Dealing with a pagan daughter

My daughter, a cradle Catholic, has told us that she no longer considers herself to be either Catholic or Christian, but a Nocturnal Pagan. She apparently became interested in Paganism while she was in high school.

Our Salvatorian priest and one of the Sisters in our parish both tell me that this is probably a “phase”, and that eventually, she will return to Christianity, if not the the Church itself. I’m willing to take their word for it, but I want to know some things about why an otherwise faithful Catholic would embrace Paganism.

If anyone on this forum is a lapsed Catholic who practiced Paganism and later returned to the Church, I would like to hear from you about your experience.
*]What made you fall away from the Church?
*]What attracted you to Paganism?
*]How far into Paganism did you fall?
*]What led you out of Paganism and back to the Church?
[/LIST]If anyone on this forum is actively Pagan, I am not addressing you. I do not intend to offer offense; I am simply not interested in a defense of Paganism.

If you are moved to respond to this request, please send me a private message so we can take the discussion off-line and not burn bandwidth.


If your daughter is interested in good writing, you might recommend GK Chesterton’s book “The Everlasting Man”.

If not, I would recommend it for you. It has some very thought provoking ideas.

To sum it up briefly(and poorly), Chesterton attempts to demonstrate the chasm that separates man from the animals in the first part of the book, and the chasm that separates Christianity from other religions in the second part of the book.

“Orthodoxy” by Chesterton addresses some of these same issues.

I think this will be a phase for your daughter, but some good books often communicate important ideas in a way that might penetrate her defenses better than anything you could say.

I’ll say a prayer for you.

We do not fight against flesh and blood. We war against spiritual forces which do not know reason.

Pray, pray, pray.
Monica prayed for Augustine or many, many years beore his conversion. Not being as patient as an new Christian I once interceeded for one my heart was set on. It took18 months and nearly killed me spiritually and physically. She did convert it was not my intercession that did it even though I would pray or hours everyday on her behalf.

My suggestion to you is to join a prayer group and have others pray with you. When 2 or 3 agree on anyone thing…
Also when you visit other churches look or a prayer box and put in a prayer request. Go online there are many sites that will honor prayer requests. But most of all the most powerfull prayer you can offer is to get together with her God parents and pray the baptismal vows that were made on her behalf. I you are the mother your prayers are probably most effective if you are not get the mother involved.

I fell away from the Church my parents brought me up in, I was just out of high school. I thought I was an intellectual and my parents were narrow minded. My parents didnt talk to me much about religion. I thought I had it all figured out.

That was the Church of Christ, I thought I was going to be Atheist or Agnostic for a little while when I stopped going to their Church, then I found out about Catholicism.

Stoop to her level, she probably thinks she is smarter than you. If you know Catholicism very well then ask her if she would like to have a friendly debate or just listen to her talk about why she believes what she believes. Listen to her for awhile as she goes through her learning process, keep the dialouge open but dont push Catholicism until she starts to wonder why you are being so nice.

Do not stomp your foot and demand that she do anything, shes a teenager. My father tried that with my sister and it only got worse…a lot worse.

Could there be friend(s) involved with her choice?

It just proves one should have one’s own children brought up in strictly Catholic schools.

LOL, I agree but I doubt that would solve issues such as this. Teenagers are known to be unruly creatures regardless of how they are raised. Some are perfect Angels and some I think are possesed. Its usually the perfect Angels you have to watch out for.

My son sort of dropped religion after high school. I think that he thought he was very smart. (Most college kids are like that. :))

We talked about evolution and religion once, and he reallized that he didn’t have all the answers. (We both acknowledge that evolution is a fact.)

We said nothing more, and I never brought up religion, except to say that I was going to church–or something like that.

Lately, I’ve noticed that he’s been reading his old high school Bible.

I’m not saying that everyone always comes back, but I think that most do.

Proves nothing. I takes one friend or friend of a friend , Internet, a book…to open the door.
Dont worry she will come back. I did the same thing.

My son went to a Catholic school.

