Family only Catholics-by-name, what can I do?


I have talked to them about this, and I have them going to Church with me almost every weekend. I am afraid that this is where their Catholicism ends, and while they believe in Jesus, they are surely in a state of mortal sin and do not live life according to Jesus. I would die for them in a second, and I would give up my salvation in a heartbeat for their’s, but I know that this is not how things work. I have and will pray for them for the rest of my life, but I was wondering…would this even help? I do not doubt the power of God, but I do know that since He is just, He will not accept them into His kingdom just because of me (at least, I think). I feel almost sick to my stomach, and what makes it worse is that they always have the excuse, “Frank, we are good people”. I almost have the feeling that I couldn’t possibly be happy without the people closest to me in my life. What can I do?


You do what you have already been doing. You keep praying. Ask St. Monica and St. Augustine for help. They have a lot of personal experience with this very situation. If you can get them to Mass with you, that’s an excellent start. You can’t force them to have faith, nor can you have faith for them.


You know, God loves your family members more even than you do. Don’t you think He will do everything in His power to draw them to Himself?
I know how you feel, much of my family are protestants or lackadaisical Catholics. We can pray the rosary for them (it probably wouldn’t hurt to do it where they notice – though not rub their noses in it), offer up our sufferings, and pray daily for them. I think He often puts believers in with non-believers so we can pray for them.
Don"t give up. I heard of a man who prayed daily for his 3 friends - one became a Christian after 30 years, the other two after the man died.


Going to church every weekend is wonderful. I have close family members that are athiests and do not even beleive in God, let alone attend a church. It sounds like you are doing a good job evangelizing…just let God do his work, at least they are open to him!

Take care and keep praying, you are doing a wonderful job.


Pray for them and encourage them. .


Praying is absolutely, positively the best thing you can do. Remember that things happen in God’s time and you may never see the good that you do–accept that and keep doing it anyway.

One more thing I would suggest–learn what their biggest sources of doubt are, and study up on them. If you can help clear up their issues, they may improve in leaps and bounds on their own after that. Sometimes it’s a key issue they didn’t even know they had, so you might want to just feed them things you found interesting in your own studies, or discuss news headlines or movies in light of Cathollic teaching. To know God is to love Him, so help them know Him better.

For me, Scott Hahn’s talk on The Fourth Cup really changed my faith. It’s not official Catholic teaching, but it really revealed to me a master plan beyond human control that helped tie salvation history from the beginning of the Bible to the end for me, and my faith progressed rapidly just from that extra boost that made it all feel more real to me.


Keep praying and encouraging them in their faith.

One thing to watch for, though… be sure not to be nagging or to sound judgemental of their ways. Especially if they’re responding to you with “we’re good people”… it sounds as though your words may have questioned that.
Remember that our faith was founded on very weak men… but they became the foundation for it all.

Encourage them in positive, loving ways… not through guilt or judging.


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