Should I close the door on this friendship?


#1

(I hope I'm posting this in the correct thread!)

I've got a situation that I need some inspiration on how to handle sensitively.

I'm a pretty recent convert and have a very old friend from pre-Catholic days who is a Wiccan. (I can almost see everyone nodding "Ah-ha I think I know where this one is going!")

The problem is that she keeps making snide remarks about my faith, about the RC Church, about priests, about anything really to do with Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. Sometimes the remarks have a barely concealed anger to them.

I didn't really think I would have this problem with her because prior to my revealing to her my "swim across the Tiber", she never much mentioned any other beliefs and if she did, it was along the lines of "live and let live". Well, she is certainly not letting me "live and let live" at the moment!

It's getting to the point where I just don't want to see her and the problem with that, is I feel rather guilty about just closing 15 years of what used to be a nice friendship. It also feels like I would be abandoning her in her wilderness.

I pray for her for all sorts of reasons, not least of which I think her animosity is doing her more harm that it could ever do to me. I do it quietly, she has no idea I do pray for her.

I've asked in my own circle of Catholics and opinion has varied from just quietly ignore phone calls and texts, and move on without her (but continue to pray for her even so), to telling her up-front that what she is saying is offensive. I haven't asked my priest yet because it seems such a trivial thing that I should be mature enough to handle on my own!

I really think I may have to leave this friendship behind because it's not doing anyone any favours, but is this the right thing to do?

I'd really appreciate hearing what other people think about this.

With thanks.


#2

I wouldn't just end such a long friendship without having a talk about it - I'd tell her that maybe she hadn't noticed, but her remarks are really offensive to you,and that if she wants to continue the friendship it might be best that you not talk of your faiths until things have cooled down a little. I normally tell people I have no problem with answering questions about my faith, but that I won't stay in a rude and offensive situation.


#3

Yea, as Fae76 said...you shouldn't have to put up with it, but at the same time you should be gentle and rely on your solid friendship to be able to explain how it makes you feel, and that you still value her friendship very strongly, but to keep talking about faith out of the picture.


#4

quote="Netty1, post:1, topic:202136"

The problem is that she keeps making snide remarks about my faith, about the RC Church, about priests, about anything really to do with Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. Sometimes the remarks have a barely concealed anger to them.

I.

[/quote]

depends on your definition of friendship, deliberately trashing your friend's most deeply held beliefs especially in anger, does not fit my definition.


#5

If she’s been a friend for 15 years, at least mention that it bothers you when she does it again: “Leah, you’d be pretty annoyed if someone outside Wicca talked about Wiccans like that. What gives?” Her answer to that question will tell you a great deal about the future of your friendship.

If she doesn’t make the same mistake again, consider it a passing thing and let it drop.


#6

Very tough situation... and I think even more so for converts because you go through "a change" at some point during your life and this affects everything around you.

As a non-convert (cradle catholic here), I've learned to appreciate friendships for what they're worth... as in, what drew you together in the first place. Sometimes you can't bring "other" aspects of your life into certain friendships.
For example - say you connected at work, or through a hobby... focus your friendship on that ONE thing. It's hard... you have to constantly redirect conversations back to your connection and away from challenging topics.

Because certain friendships are so challenging, you have to play the St. Francis game of "Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words"... meaning live by *example *through your connections without diving into the battle of "words". If conversations start diving into topics of religion - go back to your connection (which obviously wasn't religion)...

Good luck and continue to pray for your friend. You may have been placed into her life for a reason. ;)


#7

I went through this when I became catholic too. I found there is a process to determining the future of the friendships.

  1. Talk to the person directly. Tell them that their comments are making you uncomfortable, and it's difficult to have a relationship with someone who doesn't respect your faith.

  2. If it does not stop, start putting some distance between the two of you. By no means ignore them, but maybe hang out with them less.

  3. If they continue to go out of their way to contact you with their comments, then cut the relationship.

I've found that most people will stop at the first step, or do their best to hold their tongues. Very rarely do things progress to step three. I have had that happen with only 2 people. Usually by that time, they get it and back off.


#8

Definitely tell your friend she's being offensive. She might not even realize how offensive she's being. A lot of people feel like they can trash the Catholic Church when they would never say the same things about other religions; it's socially acceptable to do so in most circles. A lot of the anger comes from people who were raised Catholic and then rejected it for whatever reason. I don't know if your friend was raised Catholic, but the most angry offensive people I've ever met were all former Catholics. Wicca also has some pretty heavy duty mythology about how the Church persecuted them. I don't know if it's a universal belief in Wicca, but I was told by a Wiccan that they believe our Church murdered millions of witches in what they call the "burning times". That could be contributing to her anger as well.


