Need some serious spiritual guidance....


#1

Dear Catholic Answers Forum,

 I would like to start by saying that this site does great work for God.  In attempt to be as brief as possible, I will get right to the point.  My girlfriend, whom through God's grace I hope will become my fiance sometime during the next couple of months, is planning on being received into the Catholic Faith at the Easter Vigil Mass.  

My girlfriend comes from a Southern Evangelical family in Plano Texas.  Her father, as well as the entire large family, are very serious about the faith, as well as their dislike of the Catholic Religion.  The father carries many of the typical anti-Catholic views; RCC=whore of Babylon, works-righteousness, etc. So, you can imagine his reaction to finding out that she is dating a Catholic from New Jersey.  I have met them a few times when I went to Texas, and they were cordial towards me.  They have determined already that we are planning on getting married, so I dont think that would be too much of a shock.  However, they are under the impression that it will be a "mixed marriage."  I feel that this attitude will take a severe turn when they find out that she is converting to the "Whore of Babylon."

Anyway, that is a brief synopsis of our situation. My initial question, aside from simply attempting to start some dialogue about how to handle the situation as a whole, is in regards to when she should tell her parents. Would it be better to wait until after she converts to tell them that she did, or to tell them before that she is planning on converting.

One one hand, I feel it would be better to be honest now. However, the father is a person of great pride, and I feel that telling him before will only make him feel obligated to show her how horrible the Church really is. When he fails and she converts anyway, I firmly believe it would break him even more. That is my basic logic. So could anyone give me some food for thought?

Also, I would like to add that the entire family has handled the situation as people of God. They showed me respect and treated me with dignity, especially in light of what they sincerely believe the Roman Catholic Church to be. I am in no way condemning them for how they are handling this situation. However, the reality is that this may be something worthy of destroying her relationship with her family, that had always been very close. She has 4 brothers and a sister. Her father has always looked at her as the “prodigal son.” She is sincere in her love for Christ, passionaty about her faith, and also has a beautiful singing voice that makes him happy. It saddens me to see her go through this, but also makes me see how amazingly strong she really is. Anyway, I am sorry that post is long. I ask for all of your prayers and may God bless you all.

In Christ,

Kenny


#2
  1. Never attempt to receive “serious spiritual guidance” from the internet.

  2. Welcome to CAF! Have a dancing banana:
    http://www.coolsmilies.net/happy/banana.gif


#3

Welcome! There are many converts on the forums and they all have their stories. I do hope you find some comfort in your jouney. I think you are trying to see their side of it and that will always be helpful


#4

hahaha that was cute…would i need some advice have been a better way to put it? :confused: :stuck_out_tongue:


#5

[quote=Pillar of Truth]hahaha that was cute…would i need some advice have been a better way to put it? :confused: :stuck_out_tongue:
[/quote]

:stuck_out_tongue: eveyone loves the dancing banana!

Naw, you can ask and I am sure get all sorts of advice from the folks that post here. How good or valid it is will be left up to you :wink:

I know me, and I take everything from here as well as from other on-line places with more than just a pinch of salt. So I thought I’d just toss out the “warning,” ya know?


#6

i can’t help cuz i never been in such a situation , but all i can say is that we are His Sheep who must be united by His Love. Christ’s love is the answer to any problem :thumbsup:

Congrats :dancing:


#7

much abliged…and yes I do take everything with a grain of salt as well. However, I do appreciate to hear what others have to say. Especially since this is such an emotional issue for me. It helps to hear from people on the outside.


#8

[quote=Pillar of Truth]much abliged…and yes I do take everything with a grain of salt as well. However, I do appreciate to hear what others have to say. Especially since this is such an emotional issue for me. It helps to hear from people on the outside.
[/quote]

I’ll stick a toe in the pond and give you some advice from an older woman who has some experience dealing with people of all sorts.

First off, I’d address their concerns firmly and kindly. I think you both should sit down with her parents and give them some basic information about the Catholic Church, with some easy to read material to help you.

Explain that the Catholic Church revolves around Jesus Christ and no one else. Let them know that the faith values they taught your gf will in no way be tossed aside by either of you. Thank them for the great way they brought her up to be a believer in Our Lord and a good Christian. Allay their fears that the Church is some kind of cult. Emphasize all the things her family’s faith and Catholicism have in common. Be as positive as you can be.

But, you are both adults and do not have to answer to her parents for what you decide to do. Since she must be in RCIA (I’m assuming in New Jersey), she will be received into the Church with or without their blessing. That’s as it should be. If you do marry invite them to the wedding and ask her father to give her away, but if they won’t come then you have to live your own lives and let them live theirs.

