How to tell family they are living in sin


#1

How does a son respectfully tell their parents they are living in sin by not going to mass every week, receiving communion on Christmas and Easter without going to confession, and using/used contraception without confessing it?

If a son still lives with his parents, and he refuses to criticize their mortal sins/sacrilege, is the son himself committing the sin of ommission?

I am the son and this whole situation is giving me a lot of anxiety. I feel like once I bring up the contraception issue, I will be kicked out of the household and it will create a lot of division. Its starting to tear me up inside because by the standards of our religion (both me and my parents) they have committed mortal sins and birth control/missing mass by itself will send a person to hell unless they go to confession. This is what the catholic religion teaches. Our Lady of Fatima confirmed the existence of hell. This isn't happy stuff.


#2

I am very sorry for your situation.

Obviously your parents have deeper issues than just the specific sins tehy are committing. They are not living their commitment of God and Christ through His Church and you are indeed right to be concerned about their souls. And Yes I think that you owe it to yourself and to them to talk to them about it.

Regardless of who is involved, such situations are always delicate. In you rcase there are advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that you know your parents moods, reactions etc very well, the disadvantage is that you ARE their son and may not take kindly to being admonished by you.

My advice would be to broach the subject with the parent you can talk to more easily. don't directly accuse them of sinning but rather bring up the subject (say of mass attendance) to find out why they don't, and the fact that it is an obligation and so forth. Do it in a way that seeks understanding. If this conversation goes well (no arguing) then build on it and talk about other faith issues.

In fact, rather than immediately talk about what they aren't doing, maybe you want to start talking about the faith in general and build a rapore on the subject.

The point being that you want to try to build bridges not walls. It is highly unlikely that you would be able to change their views just by confronting them but by living the faith, and by encouraging them (to say go to mass with you) or saying grace at meals or -- whatever, you might be able to reignite their faith in them....

I'd also suggest talking to a priest about this.

Sorry if the above is kinda jumbled, but I hopwe some of it helps.

Peace
james


#3

Thank you for coming here and sharing your story. I will keep you in my prayers, you obviously are having much anxiety over this.

Some of your dilemna depends on your age. If you are a young teenager this may be difficult to approach with your parents. Are you really concerned that if you bring up a spiritual concern then they will throw you out?

Perhaps you can approach the subject by asking them? Often people do not like to be confronted and being told they are sinners...in fact, most people don't! But perhaps you can approach them by honestly and kindly asking them questions. You could say "Mom/Dad I have a question about the faith can you help me? I am wondering about what the church teaches about missing Mass on Sundays and if you can help me to understand." This might not work but you could consider something like this.

Please also take consolation that no one person can completely know the condition of another person's soul. Is it possible that your parent's have gone to confession and not told you? I for one, do not tell my children every time I go to confession and I certainly don't tell them what sins I have confessed. Maybe not, but this is possible.

Lastly, pray for your parents, then pray again. Talk to Jesus he loves you and cares for you. He does not want you to suffer anxiety. Turn to Christ. Prayer and sacrafice for your parents is far more valuable then any conversation you may have...I only say this because it seems unlikely that you will have "magic words" that will suddenly turn their lives around. Sometimes conversions take time. Ask St. Monica for her intercession, she prayed for years for her son St. Augustine and she will understand your pain.

Sorry I don't have more to offer you, hope this helps a little.


#4

[quote="notredame_999, post:1, topic:229957"]
How does a son respectfully tell their parents they are living in sin by not going to mass every week, receiving communion on Christmas and Easter without going to confession, and using/used contraception without confessing it?

If a son still lives with his parents, and he refuses to criticize their mortal sins/sacrilege, is the son himself committing the sin of ommission?

I am the son and this whole situation is giving me a lot of anxiety. I feel like once I bring up the contraception issue, I will be kicked out of the household and it will create a lot of division. Its starting to tear me up inside because by the standards of our religion (both me and my parents) they have committed mortal sins and birth control/missing mass by itself will send a person to hell unless they go to confession. This is what the catholic religion teaches. Our Lady of Fatima confirmed the existence of hell. This isn't happy stuff.

[/quote]

You mention that BOTH you and your parents are in mortal sin. The first thing to do is to fix your own situation before you attempt to fix theirs. Why? Because if you are guilty of the same thing, and you criticize them, they will think you are a hypocrite. So go to confession for your own soul first. Only then can you correct them, because you will not be guilty anymore.
Check out Mt. 7:3-5 for Jesus' words on this.

Also, it is definitely okay to correct people for the sake of their salvation; It is a loving thing to do if you do it in a loving way. :thumbsup:


#5

I think you should talk to your priest too, but it a spiritual work of mercy to admonish sinners. If I were in your place, I would tell my parents that they shouldn't receive Communion. I would try to sound non-judgmental, but we need to protect the Eucharist as much as we can. If they still continue to partake, then the best thing to do is lead by example and pray. Good luck!


