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Catholic Weddings

NWR: How do you handle it?? (long)

My FI is Catholic.  I am Anglican.  FI and I have been talking for almost a year about which church we're going to attend and raise our future family in.  We've been attending a Catholic church and an Anglican church.  During our pre-marital counseling (we're getting married in my church), our priest advised us that it is our decision and to not let anyone else (i.e. our mothers) make us feel guilty about our decision.  The part that makes all of this hard is that my mom used to be Catholic - practically all of her family is still Catholic and most of FI's family is Catholic - and she is so judgmental of it now.

She knows I'm heavily considering converting after FI and I are married and she doesn't like it.  She keeps telling me "You won't be fed spiritually there.  You won't like it." etc. etc.  I think the thing that bothers me most is that FI has told me many times how, when he was growing up, he used to be criticized for being Catholic.  He spent a lot of time in a Presbyterian church because of boy scouts and eagle scouts, and has told me about how the Protestant kids would judge him and tell him he's going to hell because he's Catholic.  FI never did anything to them and yet they would be like that to him.

I've told my mom before how it bothers me that she's so judgmental but she doesn't hear it.  It's like she thinks I'll just stay Anglican because that's what she wants.  Anyway, the reason this got to me so much today is because yesterday evening, my mom and I met with the organist for the wedding and were picking out music.  I mentioned that since we're having communion, we're going to ask our priest to inform all of the guests that if they don't want to receive, they can still come up and receive a blessing.  This then got my mom started on not understanding why they won't receive communion in our church and how she's offended that she can't receive when she visits my aunt's Catholic church.  Then she looked at our organist and said, "Catholics" so flippantly that I just went off on her about how judgmental she is.  I felt bad for the organist because he was sitting there looking like he was super uncomfortable.

It's so ridiculous because she claims to be this Christian woman who is devoted to God and only wants to serve Him.  I've been a follower of Jesus (I don't even like using the term 'Christian' because of the negativity associated with it) since I was 13 (I'm 27 now) and it's amazing to me how hypocritical some people can be, but it's even worse to see it in your own mother.

Anyway...I just want to know if you've had to deal with this type of judgment and how you've dealt with it.  Thankfully, FMIL has been great and supportive and told FI that she'll be happy with whatever we decide to do.
Anniversary

Re: NWR: How do you handle it?? (long)

  • Riss91Riss91 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    That's really a frustrating situation. I truly wonder how parents can be so unsupportive of their children sometimes. She is acting as though you are directly insulting her by doing what you are doing. You need to explain to her that you love her and you respect the reasons why she is not Catholic, but that you need her to respect your decisions, because they have nothing to do with your feelings or relationship with her. You and your husband are the only ones that can make the right decision for the two of you. Explain to her that you want to include her in as many aspects of wedding planning and your life as you can, but that if she continues to be unsupportive, judgmental and disrespectful towards you, your husband (and your family), your decisions and your beliefs that you will be forced to limit her involvement. Let her know that her behaviour is only going to distance the two of you.
  • edited December 2011
    I am going through something similar.Both FI and I converted in college, and I live in the Baptist belt. My parents are very anti-Catholic. We ended up having to serious compromise in that we are having a very small Catholic ceremony, and a reception the next day. We had a long talk about it and in the end, we decided that we wanted what we wanted, but not at the expense of all of our guests. In the end, we just decided that she would help pick certain things for the ceremony (the dress), but mostly she would only help out with planning the reception. We just don't talk about it anymore. Kind of sad, but we weren't willing to compromise our faith just to make both of our families happy.
  • catarntinacatarntina member
    1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Me and FI are both Catholic.  FI's stepmom had him baptized Catholic when he was a kid.  He was staying with his dad and step-mom, I'm not sure where his real mom was at this point.  HIs real mom was so mad when she found out they had baptized him Catholic.  Anyways, we both attend Catholic mass and actively participate in church stuff.  But his mom thinks we should have a Baptist wedding because her whole family is Baptist.  Yeah, that's not gonna happen. Everytime we talk about our Catholic wedding, FI's mom gets really upset and says things like, "Those crazy Catholics."  It's very frustrating having parents who don't respect your wishes.  We said we are having our kids baptized Catholic... oh man, she hated that.  At least my mom is supportive (she's Catholic though).
    ---------
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  • Riss91Riss91 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: NWR: How do you handle it?? (long):
    [QUOTE] we decided that we wanted what we wanted, but not at the expense of all of our guests.
    Posted by GeorgiaPeachMarie[/QUOTE]

    I honestly don't think your guests should feel put out or offended by having to attend a Catholic ceremony. Just as any Catholic would not be offended to attend a Jewish or Indian ceremony... I realize this way may avoid dealing with guests that like to ridicule and criticize your beliefs, but at the same time I feel like you shouldn't have to feel ashamed to have the ceremony you want and in a way, you are compromising your faith by having to "hide" your Catholic ceremony.

