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Catholic Weddings

Raising Children Catholic

Hi-

I got married this spring in the Catholic Church.  My husband is Catholic and I am non-denomination protestant.  I agreed to get married in the Catholic Church because if we didn't my husband would not be in communion with the Catholic Church and wouldn't be able to received the sacraments.

So...Apparently he signed a document agreeing that any children we have will be raised Catholic.  I did not know that he signed this document until it was already signed.

My question- What happens if we choose not to raise our children Catholic?  Does that mean he is not in communion with the Catholic Church and cannot receive the sacraments?

Re: Raising Children Catholic

  • His promise was to make a good-faith effort to raise your future children in the Church. There is no strict definition of what that means, and there is no strict policy of "punishment" on the other end. I think your best bet would be for your husband to make an appointment and speak to his priest about the best course of action, and ideas about how he can fulfill his promise.

    Does your husband practice his faith? I ask because, as a committed, practicing Catholic, I cannot imagine raising my children anywhere but the Church, meaning religious education, receiving all the Sacraments, etc. They just couldn't get that elsewhere, and I can't, in good faith, encourage others to not give that to their own children.
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  • If your husband willingly does not raise his children, he is commiting a serious sin, which one must repent from before receiving the Eucharist. 

    But honestly, if the Eucharist is meaningful for him, why in the world would he not want his children to participate in it as well?


  • Isn't raising your children Catholic part of Catholic vows? It was at my wedding. Anyways.... I find it odd that he didn't make this clear, nor did the priest, before you were married. I totally understand how upsetting that would be. I can't offer any concrete advice, but I will say a prayer that it all works out!

     

  • I am confused as well -- this was a huge part of the marriage preparation process for my husband and me.  I had not yet converted, and they were sure to ask me if I would work with H to raise our children Catholic, or at least to not impede H's efforts to do so.

    I mean, you both have to sign the same documents to get married.  I can't imagine this being some closed-door, "Quick, sign it before she gets here!" kind of thing.

    I would definitely talk this over with your husband first, and then if he is a serious Catholic (and if he was I can't imagine this confusion would exist) and serious about raising your children Catholic, then yeah, you guys definitely have a lot to figure out.
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  • raising them catholic is part of the vows you take and you both must agree.  something like "do you agree to accept children freely and willingly and raise them according to the tenents of the faith" (totally not the exact verbiage, btu you get the drift) and you both must answer.

    your H is responsible for teh souls of his children.  he has a duty to raise them in the catholic faith and while you do not have to participate in their religious upbrining, you cannot interfere with the catholic upbringing which would include, IMO (others may disagree) bringing them to worship in another faith or trying to raise them dually as protestants and catholics. 
  • maggieandreymaggieandrey member
    100 Comments First Anniversary
    edited October 2012
    I am really surprised this is the first time you're hearing this. My fiance and I are like you and your husband - he's catholic, I'm protestant. I think I've been asked no fewer than 8 times during our marriage prep if I'm going to accpet children freely AND raise them in the catholic faith. They ask him too, but they're more concerned with my answer since I'm not catholic, they want to make sure I understand it's an "obligation" accepted with a catholic marriage. I'm really sorry if this is a surprise to you, is it possible you misinterpreted or missed something during marriage preparation / pre-cana?

    @Calypso - it's my understanding, from our marriage prep, that even though I'm not catholic, since I'm making the vow it will be equally my responsibility to raise our children in the catholic faith. IMO, that's more than just not interfering. I obviously can't receive the sacrements, but will still participate in the ways that I can.
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  • I always thought that it was just the Catholic party that made the promise to "raise their children Catholic to the best of their abilities." I didn't think that the non-Catholic party had to make any such promise, and the wording is like that b/c if the non-Catholic prevents the Catholic from raising the children Catholic, then the Catholic can still be considered doing the "best of their abilities." (My parents have a mixed marriage- that is my main source of information. I have not been through this process myself.)
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  • maggie - Calypso is right - it is the Catholic party's responsibility to raise the children according to the faith. The non-Catholic party should not interfere. Here is the Canon Law:

    Can.  1124 Without express permission of the competent authority, a marriage is prohibited between two baptized persons of whom one is baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it after baptism and has not defected from it by a formal act and the other of whom is enrolled in a Church or ecclesial community not in full communion with the Catholic Church.

    Can.  1125 The local ordinary can grant a permission of this kind if there is a just and reasonable cause. He is not to grant it unless the following conditions have been fulfilled:

    1/ the Catholic party is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith and is to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power so that all offspring are baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church;

    2/ the other party is to be informed at an appropriate time about the promises which the Catholic party is to make, in such a way that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and obligation of the Catholic party;

  • Riss91 is correct that this is the requirement, but it used to be true that the non-Catholic party was asked to promise this, too.  I'm sure that there are priests who disregard the new policy because they want to make sure that both the bride and groom commit to it together, even if the non-Catholic doesn't have to sign anything.
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  • maggieandreymaggieandrey member
    100 Comments First Anniversary
    edited October 2012
    Thank you, Riss, I'm really glad you referenced that, I was hoping for a fact-check :)

    The rite of marriage includes (like Calypso said): "Will you accept children lovingly from God and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?" And since we both have to agree to it, I always interpreted that to mean that I am also responsible.

