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Helping Fallen Away Loved Ones: Support

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Those Who Have Left the Church or Aren't Practicing Their Faith...

Helping Fallen Away Loved Ones: Support

Important Notice: We make no guarantee regarding any item herein. By using this site you agree to all terms. For more terms information, see below and click here


Click link below or scroll down to view all:

Apologetics

Building Interest in the Church / God  

The Church is the Only Means of Salvation

Dealing With Non-Catholic Third Party Influences

Education

God's Love and Mercy

Is 'Good' Good Enough?

'The Negative Approach'

'The Personal Touch'

The Rejection of 'Organized Religion'

Scandals / Evil in the Church

Should a person be accepted 'just as they are'?

Subtle Approach / "Back Off Approach"

Those Unable to Receive the Sacraments

Truth / Feelings vs. Truth

The Unchangeableness of the Church

What They Are Missing

When Faith is Lost

Other Assistance

Also See...

[top]

Building Interest in the Church / God

Consider For:

Those With a Lack of Interest in Religion

Those Who Fail to See the Importance of Religion

Consider:

* Encouraging them to look at God's handiwork (e.g. the beauty and wonder of nature from flowers to plants to animals...).

* Reminding them of / introducing them to pleasant topics such as: the love and mercy of God, God's concern for them, the unmatched joy of heaven, the power of prayer, etc. 

* Encouraging them to look into the lives of the saints.

* Encouraging them to look into the lives of famous, intelligent converts (e.g. Newman, Chesterton, etc.).

* Encouraging them to read other convert stories.

* Encouraging them to look into the history of the Church. [Note: Be sure to review only accurate history!]

* Encouraging them to look into fascinating / extraordinary occurrences (e.g. Eucharistic miracles, approved apparitions, the Shroud of Turin, the tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe, etc.).

* Encouraging them to look into the world of the supernatural (e.g. angels). [Note: One must be very careful to limit recommendations only to appropriate material.]

* Encouraging them to look into sacred music (e.g. Gregorian Chant).

* Familiarizing them with Christ's requirements for salvation and the Church's teaching on the necessity of being Catholic.

* Encouraging them to participate in enjoyable social activities at the parish.

* Encouraging them to make a pilgrimage.

Resources to Consider on This Site:

Our Father's Love Section

Why I Love Being Catholic Section

Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation (Reflections)

The Importance of Being Catholic / No Salvation Outside the Church

Non-Catholics Section (apologetics)

Catholic Book Review & Exchange

Catholic Events

Saints Section

Personal Stories of Inspiration

Catholic Fun & Activities

Important Note:

Be sure you have also reviewed the following pages (click link to view):

Tips for Apologists

Helping A Loved One Who Has Left the Church or Who Isn't Practicing Their Faith

[top]

The Church is the Only Means of Salvation

Consider For: 

Various

Discussion Points to Consider:

* Salvation depends on Christ - and Christ founded the Church on St. Peter as the only means of salvation: 

"Jesus said to [Peter] in reply, 'Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.'" (Mt. 16:17-19)

"Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Lk. 10:16)

"If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, cf. Mt. 18:17)

 * Those outside the Church perish:

"Whoever wishes to be saved must, above all, keep the Catholic faith; for unless a person keeps this faith whole and entire he will undoubtedly be lost forever." (Athanasian Creed)

"Indeed, as long as you remain outside the Church and severed from the fabric of unity and bond of charity, you would be punished with everlasting chastisement, even if you were burned alive for Christ's sake." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"[The Holy Roman Catholic Church] firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church...cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart 'into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels' (Matt. 25:41)... [N]o one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church." (Council of Florence, c. 1441 A.D.)

"According to the words of Saint Augustine, who takes up an image dear to the ancient Fathers, the ship of the Church must not fear, because it is guided by Christ and by His Vicar. 'Although the ship is tossed about, it is still a ship. It alone carries the disciples and receives Christ. Yes, it is tossed on the sea, but, outside it, one would immediately perish.' Only in the Church is salvation. 'Outside it one perishes.'" (Pope John Paul I, 1978)

* The necessity of being Catholic for salvation:

"One indeed is the universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved..." (Lateran Council IV, 1215 A.D.)

"The Church is like the ark of Noah, outside of which nobody can be saved." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"We know that salvation belongs to the Church alone, and that no one can partake of Christ nor be saved outside the Catholic Church and the Catholic Faith." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"Anyone who is outside this Church, which received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, is walking a path not to heaven but to hell. He is not approaching the home of eternal life; rather, he is hastening to the torment of eternal death. And this is the case not only if he remains a pagan without Baptism, but even if, after having been baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, he continue as a heretic." (St. Fulgence of Ruspe, 6th century A.D.)

