Conversation with Grandmother


#1

Now this conversation came about today after my Grandmother fell on the steps of our Protestant Church (My Grandmother is fine thank God). We started talking about how we were a bit concerned that the Pastor did not even ask if my Grandmother was okay (he was standing but a few inches from her, many members of the Church had asked if she was okay and were watching). The Pastor was at the Church door because he shakes everyones hand as they leave the Church. Anyways, this lead to her bringing up Catholic Priests and the Catholic faith in general.

Pastors are allowed to marry and you know that Catholic Priests aren’t (I kinda think my Grandmother was trying to say just let Priests marry and this Catholic Priest and alter boy scandal wouldn’t have happened). She was talking about how the Catholic Church knew for decades that the Priests were molesting the altar boys and it was just ignored. I told her it isn’t the Catholic faither at fault nor is it the Church, it is the corruption of people. It’s a horrible event, but you can’t take it out on the Catholic faith or the Church, this comes down to corrupt people who look the other way when it comes to what the Bible clearly states is wrong. She also stated that the Pope knew of what was happening and looked the other way. The Pope and the Church are perceived as infallible (correct me if I am wrong), so how am I to respond to her, when she expresses concerns that the Catholic faith is corrupt?

If you have checked any of my older posts, you will see that I was wanting (and still am) to become a Nun. My Grandmother also thinks that many gay men and lesbian women become Nuns and Priests. Weither or not that is true, it’s not a sin unless you act on it. She realized that not all are bad, but how on Earth can I ever tell her this is (becoming a Nun) something I want to pursue in my life if she has this belief that some Nuns are lesbians (let me make it clear I am NOT a lesbian)? I also was thinking about visiting a Catholic Church, now how can I ever do that if she has this perversed view of the Catholic faith?

I did the best I could to explain to her that corrupt people are at fault here, the Catholic faith is beautiful, but in everything in life there will always be corrupt people. I do not want to turn my back on God if he is indeed calling me, I also do not want my Grandmother to be ashamed of me or think less of me. I don’t know if this is just my fanciful thinking or if my thoughts truely have merit, but I wonder if God is testing me to see if my faith in him is strong or if this is his way of telling me that I should be content with being a Protestant. I understand that last bit may seem silly or may sound as though I am trying to find signs from God, so maybe you can understand my utter confusion.

I am very sorry for my length post, thank you for reading.


#2

Shinobu,

First let me say that I’m glad that your Grandmother is OK after falling on the church steps. :slight_smile:

OK, now about this Nun business. I think that if God is calling you to become a Nun that is just wonderful but first things first. You need to actually visit a Catholic Church for awhile. If that feels right (and I hope it does) then sign up for RCIA classes. You’ll learn much about the Catholic Faith and it will help you in your conversations with your family. As far as signs from God - pray pray pray and just be open to where He leads you. And as far as your Grandmother goes, I wouldn’t try to argue with her… just be kind and charitable and know that some old people can be very grouchy and set in their ways. Let it go. I laughed at the part where she said Nuns are lesbians. How many Nuns has she actually met??

God Bless you,
CM


#3

(I kinda think my Grandmother was trying to say just let Priests marry and this Catholic Priest and alter boy scandal wouldn’t have happened).

Since most of the abuse was committed by homosexual priests against young boys - the issue of married priests is not part of the issue.

I told her it isn’t the Catholic faither at fault nor is it the Church, it is the corruption of people. It’s a horrible event, but you can’t take it out on the Catholic faith or the Church,"

It is true you can’t take it out on the faith, but the “Church”?
If you are referring to those men whose job it is to act as “shepherd” - then yes - I personally have an issue with them.
However - it is also good to give people the benefit of the doubt rather than assign the same amount of guilt to all of them.
We have learned that some bishops terribly mishandled this situation - but we should not let that reflect on ALL bishops.

She also stated that the Pope knew of what was happening and looked the other way.

There is no possible way she could know this. This is just a reflection of her personal bias against the pope and reveal she wants to assume the worst about him.
This is the first time I’ve heard of anyone accusing the pope of knowing what was going on.

The Pope and the Church are perceived as infallible (correct me if I am wrong), so how am I to respond to her, when she expresses concerns that the Catholic faith is corrupt?

It is very difficult to help people understand the distinction between “infallible” and "impeccable"
The catholic faith has never declared the pope is "impeccable"
The “infallibility” of the pope means that the Holy Spirit protects the Church doctrine from being infected with error. This means that any given pope will not succeed in proclaim error-ridden teaching.

My Grandmother also thinks that many gay men and lesbian women become Nuns and Priests

Unfortunately - she may be right about that.

Weither or not that is true, it’s not a sin unless you act on it.

True

She realized that not all are bad, but how on Earth can I ever tell her this is (becoming a Nun) something I want to pursue in my life if she has this belief that some Nuns are lesbians (let me make it clear I am NOT a lesbian)? I also was thinking about visiting a Catholic Church, now how can I ever do that if she has this perversed view of the Catholic faith?

Are you and adult?
Have you considered that this woman is not in control of your life?
She may not come to understand or appreciate your choices until long after you’ve made them.

but I wonder if God is testing me to see if my faith in him is strong or if this is his way of telling me that I should be content with being a Protestant. I understand that last bit may seem silly or may sound as though I am trying to find signs from God, so maybe you can understand my utter confusion.

God could, very well, be testing you.
I would suggest you worry a bit more about what is going on between you and God - and a little less about what is going on between you and grandma.


#4

When I said Church I meant the Church herself, not the people inside it. I’m sorry about that.

Are you and adult?
Have you considered that this woman is not in control of your life?
She may not come to understand or appreciate your choices until long after you’ve made them.

