How do you respond if your hear disparaging talk about the Catholic Church at work?
Normally I am rather quiet and passive, but I don’t flinch when it comes to the Church. I speak right up, without hesitation. But that’s just me and my personality. Almost always, the anti-Catholic remarks are due to ignorance or misinformation. In such cases I can explain the issue as quickly, simply, and politely as possible.
In those cases where there is real anger, probably due to some personal issue, then I try to sooth as much as I can, while I try to explain the Church’s teaching.
But, in those cases where the person is stubborn in their prejudice and willful ignorance – things can get heated. Keeping in mind that this is the workplace, I speak as quickly and simply as possible (as always), then I walk away. I do not preach or prosyletize at work (in some places, you can get fired for that). But in the case of responding to anti-Catholic talk I am simply defending my Church and my beliefs from the other person’s attack – whether it was simple ignorance, or malice, or something in between. As long as you keep it quick and simple, so that you are not unduly wasting the company’s time, I don’t think you can be reprimanded for responding to someone else’s inappropriate comment.
Also, as long as you keep it quick and simple, people won’t be afraid of getting into a long-winded debate with you when they want to ask you a “simple” question about Church teaching.
I will strongly defend the Church but it hasn’t always been that way. When I was going through RCIA, I had a co-worker who was a fervent Southern Baptist. He was very easy to criticize people with moral issues. I stayed on his good side because he thought that I was “one of us.” Sadly, I failed to admit to him that I had converted while he worked here. After he left, though, I began to let everyone know and I regret not doing so from the start. I’ve cleared up a lot of misconceptions a lot of my co-workers had about Catholics and even discovered that there was one more Catholic working here than I had previously realized. My biggest obstacle was making my faith known to our receptionist, an elderly (in age only) African-American woman who is very devout and attends a backwoods, Reconstruction-era all African-American primitive Baptist church. I’ve slowly made progress with her and shown her that Catholics DO read the Bible and what the scriptural and traditional basis is for our beliefs and devotions.
In short, I’d recommend to anyone to be proud of your faith and defend it the best you can. If you have trouble, find some tracts (such as the excellent CA tracts) or some at your local bookstore. They will help you to briefly and concisely get your point across without going off on rambling tangents.
I work in a Jewelry store, and some say they are offended by the Crucifixes that we sell. They turn the Crucifixes over so that the Corpus is not seen.
I continue to display them correctly with the admonishment that if it is proper to display empty crosses, stars of David and Dreidles, then it is certainly proper to display the Crucifixes.
It is no longer an issue.
In the company I work for the CEO is Catholic, the President is Catholic, the pilot is Catholic, Me (director of information technology), The bosses wife and CEO of one of our companies is Catholic… our office manager is agnostic/atheist and our chemist is Protestant… Nobody would dare say anything to the CEO or the President… and the pilot isn’t in the office much so that leaves me… the office manager only brings up that I am Catholic if she is mad at me for something she perceives I did to her… but oh Lord our Chemist loves to get into friendly debates and tease me about being Catholic!!! He has seen me reading Catholic books or looking at this website…on the job. He actually is rather knowledgeable about the Bible… now if I could just get him to see what it means!!!
On Holy days we go to mass and lunch together…
President goes to mass at least once a week during work…
Anytime I have asked to go to mass or see the pastor, the boss says yes…
Boss has on occasion told me to “pray” about a situation with agnostic/atheist woman I work with…
Bosses wife and I both go to Cavins Bible study (Acts of the Apostles) and we often talk about the lessons with each other at the office…
When boss and I or any of the people I work with go to lunch, it is not uncommon to see us pray together (office mgr doesn’t ever go to lunch with us)…
Boss is good friends with priest at neighboring parish… he shows up at our office to talk with boss about charitable contributions and they also go to lunch often…boss has even sent me to fix his computers on company time or to teach him how to do things on the computer…
I can hang my Catholic Calendar and nobody thinks anything of it. Boss even saw my rosary in my desk… and smiled.
Boss and I will borrow and lend Catholic books to each other… his wife too…
Yeah, I know how blessed I am to have these “perks”
On a very rare occasion, I’ve had people ask sincere questions, and I answer sincerely with enthusiasm and from the heart. I like to think that the way I live my life shows forth good fruits, and that knowing a faithful Catholic dispels a lot of silly things that are claimed about us and our faith.
No one has ever been hostile towards me in any remarks. That would be really disturbing because we all get along really well. We also work for a state-supported organization so really, too much religious stuff at work would probably not be seen as appropriate. We have work to do. Never not busy.
