Welcome to the CHNetwork Online Community Forums Social Barriers to Conversion Daughter's baptism causing family drama

2 replies, 3 voices Last updated by  dedrict 4 months ago
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    I scheduled my 4 year old’s baptism through the Catholic Church for next month.  (I’m beginning RCIA in September).  My mother and her side of the family are refusing to attend my little girl’s baptism, because “they cannot support Catholicism.”  I kind of assumed this would happen, but now that they are RSVPing “no” to my invitation, it stings more than I thought it would.  They are all part of a large church that is a borderline cult, and a huge Catholic-hating machine.  However, I do not feel that attending her baptism is an acceptance of Catholicism, and I don’t ask that they accept it.  Just be there for my daughter in this important moment in her life.

    This is causing some strife within my family, between the ones who do support me and the ones who do not.  I don’t want to cause tension, but my decision to become Catholic and raise my daughter Catholic is important to me and I’m not going to change that.  How can I get through this without losing my patience?  Guidance please?


    David W. Emery
    @David W. Emery

    Your relatives are exercising their God-given free will in refusing to attend your daughter’s baptism, just as they exercised their free will to adhere to a particular faith that seems to them to be true. The point is that you can’t force them to change their minds. Therefore, you are going to have to accept their decision.

    So how to handle the situation? I would just go through with my plans and let the relatives do what they will. It’s a God affair, after all, not a family affair. Your daughter will be validly baptized, and you will be raising her Catholic all the same. The “huge Catholic-hating machine” will, in the end, be dismantled by God himself, in his own way and in his own time. He is the Judge, after all, not your relatives.

    Loss of patience? The Serenity Prayer should help:

    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    Courage to change the things I can,
    And wisdom to know the difference.




    My personal opinion is that there is nothing we can do to prevent discord among family when we are simply living our faith, and that alone is causing friction.  It is going to happen especially when family members are involved in churches with a clear anti-Catholic bias.  The reality is that we are going to be separated from some family and friends in matters of faith. There really isn’t any way around it.  Jesus warned us there would be division.

    Luke 12:51-53:  “51 Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?  No, I tell you, but rather division. 52  From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three;  53  a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

    Of course our goal is not to create division, but it is a realty we can only pray our way through.  My personal advice would be to accept their “no” responses and try not to let it bother you.  If the topic comes up, I think it might be best to simply be gracious, thanking them for considering, and saying you understand their hesitation.   The difference between protestant baptism and Catholic baptism is that we know it does mark us for Christ.  It is a work of grace and part of our path of salvation.  If no one attended but you and you daughter, it would still be perhaps the most profound moment in her life.  Nothing can take away the amazing beauty of God’s grace.  We invited family to our daughter’s baptism, but as most live out of state, none came.  Our new Catholic friends and daughter’s godparents were there, but that was it (from our friends/family).

    Do you have friends at your parish you can celebrate with?  If so, do something special with them, and make her baptism a celebration with those that truly understand the significance.

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