#6

[quote="Monicad, post:3, topic:229957"]
Thank you for coming here and sharing your story. I will keep you in my prayers, you obviously are having much anxiety over this.

Some of your dilemna depends on your age. If you are a young teenager this may be difficult to approach with your parents. Are you really concerned that if you bring up a spiritual concern then they will throw you out?

Perhaps you can approach the subject by asking them? Often people do not like to be confronted and being told they are sinners...in fact, most people don't! But perhaps you can approach them by honestly and kindly asking them questions. You could say "Mom/Dad I have a question about the faith can you help me? I am wondering about what the church teaches about missing Mass on Sundays and if you can help me to understand." This might not work but you could consider something like this.

Please also take consolation that no one person can completely know the condition of another person's soul. Is it possible that your parent's have gone to confession and not told you? I for one, do not tell my children every time I go to confession and I certainly don't tell them what sins I have confessed. Maybe not, but this is possible.

Lastly, pray for your parents, then pray again. Talk to Jesus he loves you and cares for you. He does not want you to suffer anxiety. Turn to Christ. Prayer and sacrafice for your parents is far more valuable then any conversation you may have...I only say this because it seems unlikely that you will have "magic words" that will suddenly turn their lives around. Sometimes conversions take time. Ask St. Monica for her intercession, she prayed for years for her son St. Augustine and she will understand your pain.

Sorry I don't have more to offer you, hope this helps a little.

[/quote]

I only just read this, and it is a GREAT response!
Especially the part where it says "Please also take consolation that no one person can completely know the condition of another person's soul. Is it possible that your parent's have gone to confession and not told you? I for one, do not tell my children every time I go to confession and I certainly don't tell them what sins I have confessed. Maybe not, but this is possible."
So ditto to what Monicad said! ;)


#7

[quote="bnbkaine, post:5, topic:229957"]
I think you should talk to your priest too, but it a spiritual work of mercy to admonish sinners. If I were in your place, I would tell my parents that they shouldn't receive Communion. I would try to sound non-judgmental, but we need to protect the Eucharist as much as we can. If they still continue to partake, then the best thing to do is lead by example and pray. Good luck!

[/quote]

I dont know what is worse; them not going to mass, or them going to mass and unworthily receiving. I feel uncomftorable by inviting them to mass, and then saying by the way you are not in a position to receive since you don't go to confession and you think birth control is ok.

This is just very depressing stuff, especially talking to them about birth control. Even I have some doubts sometimes about the church's teachings reading some of these forums from mothers who either have health problems or have 4 young children in 6 years.

On one hand I want to trust the church, but its really hard considering all the sin, abuse, scandal, and new mass that was created at Vatican II which I believe is part of the problem.

How come I, their son, have to bring this up? Shouldn't they have heard it from the priests in their sermons over the years? Why are 80-90% of catholic marriages in America being stained with mortal sin and contraception right now? Its just really terrible.


#8

[quote="PowderBear, post:4, topic:229957"]
You mention that BOTH you and your parents are in mortal sin. The first thing to do is to fix your own situation before you attempt to fix theirs. Why? Because if you are guilty of the same thing, and you criticize them, they will think you are a hypocrite. So go to confession for your own soul first. Only then can you correct them, because you will not be guilty anymore.
Check out Mt. 7:3-5 for Jesus' words on this.

Also, it is definitely okay to correct people for the sake of their salvation; It is a loving thing to do if you do it in a loving way. :thumbsup:

[/quote]

I believe you misread his post. He is indicating that he and his parents ar both of the same faith, but that they (not him) are in mortal sin.

Peace
James


#9

[quote="notredame_999, post:7, topic:229957"]
I dont know what is worse; them not going to mass, or them going to mass and unworthily receiving. I feel uncomftorable by inviting them to mass, and then saying by the way you are not in a position to receive since you don't go to confession and you think birth control is ok.

This is just very depressing stuff, especially talking to them about birth control. Even I have some doubts sometimes about the church's teachings reading some of these forums from mothers who either have health problems or have 4 young children in 6 years.

On one hand I want to trust the church, but its really hard considering all the sin, abuse, scandal, and new mass that was created at Vatican II which I believe is part of the problem.

How come I, their son, have to bring this up? Shouldn't they have heard it from the priests in their sermons over the years? Why are 80-90% of catholic marriages in America being stained with mortal sin and contraception right now? Its just really terrible.

[/quote]

Ultimately all you can really do is to be the best example of a Catholic that you can be for them and pray a lot both for their reconversion and also for your own growth and discernment on the things you have issues with.

