PLEASE HELP! I am an RCIA candidate under Family Attack (convert from non denominational)

I have been under a lot of pressure with my non-denomination background, but especially with my mother’s strong views against my decision to attend RCIA classes with my wife (catholic, but not confirmed as well).

Here is a recent email correspondence from her. I am hoping a priest, etc can provide me some tips on how to defend my side vs her assertions made below:

Dear Tim,

It’s after 8pm - sorry it’s been so long to respond but have been busy w/ helping out w/the kids and Lyla. my response so far:

You can ask me anything (to pray for or w/you) because I’m here on earth w/you. The only way to talk to anyone who has passed from this life on to the next is either to pray (talk to) or to try and communicate in a seance (which is forbidden in scripture). You may want to believe it’s ok (the Catholic Church says "We can pray with and to her.)

I would say that bowing before a statue of Mary is worship. That many of the practices involving Mary is worship because they elevate ary to a place that is equal to God in many functions: intercession, atonement, prayer to, etc.

When Jesus turned to John (the beloved deciple) on the cross and said “behold your mother” how can you possibly read into that statement that Mary is now the Mother of the whole body of Christ? If that doesn’t describe what the last 5 scriptures of the Bible is talking about!

This is a major problem w/ the Catholic Church: in it’s teachings it goes beyond what is written in God’s word (ICor.4:6). It denies the sole and true sovereignty of the living God by promoting prayer to and worship of Mary. Also it denies justification by faith alone in Christ alone. I’m afraid I don’t belive it is synonymous with Christianity. Christianity is properly defined by certain doctrines that are revealed in the Bible. It is not defined by simply saying that as long as you believe in Jesus, you’re a Christian. Mormons believe in Jesus, but their Jesus is a brother of the devil in the pre-existence. The Jesus of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is Michael the Archangel. So, just saying you believe in Jesus doesn’t make you a Christian. This is why the Bible tells us who Jesus really is, God in the flesh, creator of the universe. There are essential doctrines, and if any of those essential doctrines are violated, then a church wouls only appear to be Christian but not really be Christian.

  1. There is only one God and you are to serve no other gods (Ex 20:3; Isa. 43:10; 44:6,8)
  2. Jesus is both God and man (Jn. 1:1, 14; 8:24; Col. 2:9; I Jn.4:1-4)
  3. Jesus rose from the dead physically (Jn. 2:19-21; I Cor. 15:14)
  4. Salvation is by grace through faith (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:8-9; Gal.3:1-2; 5:1-4)
  5. The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus according to the scriptures.
    (I Cor. 15:1-4; Gal. 1:8-9)
  6. God is a Trinity (Matt. 28:19; I Cor. 12:4-6; 2 Cor. 13:14)
  7. Jesus was born of the virgin Mary ( Matt. 1:25 )

So someone who is a true Christian will believe these things and not violate them. Roman Catholicism violates two of them. First of all by its practice of promoting Mary (and the Saints) to the level of God-like capabilities, they break the commandment to have no other gods before the true and living God. Catholic teaching is that Mary made atonement for the sins of man (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, page 213). Mary is the subject of preaching and worship (Vatican Council II, p. 420).

Most seriously, Catholicism violates the biblical doctrine of salvation by grace through faith alone. Paul, the apostle, tells us in Romans 4:5, “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness.” I recommend reading the whole book of Hebrews, as well. Roman Catholicism denies that and says…so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments"

So even though Roman Catholicism claims to be Christian and that it is the one true church, it violates the essentials of the Christian faith. By claiming that traditions have equal athority w/ the written Word of God, they are able to add to, as well as take away from what the inspired scriptures actually teach. Again, see Rev. the last 5 verses.
Please read 2 Thessalonians 2: the whole chapt. but especially the warning in vs. 11.

Will look at other e-mails in the morning, it’s getting late tonight. Love you, Mom

I suggest you bow out of this completely.

Mom doesn’t respect your boundaries or your decision as a husband and some-day father. Your mother needs to understand this is not open for discussion.