    ETA: I pulled that from the missallette my FMIL put together, so I'm assuming she did her homework :)
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  • Yes, you are right! You are collectively promising that the children will be brought up in the faith. But the obligation to share and teach the faith to them is on your husband and your obligation is to not interfere.
  • i think a great way that a protestant parent can be involved is with Bible study.  my religious upbringing was focused primarily on the catechism and the mass, but i didnt get much instruction or teaching with regard to the Bible.   
  • FI is Catholic, I am not (but well on my way!)  During our marriage prep the priest asked BOTH of us if we would raise our children Catholic, which we agreed.  Even our sponser couple asked us on several occasions if we agreed to raise our children Catholic.  I'm surprised this hasn't been brought up before. 

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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_raising-children-catholic?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:81e7a301-aeab-4818-807b-6f0640e47f93Post:68b60a8f-7449-45c2-9413-6647c59dab40">Re: Raising Children Catholic</a>:
    [QUOTE]Riss91 is correct that this is the requirement, but it used to be true that the non-Catholic party was asked to promise this, too.  I'm sure that there are priests who disregard the new policy because they want to make sure that both the bride and groom commit to it together, even if the non-Catholic doesn't have to sign anything.
    Posted by stantokm[/QUOTE]

    <div>I think when you sign your little "free to marry" thing, there's a place where they ask if you will do your best to raise your children according to the faith.</div><div>
    </div><div>For those who are a little confused, I kind of look at it like this -- a nonCatholic is really not an expert on Catholic teaching.  Therefore the biggest responsibility falls on the Catholic party.  This doesn't mean the nonCatholic can't participate in the child's faith formation, but should defer to the Catholic party for obvious reasons.  And then the biggest issue is that they shouldn't interfere with the Catholic party's instruction of the children.  I hear about this all the time where (in any faith) one parent completely undermines the other's attempts to raise the child in the faith by insulting or disagreeing with the other parent constantly.  It's certainly no way to go through a marriage and it's one reason I'm glad the Catholic church puts so much emphasis on marriage preparation!</div>
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  • To be honest, raising children catholic was not brought up at premarriage prep or with our sponsor couple.  The sponsor couple asked us what religion we would raise children and we said we were undecided and would cross that bridge when we had to.  That answer was sufficient.  Raising children Catholic was not part of our vows either (maybe because it was not a full mass).

    We are both religious.  My husband is a Christian, but probably not the best "Catholic" because he equally values my religion.  The foundations of our faith are the same.  The only diference is that I don't recognize the pope as the head of the church, I don't believe the Catholic church is the one true church, and don't follow canon law.  I believe that Jesus died for my sins and I am forgiven of my sins.  I attend church every week and read my Bible often.

    I'd rather have my children read the Bible and grow in that part of their faith than focus on what to do at mass and the catechism.  Because their salvation depends on faith and not on actions.
  • edited October 2012
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_raising-children-catholic?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:81e7a301-aeab-4818-807b-6f0640e47f93Post:354c0a72-87f0-4c59-ba8d-792ae2fccdd9">Re: Raising Children Catholic</a>:
    [QUOTE]To be honest, raising children catholic was not brought up at premarriage prep or with our sponsor couple.  The sponsor couple asked us what religion we would raise children and we said we were undecided and would cross that bridge when we had to.  That answer was sufficient.  Raising children Catholic was not part of our vows either (maybe because it was not a full mass). We are both religious.  My husband is a Christian, but probably not the best "Catholic" because he equally values my religion.  The foundations of our faith are the same.  The only diference is that I don't recognize the pope as the head of the church, I don't believe the Catholic church is the one true church, and don't follow canon law.  I believe that Jesus died for my sins and I am forgiven of my sins.  I attend church every week and read my Bible often. <strong>I'd rather have my children read the Bible and grow in that part of their faith than focus on what to do at mass and the catechism.  Because their salvation depends on faith and not on actions.</strong>
    Posted by sophie41412[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>We believe that both are important.  Do understand that Catholic faith formation is very much grounded in biblical teaching.</div><div>
    </div><div>Again, I would say you need to bring this up with your husband.  If what you say is true and you were never fully informed of your expectations as the spouse of a Catholic, then someone has been very dishonest with you.

    </div>
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  • edited October 2012
    Also, I would encourage you to take an RCIA course.  There is no pressure to join the church after you take it, but it would be a good way for you to learn about Catholicism (and a good way for your H to strengthen his faith).  I signed up before I got engaged because I was fairly certain that when we married, Catholicism would be our "family religion" and I wanted to know as much as I could so that I could teach my children well.  I did end up converting in the end, but that was not my "plan" at the beginning.  My SIL also took RCIA because she and BIL have two kids who are being raised in the church, and she did not convert.  She just has a stronger background in Catholic teaching to help with the kids.
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  • To be honest, raising children catholic was not brought up at premarriage prep or with our sponsor couple. The sponsor couple asked us what religion we would raise children and we said we were undecided and would cross that bridge when we had to. That answer was sufficient.

    ugh, yet ANOTHER reason why lay persons have zero business doing marriage prep!  if a priest had been doing this prep, this would have been spelled out clearly.


  • Here is an article I found with a bunch of biblical verses that supports/explains the often misunterstood belief of being saved by faith and works.

    http://www.catholicapologetics.org/ap020800.htm
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