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post #31 of 49 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 09:09 PM
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Re: Wife forces kids into religious programs...

woah, you are playing with fire here. Why not let her "force" the kids to get some religious training for the time being, and when they are 17 and go off to college they can stop, and start making decisions for themselves like adults. A little religious training is not going to kill them, no matter how much they ***** about it.

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post #32 of 49 (permalink) Old 03-29-2017, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Wife forces kids into religious programs...

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woah, you are playing with fire here. Why not let her "force" the kids to get some religious training for the time being, and when they are 17 and go off to college they can stop, and start making decisions for themselves like adults. A little religious training is not going to kill them, no matter how much they ***** about it.
"Some religious training???" Mr/Mrs, you have no idea what you are talking about, if you pledge to raise your kids in RC there is no end to the "training," very little of which is actually based on the teachings of Christ. You would have to study church history in its totality to understand this. In addition to the emotional abuse, it is possible kids may never return to a more authentic faith so that would be spiritual abuse as well. Are you Catholic or do you belong to a less rigid/authoritarian denomination?

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post #33 of 49 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 01:00 AM
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Re: Wife forces kids into religious programs...

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Originally Posted by Sillyputty View Post
Tolerance and respect are great but they only work if it is a reciprocal arrangement. RC is not structured that way, unfortunately, although they make claims to the contrary. Jesus would be very ashamed of the self-serving power structures created by imperial Rome which remain to this very day, albeit to a lesser degree.
It doesn't matter how RC is structured... what matters is how we ourselves are structured and if you want to live the tolerance you promote, those we disagree with are our best teachers. We can teach our children an incredible lesson in respect by practicing things, like kindness, in situations that we are not really in tune with, and maybe even dislike. So today I have to take a class or participate in something I really don't want to partake in... I know it doesn't click for me, but am I aware of why it doesn't gel?

Time at that age... who has it, right?

You cannot fight your wife's faith and not be seen as an apostate by her... so lay down the sword and let her know that you will no longer fight her. I agree with others, it's time to share your concern with your Priest... I would gather they see these struggles all the time.

If anyone is going to ease you wife's fears... it will be this level of the faithful.

In the mean time, think about all the good things you and your children can be doing together that would make your faith in and of Christianity proud... I'll bet she'll see it and if she doesn't, you'll still be representing your Christ well, and isn't that the goal?

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post #34 of 49 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 08:26 AM
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Re: Wife forces kids into religious programs...

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Originally Posted by Sillyputty View Post
Listen... I went to mass with her and kids for about 12 years. It was reasonable "okay" until the kids came along and she felt the need to attend every event, read every book and defend every behavior that had the word "Catholic" attached to it. She was fairly devout before kids but OMG, after kids her immortal soul now at stake as necessitated by the imperial-style "rule" of raising your kids "in the <Roman> faith." In her view (and as any good RC will tell you), that means shaming, insulting, degrading and even using physical force to coerce them to adhere to all aspects of canon law. I understand that is part of RCC "tradition" but you have to admit it all that is pretty far adrift from the teachings of Christ.

You are correct, RC is a lifestyle for some and if done correctly is akin to physical/emotional/spiritual child abuse. Jesus invites he doesn't manipulate/coerce/abuse... I have studied RC church history for a solid 5 years and it is clear to me that many of the rules/doctrine enacted by Rome are to keep their subjects in order (or risk eternal damnation), and the conveniently ordered 7 sacraments is nothing short of a theo-political system of human bondage from cradle to grave.

