Mother-In-Law and arianism


#1

I became a Catholic about 3 years ago. While I was in the midst of conversion, I learned as much as I could about Catholicism. I actually read "Catholicism for Dummies!" At any rate, I learned how Jesus was both fully devine and fully human. I happened to mention this one day in front of my Mother-In-Law and she blew up at me! She feels Jesus was a human being with special powers. "That's why he's call SON of God, he's not really God!" I started to challenge this but got her old standby when I question her: "I went to Catholic school for 12 years! I've been Catholic longer than you've been alive.."
I respect my elders and hold my tongue for benefit of my wife, but it frustrates me when I KNOW I'm right. I even read from the Cathechism of the Catholic Church about it and she thought it was bunk.


#2

[quote="Astaldo711, post:1, topic:217619"]
I became a Catholic about 3 years ago. While I was in the midst of conversion, I learned as much as I could about Catholicism. I actually read "Catholicism for Dummies!" At any rate, I learned how Jesus was both fully devine and fully human. I happened to mention this one day in front of my Mother-In-Law and she blew up at me! She feels Jesus was a human being with special powers. "That's why he's call SON of God, he's not really God!" I started to challenge this but got her old standby when I question her: "I went to Catholic school for 12 years! I've been Catholic longer than you've been alive.."
I respect my elders and hold my tongue for benefit of my wife, but it frustrates me when I KNOW I'm right. I even read from the Cathechism of the Catholic Church about it and she thought it was bunk.

[/quote]

Well, what she doesn't now would fill volumes, as the old saying goes.

Here's the scoop: We always go to God about man (or woman, as is this case) before going to man about God. In other words, we gotta offer prayer and penance (the worse they are, the more we have to offer), BEFORE we approach such a person. That way, we have the deck stacked in our favor. Graces will be available to touch their hardened, blinded hearts. :)


#3

[quote="Astaldo711, post:1, topic:217619"]
I became a Catholic about 3 years ago. While I was in the midst of conversion, I learned as much as I could about Catholicism. I actually read "Catholicism for Dummies!" At any rate, I learned how Jesus was both fully devine and fully human. I happened to mention this one day in front of my Mother-In-Law and she blew up at me! She feels Jesus was a human being with special powers. "That's why he's call SON of God, he's not really God!" I started to challenge this but got her old standby when I question her: "I went to Catholic school for 12 years! I've been Catholic longer than you've been alive.."
I respect my elders and hold my tongue for benefit of my wife, but it frustrates me when I KNOW I'm right. I even read from the Cathechism of the Catholic Church about it and she thought it was bunk.

[/quote]

Human being with special powers is adoptionism - a worse heresy than Arianism.


#4

The failure to "evangelize" from the pulpit over the past many decades has led to the state of the failing union which this nation now is coming to grips with, abortion, ecoomic collapse, social government directions, etc.
I am hoping that with the NEW EVANGELIZATION that will be the focus of the next Synod will bring a return to preaching evangelization from the pulpits, and re-teaching the faith to those who have been led astray by "urban legends/myths"
When I was teaching CCD, my assistant teacher did not believe you had to be "sin free" to enter heaven??? I purchased a copy of the CCC and gave it to her as a gift.
Additionally, I think the popularity of Father Corapi is the fact that he does evangelize from the pulpit. He teaches what sin is and the consequences.


#5

[quote="Julian0404, post:4, topic:217619"]
The failure to "evangelize" from the pulpit over the past many decades has led to the state of the failing union which this nation now is coming to grips with, abortion, ecoomic collapse, social government directions, etc.
I am hoping that with the NEW EVANGELIZATION that will be the focus of the next Synod will bring a return to preaching evangelization from the pulpits, and re-teaching the faith to those who have been led astray by "urban legends/myths"
When I was teaching CCD, my assistant teacher did not believe you had to be "sin free" to enter heaven??? I purchased a copy of the CCC and gave it to her as a gift.
Additionally, I think the popularity of Father Corapi is the fact that he does evangelize from the pulpit. He teaches what sin is and the consequences.

[/quote]

I have a whole series of Fr. Corapi audio talks where he tells it like it is, right between the eyes. No sugar coating, waffling, etc. He says his greatest asset was that he doesn't give a "fat rat's" "you-know-what" what people think about him. He said he's too afraid NOT to tell everyone the truth, because he'll have to answer for it! He said he's been spit upon, shot at, cussed out, etc., but he doesn't care. He's still going to keep doing the same thing.


