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The resolute Catholic and the athiest

(203 Posts)
Loulouzz Tue 09-Apr-19 15:23:11

Myself and DP have come to a standstill. Very serious and talks of marriage and children are on the cards, fantastic we're both on the same page. But now the topic of religion has reared its head and we're butting heads.

I went to a CofE primary school, was christened, attended church etc but it was never really part of my home life and now mid 20s I'd say I'm an athiest, or at least agnostic. DP on the otherhand attended an all boys Catholic school, was baptised, completed holy communion and had to attend church until midteens. He's a Catholic, it makes no odds to me and I'm happy he has a faith I'm almost sad I don't but its not something I can believe in.

So now children are on the cards and he's adamant he wants them to be like him and be Catholic, including a baptism. This isn't something I'm at all comfortable with. I want my children to be presented with all the information and make a decision for themselves, not attend church into teen years and essentially become brainwashed. I'll never crap on his beliefs but I also won't teach them as fact. I've said I'd be happy enough with a christening but not under the umbrella of the Catholic Church. This feels like middleground, they're pretty much the same bar some subtle differences, one of which is that a christening is considered a naming ceremony but "In the sacrament of Baptism the baby's name is used and mentioned, however it is the rite of claiming the child for Christ and his Church that is celebrated.. requires nurturing through such things as worship, prayer, Bible study and other spiritual disciplines". It's all these restrictions, rules and guilt culture I can't get on board with.

I have no issue with religion or my children becoming Christians but I have issues with the Catholic Church, I have think they rate themselves superior, above the law, are an antidemocratic and authoritarian institution and you do not need to follow their additional rules to be a healthy happy Christian. I feel people will say its just a baptism it doesn't mean much but once a childs name is given to the church its entered into the "baptismal rolls" of your local Diocese. This name is PERMANENTLY in those records, and the Diocese uses those rolls to inflate their claims of catholics. You can only remove it by applying to the Vatican for 'defection', not excommunication, and this too was abolished in 2012.

There are so many issues within the Catholic Church that I don't want my child on a list that gives them lobbying power, bigger tax breaks and more governance.

I've tried to communicate this but we're not getting anywhere, he says he'd maybe one day be okay with a CofE christening whereas I would actively dislike a Catholic baptism so surely that's a fair middle ground? He says I'm hurting him with this and I don't know what to do but it's something I feel strongly about, as clearly he does too. I'm not completely in the know with this topic so any additional information regardless of who you agree with will be helpful.

Massive well done if you got to the end of that rambling mess, sorry everyone I'm just fretting. How would you handle it?

CharlyAngelic Tue 09-Apr-19 15:26:46

You clearly do have an issue.

CharlyAngelic Tue 09-Apr-19 15:28:26

It could be a deal breaker . You need to chat with your DP and be adamant that this is not want you want .

Ragwort Tue 09-Apr-19 15:29:56

No idea, amazed you have got so far in your relationship when you both have such different views. confused.

HarrysOwl Tue 09-Apr-19 15:30:00

I was hoping this would be about Fleabag.

Misses point and is no help at all

BertrandRussell Tue 09-Apr-19 15:31:47

Will he want them brought up as Catholics? What about school?

ElspethFlashman Tue 09-Apr-19 15:32:59

You say him being a Catholic makes you odds to you, but then in the next breath give his religion a right old savaging.

I'm a Catholic and wouldn't marry someone who was so contemptuous of something that's a fundamental part of me.

IWannaSeeHowItEnds Tue 09-Apr-19 15:33:50

I think a christening (but not Catholic) is fair, as is presenting to your children that mummy and daddy have different beliefs and they can choose for themselves when older. However, in practise this is very hard to navigate. Sometimes there are issues which makes couple incompatible in the long term and this is usually one of them.

DelphiniumBlue Tue 09-Apr-19 15:34:07

I'm not getting the impression that DP is a committed Catholic, your description of of him is of someone brought up Catholic, but nothing you say suggests that he is actively Catholic now. So why is he digging his heels in now? Is he coming under pressure from family?
If your position is that you won't have your children being initiated into the Catholic faith, that's fine, and it sounds as if you are being very clear about that. He will then need to decide if that's a deal breaker, or if your compromise of a more broadly Christian upbringing is acceptable.