    In Response to Re: NWR: How do you handle it?? (long):
    [QUOTE]Everytime we talk about our Catholic wedding, FI's mom gets really upset and says things like, "Those crazy Catholics." 
    Posted by catarntina[/QUOTE]

    Ugh, that is so offensive - I wouldn't stand for it. I'd flat out say "Those snide remarks are not acceptable and if you continue to make them, you will be seeing less of me"

    I feel very blessed that our family hasn't ever been rude, offensive or controlling regarding our faith. We certainly have very opinionated anti-Catholics on both sides, but they are respectful of our wishes.
  • mica178mica178 member
    5000 Comments Fourth Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    I am so grateful that I have not had these problems!

    All I can say is that on those rare occasions when my FI and I feel like we're hitting a roadblock of any sort and I become upset, he reminds me to stop trying to fight the battle by myself and pray.  So I say a prayer in my head to God, apologizing for getting all frustrated over probably a small issue, saying that I know that He has a plan for all of us, and asking for the grace to accept that plan.  I find that this calms me down and usually some happy solution can be found soon thereafter.

    My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: NWR: How do you handle it?? (long):
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: NWR: How do you handle it?? (long) : I honestly don't think your guests should feel put out or offended by having to attend a Catholic ceremony. Just as any Catholic would not be offended to attend a Jewish or Indian ceremony... [QUOTE]

    Should is the operative word! We battled for a couple of months. Both of our extended families told us flat out they would not attend a Catholic ceremony. We aren't necessarily having a small ceremony by choice. We invited everyone verbally (I am eleven months out, it is too early for the invitations) and our very conservative family members said they would not be attending the ceremony, but would be coming to the reception. They said that they could not support a marriage in the Catholic Church because we pray to Mary, etc. etc*Their words and thoughts*. They just said that it did not agree with their conscience. I would rather have a ceremony with just us and get married the right way. It really is unfortunate that we have such unsupportive family, but we have kind of made our peace with it.
  • Riss91Riss91 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    Georgia - that's horrible that your families would do that to you. I'm honestly so sorry. I feel like I would have a hard time celebrating at my reception with people that openly do not support my marriage. Additionally, why is there a need for them to say that to you? They can simply not attend the ceremony - it's very spiteful for them to behave that way. It's great that you can make your peace with it and not let it affect you anymore than it already has. Best wishes that everything goes smoothly from here on out!!
  • Theresa626Theresa626 member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: NWR: How do you handle it?? (long):
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: NWR: How do you handle it?? (long) : [QUOTE]In Response to Re: NWR: How do you handle it?? (long) : I honestly don't think your guests should feel put out or offended by having to attend a Catholic ceremony. Just as any Catholic would not be offended to attend a Jewish or Indian ceremony... [QUOTE] Should is the operative word! We battled for a couple of months. Both of our extended families told us flat out they would not attend a Catholic ceremony. We aren't necessarily having a small ceremony by choice. We invited everyone verbally (I am eleven months out, it is too early for the invitations) and our very conservative family members said they would not be attending the ceremony, but would be coming to the reception. They said that they could not support a marriage in the Catholic Church because we pray to Mary, etc. etc*Their words and thoughts*. They just said that it did not agree with their conscience. I would rather have a ceremony with just us and get married the right way. It really is unfortunate that we have such unsupportive family, but we have kind of made our peace with it.
    Posted by GeorgiaPeachMarie[/QUOTE]
    It is truly horrible that your family is doing this to you and I'm sorry for it.  However, I just wanted to point out that this is very similar to the post Calypso made a few posts down about not supporting her brother in law's potential marriage.  Interesting how two different sides of what is really the same story can be interpreted by the same people on this board.  
  • Riss91Riss91 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: NWR: How do you handle it?? (long):
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: NWR: How do you handle it?? (long) : It is truly horrible that your family is doing this to you and I'm sorry for it.  However, I just wanted to point out that this is very similar to the post Calypso made a few posts down about not supporting her brother in law's potential marriage.  Interesting how two different sides of what is really the same story can be interpreted by the same people on this board.  
    Posted by Theresa626[/QUOTE]

    I don't think it's exactly the same thing. Calypso's post was about being in the wedding party, not about disowning her family members for choosing to leave Catholicism. Calypso even said that if her BIL was choosing to leave completely, should wouldn't have a problem with it. Also, Georgia's family isn't going against their religion by attending her Catholic wedding, whereas in Calypso's case, she could be violating Canon Law.
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: NWR: How do you handle it?? (long):
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: NWR: How do you handle it?? (long) : It is truly horrible that your family is doing this to you and I'm sorry for it.  However, I just wanted to point out that this is very similar to the post Calypso made a few posts down about not supporting her brother in law's potential marriage.  Interesting how two different sides of what is really the same story can be interpreted by the same people on this board.  
    Posted by Theresa626[/QUOTE]

