"Adult" child joining another church


I searched but couldn’t find a similar thread, but here’s my problem. My adult (20 y/o) daughter has announced that she is being born again and will be baptized into another church in January.

For background, both my husband and I are cradle Catholics. My parents were extremely devout and so am I. My husband’s father is a devout convert, his mother and her parents are “fallen away”. So his faith is a little more abstract than mine. We have also had serious financial and marital issues over the years. We barely fit into our small apt with 5 kids. Our daughter has struggled greatly, she moved out at 18 and lives with a friend’s parents. At age 16 she made a big scene during mass and jumped up and loudly stated that she can’t participate in something she doesn’t believe in then ran out. I have tried my best to be a good Catholic parent, with my husband’s lukewarm and passive assistance.

She brought a posse of friends with her to announce to me that she will be baptized into this other church, called “Legacy”. It’s non-denominational, more like what I call “happy Christians”. When I politely questioned them about different aspects of their church, I found out my daughter doesn’t even believe that Catholics are Christians. She also said that having Communion every day demoralizes it and repeated “overuse” of the miracle takes away from it’s divinity. She also mistakenly believes that their celebration of Communion actually becomes the Body and Blood. I have since talked to her and corrected her gently but other issues I don’t want to get into a battle with her and completely turn her against the True Church.

At this point she seems very fragile and naive but the pull of her friends and the “exciting” community of Legacy are hard to compete with. She’s reading their bible and told me the Catholic bible is full of extra phrases and nonsense.

I’m totally crushed. My husband is supportive of her and says “Well at least she’s going to church and believes in Jesus”. What can I do? I feel guilty because of my own past sins and lack of stability for her. What about the actual baptism itself? Is it a mortal sin that cannot be erased? Will she still always be a Catholic despite her new lifestyle choice? I’m praying but this is almost to much to bear.


Yes, she will always be Catholic by virtue of her baptism.

I highly recommend you get the best apologetics books you can and read up. Karl Keating's books are great, as are the Beginning Apologetics series.

The pull of her friends may be too much at this point in her life. But continue to pray for her and tell her she can always be reconciled with the Church and return to the Sacraments when she is ready.

If there is a priest or other person in the Church that she respects, such as a youth minister, perhaps you can encourage her to talk to that person. Someone who is not family.

The best thing you can do is live your faith and practice virtue, let her see your joy and love for Jesus.


Thank you 1ke, and I will definitely look into those books.


At 20 years old, there is no way for you to stop her and it’s probably best not to try to. It will only push her away. She is now an adult and you no longer have any control over her. The best thing to do is to pray, and read up on apologetics as much as you can so you can counter the falsehoods her new church is telling her about Catholicism.


I don't have any advice, but maybe I have a ray of hope.

When I was about the same age, I left the Church and became Protestant (mainly Presbyterian at the time). I thought (and would have said) at the time that it was the result of docrinal issues, but it wasn't. Partly it was not understanding my faith properly, partly it was a social issue.

Granted that, had I made a scene like you have described in Church at age 16, I would probably have been grounded until I left for college, it's probably pretty similar. (Different times and so forth.)

The good thing is that she cares enough to change, and doesn't just stay nominally Catholic and then stop attending Mass. If she really cares about truth, she will eventually come back.

As she gets older, and hopefully considerations of reason start to weigh more, and social considerations start to weigh less, her mind will be more open to the Holy Spirit leading her back home. It worked for me, although it took more than 10 years.

Also I might add that my father (the devout one of my parents) tried giving me materials related to Eucharistic miracles less than 2 years before I returned, and I rejected them firmly. Now we go to Catholic lectures together. :D

I think the only thing my father did--the only thing he could have done--that worked was pray for me a lot. Also I think his mother was praying for me from Heaven. :)

But make sure you treat her as a real adult. Putting "adult" in quotation marks, even in your mind, will show through and make her believe that you do not respect her as a person in her own right. Sure, she is probably making decisions for the wrong reasons. Yes, you know more about it than she does. But she is an adult and they are her decisions. If you can talk to her about them the same way you would speak to an adult that is not your daughter, then fine, otherwise maybe an aunt or uncle would be better if someone needs to discuss it with her. In any case, have faith in the Holy Spirit to lead her home one day.

