Not raising Catholic children with morals


]I have six nieces ages 5 to 18. Three live with their divorced dad and their grandmother.Three live with their 2x divorced mother. Neither parent practices their faith, neither parent attends Mass with their children, yet all are being raised Catholic. How? by grandmother.

This all sounds is if the grandmother is making saintly sacrifices to ensure that the children have the advantage of knowing and participating in the Catholic faith in spite of their parents lack of participation.

Now the twist, in spite of grandmother adamant insistance in raising these children in the faith, certain moral efforts are lacking.

Examples are: Grandmother sends excuse notes to the teacher saying that children who have been out with friends all night instead of doing their homework’ had belly aches and were unable to finish homework.(this happens regularly) She sends nieces to sleepovers at cohabitating relatives houses to get them out of her hair for the weekend. They also miss Mass on these occasions.

The children tell me that she has cable channels that she gets without paying for,so they know she is stealing cable.I asked her it’s true! Maybe these examples seem small but it’s the frequency of the lies and the justifications that really bother me. The older ones now call her a hypocrite and I can see why the do this. I can’t defend her behavior if she keeps bending things to suit her purposes.

The fruits of all of this are, a confused niece who went up to receive Holy Communion after ditching mass and lying about it to grandmother without going to Confession first. Another who receives Communion though she is having relations with her boyfriend. The children now all lie, steal, cheat regularly. They also ditch mass regularly and lie about going to confession.

I am outraged that the same woman who sends them to Church also lies for them. I have tried many times to talk to her about these lies and other immoral acts and asked her to take these things to confession. She tells me the priest says what she is doing is all OK. She lies to me even!
I even pointed out the fruit of her deceptions, She just doesn’t care.

Any thoughts or ideas and prayers would be greatly appreciated.


It’s probably really hard for an old woman to try to keep track of so many children. Not to mention that it’s not her job to raise them, but rather the job of her son and his ex wife.

I don’t think you should be so hard on her, especially when it comes to things like sending them to sleep over with relatives. I’m sure she needs a break. And she is probably trying to do the best for them when she writes the false sick notes to the teachers. As for stealing cable, no one is perfect. And in an age where so many people either download material online, or access it for free through youtube and such this kind of theft is very common.

As for what you can do, why don’t you offer to spend time with those nieces. Why don’t you invite them for sleepovers at your house and take them to Church.



I just shared with my students in CCD a YOU TUBE of Mother Theresa interview 1. Towards the end of interview one, a child asks what can we do to help you. She says to love your father and your mother. She goes on to say to love yourself. I think if you teach these children to love their father and mother no matter how you personally feel about the situation, and to love them like Christ loved the children they will learn by example. She also says to pray to Mary for peace, for if we are not at peace how can we spread peace. These are not her exact words but it’s how I interpreted the video. Love these kids and sometimes it has to be tough love; sometimes the word “NO” is love. Love their parents, love these children, trust each other, and create peace in your family. Pray for this and leave it in God’s hands. He will provide.


I know that I sound hard on her. I do see the nieces regularly, and I do take them to Mass. But **she **has insisted these children be raised Catholic (when her own son and daughter, the parents of the six, are not the least bit worried about it) She’s not that old either, in fact she is very dominering and extremely manipulative. My brother who lives with her is extremely depressed and seems very helpless. She has caused numerous fractions in the family with her manipulations and favoritisims. I am the only sibling that speaks to any of the other siblings. My youngest brother will not go near her, he says she has caused his mental illness. The only reason I keep in contact with her on a regular basis is for the nieces.

Just yesterday, I was remarking to mom what pretty young woman the two eldest have grown into. Her comment was that she never considered granddaughter # 2 particularly pretty at all. These are the kinds of things that are said by her sometimes in front of the children. I thought that remark cruel and remembered when she said things that mean to me when I was a teen. I just don’t think parental figures should tell teens that they are unattractive.

My mother aways plays the victim and twists every story to her advantage. Oh and she is never wrong, she claims she is a genious, she never apologizes, she plays favorites, pits the children against each other usually taking the side of the bullying one and egging them on. Tells them things that hurt self-esteem. I have witnessed and experienced all of these behaviors. In all I think she is abusing them and using religion as a cover.

