Hesitancy with Sensitive Questions

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EmergencyOps

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Although me and my girlfriend have been together for almost 2 years, the topic of beliefs has rarely come up…and with good reason.

I am Baptist and she is Catholic. I have earnestly learned about Catholicism, and even attended many Masses both with her and her family. The issue is that I know what she (as a Catholic) should believe, but she does not know why she believes what she believes. She follows some Catholic teachings yet ignores others, with little to no explanation; many of her beliefs are only held by her because it is what her parents taught her. Anytime I try to ask her, she gets defensive and says, “I don’t want to argue about it.” I would like for her to know why she believes what the Church teaches, so that when she is not living with her parents (wedding bells can be heard faintly off in the future) she will have a solid foundation of faith.

How can I get her to open up, or should I just let sleeping dogs lie?

-Mark
 
Well, first off, pray, pray, pray. Then see if you can find a good class or Bible study or something. If you have questions about some aspect of the Faith maybe ask them in a way that makes it sound like you are trying to find out why Catholics believe it for yourself. Take, for instance, baptism. You could say, “Gee, I was really wondering why Catholics baptise babies. Can you help me figure it out?” instead of, “Do you know why you were baptised as a baby?” Or, take NFP. “Can you help me figure out why many Catholics use NFP?” instead of, “Well, are you going to do NFP when you are married?”

Of course these are suggestions you may have already tried. Perhaps you could give an example of how a typical conversation goes…

God Bless you in your efforts!
 
So if I understand you correctly, you, a Baptist, want your girlfriend to learn more about her Catholic faith, rather than convert her to the Baptist Church? Is that right?

I believe it is difficult to get someone interested in something they have little interest in. But there may be something you can do together.

What you need to do is find a topic that is important to both of you that, incidentally, includes Catholic teachings

Since you are a Baptist, I presume that, like most Baptists, you hold morality and moral behavior in high regard. This is especially true in the areas of sexual morality. Baptists have a very good reputation in being very ethical and moral people in this area. With the exception of contraception, they are in agreement with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Use that as a starting point. Get either The Good News about Sex and Marriage or Theology of the Body for Beginners both by Christopher West. (You might also consider some of the other materials. Check them out here.)

Read them together and talk about them at length. While the books are Catholic in nature, the morality and theology presented are ones that Protestants can apply as well. These books will help you both to understand the nature of the sexual morality both Churches (Catholic and Baptist) teach.

It will also help your girlfriend to understand her Catholic faith better while at the same help you both to improve your relationship. And, incidently, it will teach you a little about the Catholic Church as well. But most importantly, it will help you both to have a healthy and fulfilling relationship that can be both mutually supportive and holy.

May God bless you and your girlfriend.
 
I think that the other posters have the right idea. I would add that you can make it a mutual journey into learning. Just tell her that you have a lot of questions about the Catholic faith and if she would like to learn with you.

I think that when you ask her “why” she takes it as an attack. It may be because she does not know. It may be that she really doesn’t believe but will not leave the family’s faith. There are lots of reasons. She may feel that you are pressing her into a corner, either to convert or to be “more” than she is capable of in her own mind.

You’ve been a good poster on here. You seem to have a genuine thirst for knowledge and understanding, even if it is not for conversion. God bless you.
 
