Family member abandoning the Catholic church- help!


#1

My mother passed away a few years ago after a valiant fight with cancer. My parents had been married for over 30 years. My father started dating a woman last year who is a former Catholic and now considered herself a "born-again Christian." They recently became engaged. I asked my father if he was going to have a Catholic wedding, and he said, "Probably not." Ever since he started dating her, he goes to her church with her every Sunday instead of his church. This bothers me, because my dad was an active parishioner in the Catholic church before she came along. While I'm sure there were a few things he disagreed with about our faith, I never heard him complain once (read: he was perfectly happy being a Catholic and going to Mass each week.) While I am glad that church is still in his life, I am upset that he seems to have abandoned Catholicism. And yes, it bothers me equally that he seems to have given up on our religion because of a woman.

Is there anything I can do to help change his mind? I will be the first to admit that as a cradle Catholic (who didn't start regularly going to Mass as an adult until the past 5 years), there is still a LOT I still need to/am learning about my faith, so I'm not the best Catholic Apologetic there is. I can already hear my dad's response to me telling him I'm upset that he may not get married in the Catholic church..."What does it matter? I'll still be getting married in a church, before God..." What are some reasons I can give him as to why he should get married in the Catholic church? I should add that my dad is a baptized and confirmed Catholic and he and my mom were also married in the Catholic church- this is something that's been with him since he was born. I asked him a few months ago, point-blank, "Do you still consider yourself Catholic?" and he told me yes, but he ALWAYS goes to his fiancee's church.

Thanks in advance for any advice you can provide.


#2

Jesus,our Lords peace be whit You.
First,I am so sorry about Your mother,but she has no pain or sorrow anymore,and You will meet one day.
I would not be nervous about Your father. He needs to put distance between Your mother and all that has something to do whit her. Not because he would not love her,he will always have her in his heart,but he needs distance,and this is his way to survive and live whit the sorrow,so let him do so. God understands,and is always whit him,and he will come back to the Catholic Church,so don’t worrie. And does it matters where he will marrie? He do in front of Gods face anywhere it might take place. I believe that God is there where people believe in Him. All will be well again,and I offer You one one Hail Mary,and don’t worrie,enjoy his new love,and be happy for him.


#3

Unfortunately, we see this sad refrain played over and over again. Catholics who don't know their faith have their faith destroyed by someone else of equal or greater ignorance of the fullness of Christ's truths, but perhaps greater persuasive powers. If we are ignorant of our Catholic faith, we become vulnerable to having what faith we do have destroyed.

The first step for everyone is to give 100% religious assent to all Catholic teachings, not some, not most. All. It doesn't matter whether we fully understand them or not, we must still give assent to all Church teaching. When someone begins to reject any Church teaching, his faith is weakened, and he misses out on many graces he could have had that would have strengthened him in time of need. Furthermore, by rejecting (or disagreeing) with any Catholic teaching, he puts himself "above" the Church, which is the Mystical Body of Christ, and, therefore, above Christ (at least in his mind). This is pride, which destroys more souls than anything. Every sin has pride at its basis.

You can send the above part to your dad if he has e-mail or something similar. Tell him it's from someone else.

Before you do, though, we have to keep this in mind. We always go to God about man, before going to man about God. In other words, we should pray and offer penance for him before approaching him about this subject. I will offer my next Rosary for his (re)conversion. You need to pray and offer penance, too. THEN, you can approach him, with all love and charity.


#4

Which are the "born again" denominations and what are their services like?


#5

Well, there are literally thousands of them, all man-made, all different. No telling what they do, specifically, on a given Sunday. In general, though, Protestantism threw out the Liturgy of the Eucharist and kept the Liturgy of the Word for their service. But, it’s all they have, other than some singing, etc. The preacher decides what he wants to talk on, how he wants to interpret it, etc. No final authority, no checks and balances, no assurance that what he says is true. No history. It’s an individual thing. Whatever floats the preacher’s boat that Sunday is what they’re going to get.


