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Alpha Echo
10-16-2008, 09:37 PM
My characters are all going to be Catholic. My MC is a very active woman in the church.

I grew up Baptist and know nothing about Catholisim, or not very much anyway. What types of activities would she be involved in as a woman in the church? What about her husband? Is there any truth to the "Catholic guilt?" A true Catholic, someone who grew up in a strict Catholic home and now is married to a strict Catholic man....what would her major beliefs be and how would that affect her daily life?

Basically, anything you can tell me about being Catholic would be great.

:)

Thanks!

MaryMumsy
10-16-2008, 09:57 PM
Grew up sort of Catholic, lapsed forever ago, so can't really answer your questions. But, location and era will have a major impact.

MM

pconsidine
10-16-2008, 10:08 PM
I grew up in an Irish-Italian Catholic house, but I'm not sure how much of the stuff that happened was because of being Catholic or incidental to it. I mean, did my grandmother's guilt-inducing martyr complex come from being Catholic or just from being married to my grandfather?

Mary's right, though - time and place make a huge difference to what your characters might experience. For example, if you're talking pre-Vatican II, there would still be the Latin mass. After that, there wouldn't. There was also a big evangelical movement in the 70s that alienated a lot of more traditional Catholics, but supposedly brought in a lot of young people. So where and when will be critical to their experience.

Out of curiosity, what made you decide to write about Catholic main characters?

Alpha Echo
10-16-2008, 10:14 PM
Grew up sort of Catholic, lapsed forever ago, so can't really answer your questions. But, location and era will have a major impact.

MM

They're in NYC, modern day.

underthecity
10-16-2008, 10:15 PM
There are activities inside the physical church she can participate in, but what they are escape me at the moment. Is she a parent? If so, there are lots of things going on that parents, especially mothers, help out in: fish fries, festivals, things like that. The husband might be an usher or a reader, and would also help out in festivals from time to time. (Although my father never did. My mother seemed to thrive on them.)

Regarding beliefs and Catholic guilt, I'd suggest you check out this thread I started a few months ago (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=108874) that addresses some issues that might affect your characters.

Catholic guilt and old fashioned beliefs are very real. My wife's extremely Catholic grandmother was mother to eleven children. My wife told me that her grandma had told one of her daughters (maybe all of them, I don't know) that when it was time to have sex with their husbands, that they should lay there, stare at the ceiling and say Hail Marys until it was over with. Strange thing for a mother of eleven to say, but there it is.

If your characters are extremely Catholic, then they'll be going to Church every Sunday, don't eat meat on Fridays during Lent, will go to Confession semi-regularly, will have at least one Crucifix in the house, maybe a small bottle of holy water, will probably not say the Lord's name in vain, and the female might not even wear anything too revealing. She will probably also wear a silver cross around her neck.

They might participate in church-related marriage retreats and definitely any kind of social function the church will put on.

There are books you might want to check out that will answer all of your questions: Growing up Catholic and More Growing up Catholic. I have both, they're quite truthful. Funny, too.

Hope that helps,

allen (grew up Catholic, now am rejecting it)

Clio
10-16-2008, 10:20 PM
Lapsed catholic here. I would definitely agree with what the other posters have said about time and place playing a huge part here. But what struck me was your comment that your MC 'was very active in the Church'.

Now, obviously, we can all speak only from our own point of view - and our own time and place - but being active in the Catholic Church as late as the 1970s/80s in my home town in England, meant little more than singing in the choir, dressing the altar with flowers for mass, perhaps running the odd errand for Father, and some charity work. If your MC is living in a time prior to this, I can't honestly see her having an active role to play beyond the examples I've given. The Catholic Church in my day (I can't speak for the present) was still a very male-dominated society; the idea of women having any policy-making role or influence would have been unthinkable.

Oh - before I sign off - I have just thought of one area in which she could be involved: the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Google this and see what you come up with. But I suspect that even here, women were given a secondary role.

Hope I've helped and not hindered ;) Good luck with your project.

Alpha Echo
10-16-2008, 10:26 PM
Lapsed catholic here. I would definitely agree with what the other posters have said about time and place playing a huge part here. But what struck me was your comment that your MC 'was very active in the Church'.

Now, obviously, we can all speak only from our own point of view - and our own time and place - but being active in the Catholic Church as late as the 1970s/80s in my home town in England, meant little more than singing in the choir, dressing the altar with flowers for mass, perhaps running the odd errand for Father, and some charity work. If your MC is living in a time prior to this, I can't honestly see her having an active role to play beyond the examples I've given. The Catholic Church in my day (I can't speak for the present) was still a very male-dominated society; the idea of women having any policy-making role or influence would have been unthinkable.

