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WantsToKeepThePeace wrote:

Hi, guys —

My sister-in-law constantly tries to pressure my 20-year-old daughter to attend the youth group she leads at her Pentecostal church. My sister-in-law is very anti-Catholic, something we always try to politely ignore. My daughter was raised in the Catholic Church and attended 14 years of Catholic school.

My daughter called me, upset today, and asked for my help in politely explaining to her aunt why she is not comfortable joining the group. I am at a loss as to what she can say that would not hurt her aunt feelings or make her angry.

  • What is a polite way for her to decline joining this group?

We sometimes attend their service when my nephew has something going on, Christmas caroling, a play, etc. Visiting for the odd special occasion is so much different than actively participating on a weekly basis.

Your help would be appreciated,


  { How can my daughter politely decline joining my sister-in-law's anti-Catholic Pentecostal group? }

Bob replied:

Dear friend,

Try and find a Catholic youth group and have your daughter join that instead. Then you can tell your relatives:

  • she has found a youth group that is Catholic and is going to that, or
  • even encourage her to be active in leading some Catholic youth activities at your parish, because she's a little older that the teens.

Something like Life teen could work.

If you can't find another outlet that provides a ready alibi, take action like a clever politician would:

  1. Affirm her good work and how much she must love the Lord
  2. Say: Sometime I'll have to come by. (but make no commitments)
  3. Have your daughter visit, say what a wonderful thing she is doing, but explain how she is looking for something a little different, and perhaps then talk about finding something Catholic — so as to bring more fellowship to her own church youth, etc.

The bottom line is, embrace what it good, maybe use it as a model to do something good, and avoid a theology conflict, because your family relationships are too important to let that become a wedge. So think political, equivocate, placate, patronize and kick the can down the road as far as debates go.

Your willingness to emulate what she considers a critical way to reach young people about Jesus will do more than words ever could to show that Catholics are people of faith (in action) too.


Bob Kirby

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