The Catholic church, especially after Vatican II, does respect the rights of conscience. Just tell your Mom that your conscience will not allow you to take communion or follow any of the other dictates of the Catholic church. Does she want you to take communion against your conscience? That would be a mortal sin, for you and for her for urging you to do so. And so on and so on.
I think that would be the best approach. It would be like judo. Use the teachings of the Church (especially its supposed ecumenicism <sp?>) against the Church.
I would not get into pedophile priests, the treatment of women in the church, the opposition to women clergy, the opposition to birth control, Church corruption, maladministration of funds, the fostering of "pseudo-divorces" through so-called "annulments," etc., unless I had to.
Trutfully, I think this goes a little deeper than Catholicism.
This is the classic Parent vs. Child argument that has been going on for millenia. Whether its religion, politics, lifestyles, family rearing, we ALL face this.
Your parents still want you to be the little child that they once controlled. They don't like the fact that you are an adult with a mind and will of your own. They don't SEE you that way.
You still see your parents as all-powerful beings who actually have some control & power over your life. You can't see them as just people.
You are all just too close to each other.
Both of you need to step out of your roles for a bit and realize that neither of you can "make" you see anything. That nobody can make you feel anything. Nobody can actually control you.
Your parents are just people. With hopes, fears, dreams, wishes, failures & successes--just like you. They are just as clueless about this thing called Life as you are. And you know what? You don't HAVE to argue! When your parents start grating on your nerves, pretend they were people you never met before. How would you treat them then? Would you yell & scream? Or listen calmly? Or maybe just tell them you aren't interested and walk away?
Your parents can't force you to live the life they chose for you.
You can't force your parents to accept your chosen life.
Let it go. Change the subject. Refuse to be drawn into the argument.
Learning that my parents non-acceptance of my lifestyle is not the end of the world was a big 'lightbulb' moment for me. It didn't change the fact that I still loved them. Or they still loved me.
I'm sorry that there is this division between you and your parents. I know of some parents who take it very personally when their children don't embrace the core beliefs of the parents, like their parenting went all wrong or something. It certainly sounds to me like your parents are concerned that they turned you out poorly.
Maybe you could work out a compromise--they go to mass, and you say home or go out with friends or whatever, but perhaps later in the day the three of you could sit down and discuss something you can all agree on (may or may not be addressed in the Catholic Bible). Perhaps you could talk about how you think more people need to help the poor, and they might be thrilled to be able to remember several Scripture passages that address the poverty issue.
Also, if you want, give them my email address, and I can talk to them as a former nonChristian about my experiences with people who tried to force me into their beliefs. I resented being badgered and pressured, especially when it was my mom doing it. (She knows better now.) Need I remind them of the power of prayer?
It sounds like they may keep you in their prayers, Funk dear, but I don't know them so I really can't say.
Is there an intermediary the three of you might be able to talk to?
Before I didn't go to church. Well, I did when I was a kid, but we just kinda stopped. I was raised Catholic, and am getting confirmed next year! Partially because I decided on my own that I wanted to get more in touch with my religion.
It's true, you don't HAVE to go to church to be spiritual. But with my experience (and a kickin' rad church, I might add) I have become much more spiritual since I started going back.
I also know a guy who wanted to become Catholic, but his parents were agsinst it. So he moved out, and got confirmed. He's still in high school. Also, a girl I know gets so much crap from her parents because she went out and got confirmed.. She's 19 and moved out. She is upset that she has no moral support from her family, but she still went for what she believed in.
Believe what you want to believe. It's YOUR choice, and it sucks that people are so critical of others' choices! It really irks me when people try to push beliefs on me, and they shouldn't do it to you.
we've had similar problems, my husband and i, with disapproval from his parents. my parents see us more as friends now, then children, so it's much easier for us to get along. they actually see us as "adults" with independent thoughts and feelings. Heck, that's what they wanted right? to raise good citizens?
anyway, in laws aren't as good at it. They don't approve of a lot of things that we do, but right now, we're the "better of the two" kids from that household. the other is a drunk in an abusive relationship. So, we win out. But it's not that great.
His parents are sweet people. they really are. They just have some issues. perhaps a few subscriptions. And i can see and understand that. it hurts me sometimes--it really hurts my husband--but, we're able to work it out by meeting them where they are, rather than hoping that they'll be something that they aren't.
the way that i do that is to avoid topics about me, and stick to topics about them. How was church? (they're miserable that we're not UCC, "but at least they aren't catholic!"--currently we practice with the quakers, though i still consider myself catholic) How is the herb group? how is your yoga class? how is your wood working? how's the youth group? how's choir?
we mostly talk about the business of their lives, which leaves very little time for them to talk about what they disapprove of in our lives. Also, we do share, but we avoid hot topics like the quaker meeting, jobs, hair cuts, food, ethics, politics, race issues, etc.
what i've found is that although the relationship is rather "shallow" it is still a relationship. And, it builds bridges between us that we can begin to understand each other more and accept each other more. In laws are far more accepting of some things now than they were three years ago, because we kept it simple and would simply be with them, ask them simple questions, which made them feel loved and valued.
in turn, they made us feel loved and valued (as best they could anyway), and then that built trust. And the more we trust each other, the more we can share with each other.
So, it's getting better. I'm still *way* closer to my parents (and so is my husband), because they're more present for us, more accepting of us in general, and just more generous emotionally and otherwise.
But, it's improving with them. regardless of religion. i would agree with those who said "avoid getting drawn into an argument" and "don't try to convince them." Also, don't forget to forgive them for being human too. right?
