Am I a coward to do such a thing?


#1

Do you think it’s being cowardly to send (anonomously) copies of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to family members who think it’s perfectly okay to miss mass on Sunday’s (LIKE FOREVER) and who believes one doesn’t have to go to confession they can go straight to God for forgiveness.

They think that because they live a good life, don’t hurt anybody, pray at night, that they will go to Heaven without the need of the Church? These people were born Catholic, attended Catholic schools but for whatever reasons quit going and it’s been over 20 years since they’ve stepped foot inside of a church.

Our family has had discussions in the past on religion before and people get mad, VERY MAD when one suggests returning to the church!!!
That’s why I’d like to send it anonomously so that they won’t get angry with anybody but will have the resources in hand that could possibly bring them back to the church.

Or should I just mind my own business?
Or approach them myself, knowing that a small war will most likely take place?


#2

2Bcatholic

Or should I just mind my own business?

I just read tonight in “New Seeds of Contemplation,” by Thomas Merton, " if you want to be a contemplative, learn to mind your own business."

Nothing does more harm than an in your face religious person.

There will be opportunities where you can share your faith in a charitable way, and lead people to Church.

However, you can’t make anyone have Faith. That is God’s job, and even there, they have the free will to reject Him.

Jim


#3

Thanks Jim,
In the past when my family has ''gone at it" with each other I’ve kept my opinion to myself but then I got to thinking that I don’t want to be judged at death for saying nothing (sin of omission) either so I’ve been contemplating what I should do! I can be scrupulous and maybe this is another example of it! I love my family and only want what’s best for them.


#4

I don’t thinl it is cowardly but unwise. You family knows how you stand on this. Show them by your example and just love them. And pray for them.

This reminds me of St Monica. She kept harassing her son about getting right with God. The bishop told her “Stop talking to your son about God and spend more time talking to God about your son”. She did. She prayed with ceasing, and did not mention God to him at all. Her son converted, and became on of our greatest saints - St Augustine.

So spend more time talking to God about your family.


#5

There’s a quote by Mother Angelica (I don’t know it word for word.) that goes something like this:

If you can’t talk to people about Jesus, be like Jesus to them.


#6

I agree with everyone else. You should pray for them.


#7

“One must deal with some sinners as with snails: Put them first in cool water until they come out, and then cook them little by little before they realize what’s happening to them.”

  • St. Anthony Mary Claret

2BCatholic, I can nod my head with what you are going through. I have gone through something similar with Catholics in my own family who don’t fully embrace the RCC dogma. I would move away from mailing things anonymously…You have a wonderful intention, but it may not bring about good results. (If you or I received anonymous religion material in the mail, we’d probably discard it without thinking twice.) But the intention to help is there, so I would not worry about the sin of omission. If you go though life WITHOUT worrying, caring, praying for them, then there’s omission. Perhaps figure out who would be the most likely to be agreeable to your point of view, and open a dialogue. Find out if there’s anything you can do to clarify or help them. Offer to go to mass with them. Answer their questions. God will give your brain ideas, and your body actions.


#8

2Bcatholic, I understand exactly what you’re talking about. It is VERY frustrating when you’re trying to be obedient to the Church and family members not only are not faithful Catholics, but also give you a hard time about it.

In the eight years I’ve known my husband I’ve never once had short words with my mother-in-law or even let on that I was irritated - that is, up until last month. This past 4th of July weekend I just snapped and said, “you’re being very rude!”

The whole thing started with her objecting to the way I suggested to hubs that we needed to make an effort to go to Mass (we were staying with his parents that weekend) since we had no excuse NOT to go. The Church is practically walking distance from his parents house. When hubs grumbled and wanted to know why he couldn’t just take a Sunday off, I explained skipping Mass without good reason could be a mortal sin.

Mother-in-law later brought up this conversation and announced that she didn’t believe in mortal sin and didn’t want to hear anything more about it. The conversation went downhill from there and ended with me snapping at her. Now religion is a banned topic at the in-laws house. . .and they’re Catholic.

Nagging will not work. The best you can do is set the example and pray for them. Prayer works - God won’t force anyone’s will, but he is a mighty persuader! :slight_smile:


#9

I don’t think you’re a coward at all no…you’re trying to help them…show them support and love. But, if I could recommend something that helped me with my sister who had stopped going to church for a while…***I met her where she was with her faith. *** I didn’t try to morph her into where I thought she should be with her faith–instead I just met her where she was at that time.