Now let me apologize, it appears you are RC and I don't mean to offend you... I understand you are trying to help here but if you have witnessed what I have, you might be ashamed to be associated with the RC "faith." I can tell you that 2 of 3 of my kids have expressed they want nothing to do with it, they are literally afraid of her tyranny is their only reason for going at this point in time. Francis' call for a jubilee year of mercy was apparently lost on her, although she does claim to be a supporter... she just has to ratchet it up a bit where the pope evidently falls short, with all his silly talk of love/mercy/compassion and "who am I to judge" crap (sarcasm in case you missed it). If I seem a little hostile you might want to step back and ask yourself what behaviors you are willing to defend in order to protect Holy Mother Church from its constant companion known as scandal... giving knew meaning to the verse "Jesus wept" for sure.
I was raised Protestant and am a convert, so I can understand your point of view.

I'm honestly not sure how much of the problem is the Church and how much of it is incompatible parenting styles. Your wife seems to be the kind of parent who demands respect and obedience cuz she is the mom and she said so while you seem to be a bit more relaxed in your approach.

If your kids were complaining she shamed them for low grades or said they were only practicing the piano daily because they are afraid of their mothers tyranny, would you feel the same? Is the root of the problem her faith or how she handles the kids when they put up a fuss?

Also, just curious, but what would the kids be doing with their time if they weren't participating in Church activities? Frankly, I wouldn't let a kid skip a religious ed class or bail on Mass to go goofing off with their friends or sleep in on Sunday.

And, another curious question, how long has this been ongoing? It might just be a matter of waiting it out. When I was taking my kids to religious ed classes and the accompanying enrichment retreatss, it ate all of Sunday and part of the preceeding Saturday, too. Then there were my own classes, volunteering, and retreats. That usually meant a few hours spread over a couple days during the week, plus drive time. It was hectic, to say the least. However, once we had completed the classes, the schedule of religious obligations was reduced to weekly Mass and Holy Days obligations.

Where are your kids in terms of religious rites? If the older ones are doing Confirmation prep and the younger is doing First Holy Communion prep, the obligations will lessen once they have completed their Sacramental prep and the furor should die down a bit.

When DS was giving me grief about Mass attendance, I told him he was welcome to stay home. However, he wouldn't be allowed to sleep in or watch TV or goof around online. Oh, no. He'd be up and dressed with the rest of us and spend his Sunday morning being useful. On the days he didn't want to go to Mass, he had to spend that time sweeping, vacuuming, wiping down tables, washing dishes by hand, etc. and woe unto him if the assigned chores were half-assed or not done. Amazing how often he'd rather go to Mass.

Oh, what about the other kids in the classes and going to the retreats? Do your kids have no friends at Church? I know mine made a couple of friends and sometimes only went to socialize, but again, once they're there it's up to the Holy Spirit. I lead them to water, but they have to drink on their own.

Are you certain you want a divorce or are you just very frustrated right now?

Follow the evidence where it leads and question everything.
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post #35 of 49 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 09:05 AM
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Re: Wife forces kids into religious programs...

Hey @Sillyputty, I haven't read any of the replies yet, but what strikes me is that many religious people/groups say that they are accepting, respectful, inclusive, promote strength of character, etc., and yet, many people do not actually practice these.

Personally, I think that the treatment of your children by your wife is wrong in general, not just where religion is concerned. Your wife telling your daughter that she will make her life a hell if she drops out of her teen group doesn't sound very Godly to me; in fact, just the opposite! Teenagers may not be 100% equipped to make large decisions, but they are certainly capable of developing into their personalities, forming opinions, and they should feel safe voicing those opinions, especially at home, which should act as their soft place to fall, where they can feel safe being themselves. So no, I don't think that this should be a condition of your wife's love and respect for your children. And yes, I do think that the kid's opinions should be taken into account when signing them up for retreats and programs. This will certainly drive them away from the church!

