How do we meet Catholic friends (and last night's experience with religious bigotry)

First, let me share this experience with you because I have no Catholic friends (other than my husband) who can hear this story and actually understand how I felt…

I had a harrowing experience last night. I got together with two fellow law students, both atheists. “Jane,” the one whom I consider to be a close friend is a married woman who was raised in the Catholic church and is now very “anti Catholic.” The other woman, “Laura,” is a friend of hers whom I have never particularly enjoyed, but have tolerated.

At one point, Jane mentioned that the Catholic faith “won’t let you marry unless you both vow to raise your children Catholic” (a sloppy interpretation of the Catholic marriage vows), to which Laura promptly responded: “That’s DISGUSTING!” :eek:

I think the conversation might have moved along to other topics if I hadn’t put up my hand and said, delicately, “Laura, let me stop you right there. You KNOW that I am Catholic. If I were Muslim or Jewish would you tell me that my faith and the vow I made to my husband and my God was ‘disgusting’?” She kept trying to turn the conversation into a religious debate (comparing my marriage vows to a Muslim honor killing, for example), and I kept saying “This isn’t a religious debate. This is an etiquette debate, and I believe your statement–that a basic precept of my faith and my marriage is “disgusting”–is a serious breach of etiquette.”

Both Laura and Jane belittled me, berated me, and derided me for my Catholic faith. They delved into many areas of the Catholic church while I refused to engage in the religious debate and just kept redirecting them back to the breach of etiquette: “regardless of your beliefs, it is not appropriate to tell a friend that the tenants by which she lives her life are ‘disgusting.’”

Even if Laura and Jane were to apologize to me for their horrible behavior, I don’t think I could ever feel “safe” in this friendship again, and I don’t think I could ever see past the bigotry they both exhibited last night.

(I honestly can’t find the words to describe how I felt, but I was shaking and on the verge of tears while they berated me for 45 minutes straight. I kept my cool, but it was definitely a test of patience.)

**So, that story brings me to my real point of this post: How can I meet “casual Catholic” friends? **

I have tried joining Catholic and/or Christian organizations, but those people seem to want to discuss/debate religion all the time. God is the focus of my life, but that doesn’t have to be the focus of every conversation! It’s exhausting and doesn’t satisfy my desire for a “fun” social interaction.

A little about us:

We don’t have kids yet, but we’re hopeful that 2011 will be “our year” for our first baby. :o I am 27 years old and a third-year law student. I hope to be a stay-at-home-mom for a few years before going back to work. I’m blessed to be married to a wonderful Catholic man who is absolutely unerring in his beliefs and moral compass. He is the captain of an adult recreational hockey team and I have been trying to “reach out” to the other players’ wives, but I haven’t truly “clicked” with any of them.

We live in Minneapolis and don’t really have any family in this city (just a few distant cousins). I love entertaining in my home (anything from 4-person dinner parties to 25-person cocktail parties), going out to lunch/dinner/movies with my friends…the usual!

Help me brainstorm how we can meet young married couples like ourselves. Book clubs? Cooking clubs? A knitting circle? Volunteering somewhere? I just don’t know where to look and would love your advice. :confused:

Sorry about your experience, I hope your friends grow out of this attitude. As to how to meet Catholics, it totally depends on what’s going on in your area.

First off, does your law school have a St. Thomas More Society chapter? Also, is there a Newman Center at your university? I would look into either, although the Newman Center may be mainly a younger (undergrad) crowd.

If you’re in Minneapolis, I’m sure there is a Theology on Tap group there, I would check that out too. Also, I just joined the Knights of Columbus in my area, and I highly recommend that for your hubby if there is an active council nearby. There are often KofC Ladies Auxiliary groups as well for women, it’s worth looking into.

If I can think of anything else, I’ll let you know.:thumbsup:

You didn’t mention your church…Do you have a parish, does it include ministries that young marrieds like yourself might be interested in? I find that sometimes young adults help with the teen ministry, for example. You could make friends from contacts there. You have to keep your eyes open for couples working together in some ministry or volunteer effort through your church, and then find friends through that. Of course you don’t have to talk about religion all the time! There will be many other subjects to discuss. But the context of course will be a faithful one.

Your “friends” were very rude. Calling our faith “disgusting” is beyond the pale. I award you the Patient Medal of Honor, I would have gotten up and left after the first 5 minutes and no apology, “Oh, my goodness, you must forgive me! I find being with people who call my religious beliefs disgusting so tedious! Bye now!”


I actually had no practicing Catholic friends until recently. In June I did a retreat and met some great people, we did a few things together but some were kind of a hassle. We fizzled out and became more facebook friends than anything, then one morning after daily mass I look across the aisle and there was one who I felt a real connection with at the retreat and after. We talked for a while and then we started talking daily, then we were making plans to see a movie together. This friend, M, came to the retreat with her best friend C so automatically I am also hanging out with C. Just Friday we had a lovely girls night.

This may not seem helpful but I was praying for it and even though I had doubts especially as the group started to fizzle out a real friendship just happened later on, well two friendships. Maybe you can get just one or two people from your organization out for coffee or something, start the conversion going.

Today I ran into an old, old, old school friend at church, I haven’t seen her since we were 11 years old. We talked, now I don’t know if anything will come out of this but friends come in the least likely places and times. Reach out to someone and you set the tone.


You are obviously a wise and strong woman for insisting to debate etiqutte and not religion. You deserve the gold medal for that one.

As for meeting Catholic friends, I struggle with that too. I am sick of people who show me the posters they made for the anti-abortion campain at church and they make fun of me because I am still waiting until I am married.

