"Dad's not Catholic. So why should I be?"

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I surprised our son one day. He was preparing for his Confirmation, and I felt it was important to have a heart-to-heart talk. I explained that while he will still need instruction in the Faith, it would become, in fact, his responsibility to open his heart to the catechism and take it seriously. It was no longer just something Mom wanted. Confirmation should be something he wanted. I needed to know: Does he want to say Yes?

His first thought came out right away and I knew it had been looming for a few years: “Hey, Dad’s not Catholic–and you love him–so why should I be? Dad hasn’t said Yes, so why should I?”

Hmm. This was the question I had been dreading since my children were baptized as little babies. What would I tell them when they pointed out the obvious theological differences between their own parents? Over the years, I decided to let it be until the right time came to address it.

I thought on this a bit and Christ handed me the answer–simple and obvious.

I pointed out : “Ah, but Dad did say Yes!”

“What? No!! Then why hasn’t he converted?”

“Oh, yes, conversion. Well, saying Yes to God’s will is the first step, and Dad’s been saying Yes since before you were born.”

“Get out! He did not!”

Yes, indeed, my husband has been saying Yes since we first married sixteen years ago. I, however, was too driven to pray for his conversion that I didn’t see his giant steps toward God. It was only when I was preparing my son for his Confirmation did I realize the truth. Raised without a faith in any way, my husband has been on a spiritual journey just as valid and blessed as my own. We were on the same path, just not in tandem.

My sweetheart said Yes to marrying in the Church, which included six weeks of pre-Cana instruction, something he embraced with a good attitude, happy to do the homework and to participate in the various exercises. He said Yes to baptizing our babies. He said Yes to all their preparations to receive the sacraments, and he said Yes to homeschooling them in their Faith each and every day.

He could have said No. As the head of the house, he could have changed his mind after our wedding ceremony and said No to raising our children Catholic. He could have said No to any of the Catholic traditions I was accustomed to through my Catholic upbringing. He could have said No to the Catholic items that are displayed in our home.

But my non-Catholic husband is indeed on a journey. He bought for me a statue of The Queen of Peace, he took me to the Vatican for our tenth anniversary, he cried at my grandmother’s funeral when he listened to the priest’s homily, and in little ways he became a defender of the Faith to his atheistic friends and family. These things he did quietly and without fervor.

“Yeah, your Dad said Yes. So, it’s time for you to make the decision. It’s all up to you.”

Pause.

Then my son said the words every Catholic mom wants to hear.

“Okay, I’m in.”

Copyright 2011 Kathleen Blease

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2 Comments

  1. What a beautiful article…I have been married to my hubby for 23-1/2 years now. He went through RCIA to be confirmed just weeks before our wedding day only b/c *I* wanted him to. He said Yes. He has been there when our children were baptized, 3 of them made their First Communion (one more to go!), and when our oldest was Confirmed (next one in a year and a half). He has stayed home so that I can teach CCD classes, has his own standards of what the kids (3 boys & one little girl) need to wear to Mass (collared shirts, dress pants, dress shoes ALWAYS!). He says Yes every single day with the plethora of religious articles around the house ~ statues, Sacred Heart, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Madonna of the Streets, etc., and has been amazingly supportive. Like you, I have been staunchly praying for his full conversion/reversion (he was brought up somewhat Catholic w/parents who dropped the kids at Mass while THEY went out for breakfast!)…I do, however, try to remember that he could say No, but never, ever has. Give God our loaves & fishes & He makes miracles happen. 😉 God bless!!!

  2. Thank you so much for this encouraging post. My husband too is a lapsed Catholic. He was not raised with any sort of Faith and only converted to marry me and has since fallen away. He is supportive in the permissive sense, not actively, and still says some harsh things at times about my overt Faith and Religious practices, but to my knowledge he keeps his peace with our children.

    This is a template I hope never to have to use with my children, but nonetheless a positive approach I will keep in my arsenal of charitable responses. Charity is the virtue I struggle with most, so I am very grateful for posts like these which help me have the right response.

    God bless you, you’ve certainly blessed me!

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