Convert in a Non-Catholic Family

Hey All,

Merry Christmas to all! I hope everyone had a Blessed Advent Season and is enjoying the joyful season Christmastide when we celebrate the Incarnation of Our Lord on earth, bringing to climax the cause of our redemption!

I have a very personal and deep-seated problem I am suffering from and this Advent Season has made it very clear to me.

I am a convert (Tiber Swim Team 2012). I come from a Non-Catholic family…dad is a lapsed Catholic and mother isn’t particularly religious. She isn’t an agnostic or a militant atheist, she just doesn’t enjoy talking about religion or spirituality in general. I’m in the Navy and am enjoying my first Christmas at home in two years after being deployed overseas last year. I am incredibly happy to be home with my entire family and the rest and relaxation of the Holidays are preparing me to get back to work in the Navy and to get back to sea.

However, I feel as though I’m being pulled in two separate directions. My family regards nothing as sacred and while enjoying some time at a microbrewery this afternoon played a rather vulgar game called Cards Against Humanity. For those of you who don’t know, it is filled with coarse, vulgar, inappropriate, callous, and even blasphemous jokes and statements. I didn’t know what it was at first, but I had an idea when my family described it to me. Not wanting to make a scene, I played, but tried my best to not make any inappropriate jokes. My family however, did not do so and made several, a few of which, I am ashamed, I laughed at.

I feel as though my family is pulling me in one direction and my Faith another. I also fret to tell my family my true feelings out of fear they would be offended. I regard Our Lord, Our Lady, the saints, the Church Militant, et al as family. As an example, I believe my mother would be deeply offended that I regard Our Lady as my spiritual mother.

In essence, I feel a complete disconnect to my family on a spiritual level and love them as much as I do, I feel a little spiritual conflict whenever I spend a prolonged period of time with them. Profanity, the use of Our Lord’s name in vein, coarse joking…these are all normal and acceptable in my family, but are things I’ve grown to not partake in as I’ve grown in the Faith.

I don’t mean to be a downer this close to Christmas, but does anyone have some basic suggestions on how to manage? I think this may be one of my crosses to bear and I’m trying as best I can to pick up my cross, deny myself, and follow after Our Lord as He instructed…this is just a little more difficult for me than the sins I’ve struggled with in the past…it’s a little more personal.

Merry Christmas all. Hope everyone has a blessed Christmastide and the blessings of Our Lord and Lady are with you all!

:thumbsup: It’s never easy to handle irreligious friends and relatives.

I can suggest that you offer a Divine Mercy Chaplet for them and maybe a DMC novena later on. It’s important to remember that we are all sinners and (as my sainted Grandmother used to tell me to say) “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

I’ve tried telling people I’m close to, “Now, don’t you be talkin’ like a caveman!” Sometimes, it helps, but the person has to be open to that.

I don’t know how that’d work in your family. Doesn’t sound like it would, there.

That’s the problem. We don’t pick our family! What’s one to do? Really! I’m at a loss, too.

We had a priest talk about how difficult was for him. He’d be invited placed and that they’d steer him in the direction of the laughter and jokes. Often it’d be offensive, dirty jokes.

I wouldn’t play that game any more, though. Suggest they play clean games. If not, don’t participate, one thing. Bring a clean game, if necessary.

Well, the good news is for you is that you are in the Navy and not with them that much.
When you are home on visits and they want to play vulgar games, just beg off with “I’m not interested right now, I need to have some rest” they probably are not going to be too interested in your new faith or listening to you so if you can be a gracious as possible in why you are not joining them it games etc Hopefully the stall with work with them. While away, keep on praying.

Struggles are opportunities for us to further the depths of our love.

The short answer, which you and I both already know, is that there can never be a total reconciliation between you and your family, at least as they are right now. Either they need to change, or you do.

The dynamics of your family situations are something you’re of course going to navigate on your own, as only you know them so well, but the general advice I would offer is that the sooner they have the clear impression that there are certain things you do not approve of, the sooner you will be free from them shoving them in your face. If that means a fairly straightforward statement, saying something to the effect of “I don’t approve of that kind of stuff”, then that works: you will feel a weight being liberated from your shoulders. So many people become nervous and intimidated and never take that first step and they end up spending countless hours of their life being quiet, uncomfortable, and submissive. That kind of spirit of timidity must be avoided. It’s hard to break that ice, but if you haven’t already, I would break it. After that it should get much easier. They might respect you and avoid certain topics around you. They might also take it badly, but if they do, at least you can have the comfort of knowing where both of you stand.

God bless you. Merry Christmas. :slight_smile:

I too am a convert and had issues with family concerning my Faith. I have been called a fanatic by some, weak because I need the Church, and accused of having done something at sometime that must really be bad if I need to go to Church all the time.

Finally, during a difficult discussion were I was reminded that I must be “weak in the head” and need the Church for a crutch, I responded, very calmly (Thanks to God) that I knew I was weak and that in fact the Church was my wheelchair. I never heard that particular argument again.

As others of suggested you may simply find plausible reasons to refuse to participate in certain games or activities. You can always find a reason to get some rest, go for a walk, take a trip to the store for something you may need. Of course you may also find it necessary to simply state that you don’t care for certain kinds of entertainment anymore and suggest something else.

What ever you do, never be ashamed of your Faith, and if you have to choose between God or even a family member, you must be prepared to do that. Prayer will help, as well as finding ways to become involved more deeply in your Church’s life through ministries. I often invited my family to special Masses when I would be singing. I felt this was a way they could see and feel the life of the Church and see how happy that life made me.

Hi BlueinSD,

I would just simply tell them that I was not interested in playing that game.

The next time that you go, I would be prepared to do something else.

I would also take some games with that you like playing, and see if anyone else would like to play them.

Maybe people are playing that game too that your family is playing because that is all that there is to play when they get together? That is just a thought on my behalf. I am not trying to sound like I am excusing bad behavior, by any means.

For example, do you have any board games or fun card games that you like to play that you think would engage someone else, like Uno, Checkers, Chess, Monopoly, etc?

I guess what I am trying to say is that you could show that there is something else that is equally fun to do that doesn’t involve anything that is vulgar.

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