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Hi. I was catholic for more than 16 years, and ever since I remember, I was active and responsible at church. I tought sunday class, I was part of many communities, went to summer school and of course to mas, every week.

For two years now I have been a member of what is known as "a pagan religion". I have found that both religions have many things in common, both in traditions and beliefs, and I would like to discuss with you topics that could bring us closer and the ones that divide us. I won´t try to impose any ideas, cause all I am after is a better understanding of two very good and, I think, no very different at heart, beliefs systems thanks! sofia

-- Sofía (, May 11, 2001


Having been on both sides of the fence, I would like your input if I may. I just saw your posting online and I wanted to know if you had any suggestions for people such as my fiancee' and I.

My fiancee' and I met at the age of 4 and 3, respectively. We have grown up together and our lives have paralleled. We found each other compatible in romance almost four years ago, and are now engaged to marry.

However, looking ahead we know our biggest problem lies in our apparent religous differences. She is a Roman Catholic, tried and true, and I am anything but. Not saying that our beliefs don't stem from similar places, but I was never baptised in the Catholic church and I don't appreciate the judgments that many Christians put on people such as myself.

I feel that Nature is a spiritual thing, our collective souls add up to a common God and that a "church" is NOT a necessity (not to mention the rituals that go with it) in order to be a spiritual member of the world. Needless to say, her church goes completely against my strongly-held beliefs...

...and yet we are such a close, loving couple. We love and respect each other and each other's faiths, and do not wish to lose any of that; but our ideas on raising the children (and what the church demands of me) are very different. I will not sign anything saying I'll raise the kids Catholic if I'm not going to do it in practice.

If you could offer any advice, I would much appreciate it. Thanks!

-- Erik (, May 12, 2001.


Please tell us the name of your religion. When was it founded? By whom -- perhaps an ex-Christian who borrowed some elements that he/she found valuable/interesting/useful in Christianity?

Please tell us one thing that your religion teaches that is contrary to Catholic teaching (which you used to believe [and even teach]), and explain how your new religion proved to you that it was right and that your old religion was wrong. I am curious about this. Thanks.

ERIK ...
You stated that you were never "baptised in the Catholic church." May I ask if you were ever baptized at all, or did you post a message on this thread because you have always considered yourself a "pagan?" [If you were ever baptized, in what kind of church was the baptism administered?]

You made a very important statement, which I liked a lot: "We love and respect each other and each other's faiths ..."
Now to "love" is not simply a feeling, but most importantly to "desire the good of another." Do you desire the good of your fiancee enough, and "respect" her faith enough, to allow her to obey her Church's law? Will you permit her to have your children baptized, and will you permit her to raise your children as Catholics?
The reason I ask these questions is as follows ... The Catholic Church's marriage laws were modified in 1983. Since then, it has NOT been required of non-Catholics entering into marriage that they must sign an agreement to raise children as Catholics. You only need to be made aware of the fact that your fiancee is required to promise to do everything in her power to raise your children as Catholics.

So if, right now, you could not abide the thought of your children being baptized and raised as Catholics, then please prove that you love your fiancee by revealing to her that you intend to prevent her from raising your children with the religious beliefs that she treasures. I hope that such will not be the case, because, if it is, you both would be wise not to marry each other.

St. James, pray for us. Our Lady of grace, pray for us.
God bless you.

-- (, May 12, 2001.


Fair questions. I was never baptised in any church at all, although as part of Jewish tradition I was circumsized. I come from an interesting lineage of religion, which probably produces my opinions on faith as they are.

My background is of Mennonite Amish, going back several generations on my dad's side, although he was brought up Lutheran. My mother is of Jewish lineage, yet she has in the last few years gone with friends to a Presbyterian Church. Meanwhile, my dad never really stuck with the Lutheran church of his boyhood and found a self- discovered spiritualism of beliefs most closely linked with Buddhism.

My being borne of a Jewish mother means I am Jewish in their tradition, by birthright. Plans fell through for any sort of schooling in Hebrew, or synagogue following, for monetary and location reasons: we live in an almost entirely Christian community.

