Tuesday 13 September 2022

Does God not want me to love her? PART 2


See Part 1 of the story HERE

A few weeks after meeting Father Ignatius, Reginald and Helen returned to see the priest. They sat in his office and this time Helen spoke first.

“Thank you Father, for seeing us,” she said, “let me explain … Reg and I have had a long chat … many long chats really. So much so that at one time the possibility of us marrying was totally non-existent.”

She hesitated. The priest decided to say nothing. He noted that Reginald was rather nervous.

“The thing is,” she continued, “I was brought up in a Christian family although we never went to Church on Sundays or any other times. The only time we went to Church for baptisms of other people, weddings and funerals. I’m not quite sure what my parents believed; they are both dead now …”

“I am sorry to hear this,” interrupted the priest.

She smiled briefly and went on, “I guess they were Christian in name only … many people are these days. As I grew up, the more I thought about it the more I was convinced, or perhaps I convinced myself, that God does not exist. Seeing so much evil and so much suffering in the world today, I can’t see how a loving God can allow all this to happen.

“Anyway … the honest truth is that I do not believe in anything. Call me an atheist, or agnostic or whatever, I just can’t get it into my head that God exists. I feel it would be wrong and hypocritical to pretend to believe just to get married in this or any other Church.”

“That’s a very noble attitude,” said the priest calmly.

“As I said,” she continued, “Reg and I have talked about this a lot. I guess he has learnt a lot about himself, we both have … He said he strongly believes in God and that He has seen God’s hand in his life in the past. He gave me examples.”

Reginald shuffled nervously in his chair and crossed his legs. He tried to lean back a little and crossed his arms as well. It was obvious Helen was quite forceful in this relationship.

“The thing is, Father,” she continued politely, “we are truly in love with each other; of that there is no doubt. I would have been happy to marry in a civil ceremony by the registrar, but Reginald is adamant it should be a Christian … Catholic … ceremony blessed by God. I suppose that is testament to his faith.”

Father Ignatius smiled and said nothing. Helen continued before Reginald spoke.

“We are both trying to save this relationship,” she trembled a little, “it would be a tragedy I believe if we were to call the whole thing off and we never met again. I can’t see a way out really … neither of us can.

“Reg told me about what you said about raising children, and in order to keep the two of us together I have solemnly sworn and promised him that should we have children they should be brought up Catholic like Reg. Baptised here, and have Communion, Confirmation and go to your school. I am desperate… we both are … to save this marriage. We don’t want just to live together un-married. I believe in marriage for life.

“But I have to be honest to myself, Father. At the moment I just do not believe in God. I can’t just force myself to believe just to get married in Church as Reg wants. Can you help us?”

Father Ignatius took off his glasses and pretended to clean them. A trick he had learnt when he wanted some thinking time. He also prayed silently for guidance and for these two young people caught in a dilemma born out of love.

“It seems to me,” he said still calmly, “that both of you are honourable people both having different views and yet honest and open about them.

“You are deeply in love and want to make this union you proposed blessed in the eyes of God.

“There is nothing stopping you of course in getting married in a civil ceremony by the registrar. The Church cannot stop that although it would not recognise the marriage as a Catholic one.

“What I could do, is write to the Bishop on your behalf and seek his permission for a marriage between a Catholic and a non-Christian ... an atheist as you said earlier. There are some conditions to be met which I will explain later. If we get the Bishop’s permission then you can marry in Church and the marriage will be valid; although it will not be Sacramental.

“Let me explain … in the Catholic Church a Sacrament like Baptism, Communion, Confirmation, Confession are channels through which God can work. For a marriage to be a Sacrament, both spouses must be Christian; which is not the case here.”

Reginald and Helen frowned. He said, “I don’t understand, Father.”

“Yes, it is complicated a little,” the priest went on, “what I am saying is that with the Bishop’s permission you can marry in Church which will be a valid marriage; but it is not a Sacrament like when you were baptised, Reginald, and had first Communion, Confirmation and so on.

“You will be free to continue in your Catholic faith as you do now, Reginald. If anything, your faith seems to have been re-affirmed because of this. Although you Helen are not received in the faith until you are baptised.

“You are always welcome here at Masses if you wish but you cannot partake in the Sacrament of Communion.”

“I understand …” she said without any emotions.

“I will write to the Bishop,” continued Father Ignatius, “but more important I will pray for you that God may bless your union and give you a long and happy life together.

