Family unsupportive of Traditional Faith

I’m find myself in a peculiar situation. I was raised in a Novus Ordo Catholic environment in what I consider to be a fairly devout Catholic family. In my teens I strayed from going to mass because I felt it lacked spiritual substance, depth and reverence. Somehow deep down inside I just felt that it should be there and without it I was little more than punching the proverbial Sunday “time clock” each week to say I went to mass, and that didn’t feel right. And so I became cynical of the Church that I grew up in and turned away. I was rebuked by some of my family members for doing so, but to be honest I felt there was some hypocrisy to the way they practiced their own faith, but I digress.

Now in my mid-twenties, by what I believe to be divine providence I stumbled across the Tridentine Mass. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit I came upon this gift from God; a profound discovery that has reignited my own Catholic faith and indeed for me has been a saving grace.

The Extraordinary Form of the Mass contains what my soul had been seeking for so long. It fills the voids that previously existed. There exists in this form of the Mass a solemn reverence, a sense of sacredness, spiritual depth and a more pronounced manifestation of the divine for which I failed to find in the Novus Ordo. I studied it passionately to learn as much as I could about this truly extraordinary Mass previously unknown to me and even took up learning ecclesiastical latin. One shouldn’t shy away from putting a little effort into their Faith in my opinion. Understanding the theology behind the Sacred Liturgy and all of the Sacraments is essential to being able to fully appreciate them.

I have since joined an FSSP Parish and Latin Mass Community, which I attend at least once a week on Sunday despite the distance I must travel to get there. I now long for the Mass all week. I’ve also shed my cafeteria Catholicism to embrace the true faith in its entirety. I’ve come to know that I do not know better than the teachings of Holy Mother Church. I continue to study the Faith and take being a Catholic seriously – not just being a Sunday Catholic, but living the Faith and incorporating prayer as an integral element in my day.

What’s been so strange to me is that I find little support for my traditional Catholic Faith and views among the members of my family whom I used to regard as devout Catholics. There is almost a hostility towards all that which is traditional and my Faith is treated almost like some kind of fringe lunacy, completely different from their Catholic Church. Their attitudes are disappointing, hurtful, and alarming. Indeed, some refer to the traditional faith of the very same Church and Rite as their own as “my religion” – something foreign.

I have an aunt who is a devout Nun, now retired. When she visited recently she got quite upset when discussing the Faith in its pre-Vatican II form. Latin, the official language of the Church, was derided and I she felt that those who attended TLM were simply seeking “something mystical” that we don’t understand. I took issue with this, but said little out of respect. Another aunt who used to be a Nun got downright angry when we were discussing the traditional views of the Church when I stated that the Church will never ordain women as priests and hasn’t the authority to do so. These are members of my own family whom I previously believed were conservative, hard line Catholics!

I take Church teachings seriously and clearly see the danger of relativistic modernism. The Truth is absolute and is not subjective and open to personal interpretation, for if it were then nothing could be held as authentically true and there could not be a right and wrong. I’ve discovered that almost none of my family members know what a mortal sin is and do not feel compelled to seek the Sacrament of Penance, though I am quite certain there are those who refuse to accept the Church’s teaching on certain matters of Faith and Morals and do so knowingly. Sacred Tradition is erroneously regarded as belonging to some kind of historical Catholicism that is no longer applicable and in the absence of an absolute standard, Faith has eroded and the values of society in general continue to unravel.

Has anybody else experienced something similar to this with their kin and their traditional faith? How can I best approach this challenge in an amiable way? How can I show them that this is the same Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of which they are members? I don’t like throwing the Catechism at them on every issue to prove my assertions, however, maybe I must.I will not compromise the Truth and will bear witness to it where and when I can.

God Bless.


I am more or less your age and a traditional Catholic who goes to a Ukrainian rite parish. After several years, my family finally understands that the church I go to is Catholic. The best way to deal with family is simply don’t bring the subject up, if religion comes up change the topic. If they press you more just tell them that you “feel at home” there and you “just like it”. Modern society exalts feelings over anything else so they CAN’T argue with that, lol!! (Believe me I’ve tried that argument, it works in keeping peace!)

Just be a good son/brother/nephew, etc. Once they see that you are charitable (rather then some angry traditionalist), they will come to accept your traditionalism.

You cannot argue someone into the faith. It’s even worse with family, did not Our Lord say that even a prophet is not welcome among his family? I can bet anything you are not a prophet, so if even a prophet is not welcome why should WE be surprised when family doesn’t listen to US.

Agree with “tradycja”!

As far as family other than your aunts…Could it be that their past exposure to Catholics who prefer the TLM was less than a positive one? It could be their exposure was with a “RadTrad” that left them with a “bad taste in their mouth” (so to speak). Be it a coworker, neighbor, or an internet article/forum they happened across :wink:

I would recommend you love them as you always have, pray for them, and be an example of what a faithful Catholic is. Be cautious about how you present Church teachings and refrain from being the one at family gatherings that whips out the Baltimore Catechism to aggressively make a point. I wouldn’t go starting conversations that you know will end up in an argument and possibly push them further away.