Resources to Consider on This Site:

Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation (Reflections)

Is Being a Good Person Good Enough? (Coming Home: Support)

Necessity of Union With the Roman Pontiff (Vatican View Reflections)

Catholic Basics

Vatican View

Non-Catholics (apologetics)

Important Note:

Be sure you have also reviewed the following pages (click link to view):

Tips for Apologists

Helping A Loved One Who Has Left the Church or Who Isn't Practicing Their Faith

[top]

Dealing With Non-Catholic Third Party Influences

Consider For: 

Those whose falling away from the faith was due to:

* A marriage outside the Church

* A spouse or other relative or friend

* Their being in with a "bad crowd"

* Their being indoctrinated into some other so-called "Christian" (or other) religion

If they are considering a mixed marriage (marriage between a Catholic and a non-Catholic), consider:

* Familiarizing them with the Church's teachings on mixed marriage (try here)

* Reminding them of the dangers of mixed marriages (try here)

* Reminding them of the importance of being Catholic (try here)

* Finding ways to convince them that God's laws are more important than human relationships

If they have already fallen away and think they are happy being a non-Catholic, consider:

* Engaging them in apologetics & discussions about truth and the purpose of life

* Familiarizing them with the Church's teaching on the necessity of being Catholic for salvation (try here)

If they have already fallen away but are considering becoming a Catholic again, consider:

* Reminding them of the past when they were happy in the Church

* Showing them what they are missing

* Showing them how true happiness cannot be found outside the Church

* Familiarizing them with the Church's teaching on the necessity of being Catholic for salvation (try here)

* Helping them get back into the Church

If they already fallen away but want to be Catholic again, consider:

* Encouraging them to be strong

* Reminding them that the Church welcomes them back with open arms

* Familiarizing them with the Church's teaching on the necessity of being Catholic for salvation (try here)

* Helping them get back into the Church

If the third party isn't hostile, consider: 

* Engaging them in apologetics

* Inviting them to the Church

* Showing them that the person's being Catholic is better for both parties

* Familiarizing them with the Church's teaching on the necessity of being Catholic for salvation (try here)

Other Items to Consider:

* Giving them stories of saints' lives

* Sharing stories of Eucharistic miracles, reflections on the Eucharist, inspirational teachings regarding the Blessed Virgin, etc.

* Familiarizing them with the Church's teaching on the necessity of being Catholic for salvation (try here)

* Finding ways to convince them that God's laws are more important than human relationships

Resources to Consider on This Site:

Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation (Reflections)

Is Being a Good Person Good Enough? (Coming Home: Support)

Necessity of Union With the Roman Pontiff (Vatican View Reflections)

Tough Love in the New Testament

Catholic Basics

Vatican View

Non-Catholics (apologetics)

Important Note:

Be sure you have also reviewed the following pages (click link to view):

Tips for Apologists

Helping A Loved One Who Has Left the Church or Who Isn't Practicing Their Faith

[top]

Education

Consider For: 

Those confused about Church teachings

Those poorly educated in the Faith

To Help Them Learn More About the Church, Consider:

Getting them an authoritative guide to the Catholic Faith (e.g. an approved, traditional catechism)

Note: Readers should be advised that there are many unorthodox items out there. Be certain all items are orthodox and have appropriate approval. Tip: Look for items which contain appropriate ecclesiastical approval and were written before the 1960's. Be certain they have not suffered from any post 1950's updates. 

Resources to Consider on This Site:

Selections from the Baltimore Catechism

Catholic Basics Section

Sacraments Section

Vatican View Section

Priests & Vocations Section

Mary, Our Mother Section

Non-Catholics (apologetics)

Book Review & Exchange Section

Other Resources to Consider:

Catholic Web Links Section

Important Note:

Be sure you have also reviewed the following pages (click link to view):

Tips for Apologists

Helping A Loved One Who Has Left the Church or Who Isn't Practicing Their Faith

[top]

God's Love and Mercy

Consider For: 

Those 'mad' at God

Those unwilling / ashamed / scared to confess a certain sin

Consider: 

* Reminding them how much God loves them and that His love for them is endless

* Remind them that God is their loving Father and that He "thirsts for them".

* Remind them that the Second Person of the Holy Trinity became incarnate to save them and give them the heavenly kingdom - that He wants their salvation so much that He died a horrible death to make their salvation possible

* That God loves them so much that out of the infinite number of persons He could have created, He chose to create that person - and that He cares for them and sustains them at every moment - and that He wants them to be with Him forever in heaven.

* Reminding them that "if a man's soul isn't at peace with God, no amount of exterior comforts or wealth or luxury can possibly make him happy"

For Those 'Mad' at God Consider: 

* Helping them understand / find meaning in suffering (try here)

* Helping them to see that God can use the bad things that happen to them for good

* Discussing Jesus' Passion (remember that it is hard to complain about our sufferings in comparison with Christ's sufferings)

* Helping them find a kind priest they can talk to

* Finding ways to help them deal with their sufferings/problems

For Those Experiencing Difficulty in Confessing Consider: 

 * Reminding them that God can forgive anything and that mercy is there for the asking

* Reminding them that the Church has the power to forgive all sins: "And when he had said this, [Jesus] breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.'" (Jn. 20:22-23)

* Sharing touching images (e.g. holy cards showing Jesus as the "Good Shepherd", image of the Prodigal Son, etc.) 

