Faith/Spirituality Forum: conversion to Catholic Faith

conversion to Catholic Faith QUESTION from Eileen Mickelson January 7, 2001 I am a Baptist. I have been married twice. The first husband is deceased. The second has since re-married. I have been divorced for almost 7 years. I am presently seeing a Catholic gentleman. We are both over 50. His ex-wife got an annulment through the Catholic Church. My friend and I are interested in getting married but my religion causes problems. I said I would never change my religion for anything, but finding out that, since we both believe in God and many other things religious, that maybe our happiness is worth the conversion. Can you tell me what I would have to do to convert to the Catholic religion? My previous marriage was a civil ceremony, not in the church, and more of a marriage of convenience, since I had two children and thought I needed a father for them.
My gentleman friend and I are very much in love and I would like to resolve this. And would I be a hypocrite if I do not believe all the laws of the Catholic Church?
Please advise me of what I can do.
Thank you Eileen
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on March 19, 2001 Dear Miss Mickelson:
In terms of your previous marriages, and the potential marriage to a Catholic man, the marriage with your deceased first husband does not cause any problems. However, you will need to talk with the Marriage Tribunal of the diocese you are in about your second marraige. You may, or may not, have to seek a decree of Nullity for the second marriage BEFORE your Catholic friend can licitly marry you.
Secondly, if you remain Baptist, your gentleman would have to get permission from the Bishop to marry you. You would have to assure that any children you may have (at your age this will not likely be a problem, unless you adopt) will be raised Catholic and that you would do nothing to hinder your husbands faith and participation in his Church.
As for your conversion to Catholicism, you should not convert unless you are converted. To join the Catholic Church merely for the marriage and not believe what the Catholic Church believes is not only hypocritical, but dangerous to your soul. It would be lie. The Scriptures -- James 4:17; Romans 2:14-16; 1 John 3:19-20 -- gives us a sublte principle that if we act contrary to what we believe to be true (act against our conscience), then we sin. In addition, as a Catholic there are certain things -- called dogmas -- that if you don't believe would make you a heretic and thereby risking your soul to hell.
You should convert only if you can honestly do so.
The Church has a program called RCIA. It is a program to introduce potential converts to the Church. I would advise taking that program at a parish that is a orthodox parish (unfortunately some parishes are liberal and misrepresent the Church). After seeing what the faith is, perhaps you will find yourself converting.
I would also recommend, HIGHLY RECOMMEND, HIGHEST HUGMONGOUS RECOMMENDATION, to listen to the tapes of Scott Hahn. You can find his tapes at the St. Joseph Communications. (http://www.saintjoe.com/). I would start with Scott's Salvation History series which will take you through the Old Testament like you have never been before. It will make the Old Testament come alive for you. Understanding the Old Testament is REQUIRED in order to properly understand the New Testament.
From there you can choose various other series, such as The Four Marks of the Church, Peter and the Papacy, and especially the The Fourth Cup. Then choose others as you need. Scot has tapes on the Bible Alone, the Seven Sacraments, and many, many others.
Just go to the Saint Joseph website that enter Hahn in the search engine on the site and all his tapes will come up.
Scott was Reformed Presbyterian Minister before converting.
I was a Baptist Preacher. Scott was the one who convinced me to convert.
We will be praying for you.
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