What Would You Do???


#1

I’m writing for advice. My daughter, Danielle, has in the past year seperated herself from the Catholic Church, but not to any other form of Christianity. Instead, she has began to study Witchcraft, a.k.a Paganism, along with two other friends of hers, Allie and Jane. In their form of the practice, Satan does not exist, and is a strictly Christian belief. They do not sacrifice animals, and instead revere nature and abhor those who do commit cruel acts, and they say that this is the belief of the general pagan society. None of this can change the basic fact, however, that to worship any deity other than our Lord is serving Satan, rather he is acknowledged as such or not. Danielle has talked to me about a few of the reasons she has chosen not to follow the Christian path any longer. A few years ago, when she was only nine (she was sixteen this past October), a neighborhood “friend” of hers propositioned her. She told him “no” but he persisted, saying that if she didn’t agree to let him “practice” on her that he would no longer be her friend. At the time she thought he meant simpler things, “like kissing”. But however, it turned out he wanted more, and when she resisted, telling him that she wasn’t comfortable with his actions, he threatened to tell someone about what she had done so far, and so she relented. The reasoning in her mind was thus: If my parents ever find out, they’ll be ashamed and disgusted by me, and I’ll be seen as the family shame for the rest of my life. She also admitted, to, in addition to feeling this way, that some part of her wanted to go farther, and that she was pleased someone could find her so desirable. Eventually, her father and I found out about what had been occuring, and talked to a Priest as well as to the boys parents. The events had shaken her to her core, and she stayed up until midnight often, simply crying herself to sleep, believing that she was to go to Hell for what had happened, and that she must be a horrible and disgusting person for what she had done. It was because I finally caught her crying that I found out about these events at all, and both her father and I comforted her with the notion that she wasn’t those things, but I believe that she still felt guilt besides. Her First Holy Communion was that year and she was to recieve her first Eucharist. At the time, she had made it out that she had never tried to get him to proposition her during the molestation,when she had, and so still felt that she was in mortal sin. In other words,she was partly to blame for what happend, but had made it out that she hadn’t been, though I still feel as though she was the victim. However, because she was too afraid and too ashamed to confess this to a Priest, she accepted Eucharist while believing she was under mortal sin. This in itself she has told me, must make her as guilty as if she had really been under mortal sin, as she stated. “if I could allow myself to recive my first Eucharist while believing myself to be under mortal sin, then it means that I could commit such an act, and the intention itself makes me just as guilty.” Feeling as though she was still going to Hell, she turned to Paganism as a way out. She knew that Paganism had few laws, and has told me, “I was under the misconception that Witchcraft was evil, but tried to tell myself that I didn’t really think it was, so I couldn’t be punished by God anyway.” As she got more involved in the cult, she felt it was where she really belonged, and she no longer sees it as evil. Danielle is unwilling to speak to anyone, not a couselor or otherwise, about why she has been so depressed, so guilt-ridden. And she doesn’t want her friends to think less of her to converting back to Catholicism, and Allie especially could be very unsupportive. Other reasons for her to not wish to become Catholic again are , as she says: She believes that Homosexuals have every right to be legally married (though not in church), she believes that other people should be allowed to hold whatever belief system they want and that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will go to Hell, and things of that nature. Should I forbid her to see Allie and Jane again? Send her to RCIA? What kind of daily schedule could I suggest she follow that could help her return to the Catholic Church? (i.e. times for prayer, etc…) Any advice would be helpful, as I honestly do fear for her soul! What would you do if you were in my position? Please, if at all possible, answer in detail what I should have her do…
Thank you and God Bless…
Laura


#2

Dear Laura,

I’m hardly the sort of person to be able to give proper advice; in fact I’d suggest that you talk to a priest or a Catholic psychologist or someone who can adequately address your situation. That said, here’s my :twocents::

Your daughter is despairing. Despair can be a grave sin, I think, because it can lead to something like this - a rejection of God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness, and consequently a turning away from God. Please bear in mind that I could be entirely wrong here, but it appears as though your daughter does not feel as though she can “approach” God for forgiveness, and has instead turned away. It also seems like she refuses to forgive herself for things that have happened so long ago.

