What is our obligation?


DH’s aunt and three daughters are coming to visit from out of state in 2 months for 4 days. They are looking for a place to stay… and they have asked us if they could stay here! Are we obligated to open our home to these people?

A little background:
We bought our current home from this aunt and uncle… and basically they lied to us about a couple things when we bought the home. (Water probs in the basement, etc.) Second, they do not keep in contact with any of the family members except when they need something. (money, a place to stay, etc.) Thirdly, they have openly bashed my Catholic faith from the day I met DH and are very vocal about their “Christian” beliefs. DH has since become Catholic and he is on “my side” about everything, but we just don’t know what to say to these people.

DH thinks it is our responsibility to house them, plus he is afraid to say no, but I disagree and think we could tactfully let them know we are not comfortable with it.

Any thoughts? Am I being completely uncharitable??

Oh, and there are other family members they could stay with in the same city… namely DH’s other aunt and uncle so they wouldn’t necessarily be out in the cold. I feel awful, but I really, really, kicking-and-screaming-on-the-floor don’t want them to stay with us. :o


I’m going to be mean, here, sorry. :o

Can they stay in the problematic basement? :smiley: Or have you already fixed the water issue?

Okay, in all seriousness. Did you invite them to come into town, or did they decide to come on their own? I don’t think you are obligated to give them a place to stay, but it sure would show them Catholic charity (especially if they know how you feel about it).

Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful, Saved.


If it is only for 4 days - maybe for your husbands sake if he wants them to stay let them stay. That is of course depending on how badly they have treated you in the past with regards to the house and your Catholic faith. If you feel it was too bad, then you should speak to your husband about that. Tell him how hurt you were and he should respect this and not let them stay. As long as they will definately leave after 4 days, if it will result in a disagreement between you and your husband - well for the sake of 4 days (and for peace) let them stay.:slight_smile:


I have two opposing thoughts.

  1. You don’t have to have them stay with you bow out gracefully

  2. What a chance to witness to your faith.

I would be tempted to make ground rules of no talk on religion.

Hey I just did this on a long trip with my very anti-catholic daughter in law. I didn’t outlaw religion just politics and when anyone would bring it up I would just say that is politics and we aren’t discussing it. We didn’t either oops there was the one time but I got us back on track quickly.

Good luck on what ever you decide. You are between a rock and hard place. Your husbands wishes should be a big consideration. You should come to a mutual plan.


Not unless they are paying some portion of the mortgage for you.

Oh, and there are other family members they could stay with in the same city… namely DH’s other aunt and uncle so they wouldn’t necessarily be out in the cold. I feel awful, but I really, really, kicking-and-screaming-on-the-floor don’t want them to stay with us. :o

Well, then, don’t. Tell them your fiddledebee is in for repairs just now, and the jabberwock is obnoxiously flimming on the jim-jam no matter how hard you zimmerflip the darned thing, so, sorry, but it’s just rather inconvenient, at the moment - a repair man is expected daily, but you know how backed up these people are, and in the meantime, the pieces are all over the guest room ceiling. :shrug:



Very funny!

It has been my experience that you never offer an explanation because they’ll always try to argue why it doesn’t apply. If you don’t give an excuse, they don’t have anything to argue against.

When they say they are coming into town, you can say that you are sorry they won’t be able to stay with you but you’d be happy to look up local hotels for them if they need them.


never complain, never explain (HankII)
Aunt May, I think it is wonderful you will be visiting Hooterville. Where will you be staying? We’d love to get together some evening for dinner, or meet for breakfast at Denny’s one day.



That is great advice for talking to another polite person. It is the same advice I gave. What do you do when the other person isn’t so polite? A response of hurt, anger, dismay, or even of pointed questions can be difficult to deflect when coming from close family.

My husband has the hardest time with pointed questions. His mother would ask him what he’s doing, what the room is being used for, if we plan to be in town, if there is something wrong with the guest room, and if he doesn’t want to see her. He feels obligated to answer to not hurt her feelings and get her angry, so he mumbles his way through. Then she says something like “Oh, Mary must be in the room. I know this is her idea. I understand that your jailer doesn’t allow you to spend time with your own mother…” It doesn’t matter how many times he says no, she is wrong. She knows she is wrong and is just trying to manipulate him. It works, too. I haven’t been able to come up with a good way to stop the conversation from going from the polite planned out line to that. Have you?


If they insist on staying over, you also have the right to continue living your life - around them, if necessary. We’ve done that - it wasn’t intentional, but when my nephew came to stay over unexpectedly, we just kept going with our normal lives. We included him in as much as possible, but we were both working at the time, and he was left on his own quite a bit.

Nowadays, he gets a motel room and arranges his own entertainment - and we didn’t actually mean for that to happen, but it’s kind of good that it did.


You’re not obligated, but it’s a chance to offer hospitality and live charity. —KCT


just keep repeating the mantra:
It will not be possible for us to have any guests at this time.
blah blah blah from the other person,
I am sorry Aunt May, it simply is not possible for us to entertain guests at this time.
you have no obligation whatever to give any reasons for what you choose to do in your own house.
If you have to say the mantra 20 times, just keep saying it, although you should end the conversation before you get to that point.
when the hysteria and abuse start:
Well Aunt May, I’ll let you go now, goodbye, and let us know where you will be staying. Click.


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.