* Helping them find a confessor they will be comfortable with

* Reminding them that the priest in the confessional is there to dispense mercy - and that has "heard it all before" and must "lay down his life rather than reveal the secrets of the confessional"

* Convincing them that the priest has heard far worse than whatever sins they have to confess

* Encouraging them to discuss their difficulty confessing with a priest, even asking the priest to talk them through the confession

* Reminding them that after confession they will have a "clean slate"

* Offering to go to Confession with them (not the confession itself, of course, but to be there for moral support)

* Commiserating with them over your own sinfulness

* Reminding them that God will forgive them if they are truly sorry

* Reminding them that they are keeping themselves from experiencing healing - and that the Church really can heal one's spiritual wounds.

* Remind them that they will actually get to hear the words of absolution - that they will really get to hear from the lips of the priest - that is, God's appointed representative - that their sins are forgiven (sometimes people simply need to hear the words)

* If they are obstinate, or do not want to confess because they wish to continue in sin, it may be helpful to remind them of certain "hard truths" (e.g. they cannot escape God, "that if they reject God, the only thing that's left are the demons", judgment, etc.)

Resources to Consider on This Site:

Our Fathers Love (Reflections)

Penance (Reflections)

Our Father's Love Section

Sacraments Section

Suffering / Death Reflections

Catholic Basics Section

Non-Catholics Section (apologetics)

Important Note:

Be sure you have also reviewed the following pages (click link to view):

Tips for Apologists

Helping A Loved One Who Has Left the Church or Who Isn't Practicing Their Faith

[top]

Is 'Good' Good Enough?

Consider For:

Various

Consider:

It pleasant to believe that all people we consider "good" will be saved, but the fact that it may be pleasant does not mean it is true. For more information on "Do All 'Good People' Go To Heaven?", click here

Resources to Consider on This Site:

Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation (Reflections)

The Importance of Being Catholic / No Salvation Outside the Church

Non-Catholics Section (apologetics)

Important Note:

Be sure you have also reviewed the following pages (click link to view):

Tips for Apologists

Helping A Loved One Who Has Left the Church or Who Isn't Practicing Their Faith

[top]

'The Negative Approach'

Consider For:

Those With a Lack of Interest in Religion

Those Who Fail to See the Importance of Religion

Those Who Have Fallen Away...

* Due to Laziness

* Due to Attachment to Sin or a "Lifestyle Choice"

* Due to Their Being in With a 'Bad Crowd'

Hell is Real

Coming Home Scripture Resources (see "Think there is no hell?")

Tough Love in the New Testament

Judgment is Real

Coming Home Scripture Resources (see "Think judgment is a piece of cake?")

Tough Love in the New Testament

Consequences of Sin 

Coming Home Scripture Resources (see "Think sin is no big deal?)

Tough Love in the New Testament

Also Consider:

* Discussing the shortness of life.

* Explaining that eternity is forever - it never, ever, ever, ever, ever ends...

* Providing them proof of evil / Satan / hell (e.g. stories of true exorcisms)

* Reminding them that mercy is always available

Resources to Consider on This Site:

Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation / No Salvation Outside the Church

Tough Love in the New Testament

Non-Catholics Section (apologetics)

Catholic Basics

Important Note:

Be sure you have also reviewed the following pages (click link to view):

Tips for Apologists

Helping A Loved One Who Has Left the Church or Who Isn't Practicing Their Faith

[top]

'The Personal Touch'

Consider For:

Those hurt by / having a bad experiencing with a priest, religious, or other Catholic

Those experiencing problems in a parish

Those 'mad' at God

Consider: Forgiveness

* Asking them / helping them to forgive the one(s) that hurt them. Be sure to express appropriate sorrow / regret for their hurt

Consider: Compassion / Friendship

* Offering to listen

* Offering to be there for them

* Being a good friend to them

* Taking them to lunch/dinner

* Encouraging them to lean on God and reminding them that God will help them through

Consider: Social Support

* Contacting the parish or diocese for advice

* Looking online or elsewhere for support for the other party

* Offering to meet with the priest or other person who hurt them (if it is appropriate and safe)

* Asking if you can take them to a good priest to help them

* Finding appropriate support groups for them

Consider: Other

* Inviting them back to the Church / Reminding them that the door of the Church is always open for them, that they are welcomed with open arms

* Recommend them to Mary & the saints

* Have a Mass said for them

* Offering to take them to Mass

* Finding ways to show them that God cares about them personally

* Encouraging them to change parishes

* Reminding them of God's love and mercy

* Giving them good Catholic reading materials (e.g. lives of saints)

* Finding opportunities to bring up the faith (e.g. leaving out books, when you make the sign of cross at mealtime, etc.)

* Gently reminding them about the last things (e.g. death, judgment) and that one's eternal future is at stake

Resources to Consider on This Site:

Scandals / Evil in the Church (Coming Home: Support) [scroll down or click here]

Non-Catholics Section (apologetics)

Important Note:

Be sure you have also reviewed the following pages (click link to view):

Tips for Apologists

Helping A Loved One Who Has Left the Church or Who Isn't Practicing Their Faith

[top]

The Rejection of 'Organized Religion'

Consider For:

Those who reject "organized religion"

Discussion Points to Consider:

* Christ Himself established the Church with a visible hierarchy. This is clearly shown in Scripture (Christ's apostles themselves were the first bishops and St. Peter was the first pope).

