How would I tell my family I want to be Catholic?


#1

I don’t really know how to start asking for advice on this except by describing my family situation first.

I am a 16 year old boy who’s grown up in a very Baptist family. My family has always considered me very strong in my faith, from a Baptist view.

My parents recently divorced, so that is adding strain to my grandma (grampa’s playing golf with Jesus, or that’s what I say) and my parents.

I know my Dad is quite staunchly anti-Catholic, seeing as when I told him my most wonderful girlfriend was Catholic (coincidence only, I had already been considering Catholicism when I met her), he said “Oh, that’s too bad. You try showing her how she’s wrong?” I was driving at the time, so I said I needed to concentrate.

I was talking with my grandma, and I happened to express a rather sympathizing view of apostolic succession (in her opinion) and I couldn’t help but feel that would also take a very anti-Catholic stance. I didn’t pursue it anymore, but one time she did say something while I was talking to my girlfriend on the phone that could be taken as a rather withering comment.

I really have no idea what my mom would think, though I am sure she would be much like my grandma.

My protestant friends took it bad enough and called it a ‘falling out of faith.’

Also, if you still think it isn’t that bad, but considering my family is super-Baptist, it would be comparable to as if your son were to decide to become Baptist, if he was Catholic. It’s a bit of a jump.

Any advice, please? I’m starting RCIA in a couple weeks, so I know I have to tell them eventually quite soon.
:confused:


#2

First, congratulations on your decision!

Being only 16 is going to make this conversion extremely difficult, so I recommend calling on the Blessed Mother. Start saying the rosary every day, and ask for guidance in your decision and how you should tell your parents.

My advice would be for you to ask your parents permission to convert to Catholicism. Honestly, I don’t think it is a requirement on your part, but you are a minor, and your parents may make things more difficult on you if you just flat out tell them “Mom, Dad, I am entering the Catholic Church”. You don’t need their blessing to enter the Church, but their permission would make it easier on you. You definitely don’t want to approach it defiantly. Tell them how important it is to you. Tell them it is not about your girlfriend, but about what you are being called by God to do.

If they refuse to permit you to do this, keep praying. You won’t be a minor forever, and God will not abandon you.


#3

Pray about it, then pray some more! God will guide you. I’d suggest not getting argumentative with them and simply state where God has lead you. If I had to guess, they are going to assume it is because of your gf. You will want to be prepared to answer that agrument. Just prepare for them to not be happy about it and then just explain how God has lead you here.

You are a brave boy! I welcome you and want you to know we will pray for you. Know that you may be a good leader for your family and they may be inspired to follow you. But they also may not and that is ok, the best you can do is pray for their conversions as well. St. Monica would be a great place for you to ask for help!

About 10 years ago a young man started attending our parish. He stood out because he was about your age, always alone and always rode his bike to mass. He was a convert and his family wasn’t pleased and chose to just not be involved…NOT AT ALL! A few families ‘adopted’ him and gave rides to mass in the winter and sponsored him thru RCIA. Today he’s a wonderful young man with a VERY STRONG faith who has touched many lives including my own. I will pray that your faithfulness and willingness to go where God calls you will bless your life as it did his.


#4

You’ve come to the right place. There are plenty of people here who would happily share their stories with you, or offer some support if you need it.

You might check out the Tiber Swim Team (Joining the Catholic Church is sometimes known as “swimming the Tiber”, thus those planning to swim the Tiber are the Tiber Swim team- and the Tiber is the river that goes through Rome)

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=180835

Or the Teen thread, which I post on.

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=205243

And if you choose not to post on any of these, there are others who post from time to time with their problems. Don’t be shy, we’re here to help.


#5

Brycelaliberte, I will most certainly be praying for you. I am 18, and I have been going through what you are going through for the past two years. Pray to our Blessed Mother, St. Monica, your angel, as well as all of the angels and saints. Pray that you may receive the fortitude necessary, and also that your family may be welcoming of your revived faith. Also I have found that spending time with our Lord in the Blessed Eucharist as well as participation in the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass can bring a great inspiration and relief to a troubled soul. I know it can be very difficult to explain to others that joining the Church is not a “falling out of faith”, but a great continuation of your faith. Make friends at your local parish, they will be great accomplices and supporters in your journey Home. Trust in the lord, and have confidence.

