Should I say something, or let it go?


#1

I am a convert to the Catholic faith. I was raised in a primarily Southern Baptist home but in college I became Catholic. That was almost 10 years ago. My parents were skeptical then but my mom told me then that she was okay with it because she "knew I was saved." I honestly think they thought it was just a phase I was going through and would eventually return to the baptist church.

Now I think my parents have pretty much figured out that it isn't a phase. My husband and I were married in the church 7 years ago and we attend mass as often as possible. My parents know that I will be in mass on Saturday night or Sunday morning, unless something beyond our control prevents it. They have asked enough questions that they know all of the myths they have heard about Catholics are not true (no we don't worship Mary - yes we believe Jesus is the Son of God - etc.) I think they have finally come to respect the fact that I am Catholic and have no intentions or desires to be baptist any more.

Here is the problem - and maybe it isn't a huge problem, but I find it troubling nonetheless.

Anytime there is something special going on at their church, they invite us to attend. Usually, if it doesn't conflict with work or something going on at our parish, we try to go with them when we are invited. Sometimes it's because it is something we actually do find interesting (like the time my Dad spoke about a trip he had recently made to Bulgaria to help put a roof on an orphanage), and sometimes (less often) it's just because we have nothing better to do at that time and go just because it's my parents and they asked (like the time we went to a special singing/fellowship thing they did with another church).

They aren't overbearing about it, and they don't insist that we go with them. They never invite us to something that they already know is a conflict (like they never invite us on a Sunday morning). But when we try to extend the same type of invitations, they NEVER go with us. Sometimes they truly do have other plans and I understand that...but sometimes they just "don't want to." Okay, that's fine. They don't have to accept our invitations. It bothers me some, but I try not to let it bother me a great deal. They are not Catholic so I can't really be upset with them for not wanting to go with us.

What bothers me is, I know that if I rejected their invitations as often as they reject ours (i.e. every time), they would be offended. Yet they don't see that it bothers me. Take this Christmas for example. Earlier in the week, they said they wanted to get together with just us and my brother and his girlfriend on Christmas Eve and spend the evening together. They wanted us all to go to their Christmas Eve service and then go to their house for festivities. When my Dad and I had this discussion, I said "and you can go to Midnight Mass with us too." He said "sure, we'll do it all."

Well I didn't see the harm in going to their service, so we did. All they did was sing a few songs, light some candles (that they never explained the significance of) and read the story of the Nativity from Luke's Gospel. Then we went to their house and had a good time but about an hour or so before we needed to leave for mass, several things were suggested that I replied with "I don't know that we have time to do that before church." At one point my dad even asked what time it started (at our parish, "midnight" mass is at 10pm), and I told him. Since the evidence was building that they had no intentions of going, but weren't going to come right and and say no, my husband blatantly asked. "Are you going with us?" My mom, who was closest to him at the moment, pretended not to hear his question. She was standing right in front of him and it was not too noisy for her to hear him, so I find it difficult to believe that she didn't. Of course you can all pretty well guess whether they went with us or not.

Since then nothing has been mentioned, but I am to the point where I definitely feel slighted. I have no desire to make a big deal out of this. Sure I would like for them to go with us on occasion, but I understand there may be conflicts where they can't. What upsets me is that they want us to go with them for special occasions, but are unwilling to do the same for us. Should I just let it go and try not to be offended? Should I refuse to attend any further special activities at their church? If I do that, I have no problem explaining why when I am asked, but I don't know if I should even be letting this bother me.


#2

I simply would address the issue, "Mom and Dad, since I converted 10 years ago I have been very open to going to church with you. You haven't reciprocated, ever. Is there something I'm doing that I can help fix? Would you like to know about the Mass before you go?"

If not, write a letter to that accord.

And, I'd stop going to their church so frequently. Once a year. You may be giving them the false impression you'll return.


#3

[quote="SeaShoreGirl, post:2, topic:224250"]
And, I'd stop going to their church so frequently. Once a year. You may be giving them the false impression you'll return.

[/quote]

We actually don't go with them that often...I think we went 1 time last year. This year was unusual due to the 2 special services where my parents discussed the mission trips they had been on. We have never been there for anything "normal."

As for giving them the impression we might return....the church they attend now is not the same one they attended when I was baptist. I have not been back to that church since 2001. If we did join their church now (and we will NOT), it would be totally new - not a return.

