Help needed: My parents and the Catholic Church

OK, let me explain the situation.

My parents are very liberal/left wing atheists, very into enviromentalism, the Birth Control attitude, sexual liberation type politics. Likely because they already know about me wanting to convert to Catholicism (which I haven’t told them about yet) or because I keep bringing up Catholic topics because I want to convert to Catholicism :wink: they have expressed some very anti-Catholic attitudes, especially towards Catholic social morality in the third world.
My dad even said that the Pope should be tried for crimes against humanity because of his attitude towards birth control :frowning:

They think that CC Social morality has caused or will cause “millions of deaths” and eventually the church will be forced to change it’s stance because of the imminent problems of overpopulation, stress on the food economy, and AIDS epidemic that this teaching is supposedly causing. They say the third world is running out of food and water because there are too many people for the economy to sustain.
I have tried telling them that Catholics believe that the solution can never lie in a sinful act (contraception), but still insists that they are a “human institution” and will therefore eventually cave in because they will see the problems it has caused, and the fact that people will never live up to, or refuse to live up to, the traditional Catholic standard on these matters. They said the Church will eventually break under pressure from UN and other world organisations, as well as the majority of laity who do not believe this stuff. They also think that the Vatican police killed Pope John Paul I because he was “liberal” - nonsense of course.

I don’t know what to do - they are smart, and seem to know the facts, but I don’t know how I am going to tell them that I want to convert when they are so against this aspect of Catholic teaching and think it is a major problem in the world. I really don’t want it to drive a wedge between us, but I can’t see how I can change thier views.

Any help would be appreciated.

There is little you can do directly.
Accept their objections as a challenge to learn more about the faith, the principles behind teachings etc. Then feed back this information to them in a charitable manner. Even then there is little likelihood of your actually changing their minds. That is for the Holy Spirit to accomplish.

The fundamental, underlying issue is that their worldview is different than that of God and His Church.
As an example, the aids issues is less about “condoms” than it is about “fornication”. Your parents apparently accept “fornication” as a fact of life (which it is) but the Church cannot and will not for it violates God’s will.
Likewise, with birth control…The simplest way to control population is to not have sex…No sex = no babies. Of course people need to have sex since we need to have babies…That is part of God’s plan. NFP addresses these issues.
The problem is the prevailing world view that unbridled sex is perfectly acceptable. NFP imposes discipline. something the world wishes to reject.

Anyway - take the time to study. learn the truths of the faith. Live the faith. Pray for your parents, and show them the Love and peace that accompany the True Chrisitan life.
Love conqures all.

Peace
James

Your parent’s viewpoints were very much my own until I began to convert to Catholicism during the autumn last year.

My advice, as someone who can see it from both sides, is not to impose your beliefs on them by actively arguing with them in an aggressive manner. Tell them that you want to become a Catholic and it is your choice. You have not been brainwashed because you have been raised by them to think for yourself to this is a choice you have made alone, without any influence of religion on your parent’s part.

Then tell them it’s really important that they understand your beliefs. Tell them you don’t want them to become Catholic but you’d like them to understand what your beliefs are, afterall they have told you theirs and what theirs is based on. Buy the book “Catholicism for Dummies” and ask that they read it (without insulting their intelligence! :p) it explains Catholic beliefs in a very simple way and what they are based on. Or perhaps you read it yourself so you are better prepared to answer their questions. If you go to RCIA, bring back some pamplets etc and ask them to read them, or leave them about the house.

You cannot expect a change overnight. My boyfriend was like this while I changed and he remained the same and it was difficult for both of us. But now he understands and respects my beliefs and we often have friendly debates, with knowledge on both sides now.

