Date: December 29, 2011 06:16PM
I'm going to insert my responses to anonforthis's post between his/her points below. Anonforthis's points will be in quotes.
"1) The fact that your fiance took Communion would be a huge red flag for me, especially considering that he is not allowed to take Communion unless he has very recently been to Confession, has confessed his sins, has done (or is doing) his required penance, and has not committed any "mortal sins" (the ones the Catholic Church considers most heinous) in the interval between that Confession and his Christmas Communion. (This would include have any sexual contact with you.) Neither of the men I married, after they left the Church, would have EVER taken Communion under ANY circumstances (including funerals for their parents or siblings). If he is taking Communion, he is a practicing Catholic, regardless of how he is rationalizing that in his mind right now because of his relationship with you."
While you are technically correct about the taking of Communion, the fact of the matter is that Catholic priests do not follow up to make sure that all of the requirements are met with each person receiving the Host (bread). With a dwindling number of Roman Catholic priests available (most young Roman Catholic males are choosing to live full lives with wives and children), I don't see any break in that trend anytime in the near future. In fact, I very much recall attending a funeral Mass for a Catholic relative in 2008 when known non-Catholics (mostly Protestants) actually received the Catholic Communion (the priest didn't know any better).
This last sentence leads me to the point that just because a lapsed Catholic attends Mass every so often and takes Communion even less doesn't make that person a rabid fanatic by any stretch of the imagination. For example, I recently attended the funeral Mass for the spouse of a good friend. And though I hadn't participated in the Catholic Communion in the previous decade, I chose to participate that time. However, the fact that I took the bread in no way signifies that I am on the road to returning to the fold--far from it. Rather, I considered it to be a social nicety to a person who is a friend (but not a close one) who doesn't know that I actually consider myself to be an agnostic now.
"2) Although there would probably not be much or any pressure on you to convert to Catholicism, there would (given the situation you describe) undoubtedly be INCREDIBLE pressure that your children be baptized Catholic...which would lead to raising them Catholic, one way or another. (If you wouldn't do it, the grandparents would.)"
I fully agree and made note of that in my first response to Holistic (see above).
"3) They may or may not be great pressure for your offspring to be schooled in Catholic schools, but I urge you to make certain that, if you do marry your fiance, that you NEVER enroll them in ANY Catholic school (no matter how much of a "good education" they would be promised...no matter if they could guarantee admittance to good colleges and universities...no matter what their institutional academic records might be). There are a lot of [academically] excellent Catholic schools across the country (some of the "private," "prep school" variety)...and I can tell you from my own life experience that the students in those schools, to an unimaginable extent (if you haven't been involved in some way with this), have their own personal therapists that they go to because they NEED to. In one case, "the" therapist for one of the Catholic prep schools actually said that the school in question was a breeding ground for psychological distresses of the most serious kind...and a huge percentage of the kids took presecribed psychiatric meds. (And these were really good kids, who had just been totally, psychiatricallymessed up by the Catholic indoctrination that was inseparable from the often impressive academics they were being offered.)"
Wow! I couldn't disagree with you more! I went to both a Jesuit-run college prep school and a Jesuit-run college for my undergraduate work (in Arizona and southern California respectively), and I never observed or experienced the kinds of issues laid out here. In fact, I don't ever recall running into anyone assigned at either institution to helping the students adjust to Catholic teaching or to otherwise psychologically assist them. To be fair, I attended these schools between the fall of 1977 and the spring of 1985 and I am totally blind (my posting name is very accurate), but I am sure I would have observed the type of behaviors you describe here, and I didn't. I think that about the only difference I ever observed came with the high school where there appeared to be a greater obsession with sex and getting laid (it was an all-boys' school), but, other than that, I really didn't notice anything out of "the ordinary".