A relationship (between a Catholic & Non-Denom) misunderstood turns to stalemates, tears & frustrations


#1

1st - I really appriciate the help already provided by wise and thoughtful members on here. In a nut shell, a formerly quiet unknowledgable catholic that I was 15 months ago… has now become an obsessed researcher for truth- All because my girlfriend (who if it weren’t for religious differences would be my fiance), challenged my Catholic beliefs as well as tried to turn me on to her own Church style (non-denominational).

So far, we created books for one another, filled with homework-- questions, for each other to find answers to, so that we can understand one another, or prove reason/logic for our opinions.

We’ve hashed over Biblical proof of why shes right or I am
We’ve looked at history, looked at timelines for ideas… (as I constantly feel her ideas are only due to post 19th Century-- Rapture topics, and Non-Denom movements of the 1970s).

I try to say being Catholic is the fullest version of the truth, the most right, the best way…
Yet I have a girl in tears who genuninely believes that she is doing what she is suppose to, worshiping in the purest form (as she has very humble private speaking in tounges experiences)

I’m frustrated, and tired. I’ve been praying to the Holy Spirit in hopes of converting her - yet I’m tiring. It would be different if I were arguing Catholic vs a particular Protestent Denom. I do tend to ask her questions she can’t answer the “I’ve gotcha” style… and she asks me the “why in the world do you do this, or think thats”

…I’m not sure where to take things next.
Any sugestions?


#2

It’s tough, isn’t it? I’m dating an Evangelical Protestant and since we began our relationship, I’ve really fallen back in love with my faith, and it’s hard not to be able to share all of it with him.

I don’t have a lot of great advice, but here’s what’s worked for us:

  1. Focus on what you share. Try to read the Bible together, share what you love about your faith, and try to grow together. Try not to argue, don’t browbeat. Go ahead and work in Catholic references when you do this (think of it as planting seeds) but don’t try to turn it into a Bible badminton debate.

  2. Go to Mass together, and to her church too. It will sometimes be very, very frustrating, but if you can’t find some way to worship together, your relationship won’t be on a great foundation.

  3. Pray. God works miracles. My boyfriend was once a fervent anti-Catholic, baby-baptism is wrong, communion is symbolic, Protestant.

Over the past 9 months, he’s come to believe in the Eucharist! :slight_smile: He likes going to Mass with me! :slight_smile: He thinks God can work through infant baptisms just as well as adult ones! :slight_smile:

I wish you the best in your relationship. I’ll be praying for you.


#3

Maybe you should call a cease-fire or a time-out for awhile. It’s not a contest; it’s a search for truth. Maybe you should have her read something like “Rome Sweet Home,” NOT for the purpose of converting her, but simply to let her see how the experience of two other people–husband and wife in that case–Scott and Kimberly Hahn, played out in their own personal journeys.

I have to say that in reading that book, I had a great deal of sympathy for Kimberly during the chapters that she wrote. Scott’s turning toward the Catholic Church meant the end of what had been her personal dream, to be a pastor’s wife.

So it should be read, not as an apologetics work, but simply as the story of two people whose faith journey’s diverged for quite some time, and what that meant in their lives.


#4

Hi and welcome to the forums! :wave:

This is a hard one, but one of the things I noticed in your post is how the two of you brought to each other evidence, proof, biblical references, and reasons why each of you were right. One of the things about being Catholic is being able to recognize the truths that our separated brothers and sisters hold and are able to agree upon. Though they may not have the fullness of the truth, based on what they know, they hold many things that Christians as a whole believe in. Focus on those factors first…tell her how you appreciate and admire her love for God. Don’t be so agressive in going after her with Catholic doctrine. I’ve always felt that if you start with faith and love for God, many of the beliefs that the Church holds becomes more understandable.

I hope this helps just a teensy-weensy bit! God Bless!


#5

Crazy how at post midnight, I keep eating into sleep time with reading. You all are soooo helpful - again, its like you’re doing me a favor without know me. I appriciate it so much.

I think all of your are understanding where it all sits at this momment… and I know I’ve been unfair… infact, I constantly see it in my google search history, things like “proof non-denom is wrong” (I’ve got much better searches in there, but when I’m frustrated, I’ve really searched for some answers that in turn made me fight dirty-- question her where she couldn’t respond back…and it didn’t get me anywhere, instead I felt guilty).

Anyways- again I keep reading your responces! thanks


#6

I’d say ease up NOW!

I was evangelical Protestant for over 40 years before converting to Catholicism.

I guarantee that she has a lot of her evangelical friends praying for YOUR conversion out of Catholicism.