Oh - before I sign off - I have just thought of one area in which she could be involved: the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Google this and see what you come up with. But I suspect that even here, women were given a secondary role.

Hope I've helped and not hindered ;) Good luck with your project.

Nope, you didn't hinder. See, I didn't know that. I grew up in a church where women and men both have opportunities to be very active. I didn't know in a Catholic church that's different.

So thank you!

dirtsider
10-16-2008, 10:27 PM
Underthecity gave a lot of good stuff.

There's also prayer groups that the wife might be involved in. But there are also the seminars and retreats that either she or both can go to. The husband can also be a deacon if he's willing to put in about 4 years of effort.

You might want to go to a local Catholic Church and talk to someone at their offices. They might have the answers you need.

citymouse
10-16-2008, 10:40 PM
I grew up in a tiny town where there were a mere 500 Catholics; not families but total parishioners.
My mother, taught me my Catechism (Who made You? Why did God make you? etc), the rosary, the Apostles Creed and her favorite, the Act of Contrition! "I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell" And mommie dearest!
She was a member of the choir which meant she had to read and sing Latin. The choir director insisted that the singers know the meaning of the words so that they could sing the Latin with expression.
She was a member of the altar guild. These women washed the priestly white vestments which are the Alb and the Amice. She washed the white altar linens, provided flowers for the altar, swept and washed the wooden floor in the church, polished the pews. The parish was poor so the windows where clear glass. The women washed these as well.

Catholic guilt you ask? Well, in my third novel my MC, "...felt the stab of guilt only Catholic and Jewish mothers can inflict. In a flash of memory that seemed like hours, he gave way under the crush of his own past heartache." Now where do you think that came from?

You've set you self a hard task. It's not impossible but it will be real work. If I were you, and clearly I'm not, I'd find a Catholic who knows the labyrinthine world of the Catholic mind, one would be willing to sit with you while you write. You don't say when your story takes place. As has been observed this would impact greatly on the Catholic mindset of your characters.
Good luck with your story.
C

Alpha Echo
10-16-2008, 11:09 PM
This is a modern day story.

My MC grew up Catholic and leads a Catholic life, but she is miserable with it. She has lost her faith, and she only goes through the motions because that is what is expected of her.

I don't think it's going to play a HUGE roll in the story...it definitely is not the main plot...but it's going to propel the story forward.

pconsidine
10-16-2008, 11:09 PM
They're in NYC, modern day.Hmmm...this is actually an interesting dynamic. My parents both grew up in the NYC area (my dad in Harlem and my mom just north of the city). Urban Catholics are a somewhat different thing these days. In my parents' time, it was much more clannish, the church being most people's only social circle as well as their religion, but I think that's changed. In my experience, urban Catholics tend to be a bit less dogmatic when it comes to certain theological matters, so a truly devout urban Catholic may wind up somewhat at odds with their peers on some matters (especially in New York).

TerzaRima
10-16-2008, 11:41 PM
Alpha, I grew up in the 70s and early 80s and was raised (very traditionally) Catholic by first generation Americans. I'm now, I guess you could say, lapsed, alienated, whatever.

IME the circa 2008 American Church seems to be a very different animal, in terms of its influence on daily life and the guilt you describe. People raising their families now are boomers and generation Xers who are more secular in orientation and less likely to accept Church teachings on contraception, abortion, etc. and less likely to follow all the minutiae (no meat on Lenten Fridays, fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, nothing by mouth one hour before Communion) Much, much less likely.

For a dead-on look at this world, read Mary Gordon's Final Payments. But in terms of any universal truths about American Catholics today, that's going to be a lot tougher to come up with. I think they're a less interesting bunch now precisely because they're less guilt ridden and they do have more options--in short, they're more like everybody else. Could you set your story in the 1960s?

mrockwell
10-16-2008, 11:48 PM
I'd suggest you start with the Archdiocese of New York website:

http://www.ny-archdiocese.org/

Find a parish (church) in the area you're writing about, or one you just like, if you're not particular about area (or one you can model a fictional church after, if you're going that route). Most churches have a list of ministries on their websites which will give you a good indication of the activities available to your MC.

