I am a devout Catholic teenage girl who has considered herself pro-life for about 4 years. The majority of my friends, teachers etc. are accepting and even encouraging of my position. (My choir teacher once told me God’s plan for me may have some pro-life work involved in it!) My family, excluding my mom’s mom and my dad’s very Catholic father, is not. I have argued with my uncle and aunt before, and my mom especially has told me horrible stories of girls making tough decisions about having their child or not.
She’s asked me why I am not pro-choice after seeing 24 year olds with 4 kids on the news and tried to explain away opportunities for national and local marches with “If it’s a REAL trip, I’d let you go in a heartbeat!”. Even an hour-long pro-life prayer event is too much. Usually, I tell her what she wants to hear just to get out of the debates and arguments, or at least tell her that she doesn’t have to be involved (as long as I am) since it’s my position and not hers. I’m so frustrated. Not to mention, I look at pro-life and Catholic news like this site behind her back. I keep a stash of pro-life literature hidden away to mark my favourite Bible passages, and insert pro-life messages into school assignments whenever possible.
I feel awful disobeying the 4th commandment to obey the 5th. Yet I can’t change my mind about my positions…I’ve seen too much! How can I tell my family about my commitments and/or ask them for acceptance without coming across as mean, disrespectful or imposing?
You are not disobeying the 4th commandment by remaining pro-life in the face of the desire of your parents that you be “pro-choice”. The Church is clear in its teaching regarding abortion. Catholics are not free to support abortion.The Catechism has this to say regarding just such an issue:
2217 As long as a child lives at home with his parents, the child should obey his parents in all that they ask of him when it is for his good or that of the family. “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” Children should also obey the reasonable directions of their teachers and all to whom their parents have entrusted them. **But if a child is convinced in conscience that it would be morally wrong to obey a particular order, he must not do so. **
You owe them respect and obedience, so if they tell you that you cannot go to an event then do not go. Do not lie to them or sneak around to do things.
However, being pro-life and defending the pro-life position absolutely you must hold firm to this even in the face of disapproval from your parents.
Yes, you are to be commended for embracing the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of life. God may indeed have a plan for you-- perhaps as a lay leader in the pro-life movement, or as a Sister of Life even!
I’m sorry to hear that your family is so confused about the dignity of each person. I am also sorry that they would fall for such faulty logic regarding a girl making “tough” decisions.
More sad rhetoric and faulty reasoning.
Well, for now, you need to obey your parents. You can pray at home in your room. I’ve done pro-life work by sidewalk counseling outside Planned Parenthood. Trust me, sidewalk counselors need to be held up in prayer by faithful prayer warriors. It makes a difference. Nothing you do is ever in vain.
I would suggest that you not try to argue with them regarding this topic. Make peace and lay off of it for a while. Come back to it again later. Many times parents discount what their children say simply because they are children.
Well, you may have to wait a few years, until you are 18, to be involved. That is not the end of the world. When you are 18, you can and should pursue whatever you believe God is calling you to. Between now and then, offer up these indignities that you suffer in reparation for the sin of abortion-- sacrifice on behalf of the babies. Learn patience, forebearance, sacrifice, and humility. These traits will serve you well if you do go into pro-life work.
Ask for intercession of Saint Monica, a wonderful woman whose son insisted on sin, leaving his mother in constant tears. God touched her son who became Saint Augustine.
I was raised by lapsed Catholic parents to be Atheist. “God is not real and Jesus was a great rabbi and probably gay.” I heard much other assorted nonsense and lived accordingly. God knocked at my heart and eventually he drew me to His church. Through Christ I learned how to gently and patiently be with my parents. I learned patience and our relationship improved. Now, 14 years after my conversion, my mom is still not Catholic, but has gone from being a regular contributer to Planned Parenthood to voting Pro-Life.
Pray, be an example, and be patient. Your parents are children of God as well as your parents. Concentrate now on facing the battles ahead.
You are entering a time when 85% and more of your peers are engaging in sex without marriage. Most boys you encounter will expect sex to be part of a relationship.
You will have peers who have had sex forced on them and need to be a good friend to them, the hands of Christ holding them and helping them be strong.
You will meet several women who have had abortions. You need to firm up your faith to the point where you can see their humanity past your anger and disgust.
You may face an unwanted pregnancy due to the pressures mentioned above.
Please firm up your faith right now so that you will pass through the fires of young womanhood in one piece and spiritually well. This self-work will touch your parent’s hearts and help God to do His work in them too.
Thank you both for the encouragement. Sorry I took so long to reply, my computer froze as soon as I had posted it. I thought the post didn’t go through and I didn’t really feel like typing it again. I came back to this forum to look up similar topics to this, and found it worked.
1ke - You, the Catechism, the Lord, and my conscience were right. No more sneaking around. I guess I’ll see you in two years then!
My choir teacher, because of one school project about Mother Teresa’s pro-life work, has invited me to perform the speech/assignment at her church. My family has known this lady for 7 years, so I’m allowed.
I haven’t brought anything up for a few months, and I won’t for a long time. I pray for these issues on my own sometimes, and will do so more. One of the pro-life papers I keep to look at is a flyer for the Sisters - I have contemplated joining them, but I need more time to think about it. I think I was just fantasizing.
Jofantioch - I never considered Saints Monica or Augustine to help me with this issue, and I read something today about St. Maxmilian Kolbe being the patron saint of pro-lifers. Thanks for the suggestion. I have asked St. Gianna Molla and Mother Teresa for help, though.
As far as meeting post-abortive women or those contemplating abortion, I don’t believe in hurting them, labeling them or hating them (not that you said anything to that effect). I want to be there and help them choose life without being pushy. I actually have a friend who has lost two cousins to abortion and I had to help him with a project for his religion class on the issue. I know another pro-life woman who became a mom at 19. I’m wondering if I lost a brother or sister as well.
This may be hard to believe but I am one of the lucky ones as far as sex before marriage goes. I have promoted abstinence my whole life, and my peers/friends know better than to bother me about my sex life or lack of. My best male friend knows that if we pursue a relationship, that he’ll have to wait.
IWhen our school does the Stations of the Cross, in between every station is a prayer to offer up our daily struggles to carry a sliver of His cross. I should remember that prayer.