Living as a Catholic amidst Hindus

In spite of being born in a devout Hindu Brahmin family, I converted to Catholicism against the will of my parents. With God’s grace, I was able to survive their anger and attain the Church services, but there are times when I have to take part in their Hindu rituals. Is it sinful even if I don’t have any devotion to their Gods and Goddesses?
It’s something that I don’t want to do, but have to do just for the sake of my family. Even while taking part in those ceremonies my heart lies only with Jesus. Any ideas on how to escape these ceremonies?

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In the Bible Naaman, a foreigner who was healed of leprosy and became a believer, asked the Prophet, Elijah, who had healed him, if he could continue attending pagan ceremonies with his master. Elijah gave him permission to bow when his master did, as his master leaned on him. I think it’s allowable, as long as you’re heart remains with the true God.

I know things have changed, and very few people have complete mastery over others. It sounds like you are quite young now, but you might begin planning a way of either moving out of your house, or not being in a position of having to be at these services. Have you told anyone of your conversion? You should ask a priest, if you can see one. He can best advise you.

I read your post again, and it seems your parents are aware of your conversion. Can you explain, further? I wouldn’t advise trying to convert them now; just be respectful, and see if they can respect your beliefs, in turn.

It’s obvious that you love Jesus, and want to do his will. Hope things work out with your parents, and your requirements at services you don’t believe in is small! God Bless!

Is there anyway you can best reconcile both worlds? Think of Sai Baba… As a Catholic, I believe there are truths in the many major world religions. I used to visit Hindu and Buddhist temples. Catholicism is a Greek word which means Universal. It is The Universal religion of all the major world religions. Since you have been exposed to the teachings of Hinduism and Catholicism, have you received any grace of understanding to recognize the similar meanings hidden behind some symbolism in both religions? If not, maybe, it will take some time… May I ask what your understanding is of the symbol OM?

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Can I ask how old you are please? And where in the world are you?

Just remember, God does not ask the impossible.

Yes your age is very important. Also it is a commandment to honor our parents. It is always important to show love and respect to your family. Is it possible for you to speak to a Catholic priest or a religious sister local to you? They will have been confronted with this issue themselves many times either in their own extended family or with parishioners. They are going to understand your local issues much better than us and would be bound to give you very practical advice.

Congratulations on your conversion to the church ! I am also a convert and being part of the church is my lifes greatest joy.

Though my parents know about my conversion but they are’t aware about it’s seriousness (duties and rules of the Church). I hail from a joint family, so when I am with them, even going to the Mass needs a bunch of excuses.

I am 21, from India.

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First, to answer your questions, I would say just participate in the ceremonies when circumstances require it. It’s not a sin and will save you and your family a great deal of friction.

Second, for the long run I think the important thing for you to learn is that Catholicism and Hinduism (and certain other religions) aren’t necessarily irreconcilable. User phujosh suggested as much in his response above. But learning this will take time, possibly a lot of time: not weeks or months but years or decades. In the meantime, I would recommend that you be gentle with the people around you, especially when it comes to religion. Practice your Catholicism whole-heartedly, but do not disparage the faith of your parents, for it too is authentic, at least in its origins and principles. (Whether your parents’ faith is authentic in their practice I don’t know, but in any case that is a matter between them and God; we need not concern ourselves with that.)

The following thread might take your interest:

For what it’s worth, I know an Indian-American Catholic who still goes to the local Hindu temple when there are social events or ceremonies for friends and family. He’s very committed to his Catholicism and doesn’t practice Hinduism, but he wants to stay connected to the Indian community so he often goes for the social aspects. He just doesn’t participate in the some of the rituals but just observes respectfully.

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