#6

Pray for him and entrust him to the Lord....Be thankful he's working through this and looks for the future....He' s desiring to be equally yoked with someone who loves the Lord..It appears He seeking the Lord with someone as opposed to some new ager seeking the god of this world...


#7

OP,

As a revert who stayed away from the Church for over 15 years, it’s hard for me to accept your Dad’s willingness to give up the Church at the request of another fallen away Catholic.

Have you read any of Scott Hahn’s books (or Stephen Ray’s, Jeff Cavins’).

Hahn has a wonderful book out on the Sacraments - perhaps that would rekindle your Dad’s love for the Eucharist. It’s titled “Swear to God”.

“The Lamb’s Supper, the Mass as Heaven on Earth” is well reviewed also. 150 people have given Hahn’s book 5 stars on Amazon.

amazon.com/Scott-Hahn/e/B001H6MRHU


#8

[quote="Barbkw, post:4, topic:217612"]
Which are the "born again" denominations and what are their services like?

[/quote]

I don't hear about being "born again" very much except from Baptists. And their "services" are just the preacher, along with some singing, and of course the collection. Although I hear that sometimes they pass grape juice and crackers...for what reason, I have no idea. They also do a lot of Bible studies, usually on Wednesday nights but also on Sundays either before or after their preacher talks.

Do you think she's gone Baptist? They are usually the most vehement Catholic-bashers!


#9

For Catholics weekly MASS attendance is non-negotiable.
Pray for him. If you haven't remind him of that tidbit above.


#10

That is really insulting. I’m sure she could come in and call his family a bunch of Mary praying people who stand in line waiting for their magic cookie. I don’t hold to that opinion, but neither do I hold that any denominations services are “just” anything to them.

As for the poster’s father. If she’s never talked to him about all of this, she really has no idea what he thinks about it. It could be that he went to mass to keep his wife happy and has never agreed with Catholic teaching. It could be that he doesn’t care one way or another. There are a lot of spouses going to church just to keep peace in the family and have no desire to be there.


#11

well, ok, it was a little cavalier, but the truth is that Baptists are the main Catholic-bashers. I live in an area where I hear it all the time. You can think it's insulting - I have heard them discussing their "count" of Catholics converted out of paganism like we are trophies. And BTW, I didn't mean "just" as in minimizing their service, I meant "just" as in it's ONLY the preacher.

Yeah, I get tired of hearing how we worship statues and keep crucifying Christ every Sunday. I actually like to listen to their preachers at times, they do love the Bible, I'll give them that. I wish they'd give us the same courtesy, but oh well.

I really feel sorry for the OP. What a sad thing for her dad to be leaving the faith he shared with her mom. I'm going to pray for him and for his fiancee.


#12

Not to get off track but we have a few catholics attending our services...On man got really on fire about his faith in Christ...His whole family(catholic) came to visit to see what his church was all about...Some still visit once in a while...


#13

Thank you for all of the advice and prayers.

To answer some questions, my dad's fiancee attends a non-denominational Christian church. It's not Baptist. I'm not sure what their services are like, since I've never attended, but my father has told me there is a lot of acoustic guitar/singing, and a preacher/pastor who talks about something different weekly (similar to a Homily.)

Barb, I've never read or even heard of the books you mentioned, but I will check them out. Thanks for the recommendations!

As far as my dad, him going to Mass had nothing to do with my mom. My mother fell away from religion as she became older and was dealt some pretty rough cards, both health-wise and otherwise. I think it made her very jaded. Please try not to judge her- I don't feel comfortable getting into the nitty-gritty details, but suffice to say she felt abandoned in many ways. She still believed in God and considered herself Catholic, but just stopped going to Mass. So my dad's Catholicism had nothing to do with my mom...of that, I am certain. He went to Mass without her both before and after her illness.

My dad can get pretty defensive at times. I would love to tell him that one of the fundamental requirements of being Catholic is to attend Mass every Sunday (not just any church's service) but I can already foreshadow his response- he will likely shut down and say, "Well, I guess I'm not Catholic then." :nope: :banghead:


#14

You seriously need to knuckle down and get him away from these "non-denominational" church services.

