My Child wants to leave the Catholic Faith


Hi Folks,

My daughter wants to leave the Catholic faith because she’s been going to church at her freinds church as well as ours and feels she gets more out of it. She is 19 and the love of my life.
My question is "is there enough difference to ruin our relationship be forcing her to remain in my faith. Both faiths follow Christ.
I am at a standstill in my own heart. Help me understand this.


“Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not?” -George Bernard Shaw



Now you know why we never recommend that Catholic children attend “fun” events at their friends’ non-Catholic churches. They are recruiting events, and your daughter has just been recruited.

There is probably very little you can do right now, other than pray for her, and model a good Catholic family life. Above all, be the opposite of what she is being told at her new church about Catholics - if they say that Catholics are drunkards, then don’t drink; if they say that Catholics are marioloters, then emphasize Jesus in your prayers, and make sure she knows that you believe that Jesus is God, and that you learned this from the Catholic Church - you get the picture.

If you can, get her to attend Mass with you on Sundays (obviously if she has renounced her faith, she can’t receive Holy Communion, but she should be there to hear the readings and the homily, anyway), and try to get her involved in some kind of volunteer outreach at your parish (again, obviously, nothing that would require that she be in full communion with the Church - she can’t be an EMHC or serve on the altar, for example, but she could do Inn from the Cold or St. Vincent de Paul, or Lunch for the Homeless, etc.) , to try to “recruit” her back through fun activities and through being valued and thought wonderful to be around at your parish.

Jesus founded the Catholic Church; no other. She is trading in real money for counterfeit.


She still attends Mass with me and receives communion. She also goes to the other Church after and takes communion there as well. She states that this is her decision, no one talked her into it.
I am trying to lead the life. Thanks for your response


You will need to tell her that if she is receiving communion at a Protestant church that she cannot receive at a Catholic church until she confesses. And if she wishes to remain in a state of grace and receive Communion at a Catholic church, she cannot receive at the Protestant church.


She shouldn’t be receiving Communion in both churches. Either she believes in the Real Presence or she doesn’t. I’m sorry to sound harsh, but we must be faithful to the Holy Eucharist. You are in a very difficult position. I pray you have the strength to tell your daughter the truth, that she can not accept communion in the Catholic church if she is not Catholic. She needs to be taught that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is worship, not entertainment. If she’s not getting much out of Mass, it’s because she’s not putting in the effort. Her lack of awareness of the Real Presence is in and of itself telling of what she’s getting out of Mass: nothing. Christ is truely present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist. He promised us this, and we have to believe Him.


I hate to be this blunt with you…but im kind of confused as to your last statement.

“Both faiths follow Christ”

I urge you to search for an answer for yourself before you provide your daughter with answers.

Is this Church your daughter wants to join really following Christ?

Is her personal preference worth enough to allow her to drift into heresy?

There is only one path to Christ, and that path is the Church of Rome and the Churches in communion with it.

I will pray for you and your daughter.


My opinion is you as a parent need to spend the first 18 years of her life teaching her values, morals, and how to live life.

But your daughter is 19. At what point will you choose that she will have to live life on her own. Being in relationships, work , and faith.

I am sure for you it is heartbreaking to see your “little girl” choose a path you feel is incorrect.

But what she does not need right now is a lecture about “the one true church” from daddy, she is an adult.

What she needs is a loving mentor who will be there no matter what. She needs to know that even though you don’t agree with the decision you still love her just the same.

As God loves us for our missteps so should you love your daughter.


That is very true.

But the question is…does watching your daughter walk away from Christ’s One and Only Church constitue love?


Thank you hlmem, This is what I feel I should do for her and will try my hardest to keep the great relationship we have. I guess what it comes down to, after reading some of the responses, is that there’s not much I can do to change anything other then continue to set the example and keep the hurt inside and give her all the love and support I can.
Bless yo u


Isn’t there the quote, “If you truly love something set it free”

I think as a parent and good Christian man, it would do more harm than good to try to force her into something she might be walking away from.

  1. The more a parent pushes the issue the child might rebel and grow distaste for Catholicism.

  2. A Daughter might grow resentment for any parent telling them they are wrong and doing bad. At this time she might enjoy this new religion more. Right or wrong as it is, she will see a father making her feel bad about the choices she makes and that is not healthy.

A great (not good) father I think would wait in the wings still showing his love. At some point she may question again at some point the differences and return to Catholicism.

If we truly want Christ and the Church in out lives we all have to discover them at our own times. If anything else happens we will not embrace God like we should.

Just my opinion


Just my final words to you, and again, just my opinions.

Having this hurt inside is not a healthy thing. To feel hurt over this one issue will hurt your relationship as it will breed resentment.

My opinion is faith is such a personal thing. What is right for one might not be right for all. And inside you may feel you might have failed partly as your little girl does not embrace the Catholic church like you have, but you need to ask yourself one question.

Have you raised a woman that will live her life with morality and honor?

If so you should be so proud as you have done more than most parents can do.

What religion she has currently does not matter to God as it should not matter to you.

The Catholic Church’s doors are always open whether you are one or 100 year of age.

And finding God is a life long Journey, not one that ends at 19 and then the Parent hears “Game over, you failed”

My point is to encourage you to be strong in your own faith, love her, pray, and know that God is all powerful. He could be testing the strength of your family in what matters the most to you at this point.