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Originally Posted by Sillyputty View Post
I've posted here in the past, it's been a while so will try again for a new perspective... my wife is devout Roman Catholic, we have raised all 3 kids "in the faith" as *required* by the RCC. Now that the kids are older 16, 13, 10, I feel they should have more of a say in churchy things, such as if they want to sign up for this retreat, or that program, etc. They still attend mass every week but it has gotten to be way over the top IMO... in fact, after a long fight with my wife, my oldest has already dropped out of the teen group and now my middle child (13) wants out but my wife threatens to make her life hell if she stops going. I find myself taking my daughter's side here as attending these extra-curricular events is not (or should not, at least) be a condition of her love and respect. When my oldest dropped out (about 6 mos ago), my wife actually said "Ok then don't expect me to go out of my way for you." Is that a horrible thing to say to your teen daughter, or what? My wife comes from a devout RCC family so it is very deep seated with her, but I don't understand how she can be so blind to what's happening. She is literally driving our kids AWAY from the church, God and (perhaps) any faith altogether... anyone have any experience or advice in these matters?
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post #36 of 49 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 09:15 AM
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Re: Wife forces kids into religious programs...

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IME being non religious in no way manipulates people or leads them astray. Actually those people that can self monitor and that have innate moral values are far less able to be led astray. If a person needs a crutch like religion in order to be a decent person then they will always be at risk of becoming an indecent person when that crutch is removed or used as an excuse.
A good, decent, moral person does not need to be told to be this way. I would never trust or have any faith in a person that is only behaving decently because they are told to behave that way.
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post #37 of 49 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 09:36 AM
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Re: Wife forces kids into religious programs...

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Catholicism is crazy. I don't know anyone that came to that religion 100% on their own without being brain washed since they were 10 days old being baptized. Ha.

I'd say do you and your wife a favor, go have an affair and she can get the marriage annulled. Otherwise, she'll never divorce you because she'll fear she'll never see the pearly gates of heaven.

How often do you two have sex?
I agree with part of this, but wouldn't condone having extramarital activities. That could just crack the shell off the nut. (Not my analogy but one that I find funny and had to share.)

The thing with religion is that there is a deeper meaning behind the dogma that is meant to improve how we treat each other in life and provides a basis for teaching our offspring ethics. Some religions have been usurped by individuals in positions of leadership because dogma is consumed as being literal truth by the weak minded. That's absolute power, which has been shown throughout history to corrupt absolutely.

I'm not saying all religion is bad, but when it creates feelings of guilt and self loathing then maybe it's time to rethink the message. If you want to remain married then your wife needs to be deprogrammed without dropping her core beliefs. OTOH you need to respect that she has them. Who knows? Maybe you two would be happier being Protestants? They still listen to the Pope but the approach to scripture in some denominations is more analytical. Who knows, maybe the "cure" could be as simple as switching from wine (or Kool Aid) to grape juice? </tongue in cheek>

Now if it truly does come down to parting ways, I think I see a course of reasoning that might satisfy the OP, his wife and the church without pushing the wife into her own personal abyss and robbing the kids of their mother and making post-D coparenting a living hell. I don't know if he is agnostic or spiritual in any way but clearly he's not Catholic. If it gets to the point where they seek to have the marriage anulled establishing that would probably void the marriage in the eyes of the church tribunal. That should absolve the wife's fear of being excommunicated. As for the kids, as long as she testifies that she believed in her vows with the intent to raise her children as direct by the church then they should consider that the marriage was putative so that any children conceived would not be considered to be illegitimate even if the marriage "never happened." Either way, from what I understand anullment is a long drawn out process and could take years. By then even your youngest could be considered to have reached the "age of reason."

Frankly though, I don't see the reason to delay or walk on eggshells. There needs to be a "come to Jesus" moment ASAP.





Sorry - couldn't resist!
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post #38 of 49 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 09:49 AM
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Re: Wife forces kids into religious programs...

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Originally Posted by Sillyputty View Post
You are right, short of physical abuse and/or having an affair she is not permitted to divorce me (ahem, I mean seek a "decree of nullity"). That is the silver lining, I suppose, but I would much rather have an amicable, love-filled marriage with the mother of my children with all the time we have invested.

