Divorce destroying my siblings chances of Catholic education


#1

This is really hard for me to talk about... it makes me very very sad.

I am a 20-something newlywed, living away from home with my awesome husband. We try to be good Catholics, we use NFP in our marital life, we pray together, etc.

I have my parents to thank for that. I was raised in a strong Catholic home, attended mass every Sunday as a child, had Catholic education, and fell in love with my faith because I was led down that path.

I have 5 younger siblings.

In August 2009, my parents announced that they were divorcing. As a junior in college, engaged, active Catholic, I was completely blindsided by this. My parents were the two people who I assumed would never divorce.

My younger siblings are 20, twins that are 18, 13, and 11. The middle four have decided to stop going to church, including the 13 year old. and my mother (who instigated the divorce even though dad wanted to work it out) allows 13 year old not to attend church because she doesn't go anymore.

Father is Catholic, but very legalistic. He has always been that way just trying to follow the "rules" instead of trying to understand and decide if he agrees or not. So in his obsessive rule following he has decided to step back and not fight for my brother to finish his Catholic education and get confirmed stating that "the divorce decree puts your mom in charge of religious education, so I can't say anything".

I am trying to pray for my brother (and the other confirmed adult siblings who have fallen away), but I find myself getting angrier and angrier each moment I try to talk to God about it. My spouse is very patient and understanding about the whole situation, but he just doesn't know what to do.

Any advice? :(


#2

I'm sorry; I understand it's very disillusioning when parents divorce when the "child' is a young adult, especially when there are younger siblings. Is there a priest that you can talk to at your parish and a priest who will talk to your mother and siblings? Sometimes it makes a lot of difference if a priest will come to the home when people are having trouble and provide support. Otherwise it can be easy to get the feeling that the Church does not care whether the family attends or not (which I don't think is true but is how a lot of people feel). Priests tend to be really busy and may worry about being intrusive but if it's more about "I'm concerned about all of you" and less about "you are in BIG TROUBLE for missing Mass," it might help.


#3

Since you're angry at God, why not take your concerns to your priest ?

Priests are gifted in keen insight and wise counsel. They properly represent God the Father to His children.

Listen carefully to his words.


#4

[quote="OurLady01, post:3, topic:215608"]
Since you're angry at God, why not take your concerns to your priest ?

[/quote]

I'm definitely not angry with God. Just angry? at the whole situation... at my mom, at our priest at home for only counseling my dad and making my mom feel somewhat isolated from the church family (she has mentioned this to me on several occasions as my dad went to both priests at different churches in our town and painted my mom in a really negative light)...

I'm not angry with God at all... I'm just finding the overwhelming anger in my heart crippling to my prayer life about this specific subject (my family).

I will definitely seek counsel.


#5

I am so sorry that your family is going through this. Honestly, I know we are not suppose to give medical advice, but I suggest you look into if there is any medical explanation for what’s going on with your mom and dad. Dramatic changes to behavior don’t just happen from out of nowhere.

Prayers for you and your family. :gopray:


#6

Jesus,our Lords peace be whit You.
I am sorry to. It must be hard,but faith is for staying strong even when all seems to fall apart,so stay strong,pray,and don’t give up. Remember,God is watching over You all the time,and He wont let anything bad happend,and in the end,all will be good. Sometimes people need time to think,and sometime time to not going to Church,but in the end the seed that once wos planted will grow,and the faith whit it. Please take care,and don’t worry. Angels are whit You and Your family,I know they are.


#7

I'm so sorry this is happening to your family.

I support what the other posters said about seeking the counsel of a priest.

I know you know this but PRAY for your parents....pray that the Lord will break through their hardened hearts..pray that he reveals to each of them what their role is in this failure...and that they can see it with spiritual eyes giving them a willingness to forgive ..

Pray to St Michael who can battle the enemy who prowls about the world seeking the ruin of souls...pray to the Blessed Mother who crushes the head of the serpent.

If however, they never get back together...God desires your wholeness and healing....Draw ever closer to the sacraments and the Church.

How do I know this? Our family went through it 5 years ago.

Oh Mary conceived with out sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

PAX+


#8

Do you live reasonably close to where the siblings live? If so, you can try offering to take the younger ones to church with you. They might like the idea of some time away from home, to just go somewhere else and hang out. Maybe even go somewhere fun after wards? I’m sure they’re having a hard time dealing with this, and may even feel that to go to church is being disloyal to your mom.


#9

God TOTALLY understands your anger. Keep bringing it to Him. I realized these things are hard to pray about because if you are anything like me, you soon stop praying and spin in your anger. Even if you can muster a little, 'God, let me know when it is time to pray about this'. That way he sees you drawing near him and you don't get too caught up in the anger.

I realize you mom is no longer going to church. But that is just for now. Remember, she is hurting a lot as well and probably isn't thinking straight. She may come back.

The upside is soon enough all those younger siblings will be adults and they will have a sister who can bring them back to the faith is they so choose. Just think of all the 13 year olds in the same boat who DON"T have an older sister to look up to

CM


#10

I'm so sorry that you are going through this. You and your family are in my prayers.

Sometimes I think we forget that our prayers are also a conversation with God. Of course, He already knows that you are angry about this situation, but it's okay to "tell" Him that. When you are praying, it's okay to say to Him "this really upsets me. I want my family together. I don't like that my siblings don't go to church and aren't finding comfort in you!" Rant and rave and then stop and say "Thank you, God, for the fact that I do have my faith and You for comfort. Thank you that I have a loving husband."

He knows and He understands and He loves you. I know you know all that, but my point is He even loves you in and through your anger. Give it to Him to take the burden from you.

Now to the practical stuff. Talk to the priests in your mom's town and see if one can visit with her and offer comfort and see if they can maybe apologize for the way she was previously treated or in some way make up for it. Be sure if it's a different priest than was there during the divorce to explain that your dad told the priests his side and made your mom look bad and in doing so created a barrier between her and the Church. The goal is to give her an opening to get back into the church.

For your younger siblings, I like that someone suggested you taking them. They are feeling as lost and hurt and angry as you are. Make sure they know you are there for them, but not in a way that would undermine your parents' authority in any way.

I hope some of this will help.
God bless.
Melissa


#11

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.