All that said, my husband and I have discussed things and refusing to go with them AT ALL was a possibility we are seriously considering. Not even once a year. My parents are not the kind of people I can go to and say "this has been bothering me for a while" and discuss it with them. Doing that would certainly turn the situation into some huge ordeal because they would make it into one. The more subtle approach is better in my family.....if I refuse to go to anything at their church, they WILL ask me why. That will give me the opportunity to tell them why, without making it a massive family controversy. I just don't know if I should, because I can't decide if this is really even an issue worth worrying about, or if I'm simply making it bigger than it is.


#4

I think it depends upon what you are inviting them to that they turn down. I can understand them not going to the midnight mass, despite the fact that you attended their Christmas service. Noncatholics attending our mass can be very intimidated. You grew up though with the services at their church, yes? You would be familiar with the beliefs and the events that take place during their services. Did you mention if you had children yet? If your parents were turning down events at your parish that were similar to the talk your dad gave, or the fellowship/singing concert or a play or something that your children were involved in, then it would be a bigger issue if it was me and maybe something I would have to explain to my parents how I was feeling. If it was me, I'd be open to accepting their invitations from now on that doesn't evolve around their actual church service, more the neutral type event and extend the invites to them similarly. But I would refrain from extending any invites to mass and decline similarly when they invite you to their services. I wouldn't push it any further than that.


#5

I was raised in the Conference Baptist denomination, so I know a little bit about Baptists.

Is your parents' Baptist denomination one of the separatist denominations? If it is, they will not even attend services at another Protestant church.

I realize that nowadays, separatist denominations are hard to find, as the trend is towards working together as Christians. Chuck Colson wrote a great book called *Being the Body *in which he calls out for Christians to work together to fight evil and advance the Kingdom of Christ. This book describes the group "Evangelicals and Catholics Together," and many dozens of prominent and respected Protestant leaders signed the ECT document, but there were also many prominent and respected Protestants leaders who REFUSED to sign it. So separatism is still around, and perhaps your parents belong to such a church.

I'm sure you already know this, but it's worth remembering. You can bet cash that everytime you attend something at your parents' church, they have many of their friends and fellow church members praying for you and your husband, that you will renounce the false cult of Catholicism and return to the true church of Jesus (their church).

My feeling about this is that you should just continue to attend your parents' church whenever you can, and continue to invite them to your church. Last year, out of the blue, my parents in law started attending a Catholic Bible study with me and my husband, and they've attended several Catholic conferences with us. My father in law even attended the daytime Catholic Bible study on his own, without me or my husband (it was about the Book of Revelation). They have done a complete about-face when it comes to Catholicism. I think it has to do with the way we live our lives--we are obviously devoted to Jesus Christ and do many good works among our family that demonstrate that our faith is real.

And now my very anti-Catholic sister-in-law has several times expressed interest in attending Mass "just out of curiosity." So far it hasn't worked out (she has small children at home, and so schedules are often complicated). But I'm sure eventually it will work out.

So hang in there and be patient and reasonable. I wouldn't make any kind of issue out of it. If you do, it will come back to haunt you--your parents will use it as evidence that you are hostile towards them and their church. Don't go there. Just be patient and prayerful and and very, very gentle and reasonable.


#6

If it helps you, your family, etc to attend Baptist events, I'd suggest that you continue to go.

I'd lay off any more attempts at having them attend Mass. They don't want to and it is what it is, and I'd try to accept that one sided relationship.

To be nice, I attend services with a lady I know who attends a protestant denomination. At the same time, she absolutely refuses to attend Mass while visiting me. It is what it is. I don't always get what I want :)


#7

[quote="Cat, post:5, topic:224250"]
Is your parents' Baptist denomination one of the separatist denominations? If it is, they will not even attend services at another Protestant church.

[/quote]

No, the Southern Baptists are not separatists. Individuals may choose to be, but on the whole, separatism is not something they typically practice.

[quote="Cat, post:5, topic:224250"]
I'm sure you already know this, but it's worth remembering. You can bet cash that everytime you attend something at your parents' church, they have many of their friends and fellow church members praying for you and your husband, that you will renounce the false cult of Catholicism and return to the true church of Jesus (their church).

