Boyfriend’s mom says I’m a pa­gan be­cause I’m an Alaskan na­tive

San Francisco Chronicle - - DATE­BOOK - By Jeanne Phillips Write to Dear Abby at P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069 or www.dear­

Dear Abby:

My boyfriend, “Paul,” and I have been to­gether for five years. We want to get mar­ried, but his mother is Catholic and she doesn’t ap­prove be­cause I am an Alaskan na­tive, which from her per­spec­tive makes me a pa­gan. Paul hasn’t at­tended church or held any Catholic views for many years, but he won’t tell his mother be­cause he’s afraid it would dev­as­tate her. She has told me we are liv­ing in sin, that our mar­riage could cause him to be ex­com­mu­ni­cated, and if we have chil­dren, they’ll be bas­tards who will go to hell.

I am hurt and con­fused over this and don’t know what to do or say about it. Every time I try to talk to her, she tries to per­suade me to con­vert, which I don’t want to do. I’d like to have a re­la­tion­ship with her, but I don’t want to have to change who I am for her to ap­prove of me or my fu­ture chil­dren. What ad­vice can you give me to help me get through my sit­u­a­tion? Doomed to Hell in Alaska

Dear “Doomed”:

Are you sure your boyfriend wants to be mar­ried? Your prob­lem isn’t his mother; it’s that he can’t find the back­bone to tell her he plans to marry you with or with­out her ap­proval. Paul’s mother’s think­ing is out­dated. Non-Catholic Alaskan na­tives are not “pa­gan”; the ma­jor­ity are Chris­tian. As for your fu­ture chil­dren be­ing “bas­tards doomed to hell” — she’s re­peat­ing an an­cient prej­u­dice, and that’s all it is. It is no longer the po­si­tion of the Catholic Church to ex­com­mu­ni­cate peo­ple who marry out of the faith.

You asked my ad­vice; here it is: The woman is a re­li­gious bigot. She’s un­likely to ever ap­prove of you or stop try­ing to con­vert you, and it has gone beyond the point of con­cern for your soul to just plain in­sult­ing. She isn’t go­ing to change, and as long as your boyfriend is afraid of “dev­as­tat­ing” her, your sit­u­a­tion won’t change ei­ther. A mar­riage to him un­der these con­di­tions won’t be easy, so please think twice about it.

Dear Abby:

Some good friends of mine were un­able to have kids be­cause of a med­i­cal is­sue. They re­cently adopted a pre­teen daugh­ter, and the adop­tion be­came fi­nal a few months ago. They are now hav­ing an “adop­tion party” where ev­ery­one can come and hang out and just have a good time. What is the eti­quette for such a cel­e­bra­tion? It’s be­ing held at a park where there is lots to do. Should I bring a card, a gift for the child, some­thing for the par­ents or noth­ing?

Con­fused in Ari­zona

Dear Con­fused:

What a won­der­ful oc­ca­sion to cel­e­brate! It would be thought­ful, gen­er­ous and wel­com­ing if you brought along a gift for the girl, and I’m sure it would be ap­pre­ci­ated not only by their daugh­ter but also by the new par­ents.

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