#004: 4 Step Plan When Family Leave the Faith [Podcast]

Do you have a friend or family member who has left the Faith? This is a painful predicament for most of us. How can we respond to this situation with charity and how can we draw them back to a loving relationship with Christ? This podcast sketches a “4 Step Game Plan” for bringing people back to the Faith.


St Monica and the conversion of her son St Augustine

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“4 Step Plan When Family Leave the Faith”

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1) Proverb of the Week:
Proverbs 15:1

2) Tip of the Week: 
It’s the amazing “email regulation” discipline

3) Featured Segment:
“4 Part Game Plan for Bringing People Back to the Faith”

4) Latin Word of the Week:

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Question: Please share your stories about family and friends leaving (and returning!) to the Faith. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • Camila

    Dr. Marshall,

    I wanted to ask a question for the podcast – but the link above took me to the podcast itself… So I’ll write the question here.

    At what point is original sin part of us? So at conception the soul is infused into the itsy bitsy body still only the size of a few cells. The soul obviously (right?) is pure and without sin as it comes from God. So when does original sin becomes a part of it?

    • JMJT

      Each new soul is created anew by God , and does not pre-exist according to St. Thomas Aquinas and according to to Catholic doctrine the soul enters the body at conception. Sanctifying grace is the supernatural life of the human soul and is not present in the baby’s soul at conception ( except in the case of the Virgin Mary). The original sin is removed by infant baptism and sanctifying grace enters the soul.

      • Camila

        Thanks JMJT. What you say is Catholic teaching and is what I believe. But I’m trying to wrap my mind around when precisely does original sin become a part of the soul. I am NOT questioning whether it does or not, nor whether we inherit it from our first parents, Catholic teaching is clear on these matters and I believe them.

        moment 1 – conception & creation of new soul
        moment 2 – new person has original sin and needs baptism
        moment 3 – person is born and baptized (original sin is removed and the life of the Holy Spirit now resides in the soul — sanctifying grace.)

        my question is trying to understand how does soul change from moment 1 to moment 2 ?

        • JMJT

          The soul is never “pure and without original sin as it comes from God”…this is wrong. Just think of the words, “Oh, Mary, conceived without sin,pray for us!”…
          only Mary had sanctifying grace at conception, the rest of us had the effects of original sin from our first parents. That is why she has the title “The Immaculate Conception” and this was declared officially a dogma of faith by the pope in the mid nineteenth century around the time Mary appeared to St. Bernadette of Lourdes and told her , ” I am the Immaculate Conception”

          • Camila

            Thanks JMJT for the dialogue. I took a look in Fr. Hardon’s Catholic dictionary (I probably should have done this before posting the question) and in his definition for original sin says that we (ex Mary and Jesus) are conceived with original sin. So the way I make sense is that God does this as a punishment as a consequence to the sin of Adam and Eve. So the answer would be:

            moment 1 – conception & creation of a soul in the state of original sin.

          • JMJT

            We are conceived in original sin, Mary and Jesus are not. Jesus is God . God cannot be in sin. Mary was preserved from original sin as a special grace because she was chosen to become the Mother of God. The dogma of the Immaculate conception is dogma of faith to be held by all Catholics… so it is not debatable.

          • Camila

            Perhaps a good way to understand original sin isn’t so much as imagining as the soul having it – but instead, it is the absence of the supernatural life (sanctifying grace). In other words, God creates the soul without His own life within it – more of in a natural state of existence sustaining the life of the body but not His own life. Thus baptism cleans us from original sin – or in other words, His very life is infused within us and now the Blessed Trinity lives within our souls – thus giving us a new life beyond the natural life but now we grow in the supernatural life – the life of grace.

          • Camilla,

            You’ve got it. Original sin is the absence of sanctifying grace and original justice. That’s how St Thomas describes it.

            Here’s Saint Thomas on the topic:

          • Camila

            Thanks Dr. Marshall. Great link.