* There has to be an organized way to pass on the faith to future generations

* There has to be visible structure to dispense the sacraments and maintain the truths of the faith

* There has to be a visible structure to secure that the authority given the apostles by Christ is passed on (e.g. power of the keys, power to forgive sins)

* There had to have been a supreme authority to determine the books of the bible since "there is no inspired table of contents"

* A visible structure has been necessary throughout history for protection - there are many enemies of the faith that would capture Christians (including men, women, and children) and kill them. They have also captured them and forced them to submit to false religions.

* All societies have a structure (e.g. families, governments, companies, etc.), so why not religion? Those without structure would perish in no time.

* It really makes no sense to reject 'organized religion' because without organized religion, you would certainly have 'disorganized religion'. And, this 'disorganized religion' clearly would be a 'free for all' that could not lead its 'members' to salvation.

Resources to Consider on This Site:

Non-Catholics Section (apologetics)

Vatican View Section

Priests & Vocations Section

Catholic Basics Section

Church (Topical Scripture)

Pope (Topical Scripture)

Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation / No Salvation Outside the Church

Important Note:

Be sure you have also reviewed the following pages (click link to view):

Tips for Apologists

Helping A Loved One Who Has Left the Church or Who Isn't Practicing Their Faith

[top]

Scandals / Evil in the Church

Consider For:

Those Hurt By / Having a Bad Experience With a Priest, Religious, or Other Catholic

Those Fallen Away Due to:

* Scandal or Other Evil in the Church

* Bad Examples of Other Catholics

Consider:

* Even Christ had a Judas. Would you walk away from Christ because of Judas?

* We are all sinners and there will never be a time on earth that the Church does not contain sinners. We must be able to draw distinctions between the sinfulness of some of her members and the sinlessness of the Church. Even Scripture says the weeds and the wheat will grow together (See Mt. 13:24-30)

* Evil is committed precisely because Catholics do not live up to Church teaching - not because they do

* The Church should not be judged on the sinfulness of some its members

* It is not the whole Church

* One's sins are one's personal failings, and not the teaching of the Church

* What about all the good the Church is responsible for? (e.g. incalculable good words, large assortment of scientific/medical/etc. advances, unparalleled literary/artistic works, producing saints such as St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Theresa of Avila, etc.)

* "The value of a thing must not be judged by its abuse."

* Does it make more sense to walk away from the problem or try to fix it? Do you not become part of the problem when you leave?

* What would you have thought of a Jew in the Old Testament who abandoned the Jewish religion because of David's sins?

* "You can't improve the Church by splitting it apart"

* Remember that the chosen people in the Old Testament also were guilty of sin, but it didn't make them members of a false religion or evil or tools of the devil or anything else our enemies say about the Church 

* One can only imagine how much worse a person would be if not for the Church

* You walk away from the Church because some of her members abuse and betray her? How does that make you in the right?

* Sinful members or not, she is the only Church founded by God - the only true Church. And, membership in her fold is necessary for salvation.

* You chose to abandon her, she did not abandon you.

* Don't allow someone's sinful behavior to cause you to discard the means necessary for salvation.

* You are depriving yourself of the Sacraments for what?

* How does it help you to shoot yourself in the foot?

* Would it not make more sense to stay within her fold and remain steadfast in the faith, praying fervently for her weaker members? Christ certainly did not reject the sinners who crucified him but shed every drop of blood to save them.

* Would one discard one's own mother because she was given a black eye by one of her wayward children? Would you not console her? Why then do you simply abandon Holy Mother Church because of her wayward children?

* Do you give up being an American because of a bad president or because of some bad citizens? Why then give up the Church because of some of her bad members?

* It is not the Church's fault if Catholics do not live the life of a true Catholic, it is their own.

* Not all who call themselves Catholic are truly Catholic

* Even abuse by clergy is no reason to reject the authority of the Church. Judas was an apostle even though he betrayed Christ. A bad president still remains president - and one certainly wouldn't overthrow the entire office of the presidency because of a bad president or refuse to admit their authority. Obviously the person, not the office, is the problem. Note also that "far greater is the damage from the unlimited number of heresies promulgated than bad acts by some clergy members"

* The Church can make mistakes of a non-doctrinal nature because she is composed of weak and sinful human beings. Do you expect her to be perfect, to be God Himself?

* Even false religions that complain about events in Catholic history have "unpleasant events" in their own history, many heinous and bloody.

* If you do not have personal and complete knowledge of some "evil" the Church (or her members) is supposed to have committed, would it not make sense to give them the benefit of the doubt? Often those outside the Church portray things in a completely inaccurate light and confuse the issue. Not all negative things are true, many are out of context, some are misunderstandings, abuses are not sanctioned by the Church, etc. Remember that the Church has fierce enemies - including the prince of lies (Satan) - that would like nothing more than to see her destruction.

* Yes, there have been scandals and sin in the 2,000 year history of the Church, but that is to be expected. We are all sinners. Remember though: At least we have a history! Many of those who criticize us have no history, since their religions were founded so recently.

* If not weren't divinely guided, the Church would have fallen many years ago. Since the founding of the Church by Christ, many (most?) other human societies have fallen.