Sex has gone from once every couple weeks to basically non existent over the last 12 months. That is a whole other story/problem, I believe is also tied in with her devotion to Holy Mother Church.
Your comment about "all the time we have invested" is virtually the definition of the The Sunk Cost Fallacy....The Misconception: You make rational decisions based on the future value of objects, investments and experiences. The Truth: Your decisions are tainted by the emotional investments you accumulate, and the more you invest in something the harder it becomes to abandon it.

My wife will have NOTHING to do with anything religious because as a child she was forced by an abusive mother to attend a fundamentalist Christian church and beaten when she objected or refused. Her dad was a milquetoast who disappeared into his workshop while mom beat the children. She barely tolerates her father and when her mother died last year, she all but danced on the grave. Fortunately, your children have you.

Your wife's actions are scaring your children for life. Do what you need to do to get them away from the mad woman.
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post #39 of 49 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Wife forces kids into religious programs...

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I was raised Protestant and am a convert, so I can understand your point of view.

I'm honestly not sure how much of the problem is the Church and how much of it is incompatible parenting styles. Your wife seems to be the kind of parent who demands respect and obedience cuz she is the mom and she said so while you seem to be a bit more relaxed in your approach.

If your kids were complaining she shamed them for low grades or said they were only practicing the piano daily because they are afraid of their mothers tyranny, would you feel the same? Is the root of the problem her faith or how she handles the kids when they put up a fuss?

Also, just curious, but what would the kids be doing with their time if they weren't participating in Church activities? Frankly, I wouldn't let a kid skip a religious ed class or bail on Mass to go goofing off with their friends or sleep in on Sunday.

And, another curious question, how long has this been ongoing? It might just be a matter of waiting it out. When I was taking my kids to religious ed classes and the accompanying enrichment retreatss, it ate all of Sunday and part of the preceeding Saturday, too. Then there were my own classes, volunteering, and retreats. That usually meant a few hours spread over a couple days during the week, plus drive time. It was hectic, to say the least. However, once we had completed the classes, the schedule of religious obligations was reduced to weekly Mass and Holy Days obligations.

Where are your kids in terms of religious rites? If the older ones are doing Confirmation prep and the younger is doing First Holy Communion prep, the obligations will lessen once they have completed their Sacramental prep and the furor should die down a bit.

When DS was giving me grief about Mass attendance, I told him he was welcome to stay home. However, he wouldn't be allowed to sleep in or watch TV or goof around online. Oh, no. He'd be up and dressed with the rest of us and spend his Sunday morning being useful. On the days he didn't want to go to Mass, he had to spend that time sweeping, vacuuming, wiping down tables, washing dishes by hand, etc. and woe unto him if the assigned chores were half-assed or not done. Amazing how often he'd rather go to Mass.

Oh, what about the other kids in the classes and going to the retreats? Do your kids have no friends at Church? I know mine made a couple of friends and sometimes only went to socialize, but again, once they're there it's up to the Holy Spirit. I lead them to water, but they have to drink on their own.

Are you certain you want a divorce or are you just very frustrated right now?
My kids have all received all the sacraments, they are all fully initiated in the church and then some... the problem is exacerbated in that my wife is employed by the church to teach youth ministry, thus I'm sure she feels she has to be super catholic, as well as insist that the kids attend every event whether they like it or not... it causes major fights let me tell you, it's a little hard to sell that you belong to a church of mercy when the woman shames, guilts, degrades and threatens kids to go or else face her wrath--the wrath of God is also implied although she usually stops short of verbalizing this.

They have a few friends in group but it is largely comprised of home-schooled kids who have a cultish mentality--exclusive groupthink if you know what I mean. They would have discussions and my oldest daughter said she did not feel comfortable expressing her opinions, I recently supported her to leave the group, of course it ended in a big fight but I honestly don't care any more, I need to do what's right to protect my kids. My middle daughter is about ready to leave as well, I told my wife it has to be "optional or not at all."