I have never particularly identified with the Jewish faith, and I was raised with two parents who encouraged me to seek out what I felt was right, and not to simply just believe what was told me by others. They wanted me to know of other religions, and let me know their personal beliefs without forcing any of it on me. I felt extremely lucky about this, as I have run into many people who only believe what they were raised, and don't even completely know why they feel the need to go to church every Sunday except that "it's what they've always done."

So on my path, I have felt akin to energies that do not merely exist within ourselves, but all around us. That is my spiritual God, an all- encompassing spirit that is within all of us, Man and Beast alike. I cannot say that I have always identified myself as a Pagan, if only because I have gone on alone in my faith, and not sought out any church, coven, mosque, or any other religious organizations with whom to identify and share my faith. And this satisfied me, as my feelings tended to not necessitate fellowship, as many others do.

The idea that my children can learn of Catholicism is fine, in fact I even encourage it. Yes, in part it is because I was raised that way, but an educated follower's faith is far more powerful and worthy than one who gives it no thought. And I encourage learning of other faiths too, but the idea of being "forced" into having my children directed that way is not my way...

...and yet it is my fiancee's way. And so this leads to conflict. And yes, talk has covered all bases, including cancellation of marriage. She holds strong convictions, in that she wants to follow that promise. And I admire that, because she is true to her faith. I, too, want to be true to my faith, but herein lies a problem: Basic Catholic doctrine would take a faith more seriously if (a) it has a name, like 'Judaism' or 'Buddhism';(b) it has an identification with a known spirit, like 'God' or 'Allah', and (c) it has a church with rituals that behave similarly to a church that a Catholic would be raised in. This may be an oversimplification of sorts, but to a young person's mind they will want to please and do, and it is a rare thing that they will consider as seriously a faith where there is nobody, no church and no particular fellowship rites to speak of.

Even if certain interfaith things that have been done (like going to each parent's church every week or every other week intermittently) in other couples' families were to be considered, one would not necessarily take a personal faith as seriously as a church faith. Am I wrong in my presumption?

We are both strong-willed people would strong, faithful convictions that we hold dear to our hearts. We both admire that in each other. We do not see eye to eye in the details of what we worship, but the fact that we do have morals and values is what we have in common, regardless of any pagan/catholic juxtapositioning. We just wish we knew of a way to get past our differences. I would understand if she were to leave me based on religious conviction, but it would be a heartbreaking devastation on both of our parts.

-- Erik (, May 13, 2001.


Thanks, Erik. Very interesting, your background and experiences.
I think that the best advice I can give you, under the circumstances, is that you and your fiancee find a gentle, wise, old parish priest -- in another parish, if none works in your fiancee's parish -- who can give you the benefit of his many years' experience. Chances are quite good that he has encountered a similar situation in the past, so he would know the potentially good things and the potentially dangerous things about your being joined in marriage.

God bless you.

-- (, May 14, 2001.

Thanks for the advice. She and I actually met with a priest a while back, though he was not nearly old enough or wise enough - he was one who told me that while I can promise to raise the children Catholic, after that I can follow my own way and the church would have no say. He's right, but I don't want to do it that way because that's a form of betrayal, and the last thing I want to do is betray my fiancee' and her church.

Your suggestion is appreciated... thanks again.

-- Erik (, May 14, 2001.

Erik, I don't have any advice on this. I merely wanted to say what a truly wonderful man I think you are. I can literally feel the love you have for this woman and the thought that you have put into this is nothing short of Heaven sent. I wish you both the best of luck. God bless and keep you.

-- jackiea (, May 14, 2001.

Thanks, Erik.
You judged correctly in stating that the priest you met was not "wise enough."
You say that he told you "that while [you] can promise to raise the children Catholic, after that I can follow my own way."
As I mentioned earlier -- but as this priest is, regrettably, unaware -- it is no longer required by the Church that a non-Catholic fiancee make a promise, but only that he/she be informed of the Catholic spouse's promise.
Like Jackiea, I am edified by your honesty and love.
God bless you.

