How to handle pentecostal MIL situation?


Well, my mother-in-law called to ask if she could have our daughter (who’s 12) for a week at the end of July. They live about an hour and a half away. From a Sunday to the next Sunday. (Our daughter could still go to Mass the Saturday before she leaves and a Sunday evening Mass when she get’s back so that’s not the issue.)

I was ok with that and then she says “because I was going to take her to our church’s Vacation Bible School”. Eeh, well, um…
So I tell her I’m fine with her going to stay with them but I’m not sure I’m comfortable with her taking her to Vacation Bible School. There was silence on the phone. So I say “well because there are some differences in what we believe and what your church believes…” She tells me it’s just going to be songs and Bible stories. So I say “Well does your church have some information on the program that I can review?” She says she’ll ask. By the way she’s already purchased a shirt for my daughter from the VBS program.

My MIL has come to Mass with us when she’s here to visit, she went to my hubby’s baptism when he came into the Church as well as my daughter’s baptism and first communion. I don’t want to cause hurt feelings but I really don’t want our daughter participating in a Pentecostal VBS. I also thought about her Sunday to Sunday request. This means she will be taking her to Sunday services on both Sunday’s as well, and they have Sunday school before hand.

So how do I handle this gracefully?


You and dh make the rules. If you say no VBS, they respect that or she doesn’t visit.


My mother-in-law wouldn’t take her if we said no I’m sure of that. I’m just trying to handle this without hurt feelings -if possible.:o


Your daughter, your rules. There are other times she can visit MIL.

I went to Baptist Bible school when I was about ten. It didn’t confuse me, and I had a lot of fun with my friends. I’m not sure you have too much to worry about. I remember the clapping and swaying in the pews, but I was young enough to take it as the fun it was.

Now, when I was about 15, I went to a Protestant teen weekend program. That really confused and even upset me.

Your MIL sounds open-minded. I bet she would enjoy sharing this part of her church with your daughter, and your daughter may even go home with her and discuss the differences. But, you get to decide for your daughter.


“Thanks for offering to do something you think would be fun. Dd is at an impressionable age and developing her faith. We prefer she not attend non Catholic VBS.”


I personally would never allow my MIL to take my kids to her Baptist church without me there. Ever. VBS or Sunday services. Especially Sunday services. She most likely will be targeted for “conversion”.


Actually, I find the age to be a bit of a problem. Most VBSs are pretty generic for the 3-8 or 9 year-olds. But for the older kids they can begin to get a little more … specific.

This is potentially even more problematic since it is a Pentecostal community. Do you know much about your MIL’s denomination? Many (though not all) Pentecostal groups are “Oneness,” ie, they do not believe in the Trinity. They may speak of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but they do not believe that they are three distinct coequal Divine Persons in One Divine Being. If this is a Oneness group, I would definitely not let her go.

I find myself agreeing with KCT: “Thanks for offering to do something you think would be fun. Dd is at an impressionable age and developing her faith. We prefer she not attend non Catholic VBS.”



I find myself agreeing with KCT: “Thanks for offering to do something you think would be fun. Dd is at an impressionable age and developing her faith. We prefer she not attend non Catholic VBS.”

It could get to be a regular thing, every summer with grandma.
Nip it the bud. Before it becomes a problem.
Maybe make a suggestion for them to do something else?


VBS is geared for kids 10 and under. It is set up where the older kids (your daughter’s age) are a sort of Jr Counselors.

Tell your MIL that she (your daughter) is too old for VBS, tell her that she can visit another week.


This does not so much sound like a visit than a thinly veiled attempt to drag your daughter away from the Catholic Church. Suggest a different week.


I disagree with the suspicion.
I have been attending a Pentecostal - Trinity beleiving- Church along side the Catholic Church for about two years… got good friends with pastors and lay people alike in that church and never once had to defend my faith… I was never attacked in any shape or form… they let me in peace and was just honored to have me there… and then I sometimes invited to some discussions where I explained catholic views on things… but it was always peaceful and nothing bad came out of it.
I have had so much joy seeing these pentecostal people and experiencing their zeal for Christ that we many times lack in my Catholic congregation. The way I see it there are two kinds of Pentecostals: those who are unity oriented and feel one with their Catholic brothers inspite of our differences ( I know only such) and those that have a clear anti-catholic teaching in their church… which I think is more widespread in the US than in Europe.