* Leaving the Church, where does that get you?

Resources to Consider on This Site:

Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation (Reflections)

Is Being a Good Person Good Enough? (Coming Home: Support)

Non-Catholics (apologetics)

Important Note:

Be sure you have also reviewed the following pages (click link to view):

Tips for Apologists

Helping A Loved One Who Has Left the Church or Who Isn't Practicing Their Faith

[top]

Should a person be accepted 'just as they are'?

Consider For:

Those who think they should be accepted 'just as they are'

Consider:

* While we must love all people regardless of who or what they are, we are not called to accept sinful behavior. In fact, the bible instructs us to "hate what is evil" (Rom.12:9), and sin is certainly the greatest evil.

* While Christ forgave sinners, he never allowed them to continue in their sins. In fact, Christ instructed "Go, (and) from now on do not sin any more." (Jn. 8:11)

* Holy Scripture tells us to admonish one another, not to 'accept sinners as they are'. Click here for more information

* Holy Scripture tells us not to associate with sinners, not to 'accept sinners as they are'. [e.g. "We instruct you, brothers, in the name of (our) Lord Jesus Christ, to shun any brother who conducts himself in a disorderly way and not according to the tradition they received from us" (St. Paul, 2 Thes. 3:6) & "Purge the evil person from your midst." (St. Paul, 1 Cor. 5:13)]

* False tolerance is not charitable to the sinner or to others. In fact, Scripture warns us that "Bad company corrupts good morals" (1 Cor. 15:33) and that "A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough" (Gal. 5:9).

* It is Christ, not us, who has given specific instructions that must be followed for those wishing to be saved. 

* While one may think it is not loving to fail to accept someone 'as they are', the truth is that it would not be very loving to allow someone to perish without trying to help them. How loving would it be to let someone fall over a cliff because you didn't want to point out that their feet were hanging three inches over the edge?

* How can it be unloving to encourage loved ones to be the best they can be? To encourage them to act in the only way they can ever be truly happy?

* It may, in fact, be sinful to 'accept' someone's sinful behavior. In fact, doing so may be one way of being an accessory to another's sin. [For more information on ways of being an accessory to another's sin, click here.]

Resources to Consider on This Site:

"Do All 'Good People' Go To Heaven?"

Should One Correct / Rebuke a Fallen Away Catholic?

Tough Love in the New Testament

Coming Home Scripture Resources  

Non-Catholics Section (apologetics)

Catholic Basics

Important Note:

Be sure you have also reviewed the following pages (click link to view):

Tips for Apologists

Helping A Loved One Who Has Left the Church or Who Isn't Practicing Their Faith

[top]

Subtle Approach / "Back Off Approach"

Consider For:

Those Hurt By / Having a Bad Experience With a Priest, Religious, or Other Catholic

Those Who Reject Authority

Consider:

* Avoiding direct confrontations

* Answering questions gently

* Letting them see the happiness your faith brings you and others

* Showing them kindness

* Letting them see you engage in wholesome, entertaining Catholic activities 

* Being extra careful to set a good example yourself

* Proving them with a 'subtle education' (e.g. leaving good Catholic books around)

* Praying very hard (novenas, rosaries, holy hours, etc.)

* Having a Mass said for them

* Using the Green Scapular (click here for more information)

Important Note:

Be sure you have also reviewed the following pages (click link to view):

Tips for Apologists

Helping A Loved One Who Has Left the Church or Who Isn't Practicing Their Faith

[top]

Those Unable to Receive the Sacraments

Consider For:

Those Unable to Attend Mass or Receive Other Sacraments

Consider:

* Can they attend Mass at a different time or location?

* Can you take them or secure them a ride?

* Determining if they are being prevented (by another, by financial reasons, by logistical reasons, by a handicap, etc.) and if you might be able to help them resolve the problem

* Can you arrange a meeting with a priest?

* Can have the priest come to them?

* Can the parish or diocese provide any assistance?

* Praying for them

* Offering Mass for them

* Would it help if you attended Mass/Confession, etc. with them? [Note: Obviously 'attending Confession' means attending Confession at the same time with them, not together with them.]

* If they are unable to receive Sacraments due to their marital status (e.g. divorced/remarried) or due to another sin, is there anything appropriate you might be able to do to help them change the sinful situation they are in?

* Finding out if they are legitimately excused from receiving the Sacraments. If so, it may be a relief for them to know that, and also to know that their suffering over not being able to receive the Sacraments may be meritorious for them.

