Family problems (need some advice)


#1

Hey everyone, I have a problem with a particular member of my family and I wondered if I could get some advice.
My cousin’s husband is a Lutheran from Austria, and he swears up and down that we worship the Virgin Mary. And whenever I try to tell him that we don’t he responds back that, “maybe the Church teaches that worship of Mary is wrong, but the fact is that you Catholics do it anyway. You’ve never been to Europe, Cody; and you’ve never lived in a predominately Catholic country.” I even asked a Polish priest at my parish about this before and he told me, "if you go to even the littlest Austrian village and ask a grandma if she worships Mary, she’ll tell you ‘no’, but that she does pray to Mary in that she asks for her intercession."
When I tried to explain what the priest said he blew up at me, and called me every obsenity you can think of. Adding that he lived in Austria 27 years and he knows what he saw. And that I offended him by questioning it.
Ironically, I just noticed an email from him today (although it was dated last month) where he thanked me for giving him some CDs that he used in his mythology class, and he invited me to stop by one of his clubs so long–and I quote–"promise not to talk about Mariolatry in Austria."
I’m going to see my family on Christmas, and there’s a good chance he will be there. I wish I had some advice to deal with this problem. Has anybody else on this board ever had to go through something similar?

Thanks,

Cody


#2

You can’t reason with someone who’s unreasonable. He doesn’t want to hear it so he won’t. I’d avoid the topic.


#3

I agree. I wouldn’t even talk about it. If he brings it up, just tell him that you’ve already stated your beliefs on the matter. Period.


#4

I agree with the other two posters, but if he brings it up you might add that anybody who worships Mary is violating the solid Catholic principle that Catholics are to worship no one or no thing other than God, and that he should not judge Catholicism by its abuse. Ask him if he thinks we should get rid of sex because there we have rapists.


#5

Emotional explosions are not something you will see in someone who is genuinely interested in listening. I wonder if this is more common among family members. Based on my own personal experience, I agree with the other posters. Don’t engage in a debate with him unless he is really interested in an actual dialogue.Refer him to the catechism instead, and pray for him. Chances are, he has other problems with the church, and his emotional reaction to this issue is a symptom of a larger problem that may or may not be based on reason.

And, incidentially, you do not need to live in Austria to see what he sees. Hang out with the immigrant communities from predominantly Catholic countries (especially Latino) in and American parish for a few weeks, and you’ll see the same stuff.


#6

Maybe you could ask him to help you with something you are trying to get across to your parents, something off the topic of faith, say a theory of a book or since he likes mythology, the origins of Santa Claus. Because he knows the mythology about Santat Claus and you would like to show your parents how the spirit of giving anonimously came about as somehting fun for the get together and he would be your expert.

So then later when he makes some sly, under the breath comment about “Marilotry”, ask him if he though it was nice that you came to him to help get something across to you parents. That by no means did you worship him, but did ask for help in conveying the idea to your parents. He might say that is differnt, but you could point out that your parents are the family head, which is similar to the place of God with in the church. You asked your BIL for help just as we ask Mary and the other saints for help in conveying our messages to God. The Saints might know a better way to phrase something, just as your BIL would know a better way to phrase something to your parents.

Using this method might make him think, but if he is just plainly obstinant you must agree to disagree. With that said, you should tell him you would like him to respect that you have your own beliefs and not bring it up further in such an agressive tone.

Older does not mean wiser! My 6 yo is quite wise, his frank simplistic wisdom catches me off guard often. Good luck and pray often!


#7

I agree to avoid the subject if at all possible. You could tell him this is a family occasion and not the right place to have disagreements and ruin the day for everyone. Do you think that perhaps he is questioning his own beliefs? Sometimes when that is the case a person might be argumentative and aggressive in his/her statements. Just food for thought.


#8

don’t forget to silently consecrate him to Mary. I hope he won’t have to answer to God for his attitude towards His mother. Perhaps, you could offer a decade for him often?


#9

It sounds to me as if he is pushing your buttons. Avoid the topic. If he brings it up, politely, in a good natured way, say something to the effect that you and he have already exchanged views on this, and there’s nothing more to say on it.

Change the topic at that point to something that is mutually pleasant to each of you. If you refuse to engage in fruitless discussions on this, he will lose interest.


