I'm in a dilemma
#1
So, to summarize my situation: I am a late convert to the Church, being baptized/confirmed in 2018 after spending years as an atheist. My wife was, and still is, irreligious/agnostic/atheist which has lead to very little dialogue regarding my practices outside of the occasional discomfort she has with it and her opposition to me raising the kids Catholic.

Today, my 2, almost 3, year old daughter saw a picture of Jesus and said "Jesus!" My wife heard it and stated that she is not okay with it. So now, she is once again confronting me and putting her foot down regarding rearing them in the faith, citing freedom of choice. So I told her I do not believe in religious liberty and have a duty to raise them Catholic because they deserve this foundation. She wants them to wait until they are old enough to decide, of which I replied that if they want to leave the Church when they're older that will be their decision, but right now they do not have the capability to choose.

I need advice on how to proceed, because this has been the heaviest burden since I've converted.
"The Heart of Jesus is closer to you when you suffer, than when you are full of joy." - St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Put not your trust in princes: In the children of men, in whom there is no salvation. - Ps. 145:2-3

"For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables." - 2 Timothy 4:3-4
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#2
Think of the bare minimum of what you cannot compromise on.  Then think of ways that she can accept those without compromising what is important to her.  Propose that to her and if she is able to accept it, build further upon it.
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#3
The unfortunate thing is that she has stated that she is not willing to compromise. It's basically a cut-and-dry "we are not raising them Catholic."
"The Heart of Jesus is closer to you when you suffer, than when you are full of joy." - St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Put not your trust in princes: In the children of men, in whom there is no salvation. - Ps. 145:2-3

"For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables." - 2 Timothy 4:3-4
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#4
:shrug: 

Raise them Catholic anyway.
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#5
You have no choice.

They must be raised Catholic, and you have a grave duty to do so.

The question is in what you say and do. 

I would suggest you explain to her what the Church teaches about Hell, and what we need to do to avoid it. Specifically explain that you believe that children will go there unless you raise them correctly and give them the chance to choose the good. 

Even if she does not believe it at all, even if there is a chance that she's wrong, would she not want the children to have that chance for something so wonderful as heaven, and to avoid something as terrible as Hell? Does she not love her children?

The worst that happens if the children are raised as good Catholics in her perspective is that later along they are generally good moral children, who have a noble view of life and its purpose, gain a sense of sacrifice, gain a notion of needing to be responsible to an authority, and it's all based on a lie. The result : good children and probably upstanding adults.

If it's true, and you don't raise them Catholic, what terrible deprivation have they received. Now they are malformed and need to start learning the Catechism meant for 5-year-olds at age 16. Not going to happen.

Further, what in her book is "old enough to choose"? Are they old enough at 5, at 7, at 12, at 16, at 18? If your 12 year old says "Dad, I want to be Catholic like you" does she then say "No, you're not old enough to choose?"

Take that argument further. What other things does she forbid them because they're not old enough to choose? Does she let them go around naked? Does she want them to never go to school? Does she let them do anything they want because to impose is to disallow choice?

But also pray, and perform many sacrifices for the children and your wife.

If it does get ugly, make sure it is because she is being unreasonable. Teach the kids the Faith, be kind and gentle, and a virtuous man. If in the face of this she refuses, let her be the one who has no excuses.

I hate to say it, if it comes down to it, and she absolutely refuses come Hell or high water and makes your teaching of the children untenable, do not discount separation. Try everything short of doing that or even threatening it, but if it gets to that point, do not think that staying together is somehow better for the children if their Faith is put in danger. Let's hope it does not go there, and try everything short of this drastic response, but if the children are not raised Catholic, the chance of them saving their souls is nil, and you will be responsibility for that. Many dangers with that drastic step, including no guarantee you have custody of the children, so, really that's a very last step before which you should try everything possible.
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#6
And that's a step I am trying to avoid. Unfortunately, she won't budge on either the moral or eschatological arguments. She claims that they dont need religion to be good people. But when I press about what foundation this good character is based upon without being superficial, she has no response of substance.

And now the argument has degenerated into claims that I am "too obsessed" with religion, because I honestly told her that most of the hobbies I used to like don't really provide much joy anymore once I became Catholic. Which she thinks is sad and unhealthy.

My only option now is to continue to subvert my kids. My daughter already positively recognizes Jesus and Mary. So I'm just going to build from there.
"The Heart of Jesus is closer to you when you suffer, than when you are full of joy." - St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Put not your trust in princes: In the children of men, in whom there is no salvation. - Ps. 145:2-3

"For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables." - 2 Timothy 4:3-4
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#7
Pretty much what Magister said. You have a duty to raise them Catholic.

