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tinytherese

"Too Catholic" for People?

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tinytherese

In college, my friends were discussing how another friend of ours was having some kind of trouble with her bofriend. I asked what the situation was, but they said that they weren't going to tell me because they knew how I'd react. I think it was about something sexual or religious in nature. I had started a club promoting chastity on campus, did volunteer work at the Catholic church in town, and people knew of my interest in theology. Hopefully, that situation was properly resolved.

I have an A.A. in Religion from a secular college and a B.A. in Theology from a Catholic university. I planned on becoming a theology teacher at a Catholic high school, a director of religious education, or work in catechesis for the diocese in some other way. I ended up not doing anything related to my degrees and I'm still trying to figure out what to do for a career. I found out that I'm not cut out for any careers in theology or anything to do with pastoral ministry. (There are few job openings anyway.) I had really bad experiences at my school and I didn't get a good education in theology. (Long story.)

I'm don't like sharing with people what my degrees are in. I don't want to look like a holier than thou judgmental religious nut who makes people uncomfortable. On top of that I don't want to discuss my awful experiences with most people. They're often curious why I studied that and why I'm not doing that for a career.      

I'm not asking people to agree with me or discuss Catholicism if they don't want to. I simply ask that they respect my religious beliefs and I'll respect whatever religious beliefs they have.

I've spent time with people who know about my interests, yet said rude things about Catholics and the Catholic faith. One guy even did this despite that it was a Catholic university and was a theology major. He was Evangelical Lutheran and for some unknown reason decided to go to our school anyway.

I know that we're to spread the faith and only supposed to talk about our beliefs if they come up naturally or the person expresses interest. We're also to preach the Gospel at all times and to only use words when necessary as witnesses. I don't limit my friends to Catholics or Christians only. I don't want to scare them away though.

Edited by tinytherese
Proofreading

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beatitude

How old are you? When I was in my late teens and early twenties I knew people who would say, "Don't talk about this in front of Beatitude!" sometimes jokingly, sometimes seriously. They respected my faith as a part of me, but I think it made them feel self-conscious about certain choices they were making - not necessarily because of anything specific I'd done to make them feel that way, but because they themselves felt awkward over it when around me. Sometimes I would meet people who expected me to be judgemental. That annoyed me a little, as I felt that they were the judgemental ones in that situation, but then I remembered that they might either have had bad prior experiences of Christians or not know many at all and only have a stereotypical picture of us in their head (or, of course, that I was judging without meaning to). So in that situation I learnt to just smile and let it pass without saying anything to defend myself or trying to crowbar information out of the other person - if they prefer not to share things with me, that's fine. Now that I'm older (31) things are different. I've changed a bit, and so have the people around me. Now the main reaction to my faith is curiosity, and there doesn't seem to be the same expectation that I would be judgemental. I think people get more confident in others and in themselves as they get older, which helps them to shake off those fears.

In the case of your friend who is having trouble with her boyfriend, I think it's perhaps for the best for you not to know the situation. When a group of friends starts chatting about a mutual friend's situation it can very easily tip over the line from concern into gossiping. I used to feel a bit left out when I was in high school and my classmates would stop talking about certain topics if I was there, but I learned to see it as a good thing - it removed the temptation to gossip from me and it perhaps encouraged them to think twice about what they were discussing.

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tinytherese
17 hours ago, beatitude said:

How old are you? 

I'm 29. You might be right about my friend. It could've led to gossip. I didn't like be left out of helping a friend who may have been in need as if I couldn't be trusted.

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BarbaraTherese

When I was on an adult campus as a student not all that long ago, and it generally became known I was a practising Catholic, I found myself in all sorts of situations, some hostile - some curious about the Catholic Faith.......and all the in-betweens I think.  I found that all situations were different by some degree or other and all I could do was respond as I was able.  I have had great devotion to The Holy Spirit since early teens and I tried to keep my campus and its needs and my responses in prayer.  Gossip is a very wise and most important one indeed to avoid for a few very important reasons.  I found it became obvious (stuck out like a sore thumb) that I was not joining in such talk - when I didn't that is.

I think it can be difficult to know if one has responded well or could have done better.  I am a person who after a conversation can think of all the things I could have said.  I can only do what I can at the time. Hindsight can be a blessing, it can also be a bit of a curse sometimes. :) ..........at least with me it can.

I was astounded after I left studies and started to take in ironing when an ironing client asked could she drop around for coffee now and then "I like the way you talk about religion".  I never even realised I had ever raised the subject.

Edited by BarbaraTherese

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lost_in_this_world

I definitely have a friend who thinks I will be judging her so it takes a lot for her to open up. Which is not the case, and she knows that I would never judge her but she also has made some dangerous choices that she knows I don’t agree with. 

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