Is it possible:Close friendships w non-catholics


#1

i am a devout catholic. my husband was raised not believing in anything. he went trough rcia and we were married shortly after he received his sacraments. i am loving my faith more and more as i learn. i have a little problem though. when going out with friends or my husbands family (proud atheist) i have the hardest time. i know i can speak my mind and values but i don’t know if i really wanna go there. so brings me to the question. is it possible to have a deep, sincere, friendship if at the foundation we are different? my husband was open to learning and studying. plus, i would never marry outside my religion so that was encouraging for him! we recently had a talk that i am not close to his family. i ask, how can i be? we are so different. i’m polite, i can carry on a conversation but it’s so superficial. any thoughts will help thanks!


#2

I think depends on the person. I recently returned to my faith and do realize that I will need to end some friendships. It is more because I changed and no longer have anything in common with them. I do still have a few atheist friends. One of my close friends was difficult at first. We finally came to an agreement that I would not discuss religion, abortion or children with him.

Family can also be difficult. I went to a family reunion with my husband over the weekend. I was so disgusted by some of the comments made by his older brother. Absolutely, no respect for women. I just had to bite my tongue. My marriage is already on rocky grounds without me telling off his brother. I talk religion with my family but not to his.


#3

[quote="merne9, post:1, topic:244769"]
i am a devout catholic. my husband was raised not believing in anything. he went trough rcia and we were married shortly after he received his sacraments. i am loving my faith more and more as i learn. i have a little problem though. when going out with friends or my husbands family (proud atheist) i have the hardest time. i know i can speak my mind and values but i don't know if i really wanna go there. so brings me to the question. is it possible to have a deep, sincere, friendship if at the foundation we are different? my husband was open to learning and studying. plus, i would never marry outside my religion so that was encouraging for him! we recently had a talk that i am not close to his family. i ask, how can i be? we are so different. i'm polite, i can carry on a conversation but it's so superficial. any thoughts will help thanks!

[/quote]

It sounds about like is marrying into a family of cafeteria Catholics.


#4

I think it is entirely possible to have deep friendships with people who are of a different religion. But it helps to be able to really discuss the things that are important to you even if you do not completely agree.

That being said, some relationships are built on other things besides common religious faith. Love and respect for example.


#5

Of course a lot of my friends (as well as crushes) consisted/consist of Protestants, Atheists, and Deists.


#6

Depends on both parties willingness to live and let live. And yes, they can be close friends. To me religion is such a personal thing that even with devout Catholics there is still a line I can not cross.

Does your husband know how you feel uncomfortable around his family? Have you given him specific examples of things his family has done to make you uncmfortable?

CM


#7

While my immediate family is catholic and my wife is catholic, most of my friends are non-catholic - some protestant, some athiest, a few others of various faiths or undecided. I have friends with whom I'll discuss religion/spirituality, and others with whom I tend not to and find other things in common to enjoy together.

Friendships are possible across all manner of different faith systems, as long as sensitive topics are left alone or discussed in a respectful manner. You don't have to agree with a person's viewpoint on everything to be their friend. My immediate family are catholic, but there are probably more topics that I don't discuss with them due to differences of opinion than with many of my non-catholic friends.

With regard to your husband's family, it can be hard to fit in and find things in common. But I think that should be your key focus. Try to find the common ground, rather than be too concerned about things that you don't share in common. Don't be too concerned about conversation being superficial for now. Over time, as you and they become increasingly comfortable, you can delve deeper. If the opportunity arrises, you may find yourself in a position to share your faith with them, which may present an opportunity for them to understand your husbands faith better too.


#8

While my bf is catholic as is my parents and two of my best friends are for the majority i dont have catholic friends. Well, i do have my "church friends" but most arent close.

My best female friend is a fallen away wiccan, my college roomate is a born-again, another friend is a lifelong athiest.

If you dont make relgion an issue and they respect that boudry...there are no issues.


#9

I have many good friendships w/ non-Catholics.

I married one! ;)


#10

[quote="cradlecatholic5, post:9, topic:244769"]
I have many good friendships w/ non-Catholics.

I married one! ;)

[/quote]

Same here.

Some of my most like-minded friends are not Catholic. My husband is also not Catholic, but in his day to day morality, thinking, etc. - is probably more Catholic than most Catholics I know!

But limiting all of your contacts to only Catholics, you would be missing out on a lot of wonderful friendships in this world!


#11

I would have to say yes... most of my own family isn't Catholic and most of my close friends aren't either. My grandmother (Catholic) married a Lutheran. My Mom (Catholic) married an Episcopalian. As for my very oldest and closest friends, one is Orthodox Catholic, one is kind of non-religious, one is Mormon and one is Muslim (we've all been the best of friends since high school). I have a lot of other more casual friends too, but only a handful are Catholic and some are even atheist (I love debating them--we keep it friendly though).

