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: