Is it a sin to "disown" a family member?


#1

Ok, this whole situation is hypothetical and in no way reflects on anything I have experienced or anyone I know of. It's just something I started thinking about.. :)

Now let's say a child comes out to his devout Catholic parents that he's gay and he is choosing to live an actively gay lifestyle and he refuses to repent of his sin. Because of this, his parents become absolutely enraged and decide to disown him and cut off all ties with him because he will not repent. The family will not talk to him, has cut him out of their will and will not change until the son decides to repent.

I would think of this situation as reasonable. Sort of like an incurred familial excommunication that the son willed for.

Would that be wrong? It's not like the family hates him and won't forgive him, but they simply want nothing to do with him because his sins bring great shame upon the family and he will not give up on his sins. The family agrees to "reown" (so to speak) him if he repents and comes back to them, but unless that happens then they will not.


#2

It is very uncharitable. If you think it’s OK to reject or disown family members due to social shame, then when the gay son’s teen sister gets knocked up, what are they going to do? Drag her to the abortion clinic and get themselves excommunicated, just to save face?

WWJD?


#3

It may sometimes be appropriate, but after every other alternative has been sought:

15
"If your brother sins (against you), go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
16
If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that 'every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.'
17
If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.

Matthew 18:15-17


#4

That's a brother--which probably means someone you know at church, not even a blood relative.

That is not referring to your child.

WWMD?!

She stood there and bore the shame of her naked, mauled, apparently criminal, executed son.

Disowning your child will likely make them hate God, Jesus, and His Church even more, driving them deeper into Satan's arms...deeper into the arms of the gay culture that will surround and support and love-bomb them.

Don't disown, love bomb yourself as part of the battle. :thumbsup:


#5

Do you think sin conquers love?


#6

Shunning was certainly accepted by early Christians. I don't think it should be dealt lightly, but sometimes the flock has to be protected against sinners, lest they be drawn astray.

11
But I now write to you not to associate with anyone named a brother, if he is immoral, greedy, an idolater, a slanderer, a drunkard, or a robber, not even to eat with such a person.
12
For why should I be judging outsiders? Is it not your business to judge those within?
13
God will judge those outside. "Purge the evil person from your midst."

1 Corinthians 5:11-13

and as Aquinas says in Q 25 Art 6 of Summa,

As the Philosopher observes (Ethic. ix, 3), when our friends fall into sin, we ought not to deny them the amenities of friendship, so long as there is hope of their mending their ways, and we ought to help them more readily to regain virtue than to recover money, had they lost it, for as much as virtue is more akin than money to friendship. When, however, they fall into very great wickedness, and become incurable, we ought no longer to show them friendliness.

but the task is different from those who are given to temptation and those who are more saintly,

The weak should avoid associating with sinners, on account of the danger in which they stand of being perverted by them. But it is commendable for the perfect, of whose perversion there is no fear, to associate with sinners that they may convert them. For thus did Our Lord eat and drink with sinners as related by Matthew 9:11-13. Yet all should avoid the society of sinners, as regards fellowship in sin; in this sense it is written (2 Corinthians 6:17): "Go out from among them . . . and touch not the unclean thing," i.e. by consenting to sin.


#7

Hooo, boy. That is a tough one for a parent, I'm sure. SSA isn't something that a person asks for. It is terribly difficult to cope with. If pressuring someone with the threat of withholding money or social contact would help the situation, that would be one thing. In this case, that is unlikely. So we're talking about isolating someone with a great cross to bear when isolation is not likely to bring about a positive change. It could really wound a child who is already very wounded, whether he realizes it or not. I don't think "tough love" covers the solution you're proposing.

If the family member were dealing drugs, in organized crime, or something like that, then yes, I could see cutting off family contact and threatening the loss of an inheritance might be a pressure that could add up to positive change. Drug dealers are also people who are more or less dangerous to associate with. In that case, I could see it. The farther I could get away, the better, just out of prudence. Not for engaging in homosexuality or adultery, though. I'd even hesitate to do it for a child who was a stripper or a prostitute, rather than a pimp. For someone who was an addict and had harmed the family by his or her addiction, it might also be a reasonable natural consequence for their choices. If you were to die, the money might be enough to put the child in an early grave.


