Do I go to the church of anti-Catholic relatives?

Recently I made the decision to convert, which did not sit well with my family (they are all Southern Baptist). We still get along great, with religion being the only sore subject.

My question is, what to do about church when visiting my family? I usually work Saturday and Sunday nights, so it isn’t often that I go to see them where attending church with them would be possible. They’ve already said that they would never step foot into my church with me, (EVER, as my mom put it), so do I return the favor with them, and never go into the church I attended from 7th grade until college? Or do I just smile, attend the church with them, and keep some sort of family civility? I want to be true to what God wants in my life. So help, please!

P.S. Also, what to do when I have children someday, and they go visit my family for a week or so. How do you handle them possibly going to a church radically different than what they will be raised in?

This is one of the many situations in which Catholics must use their prudential judgment to assess the best course of action.

If your relatives are so opposed to Catholicism that they will not “ever” step foot in a Catholic church, even as a gesture of love for you, then it seems reasonable to strictly limit how often you accept an invitation from them to be a guest at their church. One possibility would be to only go to their church for “state occasions” at which your presence as a member of the family would be a positive duty (e.g., weddings, funerals).

If that seems to be too restrictive, you could also choose to accompany them to their church on important holidays like Christmas and Easter (so long as you also make sure to meet your obligation to attend Mass on those holidays or on the vigil preceding them). If your relatives complain about your choice not to accept more invitations to be a guest at their church, then you can introduce to them the concept of reciprocation: Namely, those who want to be hosts must also be good guests.

As for future children, given your family’s sentiments toward Catholicism, I cannot recommend allowing them to attend your family’s church unaccompanied by you or your spouse. See the link below for more information.

Recommended reading:

What do I do with a 14-year-old who has lost her faith?
God Help Me! These People Are Driving Me Nuts by Gregory K. Popcak
When Difficult Relatives Happen to Good People by Leonard Felder

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