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rpp:
So if I understand you correctly, you, a Baptist, want your girlfriend to learn more about her Catholic faith, rather than convert her to the Baptist Church? Is that right?
When we first got together, I started studying Catholicism, partly to know what Catholicism was all about, and partly to convert her. However, due to all those traditions/memories of her growing up in the Church, she does not want to convert. After she said that (and a few other insensitive remarks) I no longer feel the desire to try and convert her. However, I myself became interested in Catholicism, and I began RCIA. I am not ready to be brought in this Easter…still riding the fence and suffering from logistical problems (my job bounces me around every few months so it’s hard to stay in one parish RCIA long). As I look ahead at what may be our future together, I need to know where she stands and what she herself believes.
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rpp:
Since you are a Baptist, I presume that, like most Baptists, you hold morality and moral behavior in high regard. This is especially true in the areas of sexual morality. Baptists have a very good reputation in being very ethical and moral people in this area. With the exception of contraception, they are in agreement with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
You are correct. We are still virgins, but she has introduced me to things (pretty much anything up to intercourse). I succumbed to temptation with her. That is the kicker…she believes in some of what the Church teaches, tosses aside some, and goes to Mass (fairly regularly) and receives the Eucharist without having confessed to a priest since her Confirmation (8 or so years ago).
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RCCDefender:
If you have questions about some aspect of the Faith maybe ask them in a way that makes it sound like you are trying to find out why Catholics believe it for yourself. Take, for instance, baptism. You could say, “Gee, I was really wondering why Catholics baptise babies. Can you help me figure it out?” instead of, “Do you know why you were baptised as a baby?” Or, take NFP. “Can you help me figure out why many Catholics use NFP?” instead of, “Well, are you going to do NFP when you are married?”
That may be part of the problem. When I ask, I tend to ask the same question several ways. She answers, “I dont know”, and like kids do, I say, “why?”. To me, “I don’t know” is not a good explanation. Maybe she has just fallen away from the Church but in her mind she is still in-synch, or maybe she never took the time to make faith personal as a cradle Catholic. I will be the first to admit making that mistake in my teenage years. I just went along with what my Baptist church taught me and never made my faith personal. I didn’t study my faith or ask questions.

-Mark
 
When we first got together, I started studying Catholicism, partly to know what Catholicism was all about, and partly to convert her.

We are still virgins, but she has introduced me to things (pretty much anything up to intercourse). I succumbed to temptation with her.

Maybe she has just fallen away from the Church but in her mind she is still in-synch, or maybe she never took the time to make faith personal as a cradle Catholic.
Wow, EmergencyOps! God is really doing something in your life!
I would agree with the recommendation above to read The Good News About Sex and Marriage.

I was a Catholic girl who ended up falling for a protestant boy. I never knew my Catholic faith, so it didn’t take much to persuade me otherwise, and I (sadly) left the Catholic Church for almost 20 years. I’m guessing that little by little you might be finding out that the Catholic Church really does hold the “fullness of truth.”

As a girl who was raised Catholic, I have always been faithful to Catholic morality. However, it wasn’t until I read “Good News” by Christopher West, that I discovered a huge difference between being “celibate” as a virgin, and being a holy and chaste woman, which is what we are all called to be as Christians. I believe that if I had actually known true Catholic teaching, I would have never left the Church. We all have to know what we believe and why we believe it.

Many Catholics are finally learning about their faith from learning about the Theology of the Body, it will introduce you to so much of our faith, starting right where we are, created as male and female. It will give you the whys behind Catholic moral teaching. It’s basically a Bible Study on Catholic teaching of marriage and sex, which covers all of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. You could even get the videos and watch them with your gf.
www.ascensionpress.com

I wish I had more to suggest to you. God be with you and your gf. Many of us, even cradle Catholics need to be continually converted in our hearts.
**“You will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart.” **
Jeremiah 33:3
 
When we first got together, I started studying Catholicism, partly to know what Catholicism was all about, and partly to convert her. However, due to all those traditions/memories of her growing up in the Church, she does not want to convert. After she said that (and a few other insensitive remarks) I no longer feel the desire to try and convert her. However, I myself became interested in Catholicism, and I began RCIA. I am not ready to be brought in this Easter…still riding the fence and suffering from logistical problems (my job bounces me around every few months so it’s hard to stay in one parish RCIA long). As I look ahead at what may be our future together, I need to know where she stands and what she herself believes.
What you have here is one of the reasons that many Catholics are ripe pickings for well versed Bible Christians of all denominations. They don’t know the WHY of what they believe and are easily misled when shown “in scripture” why the Catholic Church is “wrong”.