Good luck :thumbsup:

At first I really admire you! You are brave to stand by your faith, many would rather give up (I am gonna pray for those people).
Your parents have the right to believe what they want, but you also have the same right, and they will need and learn to accept it. Arguing about facts and problems in the world will not really help in my opinion, living in and with the Church is about trust, love and faith and being a catholic does not mean you should be responsible for all the problems on Earth. You can tell your parents that many catholic communities support great causes though.
I think it is also important to find a catholic community, friends, people who can support you even if your parents will not change their opinion on the Church :slight_smile:

God bless you, I keep you and your parents in my prayers

“Do you think I have come to establish peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three’; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” (Luke 12: 51-53).

“I myself will give you wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives and friends and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of My Name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perserverance you will secure your lives.” (Luke 21: 15-19).

If God gives you the grace to help change your parents’ hearts and minds by your conversion and debating with them, praise be to Him for that gift. But do not count on it. Likely, they will not change their minds because of anything you say to them; rather it is if God gives them grace of hearing His Voice through you. It depends all on God and your willingness to be that instrument, IF He so chooses to use you in that way.

That being said, the best thing you can do for them right now and always is to pray for them to be open to God. You cannot force it. Do not let their views ‘scare’ you away from coming into the Catholic Church. Following Jesus is never, ever going to be easy or comfortable. Your parents are probably going to heartily disagree with your decision at best, and cut you off at worst. Prepare yourself for suffering.

That doesn’t mean it is all tears and hardship. Trust me, God will reward you beyond your imagining for sacrificing parents and friends. There are numerous bibilical verses regarding this. He even rewards us in this life, for He never lets Himself be outdone by generosity. If you align yourself with Him and with His Church, He will give you all the graces and strength you need to stand up to your parents, stand up for Him, and sanctify yourself. The Sacraments- especially communion and confession, give you the fuel you need to do great things for His Name. But you have to commit yourself to it, and it won’t be easy. Good luck to you, and pray for your parents!

wolfpup, everyone here has given wonderful advice. May God give you grace to persevere.

Also, if you want, you can post a prayer thread here for your parents and your situation. The more prayers the better. God has blessed your heart with knowledge of him.

Thanks to everyone for the advice.
I am pretty sure they are overreacting with the examples of what will happen without artificial birth control. They seem to think that we are all basically uncontrollable animals, and that any attempt to impose disipline, especially to sexuality, will fail completly. Obviously this is not the case, since millions of Catholic laity and priests manage to do this and are fine.

I am quite prepeared for what will happen when I tell them, but I just hope that they will take me seriously and we can at least get along with our different views. It’s the disapointment that will be worst, and the fact that they will probably think it is some kind of phase.
AND this is going to be made even worse by the fact that I am thinking of going in to religious life. Not exactly what they had in mind, I am sure.

Good for you that you’re thinking of religious life. The world needs more vocations.

Obviously you’ll have plenty of time to consider this calling - it’s unlikely any monastery/convent/diocese (I do not know your gender!) will take you on within the first couple of years of you successfully completing RCIA since they’ll want to see in you a definite commitment to the practicing of your faith in the world. You can use that time to give a gentle and steadfast witness to your faith to your parents without being in any way aggressive or confrontational about it.

Attend Mass without making a drama of it. If your parents choose to make a drama themselves, then always be patient and charitable with them. Show them that Catholicism does not need to come across as proselytising or militant and that it can listen and understand the objections of others, even if it need not accept them or agree with them.

It may be the case that whatever you do, your parents won’t accept it. In which case, live for God, since that is the better part. It is your parents’ choice to watch, listen, understand and accept. That’s the choice God gave them.

You are doing so very well and that you have journeyed towards faith from a background so obviously hostile is testament to the power of Christ’s Word. You are an example to follow and hopefully a joy to the Lord.

God bless you.

You have great courage.

DexUK has given good advice above.
One of the greatest strengths of our faith does not lie in “noise” of speeches, or rules or argument, but rther in the “silent” witness of good strong Catholics. Your quiet courage will speak more loudly to your parents than many hours of noisy debate. So do - live your faith, attend mass and devote yourself to prayer and to study.

