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questions for catholics

(28 Posts)
mollysmum82 Mon 08-Oct-12 21:04:09

I am a new catholic and I was wondering if you could give me some advice please?

To give you some background I have recently completed the RCIA and was baptised and confirmed last Easter. I found this to be a wonderful, humbling experience and it just feels really right, almost like I'm "coming home" when I attend a mass service.

I was brought up as a child without any religion but I always had a belief in God. My Dad had been brought up a catholic but I think he felt he was pushed into it a bit much as he attended a strict catholic boarding school and consequently he stopped going to church and never had me baptised. My Gran (his mother) was always a devout catholic and prayed often that I would find her faith.

Because of my belief in God I always wanted to go to a church but I never had the confidence to just turn up and I didn't know which one to go to (CofE/catholic/baptist etc). But when I gave birth to my daughter, after years of struggling to conceive and nearly losing her at the birth I just felt so grateful to have her and really wanted to go to church and thank God. Because of my Gran's beliefs I chose to go to a Catholic church and I promised her I would become a catholic before she died.

My husband is not a catholic but because we were married before I became catholic I am told our marriage is recognised by the catholic church. The problem is though he is happy for me to have faith but he doesn't want our children to be "pushed" into catholicism. He was happy to have our children baptised catholic but he wouldn't want them to go to mass (unless they chose to themselves at an older age). So at the moment I attend mass on my own. My daughter is now 3 years of age and this issue will start to become more of a problem as she starts school. I would have wanted her to go to a catholic school but my husband would feel uncomfortable about her being taught catholic beliefs as facts and about her having to complete the sacraments.

We thought our local Church of England school might be a good compromise if that's the right way of putting it as it still teaches the christian morals but is quite inclusive of all faiths and wouldn't require our children to complete their sacraments at a young age. If they attended this school I would hope to teach them gently at home "mummy believes this, daddy believes that, you choose what you want". But would that be acceptable to the catholic church?

The other issue is that to attend this CofE school you need to attend a CofE church at least monthly. Would it be a sin if I attended this CofE church once a month, alongside my normal catholic mass? Would God mind? It feels wrong in my head but my husband says I would be worshiping God and Jesus whether I went to a catholic or an anglican church so it shouldn't matter.

This is so hard, I feel like whatever I do I'm letting either my children, my husband, myself, my Gran or God down.

Any advice would be so appreciated, thank you.

Knowsabitabouteducation Mon 08-Oct-12 21:09:18

Would it be a sin to attend s CofE service?

Where do you get this idea?

Sin is separation from God. If you think attending a CofE service separates you from God, you really need to question your whole relationship. Ask yourself if your adherence to the RCC is healthy to your Christian faith.

mollysmum82 Mon 08-Oct-12 21:25:04

I don't think people who are cofe are committing a sin by going to a cofe service. I don't think my denomination is any more valid than theirs. But I was worried that because I am now a baptised catholic I would be committing a sin by going to another church.

browniebear Mon 08-Oct-12 21:33:20

I'm catholic but my exH wasn't, we had dd baptised when we were still together but haven't had ds baptised yet as I think we're going to wait till dd first holy communion next year, anyway that's by the by, I think if your dd showed interest in going to mass then you should take her, surely at 3 she wonders where mummy goes on a Sunday?
Dd attends brownies that once a month they do a parade at a c of e church and I take her if it doesn't clash with our mass and to be honest it's a nice change sometime to worship in a more lighthearted way.
I don't think god will mindsmile

ProudNeathGirl Mon 08-Oct-12 21:36:37

You shouldn't take communion in a C of E church, but otherwise, no problem. This is because Anglicans believe the bread and wine SYMBOLISE the body and blood of Christ whereas Catholics believe they BECOME the body and blood of Christ. You can go up for a blessing though.
Otherwise, crack on - no problem.

ProudNeathGirl Mon 08-Oct-12 21:37:08

My DH is Catholic, I'm not.

hugglebug Mon 08-Oct-12 21:42:15

Hi Mollysmum.
You would not be committing a sin by attending a CofE service but you should not take communion there. Schooling is such a difficult choice. I attended a catholic school and then a CofE sixth form. I felt that my Catholic education was open and inclusive and we learnt about all the major religions. I found the CofE sixth form full of very closed minded middle class types who didn't have a clue about other faiths let alone respect for them. However, if your husband objects to religion being thrust upon you Dc's I don't see how a CofE school is a compromise as they still require Church attendance. I think if you and your DH are open with your DC's then they will get a balanced view and come to the their own decisions, no matter how long it takes. Good luck x

milkandribena Mon 08-Oct-12 21:52:34

RCC dont like you taking Anglican communion but Anglican don't care they just ask that you are baptized.

