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Question about family members not living the faith


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  #1  
April 2nd, 2013, 11:49 AM
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Cliff notes-I have a SIL who is living w/ her fiance. She has son from a previous relationship (she was engaged to this guy too) she is very open about the fact that they live together, sleep together and are using BC. My DH and I decided not to have them in our home due to the example they are setting to our younger sibs and children. Of course that just made her mad. Recently DH's older sister invited everyone over for Easter dinner. We did not attend because the unmarried one and her fiance we attending. This of course caused problems and upset the sister. (she found out because the host informed her-which was stupid IMP to do that before the gathering) anyways, she send this rude text to my hubby accusing him of being judgmental.
My thought is that we are simply making a decision to protect our children from a negative influence based on an observation. What would you ladies do in this situation?
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  #2  
April 2nd, 2013, 12:07 PM
Julka
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Hmmm, no, I can't say I really agree with this. These people are your family and unless they are openly telling your kids that their lifestyle is the way to go, I wouldn't create family drama like that. I mean, are all your friends and neighbours and co-workers Catholic? Probably not. What if your kids make neighbourhood friends or friends at their extracurricular activities whose parents don't live the "Catholic-way" (i.e. are unmarried, divorced, etc.) - will you tell them not to play or go to their house because they will see "bad examples"?

I mean, I'm a convert to to the Catholic faith. My side of the family might do or have done a lot of things that aren't really in accordance with the Catholic faith, so am I to tell my kids they can't see their grandparents or other family because they are living in sin? This isn't fair to the kids.

I have no issues with my children associating with relatives or friends that aren't living in accordance with our faith as long as they are treating my kids with love and respect. My husband and I teach our kids at home the correct way of living in accordance with the faith and how we believe God wants us to live, BUT at the same time, not everyone shares our views on life, not everyone shares our faith, and unless we move into some Catholic-bubble, our kids will be exposed to people who live differently. My job is to instill good values in our kids from an early age, not to hide them from society.
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  #3  
April 2nd, 2013, 01:28 PM
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The problem is not that she isn't catholic-we have friends and other family members that aren't and they are welcome in our home anytime. The issue is that she is very vocal about it and has started TRYING to pull others away from the faith-including 2 of her own sisters. The other thing I have a problem with is that she has been with many men and this is her 2nd fiance. I am concerned that this relationship will possibly fail as well and since her son calls this man "Daddy" my children will ask me "where is so-and-so's Daddy?" Growing up dealing withe pain of divorce and separation myself and seeing what it did to other family members, friends and my younger brother I do not want my kids exposed to that fear (the fear that their own Daddy could leave) when they are not old enough to understand that not everyone follows Jesus the way we do. My oldest is 5 and pretty sensitive and I don't think that seeing that at this time in his life would do him any good. When is older and has a better foundation he will do fine.
We are also concerned because she is doing this knowing how her family feels and she has basically given us all the middle finger and expects us to not care. My DH and I have no problem spending time with her and her fiance if it is just us adults, but we feel that our children don't need that complication situation on display at this age.
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  #4  
April 2nd, 2013, 07:12 PM
Julka
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rebecca0217 View Post
The problem is not that she isn't catholic-we have friends and other family members that aren't and they are welcome in our home anytime. The issue is that she is very vocal about it and has started TRYING to pull others away from the faith-including 2 of her own sisters.
OK, if she is REALLY doing this vocally at family gatherings, then you need to speak with her. But explain it to her directly, not to other family members, but to her either in person, phone, or e-mail.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rebecca0217 View Post
The other thing I have a problem with is that she has been with many men and this is her 2nd fiance. I am concerned that this relationship will possibly fail as well and since her son calls this man "Daddy" my children will ask me "where is so-and-so's Daddy?" Growing up dealing withe pain of divorce and separation myself and seeing what it did to other family members, friends and my younger brother I do not want my kids exposed to that fear (the fear that their own Daddy could leave) when they are not old enough to understand that not everyone follows Jesus the way we do. My oldest is 5 and pretty sensitive and I don't think that seeing that at this time in his life would do him any good. When is older and has a better foundation he will do fine.
This is the part I don't agree with. And believe me, we're in a very similar situation, so I know where you're coming from. But like my husband pointed out, Jesus didn't gather the holy people around him; rather, he ate with the sinners.