As a side note, she never asks me how I am doing when I call, she has never even called me,except for her drama emergencies. ie(your sister is in jail) I mentioned my 25 wedding anniversary and she never even congatulated me, never even aknowleged it in any way. She only complains about how tough her life is with these kids. My brother has offered to move out with his children but she says no he couldn’t take care of them himself. i think they would be much better off away from her. I offer her help she pretends to not here me. She loves the drama. She loves the pain she causes.

I am not in any way against the children being raised Catholic but I am almost positive that what is going on with my mother is a very twisted use of the Catholic Faith to serve her will -not Gods


Oh wow. Does your brother have the resources to move out? Why does he listen to her when she says he couldn’t do it alone? Do you think he could be persuaded that her behavior is bad for the children’s mental health and move out?


Pray for your mom that what ever turmoil is going on in her heart that she will find peace. Somewhere she has suffered and has not been able to share it. Love your mom and try to understand her. She gave you life and obviously loved you enough that you would care about this situation. I understand you wanting to be protective of the children. I am the oldest of five and tend to have all the answers for all the screw ups in our adult lives and with our kids. However, the older I get the more I realize that if I pray first, not for how I think things should be, but for how God wants them, it usually turns out OK. Not exactly how I think, but who am I to question Him? Let go of what you want and pray for God’s will for the family at hand. Truly pray and He will answer you.


listen to AK she knows what she’s talking about. you might want to keep in mind, the apple dos’nt fall to far from the tree


I’m no Mother Teresa but I do pray for my family and sacrifice. I am trying to discern if perhaps it is time to break contact with my mother and let the nieces go too.
I can’t have a relationship with them separately because she controls their lives, I can’t have a relationship with my siblings because she controls their lives,she controls everyones life. And it’s all chaos. I can’t take the emotional abuse anymore and I am too scarred and worn out to handle the abuse that I get from this parent I am to watch the same thing happen to my nieces.

All that said, I hope you are right and I am wrong, and that she does mean to help her family and that she really is a victim and that she truly wants to give the children a faith foundation.
But I just can’t buy it anymore.

Please don’t think I’m dismissing your opinions and good insights. I truly do appreciate the thoughtful intent of your message. Thank you both.


Pray.Pray for these children who are victims of a sinful world.Pray for the Grandmother, she is suffering and lost, and for these children’s parents. Pray as if everything depended on you. Offer sacrifices for them through the day, all your petty annoyances, your joys and your sorrows.


:eek: I agree with flyingfish. Will miracles never cease? :wink:

These kids have parents. The parents have ceded their authority and are incompetent. The grandmother doesn’t have to do anything. Whatever her faults, and apparently there are many, she produced you, whose children have turned out perfectly (wait… the verdict isn’t in yet, and someday your kids may be describing you on a message board to people…) how about giving the lady more help. How about your life making these confused kids want to know the truth?

And allow God to use people who are weak and incompetent to at least put some form of religion in their lives. Because as I’ve always been taught… when it comes to hypocrites in the church, there’s always room for one more! :thumbsup:

Everyone may hate old grandma and call her abusive and a bully and manipulative… but I bet that doesn’t stop them from taking advantage of her time and effort. If she’s so awful, there is a solution: The adult children in this family behave like adults and take the reins of these nieces and further their faith. This woman obviously raised some of her kids to appreciate the truth.

And by the way, the kids are also confused because the priests are not doing their job from the pulpit. Our children too often are not hearing about how to live and what sin is and the penalty for sin. There is only so much grandma can do when the priest says nothing, or the parents do nothing.

So your mom was horrible. Yet you turned out great. So maybe in spite of her, the nieces might turn out okay. She doesn’t have as much control of people’s lives as you think. You can have relationships independent of her with your nieces. The technology is there. Trust me… teenagers have relationships with whoever they want to. Grandma can’t stop them.

And maybe the father would fall on his face if he had to take care of his own kids. I’ve seen it happen. :wink:

One woman can’t hold back the tide of an immoral society, silent priests, inept and absent parents who abdicate their responsibility and peer pressure.

Pray for her. At least she cares enough for the kids to try to give them some faith. Give her the benefit of that doubt.

And tell the niece… if you let a hypocrite stand between you and God, that hypocrite is closer to God than you are.

