I love my mom, but her views are not my own. I fear my relationship might suffer from it


#1

My boyfriend is Catholic and I myself decided to start RCIA this October. My mother was raised Catholic, but very poorly. I don’t believe she was given the whole truth as to what the church is about. She fell from the Church in her early twenties. She believes Catholics don’t read the Bible and that we pick and choose what we feel is right and wrong.

After Mass one morning she stopped by to drop some thing off for me. During her visit she said some very hurtful things about the Church and my boyfriend. She said to me that the church was wrong, that is was boarderline a cult. That we didn’t believe in the Bible and that the Bible clearly states that tattoos are bad. (I have three tattoos that I have had done at least a year ago, before I even realized they were frowned upon.)

She also said that my boyfriend was a bad Catholic because if he knew any better he wouldn’t date me because I have tattoos and because of my very gloomy past. I was very hurt and appauled. I didn’t say much in response because I just wanted her out of my house.

I told my boyfriend what she had told me and that I was really upset. The funny part is she now wants to meet him for the first time… But he has no interest in meeting her until it is known what her issue is.

I’m so at a loss for words. My mother has never acted this way towards me, I have never realized she had such a strong dislike for the Catholic Church. Any suggestions?


#2

Are there any reasons for why she might be this way? Is she suffering from early dementia or something like that that might account for her being so vile to you?


#3

It’s ok to tell your mom “listen mom, I know you mean well, but I have made my decision to learn more about the Church, and I hope that when I am received into the Church, you’ll support me. I promise you’ll meet (BF) soon; but I don’t want any awkwardness. If you have some issues with his faith, and the fact that I may be converting as well, maybe we should talk about that now?”

My father is never going to be pleased I am Catholic. However: Eventually, they often do make their peace with it. Not always, but often.

Your tattoos are no big deal. They are a piece of your past. We all have pasts :smiley: And I don’t really buy that they are a huge deal at all, anyway.


#4

Hi Lidz,

I just want to reassure you of a few things.

I’m no Catholic scholar, but I have read on the ask an apologist section about tattoos. Tattoos in and of themselves are not sinful or necessary frown upon unless they are done for the wrong reasons (such as to idolize a movie star), have scandalous or harmful messages (such as something against God or nudity to sexually excite others), and done in a bodily damaging way (such as using food money for this, using money that does not belong to you, or it physically harms your body).

So that should reassure you unless your tattoos have some moral problems. That list is not exhaustive but it should give you a good idea. As for the issue of whether it is prudent or not that is not necessarily a moral question though it could be if it is an extreme case. Personally I do not worry if another has a benign tattoo though I do hope it does not hurt, does not have any medical side effects, and that the person will not regret the look of it later. If they are happy with it, it’s not morally difficult in any way, and won’t cause problems later than that’s cool.


As for your Catholic boyfriend. He is free to choose whom he likes to explore the prospect of a long term relationship that can lead to marriage. It is not your mom’s call on who he should date. In fact it would be hurtful to his soul if he looks down upon you for the reasons your mom listed.


As for the real heart of the matter, your mom is just being bad. She is projecting her inner problems and difficulties onto you and your relationship because she cannot or does not know how to handle her own. It can get easier on you if you remember that most people, and probably your mother, are acting out by projecting themselves and it is not you and your relationship that she is really attacking. She is attacking you and the relationship, but on the psychological level she is trying to attack something else inside her and probably failing miserably.


Follow the love of Christ and the Church Christ built for yourself and the sake of your boyfriend. Also pray for your mom. Then do what you can otherwise. Sorry I do not have more actionable advice. But I think the psychological context should help a great deal from the previous paragraphs and the process of full attention in RCIA is busy enough to really worry much about bigotry or hatred from the outside.


#5

There could be 2 things going on here, there may be some lingering resentment from her past in regards to the Church. Especially if you seem to find joy where she did not. Yes it’s childish but even as adults we sometimes want to feel like we are in company even when we are miserable.