Depending on her age -- if she's retired, she would probably attend daily Mass as well as the Rosary in addition to whatever other activities she might be part of. If she works, then Sunday Mass, and those activities offered on weekday evenings or weekends (a lot of Church groups are geared toward retirees, so meet during the day). It will also make a difference if she has kids and if so, what age they are. If they are school-aged, she will probably send them to Catholic school, which has its own set of activities that go along with it.

Let's see, what else? A PP said that the Latin (Tridentine) Mass is no longer offered, but this is not correct -- a lot of parishes never stopped offering it, and many more are starting to offer it again. Again, a look at the parish website will tell you if that particular church offers it or not (probably not relevant to your story, but just in case).

Finally, I have to say that generally, when people are going through a dry spell and questioning their faith, they tend to avoid the Church and drop out of activities that they used to take part in, so depending on where your MC is at in her own soul-searching, she might not be doing any more than your average Catholic -- attending Sunday Mass, observing Lent, and maybe going to Confession (though people tend to avoid that when their faith is slipping, too).

HTH, and feel free to PM with questions -- I'm at my own local parish at least 5 days a week. ;)

-- Marcy

Alpha Echo
10-17-2008, 01:45 AM
Out of curiosity, what made you decide to write about Catholic main characters?

I'm not sure...as I was getting to know my characters and planning to begin writing, it just seemed right that they be Catholic. Just one of those things, you know?

Alpha Echo
10-17-2008, 01:51 AM
Depending on her age -- if she's retired, she would probably attend daily Mass as well as the Rosary in addition to whatever other activities she might be part of. If she works, then Sunday Mass, and those activities offered on weekday evenings or weekends (a lot of Church groups are geared toward retirees, so meet during the day). It will also make a difference if she has kids and if so, what age they are. If they are school-aged, she will probably send them to Catholic school, which has its own set of activities that go along with it.




My MC is a well-off housewife. She has one daughter who is 10. She grew up with very strict Catholic parents, went to Catholic school, and after her first marriage failed married a very controlling man who also grew up in a strict Catholic household (their parents were friends). Because of some things that happened in her past, she doubts God. But she's given up on some things, so she follows what she knows her parents and husband expect of her. It's easier that way for her. (at the beginning at least;) )

johnnysannie
10-17-2008, 01:56 AM
Lapsed catholic here. I would definitely agree with what the other posters have said about time and place playing a huge part here. But what struck me was your comment that your MC 'was very active in the Church'.

Now, obviously, we can all speak only from our own point of view - and our own time and place - but being active in the Catholic Church as late as the 1970s/80s in my home town in England, meant little more than singing in the choir, dressing the altar with flowers for mass, perhaps running the odd errand for Father, and some charity work. If your MC is living in a time prior to this, I can't honestly see her having an active role to play beyond the examples I've given. The Catholic Church in my day (I can't speak for the present) was still a very male-dominated society; the idea of women having any policy-making role or influence would have been unthinkable.

Oh - before I sign off - I have just thought of one area in which she could be involved: the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Google this and see what you come up with. But I suspect that even here, women were given a secondary role.

Hope I've helped and not hindered ;) Good luck with your project.


Clio makes some good points here. After Vatican II, the level of female participation in the church expanded over time, sooner in some places (within the US) than others.

Up to the early 1980's, at least, women might be active in the Altar Guild or St. Vicent De Paul or possibly as a lay teacher for CCD (Catholic Child Development) or the current (in my parish anyway) PSR (Parish School of Religion).

WendyNYC
10-17-2008, 02:11 AM
Is your MC in Manhattan or a borough? All the Catholic moms I know with kids that age send them to the Narnia classes (http://www.narniaclubs.com/). A small detail, but it might help.

How "well off" is this housewife?

Alpha Echo
10-17-2008, 03:25 AM
Is your MC in Manhattan or a borough? All the Catholic moms I know with kids that age send them to the Narnia classes (http://www.narniaclubs.com/). A small detail, but it might help.

How "well off" is this housewife?

She's in Manhattan and very well off. Grew up with money in Central Park South, never had to worry about money except while she was with her first husband because her parents disapproved and cut her off. Now she's married to a man who is also from money and who makes money as a lawyer. They live in one of those ridiculously huge 4000 square foot brickstones townhouses.

WendyNYC
10-17-2008, 03:37 AM
I don't think I've ever heard anyone refer to that stretch of 59th Street as "Central Park South" even though it says that on the maps. You might want to change that to 5th Ave or CPW anyway, since those are more residential. And it's "brownstone" townhouses, or, if it's wider, it's a mansion, technically. Although people would probably just say either "brownstone" (skinnier and brown) or "townhouse" (could be either). A huge townhouse would be more like 10,000+ sq ft and would cost probably 20mil+, depending on the street. Is she that well off?