He sort of dropped religion - didn’t go to church but didn’t pick up another religion either. Lately he’s been reading his old high school Bible.

Hi, I suggest definitely praying for you daughter and maybe having a Mass offered for her? I heard that offering Masses for people who are alive is even more effective than offering them for the dead, but that’s something to look into I guess, I’m not sure where I heard it…
pray to Our Lady too. :slight_smile:

THe reason I’m saying is because I used to be into this type of thing when I was younger. This was before I was baptized… my family was agnostic, but we did have a vaguely Christian “background”. (Eastern Orthodox). Somewhere at the end of middle school, I had some friends who were into paganism and I felt attracted to it, and to other things like wicca and the occult. Why? I’d say for me it was because I felt there was some sort of “power” in it…I think what really happened is the devil was tempting me with a desire for power especially supernatural power, to do something that others can’t , and to feel ‘special’. That’s just for me, I don’t know the reason your daughter got involved in it.

Then, my family decided to become Christians and I was baptized in the Orthodox church. The interesting thing is that right after I was baptized, I noticed that I no longer want to practice this religion at all and I felt no attraction to it whatsoever. Later on I realized that the reason I came to faith is because Mary was praying for me - I can’t explain how I know this but it’s sort of a long story lol.

However, if someone was raised Christian, they do sometimes leave for a while and practice these sorts of religions, and it does happen that they come back. Especially if they’re a teenager, or a young person, it might just be a phase. But some things there are really …well, demonic :frowning: and so I suggest praying for her. God is definitely stronger than all this, and since your daughter is baptized and was raised Catholic, she is His child and He will draw her back I think. (with prayer)

Have you ever heard of the Green Scapular?

Also, sometimes it really takes time… I was agnostic, then semi-pagan/new age, then through God’s grace became Orthodox, then left it and became Protestant, and now finally i’m in the Catholic Church lol. Sometimes it’s a real journey so be patient, hope, and pray.

God bless!

I am dealing with a college aged son who has also fallen for the “Intellectual” arguments that if science has not proven it, then he won’t believe it.

It is very frustrating and all I can say is prayer, prayer, prayer!

Pray to St. Monica, St. Augustine’s mother, who prayed for nearly 30 years for her son and husband until they both converted.

All we can really do is provide a loving example for our children to see, the rest is up to God!

I fell away from the Church for nearly 30 years, never abandoning Jesus, but avoiding the Church because the Truth she teaches us is so difficult, especially when you buy into the lies of our culture. Their false arguments say that material wealth, popularity and primarily self-serving pleasures are the key to happiness!

I would recommend open discussion and you must become informed on what the Church actually teaches (read the Catechism and use CA, etc…!). So often the call away from the Church is based on lies, misinformation and emotional arguments.

Look at abortion. Everyone knows in their heart that murdering an innocent baby is always, always always, wrong!

The lies change murder into “Choice”, a baby into a “tissue mass” or an “un-viable life form”, our defense of these innocent babies into “a hateful denial of women’s rights…”.

We must present the Truth in a loving and clear format. The message must be well informed and not just “sound bites” and we must know the arguments of the other side!

It is not just “pagans” or athiests, but also our a large number of our fellow Catholics who are uninformed and so often give fuel to the lies of the other side!

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!


Well, I “dabbled” in paganism before converting and fought the temptation during and after converting to the Church. My deep love of nature is what got me I think. Plus a love of ancient history and religions. After hours of studying the topic you can’t help but get drawn in. But I somehow doubt this was the way your daughter came into it.
What kept leading me back to the Church was simply how beautiful the Faith is. The Eucharist. The saints. God. When you think about it, the Faith makes perfect sense.
I wasn’t really as happy as I thought I would be with no morals. I always came back. Finally I got tired of it and threw away all of my books on paganism, even those that were just academic. There is an incredible draw to paganism as a way of life that is different and ancient. A way of life that seems to be so “freeing” is in actuality very very much the opposite. Your daughter will return once she gets some sense, just as I did. I would second the recommendation of The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton. If your daughter is interested in the academic side of the argument this will convince her to come back Home.