It is hard to get people to attend mass, when they have anger built up against someone…or something…or the Church…or God. You might have to (carefully) get to that point with your family, to find out why they don’t go to mass, and take it from there. It can be challenging, but for me, I started with asking God to give me the right words to talk to my sister about the faith. Something that is helpful, is to get your family members’ email addresses, and when you run across Catholic emails, or poems, etc…just casually pass them along. I did this a lot with my sister, and I thought–oh man, she is gonna tell me one day to stop sending these. But, she didn’t. She actually replied one day (after many emails of no replies to them)…‘thank you, I needed this.’ The ice officially broke that fateful day! Jesus will touch your heart in a way that will show you exactly how to approach your family–listen to Him. He will guide you. It might be the way I approached my sister…it might be asking your family to join you for mass (and just keep asking, but not nagging)

I never nagged my sister…It isn’t wise. But, every week, I made it a point to talk to her about God…and those emails, I can’t say enough about how they somewhat did the talking for me. My sister is now attending mass regularly…and loves those faithbased emails that I send to her…she even ditched a destructive relationship with someone leading her down an immoral path! God is awesome!!!:slight_smile:

I hope this advice helps…don’t give up. God is working through you and using you–to get through to your family. Just have to find the right way…and have patience. 20 years to not have stepped foot inside a Catholic church is a loooong time, but God can undo the bondage that they’re in. Trust Him, and let Him show you how to make a difference in your family’s life.

(But be patient) Can’t emphasize that enough. Your family is on a journey…they just lost their way a bit.

God bless!


#10

I agree with whatevergirl, but not much with the other posters.
There are always 1,000,000 reasons not to witness to your faith. There is always only one reason to go ahead and do it patiently and respectfully, even if you may do it “wrong,” and that’s Jesus Christ (Redemptoris Missio 1, Evangelii Nuntiandi 5 and 80).
Jesus didn’t measure his success by conversion rates or by how much people loved him afterwards. Neither did he lay it all on the line in the same way with everyone (which we may be tempted to do out of scrupulosity). His way with people was always personal.
That doesn’t mean that you should have done what you did. It takes discernment and prayer to know that. It’s also good to get advice on the particulars from prudent people about your situation: your gifts and capabilities, your relationship with the person, what that person may be going through, what the Holy Spirit may be prompting you to do or say at a particular moment, etc. Maybe what you chose to do was a good approach with those particular people. Maybe not. Only you are in a position to make the final call. These other people who are criticizing your action don’t have a lot to go on.
What I’m trying to say is that the immediate reaction you get from others is not the only or the most important criterion for judging whether a particular act of evangelization was done well or not.


#11

Personally, my goal is to get everyone in my family to heaven.
And I include both indirect and direct measures in doing so.
Confrontation is never a good approach, but subtle measures, like sending them a subscription to a good Catholic magazine or purchasing a book for them is one way.

I also invite them to social gatherings at our church, a dance, a carnival, a speaker etc.

I also have a mass said for their special occasions, and send them the prayer card. Whether its an anniversary, a birthday.
For those of my family members who have an email, I send them forwards of beautiful stories about the saints or witness to them how God has worked in my own life.

We don’t have to bang it over there head either. The best way to evangelize is to follow the way of St.Francis…Preach often and when necessary use words. Keep up th egood work!


#12

Sounds right- of course, a - This is something that means allot to me, let it mean allot to you,- which is the desire:cool: with a poetic card, and a kind letter could aid more than anything- That won’t guarantee reading, so maybe just the kind words, and card with no name, and allot of praying may aid- Catholic answers recommends such action- see their painless evangelism section.:cool: :thumbsup: :rolleyes: :frowning: :cool:


#13

Thanks for the wonderful responses…

My family situation has been bothering me for a very long time!

I don’t want to do anything that could cause any of them to further distance themselves from the Church but I also feel strongly that I need to make some sort of effort to do something–whatever that may be.

Okay, I could send them something from myself (not anon) letting them know that I love them, am thinking of them but that could also plant a seed to return to church …What could that be?

I’ve sent a couple of cards before (like get well, etc.) and it has always been a religious card with a prayer but do you have any other ideas?

My grandmother (a very devout woman) prays constantly that her children will return to the church before she dies but she’s very elderly and I truly don’t think it’s going to happen unless God intervenes soon. This is so heartbreaking for her!:frowning: :frowning: I bet she’s prayed hundreds of rosaries for this very intention!

She’s definately followed the example of St. Monica!


#14

Something that I failed to mention in the first post is that when these discussions on religion have come up in the past about attending mass; their response has been “it’s not necessary for me to attend church because I asked a priest who told me that church was there for guidance and it wasn’t sinful if I missed…”

That’s all they needed to hear I guess because they haven’t been back since then. That’s why I wanted to send the “CCC” anon.


#15

When a good example does not work, then there is only one thing to do.

Pray.

Because only God can move hearts of stone.

But I have a question for you:

How do you send mail anon? I thought that is impossible.