Life isn’t all or nothing. You don’t have to walk away from people completely because they don’t fit YOUR perception of how things should be. YOU are responsible for the boundaries you have in your life. If she intrudes on them, your only solution is not to walk away from her and the nieces. Then you remove yourself from any guidance in their lives. Separate your issues with her from your nieces. Don’t let conversations become “Look how awful grandma is. This is what she did now.” You end up undermining probably the only authority they have in their lives. The sisters have been split up, seen their family dissolve multiple times due to choices their parents made, and dad, from what you say, seems to have checked out. Takes the path of least resistance and lets his mother handle things.

How are your kids handling this chaos and what relationship do they have with these cousins?


I have never spoken unkindly to the children of their grandmother or their parents for that matter. In fact, I do not speak about my personal problems with my mother,to anyone except my husband. This is the only time i have ever not supported my mother and think it long over due.I have repremanded the children for back-talk and reminded them many times that she is doing her best for them. I just don’t believe it myself anymore. Whenever there is a problem I’m the one who gets the phone call from grandmom, not the ex-parents. The problem is the lying and manipulation I get with these phone calls. Grandmom is not always telling the truth.

Sacraments and Catholic School do not teach someone how to live, parents, or in this case, a grandparent does. If grandmom not up to raising these children morally then she needs to step aside. Their mother says she wants them back. I’d take them too. Even their grandfather wants them.

I say yes, give grandmom a break, let the mom have the children but grandmom won’t.
They certainly couldn’t do any worse. And at least they won’t be commiting sacrilege regularly.
I also think, we as Catholics owe our Lord respect for the great privilege of taking part in these Sacraments and they shouldn’t be treated lightly or abused by indifference. Of course I care about the children and want them to participate in the Faith but I can’t bear to see them treat the Sacraments indifferently and know that they are being taught this by someone who is their authority figure (I am only in a supporting roll for this) I feel a obligation to the Lord to not allow the children to treat Him so disrespectfully . Grandmom seems to care less about that! The fruits speak for themselves, they are indifferent to the Faith and their God. They ditch Mass one week and shuffle up for Holy Communion the next . Why? Because grandmom makes them, sometimes I could understand making them attend Mass but I would never allow them (knowing what I know) to receive Holy Communion.And I would never teach them to lie, cheat or steal and say it’s OK.

And please don’t blame the schools or Priests. Godly education starts in the home. They can only support what the parents teach.

I only wish Nancy Pelosi had an Aunt who cared what she was doing!


let go or go crazey.Were supposed to love one another not control each other. Its ok not to agree with your mom.But if her actions affect you in a negative way,mabey it’s not her actions but the way those actions affect you thats the problem.I hope you understand what Im trying to say.


Does she have legal authority over the kids that the parents can’t take them back?

I would only suggest that you quietly and kindly point out to the kids that maybe Grandma is mistaken and they must go to confession before receiving communion…

Provide the truth, pray and don’t take your mom personally.

And if she doesn’t tell the truth, point out to her “What REALLY happened, mom…”

There must be something very amiss if she got custody away from both parents…


[quote="Liberanosamalo, post:14, topic:176548"]
Does she have legal authority over the kids that the parents can't take them back?

I would only suggest that you quietly and kindly point out to the kids that maybe Grandma is mistaken and they must go to confession before receiving communion...

Provide the truth, pray and don't take your mom personally.

And if she doesn't tell the truth, point out to her "What REALLY happened, mom..."

There must be something very amiss if she got custody away from both parents...


People on here seem to think that you can "make" a child/kid go to confession. I am here to tell you that I didn't want to as a kid- the idea was abhorent to me and my parents just had to learn to deal. They sent me to nuns to a couple of priests even one that was a friend of the family and each time I told them that I had no intention on going to confession and they couldn't force me to. Some were in shock - there was even one teacher that my father called to speak with me - as nervous as I was, I told him that he couldn't hurt my grade for not going and I basically let him know that I would go if/when I wanted. You may be able to force a kid to go to church and you can force a kid to go into the confessional but it's the kid's decision what he/she does from then on. At the time I felt that whatever I had done was my business and no one elses - when I was given 1st Communion it was at a school which did 1st pennance about 2 years after first communion. The more my parents pushed to stronger my resolve. So if it's really a big deal to you that they go, which it seems it is - try to ask them and explain why they want you to go.
God Bless


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