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Catholic Etiquette


Q: I’m feeling increasingly frustrated by my evangelical neighbors who seemed determined to “convert” my children. Although we are active in our local Catholic parish, the neighbors’ church plans all kinds of fun activities for children and families that are not available through our church. At first, I was pleased when these friends offered to take my preschoolers to Vacation Bible School or invited us to the annual ice cream social. Now, however, as the children are getting older, they are coming home with pamphlets and ideas that sometimes run counter to our Catholic theology. I’ve become more and more uneasy with the invitations, but don’t know quite how to refuse them. What do you suggest?

A. Some religious groups practice genuine hospitality, while others use hospitality as a means of recruiting new members. Without determining precisely which of these categories your neighbors fall into, you must respect your own instincts. If you’re concerned that peer pressure is being subtly or directly applied to your children, then it is time to put a limit on their involvement with the evangelical church.

Politely refusing invitations is never easy. Politely refusing repeated invitations is even harder. For this reason, I recommend a direct approach. Tell your neighbors that you appreciate their friendship and willingness to include your family in their church-sponsored activities, but that you feel your children are at an age now where they are likely to be confused by differing theologies. Suggest that you get together in a secular setting, if you and they want to maintain the relationship.

This question was found in the book Catholic Etiquette by Kay Lynn Isca.

Irma Wolcott

Irma Wolcott

Irma Wolcott is the owner of Fun With Etiquette. Call her at 956-492-4762 for more information. Website: e-Mail her at: [email protected]

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