#6

[quote="Astaldo711, post:1, topic:217619"]
I became a Catholic about 3 years ago. While I was in the midst of conversion, I learned as much as I could about Catholicism. I actually read "Catholicism for Dummies!" At any rate, I learned how Jesus was both fully devine and fully human. I happened to mention this one day in front of my Mother-In-Law and she blew up at me! She feels Jesus was a human being with special powers. "That's why he's call SON of God, he's not really God!" I started to challenge this but got her old standby when I question her: "I went to Catholic school for 12 years! I've been Catholic longer than you've been alive.."
I respect my elders and hold my tongue for benefit of my wife, but it frustrates me when I KNOW I'm right. I even read from the Cathechism of the Catholic Church about it and she thought it was bunk.

[/quote]

Yes, you are right. While it's good to respect your elders and hold you tongue for the benefit of your wife, I don't think it's good to leave your MIL in her ignorance. Perhaps you or your wife reciting these few words might be enough, "God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, begotten not made, One in Being with the Father."


#7

Does your MIL attend Mass? Is she a practicing Catholic?

I have no idea how someone who is a practicing Catholic could not know that Jesus is God. That's just scary.

However, I guess I shouldn't be surprised, in light of this:

I was talking with a woman who I know to be a Church-going Catholic, and she made mention that Jesus didn't re-inhabit his body after the Resurrection. I apparently looked so shocked that she said "What?" and I said "He most certainly did come back to life in his body -- that's why there was no body in the tomb, and why Thomas asked to put his fingers in the holes in Jesus' hands."

She looked thoughtful, and was like, "Oh, I guess I never thought about it that way. I thought he came back as a ghost. You know, the Holy Spirit." :eek::eek::eek::eek:


#8

It is not only today’s Catholics who may not have been well-educated in their faith. I have heard some real bloopers from older folks educated in the 40’s and 50’s. I have a friend who is nearly 60, went to church and Catechism classes every Sunday faithfully while growing up, and until a couple of years ago thought the Immaculate Conception was about Jesus being immaculately conceived, not Mary. She didn’t have a clue about this dogma. She did not know Mary was immaculately conceived.

My husband, who though not baptized until he was 21, went to Catholic schools when he was young and received Catholic instruction then, and again before he was baptized after private instruction by a Dominican priest, no less, made the same mistake about Jesus being the Son of God, not God. It took a lot of convincing and even arguing on my part to overcome that. And I know he was properly instructed by the Dominican priest, he just somehow misunderstood even after all that instruction. And this was in the 50’s and 60’s.

When I was in college I had a friend who had considered becoming a priest. He went to Mass faithfully and was raised Catholic, but, and it’s hard to believe, he did not know that Mary remained a virgin all her life. He thought Jesus had brothers and sisters. How he missed that teaching, I can’t imagine. Had he gone to seminary, I am sure he would have had a real eye-opener.

Now I know the state of catechesis is much worse these days, but some things weren’t getting through to people even back then. I’ve heard some really weird things from older Catholics throughout the years.:shrug: Which means, of course, that we should never stop learning about our faith.


#9

It is hard to educate an older person as they can feel challenged, disrespected or feel like you're trying to 'win an argument' and rub their noses in it vice simply clearing up confusion.

As you said, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is very clear on this point. (Mine is the Image Doubleday published April 1995)

from the Catechism cited above-
(typing this so may make some mistakes)

"III True God and True Man
464.The unique and altogether singular event of the Incarnation of the Son of God does not mean that Jesus Christ is part God and part man, nor does it imply that He is the result of a confused mixture of the divine and the human. He became truly man while remaining truly God. Jesus Christ is true God and true man. During the first centuries, the Church had to defend and clarify this truth of faith against heresies that falsified it."

The next several paragraphs go into describing some of those heresies-
- 465. Gnostic Docetism, the denial of Christ's humanity
- 466. The Nestorian Heresy, regarded Christ as a human person joined to the divine person
- 467. Monophysites heresy affirming that the human nature ceased to exist when Christ assumed the flesh

"469. Thus the Church confesses that Jesus is inseparably true God and true man. He is truly the Son of God who, without ceasing to be God and Lord, became a man and our brother: ...."

How does she explain one of the central Mysteries of the Faith, The Trinity- one God in three persons? We could not speak of the Trinity if Jesus were not God, and again the Catechism is very clear on this point as well.