#8

[quote="Daegus, post:1, topic:229218"]
Ok, this whole situation is hypothetical and in no way reflects on anything I have experienced or anyone I know of. It's just something I started thinking about.. :)

Now let's say a child comes out to his devout Catholic parents that he's gay and he is choosing to live an actively gay lifestyle and he refuses to repent of his sin. Because of this, his parents become absolutely enraged and decide to disown him and cut off all ties with him because he will not repent. The family will not talk to him, has cut him out of their will and will not change until the son decides to repent.

I would think of this situation as reasonable. Sort of like an incurred familial excommunication that the son willed for.

Would that be wrong? It's not like the family hates him and won't forgive him, but they simply want nothing to do with him because his sins bring great shame upon the family and he will not give up on his sins. The family agrees to "reown" (so to speak) him if he repents and comes back to them, but unless that happens then they will not.

[/quote]

As painful as it would be to have a child in that condition, I could never shun my own son. I might not reward his choices, but I could never turn my back completely on him. Just as I would not turn my back if my son got a girl pregnant, or committed some criminal act. I would stay as loving as possible, pray a lot, and try to do what I could to help him, in whatever way. I think that is what Jesus would want us to do.


#9

Hey… Thanks for your responses but I think you are getting a little bit passionate about this when it was only a hypothetical scenario.


#10

[quote="Daegus, post:9, topic:229218"]
Hey.. Thanks for your responses but I think you are getting a little bit passionate about this when it was only a hypothetical scenario.

[/quote]

Maybe for you. For some, it is very real.


#11

A mother should love her child unconditionally.

(a father should do so as well).


#12

The pamphlets at church say: be willing to let wayward children leave but always keep communication open. After all wouldn’t it be better to have a prodigal child then no child at all?


#13

Worrying about "bringing shame upon the family" to the point where you would disown someone who didn't behave perfectly is, to me, prideful and selfish. I don't think the Jesus who told parables of the one shepherd risking 99 sheep to find just one wayward sheep would really be okay with that. To me this is sinful.

If a family member puts the rest of the family in danger (is in a gang, drug dealer, etc.) or has harmed the family or someone else in a serious manner (such as physical or emotional abuse), or something of that nature, it would make sense to end contact or "disown" that person, hopefully after trying to get them help by taking them to the police or counseling if possible.

Living in a way that is not Godly or which you do not agree with, such as coming out as gay or living with someone before marriage, is not in my opinion something worth disowning a child over. That person is just going to become convinced that they never needed God anyway, assuming that they had that much of a problem with the faith to begin with. Is it so hard to say, "I will always love you and accept you, even if I do not agree with your choices" and to keep the lines of communication open?


#14

I think I heard a case like this on Mother Angelica’s Q&A show. To summarize, she said that you cannot condone or approve of sinful behaviors and lifestyles. But at the same time you must love them for he/she is your family. You have to let them know that you will still embrace them with open arms in their times of need.

I see it much like the Prodical Son parable. The father let the son go out and make mistakes but welcomed him back when the son saw the errors of his ways.


#15

OF COURSE IT WOULD BE WRONG!
I… I can’t even start on this subject, I can’t offer clear, advice here because…
For crying out loud! What religion do you claim to be a part of?

Love them, embrace them! There’s no justifying what you just suggested in that post, no justifying it AT ALL.

You should be ashamed of yourself for EVER thinking that’s okay. :frowning:


#16

[quote="Daegus, post:9, topic:229218"]
Hey.. Thanks for your responses but I think you are getting a little bit passionate about this when it was only a hypothetical scenario.

[/quote]

A hypothetical scenario that many people believe is okay. That YOU seem to believe would be okay.

A hypothetical scenario that has happened before, and has pushed people away from the Church, and even to suicide. A hypothetical scenario that happens to be a reason many people hate our religion, because they think ALL Christians are like that. And I can't blame them: I read threads like this on CAF and cry, seeing so many people blatantly ignore what their faith teaches, and treat their fellow men so poorly.

THIS is the image we show the rest of the world, sadly.