-- (, May 15, 2001.

Dear Erick:

I've heard of such problems before. Actually, my own fiance's family is catholic and I went through very hard times trying to get them to accept my beliefs.

In my humble experience, the problem that mainstream religions have with us is moslty based on not knowing. For example, my in-laws are very concerned for their grandchildren religion, because they think that paganism (that for them is just "witchcraft") is against their religion. But is it?

I believe that there is a higher force. Catholics call it "god", so do I. They think there are three manifestations of it: Father, son, and Holly Spirit. I call them: Maiden, Mother, Crone. They believe in love and so I. They believe there is life after death,they call it eternal life, I call it reencarnation. Both religions believe we should love ourselves and the people around us (I am sorry, I can't the exact cuote, I am not an english native speaker!) That includes earth and animals.

So I tend to believe that even though methods and practices differ, most religions follow the same fundamental path. If you think that "hell" is a representation of a given time and a given historial moment (even the pope has recognize it does no exist as we were raised to belive) many other things can be the outcome of human mistakes o human reasoning, both for catholic and pagan religions.

My fiance's father pointed out once that Catholics were to "bare not witches". I researched the biblical cuote. It might (or might not) be a mistranslation of poisoner. He also came to admit that Inquisition had been wrong. Well, I apoligized for the persecutions christians had to go through in their beginnings.

We have discovered that we have more points in common than we thought. But is does not happen from one day to the other. We will marry by both religions and we will teach our children to be loving, aware and respectful people. Jaime will teach them about Jesus and I will teach them that there are many forces that surround us and the we have to learn to see them and respect them.

This might sound light but to tell you the truth, I do belive it can be put in simple words! Jesus did so eveyone could understand him. I guess we should try to do the same for our children. Please let me know what you think.


-- sofía (, May 16, 2001.

Hey Jmj

I call myself pagan. More specifically a celtic pagan. That means I am in the reclaming tradition of the celtic people.

Well, their beliefs were with them far before than christianity. Druids, as a matter of fact, are belived to have existed as far as 400 bc. (while christian religion relached the british Islands around 300 bc) Who created this religion? well, hard to say, I guess it was something natural to the primitive people and it eveloved with the years

Speaking of who borrows traditions from whom I can mention various examples. The christmas tree comes from the norse tradition and the horned devil is a christian representation of a horned hunt god. We must recongnized that both "sides" were influenced by political interests and that catholics needed to get people to change ancient beliefs, so many "transformations" took place (such as the pagan goddess Brigit who became Saint Brigid) The times were different also. Modern pagans do not do human or animal sacrifices.

"Please tell us one thing that your religion teaches that is contrary to Catholic teaching "

well, pagan relegions are pantheist (believe in many gods) we believe there is one primal force with diffetent aspects and that in order to get in touch with that aspect, you call it by an especific name.

We also believe in reencarnation. Which in a way is, as I said in my former answer, eternal life.

I think the main difference is that pagan religions teach you to learn from personal experience. They teach you to be aware of what surronds you and YOU have to draw you conclussions, we do not have a book such as the bible to be guided by.

"and explain how your new religion proved to you that it was right and that your old religion was wrong. I am curious about this. "

Well, difficult question! the fist thing is that it makes a lot off sence to me that instead of being individuals races, such as "animals" and "plants" we are all connected to each other. As earth has cicles, we do to.. we are born, grow and die. we can learn a lot abour ourselves from learning and honouring the earth cycle.

In fact, I do not think catholic religion is wrong. I have problems with the church as an institution. I believe people should be encourage to look for their own right path, there is not way that the same thing works for everyone. I do not know where you are from, but here in Chile the catholic church has a lot of power and keeps getting involved in politics. I do not have any problems with the fact that catholics are against constraception, but that is THEIR belief and here what the church says is law for everyone.

Second, I really needed a more earth oriented thing and even though Jesus did preach for its protection, I believe we are PART of it not just the being entitled to keep it.