Hmmm, I knew neoconservatives were hostile to Tradition… on internet, in discussions, at theoretical level, etc. But to see that in practice is really disturbing.

Being charitable is important here.

Also, trying to understand why they behave that way. Some conservative people want to be up to date with every thing said by their Bishops, or the Vatican.

Maybe they don’t like Tradition because isn’t promoted enough?

Because in their minds they have the ugly stereotype that Tradition: schism?



Yes. But I would suggest that this has nothing to do with TLM. It has to do with your spiritual awakening, and as you said making the effort to truly live the faith.

I encounter similar things, and I have never been to TLM.

It doesn’t have to do with you attending TLM but with you actually learning what the Church teaches. Perhaps, though, the TLM attendance is what alerted your family to your change in level of practice of the faith. For me, it was sidewalk counseling at an abortion clinic-- that was sort of too fringe for most of my friends.

So only you have the guidance of the Holy Spirit, but your family are not really faithful, whom you previously thought of as very devout. You claim that the EF Mass is what you were seeking and it fills a void, now filled with sacredness and spiritual depth, (which of course only God can fill, not any form of worship or actions of other creatures.) Your aunts were nuns and I assume lived the faith in prayer and works of charity, and were not “Sunday Catholics” as you say you were, but one of them derides the Mass while another got angry over some discussion on women’s ordination. Most of your family do not know what a mortal sin is, even if none of them post unflattering caricatures of other family members on the internet for strangers to gawk at, which may not be a mortal sin at all.

And from all this personal anecdotal accounts, the Catholic Church is supposedly engulfed in “relativistic modernism.”

You can begin by not trying to convert them to a faith which they are already a part of.

Trying to convert consecrated religious is especially arrogant.


NO is a bit too user friendly but I find the Tridentine Mass far too stiff.

Nothing wrong with seeking something mystical in liturgy. That is what it IS.

Older generation religious had a pretty rough experience of Pre Vatican II authority. They are still reacting to it.


Praise God that you are very dedicated to your faith and how you love the mass. The best thing you can do now is to show an equally dedicated love to your family; respect their preference as you would like them to respect yours. You have to make that move. You have to understand that people have their own preference and that is not easy to change. In matter of faith, it is even more difficult to change your kin. But like the scripture says, seeing your good work they will give glory to God and who knows, they may one day even tempted to follow you even if it is only to find out what makes you really like it.

God bless you.

That is a great point. Going back to Church and attending a different form of the mass will throw people off, it will confuse those who know you, they will question their own beliefs, things will become quite uncomfortable for them to think of.
I went through the same thing with my family, I am considered a Catholic Taleban because I do not budge from the teaching of the Church. I am thought of as a square peg in a round hole because I live my life in a OF only parish, but I also love traditions and the EF, I am involved with the local Maronite and Byzantine Churches and I love studying about eastern theology and anything that is related to religion.
I just try not to overwhelm people with my opinions because it can become very annoying, if I have opinions/preferences I might share them understanding that they are not facts, however, I do not argue about facts because they are what they are and if people choose to ignore them then I just shut up because there is not reason to bring them up any further. My suggestion is to live your life , be polite and when confronted answer with facts (e.g. having the right to your opinion is a fact too). Do not try to convert people to your opinions with lectures, just make yourself available as a model, acceptance will come with time.

That is fine that you have come back to the Church. Just follow Christ and love your relatives that disagree with you, and do not discuss your particular likings with them. They should not criticize you, and you should not feel that you have something that they do not.

There are no TLM Masses near me, and I believe that Jesus Christ is truly present for us at the Novus Ordo Mass. He feeds me daily and hears my prayers. There are many holy people and priests at these Masses and they inspire me.

He made perfect sense to me. Take care of the log in my eye before the speck in another’s. Especially if the other has literally given her life over to Christ as a consecrated religious.

I love good liturgy as much as the next guy; it’s one reason I’m attracted to a beautiful Mass in Gregorian chant at my abbey. Which BTW is in the Ordinary Form and every bit as beautiful as a high EF Mass. But I digress. Liturgy is not the SOLE basis of our faith. I suspect the OP has the zeal of the newly converted. Sounds like me after I discovered the abbey 10 years ago.

But when one is in a clash with every member of one’s family, then I suggest the place to look for a solution is in the mirror. Again life’s experience and messiness is a good teacher. I am married to an Anglican and we have made it work.

It’s starts with practicing your own faith quietly and with humility, and respecting and accepting the views of those who don’t see eye to eye with you. And note to the OP, it is perfectly possible to be a decent Catholic and yet not care for the Tridentine Mass or the use of Latin in general. True faith is transformative and transcends the superficial trappings to focus on the essentials, which for the Mass is Christ making Himself truly present for us.

