How do you be friends with someone who publicly demeans Catholics yet wants to be best friends with you? Is it an impossibility? Should you avoid them?
This is an opportunity for evangalization. Stay friends, but be prepared to defend your faith in a loving, charitable fashion. Learn your faith. Live your faith so that your happiness will be an example to your friend. He or she will come around eventually, and may even become Catholic, or will leave you. Be patient, it can take years - remember the tale of Saint Monica.
I’d start off by laying down some ground rules. 'My Catholic faith is something I firmly believe in and which is dear to my heart - insulting it is insulting a very important part of myself and my identity. That’s something a true friend doesn’t do.
I will only be friends with someone who is truly prepared to be friends with me - meaning they will refrain from insulting my faith. In turn, I promise to extend the same level of respect to you, but I will not tolerate any disrespect of me or my faith.’
Should make it clear.
I am currently having a similar situation with my brother, who is always making little digs about people who believe in God. Last week he insulted me when he told me he was taking his children out of Catholic school because he couldn’t afford it and didn’t believe in that “god (sh**) anyway” . I was so offended I didn’t know what to say.
I am Godparent to one of his children and have done my best to teach them by word and deed about the faith. I have tried to help him because he is a single parent and I thought he appreciated my help in teaching the children about their Catholic faith.
I want to distance myself from his bitterness but i don’t know that this the right thing to do. But I do know that I will pray for him and his 3 girls.
Maybe you can communicate to your friend how offensive his comments are. If he wants to be a good friend, he should respect you enough not to bash your faith (at least not to your face) .
If he doesn’t stop perhaps you need to distance yourself too. And you can always pray for him, It sounds like he needs your prayers. I’ll pray for him too.
I don’t know if it is possible. I wouldn’t consider someone a friend if they weren’t willing to be respectful of who I am. I wouldn’t even want to be around someone who constantly put down my faith, let alone be friends with them. I’m not saying I am only friends with people who are just like me, but I am only friends with people who are kind and accepting of who I am.
I guess I would start by firmly telling them that their demeaning behavior is unacceptable. If they persist, then yes, I would avoid them and not consider them a friend.
Depends on the context.
Are you playing golf and they are making jokes about Catholics and “Hail Mary” strokes?
Or do they constantly make comments like “Wow… I’d expect that of an easily-led Catholic.”
how constant is it and does it outweigh the pleasure of their company?
If you joked once in a while and said, “Hey, I resemble that remark” would they laugh and apologize.
Or can you use those comments to silently say a prayer for them and in expiation while you’re around them. It will make you a better person…
Or just find Catholics to hang around with. Which won’t always end the chore of listening to people bash the Church… if you know what I mean…
Sometimes it’s better to hear it come from ignorance or at least invincible ignorance.
Remember… people don’t reject the Catholic Church. They reject their idea of the Catholic Church. You may be one of the rare Catholics that person knows. Great chance to show them we don’t all have horns and a tail and we don’t eat puppies and beat children.
It is possible to be best friends with the person who demeans catholics. As you already know, a friend is someone who trusts and is fond of another. Friendship is based on trust and the commitment to be there for one another whenever facing difficulties. Your religious backgrounds shouldn’t be a barrier in which it wouldn’t allow any of you to become best friends. As long as both of you put your religious backgrounds aside and acutally share the things both of you have in common instead of looking at each others differences will there be the possibility of becoming best friends. If you are actually interested in becoming that one other persons best friend, then tell him/her that you wouldn’t like to touch religious discussions with him/her. Explain to him/her that religions were created to spiritually help individuals in order to obtain peace and harmony with each other and that religions are not meant to hurt others or cause any means of negativity.
If the demeans are intense or harsh, then I would recommend that you avoid them until they have control of their negativity and learn to develop respect for your religion.
I don’t know about impossible, but until that individual learns the true meaning of friendship, which does not include bashing your friend’s religion, she is going to have a hard time keeping friends at all. you probably won’t have to go to the trouble of avoiding her if you defend your faith in a kind but confident manner when you are with her, because she will more likely be the one to leave.
Yes, unfortunately, letting them know what behavior you find unacceptable results in the classic “you just can’t tolerate people with different viewpoints and that makes you a bad Christian” argument.
I’m facing a similar dilemma with a cousin who’s also one of my closest friends. Complicating things is that he’s also close with a couple of our kids. I was talking to him a couple Saturdays ago and told him I had to go because I had to get up early for Church the next morning. This set him off on a tirade about how he couldn’t believe I still do that and that I put my kids through “that ****.” He said the thing he values most about being an adult is that he no longer has to deal with it and he can’t believe I don’t grow up myself.
