What should I do when my non-denom in laws pray??


#1

I was wondering what everyone thought to do or if you experience what I do.

When my non-denominational in-laws pray over a meal or pray for someone or something in general. Is it wrong for me to do a “Sign of the Cross” before and after and pray to myself while they pray “In JEEEEEEEEEEEEESUS Name!” I’m from Ky, so that is not an exaggeration on how they say it.

I have never done that out of respect to them especially my mother and father in law. I just bow my head but never say Amen.

I have thought about this for a long time and always feel uncomfortable around them. They never have really chastised me being Catholic but I’m sure they aren’t thrilled that I am. In fact, since they wer paying we ended up getting married in her non-denom Chruch and it was a Non-Catholic wedding. Don’t worry, I got everything taken care of with my Priest as far as making it valid. Plus we were counseled 6 months through her Church and 6 months through my Parish. So all the concerns from both sides were all hashed out.

So back to the original question, how would you folks handle this situation. Do any of you on this board experience something like this already. Thanks and God Bless!! Can’t wait to hear the responses.


#2

depends, if I am with them and agree with their intentions then I use the sign of the cross, if I disagree on a fundamental level with what they are praying for I silently pray, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”


#3

When praying, there is no “requirement” to make the sign of the cross. It is simply a custom (and a good one!). Unless your inlaws are heretical, there would seem to me to be absolutely nothing wrong with sharing a prayer to God in Jesus’ name (no matter how they say it!). In fact, I would have no hesitation in joining a Jewish couple in a prayer to God and not invoking Jesus. We pray to the God of Jacob as they do. So my decision would be to go after the parts of your faith that you can share with your inlaws and leave out what you can’t … you can pray plenty on your own later. And don’t be afraid to say Amen if you believe in the words of the prayer. You are affirming what you have said.Now, about raising those children. There’s a thing to think about!


#4

Hey…I understand…my in-laws are Baptist (same as non-denom.) and I am from Ky.

There are many forms of prayer…as Catholics we utelize most all. Meditation, thought, freeform, and the sign of the cross are all forms of prayer.

Freeform is what most protestants participate in and it is a perfectly legitimate prayer…unless they’re abnormal, and they are praying for all Catholics to see the light (which I doubt) you should pray with them, and give them a hearty Amen at the end if the Spirit moves you.

My protestant in-laws are always praying for each other…and it is a good thing…G-d hears those prayers too…and appreciates you being the Christian who wants to build bridges and join in…It also shows your in-laws that you know how to pray in that fashion, and will make them feel at ease to ask questions about your faith.


#5

[quote=uofl19]I was wondering what everyone thought to do or if you experience what I do.

When my non-denominational in-laws pray over a meal or pray for someone or something in general. Is it wrong for me to do a “Sign of the Cross” before and after and pray to myself while they pray “In JEEEEEEEEEEEEESUS Name!” I’m from Ky, so that is not an exaggeration on how they say it.

I have never done that out of respect to them especially my mother and father in law. I just bow my head but never say Amen.

I have thought about this for a long time and always feel uncomfortable around them. They never have really chastised me being Catholic but I’m sure they aren’t thrilled that I am. In fact, since they wer paying we ended up getting married in her non-denom Chruch and it was a Non-Catholic wedding. Don’t worry, I got everything taken care of with my Priest as far as making it valid. Plus we were counseled 6 months through her Church and 6 months through my Parish. So all the concerns from both sides were all hashed out.

So back to the original question, how would you folks handle this situation. Do any of you on this board experience something like this already. Thanks and God Bless!! Can’t wait to hear the responses.
[/quote]

First of all, while you may not be exaggerating how they say it, you would do well to resist any feelings of contempt or “looking down on” your in-laws’ religion. The fact that they speak with a Southern accent and have forms of piety you aren’t used to does not make them inferior in any way. There is probably a lot you can learn from them.

But of course the reverse is even more true. The question is whether making the sign of the Cross will alienate them and make dialogue more difficult. If they were casual acquaintances I’d say that you were right not to scare them off. But these folks are family. They need to learn to accept who you are, just as you need to learn to accept their pronunciation of the name of Our Lord. So I’d say that you should start making the sign of the Cross. Don’t assume that they will object. Assume that they know that Catholics do this and that they will respond appropriately (i.e., that they won’t object). If they question you, that’s a great opportunity to explain that you do this to remind yourself of what Jesus did for you on the Cross and that you belong body and soul to Him.

Edwin


#6

[quote=But for Grace]depends, if I am with them and agree with their intentions then I use the sign of the cross, if I disagree on a fundamental level with what they are praying for I silently pray, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”
[/quote]

Good answer, that’s what I do to.


#7

Also, for me, the sign of the cross is basically saying “In Jesus’ name”… very much like the protestants say it, although I also include in the name of the Father and of the Holy Spirit as well. Think of it as “sign language”. We tend to include the Name of the whole Trinity in our prayers.