Alpha Echo
10-17-2008, 03:49 AM
I don't think I've ever heard anyone refer to that stretch of 59th Street as "Central Park South" even though it says that on the maps. You might want to change that to 5th Ave or CPW anyway, since those are more residential. And it's "brownstone" townhouses, or, if it's wider, it's a mansion, technically. Although people would probably just say either "brownstone" (skinnier and brown) or "townhouse" (could be either). A huge townhouse would be more like 10,000+ sq ft and would cost probably 20mil+, depending on the street. Is she that well off?

I knew brickstone was wrong! Haha, I am really an idiot....see how UN-well off I am?

Maybe the brownstone on 5th Ave (thank you by the way) has been in the family and was inherited. I know that a lot of people I knew while living on Long Island were rich because they inhertied the old money, not because they actually made the money themselves.

WendyNYC
10-17-2008, 03:58 AM
I knew brickstone was wrong! Haha, I am really an idiot....see how UN-well off I am?

Maybe the brownstone on 5th Ave (thank you by the way) has been in the family and was inherited. I know that a lot of people I knew while living on Long Island were rich because they inhertied the old money, not because they actually made the money themselves.

If she grew up in a townhouse, make it on a side street. There aren't any that I can think of on 5th or CPW. Alternatively, she could live in a penthouse or a duplex on 5th, Park, or CPW if you want her to be posh and old-money.

FennelGiraffe
10-17-2008, 04:30 AM
after her first marriage failed married a very controlling man

I'm not Catholic, so maybe I'm all wrong, but this sounds like she's divorced and remarried. Isn't that still an issue for Catholics?

maxmordon
10-17-2008, 04:39 AM
I'm not Catholic, so maybe I'm all wrong, but this sounds like she's divorced and remarried. Isn't that still an issue for Catholics?

It's indeed is for traditional and conservaties Catholics, the Church considers you married for the rest of your life with your spouse, even if you legally divorced and remarried again. You are still welcome to the Church and recieve the sacraments, but you can't remarried by the church until you ask permission to the Pope. What is hard.

I am a Catholic, but when you live in a country with 90% of the population being at least nominally Catholic, I can't help you in this.

Alpha Echo
10-17-2008, 04:41 AM
I'm not Catholic, so maybe I'm all wrong, but this sounds like she's divorced and remarried. Isn't that still an issue for Catholics?

Oh, I forgot about this. What if the ex-husband was the one to leave? He was. Does that make a difference in the way the church acts towards the MC?

mrockwell
10-17-2008, 05:21 AM
I was divorced and got remarried in the Church. I was a non-Catholic and had not been baptized in any Christian faith when I got married the first time, so I was able to apply to the Pope for something called the Petrine Privilege, but that's pretty unusual. MOST people who are divorced and want to get remarried in the Catholic Church have to go through the annulment process, which goes before a Diocesan Tribunal, NOT the Pope. And the Church won't grant an annulment unless one of the parties is seeking to remarry within the Church. And they won't grant annulments for just any old reason -- it is NOT a "Catholic divorce," as I've heard it called. It's pretty complicated so, again, you can PM me if you have specific questions.

What would probably be easiest is if you have the MC's ex-husband remarried in the Church, having been granted an annulment, as that will leave the MC free to remarry herself. (Of course, if he wants an annulment and she won't agree to it, then that could add a whole new layer of conflict to the story -- maybe more than you want, heh).

-- Marcy

citymouse
10-17-2008, 06:19 AM
Since this discussion has touched on marriage I think the term needs to be defined. In Catholic parlance, marriage is between two validly baptized persons who marry each other with the priest acting as a witness. The key word is "validly". The formula for a valid baptism is easily found on the web. So a person previously married in a non-Catholic church or in a civil ceremony and who was not, at the time, baptized in any church could indeed be divorced and then baptized in the Catholic rite and married within the Catholic Church.

Many non-Catholic churches baptize but not all are recognized by the Catholic Church as being valid because the form used is not the same as in the Catholic Church. If a person has no record or memory of having been baptized he/she may receive a baptism on condition that none was received before.

