Suggestions for helping Wife through Crisis of Faith

First, some context for the readers:

My wife is a cradle Catholic who has fallen away from Church, (in general not just the Catholic Church), in the past year. Her mother and father are weekly Mass attendees and they would consider themselves faithful Catholics. Her Mom is a member of the Alter and Rosary and a Eucharistic minister. However, they are both pro-choice and supportive of homosexual marriage. Her Mom still occassionally bugs my wife about going to Mass but my wife is well aware of the contradiction between her Mom’s beliefs and the Church doctrine. Thus, her Mother’s pleas do not carry much weight.

Wife became disenchanted when our oldest daughter, because we had not been members or the parish long enough, could not get into the school. She became further frustrated by the constant mention of tithing. (Seriously at least half of the services mentioned tithing in the homily or announcements, so I get her point). Stopped going for those reasons, and her faith has suffered.

I was baptized Catholic but did not attend Church growing up. Went through RCIA a little over 9 years ago before birth of first daughter. My Catholicism is growing and, based on some liturgical fads at our local parish, I have been taking the kids to a Tridentine Mass.

Wife is a lovely lady but has the temperment you would expect from her combined Italian/Irish heritage, (stubborn and emotional :)). I am looking for suggestions/books for helping her through what she describes as her “crisis of faith” and would unite our family in worship.


Pray, pray, pray. Sorry to hear about the school. Our eldest dd did not not get into our parish school even through she was baptized in the parish and we were very involved. It was a very big sibling year and the school is always oversubscribed, unfortunately it happens :shrug:. Are there any other Catholic schools in the area? It is not necessary that your children attend Catholic school but is a very helpful way to get all your family very active in your faith community. Have you examined all your school options?

Otherwise is appears that your wife needs to make the transition to an adult faith as it seems to have been supported by involvement in the institutions of the church (such as the school), without those her faith started melting away. I wonder if part of the reason tithing has come up alot in your parish recently is the financial needs of many parishioners during this economic crisis. I know that many parishes are struggling to help their parishioners with school fees right now for example. I doubt the money is going on fancy projects, much more likely it is helping with basic needs. The husband of one of my friends lost his job in September and I know the parish is helping their family financially and all their Christmas gifts came from the St. Vincent De Paul council in the parish. Just something to think about.


I will continue to pray.

We would look at other schools but we are very happy with the education our daughters are receiving from the public school. As a matter of fact, a number of our friends whose children used to attend the parish school, have pulled their kids out due to the superior public schools in our area. I understand your point about getting her involved through the school but that is one of my main bones of contention with our local parish. It is more of a parish attached to a school instead of the other way around.

The tithe, tithe, tithe pounding was going on in 2005 when we moved into the parish. Economy was not an issue, but they did build a fairly extravagent, (particularly for a parochial), elementary school. That brought on a great deal of debt. You are probably correct that the current emphasis is more in the spirit of charity and I have no issue supporting those people.

Are there any good books on bringing adults back to the Catholich Church?

I hope this helps
May God bless you for trying to bring your wife back.

can’t comment on your wife, I don’t know her, but since my job is dealing with parishioners with such stories on a routine basis, my observation is that these are excuses, not reasons, why someone falters in their practice of the Faith.

Thank you for the link. It provided some good information and a solid starting point.

She is just starting to talk about maybe talking to a Priest, so progress is being made. I am being patient because she, (and she would admit this), is one of those people who the more you push the harder they resists. Mule = My Wife. :slight_smile:

Since you deal with them on a regular basis what do you see as the common reasons vs. excuses?

In my opinion, people can become ‘disillusioned’ with their relationship with God due to the actions of others who don’t authentically live the faith. I think fundamentally, you want to make sure (as we all should) that your wife’s relationship with God and her participation in the Sacraments - does not depend on the actions or lukewarmness of others. I know if my faith were dependant on how my friends or even certain family members live their faith, I would probably be searching too. While we all make up the Church - both sinners and saints, we must be able to distinguish between a relationship built on God in the primary sense not on emotion, people, liturgical music, homilies, ect.

I would recommend EWTN programming, podcasts from this website, Fr. Corapi’s catechism series (as a way of building a strong foundation of what the Church really teaches so that she can authentically know & live it).

If she needs more reinforcement after Mass because the homily didn’t do anything for her, than podcast one - there are plenty of phenomenal priests that podcast their weekly homilies.

If your wife could re-visit the core teachings of the Church by going through the Catechism, she will be able to begin to understand that believing in God isn’t dependent on these external issues, and fortify herself with the beautiful wisdom that has guided so many others before her in the same circumstances.

Homosexuality and Infanticide?

Has anyone explained to her parents that Catholic teaching disqualifies them from even receiving communion. Not only that, if the priest knows that they hold these views and still permits them to continue in Eucharistic ministry, he (the priest) is committing the mortal sin of sacrilege as well. Those who remain silent are allowing scandal and are also guilty!

Her mom’s pleas not only do not carry much weight, her views if not repented of will send her to the flames of hell. Sadly, these abominable views have infested evangelical churches as well.

Pray AND live a life that shows her the joy of being imersed in our Faith. it appears her Mother has also left the Faith so I would pray for her also.

I have had a discussion/debate regarding abortion with her parents but there was a lot of wine involved and it did not go anywhere. While I do not remain silent I could be more vocal. Being vocal while maintaining family civility is the difficult balancing act.

I seriously doubt the priest knows their beliefs. As a matter of fact until about 4 years ago, (and I have been with my wife a total of 20 years), I thought they were pro-life. They just never talked too much about social issues and, althought they are vocally Democrats, I assumed their faith trumped their politics.

Excellent points on not attaching one’s faith to the actions of others. I think that is a common excuse for people abandoning “organize religion.” Inability to separate a perfect faith from imperfect followers of the the faith.

The suggstions for looking into podcasts from other priests and Father Corapi are also great. I think they would be a good start for her to return to the Mass.

Thanks and prayers to all of you who have made suggestions and comments.

Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn

Surprised by the Truth by Patrid Madrid

Forgive me Father, for I am Frustrated by Fr. Mitch Pacwa (this book talks a bit about the frustrations of living in imperfect parishes).

Any biography of Padre Pio (his life lifts the veil and gives us a peek at Heaven. Plus, he lived so recently, there’s plenty of documentation and eyewitnesses).

Also, if you can, make a family retreat at Catholic Family land.

But, for me, the thing that helps the most is being with other devout Catholic women. If you know of a fun, devout Catholic family, invite them over.

I also love the Jeff Cavin’s Bible studies.

It all goes back to the parable of the seeds, doesn’t it…

She needs deeper roots!