Brother is ex-Catholic and best man in my wedding. .


#1

My brother and his wife left the Catholic church a couple years ago. Allegedly the priest at their parish wanted $1,000 to baptize their second born, and they felt it was extortion. I cannot confirm or deny that this happened, but I have my doubts. Furthermore, just before they left the Church, they would complain about the Church by saying things such as, "You know the only reason they make you eat fish on Friday is because the fishing industry in Italy was suffering way back when, so the Pope at the time just wanted to boost the industry to get more money from the fishermen." HUH??

They joined a non-denominational pastor centered church. I figured it would only be a matter of time before my brother started to evangelize or should I say propagandize me?
Shortly after, my family, who is Catholic, was asked to attend a "recognition" for their third born, since this church does not baptize children. When we walked in, there was Starbuck's coffee for everyone. Then when we walked into the main room where the chairs were set up in front of the stage along with 3 large screens. A band began playing Christian rock, then the pastor was introduced like he was a late night talk show host coming out to do his monologue. This is where it got uncomfortable. The pastor started throwing out little nuaces such as, "we don't need boring rituals and ceremonies to love Jesus" and "we don't need someone to tell us what to believe". There were other things said that I can not recall and this pastor knew he was speaking to a mixed audience. I'm sure he was trying to recruit members, but the only thing he succeeded at was insulting the traditions of my Church. So much for making guests feel welcome.

The evangelization finally happened last week between viewings for my grandmother who passed. We me and my brother were on our way to the funeral home,he tuned the radio to his favorite christian music station and began quoting a poorly rehearsed bible verse petaining to those who "sow dischord amongst family members" and how "God hates them". He was referring to a relative (our aunt) who is a constant troublemaker, but family nonetheless. I simply responded by stating that the bible addresses judgement also, and that God does not judge us the same way that we judge each other.

My brother further stated that my aunt's Catholic upbringing was to blame, because Catholicism teaches people to feel guilty and to hate themselves. I responded by saying that guilt may have been used in our family, but guilt is not a Catholic teaching, especially since guilt only causes poor self-esteem. I further explained that I was corrected on the myth of "Catholic guilt" about 12 years ago by a priest who I learned a lot from.

I went on to say, "I understand there is a lot of propaganda about the Catholic Church, but it helps to listen to both sides." He became defensive by saying, "You think I'm down on the Catholic Church!!??. . .I'm not criticizing the Catholic Church!!. . .I mean. . .Catholics are *like *Christians too!??" I responded with, explaining that the Catholic Church is a Christian Church, and was the only Christian Church for centuries, then gave a historical summary of the compilation of the bible by the early church, apostolic succession, what "Catholic" means, and how many centuries passed before the first protestant church, and the origins of the traditional mass that he felt was so needless. Needless to say, he was very quiet, and when we reached our destination, he got out of the car and walked away as if there had been no conversation at all. Not in an angry manner, but in a way embarrassed and surprised that I knew so much for someone who goes to "a church that doesn't teach anything."

The highlight of all of this is that my brother, who has so much against the Catholic Church is the best man in my full mass Catholic wedding next month, and I am now concerned as to how much he has bought into the "us vs. them" mentality that he has been surrounded by the last couple of years. His wife was making excuses as to why she and their children (my nieces and nephew) may not be able to attend the ceremony, but this remains to be seen.

I guess I don't really have a question, but any thoughts would be helpful to me at this point. I think that it's just becoming upsetting that their resentment for the Catholic Church is causing a rift on what is supposed to be a very special and sacred day. :(


#2

Well, Philip, you picked him to be best man. Just remind him not to go to Communion.

Some people who leave the Church have a constant chip on their shoulder, because they always are defending their decision, especially when others in their family are still Catholic. They are defending their decision to leave to themselves, as well. Because, if they were wrong - well, then, they have to go back...

You seem to be handling this well. Perhaps you should get a book or two on Catholic apologetics - not to actively argue but to be able to defend, and perhaps help your brother come back to the Church.


#3

Unfortunately, some religious sects include, as part of their preaching and teaching; undermining & criticizing the Catholic Church and relaying to their members lies about what the Church teaches. These false teachings can help retain members and interfere with those who are hungry for more of the Truth.

Great job defending the Church and your faith. It would be wonderful if more Catholic believers could stand on their own 2 feet and not only know, but have the courage to say all the things you said.

Please share how you came to know and be able to defend the Faith.

Congratulations on your upcoming marriage. I'm praying this weekend, that your brother and his family will not have any negative impact on the day and that he will find some faith. Also praying for happiness & success in your vocation.

Special note about listening to so-called "Christian" radio stations: Cannot speak for all, only the one out here, that never plays Catholic recording artists, and also has preachers who subtley weave into their talks put-downs about the Church.

