Need Help Why Stay Catholic?

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Matt16_18_1

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Hello All,

I am a devoted Cradle Catholic and a beginnng apologist who loves our Lord and our Catholic religoin with a passion. I have nephew who I dearly love that has been recently attending a Chistian church, not sure what denomination. He was never a practicing catholic, no thanks to my sister who did not guide him in our catholic faith. Although he went to CCD classes the classes were taught by teenagers, according to my nephew, who didnt know much about the faith. That being said, that didnt provide a very good catholic foundation for him. He is good man about to gradute from Med School and has been searching for God. Problem is…he isnt searching whinin our Catholic Church. (I just found out 2-3 weeks ago.) These people he has been talking to are within his peer group which I am not in. Many of them attend the same Christian Church, along with his soon to be wife who is also a church member. I was able to finally speak to him today for about a good 3 hours. He listened to what I had to say about why to stay Catholic, we talked about:
Matt16:18,
I Proved Apostolic succesion
Christ wanted only 1 church not 38000
For 2000 Years The church has survived
All Denominations roots came from the Catholic Church
Without the Catholic Chruch there would be no bibile
Luther had some mental issues when he broke from the Church
Gave proof you are NOT saved by “Faith Alone”

Although he listened his response suprised me. He said “Maybe the reformation was inspried by God” I immediately responded that “Jesus did NOT say he wanted 38000 individual churches, he wanted 1 united church”. But I’m not sure if he even heard me. As a matter of fact I noticed he didn’t ask me 1 Catholic question! It was more of how boring the Catholic Mass is. Of course as an apologist I had to respond that unless you understand that the mass is truly about the sacrifice and celibration of our Lord and that the Eucharist is central to the mass not the preaching (homily). I beleive this fell on deaf ears.

Bottom Line… I need help in keeping him Catholic. I’m not with everyday. He’s very busy and the only time I get to talk to him is about once a week. He goes to this Church every Sunday. If anybody can give me any good evangilzation or apologetic advice. Please…I need them. I don’t want to lose another Catholic, especially this Catholic to a small Christian denomination because they seem to “really connect to me and they really know their stuff” as my nephew says. I feel I know my (stuff) faith and my apologetics but I am against some stiff competition. I just pray for God’s grace and strength to continue and perservere with this very good young man. I do not want him to turn his back on the true church. Which leads me to this question. Does he violate the CCC pgh 846 “Outside the Church there is no Salvation”?.

Please help! God Bless All of You!

Matt 16:18
 
The best thing you can do is to pray for him and leave it to God.
 
Why not have one of your Catholic community youth groups invite him over to their activities? The best way to conversion is by example.
 
A few ideas:

Have you asked him why he is seeking God?
Take the time to listen to his answer.

Ask him what God means to him?
Take time to listen to the answer.

This may take weeks and months but allow him to be comfortable with you talking about God.

When the the time is right and after many prayers ask him how important it is to do the will of God?

Ask him why if he truly loves God and wants to do his will he refuses the truth of the church.

Jesus gave all so we could have all of him not fractured parts and only the bits we think we need but in fact all that we will ever need.

Hope this helps and I will be praying.
Scott
 
This happened with my cousin (cheri) when she became an adult. Same situation, no instruction from her mom and she got drawn in to a baptist church that all of her friends belonged to, including her boyfriend. This went on for years. My mom got into a discussion with her one time and they talked and talked about the faith. She ended up in tears and really very angry with my mom because my mom was blunt and told her the way it was. That conversation really shook her.
For years we all prayed for her return, and eventually she met a Catholic who she later married and now she is back attending mass. (as far as I know, she lives far away now) But the point is that you may feel that what you said fell on deaf ears, but you most likely planted the seed and it could take years for that seed to grow. It’s possible that my mom’s talk with cheri stuck in her mind and eventually gave her the ammunition to reject what that baptist church taught her. Have faith. Pray for your nephew and someday God will call him home. 😉
 
I’m a recent revert to Catholicism. A friend suggested that I read Mark Shea’s book “By What Authority”. That book got me thinking of things I’d never considered – most importantly (and probably most obviously!!) was the Church’s authority.

I think if he’s truly searching, Shea’s book is a good place to start. Its easy to read and, in my view, makes perfect sense.

Joel
 
Does your Diocese offer an ACTS retreat?? (Adoration,Community,Theology, and Service)—it is a weekend spiritual retreat patterned after the description of the early Church in the Acts of the Apostles; breaking bread together, worshipping together,receiving instruction together, sharing , and reaching out. My husband was a strong persecutor of the Catholic faith. I asked him to attend this retreat, not for conversion, but for a deeper relationship with God. All I can say is that he has inquired with our local parish about taking RCIA classes!!!

