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Keep Silent or Defend our Faith?

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    Sharon FletcherSharon Fletcher

    I will celebrate 10 years of sobriety in October. Lately, I have been avoiding my regular meetings because every time I go, someone bashes the Catholic Faith or religious people in general. I don’t know if I am supposed to try and evangelize them and defend our faith or remain silent and pray for them. Until now, I have remained silent…mostly by either letting my feet do the talking and leaving the meeting when a person’s share goes beyond merely “getting it out” to outright assault on priests, or Catholicism in general. I know I must go back to meetings, especially since the meetings were there when I needed them; I would like to be there to help give back what was so freely given. If anyone has some suggestions how to handle this I would love to hear. I feel I am called to defend our faith, yet, I know the spirit of AA is acceptance not agreement. What to do?
    Pax, Sharon F.

    Hope RestoredHope Restored

    I can relate to your situation having just started attending both AA and Al-alon Meetings again after some time along with attending a CIR meeting in our area. I was struck by the fact that every AA meeting so far has had just that, a witness of a fallen away Catholic or “Recovering Catholic” as some have shared. On one hand it initially has made attending feel a bit uncomfortable, but yet I have also seen where four Catholic Sponsors in AA (without initially sharing they were Catholic – although one does wear their Cursillo cross) were eventually asked where they attended Church. In three to four instances within the last year God has used these Catholic Sponsors to bring fallen away Catholics and/or individuals to return/join the Catholic faith tradition. Now if you consider that many Catholics won’t even attend anything that is not Catholic, Catholic In Recovery actually offers a safe comfortable alternative for them to relate the 12 steps to their Catholic faith. We have more first time attendees in our startup CIR group then we ever expected for this very reason. I believe God will be the one who will nudge people to ask you questions about your faith opening up a door to slowly build a relationship and allow God to water seeds slowly around who and what the Catholic Church really is all about. What a great calling, maybe pray and ask God to bring those who’s hearts He is/has prepared for the Church to you for sponsorship and for the grace to be the bridge of whomever He needs you to be as their sponsor.

    Julie VandegriftJulie

    I think if you politely listen, even when they are ranting, they may someday be curious enough to ask you about your feelings on the topic of your faith, and respect you for your restraint and be drawn in by your humility. Meanwhile, I would ask some specific Holy Souls to pray for that specific person.

    Les LariosLes Larios

    I have also had some difficult times in AA with Catholic bashing. I have a tendency to lash out in defense of the faith. As retired military it is difficult not to be a defender! In my home state we have a bill coming up for vote to prohibit public funding for abortions. So it struck me to post the CCC abortion section on my Facebook page! As I was perusing the voters pamphlet, I discovered a group called Catholics for Choice. I had no idea they existed, so I felt compelled to get the Churches position out there. These kinds of things always seem to come up in AA meetings, and I value my sobriety, but there are times I feel as though I should just get out of there. It can be frustrating for sure. I discovered this CIR as a result of a recent Catholic Sentinel article, a Portland, Oregon publication. It seems we have only one CIR group in our state! I would love to hear feedback on this if there are any other Oregonians out there. Would be nice to have some expansion of available meetings!

    Martin ThompsonMartin Thompson

    I would not defend the Catholic faith in the meeting directly, since it would violate the 10th tradition-outside issue. However, you could always quote the big book where it says that we should see where religious people are right, and we should put aside prejudices and seek out their help in matters of faith, prayer, and meditation.

    Michael FrazierMichael Frazier

    I’ve been active in AA for 4 years and am currently treasurer for my home group here in the Bible Belt country of East Tennessee. When I first began AA I did hear Catholic bashing but as I got more involved with my home group and people began to know I am an active Catholic, I don’t hear it anymore. People in my AA home group know and respect me as a Catholic Christian and they know I am devout in my faith.

    Jonathan HicksJonathan Hicks

    I mostly keep quiet and pray for them. I have spent some time away from AA for this very reason.