You didn’t mention if your mother attends another Church, is so which one? Most mainline protestants don’t have much anti-Catholic sentiment but some of the more fundamentalist and bible churches do. Be sure to tell her that if a Catholic attends daily Mass for 3 years they will have heard the entire Bible… ask her if that is the case in her Church?

Lets me know about her beliefs as I have some book suggestions if you think she might be open to finding out the Truth. No to convert her, she can still not agree with the Church, but she she know what the Church truly teaches.

Forget about the tattoos… it’s in the past.


#6

:clapping:

That’s awesome. I really enjoyed my RCIA experience.

You’re not even Catholic yet, and you use the term “we.” :heart: Reminds me of what I used to do.

My dad used to make very similar comments to me (he was raised Catholic) – At one point, he even said, “I should have raised you Catholic and shoved it down your throat, so you wouldn’t be Catholic now.” :frowning: The last time he said something hurtful to me, about the Church and our beloved Pope, I looked straight at him and said (as respectfully as I could), “I will raise my kids Catholic, and if you undermine my teaching them the Faith by purposely telling them lies about the Church, then you will not be seeing them for a long time.”

Unfortunately, I didn’t know how else to say it… I had already put up with comments, ridicule, accusations, etc., that I just got frustrated. My philosophy largely comes from St. Francis of Assisi: Preach the Gospel always, and when necessary, use words. I just wish I had the opportunity to think more about those words before I said them.

It did get the message across, and he no longer makes awful statements about our Faith, but I would encourage others to be more diplomatic in handling situations like that, and not resort to threats. :o

Tattoos are morally neutral. :smiley: Unless you have Satanic symbols etched onto your body (or other morally problematic things like swastikas), your tattoos are most likely just fine.

Well, since we’ve already addressed the tats, let’s move on to the gloomy past. :wink: God forgives past transgressions, and asks us to also forgive each other and our pasts. If your devout Catholic boyfriend is at peace with your gloomy past, he is in fact, a wonderful example of Catholicism. Check out a little of Jason Everett’s story here.


#7

Tell your mother that you are flattered she cares so much about you, but she is very wrong about tattoos and catholicism.

And your “gloomy past”?? WHO CARES? It’s in the past. If you come home to the church, than go to Confession, and move on. If he has a problem, even the slightest one, with your past…it’s his, not yours.

When I date a woman, and am into her pretty serious, I’ll sometimes tell her that I had a wild past with woman. Many years ago, until I became much more serious about my faith. I’ve had one woman walk away on the spot, than call me a few days later to apologize. We dated a bit longer, and then she had to transfer to Pennsylvania, while I live in NH. Were very good friends who email each other all the time.

The point of my idiotic ramble is-find someone who can forgive you and move on. That’s the man you deserve.


#8

I’m defiantly in the “my mom dosn’t think I deserve X” sort of category. Alot of this I blame on her past, her perception of my past, and what Oprah tells her to believe about “damaged” people.

She’s a living conundrum. She wants me to go out drinking at bars but compared holding hands during the first date to having sex.:rolleyes: Then when I wasn’t interested in the relationship she said that my past was following me.:shrug:

I’ve deal with it with a “yes mom” and learning what subjects are and are not approachable. You have to feel this new chanel out. It will hurt for a while that you can’t have that kind of relationship, but eventually you will grow with her in other ways.


#9

Many of my family members have very strange ideas about what the Catholic Church teaches.

All I can suggest is to read a lot and pray a lot.

Thanks be to God that we have Catholic Answers. Check out the CA “shop”.

The tracts are very inexpensive and easy to read and contain good solid information.

They helped me tremendously and, who knows, your mother might even get interested enough to pick up one of them and leaf through it.

I felt discouraged, but just persisted with my life of reading Catholic sources. I always was shocked and the more I read the more I love the Church.