Perhaps it might be useful to demonstrate to your daughter the extent of God’s love. If you and your husband could forgive your daughter for everything, ask her what God - who loves her infinitely more than you ever could - can forgive her? Perhaps you can relate how readily Jesus forgave sinners in the Bible, like the prostitute who washed His feet or the thief on the cross beside Him. Tell her that God wishes only for her to turn back to Him, as the loving father wished of the prodigal son, or as the shepherd wished of the lost sheep, and He will rejoice! I wonder if perhaps she has a misconception of our Lord which causes her to despair?

With regard to the other issues she has with the Church, perhaps it would be beneficial to explain that even if she disagrees with the Church, she should never leave God’s Church on earth. The two issues you mentioned are also addressed - on this site I’m sure - in any number of ways. It may be fruitful to attempt to show her why she is in error: explain the sanctity of marriage. Also, ask her if she thinks that someone who believes he can do evil things for fun is a good candidate for heaven? Explain that people certainly have varying beliefs, and that non-Catholics can and do go to heaven. But certainly this doesn’t hold true of every belief system.

I’m rather tired so am going to end there. I hope more people respond as I know there are many people on this forum who give very good advice!

You’re in my prayers :slight_smile:


#3

Oh my heart goes out to you and your family Laura. That’s a very tough situation. I’d say go to a priest who takes this stuff seriously, I’m sure quite a few might not. Hopefully they have some more experiance and have more abilities to give you help. I’m sure there are some others here who can help too.

Here are some of my thoughts, hope they can give a little help. What really comes into mind is the parable of the prodigal son. She is off in some place where she can do what she wants, soon enough everyone will consume what she has and she will desire a place where it was much better.

I think one key will be to make sure you have the place where she wants to come back too. When I say that, I don’t mean a place where you can do whatever you want. A place where there is peace. A place where there is someone who loves you even if you do everything you can to break this love. A place of foregiveness and understanding, while keeping to the just and right. I doubt she is getting that where she is now.

If you can make that your home, and moreover make that yourself. For the head and the heart of the home, make it a home and not simply just a building. How to do this? Pray, pray, pray. Pray for her, pray for wisdom and stregnth, pray for her friends. Go to confession and let it come into your heart. Let Jesus show you how to open up forgiveness. Get a little spiritual direction. Read up on your faith and apolgetics, I’m sure you’ll have to defend what you believe, and the further understanding will help you even more.

One big problem with her really seems to be her lack of trust that she will be forgiven. So please, make sure your doing a good job of showing her your open to forgiveness – after all its in the Our Father. Don’t forget either, that if she decides to come back, the second she walks out of the confessional, I doubt she’ll ever have a much better feeling.

Even if she did consent to the act and then knowingly not confess it, the Lord does not want to send her to hell. He wants to have her open herself back up to His love, but thats her decision. Remember too that the bigger the sinner, the more greatful the person will be, which debtor loves the lender who forgives a loan, the one with $500 or $500,000. The greater the sinner the greater the grace.

As far as what you should make her do. I wish I had a good answer for that. On one hand you have every right to send her to RCIA and not allow her to hang out with her friends. On the other hand, if she has her mind dead set on it, she do what ever she can to oppose you. Going even farther than she would have on her own. I’m sure somewhere in the middle it should fall. I don’t have too much advice, I don’t have much experiance or any kids. Maybe others have some advice. Most important I’d say, pray to the Holy Spirit to show you what to do.

Be patient, eventually one day the emptiness of it all will let her be restless in search of a place to feel home. The most important lesson for her to learn is the forgiveness and mercy of the Lord. Once that opens up, she will be open to everything else. Keep your prayers. I’m sure the Lord will be very much merciful to one who has had so many prayers. Look at St. Monica and St. Augistine. She is a precious child, and the heavens are filled with angles, as well as a family here on earth, that is ready to let out cheers and have a feast, as soon as this child comes home. So patients and pray.


#4

Dear Laura,

I’m very sorry about what happened to your daughter. :frowning:

I think that Danielle would benefit a lot from reading stories of people who led very sinful lives but later on became saints and are now in Heaven with God. St. Augustine, for example, led a sinful life before his conversion to the Church. Maybe you could ask your priest to give you more examples of sinners who became saints.

One example I found by searching on the internet is this:

“Yet she tells us in her later writings that for over thirty years she led a mortally sinful life.”

