New Catholic from an anti-catholic family


#1

My wife and I started to attend a Roman Catholic church in our town about a year and a half ago. We came from a protestant background, but being a young session member at our previous church- I just saw too much to stay. My old denomination was actually INVITING the Jesus Seminar folks to come “teach” at their churches. They started to bring in “alternative” pastors to the denomination (often gay or trans-gender, speaking the merits of that lifestyle…) The General Assembly of my old denomination was (and still is) considering a “gender nuetral” re-naming of the Holy Trinity…and much more…

So I had heard the local priest speak at a function and was thoroughly impressed with the man. I read some of his articles in the weekly bulletin and was even more impressed. In my spare time, I started to study Roman Catholic tradition and I started to lose the prejudices I was taught by my protestant upbringing. My wife was right there with me in discovering the Roman Catholic Church.

We became official members earlier this year. We adore our new church and are honored to be involved in the church.

But the joy we feel there has been contrasted by the anger my family feels towards me and my wife. Today my mother called me at work and decided to tee-off on me…of how I hurt her with this decision, and how she’s disgusted with how my going there makes HER look…

I’m 34, my mother is in her late 60s. I’ve never seen this side of her, nor would I ever have predicted it. The same goes for many of the other women in my family (such as my 38 year old sister) who view the RC church as the “force” that has kept women down since the year zero.

My wife and I have become outcasts within our own family.

Its getting increasingly difficult to take the lash without “lashing back”… which I’ve already done a few times when confronted by irate family members.

I do not regret my decision, and neither does my wife. But I never would have expected my outwardly very loving, very caring family to turn on me with such blatant hostility. I never would have expect this at the level it has risen to.

The welcomed kindness from my church is directly contrasted by the disdain of what has always seemed like a very loving family. My mom was merely a Christmas and Easter Presbyterian, so to have her and others completely rail against me is …unexpected. Its not like they were THAT involved with a protestant denomination…

But the prejudice and the hate… I’m seriously astounded.

Any of you folks get this from your own families? Any non-cradle Catholics have any words of advice for me?

These are difficult times for me and my wife. Her family was very broken and has been estranged from her for years, they have serious problems, so my family became “her family” even more.

And now this. I go to family gatherings and holidays and I can tell many people there would rather we not have come.

That’s a tough pill to swallow.

That’s where I’m at.


#2

My girlfriend had pretty much the exact same experience with her parents when she converted–slowly, but surely they got over it and now they even go to Mass with her when they come to visit! :slight_smile:

Just pray for them and show forth the fruits of your conversion. When they see you are more patient, humble, and charitable towards them, their hearts will soften :slight_smile:


#3

I’m so sorry–that’s a horrible situation. I’m afraid I don’t have any great advice. I’m going to pray for you.


#4

Thank you very much.


#5

If this behavior is untypical and unexpected from your mom, this could actually be a “heads up” for a medical condition.

I do not regret my decision, and neither does my wife. But I never would have expected my outwardly very loving, very caring family to turn on me with such blatant hostility. I never would have expect this at the level it has risen to.

The welcomed kindness from my church is directly contrasted by the disdain of what has always seemed like a very loving family. My mom was merely a Christmas and Easter Presbyterian, so to have her and others completely rail against me is …unexpected. Its not like they were THAT involved with a protestant denomination…

But the prejudice and the hate… I’m seriously astounded.

Any of you folks get this from your own families? Any non-cradle Catholics have any words of advice for me?

These are difficult times for me and my wife. Her family was very broken and has been estranged from her for years, they have serious problems, so my family became “her family” even more.

And now this. I go to family gatherings and holidays and I can tell many people there would rather we not have come.

That’s a tough pill to swallow.

That’s where I’m at.

Sorry for your problems. I’m not a convert, but a revert, and I get these reactions from Catholic family members when they find out I respect and follow all the Church’s teachings and believe the teachings are authoritative.

All I can say is pray for them. Some will soften up, some won’t. If you waiver, though, you can lose their respect.


#6

Hello and Welcome!

My mother-in-law (Methodist) has a history of great hostility toward anything to do with Catholicism. Then her son married a Catholic, 15 years ago. She tolerated it, but still made a lot of eye-rolling gestures. Then her son decided to convert. She had no interest in attending his entrance into the Church at the Easter Vigil and refused to speak about it with us (though I know she vented to his siblings). Now she has a grandchild and she attended his baptism. Then as he grew older, we signed him up for parochial school. She started attending Grandparents day celebrations each year at his school including Mass (During the first Mass she attended, she actually filed her nails!). That was four years ago since she attended the first school Mass, and to do so she must travel 2 1/2 hours each way. Fast forward to our son being in third grade. Tomorrow she will attend the auction fund raiser for his school and even donated a sizable item to be auctioned off. In another week, she will be attending his First Holy Communion Mass. This past winter, she went to Paris and attended a Mass with a friend at a large Cathedral there and brought our son back the Church bulletin from there and books and other goodies about the Cathedral. Thing is, I think she saw that her son and grandson are very devout and respectable people and they set a positive example for the other males in our family. Perhaps Catholicism isn’t so bad after all. She certainly doesn’t embrace the faith, and though she doesn’t say it, I think she is quite puzzled by why anyone would choose to be Catholic. She does embrace us as her family and we just so happen to be Catholic. Time, patience and prayer. Let your family see that you haven’t changed (haven’t grown a third eye or horns) and don’t speak about your new faith with them unless they bring it up. God bless and you are in my prayers.