#8

No matter where i’m at if i’m with family, friends, at the gym or even in the mall. If I have a urge to say a little pray it starts and ends with the “sign of the cross.” That is who I am, a Catholic. I don’t care what other people think of me. If they want to say something to me, then they can, I’ll gladly answer any question they have about the Catholic Faith. Why be affriad if you might offend someone, you had no intentions to. Do the “sign of the cross,” no matter what. People need to accept you for who and what you are. :thumbsup:


#9

[quote=Contarini]The question is whether making the sign of the Cross will alienate them and make dialogue more difficult. If they were casual acquaintances I’d say that you were right not to scare them off. But these folks are family. They need to learn to accept who you are, just as you need to learn to accept their pronunciation of the name of Our Lord. So I’d say that you should start making the sign of the Cross. Don’t assume that they will object. Assume that they know that Catholics do this and that they will respond appropriately (i.e., that they won’t object). If they question you, that’s a great opportunity to explain that you do this to remind yourself of what Jesus did for you on the Cross and that you belong body and soul to Him.

Edwin
[/quote]

What Edwin said. :thumbsup:


#10

[quote=uofl19]I was wondering what everyone thought to do or if you experience what I do.

When my non-denominational in-laws pray over a meal or pray for someone or something in general. Is it wrong for me to do a “Sign of the Cross” before and after and pray to myself while they pray “In JEEEEEEEEEEEEESUS Name!” I’m from Ky, so that is not an exaggeration on how they say it.

I have never done that out of respect to them especially my mother and father in law. I just bow my head but never say Amen.

I have thought about this for a long time and always feel uncomfortable around them. They never have really chastised me being Catholic but I’m sure they aren’t thrilled that I am. In fact, since they wer paying we ended up getting married in her non-denom Chruch and it was a Non-Catholic wedding. Don’t worry, I got everything taken care of with my Priest as far as making it valid. Plus we were counseled 6 months through her Church and 6 months through my Parish. So all the concerns from both sides were all hashed out.

So back to the original question, how would you folks handle this situation. Do any of you on this board experience something like this already. Thanks and God Bless!! Can’t wait to hear the responses.
[/quote]

I have the opposite situation: my wife and in-laws are Catholic. If they want to make the Sign of the Cross, they’re more than welcome to.

Since they only pray outside of church at Christmas and Easter dinner, it’s not much of a problem.

Peace


#11

EA_Man,

Are you sure that they only pray outside the Church on those holidays? Have you been in their heads at bedtime? Could it be possible that they just don’t do public prayer well unless lead by others?

I am not a public speaker by all means, but I am constantly in prayer. I pray in my head and in my heart at LEAST a dozen times a day. I’m sure those who know me would say that I never pray unless I’m in church (except for my husband). Would you like to know why? Because I am so shy that I just cannot lead public prayer. I fumble with my words and my thoughts and sound like an idiot when prayer out loud in front of others.

Just becaues people don’t pray out loud does NOT mean that they don’t pray.


#12

[quote=uofl19]I was wondering what everyone thought to do or if you experience what I do.

When my non-denominational in-laws pray over a meal or pray for someone or something in general. Is it wrong for me to do a “Sign of the Cross” before and after and pray to myself while they pray?
I have never done that out of respect to them especially my mother and father in law. I just bow my head but never say Amen.

I have thought about this for a long time and always feel uncomfortable around them. They never have really chastised me being Catholic but I’m sure they aren’t thrilled that I am.
So back to the original question, how would you folks handle this situation. Do any of you on this board experience something like this already. Thanks and God Bless!! Can’t wait to hear the responses.
[/quote]

I am frequently in the situation you describe with friends, though, not relatives. Here’s what I think:

[list=1]
*]Is it wrong for me to do a “Sign of the Cross” before and after and pray to myself while they pray?
[/list]If the sign of the cross is a contentious issue, it is probably best to avoid out of respect. “…clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for God opposes the proud but bestowes favor on the humble.” 1Pet 5:5 It is not a dogmatic issue and I don’t believe Catholics are bound to making the sign of the cross, so there is not an element of compromise. You(and I) probably make more of this issue in our minds than anything else. As an aside, I usually hold my hands together near my heart with my head bowed when I pray. My evangeleical friends seem to prefer to hold hands or put their hands behind their backs while in a prayer circle. No one has said anything to me about my posture though it is clearly different. The sign of the cross may be no different…

 2. ** I just bow my head but never say Amen. **

Im not sure what you’re afraid of here - Amen is universal. Don’t be afraid to pray with them - do you think their prayers are dishonoring God somehow?