"Saint Angela of Foligno: "Fear of her damnation led her to the confessional one day. But she was afraid to tell her most serious sins, and so made a bad confession, then a sacrilegious Communion. Only greater remorse followed. Tormented in soul, she prayed to Saint Francis of Assisi, and he appeared to her in a vision. The next day she made a complete and sincere confession."
magnificat.ca/cal/engl/01-04.htm

Also, maybe it would be a good idea for you and your husband to tell your daughter about your own grave sins. That way she will not feel alone, and will know that Jesus came for all of us not just perfect people!!!

It would also be good for you to read to her scripture passages such as the one where Jesus saves a prostitute from stoning, the parable of the prodigal son, the part where it’s said that there is more joy in heaven for 1 repentant sinner than for 99 righteous who have no need of repentance, the thief who repented on the cross etc.

I also think Danielle needs good psychological help, because things like what happened to her have devastating psychological effects on children even if they don’t feel like they’ve sinned.

I hope things getter better. I’ll pray for your daughter


#5

You need advice on spiritual warfare.This is a site loyal to the Pope.Write down everything you have written here.Anytime, you open yourself up to the diabolic it is dangererous.

saint-mike.org/qu/default.asp

Go to St.Michael questions page,hit list of forums and go to spiritual warfare.The questions and answers will come up,push ask a question and when the question has been answered they will email it to you.They will also give you instructions on what to do andcould personally help your daughter if she’s willing.God Bless


#6

From your thread, it would appear that you never got her to counseling. I don’ know if there is much you can do at this point if whe will not go to counseling, but that is where she belongs. She specifically needs a counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist who deals with sexual abuse to women.


#7

[quote=Hermione]Dear Laura,

I think that Danielle would benefit a lot from reading stories of people who led very sinful lives but later on became saints and are now in Heaven with God. St. Augustine, for example, led a sinful life before his conversion to the Church. Maybe you could ask your priest to give you more examples of sinners who became saints.

I also think Danielle needs good psychological help, because things like what happened to her have devastating psychological effects on children even if they don’t feel like they’ve sinned.

I
[/quote]

Dear Hermione,

I’m sure you meant well, but did you read Laura’s post? Her child was molested sexually. Although she did nothing wrong, the girl is traumatized, guilt-ridden and flailing emotionally and spiritually. How would inundating her with stories about “grave sinners” show her that she indeed did NOTHING WRONG, but was abused?!?

Don’t mean to jump on you, but your suggestions seemed not a little innapropriate.


#8

Dear maendem,

I rather agree with Hermione’s advice. Looking back at the original post:

At the time, she had made it out that she had never tried to get him to proposition her during the molestation,when she had, and so still felt that she was in mortal sin. In other words,she was partly to blame for what happend, but had made it out that she hadn’t been, though I still feel as though she was the victim. However, because she was too afraid and too ashamed to confess this to a Priest, she accepted Eucharist while believing she was under mortal sin. This in itself she has told me, must make her as guilty as if she had really been under mortal sin, as she stated. “if I could allow myself to recive my first Eucharist while believing myself to be under mortal sin, then it means that I could commit such an act, and the intention itself makes me just as guilty.” Feeling as though she was still going to Hell, she turned to Paganism as a way out.

It appears as though the child is despairing because she believes she had a part to play in the propositioning, and committed a mortal sin by receiving Communion besides. Clearly she was abused, but she has a terribly malformed conception of God’s forgiveness; in fact, she turned to paganism because she felt as though she was going to go to hell. I’m sure her parents have explained countless times that what happened was not her fault; like many sexual abuse victims, she still feels very guilty. However, it also seems like much of her trouble is associated with what she believes to have been a mortal sin by receiving Communion. The child does not understand the nature of forgiveness and is harming herself spiritually because of that. I think it would be appropriate to correct this sort of thinking as a step towards reconciling with the Church.


#9

[quote=Alterum]Dear maendem,

I rather agree with Hermione’s advice. Looking back at the original post:

It appears as though the child is despairing because she believes she had a part to play in the propositioning, and committed a mortal sin by receiving Communion besides. Clearly she was abused, but she has a terribly malformed conception of God’s forgiveness; in fact, she turned to paganism because she felt as though she was going to go to hell. I’m sure her parents have explained countless times that what happened was not her fault; like many sexual abuse victims, she still feels very guilty. However, it also seems like much of her trouble is associated with what she believes to have been a mortal sin by receiving Communion. The child does not understand the nature of forgiveness and is harming herself spiritually because of that. I think it would be appropriate to correct this sort of thinking as a step towards reconciling with the Church.
[/quote]

Perhaps it was I who did not read the post carefully enough. Your comment makes good sense–Thanks.


