Son & family now attend Presby of America church


#1

My 36 year old son, his 35 year old convert-wife (used to be baptist) and their 3 kids, two of which have received communion, are now going to a Presbyterian of America church.

Our last two parish priests have been from India and Nigeria and our son and his wife say that they get nothing out of mass because they can’t understand their broken english and they don’t want to take their kids to a church that their kids also get nothing out of.

In defense of our son, he argues that our church, like the majority of Catholic churches, does jack squat to make his 5 yr old, 7 yr old an 12 year old want to attend church. On this issue, I must agree with him. Aside from CCE, our church doesn’t have a program for the younger kids. We have a junior youth group, but that doesn’t start until 7th grade.

Since our son’s wife grew up Baptist, she has a totally different experience of what church is for young children and she does not like what our church provides, which is not much.

I’ve reminded our son that when the parents and godparents promised at baptism to raise the children in the faith, it is the Catholic faith.

So, any thoughts on how to deal with this tough issue? Recently I asked our 11 yr. old grandaughter if she gave up anything for Lent, she told me that her parents said that it was none of my business. I felt like introducing her to a bar of soap at that point, but I waited and talked to our son, and as I suspected, they told her that where they go to church is no ones business, so she was just repeating what her dad said to her.

BTW, her mother was livid that I would ask my grandaughter that question.

I asked my son if he would like to receive Annointing of the Sick should he be near death and he said YES. Apparently he wants to have one foot in the Catholic circle and one in the Protestant circle to make his wife happy.

Also, he said that me and my wife can take the kids to mass on Saturday nights, but not too often.

I feel bad for my son because he used to be a devout Catholic and an altar boy and I know what is driving this snd it is tearing him up.


#2

I’m sorry to hear that. Hopefully, they’ll come to realize that they’re missing out on the Eucharist, Jesus Christ Himself. Pray. Answer questions when asked. Pray. Never give up hope for their return.


#3

Perhaps she just doesn’t know that this is about as normal a question as what did you do in school today for Catholics?

Anyway, I feel for you.

When the people themselves ask questions like this, I suggest they try to start something up. Why do people always expect to be provided with what they want instead of trying to start it?

And at those ages, the Church realizes that a lot of the foundational catechesis is from the parents.

For example, maybe the children don’t understand what is happening in the Mass and so feel bored? It is important that parents teach their children about Mass and the prayers that are said in Mass so the children can join in!

But if the children hear complaints about the Mass, the parish, or the pastor, they will be turned off.

And finally, we are at Mass to visit Christ, not to be entertained by the priest. Yes, it’s nice to have an invigorating homily, but that is not what we are there for.


#4

Reminds me of my best friends view of the Church, she claims it’s too boring now after being raised Catholic, and would prefer the more lively musical non-denominational church near her house where she “understands the bible better and has a more lively connection for her faith.” I admit I could pray for her more to try to help this situation, but beyond that my efforts have been to no avail. I have even tried teaching her apologetics of how to better understand the Mass service or the Bible contexts, etc. Keep praying and using a gentle approach. I love Scott Hanhs books to help me answer my friends questions when she comes to me (she has). Hope this helps some


#5

I can see that you are upset with your granddaughter’s response to you, but, what we give up for Lent is private. We’re not to go around telling people what we gave up - defeats the purpose. Praying for your situation.


#6

It’s pretty clear your son loves his wife a lot. And that she’s the leader in their family when it comes to faith. If you push too hard you will lose him because they are now one since they are married.
Take the offer he gives you, to take the kids to Church on Saturdays but not too often and don’t be the boogey man for their family.
Pray for your daughter in law conversion but in private. Make her see that you respect the rules of their family and you’re not trying to snitch the kids to Church or impose yourself by your authority in their family. She sounds strong minded and you are not in advantage in this situation.


#7

Is there a lot of conflict among you beside the religion point?

I might be making a mountain out of a molehill here, but I found it startling that you wanted to wash your granddaughters mouth out with soap for saying what her parents told her (obedience to parents is a commandment, after all).
Or maybe you were just using hyperbole and in which case, nemmind. :slightly_smiling_face:

But in any rate, drop it for now. When you’re talking to them. You know and I know that Mass isn’t for entertainment, it’s for communing with the Almighty Creator of the universe, but it’s a hard thing for kiddos to understand, and your daughter in law grew up with different customs.