    I disagree, I don't think this is like Calypso's post at all.  Calypso wanted to know about supporting a marriage where a member of her faith was committing a sin and still continuing with the faith.  This is about someone who has chosen a different religion from your own.  There is also a difference between not supporting a religion because you have misconceptions (praying to Mary) vs. going against cannon law and committing a sin.
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    Repeat this to your self: My Wedding Party is made of my family and friends and I should treat them as such.
  • mica178mica178 member
    5000 Comments Fourth Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: NWR: How do you handle it?? (long):
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: NWR: How do you handle it?? (long) : I don't think it's exactly the same thing. Calypso's post was about being in the wedding party, not about disowning her family members for choosing to leave Catholicism. Calypso even said that if her BIL was choosing to leave completely, should wouldn't have a problem with it. Also, Georgia's family isn't going against their religion by attending her Catholic wedding, whereas in Calypso's case, she could be violating Canon Law.
    Posted by Riss91[/QUOTE]

    Yup.  Also I don't think Calypso was openly mocking FSIL for not being Catholic.  Calypso is questioning whether she should participate in something that violates Canon law and makes her uncomfortable.  The PPs all described a bit of religious intolerance.

    Not to thread steal, but Calypso, did your BIL decide where he's getting married and/or has your FSIL decided on a WP?
  • Theresa626Theresa626 member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    But, how do you know that it doesn't violate their religion to attend a Catholic ceremony?  If they're attending the reception, that seems that they are not disowning her or disapproving that much.  They are coming to something to congratulate her.  Perhaps they feel he is sinning by not having a presbyterian wedding or whatever he is because that is a sin against their religion.  

    OP: i'm not supporting your family's decision just bringing up a point. 
  • edited December 2011
    The only way we made peace with it was to consider how they feel about everything. Although I didn't speak to FI's family, my family is fundamentalist Church of Christ. We have really tried to see how they feel about everything, and it is not that they are not coming just to spite or hurt us. They are concerned about our souls and the souls of our future children. When we looked at it from a loving place, we just prayed about it, and talked to our priest about it, and decided to be happy with them coming to the reception. We couldn't change how they feel about it, but we can change how we reacted to it. And that is not to say our some of our immediate family is not coming. My sisters, my mom, and his dad are coming after we compromised with having a neutral reception. My mom just nitpicks over everything that is not standard issue in the Protestant ceremony, which is why we have asked her just to help plan the reception. We have a great, supportive church family and that is going to be enough.
  • jlmarks83jlmarks83 member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: NWR: How do you handle it?? (long):
    [QUOTE]I am so grateful that I have not had these problems! All I can say is that on those rare occasions when my FI and I feel like we're hitting a roadblock of any sort and I become upset, he reminds me to stop trying to fight the battle by myself and pray.  So I say a prayer in my head to God, apologizing for getting all frustrated over probably a small issue, saying that I know that He has a plan for all of us, and asking for the grace to accept that plan.  I find that this calms me down and usually some happy solution can be found soon thereafter. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
    Posted by mica178[/QUOTE]

    Mica - Thank you for your encouraging words.  It's frustrating to me how easily I forget to pray in situations like this.  Thank you for the reminder.  God is the only one who can ease the situation.  It's not like this decision needs to happen right this second anyway.  FI and I will continue to go back and forth between churches until we feel like we can make a decision.  Our deadline is when we're pregnant with our first child...and that won't be for a couple years.  Thank you, again.
    Anniversary
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011

    i've been oddly quiet on this thread, not sure why.

    OP, i'm very sorry you are going through this, but happy to hear that you and your FI are going to do what you feel is best for you as a couple and for your marriage as a whole.  teh family should hopefully come around at some point.

    i dont think this is teh same as my situation at all (mica, no, tehy havent made any decisions yet.  i think they will actually have a long engagement for a variety of reasons).  while i'm not very knowledgable about the anglican faith, i dont think its a violation of that religion to attend a wedding in another church, and i dont think there are any rules abotu anglicans having to marry other anglicans and/or be married in teh anglican church, but i could be wrong on that so dont quote me.

    OP, curious.  why did your mother convert?  did she marry an anglican or did she just have a lot of issues with the church?  i'm wondering if, given her age, she had wanted to marry your dad in the church but was refused because he was not catholic. (assumption here, i'm not sure if you ever told us what religion yoru dad is).

