Need Advice Regarding Very Anti-Catholic Parents

Hi guys,
I need some advice concerning my parents. I am currently in the process of converting to Catholicism; however, I have yet to tell my parents.
A little background: I was raised as an Independent Fundamental Baptist. I grew up listening to many, many, sermons about the evils of the Catholic church. As I grew older, I started to question baptist doctrine, and began my search for what I believed was true. That search led me led me to Catholicism.
The issue is that I don’t know how to tell my parents. They really believe with their whole hearts that a person who is catholic is going to hell. They also believe that the catholic church is influenced by demons. Their church once held a burning ceremony for a rosary that was blessed by Pope John Paul II, which was given to a member of the church who was dying of cancer by sweet little catholic lady. They did this because they believed that the rosary could be a “conductor of evil spirits”. I tell this story to explain just how anti-catholic my parents and the culture they live in is.
I’m planning to wait until I graduate college to tell them. That is only a few months away now, and I’m pretty scared at what their reaction will be. I’m pretty sure that neither my parents or my family will speak to me after I tell them; that is really tough because I love them very much.
Has anyone been in situation like this? If so, how did you prepare yourself? Was easier or harder than you thought it would be?

Thanks so much!

P.S. Forgive me if I have posted this question in the wrong forum, as I am new here. If there is a more appropriate forum please let me know. :slight_smile:

Hello there, I really feel for you. It never ceases to amaze me that people who express what amounts to hatred for our faith can see no wrong in their sentiments. Burning a rosary seems very extreme and almost superstitious. However, you are an adult and should not have to defend your decisions to anyone. But, I have never been in your situation so my advice is limited to pray for them and yourself. And maybe don’t announce your desire to convert until you are catechised well enough to defend your position. Ask for the prayers of other Catholics and do a lot of reading so that you already to defend your faith., my guess is that it won’t be easy. But in reality we have to be willing to give everything up to follow Him, I will be praying for you.

Your parents attitude is difficult to support, but in the old days Catholics were not always a pleasant bunch of people, for a number of reasons, so I guess there attitude is still from then,
If you believe with all your heart that the Catholic Church is the path that you wish to follow,
And you are of legal age to make your own life decisions , then your parents must learn to respect your decision , as you must respect any lifestyle decision that they make,
I know it’s much easier said than done,
Perhaps it could come down to how you approach this situation,
Perhaps you could involve yourself in some catholic activity such as choir,/ charity / committee / aged care of some sort like home maintenance ,
Then pass in general conversation what your doing, if they become aggressive towards what your doing, then just say, well what’s the big deal,? Without getting aggressive yourself

Good luck with your effort, would love a follow up,

spero,

Perhaps it would be a good thing to wait until you graduate college before you discuss this with your parents.

Meanwhile, continue to pray much, and do good spiritual reading. The lives of the saints have always been so encouraging to me. Ask the Lord to strengthen you in your resolve.

Remember, that our Lord Jesus Christ said that we will be hated because of Him.

Prayer will steel you against the darts of the evil one.

My heart goes out to all those who have been misinformed about the Catholic Church and all the teachings. The grace of God can change that…but not without suffering and growth in holiness by those who have to deal with such misunderstandings on a daily basis.

I was baptized a Catholic as a child, so I do not fully know what you are going through, but I am aware that conflict is an opportunity to grow in the love of the Lord, and tolerance AND love of those who misunderstand us.

Anti-Catholicism has a long history, in some families the misunderstanding bigotry passes down from one generation to another.

This is going to be a hard struggle for you, I wish I could advise you but am not in a position to do so.

Just a prayer is all I can offer.

Spirit of the loving God fall afresh on me, melt me, mould me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the loving God fall afresh on them, melt them, mould them, fill them use them.
Spirit of the living God fall afresh on us.

God bless.
Rose.

