Questions about Doctrine

Greetings. I am protestant and have been having conflict with my mother-in-law for several years. She is a non-practising Catholic, hasn’t been to church for many years and I don’t think what she is telling me about the faith is true.

You see when I have written her some letters in the past explaining to her from scripture why it is not okay or acceptable to use profanity, especially at my children. She’s also, in the past, offered to pass on dirty magazines to my husband and we just tend to offend each other with our behavior.

She is angry that I have confronted her with scripture and claims that followers of Catholicism are discouraged to read the Bible, that it is only intended for the priest.

She also told me that I do not have to go to church all the time and is offended that I do.

She says people are never supposed to talk about their faith outside of a church, a wedding or a funeral. Your not supposed to talk about God in public places because it offends them.

Personally I don’t think the Catholic church teaches what she believes and I think she has just been angry at God for losing loved ones (in death) for a lot of years.

I don’t know how sin is dealt with among Catholics. Is there a way that I can confront her about her immoral behavior (profanity talk etc) that will sink in?

I’ve heard from a lot of older Catholics that as they were growing up the church said not to read the bible. I don’t know if that’s true. I can’t seem to find any announcements from the Church itself saying that. I do know that the church now encourages people to read the bible. Not only encourages it, but has many programs that teach them how to read it, how to pray with it, and how to interpret it correctly.

The rest of the behavior your talking about is not Catholic teaching at all. The church does not teach people to hide their faith, or to never talk about it. They encourage people to not only speak to others, but to live in such a way that people can see their faith in their everyday life. Many Catholics quote St. Francis in saying “Preach at all times the gospel, and when necessary use words.” Our very words, actions, and attitudes should tell people we are Catholic.

As far as sin is dealt with among Catholics, it’s up to her to go to the confessional and to confess her sins. It’s also up to God to convict her of her sins, not you. If I were you I’d buy her a copy of the Catechism or a book like "United States Catholic Catechism for Adults " and let her read it. Then leave her alone. I’d confront her when she tried to give any of the family (husband or otherwise) any sort of pornography and I’d also tell her to stop cussing in front of my kids or I’d stop bringing them around. It might be beneficial as well for you to read the American Catechism as well (it’s much easier to read than the full thing) so that you can see what Catholics are supposed to believe.

Your mother in law is, frankly, a crazy person. None of these things is true. Is there any way to confront her? Probably not. Anyone that delusional is not going to believe anything you say and will only find other reasons to argue with you. She’s making up such completely outrageous things that it makes me question how in touch with reality she is.

Your HUSBAND needs to deal with her, and put her on notice regarding profanity and inappropriate magazines around your children. If she cannot respect your boundaries, she cannot have access to the grandkids. It needs to come from your husband, not you.

Not it isn’t true. It’s the exact opposite. The Church, in fact, grants indulgences for bible reading.

You’re right.

You see when I have written her some letters in the past explaining to her from scripture why it is not okay or acceptable to use profanity, especially at my children. She’s also, in the past, offered to pass on dirty magazines to my husband and we just tend to offend each other with our behavior.

She sounds more like she has some mental health issues than just moral ones. You guys might just want to stay away from her. :shrug:

She is angry that I have confronted her with scripture and claims that followers of Catholicism are discouraged to read the Bible, that it is only intended for the priest.

She’s dead wrong here. The fact is that the church has always encouraged us to read the Bible and in fact there are indulgences attached to it to encourage us to do so. See: Reading the Bible

She also told me that I do not have to go to church all the time and is offended that I do.

It is in fact a mortal sin for a Catholic to willfully fail to go to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation and we are further expected to go to confession at least once a year. so, you’re right she is a fallen away Catholic. I don’t know what her reasons are, but if she was doing these things she’d be a lot happier and compassionate person. :frowning:

She says people are never supposed to talk about their faith outside of a church, a wedding or a funeral. Your not supposed to talk about God in public places because it offends them.

Cardinal Wuerl: Education a Key to the New Evangelization

Personally I don’t think the Catholic church teaches what she believes and I think she has just been angry at God for losing loved ones (in death) for a lot of years.

Certainly could be, which is sad.

I don’t know how sin is dealt with among Catholics. Is there a way that I can confront her about her immoral behavior (profanity talk etc) that will sink in?