If you continue to persist in trying to convert her, and she is emotional and crying about it, I guarantee that her evangelical pastor and other teachers will counsel her to LEAVE the relationship and shun you.

Then the opportunity to “love her into the Church” will be gone.

There are Bible verses that Protestants use to justify shunning. They will tell her that she has to leave the relationship before she is dragged into a false religion. They will tell her that Satan is using you to trick her. They will tell her that she is being BRAINWASHED into a cult. They may even call in one of the CultBuster groups, who will attempt to de-program her. Scary. And I’m not exaggerating. When it comes to an eternal soul, evangelical Protestants are just as concerned as Catholics are, and they will not allow someone to “turn away from the truth” as they see it.

So ease up immediately. Be friends. Say grace over meals together. Share a Bible verse each week that you both like. Maybe be prayer partners, praying for each other privately and together.

But stop trying to convert her. Don’t give her any books, don’t invite her to any Catholic things, at least for a few months. Don’t give her pastors an excuse to ask her to shun you.


#7

Sounds a bit like she is searching for the Pentecostal sort of immediacy in terms of direct experience of the spirit (speaking in tongues) and this might be what is drawing her to the non-denomination group. Sometimes it is not reason but feeling people are looking for in religion, so you might want to discuss with her that there are Charismatic groups in Catholicism which also emphasize the experience of the spirit (and things like tongues and strong emotional experiences) which you can take part in and remain in the fullness of the church.


#8

YOU will never convert her. That is for the Holy Spirit. I advise beefing up the romance and backing off the doctrine (to quote Scott Hahn’s spiritual adviser when his wife was 4 years behind him on the conversion trail).

Gentleness will carry the day: not wimpiness, but gentleness. Be strong and firm in your faith. But demonstrate it with lively affection and love.


#9

Try putting Israel back into prophecy, the great tribulation, etc., and you might see her point of view on these things.


#10

thanks… beat me to the punch again:rolleyes:

and you are correct. Her eyes will be opened by God in His time. For whatever reason, He has placed you two together at this time. It may be that you are never together. But what you teach, and what you learn with this relationship will stay with you both forever. God bless you both…


#11

:yup: In the world of rabid anti-Catholic dispensationalism, even bringing someone to understand that a Catholic is a Christian is a giant step. Bringing someone to recognize that Catholics read the Bible can practically put them in a coma. They have to digest things slowly.


#12

When it ends up with the non-denom in tears it usually is because of emotion and you will get no-where with reason at that moment.

The Catholic Church is 100% correct and her church is feels correct. So even if you prove every single time that her church is wrong and the Catholic Church is right you will get no-where.
Unless she prays and opens up her heart.

Make this an agreement to change for God to conform to truth not a discussion now and pray with her.

God Bless
Scylla


#13

Also, don’t forget that the Catholic tradition of spirituality is full of useful resources for people like your girlfriend. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis is apparently read by a lot of Protestants, for example. St. Teresa of Avila’s The Interior Castle is very helpful about prayer life and gifts of the Spirit. And so forth.

Whether or not she converts in the end, it won’t hurt her to have some nice sensible advice on how to deal with having such intimate favors from God; and it may be a great encouragement to see that these things are “normal” throughout time. Also, it will show her that personal mysticism and spiritual gifts are indeed part of the big institutional Catholic Church, and have always been.


#14

Also keep in mind that you living your life as a witness to Christ and His Church will be a far more powerful statement than any book or Bible verse or apologetic arguement. :slight_smile:


#15

While fellow Cat does have a point in the shunning part it may also be a simple thing like,

Dump the jerk if he makes you cry and you fight.

It may not even be about “religion”

When I met my sweet hubby to be and one of our first dates was to church, I thought oh how cute, hes old fashioned. See I didnt go to church, period. Thought it was nice and all but not needed.

Oh how I wiish people could get that into their heads, at least if one is Catholic or Protestant they believe, you both have that going for you two.

When we married later, I told him it may as well be the Nazarene he was a member of as it was important to him. His love for the Lord taught me a lot, my faith grew as a result. He didnt beat knowledge into me or try to convince me, he just lead by example and let God do the work. Some have said this as well, just do the same, dont force issues, The Lord will guide you and put you both where He wants you if you dont clutter it with your agendas.

and btw when Catholics say oh your talking in tongues is fine but not as good as ____ (whatever Catholic). It demeans the experience one had and has with God, It can make her doubt that God ever spoke to her at all. Then she wont believe and that would truly be a tragedy.


#16

Would number 2 count as taking part in a non-catholic church service?

Catholig


#17

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