Also, I do believe that as long as your child sees a strong relationship between you and your husband on a daily basis, if he sees how much you love each other and show that, he will NOT have anything to worry about. I have a 5 year old too and she's very observant. We answer any questions she might have, but don't go out of our ways explaining unnecessary details she didn't ask herself. As long as they see a good, strong relationship at home, that is all the security they need.

And this is my opinion, but divorce is not always a "bad thing". I have seen good Catholics separate over more serious issues than just "it didn't work out." People separate over abuse, over drugs, over cheating - there are MANY issues - and sometimes it is BETTER to separate than continue living a life of suffering and unhappiness. Yes, maybe a marriage happened when it shouldn't have - but my point is that it's not always so black & white. People separate for different reasons and I'll explain those reasons to my kids because one day I want them to consider these things before jumping into a relationship with someone.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rebecca0217 View Post
We are also concerned because she is doing this knowing how her family feels and she has basically given us all the middle finger and expects us to not care. My DH and I have no problem spending time with her and her fiance if it is just us adults, but we feel that our children don't need that complication situation on display at this age.
Similar situation and honestly, unless she's outward acting in some immoral ways in family gatherings, this would not bother me. But I can't imagine not attending Easter dinner with family because of this...
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  #5  
April 3rd, 2013, 01:44 PM
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Yes, Jesus ate with sinners, but I bet Mary wasn't exactly taking him to dinner with tax collectors and prostitutes when He was just a little kid!

Regarding the OP, I think if it were my decision to make, we would avoid that family member but not avoid family functions on "neutral" territory because that family member is also in attendance. Declining Easter Dinner, or any other functions, won't help change your SIL- from your description of her she probably LOVES the fact that you weren't there and the drama that results.
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  #6  
April 3rd, 2013, 02:37 PM
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I would attend family functions. I would also ask her politely to refrain from discussing her personal life around children. Other than that, I would pray for her. I was married before I met my husband now. I wasn't Catholic at the time, we didn't have any children and I had it annuled so that I could be married in the Church. I certainly don't have a "clean" past but, I don't discuss it amongst kids. You have to remember that a lot of the saints weren't always the saints they are now. No one is perfect, except Mary, of course. We all sin. All of us.
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  #7  
April 3rd, 2013, 03:48 PM
Julka
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Originally Posted by jhmomofmany View Post
Yes, Jesus ate with sinners, but I bet Mary wasn't exactly taking him to dinner with tax collectors and prostitutes when He was just a little kid!
.
Um, lol, not quite the same thing at all.. I guess I just see different "levels" to living a "sinful" life, so to say. I mean, if I had a relative working for the porn industry, sure thing we will avoid them. But a SIL or a BIL who has premarital relations or children outside of wedlock, I don't quite see a reason to break family ties with. Doesn't mean I approve of it, but to me they are just not on the same level.
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  #8  
April 3rd, 2013, 06:14 PM
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I think that the easy acceptance of sinful habits is part of the problem. What consequences are there? None. If my child sees that we treat her the same way we treat the siblings we tried very hard to live the right way and follow their faith what motivation do they have to overcome temptation? I believe in forgiveness and I believe in loving sinners but not to the detriment of my childrens souls.
What do you do about kids who are bad influences? Do you allow your children to spend time with them? I wouldn't. I understand that Christ spent time with sinners, but that was Christ-fully human and fully divine. My kids are fully human and that is it. I still love my SIL and have not turned my back on her, I simply have chosen not to allow her behavior to be an example to my kids.
As far as asking her not to speak of her lifestyle-I know my kids won't pick up on it. As I said before her kid calls this man "Daddy" and he is 4 adn unable to undo that habit. I refuse to force the reality of failed relationships and divorce on to my child at such a young age. I remember very clearly what it felt like for myself and my brother to be exposed to that pain and fear and I don't want that for my kids. I appreciate you opinion and view point, but it does not settle with me and our priest even said that sometimes avoiding the scandal of you children takes priority over the relationships you have with other family members
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  #9  
April 4th, 2013, 03:40 PM
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OK, so... why ask for opinions if you are 100% settled in your own mind that your reaction is appropriate?
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  #10  
April 7th, 2013, 11:37 PM
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I think keeping her from your house is totally up to you, but keeping yourself and your kids from a family Easter isn't doing anything but hurting your family.
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