What you can do (what I did) was to pick one area [e.g., Shroud of Turin or the Inquisition or the Crusades] and read EVERYTHING on it. Pretty soon, you pick up a lot of information about that topic and a lot of info on other areas as well.

[Seems to me there is even a lot of stuff on the Inquisition and the Crusades here on the Catholic Answers Forums.]


#10

It is possible that your mother is fighting her own spiritual battle. I am sure she loves you and wants the best for you, even if it doesn’t seem so right now. She could have been hurt by her experiences growing up Catholic and might still be hurting. I too grew up Catholic and felt cheated out of the solid foundation that I now have after returning to the Catholic Church as an adult and learning about my faith. I said some tough things as well and I was very wrong.

Your RCIA journey may be God’s way of bringing you into the church and your mom back. Try to remember that everyone seeking truth will find Him. Pray for your mother, practice forgiving her harsh words and please seek comfort in the Lord, not your boyfriend.

I’d suggest you learn the Prayer to St Michael the Archangel and say it often:

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Amen.


#11

the critical, most important part of what i read is when your mother said “If he was really a Catholic he wouldnt date you because of your tattoos and gloomy past…”

it seems that your mom is . hmm. lets try to be charitable… projecting her own fears and feelings onto your relationship. she is also being abusive in her attitudes and words to you.

while we are required to “honor our mother and father” NO where does it say we have to let them hurt or abuse us.

i suggest a good selection of books on “verbal abuse” look for them in the self help section and look up books on dealing with “passive aggressive” people. while none of the ones i know are religious in nature, they do tell you some important things:
1 you are not alone
2. you are not crazy
3. this behavior IS abusive
4. how to respond and detach from it.
(most of the books are aimed at dealing with a romantic relationship… but the advice is still good)

also look at some of teh Catholic books on forgiveness… and moving past a bad past and such.

oh, the Tattoos?
you could get a lot of arguments about that… i know Orthodox Jews will not let a Jew who has Tattoos be buried in a Orthodox graveyard, which is why a friend of mine is going through laser removal… but no one in my church has ever said anything about tattoos… and many people have them. they were not a problem for any of our RCIA people either…

i suspect that if the tattoos bring you down, remind you of your sins in a bad way. contribute to a problem, or symbolize some non Catholic lifestyle. that you consider having them removed or tattooed over. otherwise don’t sweat it.


#12

Thank you all for the advice. Sorry I wasn’t able to respond sooner. I’ll try and answer all the questions that were asked.

My mom is only 45. Lol. She isn’t suffering from any disease that would make her act out of the ordinary. (Sorry I got a kick out of this question.)

As of right now my mom doesn’t attend any type of church. She did attend a protestant church about eight years back, but that when I dragged her with me. :slight_smile: Since has gone since they laid off the Pastor.

As for my tattoos… I don’t regret them and they don’t remind me of my past or make me feel guilty in any way. I actually like them. All they are is stars and clouds. Simple as that.

And as for my boyfriend, Matthew. He actually likes one of my tattoos, they don’t bother him at all. He knows everything about me, the good and the bad, up until the present. He doesn’t judge me for the things I’ve done, and he accepts that I’ve hit a few bumps in the road but still loves me just the same. He has a very large heart and I thank God that He has lead me to him.

I’m sure with time my mom will learn to accept that I’ve made my decision and that no matter what she says it wont change my mind. I’m not upset with her for the things she has said, I can forgive her for that. I’m just a little saddend that this will probably hurt what relationship we have. Matthew fears that he will have a hard time getting to know her because of some of the stuff she has said about him. I will pray for the best and that perhaps one day my mom might just come back to the Church.


#13

Such a wonderful heart you have as well Lidz.

All we can do is love those we care about and those that hate us after all. If she is willing to accept your love then wonderful for her since she can find peace. If she then seeks the source of that love you can bring her to God just like your boyfriend brought you to God fully. I wish you the best.


#14

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