When I became Catholic (Easter 2009) most of my Protestant friends stopped speaking to me, period. However, one of these has “hung in there” with me, but it seems that every time we speak, she brings up religion and asks me pointed questions about Catholicism. She never asks me about anything that we have in common with Protestants. She always asks things like “Our church is about 50% ex-Catholics. How does the Catholic Church view these people?” (I answered light-heartedly that we love them as prodigal sons, and that we pray they will return to the Church.) Another question: “So I suppose you think my daughter is going to Hell because she had in-vitro fertilization?” (I told her that I do not make those judgements, fortunately, but I leave them to the Lord.) The problem is that she always is offended by my answers, no matter what the question is or how charitably I try to answer. It has become such a pattern that I am convinced she baits me with these questions. It doesn’t seem that she actually wants information, just a fight. What advice would you give me in answering her questions? Debbie
I think that she realizes that your answers are correct and the she has little in the way of response.
I am sorry about all that you have gone through to become catholic. I was protestant and became catholic and I went through the same thing.
I had a friend who was similar to what you are describing. He would bait me with very pointed questions to start fights. I would answer charitably without compromising the truth, and they always degraded into him stomping off in frustration telling me all about the hellfire I was headed towards.
I unfortunatly don’t know how to advise you in a way that keeps the friendship. I lost this friendship. I just don’t think any intimate relationship can survive the kind of attack that is being caused here. I would say to try to talk to her about it, and say that if she wants to be friends she needs to back off, otherwise she needs to go her separate way. True friends should accept you and your beliefs even if they disagree. People who can’t are ones we can’t really get close to because we can’t trust them with those things that we hold most dear.
I am still going through a very lonely time after having lost most of my friends due to my conversion. I am in a catholic church where there are none my age. I have, however, made friends who are non-christian that can be respectful and accepting of my beliefs.
I think you’re doing great, and I wouldn’t add anything to what you are already doing - answering truthfully and with great charity.
How she reacts is her own problem, quite honestly. As far as I can tell, you are doing everything right.
I know that lonely feeling well, Whitacre Girl. I have begun to meet new people at our parish, though. Maybe there is a regional group in your diocese for people your age. It’s a little disconcerting when you come from a church where your whole social life revolves around your congregation. (Until you leave, that is!) The Catholic culture is very different. I will probably have to just let this friendship die a natural death. She (and others at my former church) is obsessed with dividing people into two camps: Heaven-bound and Hell-bound. I think she finds it disconcerting that I don’t feel the need to make those judgements. I use my caller ID and if I’m in a bad mood, I know not to answer the phone! It gets hard to be charitable in the face of constant attacks!
Well something that should ease the passing of the friendship, if that is God’s will, is to just tell her how you feel. Tell her that since you became catholic you feel that she is not interested in a friendship anymore, just fighting about religion and trying to tear down what you believe and that you are finding it difficult to be friends with someone who treats your beliefs the way she does. I had to have a few of those talks.
And yes, there are lots of catholics my age, but I have to drive a ways to find them. About half an hour one way, to be exact. I am, however, planning to start school in this town where the younger catholics are and so I am hoping to make friends there. So I am just patiently waiting until the end of Janary when I have to drive up there for school anyway. And I agree, the social structure of the Catholic church is WAY different than protestant churches. It seems like in protestant churches the social structure is very strongly developed, but in catholic churches it is very family oriented, and friendships aren’t the focus. Then again, it might just be my region too.
You can make very good friendships with people who are not your age. This should not be a major concern. Join a ministry that you feel called to do and are comfortable in giving to it. You will make friends naturally. The age thing is not a big issue. Some of my wife and my best friends are 20 plus years older and we cherish them, since they are able to help us through their experiences and we love each other. Give it a try, you’ll find this is a self-imposed problem.
Okay, I suppose using age is an unfair way to describe why hubby and I don’t have any close friends in the church. While the most obvious factor is that the people nearest to us in age all have many multiple children and we are childless, or the majority outnumber us in years by almost 40 years, the clear factor is a lack of common interests. My hubby and I are MAJOR nerds. The board game playing, computer game rockin’, and star wars quoting, anime convention going nerds. Something we have not encountered in others in the ministries we are involved in (we are VERY involved with our church). We have found some of the youth to occasionally have an interest, but they leave for college, or leave the church altogether by the time they hit 18 (A common problem, I hear, in the RCC for youth, and something hubby and I have committed to working on in our parish through the ministries we are involved in). So the easiest thing to blame is age, since a good 70 percent of the parish is over 60, and hardly even know what a computer is, so I guess the real problem is a lack of common interests.
A good opportunity to broaden your horizons! Sometimes, we have to step outside of our little worlds. It is sometimes not comfortable at first, but it is rewarding… You don’t have to try to find someone who shares ALL of your interests. A person who has an interest in a common ministry (say, going to the hospital to take communion) may be a good person to begin to become friendly with. You might be pleasantly surprised that you might share more in common than you think. Anyways, Good luck,