Resources to Consider on This Site:

Sacraments Section

Non-Catholics Section (apologetics)

Important Note:

Be sure you have also reviewed the following pages (click link to view):

Tips for Apologists

Helping A Loved One Who Has Left the Church or Who Isn't Practicing Their Faith

[top]

Truth / Feelings vs. Truth

Consider For:

Those who find the Catholic Church outdated / irrelevant

Those who find some other religion or 'spirituality' to be more 'fun', 'fulfilling' or 'spiritual'

Those who think there is no objective truth

Truth: Consider

* We know that the Church Christ established, the Catholic Church - and not our own opinion or our own 'church' - is "the pillar and foundation of truth" (1 Tm. 3:15)

* We know there is objective truth and that we are responsible for knowing it and living it:

* "God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth." (Jn. 4:24)

* "...and the truth will set you free." (Jn. 8:32)

* "But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming." (Jn. 16:13)

* "So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate" (Eph. 6:14)

* "...every lie is alien to the truth." (1 Jn. 2:21)

* We also know that Jesus ["the way and the truth and the life" (Jn.14:6)] came to testify to the truth: "For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice." (Jn. 18:37)

* Scripture warns us repeatedly about error and false teaching:

* " And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth to draw the disciples away after them." (Acts 20:30)

* "The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness." (Rom. 1:18)

* "For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths." (2 Tm. 4:3-4)

* "There were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will introduce destructive heresies and even deny the Master who ransomed them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their licentious ways, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled." (2 Pt. 2:1-2)

* "And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord (Jesus) will kill with the breath of his mouth and render powerless by the manifestation of his coming, the one whose coming springs from the power of Satan in every mighty deed and in signs and wonders that lie, and in every wicked deceit for those who are perishing because they have not accepted the love of truth so that they may be saved. Therefore, God is sending them a deceiving power so that they may believe the lie, that all who have not believed the truth but have approved wrongdoing may be condemned." (2 Thes. 2:8-12)

* We know that lies are from the devil: "You belong to your father the devil and you willingly carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks in character, because he is a liar and the father of lies." (Jn. 8:44)

* We know that truth is unchanging.

* We know there is an objective truth that must be believed (see Mk. 16:15-16), and that we are called to reject error/false teachings:

* "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him in your house or even greet him; for whoever greets him shares in his evil works." (2 Jn. 1:10-11)

* "But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach (to you) a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed! Am I now currying favor with human beings or God? Or am I seeking to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ." (St. Paul, Gal. 1:7-10)

Feelings vs. Truth: Consider

* Truth is not determined by good feelings. If you calculate 2+2=4, you have achieved truth, but it is unlikely to be accompanied by a good feeling. The fact that you don't "feel" the truth of 2+2=4 doesn't make it any less true, just as the fact that someone feels 2+2=5 is true doesn't make it true.

* Not all that "feels right" is right. It probably "felt good" for Adam & Eve to take that first fruit too! And look where that got us!

* Where in Scripture does it say that practicing your religion should give you a "warm fuzzy"? Does not Scripture tell us our religion requires suffering, persecution, and the taking up of our cross?

*"...whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me." (Mt. 10:38)

* "He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, 'Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.'" (Mk. 8:34)

* "Then he said to all, 'If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'" (Lk. 9:23)

* "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple." (Lk. 14:27)

* "The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him." (Rom. 8:16-17)

* "Then they will hand you over to persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of my name." (Mt. 24:9)

* "Remember the word I spoke to you, 'No slave is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you." (Jn. 15:20)

* Christ did not come down to make people "feel good" on earth

* Religion is not about one feels

* Regardless of how one "feels" about it, he is bound by God's laws

* Religion is about truths not feelings

* Where does Scripture say our religion should be one of feelings and not objective truths?

* If one goes on "feelings", one bases ones salvation on "whatever seems to be true" or "whatever feels true". How does that square with "working out our salvation with fear and trembling" (cf. Phil. 2:12) and fearing God (1Pt. 2:17)?

Also Consider:

* There are objective truths

* Truth is not subject to opinion

* "The truth is a matter of life or death"

* Truth is true even if is not accepted or agreed to

* Truth is not a matter of opinion, but of fact

* God is truth

* "Truth is not created or measured by man but is given to man as a gift by the supreme truth, God"

* Truth is not subjective

* Truth is not negotiable

* How can truths contradict each other?

* How can God, Truth itself, find errors and falsehoods acceptable?

* Do you not consider truth important?

* If your 'truth' doesn't agree with another's 'truth', how can you be sure yours is correct? Are you claiming infallibility?

* "One can have genuine principles of truth and still arrive at false conclusions"

* How can you separate "feelings of truth" from real truth?

* How do you expect to come to truth apart from the Church which Holy Scripture calls "the pillar and foundation of truth" (1 Tm. 3:15)?

Resources to Consider on This Site:

Truth / Error / Nature of Man (Coming Home Reflections)

Infallibility (Vatican View Section)

Personal Interpretation of Scripture / Rejection of Truth (Coming Home Reflections)

Non-Catholics Section (apologetics)

Tough Love in the New Testament

Important Note:

Be sure you have also reviewed the following pages (click link to view):

Tips for Apologists

Helping A Loved One Who Has Left the Church or Who Isn't Practicing Their Faith

[top]

The Unchangeableness of the Church

Consider For:

Those who find the Catholic Church outdated / irrelevant

Consider:

* Like it or not, there are fixed truths not subject to the whims or opinions of human beings.

* The Church cannot change because truth - by its very nature - is unchanging. One cannot change 2+2=4 for any person, no matter how unpopular the formula may be, precisely because it is a truth which is not subject to change. The doctrines of the Church are also truths which are not subject to change.

* The dogmas of the Church are God's revealed truths. No one on earth has the power or authority to change them, not even the pope.