I’ve seen people deeply moved at a humble 7 am weekday Mass celebrated without music, in French, by a priest who had difficulty expressing himself. That’s when I realized that something special was occurring at Mass that transcends all the little human inadequacies we can sometimes saddle it with. Christ is quite capable of rising above that. We cannot put our own limits on Christ’s love for us and His desire to be with us whether the Mass is happy-clappy or in solemn Gregorian chant.

I wonder if it makes them feel they are “not good enough: Catholics”- I’ve seen that happen, especially when care with language is not taken.

Sort of, in a way, yes. I do not attend the EF but a reverent OF and I seek many traditional ways. I am a revert also and perhaps what you are seeing is something else. The reason I say that is because if you were gone from the church for a while and they stayed, they are seeing you as the returning prodigal and they could be the son who stayed home. That could leave them wondering how could he know more than us, he has been gone, we never left. This is very common. It may take them time to see your faith in action that comes out of what you have discovered about the rich traditions of the faith. This is how it is with me. I have to be very careful of what I say to someone who has been in the church always. I will get a look of “how do you know this. I never heard this and I have been around all this time and you haven’t.” Not that I am smarter or better, it could just be the way something gets said.

I, also, found when I returned home that many of the people I had known in the past as being Catholic had either left the church for protestantism, as I did, or left for nothing or were still Catholic but caught up in what is happening in society today, so were very little involved in the church and when asked to do something in the church were not interested. There were still those who were devout Catholics, involved in the church and trying to be the best Catholics they could but didn’t know, remember or understand any thing that happened pre-Vatican II and were left confused if I mentioned anything of traditional ways. As I said, they were still very devout Catholics, they just haven’t been taught the rich traditions of the faith people used to know. There are also those who don’t have the opportunity to attend an EF but incorporate as many traditional ways as the can into the OF and are living as great Catholics. This is a huge portion of people in my parish.

I am sure as your family sees how God is changing you and growing you up in the faith and they see the love coming out of that they will come to accept that you follow a more traditional Catholic way and your actions and love can help bring them closer to God and that will also help bring you closer to God. (As iron sharpens iron). Try to remember that just because you are not in conversation about faith, people are watching you and when you live out that faith it makes them curious.

The best thing is as everyone else has said try to avoid such discussions because it could easily cause resentment but live out your faith as God is calling you and be a light as it sounds like you already are doing.

Living a life of virtue and prayer is the first step. Centering our entire lives around God and making God the focus of our lives - this comes first. If God is the center of our life, that which everything else revolves around, then we will be at peace.

People will notice. When the world is crashing down around us and we maintain calmness and peace, people will notice, and they will ask us, and want to be like us. When we are at peace, then we can walk up to the devil, look him in the eye, and preach the Gospel to him without fear. The peace of God is like a magnet.

There is a time and a place for telling people that their lives have to change, but we have to be able to demonstrate how changing our own behavior has made a positive impact in the quality of our lives. Anger with other Christians, arguments with family, frustration, and the exhaustion that comes with it are not from God. If we tell people to change thier behavior but demonstrate anger, argument, and frustration, then we appear to them to be nothing more than hypocrites.

They nailed my savior to a tree, and he could have ended creation right there, but he forgave. That is the model. They will know we are Christians by our love.


I’ve felt that kind of hostility, but thankfully not my family or close friends.

Catholics who lived through the revolution have a lot of baggage, which is completely understandable. Some hate the “old days” because they are disappointed that the “Spirit of VII” didn’t do more to liberalize the Church. Others love the “old days” but feel that Latin and the EF Mass smack of disobedience, because so many authorities told them it was against the new rules. You and I are fortunate to be young enough to have missed the worst years.

Virtues are attractive, so just continue to focus on your interior life and works of mercy and at least they can’t fault you. It sounds like you are on track, just be very wary of pride. Knowing the wholeness and continuity of tradition is a gift, and doesn’t make us more worthy or better Catholics. It also doesn’t make us part of a clique. Remind yourself this once in a while. I’ll say a pray for you at Mass today.

Oh, Tim. You and I see the world through different glasses.

It sounds to me like he told his aunt he found this wonderful thing called the EF Mass, she mocked him, and he kept his mouth shut out of respect.

Actually, that’s exactly what he said happened. I hit CTRL+F and you’re the first poster to use the word “convert.”

Perhaps this quote from the orginal post will help you see through my glasses.


Tim’s reaction made no sense to me. Here is this young man who would like people to recognize that he is still a Catholic even though he attends the EF, and he gets accused of trying to convert them.

Expecting Catholics to accept Church teaching (Summorum Pontifium or that women cannot be ordained) is not trying to convert them. We ought to measure people’s actions by how they compare to Church teaching, not assume that a religious sister must be right merely because she is a sister.

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