Ferfeckssake Tue 09-Apr-19 15:34:46

As a practicing Catholic , I would have been uncomfortable with not baptizing my children.
However , you refer to him as DP , so not married and not in Catholic Church? Is he a regular Mass goer? Otherwise , his arguments for baptism are rather flawed.
You are not really supposed to just pick the Sacrament that appeals to you hmm
It is kind of an ALL IN kind of religion.
Does he intend to take DCs to Mass EVERY Sunday ?
I agree with all you are saying and your reasons for feeling so strongly IMO are absolutely valid.

badlydrawnperson Tue 09-Apr-19 15:35:14

In my experience a C of E Baptism would be at least as offensive in terms of proclaiming the kid belongs to and is the sole property of God and the Church.

As demonstrated by your DP, by getting them young and ramming home the brainwashing they perpetuate the whole thing.

DamnShesaSexyChick Tue 09-Apr-19 15:35:18

It's a bit spiteful to say they can be baptised CofE but not catholic, when you're not religious yourself, he's catholic and it means a lot to him.

twolittleboysonetiredmum Tue 09-Apr-19 15:36:48

I am currently doing the RCIA and plan on being confirmed soon (I was baptised as a baby). We’ve had many discussions on baptism and according to the deacon who runs the RCIA - any Christian baptism means ultimately the same thing. It can’t be erased from that person - be that a Church of England etc
So doesn’t help with your argument as such but if you’re so anti what your husband wants - a c of e baptism is no ‘better’ than a catholic one in that sense.

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Tue 09-Apr-19 15:37:32

I feel people will say its just a baptism it doesn't mean much but once a childs name is given to the church its entered into the "baptismal rolls" of your local Diocese. This name is PERMANENTLY in those records, and the Diocese uses those rolls to inflate their claims of Catholics. You can only remove it by applying to the Vatican for 'defection'

I think you're over thinking. I've actually had to go and look up this 'baptismal rolls' malarkey - A Diocese would not share it's membership rolls with the Vatican (there's simply no reason to). although the Diocese does report aggregate membership statistics.

Perhaps a compromise - he can have the RC christening BUT there is no confirmation/baptism until they come of age and can choose for themselves.

You will find though, that your opinions will massively change when you come to deciding about schools and your local school just coincidentally happens to have the best results rather than the local sink estate comprehensive.

But in all honesty, the dismissive and derogatory way you talk about his belief system, which is an intrinsic part of him, I think he'd be better off with someone who respects him. That’s my take on it.

I come at this with a practicing catholic mother and a very much atheist father, who, frankly wasn't going to enforce his beliefs on her and make demands. If you don’t believe in something, then you don’t believe, this shouldn’t be troubling you. As it happens, my brother - christened RC, never confirmed is an atheist, whereas me brought up with no faith whatsoever reverted to RC, but still not baptised.

BloodyDisgrace Tue 09-Apr-19 15:39:55

How would I handle it? I am really sorry not to be able to give a more helpful answer, but by never going out with a religious person in the first place. I'd have thought about it beforehand.
I second what CharlyAngelic said. I really feel for you and maybe you both will come round this one. If it's a deal breaker, hope you haven't been together for very long to make a break too painful.

I despise Catholic Church for what they did to women's and gay rights and glad the Abortion referendum in Ireland is showing that the sanity is on the increase and the CC power is waning.

Loulouzz Tue 09-Apr-19 15:44:00

We've got this far because we're perfect for each other and to be honest the notion of not being with someone you love completely and want to spend the rest of your life with because you differ in a belief sounds ridiculous to me. I know we'll compromise between us because that's what couples do.

That's my other problem, no he doesn't go to mass every Sunday, and isn't a devout Catholic. He has issues with many parts of it and isn't as others have said "all in".

I can say on here exactly how I feel about the whole thing, that's the point, I'm not going to unload some of what I've written onto him because I won't crap on it, I'm allowed to have my own feelings it doesn't mean I have to shout them at him. This is what I'm asking, how do i communicate to get to a middle ground without saying the above.