You need to study up on TRUE Church History, depending on how old your “old days” are. I’m nearly 80 and have been a Catholic all my life and I don’t recall Catholics being unpleasant. Certainly not in the ways the OP says his parents think. There are always those that don’t understand or live their faith correctly but that’s true of all denominations.
The teachings of the Church are all true and faithful to Our Lord. catholicanswers.com is a great resource for learning more about this problem. God Bless, Memaw

In what world do you think that the OP’s parents have lived in where Catholics were universally an “unpleasant bunch of people”? It’s been a good while since the most recent inquisition. :shrug:

The one piece of advice that I can offer is to consider writing them a letter as the initial “revelation”. There are certain advantages to doing this.

  1. You are able to carefully choose your words and also you are able to read it over and change it if needed before you send it.
  2. They are unable to interrupt you. The letter is there. They must read it all before they can respond. At least we assume they will…
  3. Separation avoids any emotionally charged initial reactions.
  4. Hopefully, they will take time to digest what you write before responding.

Of course the format and layout of the letter would be something to consider prayerfully and carefully. Some thoughts on it - -
Start off by Thanking them for raising you to be such a strong and thoughtful Christian. Then explain (as briefly as possible) your journey. I’m sure you did not jump directly from fundamental baptist to Catholicism…So what were the steps - the questions and concerns? How did one thing lead to another? This way you can leave any mention of Catholicism to near the end. This will (we hope) show your parents that your journey was not willy-nilly - not on a whim - and also founded soundly in scripture.

Ask them to consider what you have written carefully before they reply. Tell them that you do want to talk with them about this, but also ask them to please reply in writing before hand. Explain that you found writing the letter to be so helpful in expressing yourself and you wish to offer them the same opportunity before meeting face to face.

Then - I guess all you can do is prepare for the storm. They may want you to meet with their pastor. They may try to flood you with tracts, books and other things to try to “rescue” you. Just know that they are doing this out of love for you and from a profound misunderstanding of the Church.
Respond in kind. Show them the same kind of resolute Love. However, don’t let them bully you. If they send you reading material, send them rebuttals to it (even if they wind up burning it…:rolleyes:) If they attack you or the church in person…you may need to put distance between you and them…but again, be ready to write to them with replies.
If you feel comfortable meeting with the pastor, be confident that the Holy Spirit will help you. If you cannot answer right away - write down the issues and tell him you will get back to him with the answers. Again - don’t let him bully you. If he becomes uncharitable…just get up and walk out.

Remember that you have a great advantage in all of this. You know what your parent’s believe in their faith tradition AND you know the truth about Catholic teaching. They do not know Catholicism. They only know the skewed ideas and misinformation they have been taught. So each time they bring up something that you know is not right…you will be able to provide them with the correct teaching. Maybe not right away, but you will be able to look it up and send it to them.

If - after all of this - certain people decide to cut you off, then this must be accepted for the sake of the kingdom. Keep your heart open to them in Agape. Live the faith in truth and charity and pray for them.

Hopefully it will not come to that…Parents can be funny critters. Especially when it comes to their offspring.

Sorry to ramble on so…I hope some of the above is of help. My thoughts on the letter are, of course, just my thoughts. Only you can know the best way to approach this.

May God continue to Guide you…

Peace
James

And even that wasn’t what it’s been made out to be. Check Catholic Answers!! God Bless, Memaw

Hello…I was once in a very lively debate with an ‘Independent Baptist’ and he said the kind of things you’re mentioning. He even presented photo shopped pictures of one of our Popes so I certainly know what you’re talking about. I also found they spoke of very little about Jesus life and the life of the Apostles and eternal life with the saints and angels in heaven. It’s very difficult to explain to them about our faith as they come with so many preconceived notions about us but you might want to point out that their actions aren’t in keeping with their Christian faith or might they re-word things differently or take another look because the Catholics you know are peace loving and aren’t that way. That said, you must also be an example of the fruit of the Spirit to them.