Only **after **she has **accepted **that you are making your own decision and it is not open for debate can you slowly discuss things with her-- in the future, not now. And, certainly not while she’s going to dog-pile you with email after email. You cannot possibly hope to defend against all of this in email. This is the kind of thing you discuss over time, in person or on the phone, and show your Christian faith by witnessing to her through your actions.

My advice-- set boundaries and put religion as an off-limits topic for the duration of your RCIA investigation into the Church.

suggest your mother attend RCIA classes so she can learn what the Catholic Church really teaches rather than what she thinks it teaches. But that would be uncharitable.:blush:

Simply tell her that you love her and appreciate her concern but that you have found many of her statements about the Church to be untrue and ask her to please respect your wishes as an adult that you wish to come to Jesus in your own way.

Excellent advice!

Tim, all of your mother’s objections (and some she hasn’t thought of! :)) have been ably answered on this Forum and in the “Faith” section at the top of the page (you can click on it and do a search), but don’t be overwhelmed now trying to answer any of her objections. The time for that will be when you have set those boundaries and become more familiar with the Faith through your own experience with the Mass and attending the RCIA sessions.

Agreed. Very thankful to have read this actually as I’ve been wondering how to approach this topic with my own mother. I’d like to think that she’d be accepting of it but I also know that she has a lot of misconceptions about what the Catholic Church teaches.

suggest your mother attend RCIA classes so she can learn what the Catholic Church really teaches rather than what she thinks it teaches. But that would be uncharitable.

I don’t think it would be uncharitable. The wording might be skethcy but at it’s core what you suggest is simply pointing out that she has a misconception and offering to show her the truth. Offering up knowledge is pretty awesome in my book :thumbsup:

Please remind your Mom, that the Church has 2,000 years of continual devotion to Mother Mary. The Apostles passed their devotion on to their Bishops and they to their priests, from the very beginning of the Church.

Heres some places to start:

How to Explain Mary to a Sola Scriptura Protestant

Fundamentalist or Catholic?

Aren’t We Saved by Faith Alone?

By faith alone?

While I can certainly understand the OP’s irritation at being the recipient of multiple emails of this nature, his assertion that he is “under attack” strikes me as being a bit overly dramatic. While his mother is obviously not a fan of Catholicism, her email impressed me as being an expression of her genuine concern…delivered in a loving manner. It was certainly not a rabid, anti-Catholic rant. (Edit: By that I mean that she is not referring to the Church as “the whore of Babylon,” or referring to the pope as the anti-christ, or something equally as nutty. However, I suppose she could be referred to as “anti-Catholic” in the sense that she obviously believes that the Church teaches untruths.)

While I agree with this this, I wonder if you would give the same advice to a Catholic who was similarly “under attack” as he considered conversion to another faith?

Obey the 4th commandment. Honor your mother. Simply tell her that you love her too much to argue with her. The question is not whether you can refute her point by point, but if you can bear to listen to your mother tell you that what you believe in is wrong without getting into an argument.

The other question I have Tim, is if she is starting to convince you that what she says is correct? Is this the case?



Sound as if your mother’s views on the Catholic faith are set in concrete. As with many who are against Catholics they THINK they know what we believe. If she is open to learning the truth I suggest you might want to give her two books to read (if she will read them). The first is Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic by Currie and the other is By What Authority the author I don’t have at hand. Google will find them. Another resource if The Coming Home Network International and its founder Marcus Grodi. Hope this helps. Remember, Knowledge given in love can work wonders.

I could probably refute some of these arguements againist the church, but to be honest, I think my efforts would be wasted because your mother(God bless her, she obviously truly cares about your soul, she is just misled) has already made up her mind about Catholicism. Sure, views about the church can change, I’m proof of that( for quite a while I was anti-catholic and ignorant about the chuches beliefs) but they have to open themsleves up to it, or perhaps feel drawn to it and decide to study it, no logical arguements can really maek someone lose their protestant faith and gain a Catholic one.

I think you should show her these two sites(I love them both soo much lol they provide biblical proofs of Catholicism)
You should refer her to the parish priest if those links don’t help, so she can argue it out with him lol

Invite her for a discussion here on CAF!