I could go on, I do not know if you would be interested though. Sometimes, it worries me that catholics have very wrong ideas about us and I would like to discuss them. Of course, I might have very wrong ideas about catholics! I am very interested in your point of view. I guess you thought I was part of a very new religion?

take care sofía

-- sofía (, May 16, 2001.


Hi, Sofia.
I am not going to get all excited or angry at you, but I will just calmly say that I know that you have made a very serious mistake in leaving the Catholic Church, and I urge you to come back home. I can understand, in part, what you have done, because I too stopped practicing my faith for about fifteen years, after having been an active Catholic for my first eighteen years. Eventually, God blessed me with the grace to realize what a terrible mistake I had made in leaving the Church, so I returned. I will pray that some day you will do the same.

While away from the Church, I got mixed up in a lot of very bad things. I see that you have done the same. Some forms of paganism are worse than others. Although some things you have told us indicate that you may be dabbling in some mildly evil things, there is one thing that turns on the warning lights very brightly -- your reference to "Maiden, Mother, Crone," which comes right from the heart of the newly founded witchcraft-like religion known as "Wicca." Please avoid that stuff like the plague, Sofia. It will truly destroy your soul eventually.

Yes, long ago, there was a practice called "witchcraft." And, yes, long ago, there was something called "druidism." But both of those things died out. It was some twentieth-century people of the 1960s and 1970s who decided to reject Judaism, Christianity, and all other "legitimate" religions -- and instead imaginatively tried to "revive" those old, defunct pagan religions to which you have become attracted.
You wrote to me: "I guess you thought I was part of a very new religion?"
I did not only "think" it. I knew it. You are involved in "very new religions," less than forty years old. What they give new members to read says that you have joined very old religions -- but this is a lie from Satan, who is the Father of Lies and master of deceit. He wants these new forms of paganism to look old and "respectable."

I'm sorry that I do not have enough time to respond fully to all you have said -- especially your criticisms of Catholicism. I hope that other Catholics here can help you with that. Let me make just three quick corrections:
(1) Catholics do not call the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit "manifestations" of God, but the three Persons of the Trinity. The concept of multiple "manifestations" of a single divine person is heretical.
(2) St. Brigid was a real Irish woman -- a nun born in about 451 A.D.. There was no case of a "pagan goddess ... who became" a saint.
(3) a pantheist is not one who "believes in many gods," as you said, but rather one who believes that all forces and powers of the universe, taken together, make up one god. (One who believes in many gods is a polytheist.)

God bless you.

-- (, May 16, 2001.

One thing that is very important to remember when finding "crossovers" between European and Middle Eastern paganism and Catholicism is take such things with a grain of salt. A good friend of mine is a high- priestess of a local coven. In speaking with her, I discovered many of these things were held by her and her friends as "common ground" between the two religions. However, most of what she "knew" about Catholicism was incorrect. It was "close" to correct, such that an non- or even uninformed Catholic might believe it, but many "similarities" amounted to little more than amusing coincidence and most of the rest was based on fundamental misunderstandings of Catholic beliefs, practices, and history. In addition, it is important to know (according to my friend herself) that modern paganism is not the "Old Religion" of ancient Europe. It is an amalgam of the beliefs (she likened it to a "salad bar" approach to religion..."take the stuff we want, and leave the rest behind")of everyone from the ancient Egyptians to the ancient Celts, sanitized for the modern audience (dropping human and animal sacrifice, et cetera). The paganism that the earliest Christians encountered is not the paganism that exists today. While practices such as a Christmas tree (which is simply an earthly tradition, not playing any ritual role in the religion) were "lifted" from local pagan cultures during conversion in a practice that still goes on today called "enculturation" one must be certain before claiming that Catholicism borrowed a belief from ancient pagans that modern pagans didn't in fact borrow their belief from Catholicism.

Needless to say, book could be written on this subject, and it has been the source of some of the most interesting conversations I've had of late.


-- Anthony (, May 21, 2001.

Welcome back, Anthony.
Thanks for this helpful post, which should enlighten Sofia and Erik greatly.

-- (, May 22, 2001.

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