To recap, no marriage is valid in the Catholic Church if one party is not baptized.

mrockwell
10-17-2008, 06:30 AM
So a person previously married in a non-Catholic church or in a civil ceremony and who was not, at the time, baptized in any church could indeed be divorced and then baptized in the Catholic rite and married within the Catholic Church.

Yes, but you still have to apply to the Pope for permission. Here's the wikipedia entry on the Petrine Privilege, which explains it pretty well:

"Petrine Privilege or a decree in favor of the faith is a provision in the Canon Law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_Law_%28Catholic_Church%29) of the Roman Catholic Church (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic_Church) granting a previously married person (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage) the right to marry under certain specific circumstances. The implementation of this procedure is reserved to The Pope (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope). It involves the circumstance where one of the parties in the marriage is unbaptized and the other is baptized (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptized). If either party wants to become Catholic or wants to marry a Catholic the first marriage can be dissolved, permitting the person to become Catholic or to marry a Catholic. Thus, the Pope may act in favor of the Catholic faith. Another example may be that a Protestant (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestant) who is married to an unbaptized man falls in love with a Catholic. The Pope may dissolve the marriage of the Protestant to facilitate his or her marriage to the Catholic. This is done in favor of the faith of his or her Catholic fiancé."

But, obviously, that wouldn't apply to the OP's MC.

-- Marcy

C.bronco
10-17-2008, 06:47 AM
Catholic guilt is not a myth.

A Catholic woman might be involved in a Right to Life group, teaching CCD, or any other normal activity that other folks do.

Catholic couples are sometimes involved in "Marriage Encounter."

TerzaRima
10-17-2008, 06:50 AM
Catholic guilt is not a myth.



Absolutely not a myth, and it starts very, very young.

gwendy85
10-17-2008, 08:55 AM
Anything Catholic? Okay. Though my own practices may differ a little from the rest of the world, as I'm Filipino. My country's predominantly Roman Catholic so ours has been developed from a mix of ancient idol worship and Spanish practices. But I'll try to fill in some of the more general Catholic ways. I'm still very much a practicing Catholic. I may miss a few masses, but I grew up rooted in my faith.

Church every Sunday of course, and holidays, and of course, Lenten season. I reckon you already know of Ash Wednesday. Then there's also going to mass every first Friday of the month. I actually didn't get into this practice until last year. We didn't have that in my old province, so you see, Catholic practices may also vary from place to place.

Lighting candles. In my country, we light candles along tiny rows and pray fervently with it. I'm not sure of the exact essence of this tradition, but my family and I pretty much do this when we are in need of a "boost" to our prayer. We light the candle, then pray fervently.

Visiting images. By this, I mean religious statues/icons. I don't know in other countries, but we pray before the icons and touch their cloths before crossing ourselves. I will not go into a tirade of defending against idol worship. Admittedly, I struggled with this a long time ago but I came to peace with the practice. We do not worship the statue. We worship what they symbolize.

Marriages. Very sacred. Husband and Wife have to be baptized Catholics to be wed in the church, and they have to already have had their confirmation, a sacrament undergone by adolescents, usually at age 15. I had mine at that age, sort of like a second baptism, confirming your faith in the Catholic church.

Divorce and adultery are both a no no. A Catholic cannot marry someone who came from divorce, for it would still be considered adultery. This is true for both man and woman. If, however, both Catholic parties are widowed, then marriage will be allowed.

Abortion is a no no. And I don't know with other countries, but the only allowable sexual contraception is abstinence. Even condoms are considered sinful.

Church activities. If you want the woman to be active in church, I would suggest that she be one of those who collect alms. Again, I will not speak for other countries, but in mine, we have devout women who pass baskets to collect alms. Or she could also be one to help organize masses. I'm not really sure.

Praying the rosary. Some do this everyday, others, like me, fleetingly. It's quite therapeutic, the repetitive prayers, and also, most do this when they are in dire need of guidance.

Confessions. One of the most commonly practiced sacraments, but I suppose you know about this already.

Well, that's all I could think of for now.

dirtsider
10-17-2008, 04:13 PM
Or she could participate in RCIA as a sponsor. RCIA is the Right of Christian Initiation for Adults.

Stacia Kane
10-19-2008, 01:04 AM
To recap, no marriage is valid in the Catholic Church if one party is not baptized.

Nope, not true. As MRockwell has pointed out, an annulment must still be gotten for the parties of the first marriage before remarriage can take place, regardless of whether or not both parties were baptized.

This is where my attempt to rejoin the Catholic church failed several years ago. My husband's first wife was Jewish, so we assumed there would be no problem regarding his first marriage and that it would either not need to be annulled, or that an annulment would be a simple matter.