[/quote]

Oh I have no doubt of that. I've never heard anyone there say anything negative, but I also find it odd that we have never once been asked whether we attend church anywhere else, or where we go. In my past experience, that is usually the 1st question "new" people are asked. Now it could be that since we are always introduced as my parents' daughter and son-in-law that people make assumptions...but I find it odd just the same.

[quote="Cat, post:5, topic:224250"]
My feeling about this is that you should just continue to attend your parents' church whenever you can, and continue to invite them to your church. Last year, out of the blue, my parents in law started attending a Catholic Bible study with me and my husband, and they've attended several Catholic conferences with us. My father in law even attended the daytime Catholic Bible study on his own, without me or my husband (it was about the Book of Revelation). They have done a complete about-face when it comes to Catholicism. I think it has to do with the way we live our lives--we are obviously devoted to Jesus Christ and do many good works among our family that demonstrate that our faith is real.

And now my very anti-Catholic sister-in-law has several times expressed interest in attending Mass "just out of curiosity." So far it hasn't worked out (she has small children at home, and so schedules are often complicated). But I'm sure eventually it will work out.

So hang in there and be patient and reasonable. I wouldn't make any kind of issue out of it. If you do, it will come back to haunt you--your parents will use it as evidence that you are hostile towards them and their church. Don't go there. Just be patient and prayerful and and very, very gentle and reasonable.

[/quote]

I've thought about that too. Like I said, I don't want to turn this into a major controversy in my family....it's just bothersome to me.


#8

[quote="PatriceA, post:4, topic:224250"]
I think it depends upon what you are inviting them to that they turn down. I can understand them not going to the midnight mass, despite the fact that you attended their Christmas service. Noncatholics attending our mass can be very intimidated. You grew up though with the services at their church, yes? You would be familiar with the beliefs and the events that take place during their services. Did you mention if you had children yet? If your parents were turning down events at your parish that were similar to the talk your dad gave, or the fellowship/singing concert or a play or something that your children were involved in, then it would be a bigger issue if it was me and maybe something I would have to explain to my parents how I was feeling. If it was me, I'd be open to accepting their invitations from now on that doesn't evolve around their actual church service, more the neutral type event and extend the invites to them similarly. But I would refrain from extending any invites to mass and decline similarly when they invite you to their services. I wouldn't push it any further than that.

[/quote]

We don't have children yet. If we did, they might come to things the children were in - I honestly don't know for sure. I guess I can see how Mass might be a bit intimidating..but it wouldn't be the first time. We had a full Mass at our wedding and my mom said she used to go to Mass with a friend of hers in high school on occasion. The thing that bothers me I guess is that when something gets mentioned way in advance, they actually act like they might be interested...they will say "maybe" or "let me make sure we don't already have plans that day" or something similar which leads me to believe they are actually considering going with us. But when the time comes, they pretend it's the first they've heard about it - or as in the case with Christmas this year, they pretend not to hear at all."


#9

I think they are honestly trying not to hurt your feelings, but they don't feel comfortable in a Catholic Church. Maybe part of it is knowing how hostile many Baptists are toward our faith, and feeling a little guilty because they love you, they know you are not a pagan, and they are having trouble reconciling the Baptist doctrine (whore of Babylon and all that) with their knowledge of and love for their daughter and her family. So they pretend like they want to go, and then lose their nerve at the last minute. Or maybe they DO want to go but just lose their nerve when it comes time to actually go.

They'd probably faint if they came to my church. We have a HUGE corpus, it dominates the altar, it's WAY out of proportion IMO but our Pastor wanted it so...Maybe to keep the Baptists away, who knows? :) Although he says he's totally inter-denominational...that corpus is like garlic to vampires (not saying Baptists are anything like vampires, but really, the death of Christ is totally in your face).

I would let it go, and either stop inviting them, or let go of any and all expectations that if you invite them, they are going to come. I have kept inviting my 17 year old son back to Mass, he quit going when he started going with his unchurched/atheist girlfriend. Then they had relations and I'm sure he felt guilty (of course he would, they SINNED - ahem...). He went on Christmas Eve for the first time in probably close to a year. But I stopped asking him because I realized that if he hasn't confessed those sins, and takes the Eucharist, I'm helping him sin on top of his unconfessed sins. What if your parents did come with you, but stood up to take the Eucharist? talk about awkward!!!