Anyway, you know the situation best. It doesn’t sound like your gf is intimidated by her family to the point of not knowing her own mind. That’s a big plus for your probable marriage. Pray together about it and just be ready to calmly and respectfully answer her parent’s questions. I’d wait until she’s been received so it’s a done deal. It would be kinder, to her father in particular, in the long run, IMHO.


#9

Thank you very much for your thoughtful response…In December, I went for a week to stay with them in Texas. While i was there, I had a 4 hour sit-down talk with the father. In the talk I explained alot about what I believe. I really stressed our love for Christ and how that will not be thrown away but only further nurtured. Then, my gf and her mother came in and we all talked for more time. It went well enough considering. However, now that she is converting that may change everything. In general, would it be better to tell them before or after the conversion i guess is my biggest question.

On a side note, I think that the father has this wall that the anti-Catholic preachers build. So, simply explaining our faith is taking time because the wall is so big. For instance, when I explained the sacraments and what they actually mean to me. Of course my answer was very Orthodox. However, since it didnt sound like the works-righteousness concept that is preached about us, he concluded that what I said must have simply not been actually Catholic. So, I guess it will just take time.

In Christ,
KEnny


#10

[quote=Pillar of Truth]Thank you very much for your thoughtful response…In December, I went for a week to stay with them in Texas. While i was there, I had a 4 hour sit-down talk with the father. In the talk I explained alot about what I believe. I really stressed our love for Christ and how that will not be thrown away but only further nurtured. Then, my gf and her mother came in and we all talked for more time. It went well enough considering. However, now that she is converting that may change everything. In general, would it be better to tell them before or after the conversion i guess is my biggest question.
[/quote]

You’re welcome to the advise, but since it’s free you’ll have to take it for what it’s worth, if anything. :wink: As to when to tell her parents about being received into the Church (actually reconciled with the Church is the better expression because she’s a baptized Christian), since they’ve already been “primed,” for lack of a better word, I think your gf will have to decide when to tell them about it. If she marries you or not she will still be a Catholic, so it’s really up to her, don’t you think?

On a side note, I think that the father has this wall that the anti-Catholic preachers build. So, simply explaining our faith is taking time because the wall is so big. For instance, when I explained the sacraments and what they actually mean to me. Of course my answer was very Orthodox. However, since it didnt sound like the works-righteousness concept that is preached about us, he concluded that what I said must have simply not been actually Catholic. So, I guess it will just take time.

In Christ,
KEnny

Yes, what you are fighting against is cultural, ingrained bias given practically along with his mother’s milk. People have a hard time thinking many of the things they’ve been told all their lives by people they trusted are wrong. This is why it takes a good deal of prayer, love, and patience to bring them around to just accepting the fact that they might be mistaken. You may want to tell him that you don’t blame anyone for their mistaken ideas about the Catholic Church. God knows it’s only what they’ve been taught by people who truly believe what they were taught all the way back several generations. They are not culpable for that, but they are culpable if they learn the truth, come to understand that it is the truth (which is very important), and still hold to what is false. But, I suppose you already know that. :wink:


#11

Anyway, that is a brief synopsis of our situation. My initial question, aside from simply attempting to start some dialogue about how to handle the situation as a whole, is in regards to when she should tell her parents. Would it be better to wait until after she converts to tell them that she did, or to tell them before that she is planning on converting.

either way, you two are in for a fight. You will be hated because you converted her and she will be hated because she allowed herself to follow a cult. Personally, I’d wait to tell them until after you were married. “Oh by the way, I converted to Catholicism 3-5 years ago”

I converted from an Evnegalizal family and it was all my idol worshipping - cookie eating wife’s fault…I have never been happier.


#12

This whole decision on whether to tell her parents now or to wait should come from your gf. How strongly does she want to be Catholic? Is she just converting for your sake? If she has made up her mind that the Catholic Church is where the fullness of truth lies then she will have to decide when she is going to tell her father of this revelation.


#13

[quote=DVIN CKS]This whole decision on whether to tell her parents now or to wait should come from your gf. How strongly does she want to be Catholic? Is she just converting for your sake? If she has made up her mind that the Catholic Church is where the fullness of truth lies then she will have to decide when she is going to tell her father of this revelation.
[/quote]

DVIN CKS is correct. If she is converting becaue of you then she should not convert. If she is converting becaues the Lord is calling her into the Catholic Church, then she should convert…but when/if you tell the parents, be ready for a fight.


