Friends Angry at the Catholic Church


#1

What do you say to them without compromising friendships?

A few of my cradle Catholic friends have become prodigal sons and daughters of the Catholic Church. I don’t like to refer to them as ex or former Catholics (although some have joined other non-Catholic churches) because I still hold on to hope that they will come back. The reason I think that is because, whenever there is talk about God, faith or spirituality, they always come up with “I was raised Catholic but I am now…”

I understand personal struggles have led them to the non-Catholic churches they are members of now. They seem to be happier people. Well, at least, that is what they claim to be and I will take their word at face value. But, why do they always fall back on that particular introduction to any discussion? I find it hurtful because it leads to a lot of prejudices against the Catholic Church. It gives a notion that the Catholic Church makes people unhappy, its teachings are unsound and very contrary to what God wants. Why can’t they introduce themselves as Episcopalians, or whatever it is they are members of? Why raise the Catholic background if they claim to have left that behind? I have not let it bother me in the past but, should I say something? How do I deal with this?


#2

This is just me spitballing since I was actually raised Lutheran and was received into the Church in 2005, so don’t take mine as the last word. I don’t know what its like to grow up Catholic and thus cannot “own” the experience the way cradle Catholics can.

Why do they raise the fact of their Catholic upbringing? I would be hardpressed not to believe that some small part of them is still attached: attached to the sacraments (especially the Eucharist), to First Communion and Confirmation, to the Catholic communal atmosphere they may have experienced growing up, the particular culture, the simple habit of attending Mass on Sundays, to the Saints, Holy Days, popular devotions, etc., etc. There’s a lot of good things to become attached to.

Is it legitimate to mention that you were raised Catholic if you left? I can say this: even though (and I know this isn’t an appropriate reaction, since we should maintain charity and pray for them) I often find myself somewhat annoyed when talking to the same types you’re describing because so often their reasons for leaving are so flimsy or what they describe as their own vision of true Christianity is some lame hippie Jesus who doesn’t impose obligations or who didn’t found a real, corporal Church with Sacraments, even though its like this with them, whether or not they had good reasons to leave the fact of the matter is this was their formative experience, a Catholic upbringing, therefore they do have a right to talk about it as such.

I think about my own experience growing up Protestant and the fact that I do tell people this often when I mention I’m now Catholic. You could make the argument that I didn’t have a good grasp of Protestant criticisms of Catholicism when I was received into the Church (although I think I’ve learned a lot that only reaffirms my decision to join the Church), however I still consider it my experience and something I can own, that is, growing up Protestant.


#3

Once a Catholic always a Catholic.
It’s no different than my saying, "Oh I had those people for my parents, but now I’m Rob’s Wife."
I’m still their child. (Darn it.)
But most people just can’t tell it anymore.
All they see is who I am now.
So when they ask about me, they might hear, “Well we met in highschool and blahblahblahblah…”


So if you are talking to someone about faith and they say, “well I was raised catholic, but am now whatever…” it’s the same thing.


**Have you considered rather quietly and politely reminding them that they have the free will to leave the church, just as they left their parents home, but they can’t stop being Catholic anymore than they can stop being their parent’s child?:wink: **


#4

I’m sorry that you’re caught in the middle, so to speak. My sister is not practicing as a Catholic, for a variety of reasons…but attends a Methodist church. I don’t say much–but, I have said that no other religion like the Catholic faith takes the high road. The RCC always takes the high road, and I’m glad to follow a faith like that. I leave it alone after that.

I typically only say that line when I’m asked to attend someone else’s church, and forego mass on Sunday. I will also add…‘I will never give up the Eucharist.’

I think the best policy to speak of your own experiences with your faith…plant seeds…without saying a word about their faiths. And, hopefully, they will come back.


#5

I am seeing this all around me lately. We lost our pastor this summer to scandalous allegations and neither the status of his case nor news of a replacment have been presented to the parish. We have people leaving in droves–NOT because of the alleged impropriety–but because the situation has been so poorly managed and communication has been all but absent. It is as if we are being treated like school children–yet still being asked to fund and support parish ministries and the school with our time and dollars.