      • Camila

        Hi JMJT, Camila here, again. Sorry to be so annoying, but as I continued to ponder on this great mystery I came to realize why the saints are always so full of zeal and their greatest dread is sin. That is, the loss of or diminishing of the very source of Life that God infuses in the soul…. as I kept pondering on our conversation I realized “duh!” To grow in holiness is to grow in sanctifying grace. It’s not like I didn’t know this – but for some reason it just dawned on me in a different way after our dialogue. Like little St. Dominic Savio said – to die rather than to sin……

        • JMJT

          Amazing that the most inspirational thoughts and devout emotions often come to us when we study or discuss theology, sometimes more so than when reading prayers .

  • Victor

    (((The soul obviously (right?) is pure and without sin as it comes from God. So when does original sin becomes a part of it?)))
    Obviously a soul right and/or left would have to believe that original sin was started by our first parents through Adam and Eve and is removed through “Baptism” and truth be known that’s a very long stretch for many humans nowadays!
    Good Luck in answering this one Dr. Marshall. 🙂

  • JMJT

    Yes, this is the way St. Thomas understands evil, as the absence of good, the absence of something that would make a thing complete or perfect.

  • Martin Machorro

    TAYLOR; Don’t have a ipot but a tablet I read all that you sent email is good and enjoy reading them

  • Please visit “Strange Notions.” Catholics engaging atheists.


  • I didn’t claim that it was Catholic. I listed it as an example of how people change in the context of community.

  • Debbie

    Thank you so much for the 4 step plan when family leave the faith. It is helpful and consoling.

  • Ann Kerley

    I came across podcast sketches a “4 Step Game Plan” for bringing people back to the Faith. on FB just today (March 2 2015 – in Australia) and listened to it. Thank you – as you say, it is a burning issue for many parents, grandparents and others who are committed to the Catholic faith. I have 6 grown children – all attended Catholic schools and I made it my business to ensure that they received correct, orthodox catechesis at home as they were growing up. All attended Sunday Mass with us, we had family prayer on occasions. They were not keen to join Youth Groups and there was little on offer in our area anyway, so they, like other young adults went to parties, and socialised as others (with no religion) etc did. Long story short, my children aged from 30 down to 20 – one is married with a child and attends Sunday Mass with his family, now my daughters are living with their partners and my middle son is living a fairly reckless life devoid of religion. Youngest still attends Mass but is on his own as far as his friends go in the practise of his faith. Whilst they are all v successful in their careers (1 in private equity, 2 solicitors, 1 trade union national organise, 1 MLO to Minister for Health in this state, youngest is an apprentice electrician.
    We do not have strong Catholic groups here; our society is much more secular than yours in US and even Parish Priest is interested only in maintaining the parish rather than evangelising the unchurched like my children, the dechurched, not to mention trying to change those in the pews from consumers to participants who will evangelise others.
    I have fire in my belly to evangelise, including my own children but we live in a hostile environment when it comes to Christianity in Australia. How do we find community of intelligent younger people who share Catholic values and if we can find such groups, how to I get my secularised ‘children’ interested enough to join a group?
    It is of course, God’s work and we must trust that his way will find a path for those who seek him. Thank you again – love your posts and what you do.

  • Don Knippel

    I have 5 children who have all left the Catholic Faith. They range in age from 47 to 56. All were Baptized, Confirmed and attended CCD classes. All attended faithfully Sunday Mass. When they left home they slowly drifted away. It was too difficult to approach them and I don’t think we were equipped to engage them on this issue. My wife and I were very happily married for 53 years so our family life was good. My wife died 3 years ago and I approached some of them as to why they left the church but they didn’t want to talk about it. I have brought two people ( one was my grandson) back to the Catholic faith but it was much easier than my own children. I do pray constantly and go to Mass daily for their return.I also know that God answers prayers in His own time. I know that from my grandparents situation, which I consider as a miracle.

  • Karen

    Dr. Marshall, I have a group, Catholic Grandparents Association, (branch of international group) and our goal is to “keep faith in the family”. Our biggest frustration is addressing our fallen away family members. I want to use this podcast to open a dialogue at an upcoming meeting. I like your 4 guiding points. Apologetics will be a big portion of our bible study. Do you have any new insights to add since you did this podcast?