FishEaters Traditional Catholic Forums

Full Version: Dilemma involving Friend
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
One of my good friends, who is a semi-practicing Catholic, goes to an extremely secular school which, as far as he knows, doesn't have any Catholic groups on campus.  This past week has been rough for him, and he decided to go check out a non-denominational "Christian group" where people get together and pray, read the Bible, etc.  He was telling me about it, and I really just had no idea what to say.

I know there are obvious prohibitions on attending/participating in Protestant services.  But what about groups like I described above?  I worry that if I tell him to stop getting involved, I'll just seem too strict and turn him off from the Faith even more.  But I also don't feel good just saying nothing, and letting him go his way if what he's doing is wrong or sinful. 

Is it wrong to be in groups like those? What/how should I tell him? Thanks.
I would tell him to stay away. Maybe he can start his own Catholic group. I go to a state university and we have an entire house dedicated to the "Catholic Center." Even my old community college had a Catholic Fellowship group.
If I were in that situation, I think I'd have a really hard time exerting any influence tactfully, which is of course very important, but I think as much as possible it's necessary to direct people away from any sort of non-Catholic religious clubs or activities.

I've seen many too many people raised in a sort of weak, barely practicing sort of 'Catholicism' who get ensnared in any sort of Protestant group in college. They easily get wrapped up in all the zeal and enthusiasm of it, and in their minds they're doing something good for getting involved in something religious, rather than finally formally rejecting the religion they barely had in the first place.


I myself too easily end up falling into this sort of apologist mode, which is occasionally necessary, but tends to make things hostile when they don't need to be. Introducing Catholic stuff (whatever there might be) as a positive thing, without undue pressure, can be of a lot of benefit, though that won't break all the sentimental ties or attraction that Protestant groups might have for them...

I've brought a few of my secular or "non-denominational-Evangelical-whatever" friends to the Traditional Mass on a few occasions, inviting them almost as sort of reverent tourists. I politely explain some things to them so they're not too confused, though I regret that I couldn't get them to engage in it more thoroughly, but you can't rush things like that or force them on to people. It was always frustrating, though, when they really didn't understand why I couldn't have anything to do with their informal Bible studies or why we couldn't go be tourists at some other kind of church the next Sunday...


Coming off as strict and authoritarian or something will definitely just scare him away, though I think many Catholics and semi-Catholics are almost totally unaware that the Church has any rules on anything. Being able to explain them politely and articulately, why, for instance, we can't participate in non-Catholic religious activities, is extremely valuable, but I think I'm less polite and articulate than I need to be.
My perception is that most American Catholics do not have a meaningful sense of Catholicism's being qualitatively different from Protestant denominations in teaching authority, fundamental validity, etc. That your friend would go in for something like the Bible study group you describe suggests that he suffers from this brand of confusion. Presumably, therefore, he would simply be nonplussed by your trying to dissuade him from continuing to meet with his Protestant friends to do something so ostensibly impeccable as study Scripture. I would just pray for him and trust that the experience will lead him back to the one true Faith.