#10

[quote=maendem]Perhaps it was I who did not read the post carefully enough. Your comment makes good sense–Thanks.
[/quote]

The analysis makes good sense, but I have to agree that what we have is a seriously damaged child. Telling her to read the lives of saints, I suspect, will be about as useful as spitting in the wind.

She needs professional counseling with a counselor who has experience dealing with sexually abused women. The books may or may not compliment the counseling, but the counseling is critical. She is still in her formative years.

The stories of women who end up with lesbian lovers, the broken marriages, and the untold grief that abuse victims live with can be avoided if her basic issues can be resolved. As she is 16 now, there is a greater chance that her perents can get her into counsleing. Waiting much more time, and there’s a good chance she will never go, and even if she does go later, that won’t change the trail of grief she will have behind her.

Prayer is always important, and I do not denigrate it. but the illness needs to be treated, not the symptoms.


#11

I would first like to thank those who have posted their advice as well as those who may post more in the future. Any help I get is a testament toward the support one can find in the true Church of God. I knew that turning here would not be a mistake.

I agree that Danielle needs counseling, but anytime that I mention it, she says quite blatantly that she doesn’t trust any stranger to handle her problems, and refuses to speak to someone she does know well for fear of what they might think. However, I know that somewhere inside herself, she wants to talk. She tells me that at times she often has little stories playing in her mind about how someone might find out without her having to tell them…In this way, she says, at least someone might know and she won’t feel so isolated. The fear she holds so near that someone may someday find out would be obliterated, as she says, because there will no longer be anything to fear. But she won’t speak to me or her father.

Up until this last semester, she was failing almost every class, and passing all others with barely D’s. She simply could not allow her mind to rest long enough to fall asleep and so passed through her days in a barely there daze. This was never like her before the incident, as she was a straight A student and given gifted testing more than once, and so I know the work wasn’t too difficult for her. At least now she’s doing better in that area, recieving the A’s she well knows she’s capable of.

When she was younger, (before the incident) she was as outgoing and fearless as you could imagine. Outspoken and liberated, self confidence and independance were two of her most outstanding traits. She never shied away from an opportunity to do well is school…And yet now she speaks to almost no one apart from when attending school and the confidence and outgoing traits have become bitter weapons of self-defense. It’s the most difficult part of the situation, knowing how deeply this has affected her and how this could destroy her future.

I don’t know what else to say to her that might convince her to recieve psychological and emotional help. What can you say to a child who has seemingly lost all hope with humanity in general? She blames herself, yet refuses to extend the blame to the one who molested her. To her, his childhood was bad enough that it accounts for his behaviour. For her, she feels there is no excuse. While she sits in self-hatred, she still refuses to be angry or wish harm to him in retaliation. This would be a wonderful trait in its merciful forgiveness, if only she did not blame herself in place. She told me soon after the events that she hoped he will be forgiven and believe he will be because even she forgave him, and she wishes him well, and no ill will, because she realizes, but only as it pertains to the other person, that hatred and retaliation will bring her no success. I only pray that she will come to the realization that there is no reason to hate herself, either.

Thank you once again for your help in all of this. Along with helping Danielle, the feedback is helping me as well.

God Bless,
Laura


#12

Dear friend

Your daughter does not know that God loves her even when she sins. She does not know that she cannot escape her sinful nature as we all fall and we all sin and that is what confession is there for. Your daughter does not know that even though she believed herself to be in sin and still received communion, that God’s knows her intent, her fear, her heart and her love. God knows she was manipulated by this boy, God knows that she felt blackmailed and found it in her innocence and inexperience of life, hard to resist this boy. Gopd knows she is sorry and God loves her and always will.

Your daughter is mortified of God and she should not be because He is her loving Father not a stern judge who loves to cast people into hell; God loves and He loves to forgive.

Sometimes it can take years for a person to finally confess a sin, that doesn’t mean that they wilfully withold confessing a sin, it means they wrestle with it and the guilt of it in their hearts until finally they feel worthy enough to receive God’s grace and forgiveness.