I'm not certain I want divorce but I feel there is next to nothing left to latch onto, especially once the kids are grown. She may very well "calm down" at that point but, like I said, how can I respect someone who inflicted this type of abuse, ignored my repeated warnings--pleas to at least compromise with me--all this done in the name of God? Really??

I used to be Protestant too, I converted to get married but as I said earlier did not take the massive doctrines too seriously, heck we even used contraception from time to time--until she grew more "devout" of course, then all bets were off... I ended up getting a vasectomy as I began to see where this was all heading. Curious--did you convert for the same reason (marriage) or did you find authentic value in the Roman faith?
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post #40 of 49 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Wife forces kids into religious programs...

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I agree with part of this, but wouldn't condone having extramarital activities. That could just crack the shell off the nut. (Not my analogy but one that I find funny and had to share.)

The thing with religion is that there is a deeper meaning behind the dogma that is meant to improve how we treat each other in life and provides a basis for teaching our offspring ethics. Some religions have been usurped by individuals in positions of leadership because dogma is consumed as being literal truth by the weak minded. That's absolute power, which has been shown throughout history to corrupt absolutely.

I'm not saying all religion is bad, but when it creates feelings of guilt and self loathing then maybe it's time to rethink the message. If you want to remain married then your wife needs to be deprogrammed without dropping her core beliefs. OTOH you need to respect that she has them. Who knows? Maybe you two would be happier being Protestants? They still listen to the Pope but the approach to scripture in some denominations is more analytical. Who knows, maybe the "cure" could be as simple as switching from wine (or Kool Aid) to grape juice? </tongue in cheek>

Now if it truly does come down to parting ways, I think I see a course of reasoning that might satisfy the OP, his wife and the church without pushing the wife into her own personal abyss and robbing the kids of their mother and making post-D coparenting a living hell. I don't know if he is agnostic or spiritual in any way but clearly he's not Catholic. If it gets to the point where they seek to have the marriage anulled establishing that would probably void the marriage in the eyes of the church tribunal. That should absolve the wife's fear of being excommunicated. As for the kids, as long as she testifies that she believed in her vows with the intent to raise her children as direct by the church then they should consider that the marriage was putative so that any children conceived would not be considered to be illegitimate even if the marriage "never happened." Either way, from what I understand anullment is a long drawn out process and could take years. By then even your youngest could be considered to have reached the "age of reason."

Frankly though, I don't see the reason to delay or walk on eggshells. There needs to be a "come to Jesus" moment ASAP.





Sorry - couldn't resist!
Thank you moonman, a very well-reasoned reply. The usurpation you mention happened in Rome about when emperor Constantine married church with state back in the 4th century. Indoctrination is very real and is very powerful as you mention. Deprogramming is not an easy task but God know I have been trying... we are in counseling and I am actually in progress of putting some non-negotiables down on paper, most of them concern her treatment of the kids. I will present it to her within a few days, not holding my breath though as I have drawn lines in the sand before and she can't seem to stay in bounds. I believe deep down she is a good woman, she just can't overcome the deep seated indoctrination that was her constant companion growing up.

I am not at all worried about her annulment prospects, a civil divorce will be sufficient for me... if she can't meet my simple demands of "first do no harm" with respect to faith matters, why would I worry about her standing before the church?

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post #41 of 49 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Wife forces kids into religious programs...

Great replies everyone, thank you so much... very diverse too, I think I know my course of action but it is good to hear the different perspectives nonetheless. We will be having a "come to Jesus" moment soon as moonman suggests, I will post back to let everyone know the outcome if you are interested to hear... I can likely predict the outcome but I need to get all the cards on the table in order to say I gave it my all, this has been going on for a dozen years or more and there is only so much I can take before a broken family becomes preferable to an intact, miserable one. Thanks again for all your feedback!!
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post #42 of 49 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 11:04 PM
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Re: Wife forces kids into religious programs...