Wrong on both counts. According to the book we were given, the annulment would likely be granted but still had to be applied for (and paid for), even though his first wife had not been baptized in any Christian faith and he wasn't Catholic either. The priest emphasized to me that it was still possible the annulment would not be granted. (Nor was he willing to devote any of his time to discussing the matter with me or helping my husband and I fill out the forms and do what we needed to do in order to join the church and have our marriage blessed. Two separate priests both seemed to think I should have made a wiser choice of husband, frankly, and that I'd made my bed and so I could lie in it. Sorry, can you tell this is still a sore spot?)

It also doesn't matter if the husband is the one who left, or if he was controlling or domineering (although physical abuse is grounds for annulment, if you can prove it.)

People who are divorced and remarried without annulment are committing adultery in the eyes of the church, and are not allowed to take communion. It is highly unlikely that a woman in this situation would be allowed to be "very involved" in a lot of church activities, especially in a place like NYC where there are plenty of committed women ready to help out.

It's important to remember that an annulment is not a divorce; an annulment is the church agreeing that the marriage did not actually exist. Children of the marriage are still considered legitimate, but it's a lot more severe--to the church--than simply ending a marriage; it's removing the fact of the marriage, and it's a big and complicated and expensive deal, which takes a lot of time.

emandem
10-19-2008, 02:40 AM
Looking back at your original question (what types of activities your MC would be involved in): I come from a strictly Catholic (American) home, which included some very involved women. Both my parents and both sets of grandparents, great-gp's, etc. were all Catholic. I find that in every Catholic church the women who are the most involved in the church tend to take a very "wifely" (or perhaps "motherly" is a better word) role to the priest:

Seeing as the priest is not married, and therefore does not have someone to take care of domestic needs, these women in the church tend to hover around them assisting with meals, checking in on them when they are ill, running wife-y errands (e.g. to the cleaners) for them, inviting them over on holidays,etc. The men tend to stay away from these issues and do more things oriented around the church itself.

As far as church activities (these days) those same women will be Eucharistic ministers (handing out Communion at Mass), singing in the choir, doing readings. It seems that the men predominantly pass the collections basket, also do readings, etc. The men and women have separate social groups (that are affiliated with the church), and I think the names of these groups vary from church to church.

citymouse
10-19-2008, 03:19 AM
DQ, I hesitate to say that the two priests you met with lied to you, so let's be charitable and say they were misinformed and therefore taught incompletely. It sounds as if they neglected to consider the "two states of marriage". One is a sacramental marriage which is between two validly baptized persons and one of which must be a Catholic. Sacramental marriages are for life and cannot be annulled unless impediments existed prior to the marriage and that these can be proved in writing or by whiteness, again in writing.

Then there are "natural marriages" where one person is a baptized Catholic and the other is not.

Your husband's first marriage was a "natural marriage". Petrine and Pauline Privileges apply to "natural marriages" only. To marry his first wife your husband needed to get a dispensation from his local bishop under the Pauline Privilege which states: " If any brother hath a wife that believeth not and she consent to dwell with him: let him not put her away. But if the unbeliever depart, let him/her depart. For a brother or sister is not under servitude in such cases."


If your husband didn't apply for a Pauline Privilege to begin with then in the eyes of the Church his first marriage didn't exist; except civilly. He has to have applied for the Pauline Privilege first. If a priest officiated at your husbands first marriage knowing that no PP was in effect then the rite was corrupt and invalid. Invalid marriages don't need annulling but they do need to be examined to insure that claim.

In my first post I should have stressed that it is the sacramental marriage that is between two baptized persons. Usually when we speak of marriage most of us intend that we speak of the sacrament. So that is where I was coming from.

As for the $$$ you're spot on there. I have a dear cousin who sought an annulment. She got it after many years of paying as she could until the required amount was met. As far as the RCC is concerned no cash no ash.
BYW I'm a validly laicised religious. Not that means a whole lot, but I had to study this--in Latin no less! :) Also while these cases do go to Rome for examination and decision and the Pope signs off on them, the Pope himself does not sift through the evidence.

