Growing to Love the Church and Hate My Family


#1

I know this sounds terrible, but as I grow closer to the Church, I seem to grow more and more distant to my family, especially my father (my mother is deceased). He is not pleased that I wish to devote my life to the Church and become a Priest. We have arguments about this and I am growing to hate him. I recognize I need financial support from my father and this creates more arguments, but since I need him, I cannot say how I truly feel. My father is not a Catholic and he has little love for any organized religion, so he does not understand my desire to be a Priest.

It crossed my mind tonight that I wish he would just…well…die–please do not misinterpret me, I am not saying that I would want to be the cause of said death, just that sometimes I wish he would die. It would make things a lot easier for me. I know this is is a horrible thing to think, but in a way it is true though. AGAIN, I AM NOT SAYING I WANT TO KILL HIM, MERELY THAT I WISH HE WOULD DIE SOMETIMES (I reiterate this so that no one thinks I am going to kill anyone).

We had an argument today, it caused me to have nightmares (for me, that is how stress can express itself…bad dreams). I wish he would suffer them. I wish he would desire something greatly only to have someone else interfere. I want to tell him, to warn him, that if he dare stands in my way, I will never have anything to do with him again, that he could be alone dying in a hospital bed, begging for his son to be at his side, and that I will tell him to go to Hell (not literally of course) with a smile on my face.

Unfortunately, I do need him, but there is little love I think. I love the Church, I want to dedicate my life to Her, but I only need my family, there is little love there. They are not Catholic, they cannot understand or take the journey I seek, but they can certainly interfere.

Of course, if it comes to the point where our relationship is utterly failed, then I will tell him graphically my feelings. That I want him to die, that I never want to see him again, that if I am particularly merciful, I will go to his funeral but only to kick his casket. That he had better hope he never needs anything from me, because I wouldn’t spit on him if he were dying of thirst. I know these thoughts are wrong and horrible, but what can family compare to the wonders of the Church? My family is now but an inconvenience and an interference.

I talk to Catholic friends, and I think their family would be highly supportive of anyone desiring to be a Priest, but not my father. He doesn’t understand, he will probably never understand, but he can understand that if he wants a son, he had better stay the Hell out of my way on this issue. I fear that he is going to go back on a deal we had, one where I agree to sign over an inheritance received from mother’s side of the family (it is land, so it will take time for it to sell, but it should be valuable) in return for his continued support until I can formally enter formation–that land could be worth a couple hundred thousand dollars, you cannot say I am not being fair here–and it was a deal he agreed to, but there is no contract (obviously, the property is still in my name, so if he backs out, then let him rot in poverty and loneliness in his old age). Oh, how I want to tell these things to him: he can either have a son who is a Priest with his support or he can have a son who is a Priest who despises him and might as well not be his son, because said son won’t ever have anything to do with him again.

If I must choose between the Church and my family, then I choose the Church.


#2

Choosing for Christ over any human is certainly a good thing! However, we definitely need to keep in mind the 4th Commandment. Also, hate/strong dislike is an attachment to things of this world that can keep us from full union with God (along with being spiritually close to breaking the 5th Commandment - in thought/heart and not in deed). I understand your feelings about the Church (not any others of my family are Catholic) and Fr. Mitch Pacwa (I think it was he) said his father disinherited him when he found he was becoming a priest. Realize that God may want you to lead your father into the Church and if you aren’t on amiable terms that will be even harder for you.
It sounds like it would be a really good idea for you to talk to a priest - either your parish priest or another priest. The problems you are experiencing are quite familiar to priests and they will probably be very helpful.
Another thing you may find helpful is listening to Jeff Cavins conversion/reversion story. Difficulties with his father figured in a large way.


#3

It’s almost like I yearn for the chance to say what I truly feel. I could see it. 30 years from now and I am a Priest. I get the phone call from a relative (i.e. my sister) saying he is dying at the hospital and wants to see me one more time. My response would be something along the lines of, “I told him in no uncertain terms that if he would not be supportive of m choice for the Priesthood, I would never have anything to do with him again. You tell him from me, he is not going to see me again and he can carry into death knowledge of the fact that his son will not shed a tear or give the least bit of concern over it. Also convey to him that, should he wish to leave me anything as a last attempt at peace, I utterly refuse to accept anything connected to him.”


#4

too much of a contradiction. How can you love Christ yet hate your father? 4 door… Honor your father and mother. Sure you may depend on your father for financial support. Yet it may be time for you to venture out on your own and look for scholarships devoted to helping foster vocations to the priesthood. I was ultimately put on my own in the seminary. Yet my vocation died early on for lack of support. Join the Knights of Columbus ASAP and start looking for support through them and through other organizations dedicated to supporting potential priests if that is what you truly feel called to. Personally I’d rather us support potential future priests and maybe just get more orhtodox Catholic men to marry decent Catholic women who will ultimately offer their children up to God as living sacrifices to the priesthood and religious life…thus me. Just avoid discussing religion with your father. Fr. Mitch Pakwa’s father was similar in many ways I understand. He told him that he’d write him out of his will, but he said it didn’t matter because he couldn’t take it with him anyway…He’s a Jesuit, poverty is one of their vows.