Confrontation clearly hasn’t worked thus far, has it? :slight_smile: Maybe you should undertake a different and (probably) better approach. Prayer…

Remember what Our Lord said? [FONT=Palatino Linotype]“But this kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:20) As a Catholic I would begin the Divine Mercy Chaplet for her and pray it every day (takes all of about 10 minutes if you’re slow.) There have been many many conversions by this devotion that is based on Divine Mercy in my soul. The Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska in which this holy nun saw and heard Our Lord speaking to her. You don’t have to use a Rosary to pray it, (Hey, The Almighty gave us 10 fingers y’know. :)), but it’s nice to have one, so I suggest you borrow your husband’s or you can PM me with your address and I’ll mail you one along with more info on it.

I’ll even join with you in praying it for her because, well, that’s just how we Catholics “roll”. :D[/FONT]

From what you have said, Tammy, it is unlikely that she has read the Bible and I doubt if she would bother to read the Catechism.

Someone so close to your children will have an influence on them so I would definitely encourage your husband to make it clear the profanity must stop in front of the children.

I would also make it clear to your husband that any pornographic material will go straight in the fire or the trash. It is unsafe for children to be exposed to that. In fact, it can do far greater damage than them hearing profanity and what we see stays with us in a more real way than what we hear.

You are right about the indulgences for Bible reading. I know a cradle Catholic in his late 70’s. As far as I know he has always read the Bible.
It may have been the case that while the Church was promoting Scripture study, that some well intentioned priests, were afraid some might misinterpret the Bible, and suggested they not read the Bible. Don’t know for sure.

Peace
David

[quote=Church Militant]She sounds more like she has some mental health issues than just moral ones. You guys might just want to stay away from her.
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I think that it’s quite presumptuous and more than a little unwarranted, given what we “know” and how we “know” it, to jump to the conclusion that there’s mental illness here.

Let’s just charitably stick to what seems to be the case, and say that it appears, given Tammy’s presentation of the situation, that her mother-in-law seems to have an incorrect understanding of what Catholicism is or what it teaches.

I am an older, older Catholic.:wink:

I cannot speak for every area, but in my area, Catholic families always had a large family Bible.
What happened within the school system is that we learned Catholic doctrine without referring to chapter and verse. We learned the main points of Scripture by listening to our teacher’s explanations and listening to sermons. When I finally got around to opening a Bible, I was totally amazed at finding the base for Catholic doctrine in black and white. It wasn’t that we were forbidden to read the Bible, it was that we learned Catholicism from the doctrinal or Divine Revelation point of view.

The first book to roll off the first printing press, invented by a Catholic, was the bible. Several decades later was the reformation and the “media” in those days burst with more printing presses as the reformers were getting their bible out. The church, as usual was slow to get on the band wagon.

Catholic bibles were sometimes chained to the pulpits due the fact that books were extremely expensive and the priests needed a way to protect them from theft. This is where the origin of the misconception that Catholics are not allowed to read the bible came from.

Sorry for the history lesson.:wink:

My comment on being a “crazy person” was in reference to her off the wall statements and crazy behavior-- giving pornography to her son… that’s CRAZY.

I did not mean it in a *clinical *diagnosis sort of way. I meant it in the every day sort of way-- as in that’s some crazy stuff she’s saying and doing!

The Church encourages Bible reading, but not everybody will read it. So the Church reads it to us, as a mother might read a book to a child.

Bible readings for Sunday Mass are structured on a three-year cycle (two-years for daily Mass). If a person faithfully attends Mass each Sunday he will hear “substantially” all of the New Testament, and a pretty good chunk of the Old Testament (you won’t hear genealogies and such). And the readings are the same for all Parishes, so it doesn’t even matter where you go.

The Catholic Mass is divided into two parts - the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Naturally, the Liturgy of the Word is where we focus on Bible readings. It occupies about half of each Mass.

Does what we have been told so far give you the impression that this lady is dealing with a rational person? We have to respond based upon the information that we have…and I did respond charitably. Why don’t you address the OP’s issues (as you suggested) and try to help instead of dealing with other members?

My post, which questioned the (seemingly inappropriate) assertions made by other posters in this thread, along with one response to that post, seems to have vanished into the ether. Might I hope to receive a PM, explaining the reason it was deleted?

Thanks…!

Thank you all for your responses and for confirming what I suspected about my mother-in-law. I think I will encourage her to examine her beliefs and contact a Priest just to make sure what she believes lines up with what the church teaches.