His outburst came as a real surprise to me because, even though I knew he hadn’t been to mass regularly in years, the last time we discussed religion (several years ago, admittedly), he was still pretty strong in his faith. With him being family & considering how long we’ve been close to one another, not to mention him being one of those people who definitely needs all the support they can get, he’s not someone I’d ever turn my back on. However, he was pretty vehement in his disdain for my faith (I didn’t even elaborate on how much stronger I am in my faith now than I have been since I was a kid) and I certainly don’t want that attitude being exposed to my kids. We didn’t have a chance to really discuss it that night and I haven’t talked to him since, so I’m not sure how I’ll approach it the next time it comes up.
He had always been much more active in his church than I’d been growing up and had seemed to carry a lot of that with him into adulthood. I’d be curious to find out what drove him away from God, although I have some suspicions. I don’t want this to come between us, but I’m sure it’s something that will come up again.
To the OP, I’d say it’s possible to stay friends with someone like you described but it can definitely be a strain. The approach I’m planning on taking with my cousin for the time being is to keep him in my prayers and do what I can to support him the best I can. If he tries to influence my kids with his beliefs (or lack thereof), I’ll have to address that with him, but I don’t think it would be right to turn my back on him.
I stay the course. It’s not as hard as I thought it’d be, and what I have found is that those who do not agree with me leave. But I will not back down. This is who we are…a family that loves our Church.
My mother’s family are almost all involved with a sect like group, and have been for over 100 years. I DO NOT agree with a thing they believe in (but I love hearing them sing hymns)…when we visit them, they go for their “all day at the tabernacle” meetings, and we go to Mass. Not a word is spoken about it.
If you are both males, who can bench more? If you have a decent right cross, is there a gym that offers “open sparring” where you can practice some “Everlast evangelism”?
I think maybe when this “friend” makes demeaning remarks about Catholics you have to turn this around and put it back on the friend. As Liberanosamalo says, you can say something like, “I resemble that remark.”
I’d ask, “If you feel that way about Catholics then why in the world do you want to hang out with me?”
My best friend is an anti-Christian, anti-Catholic pagan. She keeps wanting me to have an “open mind” like I did a long time ago, before I was dedicated to Catholicism. Now I’m anti-abortion, anti-gay relationships, etc., and she misses the “old” me. She thinks I’m letting the church think for me and that I’m not using my brain.
I tried to Evangelize to her and told my confessor about my frustration because I’m not a good apologist. His response? A line of scripture that he spoke too fast for me to remember clearly, which he translated as, “Don’t try to argue with a jackass.” My priest’s own words. He said that the only way I could convince her otherwise was to live my Catholic life as fully as possible and otherwise, try not to argue with someone who refuses to be open-minded.
Funny, but she complains about me not being open-minded, whereas I used to belive a lot like she did, but now I’ve come around to the truth about Jesus being the One God and the teachings of the Catholic Church being the only correct ones, and she is closed-minded.
I just love her anyway, pray a lot for her, and refuse to talk to her about religion anymore. I try to teach her by being more genuine in my own faith, but since I still have a log in my eye, it’s going to take a while. But I’ll keep at it.
I recommend you do the same - don’t argue with a jackass, just live your faith fully and completely and don’t give in to what other people say. Pray, lovingly refuse to accept their beliefs, and be the best Catholic you can be.
Hey aggiecatholic85, This reminds me very much of many instances when I have seen this and still see this kind of behavior in my own lifetime. my sister married into a Baptist family, and whenever the two sides of the families would get together, there was constant hate filled talk from the Baptists about the Catholic church. I learned much about how strong my Mother’s faith was at that time, because she wouldn’t respond with hate filled words and many times, wouldn’t bother responding at all, except maybe with a smile. sometimes God gives us the words, and other times, it’s just best for us to remain silent under persecution. I was just having a conversation with a gentleman who stated to me that “the Catholic church is more corrupt than any goverment.” I told him in a smiling, nonthreatening way that even though the Catholic church has not always been a faithful bride torwards our Lord & Saviour, that I would choose my words very carefully when I was talking about the Bride of Christ. sometimes the best and only thing we can do is pray for people like that, put it all in our Lords hands, and remember that we are all sinners in need of God’s mercy. when people are on the outside looking in, they just don’t understand. kill them with kindness, lead by example, and remember that Saint Francis of Assisi once said, “We must preach the Gospel at all times, and sometimes we must even use words.”
P.S. Before I catch much flack for calling the Catholic church an unfaithful Bride, what I meant by saying that is the church herself is not unfaithful, but some people throughout the great history of the church have made her appear to be an unfaithful Bride, which she is not.