Yikes! My non-religious family is scaring me


Hi all,

Well, with today being Easter some of my family went to Easter Mass. By 'some' I mean it was my dad, my brother, and me. My mom or grandma didn't come.

Well, on the way into the Church my brother brought up a thing his religion teacher said. She apparently said before spring break that 'missing Mass is a mortal sin, so anyone going away for break be sure to get to Mass'. At that my dad laughed (an my brother followed suit) and said 'it's not a mortal sin to miss Mass! It is a mortal sin for those bishops to hide those scandels.' Then he ripped on the Pope, saying how Benedict knew of these scandels before he was Pope but did nothing about it (my father does not like Benedict XVI)

I was appauled, to say the least. Yes, those bishops did not act respectibly (sp.) at all. Not at all. But that doesn't justify missing a countless number of Masses. You just can't do that!

So with that attitude (that missing Mass is ok), I am very concerned my dad will wind up in hell. I'm not kidding. My mom is a whole different story...

I know I'll be praying a lot for their conversions of heart.

Thoughts on this all?



If indeed the bishops covered up anything and knowingly did so, it is a mortal sin. I agree with you.

Does it mean you can miss mass all the time? No, but I don’t think preaching to someone (and I’m NOT claiming you do) about missing mass and than defending the bishops with blinders on your eyes is the best thing to do.

As to whether or not your dad will be in hell-we, as mortals don’t know. We like to think we do, but we simply don’t know.

A warning-(again, I’m not saying you do this)-never, ever, ever feel morally superior to ANYONE and never claim to know the destination of someones soul.

Remember, “There but for the grace of God go I.”


True. I’ll keep that in mind.

I forgot to add in my OP- my dad says the ultimate authority of morality are one’s parents, ‘not some religion teacher’ and I assume he doesn’t follow the Church whole-heartedly on morality either (based on his attitude that missing Mass is ok).
He also seems to mock the Church, although I can’t tell if he really means to mock them or what. But on vacation (during Holy Week actually) he gave my brother and I ‘dispensations’ from our Lenten promises. I think my brother listened, but I stayed close to Mother Church on this one and kept my promise until today. And on Good Friday he gave another ‘dispensation’ so we could eat meat (because we were on vacation). Yeah… No. Can’t do that either.

All this really gets under my skin… :frowning: all I’m going to do is pray, pray, pray.


Well, this one is a tough question. I think the big thing is to do is remember to respect your parents, regardless of their beliefs (and again, I’m not saying you don’t). Your parents, not just the dad, are the ultimate authority in their house. That is pretty clear. What is NOT clear is that they have ultimate authority over morality. They don’t have the right to make evil choices good choices. I don’t think eating meat on Good Friday is evil (however, I do think it’s wrong), and that is something that doesn’t effect your parents. You didn’t throw a fit and demand your parents make you a meatless dinner-and you shouldn’t demand they don’t eat meat, either. They need to make their own choice.

Don’t try to make a big deal out of it. Instead of bringing it up, next time just ignore it, order a grilled cheese, and no one will probably notice! :wink:

Again, don’t feel, and certianly don’t act, holier than thou. I can’t stress that enough. I don’t agree with my mom and dad about everything, but I still am deeply respectful of them because they are my beloved parents. I would never, ever disrespect their authority-and I’m 30 and live about an hour away from them!


If your parents instruct you to sin, like missing Mass, I would talk to your priest about what you should do. You owe your parents obedience, but you also have obligations to God.

I’m sorry. Obviously, your parents were reared in my generation. We weren’t taught any catechism. It’s a whole lost generation of American Catholics. They might not be in mortal sin because they don’t sincerely understand Catholic teaching. Remember you must have grave matter, full consent and full knowledge for it to be a mortal sin.

Keep praying, fasting and instructing when you can. Keep in mind that parents don’t take instruction from their children very well. It might be better to leave literature around the house.

God bless.

btw, God must love you very much to give such Grace and knowledge despite your parent’s ignorance. He must have a special work for you to do. :slight_smile:


I can relate to you. It's tempting to feel a sense of moral superiority when you have parents, brothers and sisters living questionably. You just have to move forward and realize that you can only do what you can do. Hopefully, by example, you will touch their hearts one day down the road. But I have to tell you, don't' expect it to happen. It never happened to me. I left the Church as a result down the road. But I returned with my entire family, wife and 3 children. As least we're trying and now praying for them.