God made you to be who you were meant to be. You may have to wait to become fully what you desire to become or you may just be the one who guides them towards the truth about our Catholic Church but in any case You are the future.

Not Peace, but a Sword
Matthew 10:34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s foes will be those of his own household. 37 He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.

I’ll remind you of the fruits of the Spirit.

loyolapress.com/fruits-of-the-holy-spirit.htm

And these gifts we receive from the Holy Spirit which will help you on your faith journey.

catholicism.about.com/od/beliefsteachings/tp/Gifts_of_the_Holy_Spirit.htm

I suspect my mother had the same struggles with her parents. She was from the South and had Southern baptist roots, yet she married my dad who was devoutly Catholic and from Chicago. She converted and came to live with my Catholic grandparents when my dad went off to war who thought “what was my dad thinking about marrying this lady?” So my mom felt it from both sides. In the end, the fruit of the spirit showed to both families how loving she was and the religious differences really didn’t matter. I was blessed in growing up in our Catholic family. Mom and Dad had ten children and although she wasn’t well catechized on our faith to teach us, she learned enough to help bring us into the faith. We prayed, and went to mass, she donated clothes and toys to Catholic charities. She had religious figurines around that helped me think about the things of heaven so she modeled the faith to us very well.

God bless you and give you His peace.
Karen

Wow! I’m sorry it’s been so hard.

:hug1:

I’m not sure what to advise. :popcorn:

We’re pulling for you!

Good luck in any case, and God bless you.

Just a reminder, spero, that with God all things are possible, and you will become stronger through the prayer and struggle of putting up with conflict.

May the Lord bless your parents and open their hearts to truth.

God bless you!

I thought JRHK’s advice to write a letter was very wise!

When you do talk to them face-to-face, try not to argue too much. Try to listen, be respectful, and set an example by your actions which really do speak loudly. Make every effort to simply display the fruits of the Spirit within you,

Also, consider praying a novena to Mary, Untier of Knots. It is one of the Pope’s favorites and mine as well - I’ve been enormously blessed by it.

Here is a link where you can print it on two sides of a page and fold it as a tri-fold:
iamlori.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/novena.pdf

God bless you and good luck!

Thank you, that made me laugh. :slight_smile: I really like the idea of writing a letter, too. My parents and I already have disagreements regarding matters of faith, since I went from IFB, to Southern Baptist to Non-denominational over a few years. Usually when we talk face to face about what we believe, it’s almost impossible to have a respectful conversation. The letter idea might make things a little easier.

Interesting first post. A burning ceremony at the Church. Yes, I’ve heard of those.

Glad I could lighten your day.

I really like the idea of writing a letter, too. My parents and I already have disagreements regarding matters of faith, since I went from IFB, to Southern Baptist to Non-denominational over a few years. Usually when we talk face to face about what we believe, it’s almost impossible to have a respectful conversation. The letter idea might make things a little easier.

Glad it was of help. I also like what LPS had to say…

This is super good advice. When things get all “wound up”, just back away. Let their storm break against the rock of your faith. Let them wear themselves out. Remember, your faith is built on a rock. Later, when you are replaying the episode in your head (which we all undoubtedly do), you can pick out those things that you feel need to be calmly addressed and (again) do so in a letter.

Peace
James

My family is very anti-Catholic, but no burning ceremonies. My family is a mix of “spiritual” & angry athiests who target the church for past scandals. With that said, I did not speak to them of my conversion until after I was baptized. I did not lie to them about my conversion, I simply did not want to invite more arguments or problems into our relationship. Instead of arguing with them when they brought up grievances with the church, i kept my mouth shut and listened to what they were saying, how it came up, and the tone in whichthey said these arguments. This gave me a crash course in humility. Anytime they brought up objections to the church I used it as an opportunity to go to my dear friends at church and discuss/ask questions to learn more. I prayed the Rosary for my family and went to adoration weekly. A few months after I was baptized I felt it was time to tell them I am Catholic. When I told them my step-father was angry as all get out and brought up the same objections as before. This time I had the knowledge and compassion to point out truths/falsehoods & to try to understand him more. It’s been 2 1/2 years since this discussion and he has since asked me to pray before Thanksgiving & Christmas meals!

