“Ask a Priest: How Can I Evangelize My Protestant Relatives?”

Want to rate this?

Q: We have our family group chat in Facebook. Not everyone is Roman Catholic, some are Protestants who we think don’t celebrate All Saints’ Day. I want to send Happy All Saints’ Day to the whole family group chat. Is it OK to extend my greeting to those who don’t celebrate All Saints’ Day? My bigger question is, is it OK to keep proclaiming my beliefs to the whole family, Roman Catholic or not? I feel as though there’s a fire in me that wants to keep on proclaiming. And it is also sad when some of our relatives send things that are against the Catholic faith. They offend our beliefs or spread lies about Catholic leaders or beliefs. I want to correct them, lovingly. I don’t want any feud in the family. I just try my best to speak at the right time and in a nice manner. Any advice? – Francesca

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It is good that you want to share and defend your faith, including among family members.

You want to be prudent, however, because explicit mention of Catholic feasts in this context might be perceived by Protestant relatives as a provocation.

For now, it might be better to find common ground on which to reach out to the non-Catholics. You can look for opportunities to share how the faith has helped you. This could you do without seeming to force it on others.

It is good to remember that it is the Holy Spirit who will change hearts. It isn’t up to us to “argue” people into the Church.

If someone attacks the faith, you could certainly defend the Church, ideally in a charitable way.

In the meantime, if you feel a burning desire to share the faith, it might be good to channel that desire in positive ways in your parish and diocese.

Perhaps you could get involved in door-to-door missions or teach CCD classes or organize Bible studies. This might be a more fruitful path than debating with family members.

To help explain the faith better, it might help to do some reading. A few suggestions would be: Why We’re Catholic; Youth Catechism; and the Compendium of the Catechism (also online). For a book you might share at an opportune moment, look at Surprised by Truth.

Above all, you might want to pray for the non-Catholics in the family. Pray that the Holy Spirit will lead them into the full truth of Christ.

Keep learning more with Ask a Priest

Got a question? Need an answer?

Today’s secular world throws curve balls at us all the time. AskACatholicPriest is a Q&A feature that anyone can use. Just type your question HERE and you will get a personal response back from one of our priests at RCSpirituality. You can ask about anything – liturgy, prayer, moral questions, current events… Our goal is simply to provide a trustworthy forum for dependable Catholic guidance and information. So go ahead and ask your question…

Average Rating

What did you think?

Share your review! Just log in or create your free account.

One Comment
  1. To this person, I share her concern ‘to defend the practices of the Christian ‘faith in practice’ via Catholic faith ‘practices.’ My burning desire to do so, came when I was continually approached in workplaces by those calling themselves ‘born again’ and having a ‘personal relationship’ with Christ. (It eventually came to me, that any with a personal relationship with Christ, which is ‘those human souls’ who live FOR GOD et al, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, keep such relationship personal)

    This is not to say we do not ‘speak in His name’ as ‘the culture’ aka ‘the secular, non-churched, anti-religious boldly speak of ‘their ways of life’ so as to FORCE US to choose between God and His World of sanctifying grace and ‘their lifestyles’ (lifestyles offensive to God, aka SINFUL actions) SPEAK WE MUST when necessary to admonish the sinner and instruct the ignorant (which is called works of mercy)

    SALVATION is had THROUGH ‘CHRIST’S CHURCH’ by FAITH (in THE WAY Christ established) THE WAY is called Sacramental presence. The common ground Father Mcllmail speaks is: Baptism, in the name of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Protestant Christianity (in any of the 30,000 denominational practices) are baptized Christians ‘in the name of’ Father, Son, Holy Spirit. (the extent of belief in what this Act of Faith is, is brought to understanding by God’s grace to the obedient and faithful soul to God) It is warned in scripture not to take His grace in vain. So, as Father says, we Catholics should keep in mind: Catholic means universal belief, but understand universal understanding of mankind with ‘free will’ takes time. (as it probably did with we Catholics, ‘raised up by’ faithful parents, priests, nuns, and other good priestly people of Christ’s church)

    Some Protestant Christians are more Catholic than they may know. We will know one another by our love for God, by avoiding SINS the culture is trying to put forth as ok. In Catholic faith, we pray for all, ‘OFFERING UP’ the GOOD God permits us to do, ‘in His name.’ We don’t ‘boast of having a personal relationship’ we SERVE GOD… We don’t boast of being ‘equal to’ the trinity of God with words of ‘personal relationship.’

    A Protestant who ‘puts down the faith PRACTICES of another Baptized Christian to feel secure in their own practices is NOT acting ‘In Christ.’ A Christian, who performs acts of charity ‘in the world’ while showing by lifestyle choices that go against GOD’S 10 Commandments (mortal sin) does NOT SHOW well the NAME OF CHRIST they say they are of. There is not grace and blessing to their ‘good work’ when they choose to SIN against that state of grace ‘OF GOD’S DIVINE LIFE’ Baptism provided.

    This includes those choices of ‘heterosexual living ‘out of wedlock, approval of use of contraception, calling the act of abortion ‘a right.’ THEY ARE DECEIVERS of what CHRIST has done for our being. They sin against ‘the ONE BODY OF CHRIST aka CHRIST’S CHURCH et al. Avoid them, but do not DO AS THEY DO. As Catholic Christians we, thru the Unbloody Sacrifice of Mass, ‘offer up’ the GOOD God permits us to do, however small, for our separated brethren. (no debates, no quarrels) I AM NOT SAYING Protestant Christians sin in such ways, but some ‘from spiritual ignorance’ do fall into such human truths and as long as they think they are ‘ok’ for being part of their church’s doctrines who allow: divorce and remarriage, forgetting the 6th Commandment, or believe ‘any old two’ is a marriage as some Protestant leadership now speak of (which did bring divide in that faith practice) or some do not say abortion is sinful, they may say it isn’t a good thing but they allow it ‘as free will right’ . . . if some fall to human truths just to belong to ‘a group’ THERE IS NOT A THING we as Catholics can do but to pray for such persons.

    If A CHRISTIAN is doing their best to PUT GOD FIRST, they will be willing to listen when we Catholics discuss issues. (this is humility) The AUTHENTIC CHRISTIAN of any faith practice is humble enough to hear from us. AND TOGETHER learn and grow to THE FULLNESS OF TRUTH. The conversion to full membership of Christ’s ONE, HOLY, APOSTOLIC BODY with Spiritual Mother is in the hands of the Holy Spirit. We assist that conversion, by our prayers. This is trust in God. (but, as Father said, we never allow any to put us down in order to raise themselves up in their own truths.)

Leave a Reply

Get the Answers!

Get notified of future Ask a Priest answers via email

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Skip to content