Have been recommending "Relevant (Catholic) Radio" to friends. It can be tapped into online & in the car.


#4

please read Patrick Madrid's search and rescue before attempting to evangelize your family members, and prevent yourself from making mistakes that could take years to amend.

why did you go to the fake baptism in the first place?

why did you ask him to be best man in the first place?

I am surprised they could bear to enter a Catholic church for you wedding at all feeling the way they do.

You might also find it helpful to go over to AAA and review the past answers to these family wedding questions, they are very helpful in helping you sort through all the emotion attached to these issues.


#5

[quote="philip01, post:1, topic:204144"]
My brother and his wife left the Catholic church a couple years ago. Allegedly the priest at their parish wanted $1,000 to baptize their second born, and they felt it was extortion.

[/quote]

When I got married, I looked around at churches (originally planned a destination wedding) and they wanted $2,000 - $2,500. We got married at my parish and it cost $1,000 (and I'm registered and actively participate). Obviously that's a wedding and not a baptism, but it wouldn't surprise me if some parishes did charge $1,000, especially for non-registered families


#6

[quote="CoffeeHound, post:5, topic:204144"]
When I got married, I looked around at churches (originally planned a destination wedding) and they wanted $2,000 - $2,500. We got married at my parish and it cost $1,000 (and I'm registered and actively participate). Obviously that's a wedding and not a baptism, but it wouldn't surprise me if some parishes did charge $1,000, especially for non-registered families

[/quote]

repeat until my tongue falls out NO Catholic parish charges for sacraments, ever. What they do charge for is use of facilities, often at a reduced or no rate for parishioners who support the parish, sacramental preparation books, materials and resources and other expenses associated with the sacraments. The parish has to pay a stipend to any priest or deacon who comes from outside to officiate so the family should be expected to pay that exceedingly nominal cost, usually $100 or less. My guess is that the brother deliberatly mis-stated and the parish actually asked him to become an active CAtholic, to provide evidence and assurance they intend to raise their child CAtholic (which obviously the priest had good reason to doubt) and to do so by contributing a tiny sum each week adding up to about $1000 a year. Bet they got a big shock when they find out most non-denoms and other Protestant congregations are HUGE on tithing, mandatory, that is.


#7

$1000 for a baptism...please. A priest of friend of mine would love to make $1000 per baptism. Last week he did 32 on one Sunday.

As for you brother, he's the best man, just tell him not to receive communion.


#8

A few thoughts. First off, good job on the talk in the car that demonstrated you actually know something about the Bible, etc.

Also, the wife not wanting to attend your wedding Mass with your neices/nephews might not relate (or relate much) to any anti-Catholic fears but possibly be a worry about taking care of young children alone during a long, formal ceremony. Don't take that personally if she doesn't go, but if you really want her to attend, maybe see if you can find someone that she'd be comfortable watching her kids in the church nursery or a classroom.

Expect graces on your wedding day. :) I was away a fallen away Catholic when I was the matron of honor at my sister's wedding in a Catholic church. The Sacraments bring grace. Weddings, funerals, baptisms, first Communions,--all those "rites of passage" are opportunities to re-evangelize those who have fallen away.

If the priest isn't aware of the situation, you might want to mention it. A good priest might help make the most out of this opportunity presented at your wedding. Your brother didn't simply fall away and stop attending church. Many who fall away to "non-denominational" churches are attracted because they seek a relationship with Christ.

[quote="philip01, post:1, topic:204144"]
...Furthermore, just before they left the Church, they would complain about the Church by saying things such as, "You know the only reason they make you eat fish on Friday is because the fishing industry in Italy was suffering way back when, so the Pope at the time just wanted to boost the industry to get more money from the fishermen." HUH??

[/quote]

Now for my last suggestion. If your brother mentions the fish on Friday/pope/money for fishermen connection ever again, remind him that the first pope, Peter, was a fisherman. ;) <><


#9

[quote="PaulinVA, post:2, topic:204144"]
Well, Philip, you picked him to be best man. Just remind him not to go to Communion.

Some people who leave the Church have a constant chip on their shoulder, because they always are defending their decision, especially when others in their family are still Catholic. They are defending their decision to leave to themselves, as well. Because, if they were wrong - well, then, they have to go back...

You seem to be handling this well. Perhaps you should get a book or two on Catholic apologetics - not to actively argue but to be able to defend, and perhaps help your brother come back to the Church.

[/quote]

I might have to remind him about not going to Communion. He didn't understand the true meaning of receiving the Eucharist when he did go to a Catholic Church.

You hit the nail right on the head with the "constant chip on their shoulder" and "always defending their decision". From time to time my brother or his wife with throw out a drive-by comment, but they do not get a rise form me, instead I pity the fact that they bear the weight of their prejudice. I can tell when I can get an objective discussion out of either one of them.