The idea of only associating with other Catholics feels kind of odd to me :)


#12

Yes, I believe it's possible but it very much depends on the person. One of my closest friends is a Hindu. She is not particularly religious but her family members are and she is extremely respectful of all religious people. That is why we get along. We can discuss faith and it is always honest but polite. She knows that worshipping other gods is an absolute no for Christians, while I understand things about her beliefs. It works really well. But we get along generally so this fits into the whole nature of our friendship.

I have a few atheist friends and it is a completely different thing. Boundaries are almost visible and I feel like there is a wall around me. I can't truly be myself because I know what they think about my religion. I don't like this feeling and tend to avoid atheists as much as I can these days.

I have several friends who are fallen away Catholics and those friendships are a bit strained sometimes because they always want to justify themselves to me. I don't know why because I never preach and actually avoid talking about religion (unless they start the conversation). Guilty conscience I guess.

One friend is a non-denominational and we focus on what we share, rather than on differences. We've been friends since high school and I don't mind this arrangement. We understand and care for one another and that is what matters.

But on the whole, the bond that I share with (practicing) Catholic friends is something special. We understand each other in a special way and I can't have that with people of other faiths.


#13

There are a lot of short cuts that we use in our speech. Sometimes we let those shortcuts replace the ideas (or ideals) that they describe. I have found it useful to keep my mind on why I loving being Catholic to interact with others. When I tell people what the Church says, they get turned off. When I explain why I do things, they seem much more interested in a conversation. It is often informative to hear the way protestants interpret scripture to both put my understanding in releif against another view and to lead me to new questions for my Catholic faith. For example, I cannot use the authority of the Catechism to convince my protestant friends, but the reasoning it gives usually leaves them thinking (and me too).

It is also fun to have a challenging conversation with an atheist, jew or muslim within the bounds of a respectful friendship. Again, I cannot simply recite my faith, I have to explain it in short concrete terms what I embrace. The terms are often neutral, but any Catholic would recognize the teaching.

In short, yes it is possible.


#14

Of course it's possible to to have friendships with people of different faiths, just like it's possible to be friends with people who don't share all of your political views. All it takes is a foundation of respect and trust (on both sides) and, if need be, a tacit agreement of boundaries or no-go areas for discussion. And there are varying levels of friendship, don't forget, so while you might talk about your faith with Friend A because of your trust level is higher than what you have with Friend B.

My closest friend besides my husband, the person I would go to without hesitation if the chips were down, is Quaker. My parents-in-law are athiests, as is my brother-in-law, but two of my sisters-in-law and their husbands are Muslim, and I consider all of them friends to one degree or another. A very close friend, a woman I've known since graduate school, converted from Catholicism to Islam 20 years ago and that didn't end our friendship.


#15

[quote="merne9, post:1, topic:244769"]
i when going out with friends or my husbands family (proud atheist) i have the hardest time. i know i can speak my mind and values but i don't know if i really wanna go there.

so brings me to the question. is it possible to have a deep, sincere, friendship if at the foundation we are different? !

[/quote]

two different questions here

is it possible to have more than a superficial relationship with your in-laws?

is it possible to have a deep, sincere friendship with anyone who is not a believer?

the answer to both is yes of both sides respect, listen and care for each other.

the answer is know if one side is unable to treat others who hold differing view with respect.

It is probably not, however, possible to have deep fruitful conversations about deep meaningful topics with someone who is not attuned to looking deeper into moral questions, for instance, or someone who accepts uncritically what secular culture promotes. Unless that person has an open mind and a sincere desire to hear and entertain other views it is unlikely you will ever have more than a superficial discussion with him.


#16

Hello OP,
There are not a lot of Catholics where I live, so most of my friends are therefore not Catholic.

The hardest ones to get along with, for me, are the Southern Baptists (NO OFFENSE!), because they are very very critical of the Catholic Church (like my MIL!). "Why do ya'll worship marry?" "Why do ya'll listen to some old Italian guy (that would be the pope)?".

My best friend is a lifelong Atheist. She has a higher moral code than most people I know, I love her very much!

So yes, if you have enough in common with people who are not Catholic, you can indeed be friends with them. Perhaps your faith will touch them in some ripple effect, you never know! I just respect their beliefs and they respect mine.

Except for the ones who can't get over the fact that I have no desire to get 'saved'... :rolleyes:


#17

With God all things are possible, although your road will probably be difficult. I converted before marriage to a Catholic lady, and we are deeply in love 20+ years later. Some days I think my faith is stronger than hers. I think most of the time our Christian example of Charity is far more powerful than our words–and I think most atheists have selfish motivations beyond any interest in Truth, so ask them for decency and decorum and don’t be too anxious about persuading them in Faith.
I’m glad you’re still posting, and keep you in prayer.


#18

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