#9

Do yourself a favour and leave this enemy of both you and God behind. Friends do not act the way she acts, enemies do, she has become your enemy now, because she hates God more than she ever liked you.


#10

[quote="Advocatus_Fidei, post:9, topic:202136"]
Do yourself a favour and leave this enemy of both you and God behind. Friends do not act the way she acts, enemies do, she has become your enemy now, because she hates God more than she ever liked you.

[/quote]

Without knowing this situation personally, that's the most irresponsible advice ever.


#11

[quote="Advocatus_Fidei, post:9, topic:202136"]
Do yourself a favour and leave this enemy of both you and God behind. Friends do not act the way she acts, enemies do, she has become your enemy now, because she hates God more than she ever liked you.

[/quote]

[quote="PadraigPearce, post:10, topic:202136"]
Without knowing this situation personally, that's the most irresponsible advice ever.

[/quote]

I have to agree...

Christ didn't ask us to abandon our enemies. In fact, He chose St. Paul to be a leader in the faith!
;)


#12

Oh really, how so, what danger to her soul will result from ceasing to socialise with someone who tries to separate her from God?


#13

I can’t tell you what to do, bu I could tell what I would do.

I would in a firm but polite manner let your friend know your dead serious about your Faith. And as a matter of fact your also concerned about hers. If you can’t reach a happy medium then its posible you will have to part ways. Its also possible you will find a bit more respect for each other and be able to continue your friendship. I’ve seen many follow the Wicken faith that are now Catholics and very devoted. Anything is possible. But without honest communication nothing will happen and the same results will be reaped.

You should Pray the Rosary often, daily and come closer to God. Let him come closer to you. Draw the strength you need from Jesus Christ. Especially when you talk religion with friends you need to be sure footed in yours.

Most with contempt for the Catholic Faith have been born into this faith and for whatever reason rejected it. Probly to rationalize their own inadaquate behavior? But thats not the issue. Your friendship is, and that may well be in jeopardy if you cannot reach an equal ground?

Good Luck in your journey my friend. I could tell you this, there are many whom I have known for the better part of my life who I now avoid and have no desire to associate with. I simply don’t agree with their lifestyle for one reason or another. They either have no faith are involved in a faith I’m directly opposed to, or pretend to be catholics while entertaining a negative lifestyle. They have no intention of changing and would only rather drag me down into the hole they are in. To continue to enter into relationships like that is foolsplay. Pray for them and give it to God. Let him handle it. If you continue to be a Lion in the Jungle then one day the Jungle will swallow you up.

But if you walk with God, you will have nothing to fear regardless where your are or who you are around. And always know that.

And the Lord told Daniel to go down in the Lions den. He sent him right on down. Then he brought him on out again. All he had to do, was put his life in Gods Hand. The Lord told Mose’s to get my people out of Pharoahs Land. All they have to do, is put their life in GODS HAND.

Good Luck and God Bless, GT


#14

[quote="Em_in_FL, post:11, topic:202136"]
I have to agree...

Christ didn't ask us to abandon our enemies. In fact, He chose St. Paul to be a leader in the faith!
;)

[/quote]

Indeed and what did this St. Paul this leader chosen by Christ tell us to do lets see:

"Do not work together with unbelievers, for what does justice have in common with injustice?" II Corinthians 6:14

"Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? And what concord does Christ have with Belial? Or what part do the faithful have with the unbeliever? ...] Wherefore, go out from among them and be ye separate, says the Lord." II Corinthians 6:14-17

Hmm am I reading that right?


#15

[quote="Advocatus_Fidei, post:14, topic:202136"]
Indeed and what did this St. Paul this leader chosen by Christ tell us to do lets see:

"Do not work together with unbelievers, for what does justice have in common with injustice?" II Corinthians 6:14

"Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? And what concord does Christ have with Belial? Or what part do the faithful have with the unbeliever? ...] Wherefore, go out from among them and be ye separate, says the Lord." II Corinthians 6:14-17

Hmm am I reading that right?

[/quote]

It's just that you can't judge a situation by one paragraph on a forum. What do you know about their friendship? What do you know about the friend's background? Maybe the reason the friend is so negative about the religion is because all the Christians she has encountered were uncharitable and mean. Maybe eventually the friendship will have to be cut off, but your advice was unwise and premature.


#16

[quote="PadraigPearce, post:15, topic:202136"]
It's just that you can't judge a situation by one paragraph on a forum. What do you know about their friendship? What do you know about the friend's background? Maybe the reason the friend is so negative about the religion is because all the Christians she has encountered were uncharitable and mean. Maybe eventually the friendship will have to be cut off, but your advice was unwise and premature.