I have done a fair share of reading and reflecting over the years, but I would say that the book, *Catholicism and Fundamentalism: The Attack on "Romanism" by "Bible Christians" *has been the best by far. I would love to bring him and his family back to the Church. I did mention to the priest that he would not be receiving Communion and that he is *no longer *Catholic. I hope that being a part of that day shakes something up inside of him.


#10

Great job defending the Church and your faith. It would be wonderful if more Catholic believers could stand on their own 2 feet and not only know, but have the courage to say all the things you said.

Please share how you came to know and be able to defend the Faith.

Thank you! It's the first time I have had that kind of a conversation with my brother. I fell away from the Church myself after high school, because I was foolish enough to think that I didn't need it. I grew up knowing what to do and say at mass but didn't put a lot of thought into why. About 7 years later I realized that I needed to find the purpose of my existence, and realized for myself that there is no purpose apart from Christ and His Church. That's not to say that I just decided to be Catholic because that's what I was told to be all my life. I researched other denominations, but none could be traced back to the Apostolic Fathers and none were as rich or as rooted in tradition. This was important to me, since the bible as we know it did not exist in early Christianity, although there were hundreds if not thousands of writings used by early Christians. Everything that Jesus did and said could not have been written just as one could not possibly write what he/she does and says every day until death. If my entire family were to gather every Sunday for generations and centuries to simply celebrate that we are a family, does it make that tradition meaningless when a family member decides to criticize the tradition one day, because he has a personal issue that he can not reconcile? More importantly, who could diminish the importance of a tradition instituted by Jesus Christ himself and those who were personally touched by Him? Most important. . how could I be anything but Catholic?

I could write a book, but that is just a glimpse of my journey back to the Church. As for my defense of the Faith, I could not proclaim to be something that I could not represent.

Congratulations on your upcoming marriage. I'm praying this weekend, that your brother and his family will not have any negative impact on the day and that he will find some faith. Also praying for happiness & success in your vocation.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!

Special note about listening to so-called "Christian" radio stations: Cannot speak for all, only the one out here, that never plays Catholic recording artists, and also has preachers who subtley weave into their talks put-downs about the Church.

Have been recommending "Relevant (Catholic) Radio" to friends. It can be tapped into online & in the car

I have listened to "Relevant Radio" online and I love it, unfortunately, we do not have it in the Pittsburgh area.


#11

[quote="puzzleannie, post:4, topic:204144"]
please read Patrick Madrid's search and rescue before attempting to evangelize your family members, and prevent yourself from making mistakes that could take years to amend..

[/quote]

Thank you for the recommended reading.

why did you go to the fake baptism in the first place?

It was not a baptism. It was referred to as a "recognition", meant to recognize a new family member. Regardless, I went for a few different reasons. First, I wanted to see what my brother and his family were up to these days, and I'm so glad that I did. I like to know what I'm up against. Second, I want to show my brother that I am there for him no matter what. Third, because no one rooted in the Catholic Faith should be apprehensive about entering another church. By the way, me and my fiance got a few strange looks when we crossed ourselves before and after prayers. I would like to think that I would have the guts to cross myself in the middle of an Islamic mosque in the heart of the Sunni triangle, but until I have the opportunity to find out, I'll start with suburban non-denominational churches.

why did you ask him to be best man in the first place?

He's my brother. . .that's all the criteria I needed. The fact that I asked him to stand for me at my Catholic wedding should disprove at least some of the stereotypes and propaganda that he has been spoonfed over the last couple years. I want to bring him back, and not having him as my best man because of his faith would only demonstrate that he's not good enough as long as he's not Catholic. Not exactly the message I want to convey.

I don't regret my decision. I'm just looking for some suggestions and support, since I believe that the responsibility lies with me to bring him back home.


#12

[quote="gardenswithkids, post:8, topic:204144"]
A few thoughts. First off, good job on the talk in the car that demonstrated you actually know something about the Bible, etc.

Also, the wife not wanting to attend your wedding Mass with your neices/nephews might not relate (or relate much) to any anti-Catholic fears but possibly be a worry about taking care of young children alone during a long, formal ceremony. Don't take that personally if she doesn't go, but if you really want her to attend, maybe see if you can find someone that she'd be comfortable watching her kids in the church nursery or a classroom.

Expect graces on your wedding day. :) I was away a fallen away Catholic when I was the matron of honor at my sister's wedding in a Catholic church. The Sacraments bring grace. Weddings, funerals, baptisms, first Communions,--all those "rites of passage" are opportunities to re-evangelize those who have fallen away.