Never stop loving God or your Daughter. And please continue to post here as we understand the frustrations you go through.


There is one other thing you can do. You can pray for her. The Holy Spirit works in wonderful and mysterious ways. I am a revert. I did all the right “Catholic stuff” when I was growing up. When I was a young adult living on my own, I gave up on church entirely and did not attend any church at all. God the Holy Spirit wasn’t done with me though. A friend took me to a Christian music festival where a Baptist gave me a Bible. I was searching for something at the time, but I didn’t know it was God. I actually read the Bible (KJV) and decided to return to the Catholic Church. Prior to that, I had never read the Bible. A Protestant Bible given to me by a Baptist made me understand God’s grace and what a personal relationship with Jesus meant. I found grace and personal relationship with Jesus in the Catholic Church through my born-again experience.


I’ve felt that if I raised my child as a Catholic, and my child lives under my roof, even if beyond 18, then Sunday Mass attendance is required, whether Communion is received or not. Could I be wrong to make this demand?


Acts like this will make the child see Mass as a forced event and not an opportunity to connect with your faith. If you do not mind your child disliking mass go right ahead.

A smart compromise is charge rent (or increase rent) by a certain amount. But they can forgo the increase or rent all together if they go to every Sunday mass.

Then they are at least making a choice of their own volition.

And if they choose to pay the extra money you can use part of it in the tithe.


Hi Mickey

May God be with you, although í’m not a parent yet, but i certainly know that unhappiness and hurt as a parent has to undergo, coz my mum wasn’t happy at all when i broke out the news to her, i choose Christianity as my faith and believes. She kept asking me why and why coz i’m born into a tradition chinese buddhist family, thus it is extremely difficult for my mum to accept it. She will always use word like, i’m a grown up now, can make my own decision without asking her…blar…blar…thus it became an upsetting situation at a point in time for me…Althought i try to talk her out to go church with me, but then i got a bashing comments from her, becoz of your own selfishness you choose your way, thus don’t ask the whole family to join your selfish way…!!! so can you imagine how upset and angry for what she said to me…although right now the situation have sort of stable down as she just leave me alone to do whatever i want, for i know she love me and just wanted me to be happy…this is unconditional love!!!..thus my suggestion to you, cast your hurt to the Lord, let him be the path for your daugther and you. I’m sure things will work out according to his will…



My first bit of advise is not to listen to hlmem, when she started saying that ‘faith is such a personal experience that what is right for one isn’t right for all’ alarm bells start going off in my head. This is something you should NOT do.

I’m not saying that you force the Catholic faith down her throat, for that would only drive her away from the faith and possibly you. Instead I’d recommend first off that you tell her that she can’t receive communion at a Catholic Church as one of the above posters said, unless she makes a good confession, and stops receiving at the protestant church. You simply cannot have it both ways. You are either in communion with the Catholic Church or you aren’t; to receive communion elsewhere is to excommunicate oneself, and once that is done to continue receiving the eucharist, the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ, is nothing more than to profane it. But, again as that poster said, even if she decides that the “communion” at a protestant church is more important than Jesus in the eucharist - something you should emphasize - you should still let her know that she is welcome to attend mass with you when you go, and do anything you can to increase her spiritual growth including requesting her to pray the rosary, or something similar (for I believe that this is allowed for non-catholics because it isn’t a sacrament, but instead a sacramental?). Also I’d recommend that you, as her father, ask her, at least occasionally, if you still feel that she’d listen to you, not to attend the protestant church. And increase your faith as well, learn apologetics, learn about the church, watch this forum, anything you can think of to educate yourself, so that in turn you may be able to educate your daughter.


  1. Any speech given to her about the Differences between Protestant and Catholics will fall on deaf ears with her. Plus talking to her about going to confession is pointless as she is only going to the Catholic Mass to make her father happy.

  2. The though of bringing it up subtly when he sees her is a cute but bad idea. Unless he wants his daughter to fear discussions with him for he might he might lay a “Catholic guilt trip” on her. Do we not all have family members we try to shy subjects away from because they start guilting us about something in out lives.

The most important thing right now is for him to continue and keep his relationship with his daughter strong, whether they agree on faith or not.

Allow God to be God and he will reveal more truths into her life as she matures


Do you know that for a fact and if so how so? Seriously, it is his obligation to at least teach her about the differences between the Church and some protestant church, especially regarding the holy communion. She has to make a choice concerning where she’ll receive.

I highly doubt that his daughter would ever “fear discussions” due to him bringing on "catholic guilt trip"s. She’d just have to discern, with all the facts before her, who is right and who is wrong. And the way you talk you make it seem as if his relationship will break into a thousand pieces if he talks to her concerning matters of faith. The truth is it won’t. Especially since, according to you even, she attends mass to make her father happy (id est to please him), which means that obviously she loves him. So long as he approaches her with love speaking the truth won’t drive her away, or ruin their relationship.

To mean all that you’ve said seems capable of being paraphrased as “Your daughter has chosen protestantism, don’t you dare try to re-covert her. You’ll ruin your relationship with her! She’ll hate you!”.



I will agree to disagree with you :wink:


Can you not respond to my posts, or counter my points?


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