Sounds to me this women might be dragging him away from the Church, her being a "former Catholic", and classing herself a "born-again Christian", even though your born again in baptism?

Tell your father all early Christians were apart of the Catholic Church, this women is just an heretic luring him away from the truth.

Few examples you could show him;

Ignatius of Antioch:
"Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he ordains . Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, **there is the Catholic Church*" (Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 [A.D. 110]).

The Martyrdom of Polycarp:
"And of the elect, he was one indeed, the wonderful martyr Polycarp, who in our days was an apostolic and prophetic teacher, bishop of the Catholic Church in Smyrna. For every word which came forth from his mouth was fulfilled and will be fulfilled" (Martyrdom of Polycarp 16:2 [A.D. 155]).

If this was me, I would confront the women!.*


#15

[quote="Patrick_Joshua, post:14, topic:217612"]

Ignatius of Antioch:
"Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he ordains . Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, **there is the Catholic Church**" (Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 [A.D. 110]).

The Martyrdom of Polycarp:
"And of the elect, he was one indeed, the wonderful martyr Polycarp, who in our days was an apostolic and prophetic teacher, bishop of the Catholic Church in Smyrna. For every word which came forth from his mouth was fulfilled and will be fulfilled" (Martyrdom of Polycarp 16:2 [A.D. 155]).

If this was me, I would confront the women!.

I don't know if you will accept info from a heretic but if you notice the dates you will know the word "catholic" was used but all the sees were as one so it wasn't
what you see today as "just the roman see and the rites associated with it..The church was still one at that point but not with major divisions, exception ie I'm of Peter, I'm of Paul, Apollos ect

[/quote]


#16

I'm going to post twice, first to provide you some comfort should your father leave the Church. The Catholic Church provides us the greatest chance of achieving eternal salvation with God due to it having the fullness of truth. It's ability to provide God's grace through the sacraments. But..

First, to comfort you should your father fall away from the Catholic church. The Catholic church doesn't teach that you have to be Catholic to be saved. Christ himself, in saying how we'll be judged doesn't say we have to be a specific religion. He also doesn't say to be saved we only have to accept him as our personal savior. Christ's description of the final judgment in Matthew 25, 31-46.

Matthew ch 25 31-46
'When the Son of man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. All nations will be assembled before him and he will separate people one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats. He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.

Then the King will say to those on his right hand, "Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take as your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world.

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you made me welcome,

lacking clothes and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me."

Then the upright will say to him in reply, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?

When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome, lacking clothes and clothe you?

When did we find you sick or in prison and go to see you?"

And the King will answer, "In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me."

Then he will say to those on his left hand, "Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

For I was hungry and you never gave me food, I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink,

I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, lacking clothes and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me."

Then it will be their turn to ask, "Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or lacking clothes, sick or in prison, and did not come to your help?"

Then he will answer, "In truth I tell you, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me."

And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the upright to eternal life.'

(This passage counters those protestant denominations which teach, "Once saved always saved." And those which teach that works don't matter. It should be a warning to Catholics or protestants that we must do more than simply show up at church, we must live the faith. Obeying Christ's direction and God's commandments and doing good works is part and parcel of accepting him as our Savior. The two are inseparable. Or as stated in James "Faith without works is dead.")

Also,
Luke Ch 9, 49
John spoke up. 'Master,' he said, 'we saw someone driving out devils in your name, and because he is not with us we tried to stop him.' But Jesus said to him, 'You must not stop him: anyone who is not against you is for you.'
Matthew Ch 9, 39.
" John said to him, 'Master, we saw someone who is not one of us driving out devils in your name, and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him.'

But Jesus said, 'You must not stop him; no one who works a miracle in my name could soon afterwards speak evil of me."

Which can be interpreted that we should treat as brethren those who follow Jesus, even if they didn't come to him through the Church.


#17

Since your main concern seems to be that your father is falling away from the church and the Fullness of Truth which resides in it, I would start by asking your father about what being Catholic means to him. He will be missing out on the Eucharist. We as Catholics are able to touch God with our own hands each week. To receive Him into our bodies. What other church can offer that to him? I would go on to ask him what it means to him to be Catholic and his opinion on the other sacraments. For example, reconciliation, the ability for us to be assured that our sins are forgiven. I don't think you can push/force him back to the Church - especially when he's trying to please his fiancee. But you can get him to consider his faith and pray to God for guidance.

