7 answers

Raise the Kids Catholic?

Hubby was raised Catholic and has devout Catholic parents, but he is not practicing his faith, other than holy days of obligation (holidays), and he has issues with the positions and requirements of the Roman Catholic church. I was raised protestant, my grandfather was a minister, and my parents are very faithful. I was raised in a multitude of protestant Churches as we moved around alot. I've been congregational, methodist, presbyterian, etc. However, I've become a cynic/skeptic about religion. I feel it is the root of many problems in the world and it is used to promote intolerance. I don't feel very spiritual or faithful...I'm too practical and grounded to truly believe. That said, we need to figure out how to raise our kids. My son is 5 and my daughter is 2. We were married in the Catholic church and baptized the kids Catholic, mostly to appease hubby's family. I would like my kids to grow up learning bible stories, since they teach good lessons, but I have no interest in teaching them catechism and catholic rules. I can't imagine bringing my son to CCD to prepare for first communion, but should I reconsider and let him go through all the Catholic sacraments? I've been reminded that it may be helpful for him someday - to attend a catholic school, get married to another catholic, etc. But is that good enough reason? Instead, should I try to find a fairly liberal protestant church that the entire family can attend and feel comfortable in? Then have the kids go through Sunday school? Does anyone recommend any churches in the Falls Church, VA area that is family-friendly but doesn't try to suck you in for membership? I can't stand when churches realize we're new and jump all over us trying to welcome us. I'm not looking for a social club. I just want my kids to be raised knowing about faith, knowing important stories in the bible, and believing in God. I'm probably too jaded to be faithful, but I don't want to take that option away from my kids. What should I do?

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As a compromise between Catholic and Presbyterian, I've raised the children in a liberal Episcopalian church. It was a big change from what I was used to but it has been a wonderful education for the children. The emphasis on outreach and mission trips has been a big influence on the kids as they grew older. I've been very impressed with the church school and the music program. Episcopalian churches vary at this time in their approach to social issues but if you find one that says it is welcoming and diverse, it should be just that.

My husband's family never embraced this decision fully although they attended holiday events. My husband never felt he could take communion although our church is very open to everyone taking communion who is "reverent."

My background sounds similar to yours, even a minister grandparent, and I'd been baptized Congregational, raised in a Presbyterian church, and then my parents switched to a Methodist church after I left. I was married in a Catholic church but it didn't feel right. It seemed like every sermon was about women cooking and cleaning - I was probably extra sensitive and ironically I've spent a huge chunk of time as a stay at home mom. I was kind of agnostic in my twenties. I'd been in relationships that ended because of diverse religions. I've been really surprised how my faith has grown and how much a part of my kids lives our church has been. I didn't expect that but it just slowly happened and I am really grateful. I've felt such peace even during tough times and I can't explain that except for faith.

Good luck.

Since neither of you are into your "root" religion I say go out on your own. Find something that works for your family and do that. Whether its your own teachings w/ a book or bible on sunday mornings and a prayer or a light hearted, open, church service that meets your needs. You will most likely do alot of church hopping to find the right place, but I hope you find one you like.
I would skip all the rituals of catholocism, as it will only confuse the kids in the long run. And definately dont do things to appease your family. THey need to see, understand and accept you will find your own way that fits your familys needs.

And I applaud you for wanting to expose them to some type of religion. Being open and honest w/ them about it will help them in their own spiritual journey when they are older.

I like the Unitarian church. Their whole philosophy is to believe in your own way and not to follow a doctrine with your faith. You may get friendly overtures of welcome, but I've never gotten more than an invite to join if we'd like, and a follow-up call left on the message machine- once (I gave them my number and permission to call). I've gone on numerous occasions and felt like a welcome guest to worship as I please. I would probably need to be a member if my children were in their Sunday classes on a regular basis, I don't know...

i was raised catholic and my husband was raised lutheran elca. we opted to find a non-denominational church as we attended both services and did not find a place that we liked. we visited a few before settling on one that we enjoy. our child loves to go to sunday school class. we started going early last year (our child has been attending their kids' program from the beginning) and just recently decided to join. we were never approached to join. it is a very family-friendly church. fairfax community church off braddock road - i recently went to an event and there were members from all areas including arlington, falls church, mclean, vienna, oakton, and the list goes on.


best of luck

I am Catholic and will raise my kids that way.

However, in your position, I would not. When you are attempting to raise your children in a faith in which you do not believe, you are teaching them hypocrisy and that what is said doesn't matter, to my mind.

I would find a liberal protestant church or perhaps a Unitarian Church.

Hi V.,
I can't speak to your questions about raising them Catholic, but my husband and I were in the same position with respect to not being very religious ourselves but wanting our kids to be exposed to a church. I was raised Methodist, and my husband was raised going to whatever church had the best basketball team (really). So we decided to try Methodist. We decided against the big megachurches - we didn't want it to feel more like a social event than a learning experience. We visited Andrew Chapel UMC (on Route 7 near Tysons) and ended up joining. The minister is open-minded, his sermons are more thoughtful than preachy, and the congregation is smaller and younger than many churches - definitely a community feel where you see the same 150 people every week and the kids all know each other. We did get approached by an older member on our first visit, but he was very nice and didn't make us feel pressured. Good luck with your decision.

Sounds like a Unitarian Universalist church would be perfect for you. Very open and accepting of all beliefs. Also a great children's education program. They are definitely socially conscious; as in many opportunities to contribute to community events and outreach. Hope this helps.

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