(Again I’ve only mailed like 3 things in my life.
A suscription, think my voter reg and a postcard from the Vatican, which did not make it because I forgot to put the house number.


#16

"II. THE PRECEPTS OF THE CHURCH

2041 The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life. The obligatory character of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the very necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor:

2042 The first precept (“You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor”) requires the faithful to sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the principal liturgical feasts honoring the mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints; in the first place, by participating in the Eucharistic celebration, in which the Christian community is gathered, and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days.82

The second precept (“You shall confess your sins at least once a year”) ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism’s work of conversion and forgiveness.83

The third precept (“You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season”) guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord’s Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.84

2043 The fourth precept (“You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church”) ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts and help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.85

The fifth precept (“You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church”) means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability.86

The faithful also have the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to his own abilities.87
"
vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c3a3.htm

In that case- I would send it, but better yet, I would firstly doubt that the priest said that, ask who it was, talk to the priest, to see. After that, I would look at what some other things say such as (including what I started with)-
newadvent.org/cathen/14335a.htm

"It is both a precept of the Church and Church law that Catholics must worship God on Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation by participating in the Holy Mass. This follows from the fact that in the Mass it is Christ Himself who worships the Father, joining our worship to His. In no other way is it possible to adequately give thanks (eucharistia) to God for the blessings of creation, redemption and our sanctification than by uniting our offerings to that of Jesus Christ Himself. Following the example of the Old Covenant the Church does this weekly, on the day of the Lord’s Resurrection.

Canon 1247
On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass; they are also to abstain from those labors and business concerns which impede the worship to be rendered to God, the joy which is proper to the Lord's Day, or the proper relaxation of mind and body.

Canon 1248
   1. The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day.
   2. If because of lack of a sacred minister or for other grave cause participation in the celebration of the Eucharist is impossible, it is specially recommended that the faithful take part in the liturgy of the word if it is celebrated in the parish church or in another sacred place according to the prescriptions of the diocesan bishop, or engage in prayer for an appropriate amount of time personally or in a family or, as occasion offers, in groups of families.

Since a “grave cause” is needed to excuse one from this obligation it would be a serious or mortal sin to willfully skip Mass on Sunday or a Holy Day of Obligation, as the Church has always taught. Reasons such as the necessity to work to support one’s family, child care, personal sickness or the care of the sick, necessary travel etc. would excuse a person on a particular occasions. Those who have continuing reason to be excused should consult their pastor."
ewtn.com/expert/answers/sunday_mass.htm

Vatican says
"The Sunday obligation

2180 The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more precisely: "On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass."117 "The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day."118

2181 The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor.119 Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.

2182 Participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and to his Church. The faithful give witness by this to their communion in faith and charity. Together they testify to God’s holiness and their hope of salvation. They strengthen one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

2183 "If because of lack of a sacred minister or for other grave cause participation in the celebration of the Eucharist is impossible, it is specially recommended that the faithful take part in the Liturgy of the Word if it is celebrated in the parish church or in another sacred place according to the prescriptions of the diocesan bishop, or engage in prayer for an appropriate amount of time personally or in a family or, as occasion offers, in groups of families."120 "
vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c1a3.htm

Vatican on those canons

vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_P4N.HTM

Send them this, Marc.:cool:


#17

Thanks for that suggestion, whatevergirl. :thumbsup:

I have four siblings who’ve fallen away, and I haven’t been sure how to go about approaching them. Your suggestion is definitely something I could do!


#18

You’re welcome–hope it helps!

I think that if we try to urge someone back to mass, and he/she has been away for a while–there are reasons he/she has been away. We have to somehow get them back to a richer relationship with Christ, and then that person will (most likely)***willingly ***wish to go to mass, like my sister. I think if we keep asking people to go to mass–while that might work for some–others it will fall on deaf ears, because they don’t see the value in mass, if they are not practicing Catholics in other areas. Therefore missing mass is not a ‘big deal.’ It is in getting the person’s heart to soften, and back to Christ that will make the difference…we plant the seeds, and God does the rest–it’s a beautiful recipe for bringing someone not only back to mass, but back to the Sacraments, which truly someone should go to confession first, if he/she has been away from Church for a while. He/she might not even know that receiving communion would be sinful–again, daily/weekly faith reminders…even sending the daily mass readings to someone, with a daily reflection…would be a great beginning. You’ll be surprised…not many people would tell a loved one…stop sending me these emails! Most will read them, and perhaps not reply right away…and before you know it, after a few months–you just might get a ‘thanks, I needed this,’ like my sister emailed me.:o

And pray without ceasing. Don’t give up on your loved ones–we are the arms, legs, and mouthpieces for Christ on earth…:thumbsup:


#19

If they won’t go to Mass, where did you get the idea they would read the big, thick CCC?


#20

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