiating the ceremony (we aren't having a Mass) and in an effort to appease my parents an elder from the church where I grew up will be co-celebrating by saying a few words after the homily. 

We aren't doing the Old Testament reading that we originally wanted (from Sirach), because I'm trying to make this as comfortable and familiar as possible for my parents, since they are basically of the belief that Catholicism isn't based on the Bible, anything related to Catholicism is awful, and they constantly badger me to explain certain facets of Catholicism that I clearly can't explain because I am not Catholic.

My mother keeps insisting that I'm going to convert, and my dad even went as far as to say I should convert when we first got engaged "just to get it out of the way and make them happy", them being FI's family. While conversion isn't out of the question in the future, it's not something I am going to do just to make anyone happy.

Any suggestions on how to handle my parents? We have a pretty rocky relationship as it is, but this has become the biggest issue.

Backstory: FI and I will have been together 5 years on the day we get married. He has always been Catholic, this is not a new thing. His entire family on both sides is Catholic.

ETA: Spelling and backstory.

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Re: Parents don't like that FI is Catholic

  • That's tough! I feel like a lot of people don't like Catholics simply because they don't understand the faith. Perhaps if they had a better understanding of why it is so important to him, and what we as Catholics actually believe and practice, they would be more accepting. I know you may not be able to answer their questions, but perhaps he can.

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  • In Response to Re: Parents don't like that FI is Catholic:
    [QUOTE] I know you may not be able to answer their questions, but perhaps he can.
    Posted by christinamarie325[/QUOTE]

    He could answer their questions if they asked, but they have no desire to understand. Anytime they bring up something blatantly untrue, I try to explain or direct them to a reference that will clarify the issue, but they do not want to hear it. They feel that they are right, nothing will persuade them differently, and my mom told me this morning that "I don't want to understand something I don't believe in." They barely associate with FI at all because of his religion, and want nothing at all to do with FI's family.
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  • I'm saying this as the daughter of an extremely close-minded, authoritarian, and sometimes nasty protestant father. If your parents don't like your FI based on his religion and won't (bother) to listen to him or you when you try to explain his religion better, they will never come around based on any rational explanation you give them. I would just stop trying to talk about anything religion or catholcism related. If they ask you a question, don't answer it, change the subject. Relate to them on everything except that. They will come around and it will stop being an issue eventually, or it will continue to be a problem, and you may choose to distance yourselves from them. Either way, there's nothing you're going to do to get them over their irrational prejudice.
  • I think you just need to tell them that you've made your decisions and they need to respect that. If they aren't interested in anything but harassing you, you need to be upfront with them that those topics are now off-limits. Tell them there are plenty of reading materials should they wish to understand the other viewpoints, but that you aren't game for talking to them about it.

    I honestly wouldn't continue to cater to them, it will only make it seem like you accept their inappropriate behavior. Like PP said, keep them out of it, don't bring it up and if/when they do tell them "This is my decision, please respect that. I do not wish to continue discussing this with you."
  • I will say that it does suck when you have to "parent" your parents Tongue Out
  • In Response to Re: Parents don't like that FI is Catholic:
    [QUOTE]I'm saying this as the daughter of an extremely close-minded, authoritarian, and sometimes nasty protestant father. If your parents don't like your FI based on his religion and won't (bother) to listen to him or you when you try to explain his religion better, they will never come around based on any rational explanation you give them. I would just stop trying to talk about anything religion or catholcism related. If they ask you a question, don't answer it, change the subject. Relate to them on everything except that. They will come around and it will stop being an issue eventually, or it will continue to be a problem, and you may choose to distance yourselves from them. Either way, there's nothing you're going to do to get them over their irrational prejudice.
    Posted by BTCarolus[/QUOTE]


    This was the conclusion I had kind of come to on my own, I guess I just needed to hear it from someone else to make sure I wasn't just overreacting.
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  • In Response to Re: Parents don't like that FI is Catholic:
    [QUOTE]I think you just need to tell them that you've made your decisions and they need to respect that. If they aren't interested in anything but harassing you, you need to be upfront with them that those topics are now off-limits. Tell them there are plenty of reading materials should they wish to understand the other viewpoints, but that you aren't game for talking to them about it. I honestly wouldn't continue to cater to them, it will only make it seem like you accept their inappropriate behavior. Like PP said, keep them out of it, don't bring it up and if/when they do tell them "This is my decision, please respect that. I do not wish to continue discussing this with you."
    Posted by Riss91[/QUOTE]

    Thank you for your feedback. I tried telling my mom earlier that I didn't want to talk about it anymore, and she kept taunting me into trying to talk about it. I'll just have to be better about standing my ground.
    The biggest reason I was trying to accommodate them as far as the ceremony goes is because I know this day is about more than just me and FI, so I wanted them to feel included. But at the end of the day, it is just him and I, and I don't want to alter everything so much that our wedding doesn't even feel like "us". We've already had quite a few disagreements over my parents and their behavior.
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  • It's nice to include your family, when they are being respectful to you. Once they're interfering, they forgo that privelege.
  • if you can find a copy of it, "Tracing the River Back to its Source" was written, i believe, by Scott Hahn.  It proves using the bible that Catholicism is indeed based in the bible. 