Why are hair cuts a controversial topic with them? I'd expect that if they were Apostolic or Southern Baptist, but not UCC. My grandparents are UCC pastors, and they're some of the most liberal churchgoers I know.
i'm really hoping the subject doens't come up again between us. i'm not completley closed minded to the chance i may return back to my catholic roots, ha. (oddly, the Pope is actually a close cousin to me!)...
but! at this time i dont think that'll happen. i'm probably continue going to church with them while i'm living at home this summer, unless my mom freaks out and tells me not to.
i have two older siblings and they had a few years in there when they were around my age where they never went to church, and my brother is mr. hardcore catholic man now. my sister just goes every once in a while with her kids, and my bro in law couldn't care less.
the whole arguement started when my dad asked if the new bf was catholic. ah!
i guess i was pretty blunt with some of the things i said pertaining to my beliefs and non beliefs about all the catholic stuff...but the discussion ended up pretty civily, overall.
anyway...i know they would/will still love and care for me no matter what i decide religious wise..i just wish they weren't so degrading and so 'you're wrong, i'm right' towards me and how i stand on this stuff. and of course, i'm sure my beliefs will change again- some way. i just really do not feel the need or want to call myself catholic, and they don't appreciate that.
i know it's my choice, and they can't assume that jsst becase they raised me catholic, that i will automatically follw that forever and think it is 'right' or whatnot.
UCC isn't really their "faith" it's their church. I know it doesn't make a lot of sense. They're "believers" but they have no idea what they believe. They go to this church down the street because mom in law's father helped found it back in the day, and every day for her whole life she has always gone there.
in many ways, our familial "issues" don't come from religious differences. when you sit down and hear what they say and feel about God, etc, they're really the same as us, essentially. the beliefs are the same. the differences really come from a different world view.
his parents are rather socially victorian. "Oh my gawd! what will the neighbor's think!" kinda mentality. The idea that "there's a right way to live, and a wrong way to live. We live the right way" therefore, if someone makes different choices, then they're living the "wrong way."
For example, when my husband was growing up, he wasn't allowed to touch willow trees. Never ever. Until he was 24 years old, he'd never touched one willow tree, ever. Why? mom told him, when he went to play under/with a willow tree at age whatever, that touching willows was "bad" and that only "cruds" touch willow trees.
In her world view, there are two kinds of people (possibly three): 'good people'--who do the 'right things' by her reckoning of what is 'right'--and "cruds" which includes most minorities, people of color, poor people, people who have a less than "WASP-y" appearance, people without an education, people with drug problems and other mental health issues (other than her own daughter of course), and so on.
So, one of the "right" things to do is to go to church on sunday (which we do). But not just any church, it has to be a church that she can understand. she doesn't understand the catholic church, so she doesn't like it. IN fact, she really knows nothing about the catholic church, and if she did, she'd recognize that most of what her church espouses and believes is very similar to most vatican two and new catechism ideas within catholicism, some of which have been around for nearly 2000 years. She also doesn't understand quakerism--she understands UCC. So, she doesn't understand why we would want to go to any other church. She's always gone to UCC, and so we should too.
Make sense? weird huh?
so, hair cuts. Ryan likes to grow his hair long. he also likes to wear kilts (but lets face it, some of them are just skirts--and i like it that he wears them. it's actually very masculine--he never wears them home though). he also likes body piercing. none of these topics have been broached with his parents. They do know about my tatoo, because his sister wanted to scandalize me. It didn't work though, i like my tatoo and i'm certainly not ashamed of it. Heck, i've shown it to mom in law. She's actually quite curious about it.
also, very discretely, we've discussed nipple and clitorial piercies as well, when she mentioned some sexual struggles off hand. (see how we can jump from one extreme to the other?)--i also recommended penis piercings for him, as they add pleasure for her. But less extreme, they finally just switched condoms.
back to hair. they think it's "wrong" for ryan to have long hair. And "what would the neighbors think" about them as parents if their son has long hair? Oh heavens! we can't live with that sort of embarassment.
when his sister finally admited to being a drunk, her mother's expression was "how could you embarass us like this? what will the neighbors/community think?" rather than, [email protected], that's some serious suffering, what can we do to help?
they then quickly became codependent and "did the right thing" as far as their interpretation of "the right thing" is for their daughter.
I had this battle with my Mom for many years...because of it, while I was in the Army, my Mom and I had about a one year period where I didn't really speak to her because I didn't want that judgement and pressure.
My Mom is extremely religious...and not the benign (I think so) Catholic stuff either...real life Evengalistic Assembly of God stuff where people speak in tongues and all that.
So...you can imagine her upset when I began drinking and having lots of sex and not attending church. YIKES. I didnt' attend church for ten years and my Mom fought it every step of the way.
Sigh...now I go
. LOL...it's not because of my Mom's pressure, but a personal choice I made. I go to a nice...sane...methodist church, with friendly, non-crazy people who are interested in helping themselves and others. And I like that. My daughter wanted to start going, so I honored her choice. And I think too...I wanted to see if Christianity could exist without crazy. And I find that it really can.
But...this is a personal choice. If you have to...please tell her that you will not talk to her about this anymore until she's ready to have a conversation that doesn't include preaching or judgement. When she is ready to have that conversation (like a healthy, functioning adult) then you can tell her all your reasons...that you are spiritual on your own and do believe in God...whatever.
One of the big things in our church...that is really PUSHED...is that God is big enough to handle our questions and doubts. He really doesn't ask us to blindly believe....etc. And I like that. because we were taught never to question. And I want my daughter to ALWAYS ask questions and refuse to follow things that are wrong, no matter who supports that thing.
Anyway...good luck. I know what you're talking about. My Mom never did let up....she's happy I'm in church now, and I'm sure thinks it's due to all her praying. Of course she's never been to my church, and I'm sure when she does visit, some of the theology will raise the hair on the back of her neck. LOL.
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