Your parents may actually surprise you. While thay mightbe taken aback at your decision and possible plans, I am sure that they first want you to be happy. Your loving, Christian example will be proof that this makes you happy. Then, over time, they will come to better understand Chrisitanity and the Catholic Church through your beautiful example and you will see their “noisy” objections etc, fade away…

Peace
James

Hello…

No need to panic,but have you tried looking up on catholic over orthodox,for i myself have only just brought this computer because of the restrictions that life throws at you.

My suggestion is to take head of what your mother and father have said for they could not be far wrong,for Our lord hated tradition and such ect.

Catholic might be high reverent but is steeped in dogma,only those of tradition would enjoy.

Take care,but before you tell your parents about your stance,look up the reasons for your decision.I think from your post you will need it.

blessings…

My prayers are with you! Keep up the good fight and follow your heart. If any imposed discipline will fail completely then so will their ideas since they have a standard that they consider truth. Their beliefs refute their own thoughts. Thank God that they didn’t follow what they believe or they wouldn’t be talking with you. God bless you… teachccd

My suggestion is to take head of what your mother and father have said for they could not be far wrong,for Our lord hated tradition and such ect.

Our Lord most certainly did not hate tradition, he hated those who celebrate the letter of laws over the spirit of them or do not seek to understand their deeper purpose. But he valued tradition greatly. If you are going to explore Orthodoxy Mark as you have said in another thred you will find the Eastern Orthodox greatly revere tradition also.

My parents are very liberal/left wing atheists, very into enviromentalism, the Birth Control attitude, sexual liberation type politics. Likely because they already know about me wanting to convert to Catholicism (which I haven’t told them about yet) or because I keep bringing up Catholic topics because I want to convert to Catholicism :wink: they have expressed some very anti-Catholic attitudes, especially towards Catholic social morality in the third world.
My dad even said that the Pope should be tried for crimes against humanity because of his attitude towards birth control :frowning:

Such topics are difficult to raise, possibly one way of doing it is to point out are such attitudes as liberal as they may think. Although I would caution you to do it in a non-confrontational manner.

he Church will eventually break under pressure from UN and other world organisations, as well as the majority of laity who do not believe this stuff. They also think that the Vatican police killed Pope John Paul I because he was “liberal” - nonsense of course.

The Church is not guided by the UN. Nor are it’s truth dependent on how many of the laity subscribe to them. The are no Vatican police,unless they mean by that the Swiss Guard.

I don’t know what to do - they are smart, and seem to know the facts, but I don’t know how I am going to tell them that I want to convert when they are so against this aspect of Catholic teaching and think it is a major problem in the world. I really don’t want it to drive a wedge between us, but I can’t see how I can change thier views.

Facts without context are meaningless and represent only the most basic sort of knowledge (as opposed to wisdom)especially when dealing with issues as vast as these. You may never be able to change their views and may have to accept this unfortunately.
However they are still your parents and of course you are still required to love and honour but as has been said by others it may be that in choosing this path you will have to overcome great resistance and division.

Excuse me,

Hello…

No need to panic,but have you tried looking up on catholic over orthodox,for i myself have only just brought this computer because of the restrictions that life throws at you.

My suggestion is to take head of what your mother and father have said for they could not be far wrong,for Our lord hated tradition and such ect.

Catholic might be high reverent but is steeped in dogma,only those of tradition would enjoy.

Take care,but before you tell your parents about your stance,look up the reasons for your decision.I think from your post you will need it.

blessings…

Thanks for the advice, but I have already considered Eastern Orthodoxy, and it is presicly because they seemed to have relaxed thier views in areas such as these that I cannot become Orthodox. I know the reason for the Catholic condemnation of contraception, and I agree with it. The marital act must always be open to procreation.

As for Dogma, again, another reason not to be Orthodox. The Church of the first few centuries did dogmatise belief, and still does today. What Our Lord hated was people pretending to follow tradition on the outside but not following it on the inside.

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