Strange Backlash against Conversion


#1

Let me start off by saying that even as a Protestant I tried not to bash the Catholic church. I enjoyed ecumencial debates, tried to learn what I could, and usually was the one standing up for the Catholic church when Protestants around me said horrible things. That said, it really hurts for the shoe to be on the other foot.

I am really hurting inside by the way my Protestant friends, family members, and even random strangers, are reacting to my conversion.

My parents told me they would be supportive of whatever choice I have made, but (my dad specifically) as the time got closer to Easter and now after, they are constantly debating me and telling me I am wrong. He gets angry that I have to go to Mass every week and said, “What, can’t you just say three Hail Mary’s and that’s good enough?” I enjoy open debate with him (and my sister), but the truth is that even as a Protestant our views were different. I just don’t understand why they allowed me to have “my opinion” as a protestant but as a Catholic they go out of their way to make fun of my church. I cannot get any of them to go to Mass with me, even my mom who says it is “beautiful.”

My best friend was also supportive until I took the leap at Easter. She has been making snide remarks. We used to talk about theology together a lot - now everything I say is just wrong. I feel part of this is that she has started going back to church - one that doesn’t like “organized religion.” But some of her remarks cut deep, except they are just typical protestant rhetoric that I had heard all my life (on the other side).

Then there are strangers I meet. I volunteer, and when other volunteers find out I converted to Catholicism, they shake their heads and “tsk” like it’s such a shame this nice little girl fell into that den of snakes.

I have been praying for a larger Catholic support group - I thought most converts had a support group, but it seems many on this forum are going it alone as well.

I guess the most hurtful thing is my family and roommate. It makes it so awkward to be with them, to have conversations stifled, and such. Sometimes I don’t even want to go home to visit or feel drained after seeing my parents.

Does anyone have any advice? Has anyone been through this - converting all alone?


#2

Oh, and it doesn't help that I'm so excited about my new faith, and all the things I am learning, and what it was that brought me here, that I want to talk about it but no one wants to hear it.


#3

I’ve not converted - I’m a cradle Catholic, but I know what it’s like to have people sneer or make remarks. I’ve been asked to justify how I could possibly reconcile my beliefs with those of the Church on many moral issues. Even amongst Catholics, I’m pretty traditional, so I can’t speak openly for fear of attack. I see people doing the wrong thing and justifying it with erroneous Catholicism, and I don’t see how I can speak up without being hated.

I’m very wishy washy sometimes.

That said, my parents are traditional Catholic and I do have a couple of friends that I can speak freely to (they’re my parents’ age, though). The rest of the time I don’t say anything unless asked. It’s pretty lonely sometimes, but it’s still the right path to follow. If it wasn’t hard, it probably wouldn’t be right. Right?

I’ve heard that many protestants think of the Catholic Church as the whore of Babylon - even Scott Hahn and Gerry Matatics were strongly against it before they started learning about it. These people who are giving you grief are probably truly concerned for you, so don’t be too upset by them. Remember where they are coming from, and pray for them.

These forums are really good for reading good solid Catholic opinion, and I like to listen to EWTN - some friendly voices and it gives me a real boost of fervour sometimes.


#4

By the way, I’d love to hear your conversion story. For some reason I really like hearing them.


#5

It would be cool for someone to start a threat of them - perhaps in the non-Catholic or apologetics forum.

I can PM you - will try to make it not too long.


#6

Welcome to the Church!
May God grant you continuing strength and perseverance,
and the support and companionship you wish for in the Church.


#7

Shelby,

I reverted back to the Catholic Church when I was 30. I left at a teen feeling like it was just ceremonial garbage. I returned after hearing Scott Hahn’s conversion tape and my desire to learn my faith exploded. My parents never left but never completely accepted all the Doctrines of the Church. When my wife and I stopped all forms of birth control and decided to be completely open to life, my parents attacked me and offered there support to my wife if she wanted to leave. It was painful. This was just one of the first disagreements I had with my parents. Over the years, I learned not to just accept that we would not agree, but to see these attacks as verification that we were on the right track.

The best advice I can give you is to locate those in your parish/community who are like minded. We found our support network through the NFP program and our teachers brought us into the homeschool/pro-life community in the diocese. We have moved since then but these people are still the source of great support. The other suggestion is to find a great apologetics program. Apart from Scott Hahn’s books, I also used John Martignoni’s talks on BibleChristianSociety.com. Just don’t expect to see conversions right before your eyes. You plant may plant the seed, but it will grow in God’s time.


#8

Hi Shelby-

Welcome!

I was raised Southern Baptist and converted a few years ago. Other than my husband I don’t know many people (in person) in my age group that believe anything even vaguely like we do (we joke about how we seem to fit in better with the 80+ crowd). My parents have been understanding and most of my college friends just act like it’s strange, but I haven’t gotten any really negative reactions, so I guess I’m lucky.

However, my excitement about everything I was learning meant that I wanted to talk about it a lot too (which wasn’t going over as well) which was why I started coming on CAF and then eventually started my blog. Through CAF and blogging and reading other Catholic blogs I’ve slowly “met” quite a few amazing people across the country and have gotten a lot of support in that way.


#9

Shelby-

I am a revert and a love our faith, too. My advice is to be unapologetic; not mean or holier-than-thou, just very, “This is who I am.”

I found this from Lamentations a few weeks ago and it has quickly become my mini-anthem: “Better for those who perish by the sword than for those who die of hunger, Who waste away, as though pierced through, lacking the fruits of the field!” (Lam 4:9)

I know that the Catholic Church is the fruit of the field. Welcome home!