I think she has been away from the faith for so long, 40+ years really, that over the years she has justified her behavior in her own mind and made up these lies to herself.

It was ironic when she and I were arguing she said that she used profanity because she’s worked in a factory for 43 years and that its just the way she is… it “just comes out.” The big problem I have is it is the f word that comes out of her mouth, every other word, even in casual converstation… in front of my children, in front of me, etc.

So she was telling me she is this way because of the environment she has been in for 43 years, it just comes out and I have to accept it. At the same time she is telling me I’m not supposed to be talking about God outside of the church or religious ceremonies. I don’t have to read my Bible. I don’t have to go to church. And yet I feel like the Lord draws me to do these things. And when you spend a lot of time reading the Bible, or attend church regularly, or listening to teaching as I do, it just “comes out.”

I am paraphrasing here but there is a scripture where Jesus says to be careful what we meditate on because what goes in us comes out of us. And he says, out of the overflow of the heart (what we have meditated on) the mouth speaks.

I am hopeful that with this new Catholic commercial campaign, inviting believers to come back to the church, TV Ads, that my mother in law may listen to the positive things being spoken about what the Catholic church represents and begin to examine her own beliefs and think maybe she should go back and check it out.

As for my husband, her son, he is also a non-practising Catholic… has not been to church since he was in his teens. He turns 40 this year. And he has also been angry at God for taking his father early. My husbands behavior is not nearly as abrasive as his moms is and he certainly shows more respect towards me than she does.

Also, I want to ask if there would be a difference between the teachings of Roman Catholicism and Polish Catholicism. My mother in law is Polish Catholic.

No. There’s no such thing as Polish Catholicism. Polish would just be an adjective describing her ethnicity. Those in Poland are members of the Latin Rite (a.k.a. Roman) Catholic Church.

Unless… If your mother in law is a Polish American who is a member of the Polish National Catholic Church-- that is a schismatic group **NOT **in union with Rome. I don’t know a lot about them, but it appears that there is also an equivalent break-away group in Poland that call themselves the Polish Catholic Church.

The Polish **culture **may be at work here in her odd behavior towards you. Maybe she doesn’t like it that her son married a non-Polish woman.

Tammy,

Presuming that you answer 1ke’s question “Polish Catholic or Polish National Catholic?” with “Polish Catholic”, the ethnic dimension of the question might be relevant here, and I might be able to offer a personal perspective.

An old-world understanding of Catholicism, as held by (at the least, Slavic) immigrants to America and passed down to descendants in America, might be a bit different than what Catholics actually hold (not only today, but back in the day, too).

What I have in mind is this: to blue-collar / lower-middle or lower class European immigrants, the message of the Church may have been wrongly interpreted as “don’t read the Bible”, when that message might better be expressed as “if you’re worried about personal interpretation of the Bible, it’s safer to ask someone who’s studied (i.e., a priest) than to attempt interpretation on your own”. Moreover, from experience, I can say that the Catholic approach (years ago, and at least in ethnic Slavic communities in America) was to place the person of the priest on a pedestal. (Sadly, although this approach identifies the special role of the priest in the community, it alienates and isolates him from that community!)

Regarding Church attendance, I would have to say that traditional Polish culture is highly respectful of liturgical worship; so, your mother-in-law’s perspective is at odds with the experiences that I lived, growing up.

Finally, the question of “not talking religion” makes a bit more sense to me now. I would have to admit that it appears to be a cultural thing: back in the day, we (children of Slavic descendants) tended to limit our religious expression to participation in liturgy and in personal prayer. We really didn’t do the “God talk” thing at all, and it would have seemed to us – please excuse the expression – “too Protestant” to talk about our religion in other contexts…

Hope this helps…!

[quote=1ke]No. There’s no such thing as Polish Catholicism. Polish would just be an adjective describing her ethnicity. Those in Poland are members of the Latin Rite (a.k.a. Roman) Catholic Church.

[/quote]

There are also Eastern Rite Polish, from Eastern Poland (the Catholic Byzantine Slavonic Rite.) I grew up with a few, and they had their mass in the vernacular while we still had Latin Mass.

Thanks for adding to that. These are Catholics in communion with Rome, which would still not explain any of the bizarre assertions made by the OP’s MIL.

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