I would say… have you taught your child well? does she have a personal relationship with Christ and love her faith? Does she know her Catholicism and her Bible? … then… what is the problem? I dont think there should be a problem… however… she might not want to go… have you asked her? She is in the innocent age… and so are the others who are going to attend… dont forget that.
One other important question is: is she already involved in a youth group in her Catholic parish?.. because that is extremely important… also as a foundation to meeting other young Christians.
I think she can handle it… and I’d say: let her go and trust your MIL :slight_smile:
I have attended so many evangelical and protestant events in my life… and many of them enriched my life :slight_smile:


12 year olds are often easily swayed. Especially if grandma is the authority.

Besides, Catholics should avoid attending non-Catholic services at all costs.


I disagree with both premises: that there is anyone having the intent to SWAY anyone in this situation.

And secondly, the last comment which is as far from my own theology as it gets. I believe that Protestants, Evangelicals, Orthodox and Massianics etc… should all come together more often and see what each other is doing… … I have often invited non-Catholic friends to come to Church with me. According to your logic I should stop that behaviour… (or does it only count the other way around?) and we could all go on living on our own little islands in opposition to the Will of God stated in the Bible that we work for unity with our brothers… How can you love someone you have not met? and how can you know someone if you refuse to get aquainted ? and how can you expect that anti-Catholicism would ever drop if you at the same time advocate that people should stay away from each other’s congregations? Enmity certainly thrives in obstinate isolation from the rest of the Body of Christ.

I will continue to do what I have been called to do by Christ. Love my brothers and go to them to tell them the Good news about Unity in love and humility.


There is absolutely no problem with inviting those of other denominations or faiths to attend Catholic Mass.

As for Catholics attending the religious services of other denominations, tale a look at what Father Serpa has to say.


… QUOTE! you dont get away with stating that without backing it up totally with a binding Catholic source of authority… Catechism or something … you know that.
If you are right and you really represent the “Catholic stance”… then I think there is double standards and I dislike that… At any rate… the best Catholics I have known were those who would sometimes attend another church too - not at the expense of attending Mass of course - and who were not shaken but inviting self scrutiny in themselves as the church… asking questions like: Who are my brothers …what do they believe, really… what can I do for them … what can we learn from them, what can they learn from us.

You cant pray for someone you wont meet with and who you dont love… Gets me thinking: what are you afraid of?


I edited my post to make corrections. Sorry. Canon Law does com into it, but Father Serpa explains it so much better.

Please note that I change, “forbid” to “discourage”.

Oh, and what is this about a “double standard”? That would imply that Protestants are somehow equal to the Catholic Church or have some Truth the Catholic Church does not. No. This is about protecting people from error.

But I think we should rein this in. We are getting perrilously close to hijacking this thread.


The parents are the authority.

Granny knows they are Catholic. She knows her son converted. She knows her granddaughter has been raised Catholic thus far.

I would be polite, but suggest another week for DD to visit. And DD arrives Sunday AFTER services and stays until Saturday. No Sunday School. No VBS.

If Granny can’t take back the shirt, that’s her problem.


Yes she knows her faith and the Bible, she’s homeschooled and also in an excellant cathechism program at our parish.
This is a small town, they will know she does not attend their church (which we have been to while visiting the inlaws). She’s 12, I am quite certain if their is a program geared for 12 year olds it will be more than Bible stories and songs. I don’t think she needs to fend off by herself a large group of people trying to get her “saved” for a week.

In all honestly I really do not see any point to her going. She is being taught quite well between our home and our parish and doesn’t need to be subject to Pentecostal interpretation of the Bible. She will be helping out at our own VBS as part of her “confirmation hours” (she is too old for our VBS program now).

I attended a week long summer camp with my Pentecostal best friend when I was 13. I went to be with my friend. I was a very skeptical kid and chalked up a lot of what was going on to emotional nonsense and extremism. I just had fun hanging out with my friend. My daughter knows no one there except her grandmother, I see no benefit to subjecting her to this.


If it helps these are “Church of God” Pentecostals. Even looking that up online I can’t get a clear set of beliefs.:rolleyes:


And you won’t. They are very autonomous.

I think you are right, Rayne, right as rain!:wink: Nope, another week, another time, but not for VBS, and not the poor guilt trip of an already purchased VBS t-shirt.

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