For you rown peace of mind I think you should talk this over with your confessor.

Peace
James


#10

[quote="JRKH, post:8, topic:229957"]
I believe you misread his post. He is indicating that he and his parents ar both of the same faith, but that they (not him) are in mortal sin.

Peace
James

[/quote]

Oh, thanks-- I definitely did, retrospectively.


#11

[quote="notredame_999, post:7, topic:229957"]
I dont know what is worse; them not going to mass, or them going to mass and unworthily receiving. I feel uncomftorable by inviting them to mass, and then saying by the way you are not in a position to receive since you don't go to confession and you think birth control is ok.

This is just very depressing stuff, especially talking to them about birth control. Even I have some doubts sometimes about the church's teachings reading some of these forums from mothers who either have health problems or have 4 young children in 6 years.

On one hand I want to trust the church, but its really hard considering all the sin, abuse, scandal, and new mass that was created at Vatican II which I believe is part of the problem.

How come I, their son, have to bring this up? Shouldn't they have heard it from the priests in their sermons over the years? Why are 80-90% of catholic marriages in America being stained with mortal sin and contraception right now? Its just really terrible.

[/quote]

I do not want to discourage you from talking to your parents, but try not to force the issues too much. Sometimes, all you can do is let go and let God....My husband's parents are divorced, both have been remarried civilly, his dad shacked up with a woman for a while and then left her, and married and divorced again. No annulment, at least I'm pretty sure they never bothered to apply. They are Catholics by form only, but when they visit us, they both go to church with us and they both receive the Eucharist. It is pretty horrifying to me but I can't really say anything to them. I pray for them. I wish they had done things differently. It still bothers my husband a lot, and actually their relationship and divorce is what turned him against the Church in the first place. He's still angry at God for not answering his prayers to keep his parents from divorcing. But there's no fixing what's been broken for so long...and truthfully, they might even say that there is nothing wrong with how they've lived over the last 35 years or so.

It is not the Church that is wrong on these matters, though. It's us, the sinners. You already know that contraception is not what God intends for us, but society has gotten so selfish that we can hardly think in the way God intended.

Pray, and talk to your priest. He may have some ideas about how to bring this up with your parents, or how you can have some peace of mind even if you don't talk to them right now. Ultimately you cannot make any choices for anyone else, only yourself.

God bless you. It's hard.


#12

[quote="notredame_999, post:1, topic:229957"]
How does a son respectfully tell their parents they are living in sin by not going to mass every week, receiving communion on Christmas and Easter without going to confession, and using/used contraception without confessing it?

If a son still lives with his parents, and he refuses to criticize their mortal sins/sacrilege, is the son himself committing the sin of ommission?

I am the son and this whole situation is giving me a lot of anxiety. I feel like once I bring up the contraception issue, I will be kicked out of the household and it will create a lot of division. Its starting to tear me up inside because by the standards of our religion (both me and my parents) they have committed mortal sins and birth control/missing mass by itself will send a person to hell unless they go to confession. This is what the catholic religion teaches. Our Lady of Fatima confirmed the existence of hell. This isn't happy stuff.

[/quote]

Honestly you shouldn't TELL you'r family that they are living in sin.

If you TELL them you are judging them. Only God can TELL them if they're sinning.

You can express your opinion that you THINK they are sinning. It's not your place to judge them. Especially if you really believe it can get you kicked out of the house and destroy your relationship with your parents. Do you really think that's what God wants?


#13

[quote="notredame_999, post:7, topic:229957"]
Even I have some doubts sometimes about the church's teachings reading some of these forums from mothers who either have health problems or have 4 young children in 6 years.

[/quote]

Really quick, I am on these forums and will be having baby #5 within 6 yrs (oldest will still be 5) and I love my blessings and how God has sent them to me, and rather than cause any doubts, it has definitely reinforced my appreciation for the teachings of the Church in this area, Truths that I don't think I would have never figured out on my own in the current world we are in.

I think Monicad gave you great advice, and I do like her approach of inviting your family to learn more about the Church with you (we can always learn more), rather than directly "admonishing" them... Although I would say prayer first, lots of it, ask the Holy Spirit to help you figure out the best approach, as charity, humility, and many other virtues are needed when dealing with situations like this one. The one thing I would say, though, is to find yourself a good priest, spiritual advisor, whose counsel you trust and ask him about this situation and how he suggests to approach it.


#14

You`re a very good person and very brave to be speaking about these things.

Obviously each family has its own dynamic. I remember sometimes I would tell my friend about some issues I was having with my family, parents specifically sometimes, and he would say just speak up and tell them! He would get rather upset that I didn't just speak up and defend myself. However, he did not really understand my family dynamic. In his household, he could speak up in this way and they would listen. In my house, however, that was not the case, and they would not take me seriously if I did something like that or they may make it worse.