As the above poster mentioned, you are in Christ the head of your family. Your mother must respect that, as a Christian especially. Make it a requirement for all future dialogue that she first must promise to respect your authority in these matters, and recognize you have the right to do what you believe is best for your family.

The Church is “the pillar and foundation of truth,” according to the Bible. The Church knows, and teaches, for example, that “to pray” means “to ask” or “to make supplication,” and not - and never - “to talk.” If the Bible cannot teach your mother that praying is always asking (and not talking), or if it leads her to believe that praying means ‘talking to or with,’ than her interpretation of the Bible has lead her into a very serious error about the nature of praying. Not wishing to be in such errors, then, you desire to be grafted into the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the very Body of Christ, in order that your family will be founded upon “the pillar and foundation of truth.” The Catholic Church traces her roots directly back to Christ Himself, and His Holy Apostles, without any ceasation or interruption. You can therefore be confident that your own Faith and the Faith of your family will always be set upon this firm foundation, as upon a rock (Matt. 16:16).

That is my advice ; however, I would speak with your priest and see if he has any advice on how best to proceed with your mother.

Pax Christi,

IMO, unchaste and contracepting dating and marital relationships, have in part been caused by the inability of American Christian & European Christian woman to form a holy and personal relationship with Mother Mary and to the Holy Family.


Getting into a theological debate with her can be a great learning experience, but I would like to suggest a different way.

The Catholic Church is either telling the truth about Mary and all that, or it is sincerely mistaken, or it is lying.

In her heart of hearts, which does she think is the case? Is this an organization with a secret agenda of dragging men to hell? Does she think the best theological and philosophical minds of the last 2000 years got the simplest things about God totally wrong? Or is there something greater than Solomon here?

The choice she is facing right now is exactly the choice faced by the religious skeptics of Jesus’ day.

Which is harder: for a Jew to believe that God became a man - or for a Protestant to believe that a woman became a god?

Don’t worry, and calm down. I completely agree with the other posters to let your mother realize that this is your decision, and all of that jazz.
While you wait for that, it is great to learn about the faith. The links posted are all great resources.

I am also giving you the link to one website that really helped me with my questions. The author and his wife are both converts from Evangelical Christianity. I am not sure what your mother believes, but hopefully it can help. He explains (with good quotes and sources) everything your mother told you in the e-mail and even more! I mean, right at the top he has a section devoted the big issues!

Don’t push your family with anything Catholic. That means, even if you want to, don’t bring up the subject and only talk about it if they bring it up. Learn about your faith, and put it into practice. Show your family that you and your wife don’t worship Mary, that praying to saints does not take away from God’s glory and that we believe that the crucifixion does mean salvation.

In Christ,

Wow…you are describing my MIL…although you may be up for an uphill battle. Some people are willing to listen and learn…and some are not.

I would let her know, kindly, that while you appreciate her concern, you have made the decision that is best for you.

BTW…I fail to see how having a statue of Mary is any different then having a photograph of your mother in a place of honor?

Hmmm…we observe the commandmants because Jesus said “if you love me you will obey the commandments”,

I highly recommend the book suprised by truth as well as the other one that someone suggested that deals with fundamentalism.

Perhaps I misunderstand your point, but Mary is only human. We honor her position as Mother of God.

Sorry, I missed the editing timeout while writing my message above. I wanted to add this:

*]NO ORGANIZATION IS FULFILLING THE GREAT COMMISSION BUT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. That’s because no organization was given that commission, but the Catholic Church.
*]NO ORGANIZATION HAS FOSTERED MORE HOLY AND EXEMPLARY LIVES than the Catholic Church with its teachings and practices. Does she realize this is *impossible *to counterfeit?
*]Finally, the most frightening claim of all because the eternal fate of uncounted billions hangs on it: NO ORGANIZATION CLAIMS THE AUTHORITY TO FORGIVE SINS IN GOD’S NAME, except the Catholic Church. If the Church is lying about that, then every priest, bishop, and pope deserves to burn in eternal hellfire for blasphemy. And if the Church is sincerely mistaken, then we of all men are most to be pitied.

The Catholic Church, notably, acts like it really is what it claims to be.

What does *she *say the Catholic Church is?

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