How to answer to "recovering catholic"?


#1

Dear Friends in Christ,

I have a dilemma. A good friend of ours is a singer/songwriter who often describes herself as a “recovering catholic”, a condition that she likens to alcoholism. “Some people can drink…some not so much” . This is her joke monologue as preface to a song which is actually about letting go of resentment and making amends! Before she says any of this I know it is coming because she says that she might offend someone by this admission but…. Every time she has said this I have been deeply offended and it has ruined the rest of her show for me. She is really a very nice gentle person. She is a volunteer for the St Vincent de Paul store and does other charitable work. She is not really self-centered. She is living a “homemade” religious life with no church affiliations. I’m not sure she is an atheist but she has told me she doesn’t believe in hell. I do believe that she was never a catholic who properly catechized, understood her faith. She would never have left! I think she was just raised in a nominally catholic-in name-only home so she thinks she knows what it means to be catholic. ( The drummer in her band is a catholic of the cafeteria variety who is quite openly defiant to the major teachings of the church …but that’s another story.) I would like to point out to her that she: A) has an incorrect understanding of the catholic church and so was never really a catholic. You can’t recover from something you are not! B) that Catholicism is not a disease! We have many friends in the music business, folk singers mostly, because of my husband’s obsessive hobby of recording artists, trading recordings and hanging out with other “tapers”. The vast majority of these performers are radically left wing and loudly so. This doesn’t bother my husband because as he claims he is just much more “tolerant” than I am and he likes their music. Pointing out that much of the musical lyrics are based on liberal politics, raunchy living, sexual deviance and new age philosophy is a mistake because I get blasted for being intolerant, not wanting to have any “fun” or being a “prude”. So here are my questions of you all:

  1.              How can I tolerate with a Christian attitude these beliefs that are so far from my own?  I have to honor my husband and I don’t want to cut myself off from everything he likes to do.   I come off as having a holier-than-thou attitude.  I am being submerged in a world that is anti-Christian and very humanistic and pagan.  I am avoiding more of this world than I was and I am certainly praying more!  
    
  2.              What if anything should I say to this singer friend?  If she is truly my friend I think she wouldn’t want to offend me.  The whole culture in her world says that you can insult others as long as you make it clear that what they are doing is “Ok for them”.  
    
  3.              How do I witness to the truth of the Catholic faith in a world that is so relativistic?  
    
  4.              How can I be sure that if I do say something I am truly defending Christ and not just caught up in my own pride?
    

Thank you for your input. A couple other things about me, I am a recovering alcoholic so I may be hypersensitve to the jokes about recovery from anything. This could be triggering a prideful response. Also our daughter is a postulant with a conservative dominican order and this is well known among our friends. My husband is a cradle catholic who attends mass with me on Sunday but resists learning anything about his faith. He tells me not to lecture him if I try to explain any article of faith.


#2

The whole of the problem with your dh and friends is simply fear and ignorance. They are afraid that truly living the Catholic life will kill their independence and their joy. How wrong they are! So, it is up to you to show them differently. Because all this is bothering you, and quite naturally considering your background, you are probably showing the worried side of yourself to these people whenever the subject of religion comes up. For your own well being as well as everyone around you, live the joy of your faith before them. I’m not at all saying you are the cause of their lack of faith, fears, and ignorance. They did those things to themselves. But, like people stuck on a mountain ledge who are too scared to let go, you have to be the voice of reason, reassurance, and cheerfulness to help them let go of what they fear so they can learn about the faith and enter into the joy of it along with you. You and yours will be in my prayers.


#3

I am an active member of a 12 step group. I often hear the "recovering Catholic’ thing around the tables. I started speaking out from the podium when I am asked to speak at conferences that not only am I not recovering from my Catholicism but that if you think you are, you might want to look at those 12 steps we have, as we believe that resentment can kill us and that getting over our resentments is what the 12 steps are about…

Perhaps some day, when the two of you are all alone, you might ask her (gently) what it is she is recovering from…and then share with her how her phrase hurts you so because you love the Holy Mother Church and how you feel she is maligning it with that phrase. If she is the gentle, loving person you say she is (and I personally believe you) then she does not mean to hurt, she really thinks she is being funny. Many people do…there have been times I thought I was being funny and did not realize I was hurting someone until they told me.

With that door open, you might be able to start sharing some of your experience, strength and hope with her. Since I started speaking out from the podium, I am amazed at the number of fellow sober members who have thanked me, and also started speaking out…

It’s just an idea…the Apostles told us to show those around us that we were Christians by our behavior…you can do it.


#4

[quote=LSK]I am an active member of a 12 step group. I often hear the "recovering Catholic’ thing around the tables. I started speaking out from the podium when I am asked to speak at conferences that not only am I not recovering from my Catholicism but that if you think you are, you might want to look at those 12 steps we have, as we believe that resentment can kill us and that getting over our resentments is what the 12 steps are about…

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[/quote]

Amen! I used to just let those comments pass at AA Meetings but like you I now speak up.


#5

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