Poll: Should I take down Catholic items for family Thanksgiving?

My in-laws are coming in from another state and staying with us for 4 days. They are devout Lutherans and openly anti-Catholic. Behind my back they tried to have an intervention for my husband last year when he told them he had joined RCIA. Last time they were here my mother-in-law told me to my face that a small crucifix in my van was an idol. I didn’t have any Catholic stuff out in the house the last time they were here as my husband used to be against it before his conversion so I respected that.

I am debating whether or not to take down our Catholic stuff before they get here. I know they will make snide comments and ask questions all the while not listening to my answers but waiting for me to finish explaining so they can tell me how and why I am wrong. My great-grandmother’s picture of St. Therese is hanging in the living room, there’s a prayer table at the end of the hall (a candle, a crucifix, and a little bowl of holy water), a couple other crucifixes in different rooms, a Sacred Heart of Jesus picture on the windowsill in the kitchen, a framed picture of my daughter’s First Communion, St. Joseph missals strewn around, National Catholic Register on the coffee table. It’s so weird typing this out, I never considered our home over-the-top Catholic but the more Iook around and see our house through their eyes it’s like whoa. :eek:

Part of me just wants to put it all away and not have to explain things and risk the belittlement. The other part of me worries I will hurt Jesus’ feelings because this would sort of be like denying my faith. Has anyone else faced this dilemma and what did you do? Any encouraging words or advice would be appreciated.

This is tough. But I think it boils down to whether or not you want peace to reign in the house while they’re there. They’ve made their position known. They probably haven’t changed and will do so again…and again…and again. I’d take down everything in the guest room and much of the other stuff. I would think this would let them understand that you are at least trying to make them happy and keep the peace. However, I would probably keep the prayer table; after all, it is YOUR house and you have as much right to practice your faith as they do. Moving furniture just for the sake of accommodating them might be too much for me to do, but that’s a personal choice. They accepted the invitation; now they have to accept your and your husband’s faith. HTH.

What are your husbands thoughts?

I wouldn’t take the stuff down myself. I’m Catholic - if someone wants to come and stay with me I’d expect them to have enough respect not to comment on the things they don’t like. It would be the height of rudeness to comment on someone elses personal belongings when you are a guest.

If you do keep it up I’d have a plan of action to take if comments are made. I wouldn’t argue with them, but something along the lines of “we’re Catholic. This is one way we express our faith and it is very important to us. We appreciate that you may not approve and we ask for your respect for our home. If you are uncomfortable been in a home with a Catholic feel, we won’t be offended if you choose to stay in a hotel. You’d still be more than welcome to visit every day”.

Interesting. So many Lutherans here portray themselves as near Catholics. If they are anti-catholic then they simply lack understanding. Do they say the Nicene Creed or not? I thought they did, just like the Episcopalians.

Leave up your things. This may be a blessing in disguise. This is your chance to evangelize. Even if they scoff now, you may plant a seed that will grow later.

Best wishes!

I voted no. It’s your house. They know you’re Catholic. If they are that uncomfortable with it, they can always have Thanksgiving elsewhere. When my brother-in-law’s dad died, he started bringing his mom to everything. She’s very anti-Catholic, and my brother-in-law always kowtow to her. They put away anything that even hints at Catholicism when she comes over and forbid any religious talk unless it’s about whichever megachurch she’s attending that week. They expect everyone else to follow those rules at their house as well. However, they also expect the family to follow those rules at their own houses when they bring her along (almost always uninvited). The last time they came over he called ahead and gave me a list of things he wanted me to put away. I refused. I felt it was rude for him to expect me to shutter my beliefs in my own house, but I also had no intention of setting that sort of example for our kids.

My Grand father dealt with a protestant son like this, he said:

“Son, you will not use our family get togethers as a soap box for your hatred towards our love for the mother of God and our brothers and sisters in heaven. If you want to be allowed to come to this house, you will keep your comments against the mother of God and the saints in heaven to yourself. Also, art is not condemned in the first commandment any more than holding a photo. If you can’t love God enough to respect Mary and the people in heaven, you are no longer welcome here.”