Can't remember who said it but, "To know Church history is to become Catholic". When a protestant friend of mine was challenging me about Church traditions and the Eucharist, I read " The Faith of the Early Fathers", William A. Jurgens. It's a 3 volume set which has translations of Christian writings from the earliest days of the church. Every Catholic should at least read volume I, it becomes clear that various practices that the Catholic Church is accused of inventing as it drifted from the "true" faith, were actually held as far back as we can find writings. Infant baptism, the real presence, leadershi of the Bishop of Rome, etc. etc. (Did you know that a council of 66 bishops in ~2nd century rejected a proposal to DELAY baptism until the 8th day after birth? Clearly showing that infant baptism was the routine practice from the earliest days of the church.) It also shows how the canon of the Bible developed. As you're probably aware the protestant Bible differs from the Catholic Bible based on Luther rejecting the books often called the apocrypha as well as adding the word "alone" to a passage. What gave Luther the authority to do that? If the Church was wrong about those books- why not reject others (and Luther did want to toss out a couple of others that conflicted with his saved by faith alone theology).
"I also know that in Rom. 3, the word "solum" is not present in either Greek or Latin text - the papists did not have to teach me that - it is fact! The letters s-o-l-a are not there. And these knotheads stare at them like cows at a new gate, while at the same time they do not recognize that it conveys the sense of the text - if the translation is to be clear and accurate, it belongs there." Martin Luther

The authority of the Church is the foundation of Catholicism. I do not accept that authority because of passages in the Bible. I accept the validity of the Bible because of the Catholic Church's authority in matters of faith and doctrine.

Anyway, a few other books I found useful:
Catholicism and Fundamentalism, Karl Keating (excellent account of the attacks on Catholicism by fundamentalist and the actual Catholic doctrine)
Suprised by Truth, Patrick Madrid (Account of conversions of various fundamentalist ministers to Catholicism)
What Catholics Really Believe, Karl Keating (may be good for his fiancee as it clears up many of the common criticisms/misconceptions about Catholicism. Many Catholics fall away because they misunderstand their faith to begin with)
Where is that in the Bible?, Patrick Madrid. (small book providing Biblical references for many Catholic beliefs.)

Best of luck to your Father. I hope his faith journey is like mine. I'm a cradle Catholic and I had taken my faith for granted and was ill-equipped to respond to my friend's criticisms and questions. But instead of drifting, I hit the books to make sure I understood actual Catholic teach before accepting what my friends minister was telling them.


#18

Cuppycake,

I hear you. I have aunts, uncles and many cousins who left the Church. My own mother, both brothers and their wives also left. It is painful and I fear for their souls everyday. All I can do is pray. Obviously, your father doesn't know that the Catholic Church is the one true church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, or doesn't comprehend what that means or entails. Is it possible for you to sit down and with tears, if necessary, tell him how important it is to remain in the Church? If he doesn't accept that, it would not be wrong to ask him to remain in the Church for your sake. It is worth a shot. Either way, pray, pray, pray-especially the Rosary. Also make Acts of Faith for him and offer up your communions and make spiritual communions for him.

ACT OF FAITH

O MY GOD, I firmly believe that Thou art one God in Three Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I believe that Thy Divine Son became Man, and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived.

One good reason? He is risking his immortal soul.


#19

I don't know if you will accept info from a heretic but if you notice the dates you will know the word "catholic" was used but all the sees were as one so it wasn't
what you see today as "just the roman see and the rites associated with it..The church was still one at that point but not with major divisions, exception ie I'm of Peter, I'm of Paul, Apollos ect

The letter in question, clearly indicates that the Christian Church as taken the name Catholic (Universal). Were not talking about the Roman see, or the rites. Im specifically talking about the name of the church. Which is Catholic. This is a non-debatable aspect of the history of Christianity. This is the same Catholic Church of today.


#20

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