How do I deal with immoral people?


I just began my freshman year of college and the people I have met are anything but religious; they may say they are Catholic but they have pre-marital sex all the time, they make a mockery of God constantly, and they always try to prove that the Catholic Church is “making things up.” For example, one guy said that the Bible doesn’t say pre-marital sex isn’t allowed and the Church “made that up.” I tried to argue but didn’t really know what to say so what I did say wasn’t exactly correct.

Tonight was particularly annoying because they were making sexual jokes about God and I began to get really irritated. I told them it wasn’t funny and they were mocking my religion. Then one of them says “We’re just joking; God has a sense of humor,” and I told them there is a line they are crossing by bringing God into this. Then another guy says he is Catholic and he is “just joking.” I told him the way he was living means he is a pathetic Catholic because he shows a blatant disregard for the laws and the rules and shows no apparent redeeming qualities. (I didn’t say all that; I just said he was pathetic Catholic.) He then attacks me by saying I’m passing judgment on him.

How should I deal with them when they start this? I want to say the right things but I never seem to have a good answer.


It sounds to me that there are two problems here.

1. Your reported manner of dealing with people does not seem conducive to improving bad situations. However provoked you may have been, to tell someone he is “pathetic” is likely only to inflame the situation rather than to soothe it. It is only going to inspire a person to defend himself by attacking you in return, which this person did by charging you with being “judgmental.”

2. It sounds like you are mingling with the wrong crowd. For someone skilled in dealing with other people, there may be no harm in socializing somewhat with people whose religious and moral standards are far below your own. In your case though, it sounds like you need to immerse yourself in groups of people who share your values, and learn some skills for dealing with those who don’t, before you can be an effective witness to those immersed in immoral lifestyles.

In short, I recommend seeking out new friends. Join a young-adults group at a local Catholic church; volunteer with a (preferably Catholic) pro-life apostolate; seek out Catholic ministries in the diocese where you attend college. Hopefully you will then be able to find friends who will share your values and can help you to grow in the theological virtues.

Recommended reading:

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

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