  • Riss91Riss91 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: NWR: How do you handle it?? (long):
    [QUOTE]But, how do you know that it doesn't violate their religion to attend a Catholic ceremony? 
    Posted by Theresa626[/QUOTE]

    She said they were Baptist, and as far as I know (through my studies of other religions), Baptists are not forbidden from attending weddings of other religions. Georgia, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on that. These days there are many smaller groups within religions that have different rules, so I certainly don't know everything! But, if they were in fact in violation of their own religion, I'd completely understand them explaining that they cannot attend for religious reasons. I jsut don't think that is the case here.

    In Response to Re: NWR: How do you handle it?? (long):
    [QUOTE]If they're attending the reception, that seems that they are not disowning her or disapproving that much.  They are coming to something to congratulate her.  Perhaps they feel he is sinning by not having a presbyterian wedding or whatever he is because that is a sin against their religion.  
    Posted by Theresa626[/QUOTE]

    Although they are attending the reception, they have blatantly said they do not support her marriage, so I can't see how their congratulations would be very sincere. And we are all meant to help and support each other - even those we feel have sinned. I can understand them not wanting to be an offical witness, but to only attend the reception and not attend the ceremony, for the reasons mentioned, to me, is spiteful. And I applaud Georgia for being able to move past it and enjoy this blessed time in her life.
  • jlmarks83jlmarks83 member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: NWR: How do you handle it?? (long):
    [QUOTE]OP, i'm very sorry you are going through this, but happy to hear that you and your FI are going to do what you feel is best for you as a couple and for your marriage as a whole.  teh family should hopefully come around at some point. OP, curious.  why did your mother convert?  did she marry an anglican or did she just have a lot of issues with the church?  i'm wondering if, given her age, she had wanted to marry your dad in the church but was refused because he was not catholic. (assumption here, i'm not sure if you ever told us what religion yoru dad is).
    Posted by Calypso1977[/QUOTE]

    My mom was raised Catholic and married Catholic.  Then she divorced her first husband.  I don't know for sure if she was forced out or just not welcomed after her divorce.  (This was in the early to mid 70s) She very well could have had some issues with the church as well.  I'm not 100% sure.  Her uncle (now deceased) was a Catholic priest for 65+ years and, at the time, I think he made her feel uncomfortable about her divorce.  Anyway, she left the Catholic church and when she and my dad got married, they married in a Christian church.  My dad was raised in a Frist Christian church.  They met in the middle with being Episcopal/Anglican.  And that's where my brother and I came into the picture.

    So yeah...I can see where she gets some bitterness - but bitterness does not equal judgment and hypocrisy.
    Anniversary
  • Calypso1977Calypso1977 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    well, that does shed some light on it.  she probably either was rejected an annulment from husband #1 (or didnt want to go through the process), met your dad, and then left the church to marry him.

    divorced people are still allowed to be catholic and still receive sacraments.  however, unlesss an anullment is granted, teh church still considers them married even though the state says they arent.  she therefore would have had to continue living as a married person, meaning she could not date or marry again, until her annulment was proceesed.  but she would not have been forced out.  divorce does not result in excommunication.  but i'm sure if her family is very catholic, they probably gave her a hard time for sure. 

    anyway, water under the bridge at this point.  it just seems that most people who hate catholics and catholicism have usually had some issue wtih the "rules".  that is of course how so many protestant faiths started to begin with - someone didnt like the rules of catholicism, so they broke away and formed their own churches.
  • edited December 2011
    I agree with pp - just like your fiance having a difficult experience in a presbyterian church, your mom may have had a hard time with the Catholic Church and still harbor hurt feelings, and/or an impression of the Church as unkind, judmental, "not capable of meeting your spiritual needs," as you said.  I grew up Methodist and married a Catholic, and my grandmother had a hard time with it - she grew up in a time and a place where Catholicism was extremely strict and, especially to someone not in the Church, seemed unnecessarily cruel and unforgiving as far as divorce, marrying non-Catholics, etc., and she still felt some discomfort about all of that. Once she and I and my mom talked about how the Church had changed, and that I was not being forced into anything or giving up any of my own beliefs, she felt a lot better. 

    Try to remember that your mom may not mean to be judgmental or prejudice against Catholics, she may have a genuine concern from experiences in her past that you will not be happy.  You need to talk to her about why she feels that way, and explain why she doesn't need to have those fears.  Maybe once she sees how much you have thought about your beliefs and how comfortable you are with your decision, she will ease up.

    A final note - communion, especially for people in protestant churches that also take communion regularly, is VERY sensitive.  I understand the concept behind requiring people to be Catholic to participate, but am sometimes SHOCKED when Catholics don't get why someone who is a Christian, has been baptised and confirmed, and regularly receives communion in their own church, would initially be offended by being turned away.  Just tread very carefully on this, and try to think about how they feel, too, when discussing it. 
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