Look at the end of the day you protect your kids. You fight for them. If this is a type of abuse your damn straight you put your foot Down and fight for them. Doesn't matter if you win they will remember you fought.

Personally have no use for religion once I say how hypocritical they were in my divorce. And I don't raise my kids in it any longer. Without my support my x has trouble doing the same.

These are your kids. That's all that matters.
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post #43 of 49 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 11:55 PM
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Re: Wife forces kids into religious programs...

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Thank you moonman, a very well-reasoned reply. The usurpation you mention happened in Rome about when emperor Constantine married church with state back in the 4th century. Indoctrination is very real and is very powerful as you mention. Deprogramming is not an easy task but God know I have been trying... we are in counseling and I am actually in progress of putting some non-negotiables down on paper, most of them concern her treatment of the kids. I will present it to her within a few days, not holding my breath though as I have drawn lines in the sand before and she can't seem to stay in bounds. I believe deep down she is a good woman, she just can't overcome the deep seated indoctrination that was her constant companion growing up.

I am not at all worried about her annulment prospects, a civil divorce will be sufficient for me... if she can't meet my simple demands of "first do no harm" with respect to faith matters, why would I worry about her standing before the church?
By "worrying about her standing before the church" I'm hoping that she doesn't go off the deep end during the D because of a civil divorce being viewed as a sin in her eyes. Even after D you will still have to coparent them with her and you don't want to make her any more of an enemy. It's called "good faith" - no pun intended.
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post #44 of 49 (permalink) Old 03-31-2017, 05:23 AM
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Re: Wife forces kids into religious programs...

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We married in the church and I was aware of *some* of the teachings but like many/most who understand that Romanism is an imperial-based, self-serving trap, I honestly didn't think people took the teachings so seriously... my bad there I guess. I understand that she fears for her kids' immortal souls, that was Rome's intention when it made itself the arbiter of truth and the only agency to heal original sin. Sadly she can't be reasoned with due to the effective brainwashing.

"Have you spoken with her priest and/or the DRE? Priests and DRE's have dealt with stubborn tweens and teens before. They may have some suggestions. I'd also like to echo another poster who suggested allowing the kids to choose their Church activities."

Agreed, I am putting my foot down on letting the older kids choose... whether she likes it or not, sadly, that is where we are at.

There are some church activities the kids enjoy, and I support them going unless it appears to be some brainwashing event, which is rare but still happens from time to time. Pope Francis is not a fan of Taliban Catholicism so the tide is turning... ever so slowly of course, we are talking about RC here. Thanks for your reply.
Sounds like my dad.

Just be glad she did not refuse to use birth control, like he did. You, too, could have ended up with 11 children.

Almost none of us ended up staying in the Catholic Church. Some became evangelicals, some went to more mainstream Protestantism, and some of us left religion altogether.

Gosh, all those years of forced weekly Mass attendance, Catholic school, and having to kneel down on the floor every night to say the night prayer, and ultimately all Dad managed to do was more or less alienate his children from the most important thing to him: fidelity to the Church.

One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman's emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax. -- David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man
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post #45 of 49 (permalink) Old 04-01-2017, 07:53 AM
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Re: Wife forces kids into religious programs...

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"Some religious training???" Mr/Mrs, you have no idea what you are talking about, if you pledge to raise your kids in RC there is no end to the "training," very little of which is actually based on the teachings of Christ. You would have to study church history in its totality to understand this. In addition to the emotional abuse, it is possible kids may never return to a more authentic faith so that would be spiritual abuse as well. Are you Catholic or do you belong to a less rigid/authoritarian denomination?
i am catholic, and went to catholic grades school and high school, so i think i know what i am talking about. There is no dungeon where they torture poor little kids until they are brainwashed about Catholicism. You seem to be very anti catholic. did you personally have some sort of bad trouble with a priest or something?

Any religion is what YOU make of it. I fear your attitude might be turning off your kids for good, when in fact they might want to pursue some form of organized religion in their adult life.
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