#7

Well, welcome home…You are not the first Presbyterian to find full faith in the Catholic Church. You might want to read the books of Scott Hahn, and perhaps seek out one of his lectures should he ever appear in your area. His wife, Kimberly, gave him a rough way to go during and shortly after his conversion, but eventually came to the Church, as well. Her father is Dr. Jerry Kirk, and it’s my understanding that Dr. Kirk is about as Presbyterian as one can get.


#8

Have you told your dear Mom how much all of this is hurting you? I really think you should - maybe not face to face because that could escalate into something ugly - but maybe if you wrote her a long letter & just poured out your heart to her? You said she is normally very loving - mention that in the letter & tell her that you just can’t understand why she’s acting this way.

I think time has a way of healing these sort of things. Once your family realizes that you are still the same & becoming Catholic didn’t make you go off the deep end, I think they’ll come around. Always try to respond in love - if your sister says something nasty about the Church holding women back, just tell her that you don’t see it that way & suggest that the two of you agree to disagree. Say, “let’s not let our differences come between us… ok?” Who could argue with that?

You have my prayers as well.


#9

Yes.

When my MIL found out we were converting, she told my husband that I was leading him to hell, that Catholics sacrificed their children to Moloch, that she prayed our sons wouldn’t grow up like their father (her own SON), and then promptly went and legally changed her name because our conversion made it so she couldn’t be her old self anymore. :shrug:

When she comes over to our house, she rolls her eyes at every crucifix, picture of Madonna and Child, and Catholic Bible she sees. I shudder to think what she’ll do at the INFANT baptism of our next child, but I keep reminding myself that Christian Charity would dictate that I not speculate.

It will all be easier to bear when they (finally) move back to Texas (sorry all you Texans out there), but for the time being, I keep reminding myself that Jesus asked us to take up our crosses and follow him. I’m just amazed how heavy a cross bearing my 4 foot 8 inch MIL can be. :rolleyes:


#10

I was baptized in the Church of Christ, and also attended many Southern Baptist services. My whole extended family are Protestants, except my wife (a cradle Catholic) and me (converted in 1990, when I was 22) and my daughter, who we have brought up Catholic. I cannot say that I have had the level of disdain that you have encountered, but especially my mother is still pretty uncomfortable about it. Its not that she’ll come out and say much, but some comments she makes sometimes makes it sound like she believes that I went out and joined a cult or something.

Here’s what I’ve found works: First and foremost, if your family feels pretty hostile toward the Church, then when you are around them, do not push the fact that you are Catholic, just never bring it up unless asked. The only thing you might do is if you have a gathering for a meal and someone does the blessing, I’ll always do the sign of the cross. Other than that, I don’t push it. What they need to start seeing again is YOU, as a person, not your religion. Don’t get me wrong, if they start making a big deal, you need to be able to defend your faith, but do not blow your stack. That’ll only make things worse. Just say the following: “Look, I know that you don’t really understand, and I don’t ask you to understand. God calls everyone to different faiths, just like He called you to be Presbyterian. He has called me to be Catholic, and that is where I am home, and that is where I am happy. I’m not going to change my beliefs, but I’m still me, I still love you, and nothing will ever change that.” Then change the subject. Eventually, their stance will soften, and you’ll find that some will even ask you questions about Catholicism, so answer them respectfully and don’t preach to them. Simply explain why it is we belive a certain way. After a few years (and yes, it’ll probably always be somewhat of a mystery to them) they’ll accept it.

Shoot me a private message with your name, and I’ll dedicate a rosary intention for you this week. Keep calm and remember, two things: Nobody or nothing is as important as your relationship with God. And second, when Satan sees you doing the right thing, he’ll do everything in his power to try to turn you away from the Way.

Stay strong, and if you ever need me to lean on, add me to your Buddy list to keep up with me. I made it, you can too.:thumbsup:


#11

One of the best things that you can do is just continue being you. My family is Mormon on my dad’s side, and Southern Baptist on my mom’s. While I did not have the open hostility that you have, my family thought it was just a phase or that I was joining a cult :rolleyes: . It’s taken alot of praying and discussion just to get my immediate family to accept my decision. I finally did get two of my family to come to the Easter Vigil to see me get baptiszed into the church. That was as struggle. But my mom did tell me afterwards that she has seen a change in me and thats what made it hard for to accept everything. I was fairly outspoken, liberal, and anti-catholic myself growing up. My mom said it threw her to see me change so much during this journey. She still thinks its weird, but has finally accepted my decision. Hopefully with time yours will too.

Historybrat


#12

I’m so sorry you and your wife are going through that. I know how it feels, believe me. I was raised Catholic, but during the 80’s one of my sisters introduced fundamentalism to my family and over time everyone left Catholicism (not one of them thought to investigate the Catholic church before dumping it for my sister’s misguided information), and now they do nothing to hide their hatred of anything Catholic.

I am the only Catholic left out of 6 kids, my parents, and all the relatives. And I LOVE the Catholic faith, and have told them I will be Catholic till the day I die, so they can choose to be a part of my life or not, but I won’t have them bash my faith in my presence. If they can’t be nice, I won’t come to family events.

I’ve gotten glares for taking communion and kneeling at my grandmothers Catholic funeral. I get nasty stares for making the sign of the cross. But I won’t stop, I refuse. I am not the one who changed~ they did.


#13

Hello!

I would like to welcome you and your wife to the Catholic faith.

I am sorry that you are experiencing hardship and ostracization from your family because of your new found faith. I can imagine how painful it is for you and your wife to get hostility from people who matter to you.

A lot of the hostility comes from the people who do not really understand the faith or are prejudiced because of what they misunderstand about Catholicism.

I recommend a book by Scott and Kimberly Hahn, “Home Sweet Rome”, is a most inspiring book about conversion and how they coped with hosility from long-time friends and some family members.

I will pray for you and your wife.

God bless!


#14

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