Post # 1
First of all, let me say that I am agnostic at present. However, I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic school, and I respect the faith and feel like I have a connection to it culturally. So, I took to my Facebook (always a stupid idea) to post something about praying to St. Francis and St. Jude (as my cat is very sick)…it was kind of a joke and AIMED at my friends who have knowledge of the faith, which are quite a few. All of my Catholic friends (and even some of my old teachers) got what I was saying and chimed in. However, my Future Sister-In-Law chimes in with, “Why don’t you skip the saints and pray to the Big Guy himself?” She is Protestant and I felt like she was totally attacking the religion I was raised in. I was always taught to respect everyone’s beliefs (no matter what they are), so I guess I was a little floored. Maybe I have no place to be angry or hurt by what she said, since I am agnostic. I guess it made me: A. scared of what will possibly happen when our two families meet since my family is mostly Catholic or agnostic, and B. Angry that she would have the nerve to even go there. Am I crazy, or do I have a right to be angry?
Post # 3
Her comment was rude and uncalled for. I would just delete it without comment.
Post # 4
That is exactly what I did…right after it happened. I hope I didn’t ruffle any feathers.
Post # 5
It’s unfortunate, but there’s just a lot omisunderstanding about the Catholic faith. I can see why you may have felt attacked; but you can use this situation as a teaching moment. Just let her know that we actually don’t pray “to” the saint as if they “make things happen” but instead we pray “through” them…just like asking your friend to pray for you. The difference is that the Saints have already attained holiness. They’re right there with “the big guy” and are interceding for us.
I think clarifying the “to” vs “through” difference might at least bring some understanding to the situation and not lead to any awkward tension.
Post # 6
I would Ignore her comment, she just doesn’t know the faith at how the St.’s are prayed to for different things… just ignorant… I was raised catholic but my father was a protestant, and some of his family just don’t have a clue. I pray to different saints all the time for different things….. don’t think anything will happen at the family gathering most keep to themselves about it unless you are having a religious ceremony…
Post # 7
I was raised Catholic, too, but not practicing any longer. She probably didn’t get your joke (I did) but was trying to make one of her own, maybe. Kinda lame on her part but I would just ignore it.
Post # 8
I think her comment was offbase… more-so b/c you’re obviously upset about your cat than from a religious standpoint since you’re agnostic. I feel like people need a facebook training course as to what is OK to post. I wouldn’t worry about future families meeting and all that stuff from one snide remark!
Post # 9
Give her the benefit of the doubt, I’m sure it wasn’t a religious attack. Praying “to” the saints doesn’t make sense to protestants (like me). Use it as a chance to have an actual conversation with her – maybe message her and say you didn’t delete her comment to start anything, you just want her to understand what you really meant, and didn’t want any other Catholic family to think she meant offense.
(My ex pretended to be Catholic so I understand, but I don’t “get it” as we believe that the only way to God is through Christ.)
Post # 10
You’re right; I probably should have clarified as FI’s family is all Protestant. However, I thought they’d be respectful of where I came from as I am respectful of their beliefs. I have been to FSIL’s church for a dedication and I was quiet and respectful the whole time, even though I disagreed with a multitude of things said during the service. It would be nice to be able to educate Future Sister-In-Law about the Catholic church, but unfortunately, I think she is too hot headed and opinionated for it to sink in. Silence is probably the best option.
That’s where I am at this point. I think the main issue now is that Fiance doesn’t understand why I am upset.
Perhaps the person to educate is Fiance, not Future Sister-In-Law…even though Fiance never attacks Catholicism.
Post # 11
Facebook isn’t reality. You made a joke about praying to a saint; for all you know, your Future Sister-In-Law was also making a joke about praying directly to god. I’d feel differently if this went down in person, but because it’s a Facebook thing, it’s really hard to treat it as a serious thing.
Also, when you proclaim yourself to be agnostic, then you’re more or less saying that you’re not convinced that a god of any sort even exists. So it’s a very mixed message to be protective of the Catholic faith while still proclaiming that you don’t know if there is a god. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this, but you should be prepared for people to sometimes mis-interpret you, and this may especially manifest in jokes that miss the mark. Thicken up your skin, or tighten up your message. Saying you are not sure about god but you still want to educate your Future Sister-In-Law on being catholic just kind of confuses me!
Finally, with the exception of some very bloody Irish history, most Catholics and Protestants don’t randomly start attacking eachother. People (especially those who do not know each other well) tend to refrain from discussing religion and politics at social gatherings, unless they’re very close friends. They know these are hot-button issues and no one likes to be the jerk that starts the screaming match, so in all proability, any discusson of their faiths between the various family members will be limited to factual discussions on how their faiths may vary, stories about going to religious school as a kid, and nothing more. I don’t think you have anything to worry about.
Post # 12
I’m Catholic born, raised, and currently practicing. To me, it sounds like a joke. Granted I don’t know her but it doesn’t sound malacious.
Post # 13
I agree with almostmrsj.
I’m catholic and Fiance is not. He asked pretty much the same thing when we were dating. Many protestants don’t understand why people pray to saints. The only person they think you should pray to is Jesus.
You can’t fault someone for not understanding something. I think you’re taking it too personally.
Post # 14
Honestly, I do not believe in God at all. Catholicism is very touchy though as its a cultural thing…especially having been immersed in it at school from a very young age. I’m not saying I believe in God or that I want to go back to Mass any time soon, but being raised Catholic is almost synonymous with being Italian…it’s cultural. I guess it is difficult to explain. As for Future Sister-In-Law, I can say with certainty that she was not joking. She is very vocal about her religion. I assume responsibility for taking to Facebook, but I am still a little miffed that she would try to “take on” my Catholic friends and family. I just felt it was rude.
Post # 15
Honestly, I know I am overreacting a little bit. My cat is on fluid IV (I’m the one stabbing him with a needle every time), and I’m a little stretched thin. I guess Future Sister-In-Law and I are cut from different cloth… My mom always emphasized etiquette and keeping peace, and I guess her comment just surprised me.
Post # 16
My boss told me once that I was going to hell for praising the dead (saints and our mother mary). He is a born again christian and very vocal about his faith which is fine but I just chose to not even go there with him…to each his own.