On a side note, funny how that “wait until they’re old enough to decide for themselves” thing only applies to raising kids in faith, but not raising them in a lack of faith.
-sent by howitzer via the breech.

God's love is manifest in the landscape as in a face.  - John Muir

I want creation to penetrate you with so much admiration that wherever you go, the least plant may bring you clear remembrance of the Creator.  A single plant, a blade of grass, or one speck of dust is sufficient to occupy all your intelligence in beholding the art with which it has been made  - Saint Basil

Heaven is under our feet, as well as over our heads. - Thoreau, Walden
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#8
(08-21-2019, 09:26 PM)Jeeter Wrote: Pretty much what Magister said. You have a duty to raise them Catholic.

On a side note, funny how that “wait until they’re old enough to decide for themselves” thing only applies to raising kids in faith, but not raising them in a lack of faith.

Yeah, I agree, especially when I am not being given any solid basis as to why I can't raise them Catholic.

I mean, the one thing I have going is that I ended up baptizing both of them myself a year ago when I was going through some issues with anxiety and scruples. So the bedrock is there, I just want to make it licit.
"The Heart of Jesus is closer to you when you suffer, than when you are full of joy." - St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Put not your trust in princes: In the children of men, in whom there is no salvation. - Ps. 145:2-3

"For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables." - 2 Timothy 4:3-4
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#9
(08-21-2019, 09:19 PM)Augustinian Wrote: And that's a step I am trying to avoid. Unfortunately, she won't budge on either the moral or eschatological arguments. She claims that they dont need religion to be good people. But when I press about what foundation this good character is based upon without being superficial, she has no response of substance.

And now the argument has degenerated into claims that I am "too obsessed" with religion, because I honestly told her that most of the hobbies I used to like don't really provide much joy anymore once I became Catholic. Which she thinks is sad and unhealthy.

My only option now is to continue to subvert my kids. My daughter already positively recognizes Jesus and Mary. So I'm just going to build from there.

Let's be blunt : if she does not recognize moral or eschatological arguments, and refuses to even admit the possibility that should she be wrong in her rejection of belief, that she is doing an irreparable harm to the children, there is no way one can suggest she actually loves them in the proper sense of that word.

Love seeks the good of the other. If there is even the remote possibility that these children will be better off by being Catholic, then she should warmly embrace it, even if she thinks it's all silly. 

It seems to me her issue is not about choice, and this is just an excuse, but an irrational hatred of Catholicism, perhaps because of your conversion.

It will be a touchy situation, but if really nothing seems to be working with her, and she is dead set against, then I would suggest you continue to teach the children the Faith, without rubbing it in her face or being confrontational about it. Just teach them, ignore her hateful words and silliness, and absorb the blows. In short, don't create the problem, let her make it an issue, kill her with kindness, but never concede the Faith. Try not to argue in front of the children, and just do your best.

If she creates the problem, and you are nothing but kind, should it ever come to a separation and custody (let's hope it does not), then you would at least have the benefit of appearing normal and like a good father, and there is less chance of you having problems with custody should things go bad.

Certainly you will have my prayers.
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#10
One of my grandsons was being raised without religion.  The words from the parent were very close to what your wife said, "when they get older they can decide".  We all know that is not how it works. 
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But....this time it did, sort of.  It took years of me being a pest, me bringing Catholic literature to the house, baby books, taking all of the grandkids to the Catholic bookstore in town and frankly, me taking them all to Mass.  The child not being raised with The Faith wanted to be Catholic.  I explained that I could not have him baptized, that his parents had to do that and to talk to them about it, and he did, and finally, they did.  Now, he is older and "isn't into religion".  He is middle school, so he still goes, when he is out of the house he can decide but he needs the formation, he needs the morals and the reason why we are good people.
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Also, when my daughter was born my late husband was anti-Catholic ( I was fallen away ).  Slowly he came around.  How?  By seeing results.  If you can afford it, enroll the children in Catholic school.  Make sure they go to CCD/Sunday School if they are not in Catholic schools - they will bring home cute arts and crafts creations to stick on the refrigerator.
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Stick with it.  You do have the right and the obligation to teach them the Faith.  But realize that for her this is not a religious argument and it is not an intellectual argument, it is strictly emotional.  She probably feels she is morally and intellectually superior to folks who seek God (not necessarily in a hateful way) and you have to work with that.  She sees that you have changed and she doesn't like that change.  I hope and pray that your marriage survives this and grows stronger, but, be prepared.  Be kind.  Be consistent in your life and in your faith and in raising your children in the Faith -  courts pay great attention to consistency.
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