  3. **They never have really chastised me being     **

** Catholic **but I’m sure they aren’t thrilled that I am. ****


“A tree is known by its fruit” The more Christlike you are the better your witness to the Catholic faith - far more than all else.
If you want them to think more of your Catholic faith, think more about your behavior. Period. “Preach the gospel always - use words only if necessary” think about it…

Oh, and by the way, here’s a tip of something you DEFINITELY must avoid: partaking of a “symbolic Lord’s Supper”. I had this happen to me while praying with a new group of friends. One of them broke out his bible and started reading one of the Last Supper verses and also broke out some bread and a can of grape juice which got passed around. I knew it was not our Lord, and I confessed this much to Him. My emotions told me it was better not to rock the boat and my concern was with my friend whom we were praying for. I ate and drank knowing full well that it was not Communion. I should not have, and thankfully I decided to discuss it with my priest in confession. “A great sacrilege” were the words he used, I believe. :nope: I won’t make that mistake again.

Phil


#13

[quote=Loboto-Me]EA_Man,

Are you sure that they only pray outside the Church on those holidays? Have you been in their heads at bedtime? Could it be possible that they just don’t do public prayer well unless lead by others?

I am not a public speaker by all means, but I am constantly in prayer. I pray in my head and in my heart at LEAST a dozen times a day. I’m sure those who know me would say that I never pray unless I’m in church (except for my husband). Would you like to know why? Because I am so shy that I just cannot lead public prayer. I fumble with my words and my thoughts and sound like an idiot when prayer out loud in front of others.

Just becaues people don’t pray out loud does NOT mean that they don’t pray.
[/quote]

I thought we were talking about making the sign of the cross at times of prayer?

They could be praying morning, noon, and night without making the sign of the cross - in which case I would say “great!”.

I’m basing my statements off of what I see in the entirety of their lives. The question “How often do you go to confession?” was met with “Oh it’s been a long time.”. They were astonished when I told them that Canon Law was for Confession at least once a year. It was evident they hadn’t met the minimum in along time.

The reason why they “go to church, is to pray”. Now I’ll grant you that that is one reason why we go and people can mean alot of different things by saying that. They’re cafeteria catholics.

Peace


#14

[quote=Philthy]I am frequently in the situation you describe with friends, though, not relatives. Here’s what I think:
[list=1]
*]Is it wrong for me to do a “Sign of the Cross” before and after and pray to myself while they pray?
[/list]If the sign of the cross is a contentious issue, it is probably best to avoid out of respect. “…clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for God opposes the proud but bestowes favor on the humble.” 1Pet 5:5 It is not a dogmatic issue and I don’t believe Catholics are bound to making the sign of the cross, so there is not an element of compromise. You(and I) probably make more of this issue in our minds than anything else. As an aside, I usually hold my hands together near my heart with my head bowed when I pray. My evangeleical friends seem to prefer to hold hands or put their hands behind their backs while in a prayer circle. No one has said anything to me about my posture though it is clearly different. The sign of the cross may be no different…

  1. **I just bow my head but never say Amen. **

Im not sure what you’re afraid of here - Amen is universal. Don’t be afraid to pray with them - do you think their prayers are dishonoring God somehow?

  1. **They never have really chastised me being **
    **Catholic **but I’m sure they aren’t thrilled that I am. ****

“A tree is known by its fruit” The more Christlike you are the better your witness to the Catholic faith - far more than all else.
If you want them to think more of your Catholic faith, think more about your behavior. Period. “Preach the gospel always - use words only if necessary” think about it…

Oh, and by the way, here’s a tip of something you DEFINITELY must avoid: partaking of a “symbolic Lord’s Supper”. I had this happen to me while praying with a new group of friends. One of them broke out his bible and started reading one of the Last Supper verses and also broke out some bread and a can of grape juice which got passed around. I knew it was not our Lord, and I confessed this much to Him. My emotions told me it was better not to rock the boat and my concern was with my friend whom we were praying for. I ate and drank knowing full well that it was not Communion. I should not have, and thankfully I decided to discuss it with my priest in confession. “A great sacrilege” were the words he used, I believe. :nope: I won’t make that mistake again.

Phil
[/quote]

Good advice - The last piece of advice is the mirror of why I don’t partake of the Eucharist. If I am not convinced that the host is Christ and you do, then I am making an affront to your beliefs by accepting it. Also, I attend a non-denominational retreat twice a year. We have only one Catholic who also attends, a great guy. At the first time of communion (non-Catholic) during the weekend he simply says “My faith prohibits me from partaking of the bread and wine with you physically, but I am priveleged to pray with you at this time.” He says it once and that’s the end of it - no one asks why or to explain himself. On Sunday, he goes to the early Mass at the Catholic Church adjacent to the retreat grounds to receive communion. His priest had told him the same thing.

Peace


#15

[quote=EA_Man]I thought we were talking about making the sign of the cross at times of prayer?