All I can say is pray for God’s patience and guidance. You are one above me because you have a husband who understands. I am single


Hey from one 3L to another!! :wave:

You’re in a really funky place right now–grad school is like that. You’re not a college kid anymore and you’re not really in that family phase and the Church often struggles to provide ways for young adults to meet and hang.

Check to see if there any Theology on Tap things, and inquire at your parish about any Bible studies, etc. for young people. If there aren’t asking, ask your pastor how he would feel about you starting one–just something simple, like having some women over to your house to discuss that week’s gospel. Also, this might sound odd, but what about religious sisters? Some of my best friends have been religious. I would go over and have tea or share a meal, help them do yard work, go shopping…they’ve been some of the greatest friends ever! If there are orders near you, call them up and ask if you can volunteer to help them in any way–then see how it goes.

Above all, pray! Pray for faithful companions! It’s what I always do. Best of luck! :slight_smile:

Thanks, fellow 3L! :slight_smile: The problem is, there are LOTS of opportunities to discuss gospel, etc…I don’t want that! I want casual non-faith-focused socializing time with people who aren’t religious bigots (and apparently it’s too much to ask my non-Catholic friends to hold their tongues!) :shrug: I attend the most liberal law school in the “bluest” state in the Union. We often feel like “outcasts” because we don’t laugh at pro-abortion “jokes,” etc. :rolleyes:

If you’re willing to drive to the next city over, the Cathedral of St. Paul has quite a good young adults group. Some of us like discussing religious things, and some of us are more about the casual friendships you’re looking for. If you’re into sports, they have a sports night every Friday which I understand is pretty low-key (I don’t go to it myself). If you want more info, PM me, I can put you in touch with the guy who heads up the group.

My cousin goes to the Basilica and was involved with an active young people’s group there - they are the same group that throws the Basilica Block party every summer. Check that out!

lontas, I’m actually in the suburbs and the horrible events of last night happened in St Paul (the 25-mile drive on black ice was not fun!) If I was willing to drive to St Paul for THAT treatment, I’m confident I can drive there for non-bigoted friends. :stuck_out_tongue:

In a city the size of Minneapolis, surely you can find a young adult or young married group that does social things. Just start looking on parish websites and calling people up.

In my old young adult group in major metro area there were LOTS of social and sports opportunity at which religion was definitely not front and center all the time. We also had bible study and other religious opportunities. But a beer at the bar, a football game, a dinner night out, a movie, etc, were all to be had too.

This sounds wonderful. Our parish is too small to have young adult activities, but I do see a few “young adult” activities on the Basilica website that look great-- Wine & Cheese night, Theater night, “Sunday Night Live” at a downtown bar… that’s exactly what I’ve been craving. Just talked to my husband about it and he’s on board. I can’t wait to go to some events and get a feel for the “mood” of the groups. :thumbsup:

I’m about an hour south of Mpls and there are tons of things to do in the cities! I’m not of your age group, but I’d love to meet up with you and your hubby with me and my hubby. Our kids are teenagers and I could use a break! LOL Send me a pm if you’re interested!


I know a lot of people in Catholic groups in St. Paul who are young adults and some are married. If you are interested pm me and I can send you more info.

I have been so blessed that most of my friends are Catholic and solid ones at that.

i know this is coming from a college sophomore, but maybe a catholic bible study?,if your parish has one or your university, great way to meet other catholics=)…


We live outside of St. Paul. We just got married about two months ago, my husband has always lived in the Twin Cities except for college where we met, and I moved there to live with him. So, yeah, I know no one in the area, especially no Catholics!

We’re in a slightly different position as we found out we are having a baby right away, and we’re a bit younger than you, but I know what you mean about finding Catholic friends!

What’s even funnier to me is that my husband also plays hockey :slight_smile:

If you ever wanna chat just send me a pm!

I’m so sorry you went through this.

This is why all of my friends are 60+ (and why I seem to get along better with people in the 65-85 age range!).

Other than online I have yet to figure out how to meet Catholic people our (my husband’s and my) own age… probably because there aren’t any in our area… which is probably why I think of the other Catholic bloggers I read as friends!

I haven’t read the entire thread yet, but I hope you’ve gotten some good advice!

I’m so sorry about your awful experience. I’m in the same boat, being a grad student surrounded by people who are tolerant of everything except the Catholic church. For many years I was struggling to find Catholic friends and was tolerating all sorts of nonsence from people around me. I’m now on maternity leave from my Phd until spring and that has given me a wonderful opportunity to take a break from the people as well. I can’t tell you how much better I feel not having to constantly worry about bigoted remarks. I’ve met some nice Catholics earlier this year at my new parish and enjoy spending time with them.

I hope that you will meet new people who share your faith and your values so that you can socialise with them without feeling uncomfortable. As for those two, I wouldn’t waste my time with them. Maybe with ‘jane’ if she apologises. People who offend you and hurt your feelings knowing well what they are doing are not your friends anyway.

God bless!

I’m sorry you went through this, but I admire your tenacity in standing up for basic manners in mixed company whereas your companions did not exhibit any sense of propriety. They were being just plain rude. Most of my friends respect my Catholicism yet I don’t judge their non-Catholicism. We agree to talk about our similarities rather than our differences.

You will be able to find friends easier than I. I am 37, single no kids, so that puts me out in no man’s land with all the other single “losers.” All you have to do is start participating in your local parish women’s groups and you’ll be fully accepted, especially when you start to have kids. I am the outsider at my parish and plan to start attending a different parish with more singles. I’m starting to wonder if this is a Catholic thing or not - rallying to the families and married people while leaving the singles “out there.”

However, I am sure in no time you will be taken right in. You’re part of the “in” crowd in the Church. Don’t worry.

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