Here We Go Again


Well, folks, I just dealt with a similar problem a few weeks ago and now it’s back to rear its ugly head again. Part of the problem is that I am the only practicing Catholic in my entire family, all of whom were born and raised Catholic. Here is the current story:
I am leaving at dawn this Sunday to make a drive by myself of several hundred miles to see several combat buddies I served with in Viet Nam whom I have not seen in 44 years. I am leaving early to avoid the worst of the holiday traffic and to arrive in time to have dinner with my friends, so I can not attend Mass on Sunday morning. My plan was to attend Saturday Mass at 4:00 PM. Then, after my plans were made my wife’s sister calls and invites my wife and I to her home for the Independence Day Holiday. She wants us to arrive on Saturday at 3:30 PM for dinner at 4:30. I told my wife I would just get there at 5:30 and no one need wait for me to have dinner. My wife said we are not taking two cars with her driving there by herself and she is not going to go late. She called her sister and told her that neither of us is coming because I have to go to church. My sister-in-law is irate and let my wife know on no uncertain terms just how angry she is with me and the Catholic Church for ruining her holiday. She said that when the Catholic Church interferes with family life it is a serious problem. So what do I do now? I tried calling my parish priest, but they are gone for the holiday weekend.


Do you have a parish nearby that may have a 5pm Sunday Mass? We have two parishes nearby that have begun this. If so, that may solve your problem.


As I see it, it is not your religion that is messing with your plans: it is your friends, who you haven’t seen for 40+ years. You would have gone to the Church either with or without them in the picture, but with their coming, the day changed from Sunday to Saturday.

So, the problem is that she is angry that you are giving priority to some old friends (who you might not have a chance to see together again), rather than a Holiday? And a secular holiday at that?

If the meeting with your friends was to be held Saturday, would your sister-in-law say that your friendships are “interfering with family life”? If not (and she probably wouldn’t, as that is a ridiculous notion), then why is she complaining? :shrug:

On a side note, if this holiday is so important to her, both you and your wife can show up later, and both skip dinner. Or, maybe, the family could hold dinner later for all - isn’t 4:30 too early for dinner anyway? I once read that the best time for dinner is 6pm, when no activities are planned for the rest of the day (so, if you are going to participate in festivities, a bit later might be even better). But I digress :stuck_out_tongue:


I will be in Virginia having dinner with my veteran friends Sunday evening.


I don’t understand why:

1–your wife didn’t mind going earlier without you if she knows going to church is very important to you.

2- your wife didn’t run a bit of interference for you and ask her sister if dinner can be at 5:30pm instead of 4:30pm (who eats dinner at 4:30pm?)
From what she said to her sister, it sounds like your wife is the one who is most angry. It sounds like she didn’t stick up for you.

3–God wouldn’t understand if you missed mass on that one weekend, and go on, say, Monday instead. Will something horrible happen if you missed one mass, even though you tried very hard?



She doesn’t care that I’m seeing my friends on Sunday. That does not interfere with her Saturday gathering. See views my mandatory attendance at Mass as the problem. What you may not see here is that I am dealing with people who really despise the rules of the Catholic Church. They feel that no one should miss a family function because of Mass or have to attend Mass while on vacation. My sister-in-law recently told me the only reason for mandatory Sunday Mass is all about the money. And even though she went to Catholic school for 12 years she never heard that missing Sunday Mass is a mortal sin. And when I mentioned that she said “and what about all those priests who abused children? Was that a mortal sin?” You have no idea what it’s like being in a family that hates the Catholic Church. One more thing, the reason dinner is at 4:30 is because there will be several elderly people in their 80’s present who cannot wait until 5:30 or later to have dinner.


Yes, you hit the nail on the head. My wife will not run interference for me because she is angry with the Church. She has been for years and much of it has to do with abuse she herself witnessed while a student at one of our Catholic High Schools many, many years ago.


It sounds like she got angry and decided to use the church as a problem. That is just me though.


So, your wife and SIL are mad because you won’t change your plans, when it seems SIL called on Friday for a Saturday event? That seems to me like they are the ones with a problem, not you.


