Is it dishonoring to argue?


#1

Each week my wife and I host a Rosary prayer goup at our home. Our married daughter and son-in-law, our four children still living at home (we have 7 total) and my in-laws attend. Each week without fail my father-in-law feels compelled to attack some doctrine or belief of the Catholic Church (Peter’s Primacy, Mary’s Eternal Virginity, only priests can consecrate bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, etc.- he listens to a lot of Protestant radio shows). He also has what he calls “his theory” wherein we all existed before and took place in a rebellion in heaven and are now trying to convince those who did not revolt that we are truly sorry(!) so that God can now permit us back in heaven. I’ve pointed out to him time and again that pre-existence is condemned by the Church as anethma.

My wife is frustrated because I invariably get sucked into these debates and tend to get excited by the inane arguments. She is fearful that I am not honoring him since he is her father. I get sometimes visibly upset and have asked him to refrain from making these statements. He says that there is no harm in “asking questions”. However, I argue that he is making these statements in front of his impressionable grandchildren and possbly putting their faith at risk.

Is it dishonoring to insist that he stops? Or should we just smile and nod and pretend he’s not attacking that which is most important to us?


#2

[quote=Paceshock]Each week my wife and I host a Rosary prayer goup at our home. Our married daughter and son-in-law, our four children still living at home (we have 7 total) and my in-laws attend. Each week without fail my father-in-law feels compelled to attack some doctrine or belief of the Catholic Church (Peter’s Primacy, Mary’s Eternal Virginity, only priests can consecrate bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, etc.- he listens to a lot of Protestant radio shows). He also has what he calls “his theory” wherein we all existed before and took place in a rebellion in heaven and are now trying to convince those who did not revolt that we are truly sorry(!) so that God can now permit us back in heaven. I’ve pointed out to him time and again that pre-existence is condemned by the Church as anethma.

My wife is frustrated because I invariably get sucked into these debates and tend to get excited by the inane arguments. She is fearful that I am not honoring him since he is her father. I get sometimes visibly upset and have asked him to refrain from making these statements. He says that there is no harm in “asking questions”. However, I argue that he is making these statements in front of his impressionable grandchildren and possbly putting their faith at risk.

Is it dishonoring to insist that he stops? Or should we just smile and nod and pretend he’s not attacking that which is most important to us?
[/quote]

I think that you are in the right. Nothing is more important than the faith and it is your responsibility to protect yoru children from error. However, I would make a bit of advice to you on this issue. Do not get angry. Sometimes people will bring up sensative issues just to goad a person into an emotional resonse. Once a person looses control of their passions in an argument they have lost the argument. So, I would suggest working on remaining clam in the face of such attacks and you may find that the fruit of your work will be greater.


#3

[quote=Paceshock]Each week my wife and I host a Rosary prayer goup at our home. Our married daughter and son-in-law, our four children still living at home (we have 7 total) and my in-laws attend. Each week without fail my father-in-law feels compelled to attack some doctrine or belief of the Catholic Church (Peter’s Primacy, Mary’s Eternal Virginity, only priests can consecrate bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, etc.- he listens to a lot of Protestant radio shows). He also has what he calls “his theory” wherein we all existed before and took place in a rebellion in heaven and are now trying to convince those who did not revolt that we are truly sorry(!) so that God can now permit us back in heaven. I’ve pointed out to him time and again that pre-existence is condemned by the Church as anethma.

My wife is frustrated because I invariably get sucked into these debates and tend to get excited by the inane arguments. She is fearful that I am not honoring him since he is her father. I get sometimes visibly upset and have asked him to refrain from making these statements. He says that there is no harm in “asking questions”. However, I argue that he is making these statements in front of his impressionable grandchildren and possbly putting their faith at risk.

Is it dishonoring to insist that he stops? Or should we just smile and nod and pretend he’s not attacking that which is most important to us?
[/quote]

Do you inlaws live with you? I wasn’t certain from your post if that is what you meant?

If these meetings are in your house, then your father-in-law owes you respect. Why is he coming to the rosary prayer group if he simply wants to argue?


#4

[quote=deb1]Do you inlaws live with you? I wasn’t certain from your post if that is what you meant?

If these meetings are in your house, then your father-in-law owes you respect. Why is he coming to the rosary prayer group if he simply wants to argue?
[/quote]

amen. if anyone’s behaviour is questionable here, it would seem to be his.


#5

If it were me I’d dis-invite him unless and until he can come for the stated purpose of the evening–prayer not debate. All he is doing is trying to take control of you and your family, not really find any answers to any questions. You should tell him all this in private and let him know his attempts at making you look like a fool in your own house will no longer be tolerated. And don’t argue the point with him. Say your say, put your foot down, and let him think it over.


#6

Good advice all around. No, my in-laws do not live with us but just moved within a mile of us so they are a frequent fixture. Yes, my father-in-law LOVES to goad us into a heated debate. When he preceives he is losing a point he usually raises his voice to a shout. And, YES, I do let him at times get me upset and angry and, YES, I do lose when that happens (you sound like my wife!).

I am not sure I should ask him to no longer join us because regardless of his intentions, he still is subjected to our prayers and sees that we are sincere in our love of God and our Faith. Although he is the elder, we seem to be the ones who need to teach him by example.

Thank you.


#7

[quote=Paceshock]Good advice all around. No, my in-laws do not live with us but just moved within a mile of us so they are a frequent fixture. Yes, my father-in-law LOVES to goad us into a heated debate. When he preceives he is losing a point he usually raises his voice to a shout. And, YES, I do let him at times get me upset and angry and, YES, I do lose when that happens (you sound like my wife!).

I am not sure I should ask him to no longer join us because regardless of his intentions, he still is subjected to our prayers and sees that we are sincere in our love of God and our Faith. Although he is the elder, we seem to be the ones who need to teach him by example.

Thank you.
[/quote]

Then it sounds like the best advice that can be given is – listen to your wife. If you approach the situation as a conversation and not an argument it may help you keep your cool. Just a suggestion.


#8

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