#10

Tell that no matter what he says, he’s a devotee of Hitler. Then throw him a “Heil Hitler!” and go “Nah nah nah nah nah” with your fingers in your ears when he tries to call you on it. See, the thing is, you’ve got to learn to meet them on their level.

Oh, and if he gets violent, just tell him that’s something a Nazi would do.

[/Jack Handy]


#11

[quote=montanaman]Tell that no matter what he says, he’s a devotee of Hitler. Then throw him a “Heil Hitler!” and go “Nah nah nah nah nah” with your fingers in your ears when he tries to call you on it. See, the thing is, you’ve got to learn to meet them on their level.

Oh, and if he gets violent, just tell him that’s something a Nazi would do.

[/Jack Handy]
[/quote]

Are you grouping all Austrians as devotees of Hitler?


#12

[quote=Karin]Are you grouping all Austrians as devotees of Hitler?
[/quote]

My sarcasm detector is giving me mixed readings here.

Do YOU think I’m grouping all Austrians as devotees of Hitler?

In case I was too subtle, I’ll answer clearly: no. I try to avoid outrageously absurd (and historically inaccurate) blanket assertions.

My point was that this Austrian guy was making a blanket state about the spiritual/metaphysical/emotional life of a billion people based on his impression, with no desire to engage in dialogue. In the face of that, absurdity is the name of the game.

Clearly, I’m not a funny person.


#13

[quote=montanaman]In case I was too subtle, I’ll answer clearly: no. I try to avoid outrageously absurd (and historically inaccurate) blanket assertions.

My point was that this Austrian guy was making a blanket state about the spiritual/metaphysical/emotional life of a billion people based on his impression, with no desire to engage in dialogue. In the face of that, absurdity is the name of the game.

Clearly, I’m not a funny person.
[/quote]

So glad to hear that you are not grouping all of us Austrians in with this guy :smiley:


#14

I have a sister who is the same way. I just shrug my shoulders and say, “That’s interesting.” and walk away.


#15

[quote=Karin]So glad to hear that you are not grouping all of us Austrians in with this guy :smiley:
[/quote]

No worries. I mainly leave my blanket generalizations to statements about Protestants. :thumbsup:


#16

pray, pray, pray for him. He knows how you feel. Sometimes people are blinded. Maybe God can lift the blinders through your prayer.


#17

My husband has a saying…we use it when referring to arguing with my 2yo daughter…even my 5yr old son has it down…

“Never wrestle with a pig. Everybody gets muddy, and the pig likes it”

(you’re the only one who’ll suffer b/c pigs like mud)


#18

[quote=Cody]Hey everyone, I have a problem with a particular member of my family and I wondered if I could get some advice.
My cousin’s husband is a Lutheran from Austria, and he swears up and down that we worship the Virgin Mary. And whenever I try to tell him that we don’t he responds back that, “maybe the Church teaches that worship of Mary is wrong, but the fact is that you Catholics do it anyway. You’ve never been to Europe, Cody; and you’ve never lived in a predominately Catholic country.” I even asked a Polish priest at my parish about this before and he told me, "if you go to even the littlest Austrian village and ask a grandma if she worships Mary, she’ll tell you ‘no’, but that she does pray to Mary in that she asks for her intercession."
When I tried to explain what the priest said he blew up at me, and called me every obsenity you can think of. Adding that he lived in Austria 27 years and he knows what he saw. And that I offended him by questioning it.
Ironically, I just noticed an email from him today (although it was dated last month) where he thanked me for giving him some CDs that he used in his mythology class, and he invited me to stop by one of his clubs so long–and I quote–"promise not to talk about Mariolatry in Austria."
I’m going to see my family on Christmas, and there’s a good chance he will be there. I wish I had some advice to deal with this problem. Has anybody else on this board ever had to go through something similar?

Thanks,

Cody
[/quote]

I stopped trying to explain our love of the Blessed Virgin to someone who would blow up at me; HOWEVER, whenever they start to spout off nonsense, I stop them by and tell them that if they continue to repeat it they are breaking the 8th Commandment and proving to all around them that they are not a good Christian.

It stops them in their tracks.

You might try it.


#19

Oh, and for the record…I thought Montanaman’s answer was HILARIOUS…

but then, I like Monty Python…

:rotfl:


#20

[quote=LSK]Oh, and for the record…I thought Montanaman’s answer was HILARIOUS…

but then, I like Monty Python…

:rotfl:
[/quote]

Wasn’t it from Fawlty Towers???


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