Pax Christi

Brian


#6

Thank you all, your prays are so greatly appreciated.

I talked to my grandma some more, and while I didn’t outright say it, I think she seems willing to accept it, though grudgingly.

Thanks for the support!


#7

Congratulations! I would 2nd the idea to go check out the teen thread/ If you manage to get though our small talk there are some great conversion stories!


#8

Congrats…and Welcome to CAF! I hate to be the partypooper here but since you are 16, if your parents forbid you to join, you will be obligated to obey them until you reach the age of majority. Don’t be discouraged… spend the time praying and learning.

We have a young man at my parish that was raised Baptist and I had told him for years that he was one day going to be Catholic. He was so strong in his faith and wanted to be a missionary… we used to sit down and talk about the Bible and doctrines of our churches… well, one day his Baptist parents suggested that he look into the Catholic Church because he just might have a calling to the priesthood… WOW! Can you see that??? Anyway, last year he came through RCIA and was accepted into the church… this year he is running the youth group and filling out his paperwork for the seminary… Just before Christmas he was accepted to start next fall…

Strange and wonderful things do happen!!!


#9

Wow, I am an ex- baptist. We moved to a new neighborhood and just never settled into a new church.

My husband grew up evangelical/ fundamentalist  christian and his whole side of the family is either Southern Baptist or non-denominational evangelical/fundamentalist. We had been attending a Baptist Church for many years before moving. 

  In the new neighborhood my son started in a cub scout troop sponsored by the local Catholic Church. I soon had lots of Catholic friends and was very comfortable at the church since that is where pack meetings and many other things were held.

I told my friends please invite me to go to church with you. Then I could just tell my husband, “so and so invited me to church and I would like to go”. I figured that was easier than saying that I wanted to just outright start going to the Catholic church. I soon afterwards started RCIA. Hubby was hesitant at first because he had been raised with a lot of anti-catholic sentiment. Claiming don’t expect me to convert or anything and was worried that I would soon convert. However I reassured him that it was not that easy and it was a long process and anyway i was just in the question asking phase. The first part of RCIA is Iquiry.

Anyway we started attending church as a family. Hubby was amazed at the amount of scripture read in church and thought many of the homilies (at least by the senior pastor) were right on.

 Visiting my inlaws was not so easy. the first thing my mother-in-law said was, "please don't become Catholic they are so unbiblical. Right off the bat they call their prists Father when the Bible specifically forbids it" My response, because I was taken off guard was, "well then the apostles got it wrong and defied Jesus. Paul says in Corinthians that he was their Father in Christ."

To make a long story short we proceded with Love and patience and when they brought up an objection we would just explain what Catholism really taught. Such as, they don't pray to Mary but ask her intercession. Catholic answers apologetics board is good for helping you to explain Catholism to non Catholics. Also a wonderful book is Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic by David B. Currie

It was the above book that helped my hubby make the decision to start RCIA. He longed for the Eucharist and came to the conclusion that the Bible taught exactly what the Catholic Church teaches about the Eucharist.

Well the short story with patience love and a lot of prayers they have accepted our decision. I recieved full communion this past November. Hubby is attending RCIA and is looking at full communion at Easter time. Our boys will be baptised this month and my daughter who is 18 attends church with us but hasn’t decided to start RCIA just yet. Miracles Do Happen.Well Good luck and you are added to my prayer list. Deana


#10

Hi brycelaliberte,

I just want to say that you are very blessed to be so faith filled and to follow our Lord’s call. I did the same thing when i was 19 years old. I thought it was a bit hard since I was still living with my Lutheran ( although not super serious ) parents and was in university at the time.

Congratulations on getting in on RCIA. I remember I used to attend mass at age 16 in pure wonder. I went every sunday. My parents didn’t really have problem with it, they just didn’t understand why I was so interested in “religion”.

In your case, you come from a strong faithful family it sounds like, so I can sympathize with the difficulty there. A lot of Baptists are simply misinformed about Catholicism and never had the chance to understand in the way that you are coming to understand. You can get some help in RCIA on how to explain the faith to your family. You can pray, we can also pray for you. I think there is a chance they can fully accept it.