Pray for them. Do what you can feel comfortable with and not resent. Baptists really struggle with understanding our church and our faith in general. They are the MOST Protest-ant of denominations, I think. Some families actually might have shunned you, you know...lost to the pagans...:rolleyes:


#10

My unqualified opinions:

[quote="gaits, post:1, topic:224250"]
What upsets me is that they want us to go with them for special occasions, but are unwilling to do the same for us.

[/quote]

What kind of special occasions do you invite them to?

Should I refuse to attend any further special activities at their church?

Maybe you could continue to support your parents in any kind of charitable (but not missionary) activity.

If I do that, I have no problem explaining why when I am asked, but I don't know if I should even be letting this bother me.

Of course it should bother you. They want you Baptist and you want them Catholic. From their pov, they have the added sadness that you are rejecting them.

I know it's gonna kill me if that ever happens w/ one of my kids.


#11

[quote="gaits, post:3, topic:224250"]
We actually don't go with them that often...I think we went 1 time last year. This year was unusual due to the 2 special services where my parents discussed the mission trips they had been on. We have never been there for anything "normal."

As for giving them the impression we might return....the church they attend now is not the same one they attended when I was baptist. I have not been back to that church since 2001. If we did join their church now (and we will NOT), it would be totally new - not a return.

All that said, my husband and I have discussed things and refusing to go with them AT ALL was a possibility we are seriously considering. Not even once a year. My parents are not the kind of people I can go to and say "this has been bothering me for a while" and discuss it with them. Doing that would certainly turn the situation into some huge ordeal because they would make it into one. The more subtle approach is better in my family.....if I refuse to go to anything at their church, they WILL ask me why. That will give me the opportunity to tell them why, without making it a massive family controversy. I just don't know if I should, because I can't decide if this is really even an issue worth worrying about, or if I'm simply making it bigger than it is.

[/quote]

Quite frankly if you cannot talk to them you shouldnt of titled the thread that way. If its fair or not is a different story...but i promise manipulation will only hurt matters


#12

Well sure I would love it if they decided to become Catholic, but I don't push that. I don't spend my time trying to convince them they are wrong and I am right. If they ask a question, I answer it and leave it at that. If we have a guest speaker I think they might find interesting, I invite them to that. I invite them to special services, like Christmas and Easter, because when I was growing up that was an important thing in our family - to attend church together. I don't ask them to go with us on Sunday because I know they will be at their own church on Sunday. If I were Methodist or Presbyterian and invited them to go with us on those occasions, they would go.

TheRealJuliane, not all Baptists have the same opinion of Catholics as what you suggest. Yes, there are some that do...plenty that do. And in the part of the country I live in, those types of attitudes are highly prevalent. But I was never taught any such thing growing up. In our churches (we moved to different homes a few times so there were several), Catholicism was never really mentioned. I heard more negative things about Catholics at school (public school) than I did in church.


#13

[quote="gaits, post:8, topic:224250"]
We don't have children yet. If we did, they might come to things the children were in - I honestly don't know for sure. I guess I can see how Mass might be a bit intimidating..but it wouldn't be the first time. We had a full Mass at our wedding and my mom said she used to go to Mass with a friend of hers in high school on occasion. The thing that bothers me I guess is that when something gets mentioned way in advance, they actually act like they might be interested...they will say "maybe" or "let me make sure we don't already have plans that day" or something similar which leads me to believe they are actually considering going with us. But when the time comes, they pretend it's the first they've heard about it - or as in the case with Christmas this year, they pretend not to hear at all."

[/quote]

Like Juliane said, it sounds like they are really trying to not hurt your feelings, and you are doing the same. If the rest of your relationship with your parents is on good terms, and this is the one sticky point you have with them, I'd let it go. Your parents sound like they are trying to support your Catholic faith the best way they know how. Don't get me wrong, they probably could handle it a bit better with being more upfront with telling you outright they are not comfortable accepting your invites, but it seems they are trying to the best of their limited abilities. Would saying something, even if it means the only way they would hear you is if you decline their invites, cause other damage to your relationship with them? I think you have to weigh the outcome of pushing the issue, if it would actually cause more hurt than to not saying anything at all.


#14

I would say something... as a Convert myself I invite my Baptist mother to everything. At one time in her life she was pretty anti-Catholic but has definitely changed over the years. However when she found we, my family and I, were converting about 4 years ago she was a little hesitant. I gave her books to read etc... and she read some of them but I could see the old ideas coming through so I just let it go.