I’m 25 years old. My Grandmother is a very kind person, but she is also very strong in her opinion, but as strong as her opinion is it is also very fickle. It’s very hard for me to do anything if I feel my family would not agree with me. I wish I had their help and understanding, but it certainly doesn’t help that I am scared to talk to them about such things as this.

God could, very well, be testing you.
I would suggest you worry a bit more about what is going on between you and God - and a little less about what is going on between you and grandma.

Thank you very much for your post and also thank you Carol!


#5

I tried to post to you yesterday but had a problem. I’ll try again today.

First things first. To be a nun, you fist must become Catholic.

Is God testing you? Only you can know for sure, but when you shared your story, I almost cried. Why? Because in Scripture, it tells us that Jesus tells us we need to love Him more than anything or anyone else. Leave family to follow Him. Whom do you love more God or Grandma?

God Bless,
Maria


#6

I’m sorry I almost made you cry. I felt ashamed of myself because I put how my family viewed me above what God wants of me. I really wish I had Catholic friends or family.

Thank you for your post


#7

Shinobu -

Though you should certainly put God first, I pray you don’t have to leave your family to join the Church and pursue your desire to become a Nun. In fact, I’m impressed with your devotion that you have such a desire as a non-Catholic! Do your best to explain yourself to your family, and leave the rest to God. If there are things about Church teaching that you don’t understand, you are in a very good place to begin finding the answers: The Catholic Answers web site.

LoraRose answered your questions well. One thing I might add about infallibility is that the Pope is infallible only when he teaches “Ex Cathedra” (from the Chair of Peter), which rarely happens, and, as others have said, only with respect to Church doctrines of faith and morals. I hope this helps.

Chuck


#8

Shinobu, I’m glad your grandmother is all right after her fall.

And I have the greatest respect for her, as an older person who has obviously tried hard to bring up her family as good, caring, decent people.

Her whole life she has been absorbing “knowledge” of the Catholic faith and people which varies from incorrect, to imperfectly understood, to correct but irrelevant. It’s not surprising that, given what she THINKS is true about the Church, that she has suspicion. And unfortunately people really do not like to know that they’ve been wrong about* anything*, especially about subjects which are important to them–and I think religion and faith is very important to your grandmother.

I’m sure you are already praying for her.
Have you tried emphasizing to her the similarities of Catholicism to Protestantism (your denomination)? You know, Catholics read the Bible, worship God, love their neighbors, go to church on Sunday. . . If she’s not of the belief that Catholic = automatically NOT Christian, if she accepts them as Christian, things will be easier.

You can also point out (but be careful) abuses done by Protestants. . .child abuse, divorces, monetary scandals. . .there are plenty. Here is some information:

In a 1983 doctoral thesis by Richard Blackmon, 12% of the 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner. Clergy Sexual Abuse

beliefnet.com/... Denominations Sexual Abuse: 17 percent of laywomen said that their own pastor had harassed them.... 10% of Protestant pastors had been sexually active with an adult parishioner... only 6.1 percent of Southern Baptist pastors admitted to having sexual contact with a parishioner.
Although the actual extent of the problem is unknown, the significance of clergy sexual abuse is acknowledged by the leaders of most Christian churches, Protestant, Orthodox... Buddhism, Judaism...  
  Sexual Exploitation by Clergy    Clergy Jewish Sexual Abuse   See other studies in the Web
While pedophilia, the sexual molestation of children, captures headlines in most abuse cases, in actuality over 90% of all clerical sexual abuse and misconduct cases are perpetrated against women. Although actual figures are difficult to gather because of the churches' reluctance to discuss such sensitive matters.

Sexual abuse and the Orthodox Clergy United Methodist Interpreter

Naturally nobody says that all Protestants are suspect because 10% of their pastors have been accused in the last 20+ years of various sex crimes. . .a number which actually exceeds the percentage of priests accused in a decades-long scandal in which many of the accused have died and cannot speak for themselves. . .

Once your grandmother has some idea of a “common ground”, the faceless “menace” of “Catholicism” is to a large part done away with, and the ordinary feelings of brotherhood and sisterhood come to the fore. Then you can start out with some fairly “bland” things like a crucifix (similar to a cross, but emphasizing Jesus’s sacrifice), and move on to things like holy cards (esp. ones with psalms or other prayers), holy water, etc. Even if she doesn’t believe in them for herself, seeing that they are not all “different” or “unscriptural” or “unnatural”, can help her recognize that Catholicism is not the “devil” she thought. . .and since it requires the use of her reason, she won’t look at her knowledge as being coercion or brainwashing.

In so far as she has the idea of celibacy somehow “causing” pedophilia, there really isn’t much you can do. She is probably already suspicious of “modern” studies about pedophilia, she wouldn’t make the differentiation between pedophilia and homosexuality in the majority of the abuse cases, and she is already suspicious that Catholics “hate” marriage as it is. One possible avenue of exploration is to look at, say, Michael Jackson’s case. He isn’t Catholic. Look at some of the sleaze that is on TV and is notably secular in origin. Look (or at least consider, I wouldn’t sully my eyes) at NAMBLA. The vast majority of people committing sexual sins and atrocities are not Christian in any sense, even if they belong to a Catholic or Protestant community by virtue of baptism or enrollment. . .for the Catholic, the Christian faith, DENOUNCES SEXUAL SIN.

IOW, one could point out to her not that the Church “encourages” or fosters unnatural sexual action, but that its very own teachings CONDEMN that unnatural sexual action. . .just as most (sadly, not all) Christian teaching condemns it. Once she makes that leap to see that Catholicism, like her Protestantism, is “agin” sin, we’re back to the common ground. She can accept that an individual in her church sins, and yet her church is good and doesn’t CONDONE the sin. . .so she can then accept the same idea for the CATHOLIC church.

Prayers for you. . .


#9

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