As some of you know, I have been studying Catholicism on these forums, and elsewhere, for just over two years now (time flies, it seems… ). After a long search, investigating the competing claims of Protestantism (easily dealt with) and Orthodoxy (not so easily dealt with), I recently came to the decision that I absolutely must enter the Catholic Church. My confidence in the rightness of this decision has grow considerably in the time since, and I now look forward to entering the Church with great anticipation.
However, I am in Iraq, stationed in a combat outpost in Baghdad. I very rarely spend any time on the FOB (primary base), so I almost never get a chance to attend mass, much less get a chance to actually talk to a priest about entering the Church. So, it appears that I might not be able to actually enter the Church for some time, perhaps not until we return to the U.S. I appreciate your prayers for me during this slightly awkard time of transition.
Anyway, on to the topic. As I have come to understand Catholic moral teaching, I have seen that some members of my own family do not abide by it. They are good Protestants, to be sure, and I’m sure they do not believe they are sinning, but according to the Catholic Church, they are. Basically, within my family, there are people remarried after divorce, and there are people using contraception. I have already expressed my beliefs on these matters to some of my family, though I haven’t actually confronted them.
This is actually a great concern of mine. My father, in particular, is remarried after divorce, and according to the Church, he is basically living in a continual state of adultery. From his Protestant perspective, he has repented of his past sins, and he is truly married. However, I am concerned for his eternal state. Obviously, I would like for him and for my whole family to enter the Catholic Church (Prayers, please!), but even if they don’t right away, for the sake of their souls, I would like for them to be avoiding serious sin.
Any advice on how I can bring this up in a discussion? In regard to my father, I don’t want to go up to him and say, “Hey Dad, how’s it going? Did you know your relationship with your so-called wife could send both of you to Hell?” There must be a more diplomatic and effective way.
In regard to those using contraception within their marriages, this is a bit awkward as well. For one thing, it is easy for me as a single man to criticize contraception. And, my goal is not to fill my staunchly pro-life sister and brother-in-law with guilt. I just don’t want them to sin. Any advice on this issue? This is the lesser of my two worries, because the fix is easier (stop using contraception), whereas my father’s solution is much more painful.
Thanks for the help! God bless!