Got Attacked When Trying To Help


I was watching the beatification of St. Therese’s parents in Liseux on EWTN and it inspired me to call someone I know in France. I asked, since he was in France, why not take little road trips to such fantastic places as Lourdes, Liseux and other such inspiring places. I also suggested he might visit the beautiful churches and cathedrals there. He is a lapsed Catholic.
Well, I was hit with a tirade of angry comments lashing out at the Church, the priests, scandal. I did my best to counter all of it but was left feeling slightly dejected after I hung up and I don’t want to speak to him further. Should we just pray for people like that and not try to change their minds?


I know exactly what you mean. I have encountered this very thing with other people, one in particular. I think it stems from guilt. But I think it was good of you to call and make them think about it. Some people cover up their own sins and hate when others try to suggest they do something spiritually good, no matter how gently it is done.

So no, I don’t think such people should just be prayed for. I try to appreciate when people reprimand me for doing something that is spiritually wrong, but I have lashed out at them too. It’s because I am a very prideful person, and pride is IMO the mother of all sins, much like humility is the mother of all virtues.

So thumbs up for you. :thumbsup: It takes guts to talk about spiritual things to people–no one likes to be attacked.


Personally, if I knew the other person was a lapsed Catholic, I would not have brought up such topics, unless the other person first broached them. It may have seemed normal to you, but he may have felt that you were preaching to him in a way and passing judgment on his lifestyle and beliefs. I do not think that he should’ve acted the way he did, but it’s also not unexpected. I would avoid talking to him about such topics in the future, unless he asks in a non-confrontational manner.


What I see in your comment is you were sharing your wistful joy.

The attack came from the other person - their attack was about them.

Lots of times after people say a big “no” like this, they later on say a “yes.”

I think in the Beatitudes Jesus said something about when people persecute you because of Him.

Many blessings to you.


Frankly, sounds to me like you may have been pretty insensitive: you knew he was lapsed and suggested a road trip to famous shrines? Eek.

Don’t you think it might have been more productive to just visit a while share news of your families, mention that youv’e been watching the beatification, how lovely and uplifting it was… and maybe slide in a little comment about how God is like the Father of the prodigal son, always watching and waiting for us to come home…

Not as a sermonet, mind you: just a casual observation in the context of a longer, more personal and caring conversation.

“I may be able to speak the languages of human beings and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell.”


I agree. Living your faith boldly is your best form of evangelization. Mentioning how moved you were by something in a passing way may have planted a seed for the future instead of eliciting a rant. People will then know that they can inquire of you about your faith (or theirs) when they are ready to hear about.

Things happen in God’s time and not in ours. We cannot try to replan someone’s vacation to all of the religious sites that we might enjoy and expect a good reaction. I don’t care if the person is a lapsed or a practicing Catholic. It is just seems to be overreaching to me.

A less frontal assault method might have included, Hey you know there is a place at such and such that I’ve always wanted to see and you are going to pass right by it on your trip. How awesome that you have the chance to travel in a country with so much history. I wish that I could have come along.

I understand that it was probably just concern for a lapsed friend that got out of hand, but it is certainly a learning opportunity so that one can prepare better for future opportunities to evangelize in a way that might work better. It can be a delicate thing to talk with lapsed Catholics under the best circumstances. There are many books on this very subject.


Thanks everyone for your thoughtful replies.
Yes, I was being insensitive. I had followed the entire Lourdes Papal visit earlier starting with vespers at Notre Dame; then saw St. Therese’s life story and then the beatification of her parents. My friend lives in France (not vacationing) and I pictured myself there and how I would go to some fascinating spiritual sites if I were in France. I felt it was a kind of loss, living so close to spiritual treasures there for the experiencing and not taking advantage of their proximity. Heck, it’s only a hop skip and a jump to Rome and Asissi and many places where saints once lived and breathed.
But as some of you suggested, that’s me projecting what I’d love to do. I guess this would let out sending any religious articles to my friend. I do agree that his strong protest could be the precursor of a conversion. But it’s not up to me.


Pray as always, but I am not sure if “we” could change anyone’s mind. For your friend, who knows that he might go. :slight_smile:


My brother said he belonged to the devil and threatened to kill me when I last talked to him about God. But, maybe I was being “insensitive”.:rolleyes:


There is something, I think in scripture, that says you must try to save other people; but then if they won’t listen, let them be and save yourself. (Something to that effect and I’m sorry but I can’t remember it exactly but that’s the essence).

It hurts more when a family member is involved, I know.


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