“Ask a Priest: Should I Be Attending a Friend’s Bachelorette Party?”

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Q: I’m 28 years old, from Mexico and was in consecrated life for a few years. I’ve always had this question and until now I’ve been able to escape the situation, but I can’t now. My girlfriends are organizing a bachelorette party for one of my friends. It will probably involve a “stripper” and a lot of sexualized/sex-oriented games. I am the only practicing Catholic and the only one feeling uncomfortable about this. On the other hand, I do want to accompany my friend in this moment of her life. I really don’t care what people think of me and I don’t mind saying “no,” yet I know myself and I also know that things can evolve fast without noticing. I guess I am looking for advice/support … I think my conscience is clear about this and maybe I should talk to my friend and just not go. But I don’t know if I am just exaggerating and over-thinking this. I am kind of new to these things … yet they are the typical, common things out here. What does a Catholic person, who truly values purity, do in this kind of situation? I appreciate your help. Count on my prayers. -M.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: My heart goes out to you! I admire your courage in trying to witness to your faith. You are not “exaggerating and over-thinking” this situation. Rather, you are showing the concern of a true friend for the bride: that is, you are concerned about her spiritual life as well as your own.

You sense — correctly, I would say — that this is the kind of party you should skip. Your attendance would imply your consent to what is going on. This might be especially scandalous if the other women perceive you as someone who is serious about her faith.

Instead, you might invite your friend out to a nice lunch, a “bachelorette lunch,” for just the two of you. Simply tell her that you are not comfortable with the wild-party plan, but that you want to share in her joy, so you would like to take her out. If she asks more about the topic during your lunch, fine. But there is no need to make it a major issue explicitly on your part; your decision not to attend the party will be enough of a statement.

Another suggestion: Try to build at least some strong friendships with people who share your faith-priorities. Get involved in Church-related activities and volunteer work that will bring you in contact with like-minded Catholics. The “megamissions” carried out in Mexico during Holy Week might be a good place to rub elbows with faithful, young Catholics. If it helps, keep in touch (via Facebook, etc.) with other women who might have been in consecrated life.

I don’t want to discourage you from trying to help your current circle of friends. They need your witness of faith. The bride in particular probably needs the example of a good Catholic woman friend to guide her right now. But you will want to be realistic. “Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33). You need to ask yourself, “In the long run, will I convert my friends or will they drag me down?”

In the meantime, keep up your prayer life and sacramental life. Try to find a good, regular confessor. Have hope that Our Lord will bring good people into your life.

And keep up the fight. Our Lord loves it that you are trying to be faithful to him. I will remember you at Mass. God bless you.

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