**I would also like to warn you about a book on the other side of the spectrum that nearly destroyed my faith and is very convincing about polytheism. Its called A World Full of Gods: An Inquiry into Polytheism by John Michael Greer. Greer is the Scott Hahn of the pagan world. He knows what he is talking about when it comes to philosophy, his arguments can and will destroy any faith in a monotheistic God if given half a chance. Don’t let her read this book! You may never convince her if she does. His arguments can only be picked a part after much study of philosophy, theology, anthropology, and prayer. Most folks will not do this and will become lifelong pagans because of it. **

I’ll be praying for her.

In Christ,


A friend of mine was brought up in strictly Catholic schools before V2 (where he was emotionally and physically abused by the teaching nuns) and went to a Catholic high school, where, as he put it, they educated the faith right out of him, and came out believing nothing.

He now is a faithful member of the local Melkite Catholic parish, where he is looked up to as the best example of faith and piety there.

Any form of paganism is blatantly false. I can’t begin to say how blatantly false pagan religions are. Honestly they’re not about truth at all.

If this was a secular board and rcwhiteh pointed out that her daughter decided to become a flat earther, would you guys react the same way? Or would you just say, “that’s an absurd theory just point out the evidence and reasoning against it.”

I can’t believe that the idea that Catholicism is about rational truth has barely been pointed out. Has the abominable myth of fideistic Catholicism even reached practicing Catholics on this board? Honestly, if that is the case no wonder people leave the Church for absurdities such as paganism, or atheism and such.

In addition to prayer and patience, you need to have discussions. Ask your daughter why she became a pagan and more importantly why she left Catholicism. What were the flaws she found in it? Then just at your own pace move on to point out the lack of flaws in Catholic teachings in comparison to the countless flaws in paganism.

My best friend is a Pagan. She is a former Christian, she has been a pagan for 4 years, and is farther away from being a Christian. She is smarter then just about anyone at our school in Theology of any sort, other then Taoism, and Buddhism, where I beat her every debate, but thats just cause I study them.

Pagans are vastly different. You have the violent ones who do sacrifices to the moon goddess, then you have the ones that are as peaceful as quakers, who would rather die then harm a bug. Paganism, itself is HUGE in varity. Many of them worship a goddess, at least, all of them here either worship a goddess, or just call themselves Pagans to be “cool”. If I had a daughter who believened Paganism, I’d try to learn what she believes Exactly, and then go from there. Prove her beliefs faulty (nicely, or your just gonna **** her off, and she will choose to ignore your statements on her belief).

I appreciate the replies of the forum members here in this case. I’ll update you on what’s happened:

In an email conversation with my daughter (incidentally, I’m her father, not her mother, as someone supposed), she told me that the pivotal event in her conversion to Paganism came one day at Mass during school. (She attended the same small Catholic school that my son now attends.) She was praying when, according to her, Jesus spoke to her and said, “You were never one of mine - get out!”

One can image how something like that would affect a young girl.

She told me that she still believes that the Trinity is real, but that as much as she is sure that God wants people to believe that there are no other gods, that is not so. She apparently worships Nyx, the Goddess of Night - hence her claim to be a Nocturnal Pagan. (I may be oversimplifying that claim somewhat.)

What occurs to me is this:
*]If she believes that the Trinity is real, then there is no conflict with the statement that Jesus Christ came to Earth to establish and ordain the Catholic Church.
*]If Christ set up the Church, He empowered it to dispense the Sacraments and made those Sacraments effective (i.e., gave them power).
*]If the Sacraments are effective for those who receive them validly, then any Sacrament she received during her childhood would be effective for her.
[/LIST]As my signature says, our family is Eastern Catholic (specifically, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church); my daughter was baptized in that tradition by a validly ordained priest. Having received that Sacrament, she also received the gift of Filial Adoption - rebirth into the personal family of God.