My mother, on the other hand, appeared accepting that I became Catholic-“to each their own” is what she told me. Then, I remember she & my stepfather brought up my conversion again and she was so angry that she stormed off telling me “you are not the church!” I lovingly but with standing my ground that I am, that we all are, the church and left it alone.

The best I can say is to immerse yourself in your love of God and His truth to learn not only the theology but also the culture of His church, to frequent Adoration, pray, and let the Holy Spirit guide you. Entrust your family to our Blessed Mother and dedicate the Rosary to them.

Please remember this is a spiritual battle too and the evil one will try to prevent you from entering the Catholic church. I was blessed to have a priest guide me through the process of entering the church. If you can, find a priest to guide you as well.

St. Michael the Archangel defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and
snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we
humbly pray, and do thou O Prince of the
heavenly hosts, by the Power of God cast
into hell satan and all the evil spirits who
prowl throughout the world, seeking the
ruin of souls.
Amen

Our Father Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is
in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and
forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who
trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Amen

Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women, and Blessed is the
fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our deaths.
Amen

Pray for us O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made
worthy of the promises of Christ.

I sympathize with your situation. I am joining the Church this year after approximately ten years of exploring the faith, and honestly, one of the factors that stopped me from taking this step earlier was the attitude of my family, particularly my mother.

I can’t say I “discussed” my decision with either of my parents. I’m an adult and I live independently, so like any other decision I make in my life, I informed them of it - this is what I am doing.

Even then, it was pretty off-hand and spur of the moment, a piece of information given to them as part of another conversation. We were preparing for a funeral in my father’s family (the family member was Catholic, though my father is not), and I was asked to read at the funeral Mass. Since the priest needed to give permission for a non-Catholic to read, I mentioned to the priest, with my father standing there, that I was actually a catechumen through RCIA and would be joining the church at Easter. My father was surprised, but the setting prevented much more from being said. I’d like to think that through my reading and my participation in the Mass, I witnessed to him as to how deeply I had come to love the Church. He pushed back a little, but it was very little.

My mother is the tougher nut to crack, so to speak. Honestly, I have not really discussed the decision with her at all. I informed her when she was trying to make plans for something that I was not available on a given Sunday morning because I was being baptized into the church this year, that was the day we were celebrating the Rite of Acceptance and I had to attend a specific Sunday mass. I’m not sure if she’s just mulling it over, but there really has been no other mention of it - and I’m okay with that. She is free to disapprove quietly (or not quietly, but that comes with its own consequences). That’s the joy of being independent.

I think when we make these decisions as adults, we have to be prepared to stand on our own feet, look at our parents and say, “This is my decision. I believe that you raised a smart, competent, capable child who can make good decisions - and this is one of those decisions. I would like you to understand and respect it. I would really like you to support me in this. But I don’t need you to.”

Good luck and God bless.

I feel sorry for you. Depending on how much emotion they have invested in it they might never accept your decision, its a harsh truth but a reality. Until they are able to come to the table and talk your actual Catholic beliefs it may be impossible to convince them at all. I don’t know if there is one good answer, but perhaps by telling them blanket what you believe they will invest themselves in the study (a serious study) of Catholicism in an attempt to refute you and that has actually made people change their minds in of itself.

I myself have a family who doesn’t care for religion or gospel or anything like that. I am not sure what is worse, passion or being apathetic.

I could be off-base here, but if you know it’s going to be an argument, why discuss it with them? When you are an adult, you can do as you wish. Of course, I realize that a time may come where they will figure it out, but then you just tell them that you converted and you don’t open a discussion about it. (Kind of like what antoher poster suggested.) It could also be that you luck out in that they figure it out and don’t say anything because they don’t want an argument.

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