“Helen … as I said, you are always welcome here. There are many leaflets in Church which you may pick up and read more about our faith. They are all free. Also, should you at any time be interested to learn more, my colleague Father Donald runs Christian Encounter sessions for people wishing to know more about Christianity. He’d be glad to see you there as so will I at any time you wish to discuss anything. 

"I'll let you know when I hear from the Bishop."


  1. ...welcoming people as they are is an important first step.

  2. You cover a lot of ground in this. Also a tough situation, fictional and in real life...... Thanks for the prayers,....

    1. I researched Catholic rules before writing this, Jack. I hope it explains, (somewhat), what Catholics do. I am not sure about other denominations. Do they marry Christians with non-believers/atheists?

      God bless always.

  3. Dearest Victor,
    That indeed was a big dilemma and standing in the way of true love; human love that is...
    May God touch those that seem to be lost and searching.

    1. Yes a dilemma indeed. One would hope that through their love, Helen would come to find God in her life.

      God bless, Mariette.

  4. Thank you for this sequel, Victor! I didn't realize this sort of compromise existed, but it does sound reasonable. At least Reginald and Helen are to be commended for being honest with one another. As you recently pointed out to me, God knows the measure of our sincerity.

    1. I had not planned a sequel to yesterday's post, Mevely; and I was going to email you privately about my views in such situations.

      However, I researched the Catholic Church's position on this. As you know, I am not always in agreement with the Church and its views.

      In this case I think the Church is being pragmatic. If they banned such weddings outright they would lose both the non-believing partner as well as the Catholic one. Already Church attendance is falling. So it does not do God's work well on earth if the Church antagonised and excluded more people. On the other hand, the Church must standstill on its rightful position that Marriage is a Sacrament created by God and taught by Christ.

      So in this case, Fr Ignatius offered a compromise between Church and non-believer. They can marry in Church and the marriage is valid. However, it is not considered a Sacrament like Baptism, Communion and so on.

      As Happyone said in the comments above - who knows? Perhaps in time the non-believer would come to know and accept God in their life.

      God certainly knows the sincerity in our hearts and may well nudge us into a certain direction so that we may accept His invitation to the Kingdom.

      Remember Christ's parable about the rich man who held a banquet and not many came? The invitation was then extended to many others.

      As always, God's invitation to Paradise is open to everyone who wishes to RSVP positively.

      Sorry this response is so long.

      God bless, Mevely.

    2. I enjoyed every word. Thank you for being so patient with my questions!

    3. Thank you, Mevely. As I said to Martha (below) please feel free to ask any questions either here or at my private address.

      God bless you and yours.

  5. I do love how this story is evolving, Victor. Not being a Catholic myself, I didn't understand the difference in a marriage being approved vs. being a Sacrament. Actually, reading this has made me want to look into learning more about the Catholic faith. Who knows? I may become a convert!
    Blessings, my friend!

    1. I guess many Catholics don't understand fully Catholic beliefs and dogma, Martha. That is because the Church is not good at explaining and there's a lot of controversy of beliefs. Often, Sunday sermons revolve around repeating what has just been read in the Gospel; and rarely does a priest take time to explain the real meaning behind what we have just read.

      A Sacrament is a holy "thing" instituted by God. For example Baptism. When Christ was baptised the Holy Spirit appeared above Him in the form of a dove and a voice from Heaven was heard. That was God putting His sign, (His seal - stamp of approval), that Baptism is a holy institution.

      The same applies to Communion since Catholics are invited to believe that the bread and wine are the body and blood of Christ - based on what He said in John 6.

      So when it comes to marriage, it is a Sacrament based on what Jesus taught. To receive this Sacrament it is important that both people wanting to be married are Christian. A non-believer (atheist) cannot receive a Sacrament he does not believe in.

      In the same way, someone who does not believe that Communion is the body and blood of Christ cannot receive Communion in the Catholic Church. They are invited, if they want to, to approach the altar with their arms crossed across their chest. This is a sign for the priest to give them a blessing instead of Communion.

      Please feel free to write to me either here, or at my private address at the top of this Blog, if you have any further questions. I'll try to reply as honestly as I can.

      God bless always you and yours.

    2. I will definitely ask you any questions I might have in the future, Victor! :)

    3. Thank you so much, Martha.

      God bless.

  6. It may take a while but with Reginald's good testimony I'm sure God will change her heart. :)

    1. Who knows? It's been known to happen!

      God bless, Happyone.

  7. It's a difficult topic and it's hard to be "unequally yoked" (a believer married to a non-believer). For those who choose to try, i wish them the best.



God bless you.