    Hahn was a protestant minister who did not like catholicism at all, and ultimately converted.

    i briefly dated years ago someone from Church of Christ.  they really dont like catholics (at least he and his family did not) and that relationship ended as quickly as it started.  hang in there!!
  • In Response to Re: Parents don't like that FI is Catholic:
    [QUOTE]It's nice to include your family, when they are being respectful to you. Once they're interfering, they forgo that privelege.
    Posted by Riss91[/QUOTE]
    So tempted to put this in my signature! :)
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  • In Response to Re: Parents don't like that FI is Catholic:
    [QUOTE]if you can find a copy of it, "Tracing the River Back to its Source" was written, i believe, by Scott Hahn.  It proves using the bible that Catholicism is indeed based in the bible.  Hahn was a protestant minister who did not like catholicism at all, and ultimately converted. i briefly dated years ago someone from Church of Christ.  they really dont like catholics (at least he and his family did not) and that relationship ended as quickly as it started.  hang in there!!
    Posted by Calypso1977[/QUOTE]

    I'm going to start searching for a copy right now! Thank you :) If nothing else, it will be an interesting read for me.
    Thanks for the encouragement... FI and I have been through some difficult things together, but it's upsetting that the thing causing us the most trouble is my parents.
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  • Kristan, I already shared a little advice with you, but I'll go ahead and post some more here.

    Having been raised Church of Christ (and pretty dedicated, as well), converting to Catholicism was a big deal, for me and for the rest of my family.  Add to that my father was raised Catholic and left the church and declared himself CoC when I was about 12.  My parents raised lots of objections in their own ways (my father kind of jokingly, my mother kind of panicky), but eventually they just kind of accepted that I was going to do what I wanted.  I was also lucky in that my parents always raised me (maybe unintentionally) to believe that Christian is Christian.  We may not all drink from the same cup, but we have, overall, the same goal in life.  My mother actually enrolled H and I in this CoC-sponsored Bible-study course in an attempt to convince us both that Catholicism was wrong, but it was really just a, "Read these passages.  They mean this.  Now complete this fill-in-the-blank questionnairre and send it back." 

    My grandpa, on the other hand, definitely called me up and flat-out told me I was bound straight for hell.  It's really weird when you're raised learning that your religion teaches love, but as soon as you step out of line, you're met with hatred from people to whom you used to look for spiritual guidance.

    I think that if you are patient, things will calm down eventually.  I do my best to explain things to my mother whenever I can.  I don't really talk to my grandparents... they never call anymore, although apparently my grandmother asks my mom about me all the time.  My SIL also came from a Protestant background, went through RCIA, but did not convert.  Apparently she hears from her relatives (not directly, I don't think), "Boy, she sure has a nice family... it's a shame her husband and kids are going to hell."  But I mean, ignorant people who don't want to change aren't going to.  I'm sure when it comes time to baptize our kids, we're going to have a whole new mess on our hands, but I can only ask my parents to respect my wishes and continue to love me, which I assume they do; and I assume yours still love you.  =)

    Also, if you are still in Dallas and would like someone to talk to any time you are feeling beaten down, I am available AND I can recommend some people in our church who I go to when I need help.
    Anniversary

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  • In Response to Re: Parents don't like that FI is Catholic:
    [QUOTE]We may not all drink from the same cup, but we have, overall, the same goal in life.  
    I'm sure when it comes time to baptize our kids, we're going to have a whole new mess on our hands, but I can only ask my parents to respect my wishes and continue to love me, which I assume they do; and I assume yours still love you.  =) 
    Also, if you are still in Dallas and would like someone to talk to any time you are feeling beaten down, I am available AND I can recommend some people in our church who I go to when I need help.
    Posted by professorscience[/QUOTE]


    That is exactly what I tried to explain to my mom: even though he worships one way and I worship another, it is still the same holy entity that we have in common.
    I'm sure baptizing kids is going to be a big fight... I'm still not sure how I feel about infant baptism, but I'm going to be ordering some Scott Hahn books to try to at least better inform myself about some of these traditional practices.
    Thank you for the offer :) I'm still being "evicted" as of next Friday, but I look forward to meeting up with you and having OOT DFW Knottie meetings, I really appreciate all the help you've given me!
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  • In Response to Re: Parents don't like that FI is Catholic:
    [QUOTE]It's nice to include your family, when they are being respectful to you. Once they're interfering, they forgo that privelege.
    Posted by Riss91[/QUOTE]

    I agree with everything Riss has said, especially this.  Don't cater YOUR wedding caremony around your parents.  If they are being that closed minded, that is their cross to bear, not yours.
    I am so sorry you are going through this.
    I agree with not letting them talk religion around you anymore.  If they do, change the subject or leave. 
  • We're pretty much on the same page, Bloke's parents are some weird pagan mashup and zomg all Christianity is terrible and evil. Our line has been "That's nice."

