I’ve been harboring a lot of frustrations which have been coming to a head and today reached a point that I left a family gathering. To give some background, I am a recent revert after having been an atheist for the past 14 years or so. Since coming back about a year and a half ago, I have thrown myself headlong into learning the theology, philosophy, history and doctrines of the Church. All of my other family members (except my dad, who converted from Presbyterianism when he married my mother) have been in the Church all their lives. They all believe in God, make a point of never missing mass on Sunday, have crucifixes and sacred art in the house, etc. yet for all this it would be impossible to discern a difference between the spiritual side of their everyday lives vs. that of a liberal atheist.
In addition to the total absence of any semblance of a spiritual life (which I know I cannot completely judge from the outside), what angers me more is that my whole family has the attitude of “I’m not so bad a person, and that’s all God expects of me.” The issue that arose tonight was that, while all the women of our family were playing a board game, my dad, brother in law and my niece’s boyfriend were all gathered around the computer. I went in to see what they were up to and my dad was showing them pictures his friend had taken of scantily clad models and talking about going to a restaurant called “Twin Peaks” (a restaurant much like Hooters, with an equally suggestive and disrespectful name). When my niece’s boyfriend said he was planning on going and asked me if I wanted to go, I just diverted the question and left the room, told everyone bye and left. It just infuriates me that my dad, who used to lecture me about respecting women when I was a teenager, doesn’t see how hypocritical this is and how blatantly sinful. I also now feel very resentful towards my niece’s boyfriend as I know she would be hurt if he knew he were in there talking like he was; not to mention that it makes me wonder just how much respect he really has for her. My brother in law, to his defense, seemed a bit uncomfortable with the whole conversation.
This was just the straw that broke my back though. My whole family uses contraception or sterilization, several dress TOTALLY immodestly, they spend almost all of their time watching TV (and usually programs that are very antagonistic to Christian values) or reading about celebrities than anything else. I know I’m not perfect (God knows I’m as big a sinner as anybody), and I don’t expect my family to be perfect. It just makes me angry that they live as though being Catholic is just a matter of going to church on Sunday and that they don’t need to expend any effort on developing themselves spiritually, which is what we are ALL here to do. I’ve even been teased and mocked by certain members of my family for being so “religious.” I really want to say something to them, but I don’t want to just erupt into an angry tirade. How can I tactfully tell them that the way they live is setting them up for Hell? Should I even? On the one hand, I fear for their souls but I also feel what I think is a bit-less-than-righteous and even selfish anger at their disregard for the faith I now hold so dear, which makes me think I shouldn’t say anything because my motives aren’t totally pure.
What should I do? I would love some outside perspective; my vision is too clouded by my own sinfulness and personal involvement.