Note: Many people go through this process each year. The fact that their love and devotion withstands this process is a testament in and of itself.
C

Mom'sWrite
10-19-2008, 03:28 AM
My uber-Catholic dad went to mass every day except Saturdays. It was also fish EVERY Friday with full-on fasting sun up to sun down and no speaking from noon to 4 pm on Good Friday. Every holy day of obligation was mandatory mass with confession the day before. My uber-Catholic mom is part of the ladies auxiliary (this Catholic women's group goes by many names, depends on the parish). She counts the collection money on Monday mornings. Females in the family had to wear dresses to mass on Sundays, males had to wear jackets and ties. Prayers were said before dinner every day and if you were caught not singing or praying during mass it would earn you a cuff on the back of head. (I was especially fond of lip-syncing the prayers, I don't think I made it through one mass without a swat.) I laughed long over the "Catholic guilt" reference in the OP. It's not only real but it's been the singular guiding principle of the religion since the Middle Ages (possibly before but I haven't studied much of their history before 900 AD.)

I attended an all-female Catholic high school. My guidance counselor suggested I drop out in my junior year because she found cigarettes in my purse. She said obviously I was in league with the devil. Apparently, he smokes Virginia Slims too. (I quit smoking 20+ years ago and stayed in school against her better advice. Can't say what happened to the devil, he probably went into politics.)

Growing up in an extremely Catholic home was quite a trip. Growing up in an extremely Catholic home in a Christian Reformed town (Calvinist) was surreal.

citymouse
10-19-2008, 03:43 AM
MW, I can relate to the cigarette thing. In my first novel my very Catholic MC, when asked if he smoked in school he says, “No way! Father Sobinski would've skinned me alive and Sister Mary Rose would've made baby toys from my bones if I ever tried that stuff.”

Ah, Yes.
C

Stacia Kane
10-19-2008, 07:05 PM
Citymouse, that might have been the case had my husband been Catholic (I'm fully prepared to take your word for it), but he wasn't. As a non-Catholic there was no one to whom he should apply for any sort of dispensation before the marriage.

This was several years ago, and I no longer have the book they sent me, but I do remember very clearly that he still needed an annulment, because he wasn't Catholic at the time of his first marriage so the church considered it a valid marriage and one that needed to be annulled if he wished to become Catholic and have our marriage blessed in the Catholic church. (This is at least according to the Archdiocese of Miami; perhaps that's one of those things that are different in other diocese.)

It's a moot point, really. Obviously the Catholic church wasn't interested in having us or our infant daughter as members, so we stopped going to RCIA and went elsewhere. :)

citymouse
10-19-2008, 08:15 PM
Oh, I misunderstood. I thought your husband was Catholic and had married a Jew. As a non-Catholic (Protestant?) He ought to have been asked for a record of baptism. If he had never been baptized then he could have been baptized in the RRC. If he had been baptized then the denomination where the baptism was performed would be examined to see if the baptism followed the formula which satisfies the RRC.

Either way, as you describe it, an annulment should have been an extreme requirement. Sounds like this was an attempt to discourage marriage.

One of my mentors once said that the RRC will regain its lost glory when it begins to once again love and to serve rather than to command.
Don't hold your breath.
This is beginning to become a different thread. I would be happy to discuss this in PM--just as a mental exercise. ;)

M




Citymouse, that might have been the case had my husband been Catholic (I'm fully prepared to take your word for it), but he wasn't. As a non-Catholic there was no one to whom he should apply for any sort of dispensation before the marriage.

This was several years ago, and I no longer have the book they sent me, but I do remember very clearly that he still needed an annulment, because he wasn't Catholic at the time of his first marriage so the church considered it a valid marriage and one that needed to be annulled if he wished to become Catholic and have our marriage blessed in the Catholic church. (This is at least according to the Archdiocese of Miami; perhaps that's one of those things that are different in other diocese.)

It's a moot point, really. Obviously the Catholic church wasn't interested in having us or our infant daughter as members, so we stopped going to RCIA and went elsewhere. :)

johnnysannie
10-19-2008, 09:35 PM
Annulments are a very real possibility for Catholics in today's church. My husband - formerly non-Catholic - was married prior to me and that marriage ended in divorce. At the time we married, he was not a Catholic but our marriage was recognized on a legal, not Sacarmental basis.

He chose to become Catholic and I wanted to have a Sacramental marriage so he went through the very long, very involved process to gain an annulment of his first marriage. It did not, as Max Mordon, says have to get permission from the Pope but it did go through a diocesan tribunal. It is far from an easy process but it was done and so my husband and I had a Catholic ceremony.

Danger Jane
10-20-2008, 06:35 AM
At the church I grew up attending there are basically two rival factions of womens' groups: the (ahem) Womens' Group, and the Bible study group. Bible study isn't specifically for women, as far as I know, but my mom's been in it for about fifteen years and the only men who have ever been involved have been priests. I think Women's Group leans toward the social (don't mean that in a bad way), whereas Bible study leans more toward introspection.

Another group my mom's been involved with is the Daughters of St. Francis de Sales. Interestingly, he seems to tackle the Catholic guilt problem because when she talks about what they study, it very much focuses on accepting mistakes and moving on from them.

At least at my church, teaching CCD was extremely unpopular and often just-confirmed high schoolers had to teach a few classes, because everyone wants their kids raised with Religion but no one wants to do it himself (or maybe I'm in a cynical mood...).

Also, almost nobody sings at Mass, and when we recite prayers it's barely more than a murmur. I'm pretty sure part of the lack of singing is that the choral director is a super-soprano and most people can't reach her notes or the octave below comfortably, but I'm also pretty sure that silent Catholics are a nationwide (I'm in the Boston area) phenomenon.

cooeedownunder
10-20-2008, 02:41 PM
Why not just write about a Baptist couple?

citymouse
10-20-2008, 03:09 PM
Far easier but not nearly as entertaining! LOL
Say what you will, the Catholics know how to put on a good show!
C


Why not just write about a Baptist couple?

johnnysannie
10-20-2008, 03:24 PM
At the church I grew up attending there are basically two rival factions of womens' groups: the (ahem) Womens' Group, and the Bible study group. Bible study isn't specifically for women, as far as I know, but my mom's been in it for about fifteen years and the only men who have ever been involved have been priests. I think Women's Group leans toward the social (don't mean that in a bad way), whereas Bible study leans more toward introspection.

Another group my mom's been involved with is the Daughters of St. Francis de Sales. Interestingly, he seems to tackle the Catholic guilt problem because when she talks about what they study, it very much focuses on accepting mistakes and moving on from them.

At least at my church, teaching CCD was extremely unpopular and often just-confirmed high schoolers had to teach a few classes, because everyone wants their kids raised with Religion but no one wants to do it himself (or maybe I'm in a cynical mood...).

Also, almost nobody sings at Mass, and when we recite prayers it's barely more than a murmur. I'm pretty sure part of the lack of singing is that the choral director is a super-soprano and most people can't reach her notes or the octave below comfortably, but I'm also pretty sure that silent Catholics are a nationwide (I'm in the Boston area) phenomenon.


I teach CCD and had to undergo both an intensive background check as well as training.

In our Missouri parish, people sing with joy and make the responses. Most people are very active in the parish. In the past I have also served as both lector and Eucharistic Minister. That isn't to say that there are not those who do little or nothing or those who don't participate much in Mass but it's not a total US thing, perhaps a regional one.

I'm not as active in the parish women's council as I was now that I've returned to working full-time but in the past I have been active in that as well.

Alpha Echo
10-20-2008, 03:49 PM
Why not just write about a Baptist couple?

It would be easier...but these characters are Catholic. They just are. They have to be. It wouldn't work if they were Baptist! (Unfortunately for me since it would be easier, and I'm Baptist!)

Chase
10-21-2008, 01:09 AM
:Originally Posted by cooeedownunder http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2868316#post2868316)
Why not just write about a Baptist couple?


You can only write what you must, but Cooeedownunder's advice makes excellent sense.

At the risk of more pummels from the anti-write-what-you-know-crowd, I'm Catholic, and would make a huge mess of writing in-depth points of views from Baptists, Jews, Muslims, etc. It doesn't matter that Baptists are Christians the same as I am. The differences will be like someone raised Lutheran and unschooled in comparitive religions trying to write like people a community of devout Shintos.

mrockwell
10-21-2008, 08:14 AM
I teach CCD and had to undergo both an intensive background check as well as training.

That's a good point. In order to do ANY sort of volunteer work in our parish, even being involved in groups like the Knights of Columbus, etc., you need to take Called to Protect/Safe Environment Training/etc. to help you recognize signs of possible abuse and to know what to do if you see them. In ADDITION to the background checks if you are working with kids in any way.

I don't know if this is SOP across the nation yet or not, though. You'd want to check to Diocese website for your area.

-- Marcy

Jenan Mac
10-23-2008, 07:13 AM
Depending upon how intensely Catholic you want your character to be, mydomesticchurch.com might be of use. The blogger (who is someone I used to post with on a religious discussion board) is sort of extremist Catholic, but she knows her Catechism inside out.