Pray that the Holy Spirit will guide him and bring him to the truth!!!
 
You are doing your part, you are explaining to him the truth, you cannot make him accept it…
 
Matt16:18[CENTER said:
]
He said “Maybe the reformation was inspried by God”

I would have responded:

You don’t reform the church by leaving it.
You don’t fix your marriage by getting a divorce.
You don’t leave Peter because of Judas.

The “reformation” was tantamount to someone saying “OK, the gates of hell have prevailed against the Church so let’s start our own church” and so the schisms continue with that exact same mentality happening over and over.

I for one don’t call Christ a liar. I believe what Christ said about his Church.

Inspired by God? I don’t think so. More like inspired by the mirror (Luther was a HUGE ego tripper! Look at his statement about why he added “alone” to Romans 3:28 in his Bible!)
 
Sadly, I don’t think it sounds like he’s searching for the truth. A few years ago when I was really searching for the truth I found myself satisfied with all the answers the Catholic church provided, but I was persistant in my search for answers.
You can only plant a seed and leave the rest to the Holy Spirit.
 
I agree with MichaelC that perhaps this is not a real search for the truth. It sounds more like he is attracted to the community aspect of the church he is going to, and I’m sure his wife-to-be is an influence on him for similar reasons. He may not be mature enough at this point to get beyond the emotional and surface appeal of his current church. The fact that he wasn’t raised Catholic doesn’t help either, nor does the fact you have limited exposure to him.

Having said all those negative things, I think there is always hope. Don’t stop talking to him or praying for him. As he matures, he will most likely tire of the superficiality of his “worship” experience and start digging deeper. With God’s grace, he will perhaps start giving some thought to all you have shared with him and, please God, eventually come home to the fullness of the Faith.
 
Dear Catholic Brother:

First, from what you wrote it would appear you have a strong connection to our universal faith and I applaud your efforts. I’m certain Our Redeemer is smiling on your efforts to bring your lapsed family member back into the fold. He has a soft spot for lost souls who find their way back into the flock!

Your family member sounds like a bright guy, learned at least. You have employed solid rationale to sway him and, who knows, it may be working at some level. For the life of me, I don’t know why Catholics would prefer to worship with evangelicals. While I applaud them for love of holy scripure, I also realize the danger inherent in thousands of so-called pastors putting their own spin on the revealed word of God. Problem is, the Devil is in the details and none of these ecclesial bodies enjoy the protections granted to Christ’s Church. To this end, the Chair of Peter continues to play a central and crucial role in God’s unfolding plan of creation. Have you quoted any of the Holy Father’s works? If you haven’t already, please obtain a copy of Veritatis Splendor, share one with your lapsed family member and discuss. Rememeber, TRUTH is the only reason for any of us to believe in the mission of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Remind your family member that in seeking the truth, he needs to listen to God. The best way to do this is in and through the sacramental life. In the Catholic Church, Jesus Christ is alive and with us. We are conjoined to Him in and through her sacraments, which impart real grace to believer.

While prayer is central to our lives as Catholics, there is no substitute to knowing the sales pitches employed by our evangelical friends and taking every opportunity to debunk them. Faith is not a feeling, and feel-good worship services put on by self-styled churches tend to elevate the worshiper above the One being worshiped - Jesus Christ.

Best of Luck and God’s Blessings,
 
What a difficult situation for you, and for many of us (me included). I have found that two things work best: Prayer, as suggested, and example. Rarely will a strong “sales pitch” counter the other information he is receiving. Rather, show him your quiet, humble nature, your reverence for God, your respect for his perspective. In other words, be a strong witness for Christ and His Church. He is obviously not in a place right now for debate or the subleties of apologetics. But he will get there eventually, and he will look to you for answers then. Prepare yourself to witness to him at that moment by prayer and study. He will come to you because of the example you live.

Credo,

Matt
 
First, I would certainly suggest Prayer. Prayer got me back into the Church (just read some of my past posts to know what I overcame with God’s grace).

Second, you have to have Faith. I am sure your family member knows that you are on fire for your faith. At times we have to let those we love to find out for themselves about the paths they choose in their lives (Read the Prodigal Son account).
I will say this, if our family member’s reasons are true to him, then he will become an active member of that church of his gilrfriend. If it is just the ‘warm and fuzzies’ then he will seek you out for advice.

Third, Love him!
He may make a choice not to your liking BUT still love him and be kind in charity.

PRAY
Have FAITH
and Love

Go with God!
Edwin
 
There is a reason he is considering this new church. Hopefully it is a beginning to his pursuit for truth. If he was not practicing before, this could be a good thing…he is showing interest where he was not before.

Keep in mind he is exploring. I think the best way to talk with him is to help him explore. By that I mean ask questions rather than instruct. It will mean more to him if he feels he is discovering the truths he seeks.

