Help! My boyfriend is Catholic!

Dr. Heller,


I’ve been raised a Protestant my whole life and have a strong faith. My family members are also very dedicated in their faith. My boyfriend, on the other hand, is Catholic. My dad constantly tells my brothers and I that we should marry someone who has the same beliefs and religion. I tried telling him that Catholics believe the same thing but he disagrees. I guess I don’t understand where the religions disagree so much that he would be so concerned. How should I show him that they are the same? Do you have any advice or information as to things I should talk to him about?

Thank you for your time!

– Claire

Dear Claire,

I think you’re strong enough to fight this through. If you truly love your boyfriend and if your boyfriend truly loves you, you’ll get through this situation and you’ll love one another even more, because this resistance will show you that you really care for one another.

Catholics and Protestants have many things in common like the apostles and the Nicene Creed, the bible and baptism!

However, I do not want to undermine the differences. They can be summed up in three terms: the pope or the view of authority in the church; the Eucharist or the entire sacramental understanding of the church; and Mary, mother of the church. As you see, three times, the word “church” popped up! The misunderstandings turn all around the church, not Christ or the trinity. This spring I’ll teach a seminar entitled “Catholic and Protestant Theologies in Dialogue.” That would be the right class for you at this moment of your life!

– Karin

Dr. Karin Heller is a professor on the theology faculty at Whitworth University. Her blog, Table Talk with Dr. Karin Heller, features her responses to questions that students have asked her over the years.  Check back each week to see new posts, and if you have a question leave it in the comment section below.

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