I don't think it's spiteful, I'm not religious no but I'm more than happy for my children to be if they wish and if support them in it, bit because THEY want to, not because they're been brought up to believe they have to. My issue is with the Catholic Church specifically, I don't agree with their practices, what they spend tax payer money on (rehabituating offending paedophiles within the church because they're above the law the rest of society has to follow and be punished within, etc)

The thing is I believe what I believe, he does for him, we're together and have to work it out. What's the compromise

Jsmith99 Tue 09-Apr-19 15:46:23

I’m an ex-catholic, and I agree completely with your critique of the church. You could add institutional misogyny, homophobia and child abuse to that list, too.

Baptism isn’t the only issue you wil face. DP will presumably want the children educated at Catholic schools. You need to understand the reality of what this means. Religious indoctrination is absolutely relentless and it starts from the very beginning. At my school, almost the entirety of our 7-8 year old year was taken up with preparation for first confession and first communion. Then there’s confirmation at age 11/12. As teenagers, we were taught that ‘selfish sexual orgasm’ was a sin. I am not making this up...

You both have to accept that this could be a deal-breaker, and try to negotiate compromises that you can both live with and which protect your children from influences you may not be comfortable with.

Good luck to you both.

ShartGoblin Tue 09-Apr-19 15:49:05

Nobody is being unreasonable here, you just have very different opinions on something that's actually really important to you both. For me, this would be a dealbreaker, I have strong opinions on this (what those are isn't relevant) and I don't feel that I could get past it. I bear no ill will to either side of the argument and would happily be friends with someone that believed the opposite to me but I don't think it's possible to raise a child like this.

BertrandRussell Tue 09-Apr-19 15:52:05

Have you thought about schools?

positivepixie Tue 09-Apr-19 15:53:02

I'm in a very similar position but we have found a way to make things work, neither of us wanted it to be a deal breaker. DH is Catholic, went through the system including all boys Catholic High. I went through CofE school but don't believe and have similar distain for the Catholic Church as you.
DH is not a church go-er and is certainly not devout - he believes in freedom of choice and diversity. I agreed to get married in a Catholic Church (we found a very laid back priest who didn't make a big deal of it and didn't make me go to lessons) because it was important to his family heritage. We talked about schools and visited the local options with an open mind. We both agreed that the local catholic school offered the best for them but I said from day one that I would always talk to them about my (non) beliefs but support them in however far they wanted to take theirs. It works for us.

Loulouzz Tue 09-Apr-19 15:55:35

We've discussed Catholic schools, he doesn't believe in a lot of the things they experienced. Indoctrination, there was no sex education, instead they were informed its a sin, birth control is a sin, and asked any boys who had condoms to give them over now. That's insane in my opinion. We're happy in sending any children we have to a good school that isn't religious, school is for learning a broad range of topics, not having one religion drilled into you. We agree on that

NabooThatsWho Tue 09-Apr-19 15:57:02

So he doesn’t even bother going to church? 🙄 He doesn’t like the Catholic Church that much then does he?

If you say to him you want to let the children decide when they are old enough, what is his response?

Ferfeckssake Tue 09-Apr-19 15:57:39

I'm the poster who said " all in ". His arguments for Baptism are seriously flawed if he does not intend to live by the tenets of the Church he wishes to make his DCs become a part of.
Why bother ? Especially against his partner's wishes ? Not really fair to make you go against your beliefs for his half hearted participation on the RC Church.

Jebuschristchocolatebar Tue 09-Apr-19 16:00:08

You don’t seem to want to compromise and neither does he. I have been in a similar situation, my dh wanted our kids christened and I didn’t but they have been and attend a catholic school. It was a deal breaker really in our marriage. He felt strongly enough to want it and although I despise the church, he doesn’t so that was more important in my view

Loulouzz Tue 09-Apr-19 16:02:35

That's good to hear positivepixie. Breaking up over this seems silly to me, there's always compromise. And if we're not worth working this out as you have then I suppose it'd be for the best anyway as we're not as strong as I thought we were. For me a lot of this depends on where we are at the time, we're moving next year and the school will depend on what's even nearby. I'm from the middle of nowhere and all surrounding churches were CofE, Catholicism seems to be more prevalent in cities, at least where we are in the world so who even knows. It's just the no give I'm struggling with a bit

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