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Annie’s Mailbox: Catholic mom offended son’s wife won’t convert

Marcy Sugar and Kathy Mitchell Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: I am Protestant, and my husband was baptized in the Catholic Church, but religion was never important to him or his family. Neither of us has converted, nor will we. My husband has attended services with me, and I have attended the occasional holiday Mass with my in-laws. I respect their faith.

Here’s the problem: My mother-in-law apparently thought I would convert as soon as I joined the family. This has been a huge problem for her. Because I respect her faith, I have tried to follow the rules while at Mass, and that means I do not take communion. This bothers my mother-in-law to no end. She finds it offensive.

There is likely to be a Catholic funeral that I will have to attend soon. I do not want to create a scene or cause my mother-in-law more unhappiness, but I also do not wish to offend the rest of the family or the church by deliberately ignoring the prohibition to take communion. How do I proceed? – Trying To Be Respectful

Dear Trying: We think your mother-in-law’s problem is that she still wants you to convert, and acting offended because you do not take communion is how she expresses it. It might help if her priest discusses this with her directly. Please make an appointment to talk to him. But it might also be useful for your husband to make it abundantly clear to his mother that conversion is not going to happen and she needs to back off before she alienates both of you.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to anniesmailbox@ comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, in care of Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.
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