And your wife could go without you, right?


It sounds like your wife and sister in law have sad emotional issues. Those issues have nothing to do with you. You did the right thing by offering to go to the gathering right after Mass. Pray for them and always try to set a good Christian example.


If I were you I would stay strong and go to Church. While your wife is extremely important, God is infinitely more important.

I am guessing that there is no late, 7pm, Mass wherever you are having dinner on Sunday, right?


You can’t find a Sunday PM mass a the other end of the journey?


That is a tough nut to crack. I wish you God’s help with soothing you sister-in-law. Definitely go to Mass, but try to reconcile with her too.


God bless you for suffering for Christ. Your wife should have said “sorry but hubby has plans.”


I am going to send my SIL an email telling her I am willing to drop my wife off at her house at 3:30 and then come back right after Mass. So far my wife refuses to go along with that. That is her problem. I had given thought to going to an early Mass on Sunday, but do not feel I should put myself at risk of leaving late and hitting heavy traffic and possibly being late to my destination because of her stubbornness. I will go to Mass at 4:00 PM and the rest is their problem.


I think what you are planning to do is reasonable. If your wife does not agree to your plan, you are correct, that is on her. Let her stay home. Go to mass and stop over at your SILs without her to show them it would have worked.

That being said… You have had 5 threads about missing mass because of family or being away, etc. In response, the best posts told you to speak with your pastor.

But then, when he gives you an answer-- take his advice! Don’t keep asking a bunch of other people. Ask questions and cover all your possibilities, and then do as he says. :slight_smile:


Kudos for you! Just do yourself a favor, and try not to let the whole situation dampen your disposition towards your wife. It is not about her being right or wrong on the subject, she just see things as having different priorities.

Have a nice sleep, and forget all this. Tomorrow, on the car ride, avoid discussions. If she starts it, be succinct on your answers, explain how God and your faith is important to you (and how a dinner to celebrate Independence is not; you can always visit family later), but do not get angry at her for all this. And, for the love, don’t be YOU the one to start the discussion.

Have a safe trip! :thumbsup:


Hope it works out for you, your solution seems very fair to me. There is a more fundamental problem though, which you obviously are trying to work out with your wife.

You don’t want to spend the rest of your life having rows every time you want to go to church. That’s not what marriage is about.


So after I told my wife I would gladly drop her off at her sister’s and then return as soon as Mass is over my wife said she will not go to her sister’s if I do that. So I sent an email to my SIL explaining what happened. Here is her reply, copied and pasted directly from her email:

"I think you are both stubborn. I told Loretta you both woukd be here and she was so happy and excited. I was happy and excited too cause you never come down for our picnics anymore. We barely get together on any holiday anymore. And now not coming. I really think you both need to stop arguing. You want to say she is stubborn. You are just as stubborn. You did not go to mass for years and now you want to be s holy Fokker that can’t miss You know my opinion in church. Sorry but to miss on occasion will not make you burn in hell. And jf it will you missed mass for so many years that missing in occasion now will not be what will put you there. And then the way you both argue is not what the bible would want you to do either. Don’t tell me she is stubborn. You are too. You must have your way all the time just like she wants it her way. I am pissed that once again you will not be present here for a picnic. You were invited. I was so looking forward to you coming and now your not as usual. So don’t tell me it is all Michele. It is you being just as stubborn and having to have your way. It is always so easy to say it is all her. But really you are out of control with having to go to mass every Sunday when you skipped for years and years. That to me is just an excuse for you to be a control freak and for you to do what you want to do now that you put it in your head that the church"s teaching mean so much to you

You need to try to start picking your battles. If this is an issue with you and Michele which apparently it is since you want to leave her in a hotel alone in vacation and you want to ruin a nice day of visiting with family and friends you need to decide what is more important. Ruining thing for someone you love or going to church when it is something you did not do for years and years. You always have to have your way. No matter what. You say Michele is stubborn. Look in the mirror.

And thanks for upsetting your wife and me."

Suggestions anyone?

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