So, pray for them, novenas maybe, or have Masses said.
Don’t pry into their family life, which is easier said than done.
Be the gentle and loving presence in the lives of your family.
After some time has passed, then you can gently introduce the concept of Church again (“I saw so-and-so at Mass today, and they said to tell you ‘hi’”). If they say “ew, yuck, Mass”. Then shrug and drop it and try later.

So anyway, best of luck and I’ll remember you all in my prayers.
:pray:t2:


#8

In very sorry that your daughter in law is doing this!

I’ll pray that she realizes the truth that Mother Church is the only way!


#9

I’m sorry that your daughter-in-law is apparently hostile to Catholicism. I suspect there is a lot more driving this than just the priests speaking in “broken English”. On that point, I’d note that in USA, there are a lot of people including in the professional workplace speaking English as a second language and it’s helpful to make the effort to understand such people rather than just complaining, but like I said, I don’t think that’s the main problem your DIL is having. As for “making kids want to attend church”, I doubt they are all that jazzed about whatever the Presbyterians are doing either. Church is church and there are very few children short of little saints who get excited about spending their Sunday or weekday at the church when they could be home looking at Youtubes or playing video games or soccer or whatever.

Just keep the door open for your son to practice his Catholicism as much as he can in this difficult situation, and take the kids to Mass when you can, and pray a lot.

On the “giving up for Lent” question, I tend to agree that it’s a question that shouldn’t be asked of either a child or an adult. We each choose our own way to observe Lent; some of us don’t “give up” things, and I personally find the chitchat about “giving up for Lent” or “Lenten resolutions” to be a bit intrusive given that we are not supposed to be running around announcing what we do. Having said that, I suspect the girl’s reaction came due to her mother’s hostility to Catholicism more than any desire for privacy. So another reason to avoid those types of questions is that it puts the kid on the spot between you and her mom.


#10

D[quote=“Annie, post:3, topic:541398”]
And finally, we are at Mass to visit Christ, not to be entertained by the priest. Yes, it’s nice to have an invigorating homily, but that is not what we are there for.
[/quote]

Thanks Annie,

No real conflict at all. We help them out a lot by watching their kids and picking them up from school every once in a while. We take the kids swimming and golfing & we attend their sporting events. They are over our house once or twice a week. We invite them for impromptu dinners all the time.

Back to your question, many times I’ve told folks, including my children, that the priest isn’t there to entertain you and that a homily is only one part of the mass. If you want to hear preaching, watch TV and scan the channels until you find somebody that’s entertaining & asks for a donation, but that’s not what our Catholic faith is.

30 years ago my wife and I were in a Catholic bible study/prayer group. We found great fulfillment in it, but we left when some of the people started talking about breaking off from the church and going to live together on a ranch somewhere & just love the Lord. That is a good way to get a cult started, so we left the prayer group. From that experience, I can fully understand that when some people leave the church for what they think is a more comfortable environment, it gives you worldly pleasure, but not Catholic sacramental fulfillment.

Our family thought that the interfaith thing was resolved when our DIL, who is a good mom, converted shortly after marriage and their three children were baptized into the Catholic faith as infants.

A similar issue came up about 15 years ago in our family. Our oldest son was dating a girl that was a member of the Church of the Nazarene. She said that she could never convert to Catholicism because it would kill her mother. She had our son go to a couple of Lutheran services with her and she said that she thought her mother might be OK with her becoming Lutheran. They went their separate ways shortly thereafter.

Thanks to all that have replied to my post so far.


#11

It’s rough to see our children making mistakes, and I’m sorry I ranted a bit in my answer last night, but want to add, sometimes all we can do pray for them.


#12

Hi Dlee,

Normally, I would agree with you along the lines of praying in one’s prayer closet and not making a big scene about it.

But as another said in this thread, it’s pretty normal to ask what was given up for Lent. We’ve done it in my family for many years. This is to make sure that we don’t have a chocolate pie for dessert when the kids are giving up chocolate for lent.

