I'm not sure how to feel, and so am conflicted.  Yesterday my brother was baptized into the Catholic church.  On the one hand, he's 31, and so this was a conscious decision, not something forced on him as a baby.  As a kid, he wasn't particularly into church, and our parents had the brains not to force us.  I loved church, and my brother shunned it.  Funny how we're the opposites now.  As a little background, we were close as kids, then divided over our parents' drinking (I stood by them, he turned away), and then we went several years with no contact after our dad shot himself.  We got back in contact the day my daughter was born, who wasn't supposed to get t happen at all, and have been extremely close ever since. My brother is one of the people I love most in this world, and there's nothing I wouldn't do for him.

To be blunt, if the Nazi pope was still in charge, I'd be crying my heart out with grief.  Francis is cool though, and has stated that Catholics need to stop hating people, stop focusing on people being gay or not Christian, and focus on being good people instead, and he's controversially stated things about how even non-Christians can go to heaven because it's deeds, not faith (kind of a way of saying the molesting priests are going to hell).  This is a pope who gets out there and personally interacts with poor people instead of staying in the Popemobile.  A lot of Catholics don't like him because he's far too liberal.

The only reason I'm not in tears is because this pope is so cool.  But I've been around long enough to know the church generally hates anyone who isn't Catholic, who isn't straight (I'm a major advocate for equality, and my husband and I are carful not to tell our daughter she'll grow up to marry a man, and reinforce that it doesn't matter who she marries, or if she even does), birth control is evil, etc., etc.  Francis is a breath of fresh air after the Nazi and the previous old guy who was still stuck on dogma and luxury.

I want to be happy for my brother because he's happy and has stated it's not his place to judge, just to love, but I'm also sad because I can't help but worry he'll take the old Catholic line at some point of thinking I'm hell-bound (he currently doesn't).  I'm conflicted, confused, and and fighting crying, and don't know what I'd be crying about.

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Sadly, while Francis puts on a good show, I'm not convinced that he's more steak than sizzle, and I'm not alone in that assessment.  I'll stipulate that he's only been in office a year, and he has multiple irons in his fire.  The fact remains that we haven't seen anything as regards the serious issues confronting the church, not in Francis' papacy, nor in Benedict's or John Paul's.

As to your brother, yeah, it's his choice, though the thinking behind that choice would be interesting to explore, and perhaps you can go into that with him one day.  One thought as it comes to that: you might want to prepare yourself with some Socratic tactics, recently laid out by one Peter Boghossian, before you engage him.

Just a thought.

ETA: Deleted all of the above.  Holy cow, I need more coffee if I'm necro-ing threads.  My apologies.

What a thing to go through, your father shooting himself.  It sounds like you have a huge amount of family pain and your brother becoming Catholic might be a way of trying to cope with it. 

It's not unusual that someone you love chooses a different path and the best thing for you to do is to accept your brother's decision and preserve your ties to him—they are far more important to you than what he believes. For one thing, this might not be his final position, but just a stop along the way.

He's your brother, and I would keep close ties with him. So long as he's not trying to get you to join the RCC or trying to convert you or your family, and respects your position, it's his choice. We all have to make our own choices in life, including some that friends and family don't necessarily approve of. 

As to Pope Francis (or, as I call him, Frankie the Gaucho), I am not at all impressed. He's the polite public face of an otherwise evil institution. Sure, he comes across as better than his predecessor Ratzinger (Benedict). But, he's just the new face of the same old repressive bureaucracy. As far as I can see, it's still business as usual.

I want to be happy for my brother because he's happy and has stated it's not his place to judge, just to love, but I'm also sad because I can't help but worry he'll take the old Catholic line at some point of thinking I'm hell-bound (he currently doesn't).  I'm conflicted, confused, and and fighting crying, and don't know what I'd be crying about.

Just be a better "catholic" than him. In other words, be an atheist! Perhaps read up on humanism to give you added confidence in the face of his religiousness. So when discussions come up, you'll be prepared to show him how one can be a good, happy, well-adjusted person without the catholicism (I know, for us, that's like, DUH. But not for the indoctrinated- they don't understand.)

Be prepared to call him out on his judging when it does happen. It probably will, though I don't know him of course. Just seems part-and-parcel with being religious.

Read as much as you can get your hands on. That's what I've been doing, plus listening and re-listening to atheist lectures so the counter-arguments will come more easily as they happen. The Skeptic's Annotated Bible is fantastic.

Remember, YOU had your time in church, and now it's his turn. I sometimes suspect that the best way to raise an atheist, is to make them go through the religious nonsense. If they don't, then they might later wonder what they're missing.

Give him a few years' worth of the same mass and stories over and over and over and over and over and over and he'll figure it out on his own. It's all novelty to him right now, and old news to you.

You guys can enjoy so many other things together that don't involve religion, that will be key.

I'm so sorry you're experiencing all that familial and personal trauma. It's also difficult, as an Atheist, for me to wholeheartedly support my friend's church and religious involvements. I belong to a Support Group and several of my peers there have become very religious as of late - one was baptised into a church that's inter-connected with the Support Group and one has decided to go into Clergy Training (for one very wrong reason that only I am privvy to).I was invited to the baptism and respectfully-declined while proudly saying why (my non-theist 'beliefs')- I did congratulate the person for their personal convictions....sadly, that person is now starting to also tell me I must 'have the spirit of god' in me for my doing good (yuk) The other peer (same group) is steadily trying to incorporate the church's projects into that support group. While I respect the person for their support group involvement, I am starting to resent that person for constantly pushing religious issues and events at the board-level. I knew both of these people before they were religious and we could connect without having religion being brought into conversation or views. Both of these peers 'suddenly found religion' when they had experienced a very low point in their life (one could not get good jobs because of several misdemeanors adn the other had a tramatic love break-up) and of course, 'the church' lured them to be more active with 'the church' in order to find a 'church family' and keep their hands & $$ occupied. 'The church' feeds them b.s. about each of their special 'talents/gifts' and that guilt the people into volunteering more for 'the church'. I'm disheartened that my peers are so weak and naive to  know how the church is using them. One of those peers is now having spousal problems as their partner is not 'christian', is realizing how 'the church' is using his spouse and is upset that the spouse spends so much time/energy/personal $'s for the church...and that couple struggles financially as-is. 

To be able to sanely deal with these religious peers (withiout slapppping them in the face) or family members in your case.. try to separate yourself from the 'personal' side of why they're doing what they do. If their religious antics do personally affect you, please speak out in a respectful way and let them know you'redisappointed that they're using religion against you. If their rhetoric becomes unbearable... you may have to let them know they're negatively affecting you and hurting you and that you choose not to associate with them unless they can not include religion in conversation and actions. Hopefully you will not have to estrange yuor brother but you must retain your dignity and stand for your convictions too. Maybe if you both agree not to discuss religion for the sake of your familial relationship. Hopefully your brother will value your feelings & non-beliefs over his beliefs. I have found 'family' with non-biological people of like-mind (my support group) so don't be afraid to join a LGBT-support group (like a PFLAG chapter) or a similiar-interest group - THANK you for being a straight ally for ALL peoples :)

Wishing you peace and clarity.

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