Sounds like dad needs a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church,. You could give it to him as a present. And if you decide he would be open to reading it( say a prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in this matter) you could bookmark the parts about our Sunday obligations. Do it with love and charity in you heart.

I don’t think you have a holier then thou problem. I think you are showing the kind of righteous anger that anyone would show when a Beloved( in this case Our Lord) is being misunderstood or neglected.

A Blessed Easter to you and your Family.


Hey Coolduude - remain strong and follow the Lord. What we must remember is to do so with the utmost respect! Everyone is entitle to their take on beliefs but to me it sounds like you know God's will. Continue to be that Light, that others may one day see! I am curious about your age and how you might have gotten your moral values. God be with you!!!


I sympathize with you, Coolduude. Even though I am not in quite as unfortunate situation with my parents, things are still difficult. My mother holds some beliefs that don't seem in line with the church's teachings, and even though I was raised Catholic, almost all of what I know about my faith I have learned by myself. My father is agnostic. I will pray for your situation:)


[quote="Rascalking, post:2, topic:193457"]

A warning-(again, I'm not saying you do this)-never, ever, ever feel morally superior to ANYONE and never claim to know the destination of someones soul.

Remember, "There but for the grace of God go I."


That reminds me of a story I once read about (IIRC) St. Anthony of the desert:

One of his brother monks was having severe difficulties with another monk, and he went to Anthony to pour his heart out to him and tell him of his un-Christian hatred. As he did, Anthony was playing with a small bit of straw he had taken out of his mattress. When the monk was finished, Anthony held up the straw and said:
"Brother, what is this?"
The monk replied, "A wisp of straw."
Anthony then stood up and reached to touch the wooden beam that held up the roof of his cell.
"Brother, what is this?" he asked.
The monk replied "A wooden beam."
Anthony gave him a knowing look and said "Always consider your own sins as the beam and the sins of others as the wisp of straw. Go and forgive him that he might forgive you."

Cooldude, All you can do is pray and forgive. Trying to force someone to be like you is a losing proposition every time. Instead, be like Saint Francis: "Preach the Gospels always, but use words only when necessary" :)


[quote="m_crane, post:7, topic:193457"]
Sounds like dad needs a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church,. You could give it to him as a present.



With all due respect to you, m crane, I think this is a terrible idea! Praying is one thing, but you should never, ever give a religious gift unless you know for a fact the other person wants it. Seriously-if someone gave me a Koran, I wouldn't be offended, but I'd be confused.

Seriously, saying to someone, "look in the Catechism" if they don't believe in the Catholic Church would be like asking you to look in the Bhagavad Gita.


Ask your dad if Judas' betrayal of Christ means that we're all free to betray Christ as well. (Because that's essentially what sin does.) Considering that one of the twelve disciples committed a horrendous sin, is it really all that surprising that bishops and priests commit horrendous sins as well? Doesn't make it okay for us not to follow the Jesus and the Church He established (and commanded us to listen to).


Good response.

I would say something like that, but I’m afraid to. Religion is not something that is discussed at length in my house, unless it is a negative/mocking comment (positive comments happen, though rarely).

In other words, I just don’t have the guts to raise a comment like that. :frowning:


[quote="coolduude, post:13, topic:193457"]

In other words, I just don't have the guts to raise a comment like that. :(


Personally, I think that might be appropriate. I agree that the best way to "preach" to your parents is without words. Live your life as a loyal Catholic with as little inconvenience to them as possible, but stick to it - and otherwise, try your best to use the gifts of the Spirit to become a cheerful, dutiful son to them. If they are reluctant to, say, take you to Mass (I don't know if you are old enough / have the resources to go on your own?), then you can politely explain to them that Mass attendence is very important to you, the same way you would politely work at them to join a sports team that you really wanted to that was inconvenient for them. Try and keep a thick skin, and trust that God will convert them - it's not your job to do anything more than care for your own soul, and pray that God will allow you to model a beautiful faith for them.

Hopefully they'll realize what a great son you are (even if you are awfully finicky about that "Catholic" stuff ;) ) - and then will eventually connect the dots, to see that what they love is how you've allowed Christ to shine through you :)

And yes, I know - this is all easier said than done :D I'm preaching to myself as much as you, here . . . I wish I'd taken this tack w/ my parents earlier. If only I knew then what I know now :p


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