Relations with my Jewish family


#1

ok, so im considering applying to a seminary to help me discern better for a year or 2. most of my concerns i talked over with my spiritual director, but there is one thing thats a little to personal to discuss in great detail with him. My dad is Jewish and i never talked about religion with him or my other Jewish family ever. Me and my dad never really got along, but i have a good relationship with the rest of my family. and i was wondering, just how am i going to tell him i want to enter a seminary? should i tell my family members i get along with first?


#2

Well i'm not sure.
However, telling your family that you want to go to seminary is the least of your problem.
Since Christ is our only Redeemer, their sins are not forgiven.
Unity with the Catholic Church is also required for Salvation.
So I think the large issue isn't how to talk to them about you going to seminary.
The larger issue is how are you going to break it to them that they are all going to hell.


#3

Quote:
The larger issue is how are you going to break it to them that they are all going to hell.

What?!?!?! Just because they aren't Catholic doesn't mean necessarily mean hell.


#4

[quote="MrMikeMan, post:2, topic:226895"]
Well i'm not sure.
However, telling your family that you want to go to seminary is the least of your problem.
Since Christ is our only Redeemer, their sins are not forgiven.
Unity with the Catholic Church is also required for Salvation.
So I think the large issue isn't how to talk to them about you going to seminary.
The larger issue is how are you going to break it to them that they are all going to hell.

[/quote]

Catholics are discouraged from saying who will or won't go to Hell as only God is sure of that and not your or I. You are attempting to teach Catholics on their faith via a perception of it rather than dealing iwth what they actually believe.

As to the OP's question, this could be a tricky one for sure. Especially considering the sadly rocky history Christianity and Judaism have had over the centuries. I have Jewish relatives but most of them are atheists and my wife's grandfather who was Jewish was noticeably scathing about all religions including his own. I think most people ultimately tend to prefer straight talking done in a polite manner but if you do not already have a great relationship with your father I would say be careful. We only have one set of parents and it might be better to go slow rather than further endanger an already rocky relationship.


#5

Actually, that is one excellent question you should be asking your spiritual director. Among other things, he probably has similar experiences and has guided others through just such situations before.

Remember, when you go to tell him, you are merely informing, not debating. If your family wants to debate, you shouldn’t participate.

This may be little consolation, but Jesus did tell us we would endure division within our own families.[BIBLEDRB]Luke 12:51-53[/BIBLEDRB]We should not seek division but it may occur when we follow God’s legitimate call. The fact that a division may happen from following a legitimate call should not dissuade us from following it.

(note: I do not think God’s legitimate call would cause division of a legitimate marriage. That bond is sacred.)


#6

[quote="MrMikeMan, post:2, topic:226895"]
So I think the large issue isn't how to talk to them about you going to seminary. The larger issue is how are you going to break it to them that they are all going to hell.

[/quote]

Ugh.


#7

Whilst I have had cause to strongly disagree with you at times in the past Barb we're definitely on the same page here. Ugh is an understatement for this.


#8

I_R

Blessing upon you for following your heart and the potential calling. I also am in the same boat as you: my Mother and her family is Jewish, yet I became Catholic. For the last year I also have been contemplating applying for the Seminary, still under debate. But they way I broached this subject with my Mother was that I took her to lunch for her birthday, started discussing religion; she knows that I am Catholic. And asked her “we never really discussed religion before, does it bother you that I became Catholic?” Her response was no, as long as I believed and loved God that is all that mattered. From there I was able to let her know that I was glad that it did not bother her, and then I asked her if she would be surprised if I told her that I was also thinking of severing God as a priest. That surprised her but she just told me if that is was I wanted to do and that if would make me happy then she was accepting of it.
But in my opinion, if that is where your heart leads you must follow it, and Jesus. For you cannot live your life as others want you to, you will never make everyone happy least of all yourself, you must live you life as God wants you to.

For you MrMikeMan,
I will prey for you, as Jesus says “before you point out the speck in your neighbors’ eye, remove the plank from your own.” Meaning before you condemn anyone for not believing as we do that Jesus is Lord, the Son of the living God. How much worse is it that we do believe, and refuse to follow his “new” commandment “I give you a new commandment; to love each other as I have loved you”

Love and Peace.


#9

[quote="I_R, post:1, topic:226895"]
ok, so im considering applying to a seminary to help me discern better for a year or 2. most of my concerns i talked over with my spiritual director, but there is one thing thats a little to personal to discuss in great detail with him. My dad is Jewish and i never talked about religion with him or my other Jewish family ever. Me and my dad never really got along, but i have a good relationship with the rest of my family. and i was wondering, just how am i going to tell him i want to enter a seminary? should i tell my family members i get along with first?

[/quote]

There are many aspects to consider here:
(1a) Did your father marry a Catholic?--if so, can he reasonably expect you to forfeit any claim to your maternal heritage?
(1b) If both of your parents are Jewish, its easy to understand their qualms with your acceptance of a different faith/culture.
(2) Are they religious or simply culturally Jewish? If they are religious, did they try to help you practice your religion fully?

If they/he are/is simply (a) 'cultural Jew(s)' you might want to emphasize that Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular--as you may have gathered--is a remarkably Judeo-centric enterprise. The Jewish contributions to Christianity are impossible to ignore: from God's own earthly family, to the Apostles, and beyond.

The Archiepiscopal see of Paris, the city that is spiritual capital of the Church's 'eldest daughter', was held by a Jewish person (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Marie_Lustiger) for ~24 years. Many Jewish priests serve in many traditional groups: among them the SSPX, the Dominicans, the Canons Regular of New Jerusalem (which is headed by a Jewish person, a Fr. Oppenheimer, I believe: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canons_Regular_of_the_New_Jerusalem). Even during the foulest era of anti-Semitic hysteria (the Iberian Inquisition), many prominent churchmen had Jewish roots. Moreover, the clerical occupation is one of the few areas--outside of academia and the rabbinical occupation, of course--where an abiding fascination with Judaica and Hebraist studies are well-rewarded and sought after.

If it is only a cultural barrier separating you from your father's good graces, just give him a short history lesson, to help make him aware of the authentically Jewish benefactors of our Faith. If this is not enough, tell him that he can't arbitrate 'What is Jewish-enough' vs. 'What is not Jewish-enough' anymore than the Lubavitcher Rebbe can. There are probably many Jews who could take one look at him and criticize his lifestyle up and down, calling it 'frei' and 'goyisch'. That's why Jesus said early on that the nit-picking
and back-biting over how pious (or 'frum' :-) ) our observance is keeps us from God more than anything.

I would encourage you to explain these things to your father, and humbly ask for his blessing before moving ahead. Also, it is important that you discuss these things with your spiritual confessor, because he will know your case better than anyone here and will be able to offer fatherly advice--even if your own father won't.

Good luck on your path, and many blessings!


#10

i guess i should just tell my spiritual director in greater detail next time. as for my Jewish family, they don’t seem that religious. my mom (who has a tendency to over exaggerate) tells me that they are really atheist Jews, but i just don’t see that myself. we cough my dad watching EWTN a few time before, so maybe my vocation can let him explore the catholic faith more


#11

I_R,

The above quoted post says it all, in my opinion.

The Stigma of the Cross is deep and profound, even mysterious. Your situation is very similar to my own, as my family is purely non-religious. We had a history of freemasonry in my family that I believe to be the root and cause of that irreligious and anti-religious environment. I would be more worried if your Faith did not cause familial problems than the opposite. The Cross is a scandal and a spectacle, and God - in his brilliance - made it so.

God bless you and be with you,
Tim


#12

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