If the priest isn't aware of the situation, you might want to mention it. A good priest might help make the most out of this opportunity presented at your wedding. Your brother didn't simply fall away and stop attending church. Many who fall away to "non-denominational" churches are attracted because they seek a relationship with Christ.

Now for my last suggestion. If your brother mentions the fish on Friday/pope/money for fishermen connection ever again, remind him that the first pope, Peter, was a fisherman. ;) <><

[/quote]

Thank you for your insight! I will defintely keep your last suggestion in mind :D


#13

[quote="puzzleannie, post:6, topic:204144"]
repeat until my tongue falls out NO Catholic parish charges for sacraments, ever. What they do charge for is use of facilities, often at a reduced or no rate for parishioners who support the parish, sacramental preparation books, materials and resources and other expenses associated with the sacraments.

[/quote]

I'd like to see you justify $2500 for a 30 minute Rite of Marriage, especially when the pre-cana is done elsewhere. If you could justify a $1000 charge for a registered, active (in time, talent, and treasure) parishioner, I'd appreciate that. Charges do not include the deacon's stipend ($300) or the organists fee {$75).

The fact is, weddings cost tens of thousands, so pastors (protestant and Catholic) know that they can charge a thousand or more. I know that the pastor isn't pocketing it - the money goes to the capital fund and to parish operations. But that doesn't change how and why the fee is set.


#14

[quote="CoffeeHound, post:13, topic:204144"]
I'd like to see you justify $2500 for a 30 minute Rite of Marriage, especially when the pre-cana is done elsewhere. If you could justify a $1000 charge for a registered, active (in time, talent, and treasure) parishioner, I'd appreciate that. Charges do not include the deacon's stipend ($300) or the organists fee {$75).

The fact is, weddings cost tens of thousands, so pastors (protestant and Catholic) know that they can charge a thousand or more. I know that the pastor isn't pocketing it - the money goes to the capital fund and to parish operations. But that doesn't change how and why the fee is set.

[/quote]

I myself have never heard of a parish charging such an extraordinary fee. The suggested donation around here for the priest is $100, maybe $20 for the altar servers and $75 for the music ministry.


#15

[quote="CoffeeHound, post:13, topic:204144"]
I'd like to see you justify $2500 for a 30 minute Rite of Marriage, especially when the pre-cana is done elsewhere. If you could justify a $1000 charge for a registered, active (in time, talent, and treasure) parishioner, I'd appreciate that. Charges do not include the deacon's stipend ($300) or the organists fee {$75).

The fact is, weddings cost tens of thousands, so pastors (protestant and Catholic) know that they can charge a thousand or more. I know that the pastor isn't pocketing it - the money goes to the capital fund and to parish operations. But that doesn't change how and why the fee is set.

[/quote]

Catholic parishes are not permitted to charge anything for the sacrements, meaning that they are required to marry you free of charge. That being said, a parish is certainly permitted to charge you for the privledge of having private use of the church building during that time. As a result of the wedding, the church incurs the direct costs of heating/cooling the church during the ceremony, cleaning before and after the ceremony, and paying the staff during that time. You would have to see exactly how much these things cost at each individual church, but they are not cheap.

Anyone who doesn't wish to pay of the use of the church is free to get married during one of the church's regularly scheduled Masses. At my church, this is commonly done during the 6 PM Mass on Saturday evening, which is lightly attended anyway. These weddings are as good as any other, and the couple pays nothing. Those who wish to have their own Mass earlier in the afternoon pay for it (but I doubt that the church charges them $1000 in this case...)


#16

philip01: Your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers are fortunate. And congrats on your wedding!

.


#17

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn " 'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law - a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.

You must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God

The non-denominational pastor is obviously not evangelizing; however he is unwittingly doing God’s will by separating darkness from light. Don’t be upset; every other catholic family has very similar problems.

He who endures to the end will be saved


#18

#19

[quote="philip01, post:1, topic:204144"]
Allegedly the priest at their parish wanted $1,000 to baptize their second born, and they felt it was extortion. I cannot confirm or deny that this happened, but I have my doubts.

[/quote]

Even though you suspect that this isn't entirely true, I would suggest taking him at his word on this for now. If a priest ever even gave the perception that he was charging for a baptism, that would be wrong, and his bishop should hear about it. Explain to your brother that the priest has done a serious wrong, and you'd like his help in filing a complaint.

If your brother is right, then this is really something that needs to be done anyway, and your brother will learn that this bad priest is not representative of the Church. If he's embellishing the story in order to bash the Church, that will come out, and he won't be able to use it against you (or anyone).


#20

[quote="Cable, post:18, topic:204144"]

Those who love darkness will be weaned away by preachers of darkness, who in turn are unwittingly doing God's will by separating darkness from light. I hope it is clear now.
[/quote]


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