#5

Is it too much of a contradiction? Am I not fulfilling in the most literal sense Luke 14:26?

For me, it is not actually financial support during seminary I need but during this waiting period between becoming a Catholic and starting formation. This was why, as I mentioned, I offered my father that deal with the inherited property, which he agreed to.


#6

Uh, wow. Now, that’s cold!

Are you really sure you’re meant to be a priest?


#7

In truth, I would probably not do that. Right now, I am really venting because I am so angry. Most likely, my anger would have fizzle out pretty quickly (it already is right now), but how does one deal with a family-Church conflict? My understanding is the Church ALWAYS comes first and anyone who gets in the way must be jettisoned from your life if it comes to that.


#8

I wish to state that I don’t want a 30 year (or however long) feud between myself and my father. In truth, he can either keep pressuring me or he can back off and understand that this a desire for me stronger than any other.


#9

Tell him that you forgive him and love him and will be quite willing to give him whatever emotional support he ever needs (it hurts a parent so much to think they are losing their child), just that you plan on entering the Church - maybe you’ll discern over the next couple years that God wants you to be a priest - and you want your father to respect your wishes.
Rather than just letting your anger “fizzle out” but holding a grudge, follow what Christ wanted us to do and forgive. Read Luke 6:27-32 and Mark 12:28-34. Pray for the two of you, then talk to a priest.


#10

But does that make the threat of basically, either be supportive of your son’s choice or, for all intents and purposes, you lose your son an extremely potent one.


#11

I have to agree, it does sound harsh, as does cutting someone out of your life because they disagree with you. Would you like it if someone told you what you’re considering telling him? It would probably break his heart, especially coming from a child. Maybe it’s a good thing to wait a bit before entering the preisthood.


#12

You must honor your father but it mustn’t interfere with your vocation.


#13

Tiber Swim Team of 2009, huh?

You’ve got a long way to go and many things to unlearn.

Been there, done that. Pray for guidance and charity.

What’s the worth of a future that God does not will?


#14

At the earliest, I would not be a Priest for about seven years or so after you throw in Seminary, novitiate (I may go through a religious order), time in the Diaconate, etc. and the waiting period beforehand.

I would not make such a harsh ultimatum unless the situation got very serious. Basically, the agreement we have is for his financial support in return for my signing over that property I mentioned (I made the original offer of the property, just so it does not sound like he forced me into that). I worry he may back out on our deal, which would leave me in a horrendous financial position, especially in this economy. It would be at that point that I would issue such an ultimatum because I would be out of a lot of other options.

As I said, I don’t think my father quite understands how strong my desire for the Priesthood and my love for the Church is. As I said, he is no big fan of organized religion (Catholic or otherwise), does not like the idea of celibacy (he views it as unnatural) and wants me to have a “backup plan” in case the Priesthood fails. All these things, mixed with the financial issue, cause major arguments.

So such an action on my part would not be due to mere disagreements, but because I felt it was the last ditch effort to preserve my interests.

And looking it at from his shoes, I don’t fully understand some of his stances. I could understand if I was just asking for continuous financial support and offering nothing in return, but my share of that property I inherited is appraised at ~$205k, so he should gain in the end (if I run through over $200k in one or two years, I probably should not be a Priest anyway since a Priest’s salary is fairly meager). I know my father has concerns that the property might not sell or something, but this property is in Brooksville, FL and, in the long term, real estate in FL should do well.


#15

Your life is yours to do with as you please, but God does not want you to hate anyone especially your parent. There are ways to finance your studies without your fathers help. As someone mentioned, the Knights of Columbus, but also each diocese has funds to support its seminarians.

You need to sit down and have a heart to heart talk with your father (probably a lot of talks), tell him that your decision to become a priest is unshakable (if that is indeed the case). Do this as often as you can.

Every time, stay calm and be patient, be persistent. Let him know you want his approval and consent, but even if he does not you are determined to do this. Let him rage, but keep asking. Once he becomes convinced that this is the path that you have chosen, he will have no choice but to accept the inevitable.

If it is God’s will that you should become a priest God will provide the way and finances with or without your fathers help. It may even be that you may even have to work your way through the seminary or you may have to work a few years and save enough to make ends meet.

Being at odds with your father is no way to enter into the priesthood. The priesthood more than any other vocation is a call to holiness, and holiness can not be founded on anger and hatred of your parent. Your father does not understand your faith, and even though you wish to follow the best vocation possible, he sees it as a threat to your future (and selfishly probably a threat to his own as well).