#14

My personal gut reaction, as a convert/revert from fundamental branches is you need to tell them before she becomes Catholic. To do so “in darkness” so to speak, would just give them more reason to not listen to the true teachings of the Catholic Church.

If you can afford it, I would fly down and do it in person, making sure they knew ahead of time you needed to tell them something in person and they will not be happy.

If not, write a letter. Your fiance alone. Be honest and straightforward and share the love of Christ that she has found. (Who knows, this may be better in order to allow them their private gut reaction?)

I think to tell them afterward is just so wrong. Light must be fully shined on this.

And as you seem to understand, if what they believed about the Catholic Church were true, they would have complete responsibility to try to stop this with as much information as possible. Give them that chance and see it as an opportunity to only reflect His love to them, knowing that they are trying to do the same, even if they become upset. Don’t you become upset, whatever you do.

But tell them before. JMHO.

God Bless,
Maria


#15

Thank you everyone… By the way, she is not doing this for me. I told her from the beginning I had no expectations for conversion. She didnt even tell me she was going to until after she enrolled in RCIA. She has taken this very seriously. Thank you everyone


#16

Hi,

My situation is a little bit different in that I am not converting, only thinking of converting. However, I come from a very devout Baptist family and my mom was crushed to find out I was even considering it. But, she still loves me and she still loves my husband (a devout Catholic) and will continue to love us no matter what I choose.

I knew I had to tell her before I convert just because, 1. we are very close and don’t have secrets and 2. because it gives her the opportunity to learn about the Catholic faith by trying to convince me I am wrong.

After finding the words to tell her, 3 months after intending to, we decided to correspond about it via e-mail. That way no one would say anything they would regret. (her idea) I think this works great for us. She sends me her reason why she thinks the Catholic church is wrong and then I (and my husband) respond and clarify her misconceptions. Email allows everyone to state their opinions/ideas logically and without so much emotion. I think it helps. This is pretty new to us, so I can’t really tell you how things are going on her end, but as far as I know…so far, so good.

Of course, this may only work for my family… just thought I would share my experience. Best of Luck to you and your girlfriend. I know how hard this situation can be.

RyanL’s Wife


#17

Kenny,
It is probably best if she decides when she will tell them and how. The key is to emphasize that this is not a total break from the past. That her faith is not diminished in any way. That Jesus is still her Lord and Savior. Grace builds on nature and her Catholic faith is built on the faith given to her by her parents. We don’t demand that she somehow forget everything she ever learned that was true. We value it and her. Give them time. Show them that she is still living a Christian life. As children come along it will also mellow them. Be patient.


#18

Try making a deal with the father. Promise him that if he will read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, you will read anything he will give you, and you can discuss it later. So your future father-in-law will be reading the truth while you are reading some nonsense about the “death cookie”. Fair trade, I’d say.
God bless,
Paul


#19
  1. If you girlfriend wants to tell her parents that she is converting prior to Easter Vigil, then there is the answer to your question.

  2. If your girlfriend hasn’t decided one way or the other, then I would suggest waiting until afterward. And even then, do they have to know right away? I am presuming that your girlfriend is an adult and can choose when to convey the information to her parents.

  3. As for her parents: I have found that I make more progress with Protestants when I casually discuss the similarities in our beliefs. Then they begin to see that we have more in common than they thought.

  4. I introduce uniquely Catholic things into conversation first as a simple clarification (ex: we genuflect because of the presence of Christ in the tabernacle, not because we’re bowing to the priest or statues; we make the sign of the cross with holy water as we enter the church to remind us of our baptism). Most non-Catholics receive these little bits of info as interesting and clarifying. I don’t preach to them. I slip in comments on how much I love Holy Week services for example. And then I mention how the priest washes the feet of 12 men on Holy Thursday just as Christ washed the feet of the disciples. Things like that help to feed the curiosity of non-Catholics and keep them wanting to hear a little more.

  5. If you and your girlfriend participate in any activities at church, you could mention them at some point after her family finds out she has converted. If you went to visit the sick for example, they will see that you are doing Christian things just like people of their faith do. And they will see that their daughter hasn’t lost her sense of Christian charity.

  6. It’s promising that they are treating you with respect. Keep treating them with respect or else they will be able to say, “See, that’s a Catholic for you.” If you eat dinner with them, offer to say the blessing or make sure you emphasize that someone should say the grace at dinner. That will help them see that you do Christian things (just like Protestants) too!

  7. It’s a great blessing that your girlfriend is converting. Keep going to mass together. I wish you all the best of luck and happiness. And remember to pray! Pray that her family will accept her decision and pray that God will lead you into a good and holy marriage.

:gopray:


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