    I have so many issues with his parents, but if I don't let them bother me, they won't. This wedding and marriage isn't about them, its about Bloke and I.

    Bloke isn't converting, but we will be raising our hypothetical children in the church, bloke is entirely on board mostly because of all the love and acceptance he's found from the church. And the fact that conformation gives them a choice, that played a really big factor in his decision too.
  • You've gotten tons of great advice from other people, but I wanted to offer my hugs and prayers. Please know that you have a sounding board here if you need support.
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  • I am so sorry to hear what you are going through. This is supposed to be the happiest time of your life and you have every right to expect your loved ones to support you. This uneeded stress is just that, not needed.

    FI's Grandma is with CofC. She was Catholic for most of her life and converted as an adult. We've never really had a discussion about our failths, but there are always comments. Most recently she sent me a book via mail. FI's mom was mortified. She always tries to run interference whenever she makes her comments, but I really don't mind. I believe everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and unless she makes a scene at my wedding, her comments are harmless and I ignore her. FI was baptized so I doubt she'll cause a scene at our wedding or out kids' baptisims, but I know she will continue to make comments and let us know how wrong she thinks Catholicism is. 

    Your situation on the other hand is a much bigger deal. PPs have gviven you great advice. Try to steer the conversation elsewhere if you can and just not allow them to cast doubts. Good luck
    ~ES~
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    In Response to Re: Parents don't like that FI is Catholic:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Parents don't like that FI is Catholic : Thank you for your feedback. I tried telling my mom earlier that I didn't want to talk about it anymore, and she kept taunting me into trying to talk about it. I'll just have to be better about standing my ground. The biggest reason I was trying to accommodate them as far as the ceremony goes is because I know this day is about more than just me and FI, so I wanted them to feel included. But at the end of the day, it is just him and I, and I don't want to alter everything so much that our wedding doesn't even feel like "us". We've already had quite a few disagreements over my parents and their behavior.
    Posted by kristan1022[/QUOTE]

    To this end, you could always say, "Mom, I love you, but I'm not going to sit here and listen to you talk badly about FI, because when you talk badly about his religion, you are talking badly about him."  Then either walk away, hang up the phone, or whatever you can do to withdraw yourself from your mother's taunting.  If you continue to even listen to her, she will continue with the taunting.  But if you can get her to know that you will not put up with or listen to her words, she may just stop saying them eventually.

    It could also be a good idea to see a couples counseler to assist your FI & you in how to deal with your parents.  A good counseler could help you both to figure out a way to cope with your parents words against FI, so that it doesn't effect your relationship with each other.
  • You got some great advice on here.  I am not Catholic but Russian Orthodox and I wanted to share my similar experience on dealing with family who doesn't accept your faith.

    My Fi got baptized Russian Orthodox last year his family hated it.  We weren't even sure if his parents were going to come to the wedding at one point.  However they finally got over it and are now trying to be supportive even though they don't like it(us being married in the Church). 

    My mother’s family on the other hand is handling it terribly.  My grandparents won't come because they think we are going to hell. It has been an incredibly hurtful experience and it is causing a huge rift in my family. They like your parents don't want to understand and think we are a cult.  You just have to smile and bare it.  The girls had great advice on handling your parents.  *hugs* I am sorry you are dealing with this.  May God bless your wedding.

    "Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained"-C.S. Lewis

    Married! May 27th, 2012

  • In Response to Re: Parents don't like that FI is Catholic:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Parents don't like that FI is Catholic : So tempted to put this in my signature! :)
    Posted by kristan1022[/QUOTE]

    DO EETTTT!
  • Thank you ladies for all the wonderful advice!! My mom and I normally talk daily, but after our giant fight Friday she ignored me all weekend. She's currently acting like everything is normal, which is fine with me... I have enough to worry about without her antics!

    OliveOilsMom- we are actually taking pre-marital counseling courses through FI's church, so at our next meeting I will ask our mentor couple (the husband is the deacon performing our ceremony) if he has any advice on dealing with them. The biggest issue is that they act open and accepting to your face, and then as soon as you're gone they criticize and complain relentlessly, so people have a hard time understanding what I am actually dealing with because my parents act great when they meet them, and then are totally different when they aren't in public.
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