I've been to CofE services, Lutheran ones and lots more even the Quakers once. I don't think god minds. Sure he has much bigger things on his plate than me.

Also I'm pretty sure CofE mention god and stuff at school.

All the catholic schools I know accept that some people wont do confirmation as part of class. I didn't (granted I went to Ireland and did it there but still)
They can't force you to do them - what with it religion being voluntary. But at 8 anyway I'm sure she would make a decision.
(I don't see the point in baptizing a child if you aren't going to raise them in that - but that's by the by)

I would say at 3 wont she be asking to go with you? it's not church at that point. (at least for me and siblings it wasn't)

But I am a bit hmm about all this sinful stuff - it seems a bit....

LynetteScavo Mon 08-Oct-12 21:54:51

"I would have wanted her to go to a catholic school but my husband would feel uncomfortable about her being taught catholic beliefs as facts and about her having to complete the sacraments."

My 3 DC go to Catholic schools, and they are not taught Catholic beliefs as facts, and they certainly wouldn't have to complete the sacraments if you did not want them to!

DS1 who is now in Y9 tells me he doesn't believe the things that Catholics believe. He tells me he is an atheist, and therefore not Catholic. So he certainly hasn't been brainwashed by school! I am half considering postponing DD's FHC, as I'm not sure she fully understands what it means at 7. (Who said 7 was the age of reason? confused!) Nobody would blink if I did.

TBH, I don't think God really cares where you sent your DD to school, or where you worship. I do think he might be a bit hmm at you going to a CofE church just to get your DD a school place though. grin

milkandribena Mon 08-Oct-12 21:55:27

actually thinking about it we had a number of Muslim kids in primary they sure as didn't do their confirmation. I learnt about other religions and science and stuff it isn't the 1960's anymore.

LynetteScavo Mon 08-Oct-12 21:56:56

When I say they are not taught Catholic beliefs as fact, they are taught "Catholics believe....."

milkandribena Mon 08-Oct-12 22:00:03

lynette isn't the age of reason 8? it's after completing your 7th year

Boggler Mon 08-Oct-12 22:00:28

My ds is a baptised Catholic and attends a catholic primary school, there is no pressure to take the sacraments as they are no longer done on a class basis as they were in my day. Instead you discuss (or not) when to take confession, communion, confirmation etc with our own parish priest and make your your arrangements - although the children do tend to do it at the same time. You have to remember that a catholic school will have a proportion of children from other Christian faiths attending as well as children who do not attend church at all, so plenty not taking any sacraments etc. as well as that the School is very inclusive and teaches about all faiths.

3duracellbunnies Mon 08-Oct-12 22:07:47

Your dh needs to realise that all schools will teach religion and have acts of worship. A CofE school which requires church attendance is likely to have more religious content than one which doesn't. Why don't you both go and visit all the schools and see which one you feel suits her best.

DH is Catholic, I'm CofE but we all go to the Catholic church, however we preferred the state school over catholic or CofE, so that is where they go, dd1 will be starting communion classes soon and she is quite able to understand why she believes one thing, but others have other faiths.

Do the entry requirements specify a church or do they just require a reference? Our priest will write references for Catholic or CofE schools. You will find that there is often not much difference between Catholic and CofE. When dh was younger his family on holiday sat through most of an Anglican service before they realised that it wasn't Catholic, and these are devout Catholics from birth! The Anglican church would let you have communion but the Catholic Church wouldn't be happy, not sure what God would think!

LynetteScavo Mon 08-Oct-12 22:17:19

Really, milkandribena?

As DD has a summer b'day she would be 7 if she took FHC with her class this year. hey used to have one mass for the whole year to take FHC, now they want to spread it out over 8 masses in May, so no one would notice if she didn't take it this year.(Although she is desperate to take communion, and has been known to slip behind me at the last minute, and try to trick the priest. shock Thankfully he is to wise for her! grin All children are "prepared" for FHC/ confirmation in RE, some children go of and do extra classes at another RC church, and some don't bother with the actual sacrament, mostly because they aren't Catholic.

hiddenhome Mon 08-Oct-12 22:33:49

Why is your husband's views more valid than yours? Why should he be able to tell your that you can't take your child to Mass? Catholic schools don't shove their beliefs down the children's throats and they're given the choice as to whether they join the sacramental preparation classes or not.

I feel sad that your dh has these views sad

If you're a Catholic, then it's not a sin to go to another church, but you won't be able to take communion.

MrsHoarder Mon 08-Oct-12 23:21:30

I am the non-catholic spouse, but I though you might want to consider our compromise. ds is baptised and will attend mass with dh once he is old enough to not cry in it. In return he isn't going to a church school.