* The Church cannot change because her purpose is to preserve doctrine, not to create new doctrine; "the Faith is not a thing to be refashioned by any human intelligence, but something to be safeguarded by the Church's authority against any such refashioning."

* The Church teaches infallibly through the protection of the Holy Spirit (click here). Do you seriously expect her to put aside the assistance of the Holy Spirit so that instead of teaching truth she may simply teach what you like? 

* How could you respect the Church if she changed her doctrines to suit your likes and dislikes? You would be worshiping not God, but yourself!

* The Church is not a democracy, nor was it founded by Christ to be a democracy.

* Since when does opinion dictate religious truths?

* Do you also expect God to change for you?

* God Himself is perfect, and therefore not subject to change. Note: Click here for 'Unchanging' (Topical Scripture)

* Why do you think that the Church - Christ's body (see Col 1:18) - should cater to your likes and dislikes? Are you claiming to be God? 

* The Church's dogmas are not hers to change. She did not manufacture them, but is only passing down what was revealed.

* How can dogmas of the faith be subject to negotiation?

* "The Church is not a modem or an outlet for self-gratification, it is rather the living safeguard of Christ's teaching." 

* The Church's unchangeableness and protection of dogmas has actually led to the protection of life on earth. Note that heretics have been around from the beginning - some of them promoted suicide as a positive good. If not for the unchangeable Church, people would be swept away by all sorts of strange teaching, so strongly condemned in Scripture.

* What you see as a bad thing is actually a good thing. The Catholic Church alone is the only religion with consistent doctrine. In fact, it is an excellent way of distinguishing the true Church from false religions (who are unable to maintain consistent doctrine precisely because they don't consider truths as fixed but rather allow each to 'come to' their own doctrine by means of personal interpretation).

Resources to Consider on This Site:

Against Human 'Progress' in Religion (Reflections)

Novel Teachings Are Forbidden (Reflections) 

Duty to Reject Strange Doctrine (Reflections) 

Error / Truth (Reflections)

Popes as Preservers of Tradition / Against New Doctrines (Vatican View Reflections) 

Papal Infallibility (Vatican View)

Non-Catholics Section (apologetics)

Unchanging (Topical Scripture) 

Important Note:

Be sure you have also reviewed the following pages (click link to view):

Tips for Apologists

Helping A Loved One Who Has Left the Church or Who Isn't Practicing Their Faith

[top]

What They Are Missing

Consider For:

Various

The Holy Eucharist

* Only the Catholic Church lawfully confects the Holy Eucharist

* God Himself!

* Jesus is not only with us, but IN us!

* How can one possibly have more personal relationship with Christ than the consuming of His very flesh?

* "You have the Eucharist, what more could you want?"

Forgiveness of Sins 

* The Catholic Church alone has the power to forgive sins

Holy Scripture

* Only the Catholic Church has the full Bible!

* Changes not made to Scripture to suit man

* No omitted books 

Salvation 

* Only the Church lawfully dispenses the Sacraments and teachings necessary for salvation

* Membership in the Catholic Church is necessary for salvation (click here)

Truth

* Only the Catholic Church has the full truth and guaranteed infallibility of doctrine (click here)

* Doctrinal certainty

* Unity of belief

* Truths traceable back to Christ

The Blessed Virgin Mary

* Only the Catholic Church fully honors and appreciates our Blessed Mother 

* Our blessed Mother, given to us during the Passion by Christ, herself predicted that "all generations shall call [her] blessed" (Lk. 1:48)

Saints 

* Only the Catholic Church fully honors and appreciates the Saints, God's friends in heaven

* The Church has a rich and inspiring history of martyrs, saints, miraculous intercession, heroic achievements, etc.

* Honoring of relics (including proven miraculous occurrences)

Other

* Sacramentals (images, statues, medals, holy water, relics, etc.)

* Indulgences & the right to dispense from the treasury of merits of the Saints

* Rich history / patrimony (including countless benefits to persons of all classes throughout history)

* A wealth of time trusted prayers, spiritual exercises, theological works, etc.

* Only the Catholic Church was founded by Christ (see Mt. 16:18)

* Only the Catholic Church can trace its origin back 2000 years

* Only the Catholic Church has a pope with protection of the Holy Spirit (click here)

* Comfort in the knowledge that one's Christian religion is the same as that practiced by the earliest Christians, tracing right back to Christ

* Safe from the knowledge that one cannot be pleasing to God to be in a religion (even if it calls itself 'Christian') that rejects/opposes the only Church founded by Christ. 

* Safe from the concerns of following a religion manufactured by a (now dead) heretic.

* Etc.

Resources to Consider on This Site:

Why I Love Being Catholic Section

The Importance of Being Catholic / No Salvation Outside the Church

Non-Catholics Section (apologetics)

Important Note:

Be sure you have also reviewed the following pages (click link to view):

Tips for Apologists

Helping A Loved One Who Has Left the Church or Who Isn't Practicing Their Faith

[top]

When Faith is Lost

Consider For:

Those no longer believing in the Catholic Faith

Those no longer believing in the existence of God

Consider:

* Why did they stop believing?

* Clearing up any myths/objections they might suffer from (e.g. evolution, biblical criticism, etc.)