I have a friend who converted from a similar situation to yours and everyone in her family accepted it except one sister.

Find out maybe what their biggest problem with Catholicism is, and address is ( also make sure you address any of your own concerns in RCIA too, as now is the time ). The biggest hurdle for many is Mother Mary.

I hope to hear more from you on Catholic Answers - keep us updated on your conversion process! Welcome!


#11

You don’t have to tell the family everything at once. Start by saying that you’re checking out the Catholic church. You want to see how they worship God. Which is the truth anyway. You don’t really want to start a family war over this. When they ask questions just tell them that you’re going slowly and not to worry. You won’t do anything crazy.

Matthew


#12

I feel for your situation. I used to be Southern Baptist. I lucked out with my family (who are actually Episcopal but not practicing) they always took the view that my faith was my decision, a freedom I am grateful for. However, when I went to tell the preacher at the church I attended while in college that I wasn’t going to be attending any more and he asked me why, he went ballistic on me. He had an attitude very similar to your father when it came to the Catholic church. My priest was a wonderful resource and helped me come to terms with his abusive reaction.

I tell you this not to scare you, but to make you realize that this reaction is possible, it will be even harder for you because your parents are anti-Catholic, and yo uare so young. I didn’t think they would let a minor start RCIA without parental consent. You need to be prepared for their reaction. I know peopel who have joined Catholicism or Mormonism and have been disowned or pretty close to it. With your family situation, there is really no good way to tell them.

Talk to your priest and the RCIA director before you do anything. Ask them how they would approach it, and if they know of anybody who has been in a similar situation who would be able to give you advice or be a support for you. Good luck.


#13

Thank you all for the support, again.

So perhaps an update on my situation could be needed.

So yes, my girlfriend is Catholic, and I have talked to her parents (mostly her dad) about differences between the Baptist and Catholic church. I was very curious then, though I once made the mistake of asserting Mary can’t have been sinless. (Though I’m now turned around on that, for obvious reasons)

I had a long chat with my father about many things, mainly his divorce with my mom and school. At the end, I thought I should tell, since ‘better sooner than later.’ He took it well, or at least he appeared to. He said he ‘accepted’ my decision, and would stand behind me on it. (I think he might’ve been trying to get points, since my situation of where I stay when isn’t settled yet)

The next thing I knew, since I had been grounded off the phone and he had my phone that night, he’d texted my girlfriend telling her he wanted to talk to her parents about my conversion, and explicitly said ‘he wants to convert for you.’

I haven’t brought this up with him yet, and my girlfriend and her parents know this to be not true. I told her to not tell her parents to yet, and that I would bring it up with him personally about why he seems to have gone behind my back about this.

Any help with this?


#14

My parents think I’m converting for my boyfriend too. It’s annoying, but they won’t listen when I tell them thats not true. Your father might not yet be willing to accept you’re doing it for you and nor her. Try explaining that to him. He won’t like it, but eventually they will all have to get over it.

I also am converting from super strict anti-Catholic Baptist. Feel free to PM me anytime.


#15

I’m in a similar situation, too. Don’t PM me for advice, because I have no idea how I’m going to do this. This is just a “know that you’re not alone” thing. Also, I’m here to mooch off of the advice you get :cool:


#16

I will keep both of you in my prayers, homewardbound and brycelaliberte…

I have been living on my own since I was 17, and I didn’t choose to convert until a full year after I moved out of my mother’s house… so I was somewhat spared the disgust and concern of my family members, but not entirely so.

It is always hard when family members and friends can’t seem to respect your own personal decision concerning your faith; I can’t even imagine how difficult it would be to still be under their authority.

The best you can do is to pray for them, and for perseverance for yourself as you seek out answers to any questions you may have.

In the meantime, since your dad has agreed to at least allow you your conversion process, I would suggest that you take the chance… if he has any objections or questions, he will likely bring them up with you (if only in an attempt to dissuade you), and this will give you opportunity to teach him even as you learn.

Just keep in mind that RCIA is a learning process, and that you might also not have all the information your father could request. Don’t be too concerned; if anything he asks you troubles you, just bring it up in RCIA and you should be directed to the correct information.

Again, both you, brycelaliberte, and you as well, homewardbound, are in my prayers.

Pax Christi,
Esther Rose


#17

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