Should I have fought back, or not?


#1

Just went to a cookout in my neighborhood. I encountered some aquaintences from my old non-denominational church, exchanged pleasantries and laughed about our connection to my neighbor. Small world.

Anyway, before I could even tell them where I was going to church now, they started bashing Catholics like crazy! They had been trying to get my neighbor to visit their church and was explaining that it was a church for people who hate church, etc.. Saying things like, "the Catholic church has more money than the mob" and so on. I could tell my neighbor was in an awkward position, because she knew of my conversion to the Catholic faith, but didn't say anything. I'm sure she didn't quite know what to do. I just calmly smiled and left to get a drink, and then eventually thanked her for the invite and I had to get home (which, I really did have to go home). I'm so curious to find out if she told them I was Catholic and if they felt bad for the things that they said. Should I have spoken out only to create tension at her party? Or did I do the right thing by letting it go?


#2

[quote="lizferg, post:1, topic:204282"]
Just went to a cookout in my neighborhood. I encountered some aquaintences from my old non-denominational church, exchanged pleasantries and laughed about our connection to my neighbor. Small world.

Anyway, before I could even tell them where I was going to church now, they started bashing Catholics like crazy! They had been trying to get my neighbor to visit their church and was explaining that it was a church for people who hate church, etc.. Saying things like, "the Catholic church has more money than the mob" and so on. I could tell my neighbor was in an awkward position, because she knew of my conversion to the Catholic faith, but didn't say anything. I'm sure she didn't quite know what to do. I just calmly smiled and left to get a drink, and then eventually thanked her for the invite and I had to get home (which, I really did have to go home). I'm so curious to find out if she told them I was Catholic and if they felt bad for the things that they said. Should I have spoken out only to create tension at her party? Or did I do the right thing by letting it go?

[/quote]

You did what I would have done. It's her party and her choices. Something important to you was insulted, so you moved on. If they were at your house, you would have told them to take a hike.

In the future, I would be hesitant to go to your neighbor's party again.


#3

You choice of words "fought back" almost answers the question itself. You did the right thing, by everyone, by not fighting.


#4

If I would hear that from old non-denominational friends and then just after converting to Catholicism, I would probably have this really awkward smile on my face and then not be able to say anything because they just made it really awkward that it's not even funny.

After you left, I don't think your neighbor would have said anything. There's a possibility, but I think she might have just let it go. If it bothers you, then just ask her when you see her the next time. If it made it really awkward for her to be in that situation, she might have told them "Hey, you know, she's Catholic." I bet your old friends would've have been so embarrassed right after trashing your religion right in front of you. Maybe she spared them from that embarrassment and just walked away herself.

If you see your old friends, I would just tell them that you're Catholic and to keep their comments to themselves when they're around you. However, put it nicely so they don't think you're trying to start drama.


#5

Boy it's tempting on that one to let them have it...but you did the right thing..

You didn't ruin your neighbor's party...and if and when they find out you are now Catholic, I would think it would be a bit embarassing for them.

I doubt I could of taken the high ground you did. I would of said..I'm Catholic now..let's all discuss something else besides religion.

stormy


#6

I say good on you for not retaliating to their attack. I'd consider it a sort of "turn the other cheek" sort of thing.

Not exactly an easy sort of situation to be in, but then that's part of being a Catholic! I don't think you did anything wrong by not responding to their attacks. After all, Jesus did the same thing at the cross.


#7

This time you took the high road. Good for you for not stepping in the pile they created. However, if this occurs again, they may need to be put straight. In any case I think I would decline any invitation that they have accepted.


#8

[quote="lizferg, post:1, topic:204282"]
Just went to a cookout in my neighborhood. I encountered some aquaintences from my old non-denominational church, exchanged pleasantries and laughed about our connection to my neighbor. Small world.
Anyway, before I could even tell them where I was going to church now, they started bashing Catholics like crazy! They had been trying to get my neighbor to visit their church and was explaining that it was a church for people who hate church, etc.. Saying things like, "the Catholic church has more money than the mob" and so on. I could tell my neighbor was in an awkward position, because she knew of my conversion to the Catholic faith, but didn't say anything. I'm sure she didn't quite know what to do. I just calmly smiled and left to get a drink, and then eventually thanked her for the invite and I had to get home (which, I really did have to go home). I'm so curious to find out if she told them I was Catholic and if they felt bad for the things that they said. Should I have spoken out only to create tension at her party? Or did I do the right thing by letting it go?

[/quote]

she should have spoken out as the hostess when a guest was under direct attack, merely by saying, "You know Liz is Catholic, right? and I don't allow my guests to attack each other's beliefs. You are welcome to stay if you can cease and desist." You should have spoken up for the same reason, gratuitous attacks on a specific group of people, who may or may not have been present.

Ask yourself, had these people started attacking Jews, African Americans, or any other ethnic or religious group, or started malicious gossip about another neighbor who was not present, would you have allowed them to continue unchallenged? You used the word "retaliate" and that is not what I suggest, my word is challenge.


#9

Me, I probably would have said something like "Wow,look at the time. I need to go freshen up, there's a special mass for the 4th of July and you know us Catholics hate to be late for our services." Or something like that.


#10

[quote="PatriceA, post:9, topic:204282"]
Me, I probably would have said something like "Wow,look at the time. I need to go freshen up, there's a special mass for the 4th of July and you know us Catholics hate to be late for our services." Or something like that.

[/quote]

That's a really funny one!
Thanks all of you for the encouragement.

I left there shaking my head with a big smile on my face. I am pretty good friends with my neighbor and I know she was feeling awkward. This may have made her mind up on visiting their church after all. I'm sure it was a turn off.