#10

We must carry our cross daily. Being Catholic as you are finding is not always easy but their is hope and joy and the Eucharist! Not sure of any advice I can give except to hang in there and to pray.

Luke 23:26 And as they led him away, they laid hold of one Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country; and they laid the cross on him to carry after Jesus.

1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you: my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled: nor let it be afraid.

1 Cor 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast and unmoveable: always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

2 Cor 1:7 That our hope for you may be steadfast: knowing that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so shall you be also of the consolation.


#11

Hi Shelby2014,

I too am a convert, with a Protestant upbringing that was outright hateful toward Catholics. A very simple yet effective reply to my family’s attacks is “I trust that the Lord Jesus Christ will not lead me astray.” For some reason that seems to stop those conversations which are not bearing fruit. I am confident in my God and in my Church, this is evident to both my family and strangers because I have seen the power of Christ changing the hearts of a few friends and family members before my very own eyes. Let Him go first, and you keep following! God bless : )


#12

It’s just a general thing that happens when someone in a community does things differently to that of the community, or the circle of friends/family.

It is a strange thing indeed, but it happens - I guess to see how they do it, you might want to think of a friend of yours deciding to become a Satanist, or a friend who was once pro-life, becoming pro-choice. How would you deal with that then? Just a little test to see how you should deal with those criticizing you, can you take the hits? Some of it may seem small now, but maybe later they’ll get bigger.


#13

do not be afraid to defend our faith even to the ranks of our own. :smiley:

we are called to evangalise even our own


#14

Take a moment and reflect on your own behaviour and see if it has changed since Easter. Before Easter were you telling people this was the right church for you and now you are telling them it’s the right church period?

Are you sharing with them the correct interpretations of the Bible? Have you started telling them that what you are telling them must be right because the church is infallible?

Have you been focusing more on allegory and typology in your Scripture reading and finding all sorts of “proofs” for Catholic teaching in verses that you (and the)y used to accept for their literal meaning? Sudden, unexpected shifts like this worry people and give the impression that there is a “disconnect” occurring.

Phases like “I’m so glad I know the truth now” can sound like “Instead of that false stuff I believed before” to the people who believed it with you.This may not be what you intended to say at all, you may in fact believe that you knew truth before and now know more of it, or the fullness of truth, so you need to be careful how you express that thought.

Differences will arise in relationships where the people live different faiths. How those differences are expressed will have a huge impact on the relationship. Making it clear that you still love and respect them even if there are now differences of belief goes a long way to keeping those relationships strong.

Good luck :slight_smile:


#15

Shelby,

I hope that soon you will find some like-minded friends to be with. Although I am not a convert, but was born Catholic, when I wanted to become stronger in my faith there was opposition from some. I then joined a group at Church that was very supportive and inspiring to me.

The evil one tried very hard to discourage us.

I wish you the best, and the grace of the Lord to be your strength.

Remember that the Lord said “You will be hated because of me.” Put on the armor every day…it truly is a battle to put up with unkind remarks.

May the peace of the Lord be with you through this


#16

Shelby,

I can definitely relate! I converted last year. I have met some live Catholics through our church, but it took a while. I don’t expect any support from family or old Protestant friends. My own mother is pro-abortion, which is extremely painful for me. Plus she regularly makes snide and critical remarks about women not being allowed to be ministers in the Catholic Church.

When she makes these statements, I just quietly state the truth. She usually doesn’t respond. I know her pro-abortion comments have reduced in frequency. I think the fact that I don’t get all agitated and upset about it makes her less interested in pursuing her own emotionally-charged tirade. People who are anti-Catholic are usually that way because of their own psychological issues. It’s not about you. It’s really not even about the Catholic Church most of the time. So don’t take it personally! :wink: Enjoy the fellowship here, and enjoy talking to your family about the weather and the birds outside. And of course, pray for them!


#17

There may be some truth to this.

I have found that it can be difficult to discuss faith deeply even with many other catholics who seem uninterested in deepening their faith or being reminded that they are acting in an unchristian manner. (Not that I’m any tower of perfection.)

That being said, those who now seem ot oppose you more strongly may have been before on the premise that you’d “come around” and not convert to catholicism.

All you can really do is to work on your patience and humility. Pray for them and live your faith as best you can.

Peace
James


#18

Great advise here. Just stand quietly and assuredly and confidently by the teachings of the Church. Every one of them can be traced back to the Great “Law of Love”.
Nothing irritates a “fighter” more than your not rising to their bait. It forces them into the uncomfortable position of having to defend their position based soley on facts and not on emotion.

Peace
James


#19

It is possible they were hedging their bets that you wouldn’t convert. Or maybe they didn’t understand what it would mean for you to convert and it has come as a shock to them.

Think about some of the following:

  • you can no long share communion with them, which they may interpret to mean theirs isn’t “good enough” for you now

  • you now go to Confession, and simply praying to Jesus for forgiveness isn’t “good enough”

  • the theological views or teachings you may have shared are no longer “good enough” because they aren’t Catholic

For people who are used to changes between one Protestant denomination and another, where the differences can typically be bridged or set to one side as secondary, such an uncompromising approach, of which they weren’t aware before your conversion, may be very hard to accept.

As James says, patience is the key, and finding comon ground where you can do so.


#20

Know where you’re coming from. I am also a new convert at the Easter Vigil. We have also heard it preached in the protestant churches that the Catholic Church is the “whore church”. It is so sad that people just will not listen and do not want the fullness of the Faith. We even had a neighbor telll us that she didn’t know Catholics believed in Jesus. :confused: Not sure where she got that at. We just have to keep living our lives as a witness, love them, and pray for them. :blessyou:


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