They could be praying morning, noon, and night without making the sign of the cross - in which case I would say “great!”.

I’m basing my statements off of what I see in the entirety of their lives. The question “How often do you go to confession?” was met with “Oh it’s been a long time.”. They were astonished when I told them that Canon Law was for Confession at least once a year. It was evident they hadn’t met the minimum in along time.

The reason why they “go to church, is to pray”. Now I’ll grant you that that is one reason why we go and people can mean alot of different things by saying that. They’re cafeteria catholics.

Peace
[/quote]

That must mean my in-laws are cafeteria Baptists…they never say grace at meal times either…just at thanksgiving and Easter…just like you said :wink:


#16

[quote=EA_Man]I have the opposite situation: my wife and in-laws are Catholic. If they want to make the Sign of the Cross, they’re more than welcome to.

Since they only pray outside of church at Christmas and Easter dinner, it’s not much of a problem.

Peace
[/quote]

Oh stop. Why would you post such a thing? It doesn’t add anything to the discussion and makes you look like your taking a “pot shot” at Catholics…

Phil


#17

[quote=EA_Man]Good advice - The last piece of advice is the mirror of why I don’t partake of the Eucharist. If I am not convinced that the host is Christ and you do, then I am making an affront to your beliefs by accepting it. Also, I attend a non-denominational retreat twice a year. We have only one Catholic who also attends, a great guy. At the first time of communion (non-Catholic) during the weekend he simply says “My faith prohibits me from partaking of the bread and wine with you physically, but I am priveleged to pray with you at this time.” He says it once and that’s the end of it - no one asks why or to explain himself. On Sunday, he goes to the early Mass at the Catholic Church adjacent to the retreat grounds to receive communion. His priest had told him the same thing.
Peace
[/quote]

thanks EA_Man-

It was very ackward for me because I honestly couldn’t tell what my motives were: was I going to make an issue of it simply to draw attention to our differences which I wanted to discuss OR was I going to make an issue out of loyalty to my faith in Christ OR was I going to avoid the issue simply because I did not wish to detract from the focus of the evening - my friend and his marriage issues? I felt my motives were for my friend, but I suppose I should have put Christ first…Oh well…

Phil


#18

[quote=But for Grace]depends, if I am with them and agree with their intentions then I use the sign of the cross, if I disagree on a fundamental level with what they are praying for I silently pray, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”
[/quote]

I do the same thing when I pray with Protestants or go to their services. If the prayer is good I make the sign of the cross. If the prayer is not right before God, I simply to not make the sign showing I do not agree with their herisey nor support it. My friends look to see if I sign myself when the preachers goes out on his man-made traditions, etc… They like to know what the preacher said that was not quite right after church. Of course I get to explain the Catholic Faith to them when they ask too.

I am never ashamed to make the sign of the cross. It is a prayer in itself. The sign of the cross is something you should be proud of and should display to as many people as you can. It is an outward sign of our inward Faith.

The sign of the cross also indicates that we pray to ALL 3 Persons of God. How sad, but I went to a Baptist sect and for several months they NEVER mentioned “God”, the “Father” or the “Holy Spirit”. All they boasted of was Jesus. This is not all bad as Jesus is God too, it just shows a lack of balance on their part for preaching about the entire Trinity and focusing on just Jesus. Again, it’s not all bad. I prefer to pray to the Trinity every time I pray. I love Jesus and love to talk about Him, but I also love the Father and the Holy Spirit and I love to talk about them just as much. I feel like sometimes others forget we have a Trinity.

When we “pray” (to ask) to Blessed Mary we also make the sign of the cross. This shows we aim our prayer at God though we include Mary in our prayer chain to God, something else Protestants often do not see.

Make the sign of the cross. How can it offend anyone: “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.” If that is offensive then they need to look into thier own heart and their own Faith and re-exame their own Christianity. Christians adore and worship the Trinity, if that offends them then they need some light from you shined upon them.

Also it is a double standard if they expect you to sit through their prayer which may offend you but they do not have to sit through yours.


#19

When I go to my mother’s Baptist Church with her, I make the Sign of the Cross at the end of prayer, no one has ever said anything, I doubt anyone has noticed, they were busy completing their prayers.
I don’t see why you shouldn’t do it.


#20

Great answers folks!! Thanks!! Most of you are in agreement that to go ahead!! However, a few of you have said it is not necessary. I guess I have run into situations where I don’t want to get questions asked and be at a situaion of 10-15 against 1. I doubt it would happen, I’m just a conflict avoider. So what about when I play softball on my wife’s church team?? (My Parish doesn’t have one) Would this be acceptable to do with 20 other men before and after a game. They just read a passage from teh Bible before and after the game. I guess I didn’t want to do it because like one poster said they are shy and don’t like to draw attention to myself and I don’t want to come across like I’m too good for you guys!!

Thanks again for your replys


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