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Jean Santoro wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • What does one do for a 25-year-old son who believes but is pulled into the world by his non-Christian friends, especially regarding things of a sexual nature?

They think nothing is wrong with it.

He does not listen to my sermons anymore. I brought him up the best I could in the faith but his friends have pulled him away.

I pray the Rosary daily and talk non-stop to many saints.

Thank you,

Jean Santoro

  { What should I do when my son is being pulled away by sexually-active, non-Christian friends? }

Mike replied:

Hi Jean,

I know you probably don't want to hear this, but part of the answer is you have to accept his free will and his free choices.

From my experience, don't fall into the trap of sermonizing a son who knows what you are going to say and probably doesn't want to hear it. It will push him from you rather then pull him spiritually to a better place.

It is hard Jean, but the Lord is calling you and parents in similar situations to follow the example of St. Monica.

Monica never gave up praying for her son St. Augustine and look what happened.

Augustine went from a youthful sinner who has been quoted as saying:

Give me chastity, but not yet.

to being a bishop and doctor of the Church. Today, there are many in the Church that refer to him as the Doctor of Grace, based on his theology.

St. Francis's popular phrase also comes in handy:

Preach to everyone, and when necessary, use words.

I remember Scott Hahn saying on one of his tapes: it's that slow and stead witness:

  • being kind
  • doing charitable things out of love and for no other reason, and
  • helping and assisting people

that will turn your son toward listening to you.

When people start saying,

She is such a nice person; she gets along with everyone and always does nice things.

they will then start to say to themselves,

I want to be like that person. Let me learn more about that person and what is important in her life.

The key: The non-verbal witness has to come first.

When I run into situations like this, I ask the Lord (in my private prayers) to send other people into the person's life who will show [him/her] what I am trying to say in a manner in which [he/she] will understand it. Maybe you could ask something similar for your son in your prayers.

Hope this helps,

Mike

Jean replied:

That was awesome. You should be a priest.

Thanks very much.

Jean

Mike replied:

Hi Jean,

Thank-you for the kind reply.

If I ever were to go in that direction, I would probably be the one seminarian debating and questioning my seminary professors :) But that's good, that's health and that's needed in the Church. We will never love a Church or the Lord if we never know them. This requires asking questions.

If I thought I had a better chance of saving my soul as a priest I may consider your suggestion but, personally, I still think there are aspects of the seminaries in Boston that could be improved on.

For example: There was a late-vocation priest who graduated in 2005 and he didn't know the correct words for absolution in Confession despite the fact that it is spelled out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: CCC 1449.

That said, I think Cardinal O'Malley has improved upon the internal conditions inside the seminary since his arrival, and, after praying that all bad seminary professors be removed permanently from any office in the Church worldwide, I do pray for all priests in the Church and encourage others to do so as well.

Massachusetts is a tough place to be a practicing Catholic but look at the benefit:

I have a better chance at Martyrdom!

Mike

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