#17

[quote="Daegus, post:1, topic:229218"]
Ok, this whole situation is hypothetical and in no way reflects on anything I have experienced or anyone I know of. It's just something I started thinking about.. :)

Now let's say a child comes out to his devout Catholic parents that he's gay and he is choosing to live an actively gay lifestyle and he refuses to repent of his sin. Because of this, his parents become absolutely enraged and decide to disown him and cut off all ties with him because he will not repent. The family will not talk to him, has cut him out of their will and will not change until the son decides to repent.

I would think of this situation as reasonable. Sort of like an incurred familial excommunication that the son willed for.

Would that be wrong? It's not like the family hates him and won't forgive him, but they simply want nothing to do with him because his sins bring great shame upon the family and he will not give up on his sins. The family agrees to "reown" (so to speak) him if he repents and comes back to them, but unless that happens then they will not.

[/quote]

Disowning him will only bring him further out into his life style where he experiences acceptance.
When people disown their children they are causing much interior harm to that child. The child might act according to his conscience and knowlege, and cutting him off will only isolate him and cause him to despair while being more firmly fixed in his lifestyle/false ideas.

There are many parents who see their young people commit premarital sex, cohabitate, watch porn, etc ... if all these children should be cut off from their parents' love and support and potential influence, then would that make the world a better place? Of course not.

The times when we are most foolish are the times when we need our parents most. At those times God our Father never leaves our side, not for one moment although He gently tells us to return to His ways.
Lets be like Him.


#18

[quote="Suni_Moon, post:16, topic:229218"]
A hypothetical scenario that many people believe is okay. That YOU seem to believe would be okay.

A hypothetical scenario that has happened before, and has pushed people away from the Church, and even to suicide. A hypothetical scenario that happens to be a reason many people hate our religion, because they think ALL Christians are like that. And I can't blame them: I read threads like this on CAF and cry, seeing so many people blatantly ignore what their faith teaches, and treat their fellow men so poorly.

THIS is the image we show the rest of the world, sadly.

[/quote]

Hey brother or sister. where do you come from?
Im happy you are searching. Indeed Jesus was the biggest therapist who ever lived and i like your response.
When talking about cutting family members off, I think about Jehovas Witnesses, how these families cut off the young people who fall from the faith.
I read a book full of testimonies about how these young people's lives were destroyed by the isolation from the people who are supposed to image God's Love.

:(


#19

I’m sorry I said I thought it would be ok. I didn’t know people would dig their claws into my back for an imaginary situation.


#20

[quote="MissMarlene, post:17, topic:229218"]
Disowning him will only bring him further out into his life style where he experiences acceptance.
When people disown their children they are causing much interior harm to that child. The child might act according to his conscience and knowlege, and cutting him off will only isolate him and cause him to despair while being more firmly fixed in his lifestyle/false ideas.

*There are many parents who see their young people commit premarital sex, cohabitate, watch porn, etc ... if all these children should be cut off from their parents' love and support and potential influence, then would that make the world a better place? Of course not.
*

The times when we are most foolish are the times when we need our parents most. At those times God our Father never leaves our side, not for one moment although He gently tells us to return to His ways.
Lets be like Him.

[/quote]

When I found out that my son and his girlfriend had lost their virginity to each other, I cried. I was shocked and hurt for him, for the knowledge in my own life, that I was unable to pass on to him in a way that would have given him the ability to resist his impulses. I would like to save him the kind of heartbreak that I have had. At his age I didn't recognize it yet, as being so degrading to my dignity. Yet these things cannot be undone, once that kind of decision is made. One has to live with it. Yes, you can confess and be absolved, and vow not to do it again.

I did not shun him nor kick him out of the house. What other influences did he have in order to make this decision? As it turns out my FIL was telling him that sex at his age was normal and even good for him, and buying him condoms. So there were factors beyond my control, which were very destructive. The hypothetical situation at the start of this thread could involve other influences as well. How can you shun a child for being in bad company?? For believing the lies of society that immoral acts are just fine and even healthy? (he was also viewing porn at the time)

The prodigal son parable deepens in meaning to me as my own kids grow up and start making some very questionable decisions.


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