Anti-catholic relative

A relative of mine comes over a lot and criticizes Catholicism. She claims to be without denomination, and that we should believe in mere Christianity. She is a very simple person.

Sometimes she asks questions about my faith and I try to answer them, and send her home with a Dave Armstrong book etc.

It has recently occurred to me while watching a debate on YouTube involving a Catholic and a Baptist that a lot of people cannot follow along, or have the time to do the research to see who is right.

My question is how do we try to convert someone into Catholicism, which so complex, when a mere Christianity perspective does not require much study or research and seems so much easier for them?

She claims to do the research, but she researches from anti-catholic sources. I fear that studying Catholicism would require more intellect than she has. Should I forever continue to try to answer her questions and send her home with books like the ones Dave Armstrong writes?

If she were my relative, I would send her off with a flea in her ear and tell her not to visit me again until she learned some manners. Why do you tolerate such rudeness?

In the end, utter kindness, respect, generosity, and love will convert such people. If she is constantly criticizing Catholicism, but you offer simple responses with unselfish, unsarcastic kindness she will either lighten up or start to see your faith as an abundant source of grace because you’ve been so patient with her. Look at it as an opportunity to evangelize with kindness. Don’t let her trip you up or get you upset. Realize that Christ has forgiven you so much when he deserved total love from you…so if he can do that, surely you can forgive small acts of criticism from your relative.

This would be much more constructive than sending her of. All that would do is confirm her suspicions that Catholics do not have anything special regarding Grace and the Sacraments.

First you should accept that 1) she is not going to convert unless she is open to the promptings of the Spirit and 2) she’ll probably never pay a great deal of attention to anything you explain unless she is honestly seeking answers.

Definitely answer her questions, openly and honestly. Do the research yourself instead of asking her to read Dave Armstrong (until you begin to sense that she is honestly open to learning) so that you can better understand the Faith yourself, and be better able to answer her charges in a calm and charitable and knowledgable manner.

Most important of all…if there is something you don’t have the answer for…don’t pretend. It is perfectly and wonderfully acceptable to say, “I don’t know the answer to that/how to fully explain that…but I can find out and get back to you promptly.” :slight_smile:

PS…once you really learn both the Catholic answers AND her own beliefs…don’t be bashful about asking hard/pointed questions. Challenge her beliefs…but do it respectfully and lovingly.

At least she’s Christian and not a fellow catholic…

What do you do when your own practicing “catholic” mother also points out all the “flaws” of the Church?
My advice would be to do exactly what you have done, Send her home with some reading material!
In my case, I (some times) calmly tell my mother why she’s wrong and why the Church is right… It usually does the trick, for a while at least.

Haha true that. A lot of people online love to say "I’m Catholic but…"There should be no buts! I used to be that way too… I am regretful of that.

I really like your response! This sounds like sound advice.

I read a book long time ago named “Search and Rescue” but lost it! I remember it recommending praying the rosary for the skeptic in question. Praying instead of heated debate sounds like a breath of fresh air

I have done a lot of research, and have read a lot of Dave Armstrong and like books. I do wonder how much is enough. I mean, how much of my time should be spent researching for skeptics?

I appreciate your reply, but may I ask you a question? How much of my time should be spent answering skeptics? Lets say I have 10 hours of free time a week. How many hours should I spend out of those 10 hours researching for skeptics?

Thanks again!

I’m not saying that any honest inquiries should be glossed over with gushy feelings. That isn’t kindness to leave a person in the dark. However, some people can’t get too technical or they start to lose the thought - especially if they’re not even interested in the answer. Keep answers simple, but always sincere and kind. In the end, she has to WANT to know these things.

I find these types, at first, to simply be looking for a reason to write you off. If they get that, they lose interest and move on. That’s not your goal (to get rid of her). Your goal is to help her develop interest in Catholics. Rational arguments are okay in small doses right now, but kindness will convict her that there is more worth digging for in Catholicism. If she reaches that point, then she will want to hear the larger reasons for why we believe what we believe.

I hope the best for your situation.


I understand what you mean. I was being inundated with so much anti-Catholicism and questions and rudeness from friends/family that I had to ask God to please just let it calm down for a little bit so I could catch my breath. I was spending so much time fielding criticism about being Catholic I felt I just wanted to avoid people. Their rudeness and verbal attacks and ignorance concerning Catholicism astounded me.

However, I have rested up and am now ready for the second onslaught. :cool:

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