#6

I find it hurtful because it leads to a lot of prejudices against the Catholic Church. It gives a notion that the Catholic Church makes people unhappy, its teachings are unsound and very contrary to what God wants.

This completely went under my radar when I read the post the first time!


I’m not sure if some of those prejudices are wrong. :wink: Being told what is right and what is wrong and what is truth DOES make many people unhappy. It gives them the impression that what THEY want is not sound reasoning and is contrary to God’s desire for them.


I’m not hurt by their awareness of that. I do hurt for their lack of willingness to obey Him and follow the Churches teachings, but they have free will to do so. It’s not personal.


Although I can see some of Island Oak’s perspective, one could easily argue they don’t have to desert their faith altogether to deal with the problem! One simply has to refuse to give those dollars and time until the bishop gets a clue. Much of the investigation is probably NOT open to parish dialog and I don’t know that it should be. But most certainly the parish should know if/when/who their replacement is going to be and when that is going to happen. It is the duty of the bishop to be a shepherd to his flock, not leaving them wandering on the cliff! People need to not wander off - they need to gather before him and bleet loudly. Otherwise, the wolves will devour the wee little lambs.:smiley:


Okay, it’s getting late and I’m getting a bit goofy and it shows in my spelling (or lack thereof).


time to sign off for the night folks!


#7

Many thanks for your replies.

I think the best policy to speak of your own experiences with your faith…plant seeds…without saying a word about their faiths. And, hopefully, they will come back.

Yes, I have been very careful not to say anything about their faiths or their non-Catholic churches. The choices they have made are very personal ones afterall. Sometimes, occasions arise when they try to find fault in mine. I keep mum because I do not face up to confrontation very well. I regret that because I have left discussions in the past with the thought and feeling that I really should have said something like “Actually, the Catholic Church does not say that. What it teaches is…”

Once a Catholic, always a Catholic

Yes, I will try to explore that but, I must find a subtle way of sharing it because, when my friends remark “I was raised Catholic …”, that phrase is spoken with a tone of disaffection for their Catholic upbringing, as if they were so misled and taunt those of us who chose to remain Catholics. If they were not childhood friends, I would not let it affect me so much. But, they are.

Why do they raise the fact of their Catholic upbringing? I would be hardpressed not to believe that some small part of them is still attached: attached to the sacraments (especially the Eucharist), to First Communion and Confirmation, to the Catholic communal atmosphere they may have experienced growing up, the particular culture, the simple habit of attending Mass on Sundays, to the Saints, Holy Days, popular devotions, etc., etc. There’s a lot of good things to become attached to.

We actually looked at our First Holy Communion class photo last Easter and all of them (and I mean ALL) spoke with fondness for that occasion and our preparation for the Sacrament. They were not, however, very pleased when I asked them if they missed receiving Communion. Oh, dear! I was told that they DO receive communion. From that point, they justified having left the Catholic Church because Catholics think that theirs is THE only way to God so on and so forth. But, I’m not giving up on them because, there are two of my friends who, I am tempted to think, use the remark “I was raised a Catholic…” as an invitation to be coaxed back home. Not so different to a child who runs away from home and needs convincing that home is’nt bad despite its house rules. One went to Sunday Mass with me a few weeks ago. She has not set foot inside a Catholic Church for many, many years and has been attending the CofE. She sobbed through Mass. She has not been well but, asked to come with me to Mass again as soon as she is better. Maybe, it is a start to a journey home :gopray2:


#8

that is wonderful - and I always say to anyone who has ‘left’ the Church that I understand how difficult life choices can be at times, but (like whatevergirl said) nothing will ever keep me from the Eucharist again…and I also share my experience if they ask, about going astray and coming home…


#9

I’m sorry, I don’t hav any advice. It is weird though. I have met people who used to be Catholic. I only know this because they do always say “Well, I was raised Catholic but now…”

I was raised Baptist, but when someone asks me what faith I follow I tell them I’m Catholic, even though I have not been confirmed yet. I only mention the Baptist thing if its relevant to the conversation…usually only comes up when I meet a fallen away Catholic cause then I want to tell them what I think of their “used to be” faith and how wonderful it is.

I pray your friends will someday come home.


#10

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