This means he will get religious education from the church he is baptised in and dh is a member of, but this is distinct from his main education (aside from the broadly Christian part of English state schooling).

sieglinde Tue 09-Oct-12 12:07:06

whathiddenhome said. sad too. The C of E taught as 'fact' has no more and no less value than RC taught as fact. I think your DH is being a bit of a bigot.

Also I think you should take your dcs to mass, though perhaps not every week. If your dcs are baptised RC, then it's important to teach them the tenets of the faith, and one is attendance at Sunday mass.

As for your question, the first rule is love. If part of love is going to a C of E or Islamic or pagan or humanist or whatever service, GO.

crescentmoon Tue 09-Oct-12 14:38:36

i dont think you are giving catholic schools enough credit in being inclusive. there are muslim families who prefer to send their children to catholic schools over non religious schools i don't know if that would change your minds.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/primaryeducation/9420880/What-hope-for-the-faith-school.html

i have many family friends who send their children to catholic school and on the weekend to madressa - iv read here on mn of atheist parents who send their children to catholic schools as well for academic purposes.

i went to a c of e primary school and DH went to christian primary and secondary school and we are both practising muslims. my childrens previous school was c of e and there were other muslim children there - but it didnt require church attendance obviously! id choose it again if i had the option - its not the outer but the inner values they teach that are appreciated.

crescentmoon Tue 09-Oct-12 14:39:00

www.telegraph.co.uk/education/primaryeducation/9420880/What-hope-for-the-faith-school.html

mollysmum82 Tue 09-Oct-12 22:26:18

Thanks so much everyone you've given me so much to think about.

I guess dh's views are more valid than mine on this one because I wasn't catholic when he married me? So we never had to talk about how the kids would be brought up in that regard?

Annunziata Tue 09-Oct-12 22:30:54

Your DH's views are certainly not more valid than yours! Besides, you say he agreed for your children to be baptised, so surely he isn't surprised that you would like them to go to Catholic school.

I think the Church of England school would be equally likely to present their beliefs as 'fact'.

I don't know what to advise you, you're trying so hard to please everyone.

spaghettiontoast Wed 10-Oct-12 09:59:30

Wanted to give you a couple of perspectives from my experience.

I was the child of one catholic, one non-catholic parent. I went to the local CofE school – it was very religious, we went to the anglican church once a week. At school I learnt about God and I learnt to pray. At home I sensed the importance of Catholic sacraments from one parent, and sensed a slight disapproval of them from the other. It was confusing. I went to Mass with my father, I had been baptised as a baby but didn’t do first communion, confirmation as a child, although I desperately wanted too (both me and my brother were confirmed as catholics as adults). Meanwhile my CofE friends were confirmed at 11 through the CofE school. I ended up feeling caught between two worlds, and I secretly felt that I wasn’t good enough to do first communion, be confirmed etc. It took me in to my 30’s to feel I was really able to be a full member of a parish.

A generation later, my dh is an agnostic bordering on atheist. Our situation is different to yours in that he always knew I was Catholic, so we had discussed how we brought children up before there were children. Dh supports my faith, as he knows how important it is to me, but he does not share it. He doesn’t come to Mass. However, my children come to Mass with me and has done since she was they were babies (dh did come to Mass to help when they were newborns). As it happens we live in a rural parish with no catholic school and the nearest one (10 miles away) is not very catholic, so they went to the local (non-church-school) village primary. They learnt about faith from me, and from children’s liturgy, 1st communion preparation, confirmation preparation and now the church youth group and county wide catholic youth activities. We agreed that it was up to them if they were confirmed, and they chose to be. As teenagers they are very much part of our parish community.

From my experience I think it is confusing for a child if they are not involved in something that is clearly very important to one of their parents, especially when they see that other people’s children are allowed to be involved.

Hope that helps, and I hope whatever you decide works out well smile

PorkyandBess Wed 10-Oct-12 10:13:57

I am catholic, H is agnostic but with catholic envy.

Our children are Catholics and attend a catholic school and have received the sacraments.

Imo, having your children baptised as Catholics means you have made a promise to bring them up in that faith. Otherwise, why do it? It's an important facet of your life, not your husband's. You should be able to take them to mass and send them to a RC school if you want to.

acorntree Wed 10-Oct-12 11:05:26

To answer your original question - no problem with going to other churches occasionally as a visitor or friend, think of it as visiting your neighbours, but I like to try to get to Mass as well (as that is my home, and I can participate in the communion).

But I’m a bit confused as to why, if you are Catholic and your husband does not have a faith, you see it as a good compromise to bring up your children as Anglican? If you have to go to the CofE church to get your children in to the school it sounds as if it is going to be quite a religious CofE school, as others have said you might even find that the local Catholic school is more inclusive.

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