But there is good new here too. You ARE a strong Christian, and you will be the spiritual head of the household if you get married. However, you also need to be open to the possibility that your involvement with this person was not to lead you to marriage, but into a deeper and even more personal relationship with Christ within the Catholic Church. I truly don’t know:shrug:
You are correct. We are still virgins, but she has introduced me to things (pretty much anything up to intercourse). I succumbed to temptation with her. That is the kicker…she believes in some of what the Church teaches, tosses aside some, and goes to Mass (fairly regularly) and receives the Eucharist without having confessed to a priest since her Confirmation (8 or so years ago).
And maybe this is where your job, if you get married will be. To go to “family” confessions, encourage her by your example as to the right thing to do.
That may be part of the problem. When I ask, I tend to ask the same question several ways. She answers, “I dont know”, and like kids do, I say, “why?”. To me, “I don’t know” is not a good explanation. Maybe she has just fallen away from the Church but in her mind she is still in-synch, or maybe she never took the time to make faith personal as a cradle Catholic. I will be the first to admit making that mistake in my teenage years. I just went along with what my Baptist church taught me and never made my faith personal. I didn’t study my faith or ask questions.

-Mark
Fallen away Catholic or maybe just a very poorly Catechized one. Everyone comes to the Lord at different times. For women, frequently is AFTER kids start coming, because the realize they need to raise them in the way they should go:) I know it was that way for me.
 
Is she your RCIA sponsor or could she go to the RCIA sessions with you? That way she could hear what you are hearing and it might help her, if your RCIA program is one of the good ones.
 
Ops,

My wife and I were in the same situation 22 years ago. We dated and did not talk about our beliefs because we both did not really know what we believed. When we started to think about getting married, we started talking. We were engaged for 4 years and work some things out.

You both have to be willing to talk with each other and share. That is what marriage is about and any good relationship is about.
Some posters have given some good answers. I would add, the way my wife and I approached was that we did not assume anything. We approached it as “this is what I believe and why, what do you think?” Then we discussed.

If your girlfriend does not want to share, talk…think seriously before going futher in your relationship.

BTW, I am baptist and my wife RC. We live our lives before Christ and neither has tried to “convert” the other. Our faith has grown, as has our family (5 kids)🙂

I would throw in, talk with her priest and your minister. Hopefully they will BOTH be pastoral and territorial.

Mark
(ssshhhh I am a baptist minister):eek:
 
I there are people who identify themselves by the religion they were raised in, but aren’t interested in living that faith.

I know of people who haven’t been to Mass since childhood, cohabitate, use birth control, the whole gamut. But, they will walk up to a new person and say something like, “Hi, my name is ______, I’m Catholic!”

:rolleyes:

Another thing is that she might know enough about Catholicism to know she would have to give a few things up to be consistent. Wasn’t there a famous saint who said “Dear God, make me Catholic, but not yet!” ???
 
I know of people who haven’t been to Mass since childhood, cohabitate, use birth control, the whole gamut. But, they will walk up to a new person and say something like, “Hi, my name is ______, I’m Catholic!”

:rolleyes:
Hey, do you know my whole family or what???:rolleyes:
 
Another thing is that she might know enough about Catholicism to know she would have to give a few things up to be consistent. Wasn’t there a famous saint who said “Dear God, make me Catholic, but not yet!” ???
"Lord, make me chaste, – but not yet."
St. Augustine
😃
 
I there are people who identify themselves by the religion they were raised in, but aren’t interested in living that faith.

I know of people who haven’t been to Mass since childhood, cohabitate, use birth control, the whole gamut. But, they will walk up to a new person and say something like, “Hi, my name is ______, I’m Catholic!”