Only you know your family best. There is just something unnatural about a child having to speak to his parent. I'm not saying it's wrong, I just mean it seems like a role-reversal, and I feel bad that you have to experience that.

I don't know if confronting them is a great idea, especially since you said they might kick you out of the house. I think the best thing you can do is try to live your best life. Perhaps bring up discussions about religion, and Catholicism specifically. Eventually issues of sexuality may emerge and you can talk about it then.

I just don't think the direct approach is the best one in this circumstance, but I could be wrong.


#15

[quote="Adam1986, post:12, topic:229957"]
Honestly you shouldn't TELL you'r family that they are living in sin.

If you TELL them you are judging them. Only God can TELL them if they're sinning.

You can express your opinion that you THINK they are sinning. It's not your place to judge them. Especially if you really believe it can get you kicked out of the house and destroy your relationship with your parents. Do you really think that's what God wants?

[/quote]

I understand completely what you are saying. However, by the standards of the Roman Catholic Church (which they belong to) they are objectively sinning. Missing mass and using birth control are objectively serious sins in the catholic religion.

Thats not to say that they are bad parents because they aren't. They're the best parents a son could ask for and have always been very loving. But the thing is I don't decide their eternal fate, God does.


#16

[quote="lifeisbeautiful, post:13, topic:229957"]
Really quick, I am on these forums and will be having baby #5 within 6 yrs (oldest will still be 5) and I love my blessings and how God has sent them to me, and rather than cause any doubts, it has definitely reinforced my appreciation for the teachings of the Church in this area, Truths that I don't think I would have never figured out on my own in the current world we are in.

I think Monicad gave you great advice, and I do like her approach of inviting your family to learn more about the Church with you (we can always learn more), rather than directly "admonishing" them... Although I would say prayer first, lots of it, ask the Holy Spirit to help you figure out the best approach, as charity, humility, and many other virtues are needed when dealing with situations like this one. The one thing I would say, though, is to find yourself a good priest, spiritual advisor, whose counsel you trust and ask him about this situation and how he suggests to approach it.

[/quote]

What do you think of women in your situation (congragulations by the way) who have been told that if they get pregnant again there is a real possibility of health problems/death?

The fact is many women on these forums have reported getting pregnant unintentionally while on NFP. I think that is a blessing, but what if the woman could die from another pregnancy and/or c section?

I'm not married, but if I was I guess the best option I would advocate would be TOTAL ABSTINENCE, and that is not a great prospect.

Another reason I am so concerned about this is because I'm trying to discern a vocation and the thought of me as a single priest with no kids telling a woman to totally abstain from sex if she does happen to be in physical danger if another pregnancy arises, seems very hard and is kind of like a wake up call that the priesthood is not a game.


#17

I want to apologize for giving scandal if it seems like I'm dissenting or criticizing the church's position on artifical birth control.

That's not my intention, its just a very serious issue to me because: my family is involved, at least 80% of catholic married couples are involved, and the church defines contraception as a mortal sin which means its serious and very well could send people to hell.

I accept it, I need to pray more so that I can understand the church's wisdom.


#18

[quote="notredame_999, post:15, topic:229957"]
I understand completely what you are saying. However, by the standards of the Roman Catholic Church (which they belong to) they are objectively sinning. Missing mass and using birth control are objectively serious sins in the catholic religion.
You really can't be CERTAIN that they ARE sinning in GOD'S eyes. Only God knows for sure. Maybe there are extenuating circumstances.

Thats not to say that they are bad parents because they aren't. They're the best parents a son could ask for and have always been very loving.
I'm glad you have such great parents. So then maybe you shouldn't go and completely destroy your relationship with them over an opinion.

But the thing is I don't decide their eternal fate, God does.

[/quote]

That's right. So you can't be certain that they are sinning.


#19

"Hey, Dad (or Mom), I'm getting ready to go to Confesson this afternoon. Wanna go with me?" Then see where the conversation goes. Stay respectful. Do not accuse. Listen more than you talk. Pray for them and offer small sacrifices on their behalf before you speak. Ask your confessor for advice.


#20

[quote="JRKH, post:9, topic:229957"]
Ultimately all you can really do is to be the best example of a Catholic that you can be for them and pray a lot both for their reconversion and also for your own growth and discernment on the things you have issues with.

For you rown peace of mind I think you should talk this over with your confessor.

Peace
James

[/quote]

I totally agree with James. This advice is good for most situations, but goes double for a child and his parents. You are not in a position to advise your parents. The rolls of parent and child are not for the child to tell his parents what they are doing wrong. I strongly doubt that they will accept the wisdom from their kid. You can send your message most effectively by example.


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