At the very least, our Protestant brothers and sister do have a certain energy about living the Christian life. They are encouraged all the time to study the Bible. Both of these are good things.

Keep the communication lines open by asking him questions. If you ask the right ones you will lead him home. You need not fear the answers he will get from his new friends, so long as you do not close him off to Catholicism by coming on too strong.

My wife was Baptist. I studied very hard and threw all kinds of information at her. She couldn’t dispute anything I said, as my arguments were true. But she did not open her heart to Catholicism until I backed off. Eventually (over the course of 5 years) she started asking me questions (often the very questions I answered in the beginning). But this time it was her discovering the truth for herself. She is catholic now, praise God.

Be always ready to answer, and even probe him occassionally, but be careful.

Good luck. I will keep this matter in my prayers.
 
I think the advice that has been given so far is really good (especially to pray for him), but I would also add that perhaps you should find a nearby Latin Mass and ask him to go there. The old Latin Mass has a wonderful way of revealing the real presence in the Eucharist and of drawing all attention towards the altar. I might help him to understand the Mass better and to see the truth in the Catholic Church.

I would also remind him that truth is not dependent upon his feelings. Our feelings can guide us wrongly if they are not informed by the truth. Ask him if tomorrow he “felt” that murder was no longer wrong, would that in any way effect the truth that murder is wrong? Tomorrow he may decide that another church down the street has the truth if his feelings decide so. Ask him to look at the Church and the church he’s attending from an objective point of view so that he can find the truth instead of a temporary feeling.

Secondly, he would not be in violation of CCC 846 because he has not proclaimed the Catholic Church to be the true Church. The Church recognizes that people who leave her believing that they are following God’s will may still be saved, but outside the Catholic Church he will not have the sacraments (except perhaps baptism) which are the primary channels of grace which would make salvation extremely difficult.
 
Thanks Everybody for your support and prayers,

I was able to talk to him again today for 15-20 mins. He seemed a little more open minded about the Catholic Church’s truth. However, I find at this stage, that he is spritually immature at this point to really understand any Christian or Catholic Doctrine. He admitted that he doesn’t know what this Chirstian Church’s belief is regarding salvation or thier Eucharist, which they apparently practice. My nephew says that they talk about life and what its purpose is in regards to God. I take that statement with a cautious grain of salt. He was unsure of what denomination they are from.

The Lord answered my/our prayers from last night. I asked that I be given a chance to bring him back to his church by giving me more time with him.

I called him up today to let him know that I was mailing him some conversion tapes/cds made by Scott Hahn & Clayton Bower (Where we got the Bible). Really mild stuff so that it wouldn’t scare him away. As I spoke to him I asked him to call me at least once or twice a week just to talk, either about religion or about what is going on with his life and where I may be of any help. He response suprised me, he said “I wanted to do that after we had finished our first conversation, because no one in our family has educated me about the Catholic Faith. Although I am Catholic I don’t feel Catholic but I want to know what Catholics believe in as soon as I can accept God into my life. But I want to know what this Christian Church believes in also.”.

I may not be the perfect Catholic, I struggle everyday to be like Jesus. If he can see what it means to live as a Catholic, that I love him and that I have nothing to gain, except the salvation of his own soul. I pray, the Holy Spirit will open his heart.

Please continue to pray for my nephew Fredric.
Thank You for your kind heart felt support
God Bless You All.

Matt16:18
 
I found this to be a great thread. I have a son that isn’t attending any church. I also have a lovely niece and two nephews that are also off in the secular ozone.

I pray for them and attempt to dialogue with them in gentle ways. One thing that I think will help is to absolutely love God and to set an example that makes others see the light of Christ in you. We must show that love of neighbor that Jesus speaks of in the two great commandments. When others realize that we are approaching them gently and with the most profound love that they can imagine, then they know it comes from the Lord.

We can only plant the seed and pray. The Holy Spirit changes and softens the heart.
 
He is not the only one who has struggled with boredom, and unfortunately it has become a uniquely American trait that religion (along with everything else) is supposed to be EXCITING and UPLIFTING.
And we equate this with EXCITING AND UPLIFTING music - and demonstrative acts of worship.

So…while some catholic parishes do appeal to this type of attitude - many do not.
Many still have that same 'ole organ. The priest may not be too entertaining.

I remember being bored - and often I realize my kids are bored.

I’m not bored anymore…why?
Because over time I have become more aware of the awesomeness of the gift of the Holy Eucharist.

And when I stress to my kids what a MIRACLE is taking place before them on the altar - it helps them come around.

I think the eucharist is key. The closer people come to appreciating this - the more they will appreciate catholocism as a whole.

Great book…Scott Hahn’s book on the eucharist
 
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