Your daughter needs to know that God doesn’t sit counting our sins and making a balance on how many goods acts against how many sins and allow a soul into heaven or cast them into hell on this basis. God looks at the heart and the INTENT and reasons and at the moment of absolution, God forgives and forgets that sin altogether.

If only we could all forgive and forget and give each other that kind of love!

Explain God’s mercy to her and explain that she has free will and when she decides to come back to God, He will be waiting for her as the loving Father He is, spotting her approaching Him from far off, like the prodigal son and He will not be angry with her, He will have a party in heaven and kill the fatted calf.

God bless you and much love and peace to you

Teresa


#13

Making comments about parenting is somewhat akin to comments about politics or religion; fools rush in where angels fear to go.

Having said that, I would make a couple of observations.

I raised twin daughters. If they had needed to go to a psychologist or counselor, they would not have had input. That is, they would not have told me that they would not go. They might have mouthed the words; but they would not have told me they would not go. I was the parent, they were the child, and they did not make those decisions. I did. That was my job, as a parent.

[quote=Laura_23]I agree that Danielle needs counseling, but anytime that I mention it, she says quite blatantly that she doesn’t trust any stranger to handle her problems, and refuses to speak to someone she does know well for fear of what they might think.
[/quote]

You are letting her statement make your decision. If she had a serious disease or ailment, would her statement that she would not talk to a doctor stop you from taking her?

I don’t know, from what you are saying in your thread, if your parenting authority no longer exists, or has been reduced to such a fine point that you either don’t dare take her, or are in fear that she will run. But I suspect that there is more authority existing than you have been willing to exercise.

I am being blunt, but as long as she lives in your house, you have the right (and the moral duty) to make the rules and see that she complies. She is not emancipated. One of those rules needs to be that she is going to a counselor, and she is going to cooperate.

In plain English, you can pray all you can (and I recommend it), read all the books you can, talk to all the people you wish, wring your hands for all they are worth, and try to find the right thing to say to her. It will not deal with her problems any more than it would if she was seriously physically ill.

This child’s life is a living hell. Her reactions are those of someone seriously abused. She may not like what you do if you take her to counseling; she in fact may hate you. Tough. You are not parenting her so that she will like you; you are parenting her because that is your duty.

Love is not a feeling. It is a choice. It is often a very tough choice. Make the right one.


#14

Laura,

I’d like to recommend, like OTM, that when you decide what needs to be done for your daughter, that you take action, regardless of whether or not she agrees. You are the parent and it is your responsibility to make the decisions regarding her health and wellbeing.

I think some form of counseling would likely be wise, but I recommend you meet with the counselor first and confirm that they have a solid understanding of Catholicism first. If not, you will likely find the problem compounded rather than resolved. As you’ve said so clearly, and has been pointed out by others here, a significant component in what’s bothering your daughter is her fear of the sin she has committed and the affect it has had on her soul.

I do believe in the devil and I believe that when he has little sins and big fear, he does what he can to make great headway into the souls of our precious little ones. Personally, I liked the recommendation that you teach your daughter about the saints. I think knowing that others before her have made serious errors, and even that others have had serious error done to them, and that God is infinitely capable of loving us through it all.

We’re the ones who need to learn to forgive. We need to learn to forgive ourselves and the others in our lives. We need to learn to work with others as they try to perfect their forgiveness. Your family has a lot of learning to do with one another and your daughter is going to have to learn to deal with the fall-out from her time of making less than good choices around her peers at school.

You may find that a change of venue is the best recourse for her, get her to a new school, away from her old friends. Perhaps a good boarding school for the remaining 2 years that you have some degree of legal control on her. At this point, I would recommend you consider pulling out all the stops, as this is her soul on the line, and it sounds like she’s really crying out for help in the extreme stance she’s taken.

Let her know how much you love her and how much effort you’re willing to give it to make things better for you.

Ultimately, you will have to choose what to do, as only you know the details that could never be shared in full here. I will pray for you, your daughter, the rest of your family, her peers and all others affected by this situation.

I suggest you get your rosary warmed up and running. It’s the best defense I can think of for a situation such as yours. And the idea of seeking assistance from St. Michael the Archangel is a good idea. I assume you know the prayer to St. Michael.

You may also want to consider using sacramentals if you haven’t already been doing so.

Good luck and God Bless,

CARose


#15

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