From a reader…
I’m a youngish Catholic man who very much wants closeness with Christ through the Church in Her teachings and Sacraments. I’m also a Catholic man married to an unbaptized woman, who has been insistent on taking hormonal contraceptives.
I’m well aware of the difficult and dangerous situation I’ve put myself in (the Vademecum for confessors has us between a rock and a hard place- I am unable to receive the sacraments). I beg daily for my wife’s conversion and for the sanctification of our marriage. Do I have any hope of my prayers being heard? What more can I do?
Please pray for us, and thank you for for your constant truthfulness.
I will continue to pray for you.
GUEST PRIEST RESPONSE: Fr. T Ferguson
In his encyclical Caritas in veritate, Pope Benedict XVI said that “Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality.” Attempts at truth without charity also fall flat.
You state, “I am unable to receive the sacraments.” This is not entirely true – presuming, of course, that your marriage either took place in the Church or with the appropriate permission.
What you are unable to do is to receive the sacraments and engage in contraceptive sex with your wife. You have to make a choice. Granted, it is a very difficult choice.
Interfaith marriages are difficult. Marriage is difficult, but marriage between two people who don’t share a basic outlook on life (and faith is – or at least should be – an essential part of that) is exponentially more difficult, as you are finding out.
It is a shame that, in many places, the Church’s requirement that Catholics marry other Catholics is taken lightly. That requirement should be dispensed only in cases where it is clear that the Catholic party will be able to continue practicing his faith to the fullest (and that’s more than just being able to get to Mass on Sunday).
Even more tragic is the fact that, when an interfaith marriage is permitted, it seems rare that adequate marriage preparation is done. The couple is not given sufficient preparation for the difficulties that will surely arise once the bright sheen of limerence has begun to wear off.
Praying for your wife’s conversion is certainly key, and, until such time as she is willing to engage in intimacy that is open to the transmission of life, refraining from all sexual activity is the other essential element.