My Current Situation...Please Help!

This is a description of my current situation as it pertains to my faith and the faith of those around me who I care about dearly. The advice and words of encouragement would be much appreciated from anybody who has been in a similar situation or simply believes they can help.

I am a baptized Roman Catholic who was raised in a Lutheran church. I received my “first holy communion” and “confirmation” in this church and my family has been long time members, especially my mother. I have become close with the pastors and I can really feel that Christ is close to the church and the members of the congregation are filled to the brim with faith, hope and charity for the Lord. They are also on the right side of most theological issues. That being said I have realized the faults of Protestantism both empirically and through study and have come to believe in the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I am now taking RCIA classes in order to be confirmed during Easter.

Needless to say this is a time of both joy and anxiety. I am excited that I am returning to the orthodoxy of the Church and I will finally be taking part in the sacramental life Christ intended us too. In doing so, however, I am heading down a completely different path than most of my Christian family and friends. I know it is the right one, but that does not change the fact that my practical religious life will be complicated. Although I respect my former Church, I know that I must live out the Truth in the face of heresy.

My main concern is my Mother. She was born and raised Catholic, but when she married my father who was Lutheran she began attending the Lutheran church I mentioned earlier. She knows about my conversion and that I plan to be confirmed during Easter and is very supportive of it. She is a faithful women of the highest moral fiber, but I do not think she fully understands the differences between the Catholic and Lutheran tradition, or that there even is one. Especially because our church is quite conservative and is very similar to the Catholic liturgy. I know some of you will say the obvious answer is to discuss this with her but honestly I am afraid. I do not know if I should try to get her to return home through admonishment or just pray and hope to set an example. I love her dearly and with the holiday season coming up it will break my heart if I let this difference, no matter how important, come between our time together.

Anybody who has any advice please comment and pray!

Others will be able to give you better advice than I can.

Praying for you with Bible verses for today from the Liturgy of the Hours website Universalis:

Mid-morning reading (Terce) Isaiah 65:18-19 ©
Be glad and rejoice for ever and ever for what I am creating, because I now create Jerusalem ‘Joy’ and her people ‘Gladness.’ I shall rejoice over Jerusalem and exult in my people. No more will the sound of weeping or the sound of cries be heard in her.

Noon reading (Sext) 1 Peter 1:15-16 ©
Be holy in all you do, since it is the Holy One who has called you, and scripture says: Be holy, for I am holy.

I don’t think you need to admonish her at all. She supports you in your decision, and that is wonderful. Prayer is indeed a very important thing for you to do.

If I were you, knowing that she is a faithful Christian, I would wait for an opportunity to speak to her about the reasons you feel the need to convert. You don’t need to do it as if you are trying to convert her, but to tell her your own story, and in an excited way, not in an instructional way. You might even introduce a book or two if you think it could help. Maybe ask her about her own path and why she chose this way (not in an accusatory way, but truly interested). Allow a door to open, and try to keep communication unrestricted and non-judgemental.

That’s what I’d do.

Thank you so much. You have no idea how relieving it is to hear such words. God bless you!

You have not told us enough of the important details. Something in your description does not make sense. On the one hand, you say your mother is supportive but your worry clearly sounds like the opposite.

Why should your catholic confirmation get between you and your mother? why should your relationship be threatened??

I have a more pertinent question: Why are you so concerned about your mother’s response in this matter???
My recommendation is to work on this last question.

a heretic is one who once having been Catholic, and with full knowledge of the teachings of the faith, obstinately denies their truth and refuses to recant. by your own testimony your mother lacks the knowledge required to make a formal act of heresy so you cannot say you are “living in the midst of heresy”. Your mother made her choice for her own reasons, probably ones that seemed good especially for her family life. Therefore to label her or anyone else in your family as a heretic is neither accurate, nor honoring the 4th commandment.

“Mother, I thank you for having me baptized Catholic, and for raising me in the Christian faith. I have found it time in my life to complete what you started so I will be returning to the Catholic Church at Easter, I hope you will be happy for me.” end of conversation on the topic

I was not calling my Mother a heretic. I was referring to the Lutheran church as heresy.

“Although I respect my former Church, I know that I must live out the Truth in the face of heresy.”

Also, after consulting the catechism it is correct to refer to it as schism as well. 2089**

You don’t have to admonish your mother, particularly not this soon in the game. But there is nothing wrong with a simple, loving invitation to join you at Mass. Also, there is nothing wrong with a dialogue on the topic. But calm, respectful dialogue can be very hard to do with family, especially when you are probably very enthusiastic right now (which is wonderful, but can make it hard to know when to back off), and they might be feeling judged/disappointed/emotional… I would encourage you not to try to convince her of anything, but sometime in the future ask her about her own faith journey. You don’t have to answer her every misconception, but rather just seek to understand where she was coming from when she left the faith. In a sense, you might be able to share solidarity with her - both of you have the experience of choosing a different faith than the one in which you were raised. If you show genuine interest in her experience, she may do the same for you, and allow you to say, “it’s interesting that you experienced ___ Mom, because my experience was different in this way: ___.” These are the types of conversations you have down the road though. Don’t rush yourself to deal with that, or you’ll come off as sophomoric (at best), naive, and arrogant. For now, focus on your own education and holiness, and work on showing your family the love of Christ simply by being a better person.

Congratulations on your return home!

First, foremost, and most importantly, welcome home! :smiley:

Second, do not admonish your mother! We are called to share the truth in the same manner of faith, hope, and charity that you were raised in! As if that weren’t enough, we need to consider the commandment that we should honour our father and mother.

Third, you will never, not once, convert someone by arguing them into the church. You can give them information, but TRUE conversion is a work of the Holy Spirit. I urge you to look at your duty of evangelization more as a pastoral planting of seeds than a “conversion opportunity”. Discuss things you’ve found with your mom in a matter of fact and non-confrontational way. Demonstrate to her how your newfound faith in the church and ALL her teachings has lead you to peace and charity.

Finally, the best tool in an evangelists’ toolkit is the mass. Repeatedly invite her to mass (of course, you should instruct her that out of respect for your beliefs she should refrain from receiving communion unless she attends confession first).

There is hope. My mom, who was an atheist during my dad’s divorce, became a non-denominational after dad and I became catholic… I’ve taken her to several masses and she’s gradually moved up to more and more “liturgical” forms of worship. The other day she told me that she watched Catholic mass on TV and that it was very interesting and worth watching again! Hopefully one day she will make the jump and become catholic. Her conversion is a process, as will be the conversion of anyone who you bring to the church!