Question from Ricky on 9/21/2007:

I have recently learned that an elderly friend of mine has converted from a Catholic to become a Seventh-Day Adventist. Apparently a bus has been coming weekly to take her to services. She told me she had been rebaptized in their church last June. I think I was so shocked that I couldn't really think of what to answer her except that I believe that their Bible is much different than ours, which she said was not true. She has been very lonely, as most of the seniors in our residence are experiencing. That is why the local churches come to us. Many cannot get out to go to church or their families won't take them to church. We have had rosaries on Fridays and Mass once a month for them to participate in. I realized she was a very spiritual person and a Catholic deeply rooted in her faith. Her roots go back for generations and she is from a country which is almost all Catholic. What can I tell her that will open her eyes about this choice she has made? I thought she knew better.

Answer by Catholic Answers on 9/24/2007:


I am very sorry to hear about your friend. My guess is that her loneliness and desire to go to church overrode her understanding of her Catholic faith. It may also be that, although she may have been well-catechized in her youth (she is of a generation that generally was), she may not have kept up on her education in the faith. Many Catholic adults think they can get by on a childhood education in the faith and do not study further after graduation from high school or college.

Your friend's situation is particularly concerning because she is of an age when she must think carefully of giving an account of her choices to God. You might ask her gently if she is sure that all of the generations of her family and countrymen who went before her were wrong to place their trust in the Catholic Church, or if it isn't more likely that her own loneliness may have unduly influenced her decision to leave the Church.

Assure her that there are ways to meet her need to go to church within the Catholic Church. Many parishes have ministries to bring the sacraments to the homebound and to drive those who need rides to church. Why don't you suggest to her that the two of you contact the local parish and ask the pastor to visit, both to discuss with your friend her decision to leave the faith and to explain to him the problems that Catholics in your residence are having in getting to church. You should also inform him that local non-Catholic churches are taking advantage of this problem by wooing the elderly Catholic residents to attend their churches.

Recommended reading:

Seventh-Day Adventism
Sabbath or Sunday?

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers

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