In this situation, our other grandkids from our daughter‘s family were present and as hard as it might seem to believe, my wife makes pancakes with tiny M&Ms in them. When she was starting to make the pancakes our daughters grandkids said not to put the M&Ms in because they gave up chocolate for Lent. That’s what prompted me to ask our other granddaughter what she had given up for Lent.

On a similar note, I met a doctor the other night when I took my wife to the ER for what we thought was a dislocated shoulder. It turns out that it was just a muscle problem. The doctor and I got to talking and she mentioned that she went to a Baptist University and always felt unwelcome being a Catholic there. I asked what church she goes to and she said that she is now a Methodist because her husband refused to become Catholic. She said that she really misses the Catholic faith and that she wishes that she could’ve raised her children Catholic. Another generation lost and another sad story. I guess we can thank the protestant reformation for some of our family troubles in this area.


#13

Hi Scarlett,

I can see how that would startle you. That was my instinct because that was what happened in my family when I was little and that’s how we did it raising our kids. It only took one bar of soap to teach the children that lying or being disrespectful was not acceptable.

I can guarantee you this, none of our four grown children would have ever considered saying something like that to any adult, a parent or grandparent. They would think that if they said that, their life would be forfeit.

I volunteered coaching youth sports for over 20 years in the 80’s and 90’s and I saw an obvious decline in respect for adults from lots of kids. I have a friend that is in Japan for a few years and he has told me that the respect for adults and especially the elderly is readily apparent. I don’t see the respect for adults in our country very often anymore.

Thanks for your thoughts and please pray for our family.


#14

Seems to me it’s your son who does jack squat when it comes to his children’s faith formation and mass attendance.


#15

I will say a prayer for your son, his wife, and their children when I am in Church for the Stations of the Cross this afternoon. My twin sister, who was raised Catholic, attends only a Baptist Church with her husband (who is a very nice man). I understand your worry for the souls of people you love!

As for advice, I have some to share, and you can decide if it fits your family. In keeping with the thought that it is better to not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, my daughter will be taught that any sacrifices she makes for Lent (outside of the standard fasting and abstaining) should be between her and God. Is there any chance that this could be the reason for your granddaughter’s response? Also, I had the same reaction to the comment about washing your granddaughter’s mouth out with soap that @0Scarlett_nidiyilii did. Your granddaughter should certainly have answered more respectfully, but it is not really your place as a grandparent to discipline your son’s children. Your daughter-in-law (and possibly, your son) is sure to view it as an overstep on your part and that kind of thing could drive a wedge in your relationship with her. That in turn might make your ultimate goal of a return to the Church that much harder.

You obviously care very much about your family and they will certainly benefit from your prayers and any loving example you can set.


#16

It’s not an impolite question, but let’s be honest: your son isn’t raising your granddaughter in the faith. What did you think she’d say? Did you think that she was giving something up, or did you suspect she wasn’t (and therefore, you were prompting her to publicly say that her cousin is doing something good that she’s not doing)? That’s a difficult position to put a child in, don’t you think?

It might’ve been an innocent question, but it may have not been the best choice.

Hmm… so, Catholic kids choose non-Catholic spouses… and it’s the Reformation’s fault? :thinking:


#17

Quite frankly, I think you need to stay out of your son’s marriage. This isn’t a matter of salvation. The Presbyterian Church is Christian, your grandkids will receive a Trinitarian baptism (if they haven’t been baptized already), and will be instructed in Christian doctrine. It is not your place to come between your son and his wife.


#18

I can’t rebutt your statement. At least not on the Catholic faith issue.

What’s befuddling is that the older two have received communion and attended CCE classes up until last fall. Something has happened, but our son won’t talk to me and my wife. I’ve found in life that when people won’t talk about something, it is because they are embarrased or can’t defend their position.


#19

Actually, it really is a personal thing what one chooses as Lenten Penance. Granted, she should have responded politely “I would like to keep that between me and God, grandma”.

Maybe for Easter buy your son and his family a year’s subscription to Formed.org


#20

I think honoring your father and mother means also honoring their fathers and mothers. And I know that if I had told my grandmother that something was “none of your business,” I wouldn’t have had to worry about my grandmother acquainting me with a bar of soap. My mother would have handled that transgression on the spot. I guess parenting is “different” now.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.