If her Baptism was effective, it would then be a falsehood for Christ to speak to her and tell he that she was never one of His. Since I believe that Christ is never false (to anyone), it leads me to the conclusion that it was not Christ but Satan who spoke to my daughter that day at Mass, and Satan is the Father of Lies.

I am trying to find a way to phrase this thought and say it to her in a way that will not alienate her; any suggestions are appreciated.

RC, you might ask her something along the lines of: “What do you think the Enemy of Jesus would want you to think about Him? Would it not be that Jesus has no love and concern for you? If you have heard such a temptation of the Enemy could it be that he senses you could be a strong and faithful daughter of Christ’s and effective in furthering His Kingdom?”

Truthful input:

Think about most experiences young people born post-Vatican II have had at mass: Boring feel good half-protestantized services with folk music and a pastor who is probably more concerned with ecumenism with the local Christian communities than maintaining the ancient sense of Catholic ritual.
Liturgies for young people are pretty much the same to them as anything their non-Catholic friends get in their churches. So there, nothing seems special about Catholicism, and Christianity as a whole holds little or no integrity.

So…being spiritual persons by nature, these young people want to believe in something that fulfills them and their natural human need for ritual. Neo-paganism is loaded with rituals. There’s formality to it. Do X and Y happens. neo-pagan altars are set up and reverenced in a way that is often just as if not more so done in Catholic churches of old. Neo-pagans emphasize respect at their rituals, use incense, use candles, use wares similar to a chalice and paten (though for far different uses than Catholics), and there is a lot of mystery involved with what is believed to happen during their rituals. This is very attractive to a young person who has never actually had anything like it. Also, in neo-paganism, the individual is in control. You do the ritual. You do the magic. You have your altar. Young people, especially those who feel oppressed by parents/family/society like the idea of being in control. Young people also desire feeling, which is dangerous in serious matters of real faith, and neo-paganism can supplement that desire as well.

At least that is what I liked about it. It was something I had never seen before. Thankfully, I did find my way back. The way I came back will not be the way your child will come back, because we all leave and return for different reasons, but they all boil down to “Well, I thought I knew what was best for me more so than God” when in fact we don’t. I am now more mature and know that religion isn’t about feeling, it isn’t about being in control. But thank God, Catholicism has enough ritual to go around -beautiful ones at that- if we are willing to learn more about our faith and liturgies and understand what is going on and why. There is nothing we could ever want from a religion that can not be found in the Catholic church, and there is nothing we can ever need that cannot be provided for at the Holy Mass itself. Young people, of course, will have one heck of a time trying to figure this out. You might think young people are devout because they’re quiet at mass, kneel to pray before (probably because everyone else is and they don’t want to stick out), and maybe even because they go to youth group, but unless they are ever really taught, they are all in danger of leaving.

And it may be a great idea to get your child into a strict private Catholic school…but who can afford it these days? Most Catholic school, at least the one I went to (with lots and lots of aid) are generally only for the wealthiest families, and believe me, those children of the wealthy familes, the teachers themselves, and even people at church will have no problem reminding you, and maybe even your child, that you are poor if you pay for tuition with grants. It all depends on the individual, knowledge of the faith, peer pressure, and the parents themselves who ought to foster Catholicism in the home when it come to leaving/remaining in the faith.

I was a cradle Latin who had a brief bout with Paganism. Looking back, I would not say that I ever “fell away” from the church. For me, it was that I was poorly catechized, and did not understand the faith. I did not “get” the Eucharist, and as a result, I was spiritually starving.

I think a lot of it was the people. They lived what they believed, were not hypocrites, and had similar values to mine-respect for the earth and those beings that live upon it.

Very little, I would say. I studied Wicca, and quickly determined that this was not what I was seeking.

Fundamentalist Christians who did try to live what they believed. I got into the Bible, and the Scripture led me to the early church, then I found my way back.

Did you mean to say that you did not wish to start a thread?

Honestly couldn’t this be just a form of intrusive thoughts? Nothing but a mental affliction?

I myself struggled with scrupulosity and it wasn’t something supernatural. It was just a problem requiring a practical solution.

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