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Apprehensive April wrote:

Dear Admin.,

I have to ask you an important question.

I recently found out that my dad is having an affair. I am devastated. He is unaware of the fact that I know about his affair. I am the only one in the family who knows about his relationship. I grew up in a very Catholic manner so my question to you is:

  • Should I confront him or should I talk to my priest-confessor first?

Please give me some advice!

Thank you!

April

  { Now that I know my dad is having an affair, should I confront him or should I talk to a priest first? }

Mike replied:

Dear April,

My colleagues may have additional advice or opinions to my view, but I would talk to your priest-confessor first. There may be nuances to your situation we may not be aware of.

Ideally, you want to make him [your dad] aware, that you are aware of this situation, without breaking family ties. You have to ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in what to say and not say, and what to do and not do. Your pastor/priest/Confessor can guide you in this area.

Keep your father in your prayers as I'm sure our team will.

Ask a local priest to have a Mass said for your father too, and if possible, have one said on a regular basis. There may be a small stipend (cost) involved as well.

Mike
AAC Admin.

John replied:

April,

There are many factors to consider.

  • For starters, are you an adult child?

Not that being a minor would necessarily mean you don't confront him but the manner you confront will likely be different.

I agree with my colleague Mike. Before you do anything, you should discuss this issue with a good priest, where:

  • you can give the details
  • the evidence you have
  • describe the nature of your relationship with you father etc., etc.

All that needs to be considered in deciding if, and how, you confront your father.

  • When you say affair, does this mean he and your mother are still married and living together as husband and wife?

This does make a difference. If he's married and carrying on an affair behind your mother's back, then you have an interest in protecting your mother. If they are divorced, separated, or your mom has passed away, than it's an entirely different story.

While having an illicit sexual relationship in this case is against Church teaching and objectively gave matter, you have less of an interest to interfere in his personal life. Of course, we all have a duty to bring fraternal correction to others when we see a person close to us in sin, however, it's not always the best case for a child to be the person doing that correction so that's something you also need to discuss with the priest.

Obviously you need to be in prayer. You also need to be sure of the evidence you have.

Finally, the only suggestion I have with respect to confronting him, if that is what you decide to do after consultation with a priest, is that you pose this more like a question. For example:

Dad, what's going with you and so and so . . . ?

and if there is an outright denial and it contradicts the evidence you have, than present the evidence in a question form.

Remember he is your father . . . no matter how old you are. The objective here is to bring about repentance but the nature of the father-child relationship is often such, that correction from a child, is not often well responded to.

I will keep you in prayer,

Warmly,

John DiMascio

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