They turn away from the ugliness of their sin. That is what caused Calvary. Christ bore our sins and died. What good is an empty cross? It was the universal sign of death until Christ sacrificed His life for us and made it the universal sign of eternal life. Without Christ, the cross has no value, and made those who saw one 2,000 years ago shudder at the sight.
The Peace of Christ crucified be always with you.
I have heard mostly misunderstanding of the faith at work, rather than disparaging talk. Now, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I can give reasons for my hope.
I have not heard disparaging talk about the Catholic faith, but have not been invited to participate in a non denominational Bible study group (which I’m totally over, and not at all upset by) but it goes to show, that sometimes, it’s in the silence that people can hurt Catholics. I have shared my faith…the importance of the RCC’s teachings with a few colleagues, when we are speaking about religion…but, I am not forceful. I think that planting seeds, in whatever style is your own, works best to cultivate perhaps a new harvest of Truth seekers.
the first time I privately ask the person to stop saying negative things about my faith, reminding him that I respect his beliefs and expect the same respect from co-workers. If the speech violates company policy (proselytizing on work time for instance) I warn him of the policy.
If it persists my next warning is public
John, I respect the beliefs of others, and I expect the same respect for my Catholic faith. Please to not make these negative statements in my hearing because I find them offensive. now can we get back to the business topic of this meeting, please.
I give the Catholic position or view only if asked directly to do so. I don’t start a rant about abortion or homosexuality unless in response to a direct question or challenge, then I only give a brief statement of Catholic belief, and invite anyone to pursue the topic more with me privately after work is over.
example a co-worker on one job went on and on about the Church’s unreasonable views on contraception and abortion. I warned her in private and public not to state her views in a way that insulted my religion. She asked me directly, in front of others at a business gathering, why I did not support a “woman’s right to choose”. I told her that as a Catholic, I am unwilling to claim as a right for myself that which denies the rights of an entire class of persons, namely the unborn. Since she was in her professional position an official spokesperson for a group who has had civil rights battles in the past, that did shut her up, because I made the comparison between the competing rights of slave-owners and slaves.
Amen! Good on you.
I’ve gotten into many heated discussions about the church and faith in my 6 1/2 years at my job.
I always go straight to documented sources and make sure my rebuttals are accurate.
I actually really enjoy a good debate… strengthens my faith in many ways!
I don’t recall any pointed comments against the Catholic church at work. I have never hidden my faith either. Many of my co-workers are also Christians of various types and we see that as a tie that binds rather than as a divisive thing. I now work from a remote office so not as much casual, water-cooler chit-chat.
It’s my company and I’m Catholic so if you’re bad mouthing the Church you’d better know your stuff, because you’re going to have to deal with me and I have all you lot here at Catholic Answers backing me up!
There are people of many faiths in my offices, Christian - Catholic & non-Catholic - and non-Christian. Most of the Bible Christians accept us Catholics as Christian with “questionable” beliefs & practices. I recently had a conversation with a non-Catholic co-worker regarding the WWCG and its offshoots. I got the distinct feeling that she considered the WWCG preferable to the CC. At my part-time job, there was one person who was very anti-Catholic, and when JPII died, she took every opportunity to trash him and the CC. Her mind and her ears were closed, so the only thing to do was pray. I was glad when she left.
I work in an operating room at a hospital and at the begining,before I “knew” our faith, there was no need to defend it.
The more I learned the more the opportunity was given to me to defend it. Good thing to because some people have no problem repeating the lies that have been repeated so many times they think they’re true.
Most Catholics here are quiet. The ones I know left the church or don’t “practice”. And the “religion” talk is frowned upon,unless your putting it down.
I thank God for my big mouth. I can’t stop talking about the Catholic Church. I try to steer most conversations to our faith or the church.
Most people want to gossip and I try to talk about our faith instead. Yup drives some people nuts. But better then gossiping.
I remind them of the policy and procedure manual regulations regarding such discussions, I tell them I am a Catholic and if they have any questions about my Church or Faith I would be more than willing to answer them before work, at lunch or after work and then I give them a HUGE smile and stare them right in the eye.
I refuse to get all P.C. with people. If they are joking, I laugh it is funny and don’t if it is not. If it is a real anti-Catholic statement, I do not let it go, but I do not come on strong. I prefer to ask questions about the statement to help the person think through what they said.
I will strongly defend the church!