If she refuses to accept truth, that's something you can't change. However, I wouldn't let her explain anything about the faith to your kids or younger relatives if you have any.

If it's any consolation, we know you're correct. Christ's peace be with you...


#10

CB Catholic,

Well, while you are obviously correct that Mary was a virgin for the entirety of her life (a point many protestant denominations dispute) Jesus could have had step-brothers or step-sisters. The Church is silent on whether Joseph had wives and children before wedding Mary. Our religious education leader provided some papers on interpretation of the line in the bible referring to Jesus brothers. Some Catholic theologians had believed this was simply referring to Jesus cousins. Others believe that Joseph was significantly older than Mary and that he had children from previous wives.


#11

When I was in the process of converting I also learned as much as I could about the faith and the Church. One day I mentioned something about priests being ministers in front of my grandmother and she quickly “corrected” me. This led into quite a long discussion where she used the “I’ve been Catholic all my life” line. This isn’t nearly as serious as an error about the Immaculate Conception, but it still interests me any time I hear someone who is in error claim that they are right because they are a cradle Catholic.


#12

[quote="Astaldo711, post:1, topic:217619"]
I became a Catholic about 3 years ago. While I was in the midst of conversion, I learned as much as I could about Catholicism. I actually read "Catholicism for Dummies!" At any rate, I learned how Jesus was both fully devine and fully human. I happened to mention this one day in front of my Mother-In-Law and she blew up at me! She feels Jesus was a human being with special powers. "That's why he's call SON of God, he's not really God!" I started to challenge this but got her old standby when I question her: "I went to Catholic school for 12 years! I've been Catholic longer than you've been alive.."
I respect my elders and hold my tongue for benefit of my wife, but it frustrates me when I KNOW I'm right. I even read from the Cathechism of the Catholic Church about it and she thought it was bunk.

[/quote]

Just because you believe something for many years, or have been doing something for even longer doesn't make it right. You are evangelizing and educating this woman, even though it may not feel like it right now. Build your arguments, and find and good way to introduce the discussion to her in a non threating way. The fact she reacted like this means she thinks that just because she was taught by well meaning nuns/teachers at her catholic school, doesn't make it right. I am sure you will get a good bevvy of apologics to make the point you have made already from this forum.


#13

Maybe you could ask her to read the first chapter of St. John's Gospel. That seems really clear to me.


#14

She sounds threatened. Is it possible that your excitement about your new found faith and knowledge is coming across like a know-it-all? This is a pretty common thing to happen to converts (or people who are rediscovering their faith) and can be off putting to the people around them who are not experiencing that same excitement. OR she could be naturally defensive. I might back down a bit since a defensive person isn't going to be receptive to being informed of new information. And don't feel like you have to correct every error (not that you are doing this, I'm just putting it out there in case). Knowing when to stop is really helpful - sometimes less is more.

One thing I try to do when I'm talking with my mil (who granted, is not so defensive, but who was also poorly catechized in the 40's and 50's) is to be sympathetic and agreeable. I might find common ground, or ask her about what her experiences were like - not in a way that you will have to refute error, but just to let her give you some insight about Catholicism in her time. I've spoken to my mil about artificial contraception, knowing that she used it in desperation at a certain point in her life. I'll say things like, "Today there is so much more knowledge and research about NFP and how effective it is. And the information is so much more available that young Catholic couples can learn about it. It's so unfortunate that they didn't have this information when people in your generation could've used it. I can understand why you felt you needed to do what you did. No one was telling you there was another way." My point is to not compromise on the truth, and also not to be judgmental about her being uninformed. Maybe when you do talk to mil about it you can mention how just recently the Church has placed a special emphasis on teaching the lay people certain things, such as the publication of the new Catechism, and maybe this is why you were taught this detail so specifically in your classes?

Also, I recommend a prayer to the Holy Spirit whenever you are given the opportunity to discuss these sorts of issues - that you have the words to say and that she has the ears to hear.


#15

In my limited experience, that statement is meant to say "I don't want to hear any more about it." The END.

I am totally out-ranked by any Catholic who got through their entire formation, because mine stopped when I was 10. So when I hear that statement, I hear "I know more than you do and now, go away." That makes me want to find out what is really true and correct and that is one reason I am here. I missed a lot of catechesis - when I quit, there were still holy cards and real, live nuns in habits!!!

:D


#16

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.