God bless you and your family,



I just have a little suggestion. Asking St. Monica (St.Augusten's mother) for guidance may help too. :)


I too can only offer hope. My grandmother must have prayed for me everyday! I left the Catholic church when I was 18…got baptized into another church at 19. Had a whole list of why the Catholic church was wrong. Blah, blah, blah…had a really hard heart against the Church for so long… Then after about 17 years of being away…my uncle, who I reconnected with took us to Mass. We only went for them. Oh, I was SOOO stubborn. Thought I knew it all. Would not EVEN say “I believe in one holy, Catholic, apostolic church”. It took another 5 years. Now I have had my first confession (had first communion when I was young) and am going through RCIA (never confirmed). I attend Mass almost every day now. Who would have thought:shrug: God has a way of pulling us back. Just be persistant in praying…like the widow.


Thank you guys for the advice. It's nice to hear from some people who went through the same thing, from the young adult's point of view. Also St. Monica is a very good suggestion. Jen, I understand what you mean by respecting her as an adult. I only meant to say "adult" as in still a young adult and not someone already in their 30's or 40's who was leaving the Church. Thank you all for the encouragement.


Best wishes on your struggle. One thing that doesn’t appear to have been addressed is the baptism in the Legacy church. My understanding is that it is NOT a mortal sin. To quote a good friend of mine, since she is already baptized (one faith, one baptism), the only thing she is going to get is…WET! :wink:

Peace and grace,


I was in a vaguely similar situation as your daughter and I eventually came back to the Catholic Church from a nondenominational Evangelical Protestant mega-church. In between those times, I didn’t go to any church for literally decades. At the evangelical church, I was rebaptized and met/married my husband. At first it all seemed wonderful; friendly people who seemed to live their faith, most people knew the bible inside and out, lots of supportive small groups, contemporary music, no prayers to memorize, etc. Since my understanding of the Eucharistic had always been shaky at best, I didn’t miss that at first. I went to that church for about six years.

Then I realized, something was missing, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. After visiting different Protestant churches over a year or so, one morning I went to Mass. And I was crying halfway through the “Gloria” because now I knew what I’d been missing. At this point, I was 42 years old, and had been away from the Church for over twenty years. But going to Mass (even without being able to receive communion), reading this web site and some other books, and talking to a wonderful priest all showed me how I’d discounted and stereotyped the Church in which I’d been raised. Now I’m beginning the marriage convalidation process and my husband is in RCIA.

Sending her the link to the faith tracts here might be ok, but I’d refrain from making all conversations a debate. Just make sure you are always gracious and that she sees you making prayer and the bible a part of your life. Even if you don’t do anything, there is a very likely chance she will feel a pull back to the Church at some point. Once you feel that tug, it’s very hard to ignore (believe me, I tried at first).


There is no mortal sin that cannot be forgiven. Being baptized in another church is very serious matter. As is leaving the Catholic church, and not following the precepts of the Church. How culpable she is for these sins is something that we can’t judge. There might be mitigating circumstances that God understand that could make a sin that would be a mortal sin for one person, be only a venial sin for another. So I would not state that this is necessarily a mortal sin for her because I don’t know her soul. But if it is, it is forgivable.


I should add that in my case, my Catholic catechism was very shaky, we barely went to Mass, I completely misunderstood the lesson on the Eucharist in CCD (I thought it was just a “spiritual essence” that you didn’t have to take literally) and virtually all my Catholic friends were cafeteria Catholics, yet I still felt something puling me back to the Church. It sounds like she already has a much firmer grounding than I did, so there’s no reason to think she’d be gone decades as I was. I didn’t mean to scare you about that part.

Twenty is so young; when I was twenty, I think I was enamored of Eastern religions and wore t-shirts with the yin yang symbol…except I realized later the symbol was turned the wrong way! Yes, I was wearing a dyslexic yin yang symbol, but I thought I knew everything. Her journey is really only just beginning. Of course, don’t tell her that she’s spiritually young, I’m just saying that in retrospect, I really was kind of clueless at that stage.


I understand, but people can be so sensitive at that age, even unintended (and in some cases nonexistent) lack of respect from parents can be a huge deal. You know what I mean. :smiley:

Even at my age sometimes my mother can get my goat without realizing it. :blush:



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