* Reminding them of the necessity of faith and the Church for salvation

* Reminding them that "facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored or because some men reject them"

* Telling them to continue praying, even if they don't believe 

* Encouraging a devotion to Mary, even if they don't believe

* Praying very hard for them

* The fact that "If you reject God, the only thing that's left are the demons"

* The fact that "There is no alternative to God."

* At some point you will die, and then what?

For Those Not Believing in the Church Consider:

* Showing them "proofs" of the Church's divine origin, including:

* Scriptural proofs (e.g. Christ's promise to Peter, the confirmation of Christ's promise after Jesus' Resurrection, etc.)

* Historical proofs (e.g. divine protection of the Church, unbroken succession of popes, historical artifacts, etc.)

* Logical proofs (e.g. would have to be divine to survive historical events, Church is victorious even when outnumbered, etc.)

* Asking them how they can explain away all the fulfilled prophecies, miraculous occurrences, courageous martyrs, highly intellectual converts, etc.

* Reminding them that the Church was divinely founded even if they don't believe it

* Reminding them that the Eucharist is real even if they don't believe it

* Asking them if they want to believe

* If they don't want to believe, asking them why not - Is it due to a sin? Is it really more a case of wishful thinking than non-belief?

For Those Not Believing in God Consider:

* Asking where they think all things came from

* Asking where they think they came from / how they got here

* Asking them what they think the meaning of life is

* Asking them how they can explain away all the fulfilled prophecies, miraculous occurrences, courageous martyrs, highly intellectual converts, etc.

* Reminding them that God still exists and still loves them, even if they don't believe in Him

* Encouraging them to explore aspects of nature and the great complexity of things, from insects to plants to animals to people...

* Asking them if they want to believe

* If they don't want to believe, asking them why not - Is it due to a sin? Is it really more a case of wishful thinking than non-belief?

If They Want to Believe, Consider:

* Asking them to pray for the gift of faith

* Helping them resolve problems (e.g. changing parishes)

* Scripture reading

* Reading defenses of the faith & popular convert stories

* Inspirational stories

* True accounts of saints' lives (including recent well-documented accounts of wonder working saints, e.g. Padre Pio)

* Stories of well documented & approved miraculous occurrences (e.g. Our Lady of Fatima's miracle of the sun)

* True accounts of well-documented & approved prophecies (e.g. prophecies of Our Lady of Fatima)

* True accounts of Eucharistic miracles

* True accounts of other scientifically unexplainable items (e.g. Shroud of Turin, tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe, etc.)

* Pilgrimages

* Asking them / reminding them about events in which they could "see the hand of God" in their life

* Reminding them of pleasant realities (e.g. God's mercy, forgiveness, heaven, etc.)

Resources to Consider on This Site:

Feed Your Faith Section

Non-Catholics Section (apologetics)

Important Note:

Be sure you have also reviewed the following pages (click link to view):

Tips for Apologists

Helping A Loved One Who Has Left the Church or Who Isn't Practicing Their Faith

[top]

Other Assistance

Consider:  

* Offering friendship / compassion

* Clearing up errors / misconceptions

* Helping them strengthen their faith

* Helping them overcome obstacles and other difficulties

* Helping them obtain necessary social support (e.g. Catholic support groups, priestly assistance, etc.)

* Helping them see the importance of faith & the Church

* Helping them make connections with good Catholics

* Helping them get involved in good Catholic activities

* Helping them to learn more about the faith

* Helping them secure necessary temporal assistance (e.g. means to get to church, medical support, etc.)

* Providing a good example

* Showing them how being a good Catholic will benefit them

* Inviting them to church during the day for Eucharistic adoration

* Inviting them / taking them to Mass

* Giving them a Rosary and asking them to say it with you

Resources to Consider on This Site:

Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation (Reflections)

The Importance of Being Catholic / No Salvation Outside the Church

Is Being a Good Person Good Enough? (Coming Home: Support)

Non-Catholics Section (apologetics)

Catholic Basics

Why I Love Being Catholic Section

Our Father's Love Section

Important Note:

Be sure you have also reviewed the following pages (click link to view):

Tips for Apologists

Helping A Loved One Who Has Left the Church or Who Isn't Practicing Their Faith

[top]


Also See:

Does it Really Matter if I'm Catholic or Not?

Tips for Apologists

Should One Correct / Rebuke a Fallen Away Catholic?

Our Behavior / Tips (Coming Home Reflections)

Fallen Away Catholics (Reflections)

More Coming Home Reflections

Coming Home (User Posts): View Posts | Search Posts 

Coming Home: Scripture Resources

Non-Catholics Section (apologetics)

Catholic Basics

Sacraments Section

Vatican View Section

Feed Your Faith

Why I Love Being Catholic

Our Father's Love

Church (Topical Scripture)

Conversion / Return to the Lord (Topical Scripture)

Fear of the Lord (Topical Scripture)

More Topical Scripture: Alphabetical | Categorized

Teachings of Jesus

Other New Testament Teachings 

Tough Love in the New Testament  

Old Testament Wisdom

More Scripture / Parables

Classic Encyclicals

Can Catholic Dogma Ever Change?

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