    There was this one time where I shared my experience after someone Catholic-bashed. That to me the Catholic Church has furthered my belief in God as I understand him. After the meeting someone came up to me privately and thanked me. He said he doesn’t share about it often but he’s a Eucharistic Minister.

    I’ve reached the conclusion that if people can share against it, I can share in a general way my story without getting too deep into theology.

    Tom MastrogiovanniTom Mastrogiovanni

    I’ve been in AA for 16 years and I don’t like it either. I’ve learned it is an opportunity for me to pray for that person, bringing to mind that they are God’s kid, he loves them, and that is my brother/sister in pain.
    Sometimes when the topic is on step 2 or 3 I’ll share that I had a lot of false beliefs regarding what I thought the church of my youth was all about, then after I got sober and became open minded, I began to learn as an adult that the things I thought I knew about my religion was from uninformed people and or stuff I simply made up to deflect looking at myself. For a period of time I tried to stay sober on my own without AA… I was miserable and all my character defects came to the surface. When I’m active in AA, I’m teachable, I listen to those who have walked the path before me, I become closer to the man I hope God intends for me to be, the result is I’m a happier person. AA structure and guidance points to a direction that is fulfilling. My Church does the same. It provides a roadmap and approach that directs me to have a genuine, fulfilling relation with God. I just have to be willing to be open-minded and humble to to follow directions.

    Jeanne BergeronJeanne Bergeron

    This is the reason I left my 12 step group years ago. I also found the first 12 step group I joined was very controlling in the sense you had to do what your sponsor wanted you to do. I could not take it after a while.

    PJ MartiniPJ Martini

    Peace to you all! I understand the dilemma all have commented on, and I was in the same position when I began my recovery journey in SAA (Sex Addicts Anonymous). Have been removed for almost 9 years now. And what I have done to do my part in not only the 12 step work but also in His call to ‘spread the Gospel everywhere you go’, I started a text group within my group, where the only two requirements are: Christ must be your HP and there is no preaching, teaching, judging or blaming (a therapist’s mantra…). I started with one Catholic in the group, now we have 15. Each day I share how my morning meditation on the Gospel readings help and apply to MY recovery journey. The reason it has spread to 15 is because there are plenty of sufferers who want to share their love for Christ, as you seem to desire, and find my morning texts as a way to share in my Christ centered recovery. So I continue to attend meetings, listen to non-Catholic christians, non-Christians, agnostics and those that blame God, etc. I take what works and LEAVE THE REST. By truly LETTING GO AND LETTING GOD, as it is said, I am blessed by what I take away. So my suggestion is to Pray, have Faith, Pray, and believe, and Don’t Worry.
    May the peace of Christ our Savior and Redeemer touch your journey each day, with many of His blessings.
    PJ M

    Carol PaganCarol Pagan

    Hi everyone, I noticed there hasn’t been a post since 2018. I’m 19 months clean and sober. I’m challenged with not having anything in common with fellowship in AA particularly non Catholic and many that do not have religion, spirituality or faith in a higher power. Yes, the Catholic religion is frowned upon. I am very involved in service work and have recently decided with my AA sponsor to immediately remove myself as the DCM in our District. I didn’t volunteer for it. It is not good for me, toxic,and against my values and morals in my personal life and AA program. I try to “practice these principles in a our affairs” (cited from The Big Book). There is so much negativity, power & control, judgements, critical, mistreatment of others. I just can’t and won’t be a part of! It takes from my inner peace, serenity and happy, joyous and free. Any feedback, sharing experience, strength and hope would be very much appreciated! Thank you

    Many Blessings,
    Carol ????

    Michael KernMichael Kern

    Michael KernMichael Kern

    Hello everyone I used the opportunity of Catholic bashing which usually means they have a hurt that is unresolved so I use this as a backdoor approach for healing literally praying for the person but using Scripture ever so lightly where possible. I have many Catholic publications that center around addictions would be glad to share list, just send me an email mkern45@gmail

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