#11

As they were rambling on about the evils of the Catholic Church, I woud've turned to my hostess and said something in a very light hearted manner such as, "Do you want to tell them I am Catholic.. or should I?" Big smile on my face so it's clear I'm not being hostile, but I want them to get the point. The more people who heard, the better because that's all the more embarassed THEY would've felt- and rightlyfully so. As Puzzleannie said - I seriously doubt they would've openly bashed another religious group in front of people they hardly knew, knowing it's rude & uncharitable.. SHAME on them for making an exception for the Catholic Church.

I am a fairly outspoken person though so that's what I would have done. I think the way you responded was fine too. I agree - it would've been rude to create a big fuss and spoil the party for your hostess so :thumbsup: for taking the high road.


#12

OP, you did the right thing. You might have had a word with the hostess, to assure her that she was doing the right thing by letting them go, that the strife wasn’t likely to lead to any good result. She was the only one who hadn’t already made her mind up about Catholics, and your graciousness made the argument for the Church just fine. Charity speaks for itself very well.


#13

Depending on your background and former opinions on the Catholic Church, it might have been fun to do this: At the first lull in the conversation/bashing, turn to the host and say "I used to think that way about catholicism too." Shrug, smile nicely, then "Excuse me a moment, I'm going to say hi to Nancy over there..."


#14

I guess I would have been sorely tempted (in response to the one about "the Catholic Church has more money than the mob") to have responded: "Oh? I didn't know that. How much does each of them have?"

Most of the time, Catholic bashers have no idea what they're talking about. They're just repeating things some preacher or other said.


#15

[quote="Ridgerunner, post:14, topic:204282"]
I guess I would have been sorely tempted (in response to the one about "the Catholic Church has more money than the mob") to have responded: "Oh? I didn't know that. How much does each of them have?"

Most of the time, Catholic bashers have no idea what they're talking about. They're just repeating things some preacher or other said.

[/quote]

I agree with all of this. Once, when an anti-Catholic co-worker told said, "The Kennedy's get all sorts of donations from the Catholic Church" I asked her where she got her information. She hemmed, she hawed and then I said, "Oh, take your time. But, since I'm Catholic myself, I'm really interested in knowing this. I'd really appreciate it if you could find me a donor list and the amounts." It shut her up and she never spoke ill of the Church (at least in front of me) again.


#16

[quote="EasterJoy, post:12, topic:204282"]
OP, you did the right thing. You might have had a word with the hostess, to assure her that she was doing the right thing by letting them go, that the strife wasn't likely to lead to any good result. She was the only one who hadn't already made her mind up about Catholics, and your graciousness made the argument for the Church just fine. Charity speaks for itself very well.

[/quote]

I really have to disagree about what constitutes true charity. A personal attack on oneself can be overlooked, not a gratuitous attack on an entire group, and how do you know there were not other CAtholics around who were also offended? I repeat, how would you react if the victims of this attack were a group to which you do not belong? Let it go?


#17

My friends don't speak ill of the Church in front of me. They know to do so will be to ring a bell and Call Round 1. Unfortunately, I have a soldier who is in Iraq who I have love just like he were one of my own kids. (I used to call the med section my family - and me grandma - yeah me a 31 year old grandma - justone of those military jokes that got started) but he was on Facebook and the jokes got raunchy and I warned him that the blasphemy had to stop or I was going to have to hide his news feed and we had several discussions. Long and short of it - his news feed is hidden - we communicate by messaging- but I don't need to expose any of my other friends to blasphemy. Especially on the level it was getting to.


#18

[quote="lizferg, post:1, topic:204282"]
Just went to a cookout in my neighborhood. I encountered some aquaintences from my old non-denominational church, exchanged pleasantries and laughed about our connection to my neighbor. Small world.

Anyway, before I could even tell them where I was going to church now, they started bashing Catholics like crazy! They had been trying to get my neighbor to visit their church and was explaining that it was a church for people who hate church, etc.. Saying things like, "the Catholic church has more money than the mob" and so on. I could tell my neighbor was in an awkward position, because she knew of my conversion to the Catholic faith, but didn't say anything. I'm sure she didn't quite know what to do. I just calmly smiled and left to get a drink, and then eventually thanked her for the invite and I had to get home (which, I really did have to go home). I'm so curious to find out if she told them I was Catholic and if they felt bad for the things that they said. Should I have spoken out only to create tension at her party? Or did I do the right thing by letting it go?

[/quote]

If they were that bad I would have walked out the door explaining on my way out that I was Catholic :shrug: Why is religious biggetry so tolerated today....I'll never understand?

When you sit there and don't respond or smile it's sort of like rejecting Christ....please don't be insulted but that's how I look at it. Good luck next time. ;)


#19

You did the right thing, you were a guest at the party, had you responded in kind to the attacks you would have been just as bad, just as ungracious and intolerant, as they were.

Had they made a reasonable objection to your faith, then maybe a response would have been warrented, as it was, it sounds like they were just attacking because they don't like the Church very much. You shook the dust from your sandals and moved on. That was the right thing to do.

If you run into one of them again it might be interesting to ask why they hate the Catholic Church so much, but as it was, there wasn't any other well mannered to handle the situation.


#20

[quote="puzzleannie, post:16, topic:204282"]
I really have to disagree about what constitutes true charity. A personal attack on oneself can be overlooked, not a gratuitous attack on an entire group, and how do you know there were not other CAtholics around who were also offended? I repeat, how would you react if the victims of this attack were a group to which you do not belong? Let it go?

[/quote]

What happened to "love your enemies, do good to those who mistreat you, turn the other cheek."????? (Jesus Christ quoted)

Fighting back will only give cause for them to have loaded guns in regards to Catholicism, by not seeing the serenity and peace inside the Catholic that may draw them at some point...."Wow, look at that Catholic's love."

How about "Hey, I'm Catholic, and I love you all."


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