From then on, he NEVER talked against Mary and the saints in family get togethers, even though that’s what he always does at his baptist church

They know you and your husband are Catholic. Hiding your images won’t change their opinions. I think you should get a huge portrait of the Pope and hang it right in the middle of your living room.


leave your things up and when the first snide remark is made hug your in-laws and tell them that you are happy that they desire for you to have a loving relationship with Jesus. Reassure them that the pictures and statues are just reminders of your relationship with Jesus, just as their pictures are reminders of your relationship with them.

Make sure you put out a few photos of them!

It will catch them off guard and flatter them at the same time.:smiley:

This is something that you and your husband should decide together. How does he feel about the matter, and the conversations that are likely to come up?

Do not worry about hurting Jesus’ feelings by taking things down. He knows and understands such things. If he didn’t then St Paul would not have written as he did about being all things to all men so that some might be saved.

I don’t know if this will come out right but let me just blurt…and see…

It seems to me that you are putting too much importance on a) the object themselves and b) on how much importance God might attach to these objects.
Also I think that you might be feeling a bit “put out” by even needing to make this decision…
All of these things (ISTM) are revolving largely around you placing yourself and your comfort ahead of the comfort of your guests.

If you put the majority of the items away, how will this “deny your faith”? Does your faith rest in these objects? If it does, then there are deeper issues here, but if it does not…then putting these objects away for a time should be but a small sacrifice, made out of love for your neighbor, that does not deny your faith in any important way.

Does this mean to completely strip your home for their visit? Certainly not…as another has said, you are Catholic and those who visit your home should expect to see things that reflect that fact. However, depending on what and where the objects are located, one can make certain adjustments.

Please understand that I am not trying to make the decision for you…I cannot know the particulars of your situation. I only offer the above as “food for thought” and maybe discussion with your husband…

Hope your holiday and visit with your in-laws is a pleasant one.


I don’t think that you should be so intimidated by people that you are self-censoring in your own home. Would you expect other people to accommodate you by removing objects from your sight?

This is your home and your things that mean something to you. These people are seriously rude and have zero respect. I think you are very kind to have invited them to stay for 4 days. I know I wouldn’t. :mad:

It’s your house, and they know that you are a Catholic. If I visited the house of someone of a different religion I would not tell them to take down their religious items for me.

I wonder what their pastor would say…seems highly suspicious.
Mainstream Christian religions show a fair amount of respect for others.
Do they attend their church? :shrug:

Would they hide away any objects in their home, if they knew you were offended by them? I am betting the answer is “NO!” :wink:

If you want to make a kind, conciliatory gesture, perhaps you could remove any “offensive” objects from the guest room … But I wouldn’t go any further than that. They already seem very disrespectful and contemptuous toward you, and I fear that they will become even more so if they believe that you can be intimidated into following their whims in your own home.

Just my :twocents: :o


I vote in general no, on the grounds it’s your house. To my mind, the only time it’s acceptable to ask the homeowner to put something away is if it’s dangerous/breakable and in easy reach of small children who will be present.

(I am trusting that you don’t have pictures depicting some of the more gruesome martyrdoms of saints at the dinner table, however. :slight_smile: )

It is your house. Leave your house as it is. If they say anything, remind them that they are in YOUR home.

I would leave the items where they are and lay some ground rules. This is your house and you are Catholic. Please don’t tell me how to practice my Faith. If you have questions about a particular item I will be happy to tell you about it but there will be no debate.

Leave them up! Be courageously Catholic! “Be not afraid”!

"Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my Heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my Heavenly Father. Do not think that I have to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace, but the sword." Matthew 10:32-34

There are different synods of Lutherans. Most of the Lutherans here aren’t among the anti-Catholics. Some of the Lutheran synods are not only anti-Catholic, they are also anti-other-Lutheran-synods. Ironically, those more anti-Catholic synods often agree with the Catholic Church on a number of issues, (like abortion)

I don’t know how many Catholic items the op has up in her home. I would not remove all my Catholic items, but I wouldn’t have so many that the house could be confused with a Catholic shrine.

I didn’t know Lutherans saw a crucifix as idol worship.

You shouldn’t have to feel you are ashamed of your faith.

I certainly see nothing wrong with your prayer table, pictures on the wall.

You could put your Catholic books and journals in one place-they don’t necessarily need to be scattered everywhere.

Maybe you can find a way to share what your Catholic faith means to you. Answer any questions they might have.