[/quote]

The devil worshipping friends reasons for hating God are of no relevance to the issue at hand which is the harm she does to the OP.


#17

Netty I have already given you my conclusion but since others object it seem I also need to make known the reasoning, reasoning which has helped me answer most of life's difficult questions and I hope will be of the same help to you.

Many people here will give you the same kind of lame advice you could have gotten from any secular counsellor akin to what you would expect from Oprah. However as you are a Catholic asking for advice on a Catholic forum I am going to assume you wanted Catholic advice based on Catholicism.

Now here is my reasoning informed by my Catholic Faith.

Why was Netty created?

  1. To know God
  2. To love and serve God.
  3. To be with God in Heaven

Does this Friend assist Netty in fulfilling any of the three purposes of her life? No.

So she is not positive factor in helping you fulfil your God given purpose.

Well the friend could still be neutral.

Is the friend at least a person of good will who recognises that the Catholic Faith is worthy of belief even if she herself does not believe it herself?

No the friend does not so she is not neutral either.

Does the Friend try to undermine your belief in God thus working against your purpose to know God? Yes she does.

Does your friend try to discourage your love of God? Yes she does.

Does your friend threaten the future that awaits you in heaven with God? Yes she does.

This friend is negative and forms an obstacle to you achieving the purposes for which God created you for, this obstacle should be removed, the friendship should be ended.

You can apply that reasoning to pretty much all of life's decisions and you will always remain on the right path I have found. You may not achieve wealth, fame and popularity but you will achieve the three true purposes for which you were created.


#18

I don’t think anyone is advocating keeping friends who persist in undermining our faith, whether those friends are baptised Catholics or not. The question is whether or not you give a friend of 15 years a chance to amend her behavior when her negative attitudes are ruining the friendship.

There are many people of good will, inside the Church and out, who have a bitter bone to pick with Holy Mother Church and other “friends of the Lord” that has nothing to do with wanting to separate the faithful from God or discouraging the love of God. There are many good reasons for that, some of which have nothing to do with any real failure by Christians as a whole, and some that, let’s face it, are rooted in scandals they have suffered at the hands of the Church leadership. I would not expect someone who’s been treated badly by “loving” Christians to come away with an indulgent attitude toward the faith.

If the friend is amenable to see her bad behavior through the eyes of the Catholic whom she is offending, then give her a chance to amend, or at least to explain where her bitterness comes from. If not, then the Catholic can leave the relationship knowing that she did what she could, for the sake of the love and loyalty this person has shown her over the years. There is nothing wrong with that.


#19

[quote="Advocatus_Fidei, post:17, topic:202136"]
Netty I have already given you my conclusion but since others object it seem I also need to make known the reasoning, reasoning which has helped me answer most of life's difficult questions and I hope will be of the same help to you.

Many people here will give you the same kind of lame advice you could have gotten from any secular counsellor akin to what you would expect from Oprah. However as you are a Catholic asking for advice on a Catholic forum I am going to assume you wanted Catholic advice based on Catholicism.

Now here is my reasoning informed by my Catholic Faith.

Why was Netty created?

  1. To know God
  2. To love and serve God.
  3. To be with God in Heaven

Does this Friend assist Netty in fulfilling any of the three purposes of her life? No.

So she is not positive factor in helping you fulfil your God given purpose.

Well the friend could still be neutral.

Is the friend at least a person of good will who recognises that the Catholic Faith is worthy of belief even if she herself does not believe it herself?

No the friend does not so she is not neutral either.

Does the Friend try to undermine your belief in God thus working against your purpose to know God? Yes she does.

Does your friend try to discourage your love of God? Yes she does.

Does your friend threaten the future that awaits you in heaven with God? Yes she does.

This friend is negative and forms an obstacle to you achieving the purposes for which God created you for, this obstacle should be removed, the friendship should be ended.

You can apply that reasoning to pretty much all of life's decisions and you will always remain on the right path I have found. You may not achieve wealth, fame and popularity but you will achieve the three true purposes for which you were created.

[/quote]

I couldn't agree more...although my situation with my husband is a bit more tricky (my husband is a hardcore Anglican that believes in the "invisible" church and yet acknowledges the Priesthood and Eucharist of the Catholic Church) I would say a "friend" that is a worshipper of nature and devils and slams The Church every chance she gets is no real friend. (it's not like she's a protestant "worried about your soul")


#20

The main problem with your answer EasterJoy is that the friend would need to hide her hatred of God, the hatred would still be there she would just be hiding it in order to maintain the friendship so the problem is not really solved at all by your method it just becomes hidden and so all the more dangerous.


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