He thinks you are throwing your life away, and is trying to save you from yourself. That is an act of love and concern for your welfare. You see this as selfishness on his part. Hatred and anger are cardinal sins, God does not want you to start off that way. Love and kindness to a parent is a sin offering. Continue to treat your dad with love and affection, be understanding of his concerns but convince him that you are determined to follow your vocation. Do not yell or holler, state things as fact or feelings. “I love you dad, BUT…” Let him know you will not be happy until you see this through.

I am a parent of three and I would be overjoyed if any one of them became a priest or nun. BUT if I only had one child, I would be a bit upset or disappointed because I look forward to the possibility of having grandchildren. My DW would be furious because she is not Catholic and would not understand just as your father doesn’t.

I pray for you and your father to have a mutual understanding of how the other feels. To wish your parent to die is a terrible curse to put on anyone. You would not foregive yourself if anything happened to your dad, and God would not be pleased as well. Be patient and God will work this through for you. It would be very difficult for you to become a good priest if you enter it hating or dispising your father.

We are to reconcile iith our neighbor when we are ‘only’ going to Communion. How much more so are to reconcile with our family, if we are about to enter into the priesthood. God bless you for your desire and willingness to sacrifice for God’s Church, but please do so from a solid foundation of love and understanding. God does not want you to hate anyone most importantly not your father.


#16

If you grow to love the Church - you will definitely need to love your father … for the Church has so many fathers like yours.

Your conversion is not for you alone.
Be merciful and be patient with your father as Jesus has been patient and merciful to you.

I have a friend who yesterday got the news that he has been accepted to enter seminary for discernment (note: not to become a priest yet). Many of his family against it…he is very sad…for sure…but this does make him from being mad at his father, his family. He prays for them and still love and is patient with them. I hope you do the same.

During the course of my discernment to enter seminary, I’ve learned more the ugly side, the imperfections of me. From this, I’ve come to love my father more than I ever could. I hope you will.

God’s will, you will enter seminary someday to discern, to grow, to know your weakness, and strength, to deal with people who scold you and disagree with you … and to deal with people who might give you harder time than your dad does.

Before becoming a priest, pray that you become a better Christian … not only to those who love you…but also to those who hate you, disagree with you.

It is much easier said than done.


#17

Another reply for motivation. Another friend of mind will also enter seminary. Our diocese will have about 11 guys entering this August (so far, 9 accepted). Anyway, during the last year of his discernment, his parents start going back to the Church. This is to let you know that if you treat your family with love and patience …despite of what they believe or disbelieve, someday, they will convert because of your example.

This thread might be good for you: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=151279
(about being silent).


#18

Hi,

I’m a convert too and my family is not Catholic, and many times we don’t agree on things. There’s been some opposition too.

But God has been teaching me that no matter how difficult or painful it gets, He is pleased when we love those who disagree with us, those who persecute us, and when we honour our parents regardless of it all. He is pleased when we return “good for evil.” But don’t be quick to label your dad’s actions and words as ‘evil’, cause probably he really loves you but just doesn’t agree with you!

There were Saints whose parents didn’t agree with their vocation, and they went ahead and followed their calling but they still loved their families.

If you have all this anger and temptation to hate anyone in your family, *that is not from God. * There’s no doubt about it in my mind. Yes Jesus told us to follow Him first, and to love Him first, but He also said if we truly love Him, we would love others as well, even our enemies.

I suggest you really pray about all this.

Try to treat your dad with as much kindness as you can. If this is difficult for you, ask God for the grace to do this, and then rely on Him. Maybe this could be a great opportunity for you to die to self :slight_smile: and maybe if you treat your dad with love, his heart will change and he’ll start seeing your perspective too.

If you treat him harshly or coldly, he’ll just grow more cold toward you, and this might even affect his salvation and/or yours.

We can’t change people, we can only pray and offer sacrifices for them and love them… and we definitely can’t change people by being angry and harsh.

more than anything, anger and revenge destroys our souls, and closes us up to God.

God bless


#19

Please don’t hate. This is not a perfect world and most hurt is caused by misunderstanding. Your father is most likely not an evil man but just does not understand your new life choice. He may be thinking that you are not mature enough to make such a gigantic decision of how to spend the inheritance money. He sounds like he is not convinced that Catholicism is a holy choice…much less your choice to become a priest. He may be thinking that he is saving your soul by not cooperating with your choice. I am the parent of adult children and I know how hurtful it can be when our children choose a diferent lifestyle. My advice to you is to learn patience. You can have your property appraised and get a loan from a mortgage company if you need the money now. If you are the legal owner of the property you don’t need his blessing to do that. In the mean time I am concerned about your attitude toward someone who loves you more than you will ever know. You need to pray not only for your father but also for your ability to love him when you think he is doing you harm. Here is a quote from the bible:

"If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, what credit is that? But, if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God’s approval."
1Peter 2:20
"When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly."
1Peter 2:23


#20

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