That was about 3 years ago, since then she has come to Mass with us from time to time and attended special services for the boys... she asked me about starting RCIA just before Christmas.

It could be that your parents have some old anti-Catholic ideas but they see how fulfilled your life is with Christ and subconsciously desire that themselves. If they come to Mass with you guys it might cause them to question long held beliefs and they aren't prepared to do that.

If they resist when you say something, just let it go, I wouldn't go often but would go on special stuff if they ask and always remind them that you would appreciate them coming to Church with you guys as well sometime. It may take a few years but it may not... I believe Christ calls us to witness to others in the right thing to do, being with family is important if we have no other obligation.

Joe


#15

I would continue to go with them when they ask and when you feel like going, just to continue family closeness. Could it be they originally intended to go but then when push came to shove they just didn;t feel like it and were tired because of the late hour? Remember they had already been to church once. The fact that they said they would go indicates to me they are at least aware they are not reciprocating. If y u quit going to theirs you miss the chance to get them to come to your Catholic service and that seems important to you. Why not just let some time pass and ask again? But I wouldn't push or get upset with them. Next time you ask, you can say hey mom and dad I would love for you to come, it would mean a lot to me, but I wouldn't get mad if they say no,.


#16

Just another voice saying be patient with them. They love you and want what's best for you, even if they are a bit misguided.

One frank talk I would have with them however is what part they will have in the lives of their future grandchildren. They must know that they will be raised Catholic and you hope that you can count on them for their full support. If they were to undermine that, the children will not end up as Baptists as they might hope, but be of no substantial Christian faith. On this point, be rigidly inflexible.


#17

I was Baptist through highschool and college, and when a Baptist invites you to something at their church part of the reason is almost always that they hope you'll convert (or come back, if that's the case.) Even if they know the chances are slim, I'm sure your parents would prefer you were Baptist again and it is at least part of the reason why they continue to invite you to their church but refuse to go to yours.

90% of the friends my husband and I have are Baptist and we always get invitations to their church functions. They've told us that they don't think Catholics are saved or are even Christians at all, and were upset that I didn't draw my husband out of the Catholic church and into the Baptist church because I was Baptist when we met. The pressure gets pretty annoying sometimes. But, I used to think like them and I know everything they do they do because they care about us. If I were you, I would turn down most of their invitations they give you from now on (and all of them once kids come because the danger of their getting drawn out of the faith is too great to risk) but try not to make a big deal out of it. Just say that you appreciate their invitation, but you're happy living the fullness of faith you've found in the Catholic Church and don't feel comfortable continuing to go back to the Baptist church so often. Hopefully they will respect that and not give you too much trouble for it.


#18

[quote="gaits, post:1, topic:224250"]

Since then nothing has been mentioned, but I am to the point where I definitely feel slighted. I have no desire to make a big deal out of this. Sure I would like for them to go with us on occasion, but I understand there may be conflicts where they can't. What upsets me is that they want us to go with them for special occasions, but are unwilling to do the same for us. Should I just let it go and try not to be offended? Should I refuse to attend any further special activities at their church? If I do that, I have no problem explaining why when I am asked, but I don't know if I should even be letting this bother me.

[/quote]

Just let them be. It was a bad idea for them to promise they would go to Mass in the first place. They are probably wondering how to apologize. It's just awkward all the way around.


#19

[quote="lutherlic, post:16, topic:224250"]
Just another voice saying be patient with them. They love you and want what's best for you, even if they are a bit misguided.

One frank talk I would have with them however is what part they will have in the lives of their future grandchildren. They must know that they will be raised Catholic and you hope that you can count on them for their full support. If they were to undermine that, the children will not end up as Baptists as they might hope, but be of no substantial Christian faith. On this point, be rigidly inflexible.

[/quote]

Totally agree here, one has to be very careful that the grandparents do not undermine the parents' authority! They can do this very easily, by introducing doubt into their grandchild's mind. Please make sure your parents will not do this. It is highly, highly destructive.


#20

I won't say that you should let this go because it's evident from your post that you want to talk to them, but if I read correctly, your family is not one to discuss a great deal about personal feelings. Your parents must have realized how disappointed you were when you left for mass without them, and I think you rightly read your mother's ignoring the issue. They just don't sound like they are at a point where they can acknowledge that you are where you want and need to be. At some point an opening will arise where you can talk openly with them, because you sound like you are almost ready. God bless.


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