:rolleyes:

Another thing is that she might know enough about Catholicism to know she would have to give a few things up to be consistent. Wasn’t there a famous saint who said “Dear God, make me Catholic, but not yet!” ???
Well, i guess you are talking about someone like myself. I am a proud catholic that is not against Natural family planning, but its not for me. I already have a 2 year old and i am going to school and dont need another. I am on birth control and do not see a problem with it. I am against abortion though. But some of the catholic laws are IMO redicules and i do not obey them in my personal life, but i do believe in the doctrine and would never leave my church.😃
 
Well, i guess you are talking about someone like myself. I am a proud catholic that is not against Natural family planning, but its not for me. I already have a 2 year old and i am going to school and dont need another. I am on birth control and do not see a problem with it. I am against abortion though. But some of the catholic laws are IMO redicules and i do not obey them in my personal life, but i do believe in the doctrine and would never leave my church.😃
This post makes me so sad. I can only hope that you do not profane the Holy Eucharist by receiving Holy Communion.

Of course you realize that none of your confessions are valid, right? And that the absolutions you may have received had no effect because you are not repentant? You see for a confession to be valid, not only must confess all your serious sins, you must earnestly desire not to sin again and resolve no to.

I would encourage you to learn more about Church teaching. The books mentioned earlier in the thread from Ascension Press (see here) can help you to understand.
 
Although me and my girlfriend have been together for almost 2 years, the topic of beliefs has rarely come up…and with good reason.

I am Baptist and she is Catholic. I have earnestly learned about Catholicism, and even attended many Masses both with her and her family. The issue is that I know what she (as a Catholic) should believe, but she does not know why she believes what she believes. She follows some Catholic teachings yet ignores others, with little to no explanation; many of her beliefs are only held by her because it is what her parents taught her. Anytime I try to ask her, she gets defensive and says, “I don’t want to argue about it.” I would like for her to know why she believes what the Church teaches, so that when she is not living with her parents (wedding bells can be heard faintly off in the future) she will have a solid foundation of faith.

How can I get her to open up, or should I just let sleeping dogs lie?

-Mark
 
The issue is that I know what she (as a Catholic) should believe, but she does not know why she believes what she believes.
You have touched upon a common serious problem. She is very typical of cradle Roman Catholics. I was going to qualify this by saying she is young, but after thinking about it I know people in their sixties and seventies who are no more familiar with their faith than that as well.
I have earnestly learned about Catholicism, and even attended many Masses both with her and her family.
To your credit!

I remember when my cousin married a man who was the son of a Baptist preacher (and grandson of one as well) from Oklahoma. He was not content to just accept that his wife’s Faith was different from his own, he wanted to know all about it.

Eventually he converted and I can still remember how impressed I was by that (rather young then, over forty years ago). While the rest of us were almost clueless about it he knew why he was a Catholic and he deeply loved and appreciated it. And to this day despite all his health problems and in the sunset days of his life he is still the best Catholic I know. A credit to his family and to his parish.

Michael
 
receives the Eucharist without having confessed to a priest since her Confirmation (8 or so years ago).
Many Catholics do this. It is wrong. It is Blasphemy. I’m not speaking out against her, however this is why the Church has teachings about the Holy Eucharist that need to be followed by. The Church teaches that it is a Mortal Sin to not abide by this.
 
I would like to say that i am 27years old, have a 2 year old, and do not want another child at this time. I do not care what others think, i know what is best for myself at this time. I believe that not using contraceptives is just another one of the Catholic Church Laws that i do not care for. I love the faith, yet some of the Laws are kinda screwy. Every church has them, like how baptist cannot drink or dance at their church. Sounds redicules to me.
 
I would like to say that i am 27years old, have a 2 year old, and do not want another child at this time. I do not care what others think, i know what is best for myself at this time. I believe that not using contraceptives is just another one of the Catholic Church Laws that i do not care for. I love the faith, yet some of the Laws are kinda screwy. Every church has them, like how baptist cannot drink or dance at their church. Sounds redicules to me.
This would best be discussed in a new thread, if you wish to discuss it. 👍 You say that you are against abortion, yet you take pills that essentially give you an abortion if it so happens that a life is formed in your womb. That’s how b/c pills work.
 
That is not how they work and i mill message you instead of discussing it on this thread.
 
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