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  #1  
Old Mar 10, '14, 12:26 pm
Mathias64 Mathias64 is offline
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Default Doubting Converts

Doubt Problems for Coverts
This is for my fellow converts. There are obviously many paths one might take in deciding to adopt the Catholic faith. Considering the fact that not all RCIA programs are created equal, did any of you still have significant doubts about parts of the faith after your conversion? Case and point, the RCIA program I attended was very poor. I had 2 instructors, a husband and wife team (who are now divorced, go figure). All they taught me was how to get through mass without making a fool out myself, something I had learned on my own 25 years before. As a result, I entered the faith with a rubber stamp. Even though I had been attending mass for 30 years with my wife (a cradle Catholic), we talked very little about it. I came to my decision through a different door, I believe, than most. I actually played and sung in the choir for 3 years before deciding to convert. I am sure that is unusual in most parishes. At that same time, I was playing and singing in the parish Charismatic Prayer & Praise group, still as a Baptist. When I decided to convert, my music family WAS my FAMILY. My wife was pleased, but my kids sure didnít care. My choir mates lifted me up and carried me right through it. IN fact it was from oine of them that I took my first communion.
Our parish does not have strong Marian devotion, except for our Hispanic community. So in a weird way you might say that the Anglos leave the Mary stuff to the Hispanics. Sad I know, no insults intended. Not saying it is right, only that it is. As a result, I had very little education as to Maryís roll in things. And - I had a very hard time reconciling her true place in the Church. It took me nearly six years to come to grips with it, and to this day, I am very wary of the subject. My first confessor, and 80 year old priest who had done about all a priest can do, told me not to worry, that truth be told, I am was among many with this same issue. He said to just keep praying, praising and worshipping, and God will reconcile it all with me in his time. It took six years before I was finally able to reach out to Mary.
I have doubts about other things too, but Mary was my biggest challenge.
Did any of you have such an issue? Not just with Mary, but with anything?
Views and experiences please?
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  #2  
Old Mar 10, '14, 1:10 pm
Anne Jane Anne Jane is offline
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Default Re: Doubting Converts

I am a cradle Catholic, went through Catholic grade and high school. I certainly agree with you about the RCIA program. Some I have been involved with were worse that nothing. That being said, my advice to you is to read, read and read all orthodox books, books by Protestant converts, watch EWTN, and listen to Catholic Radio. Fill yourself up with information and you will see and believe. Blessings.
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  #3  
Old Mar 10, '14, 1:13 pm
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jeb53 jeb53 is offline
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Default Re: Doubting Converts

I am presently in the RCIA program, which I started in September. My husband is a cradle Catholic, but was away from the church for many years and he comes with me. We have a great group. Two couples and 5 team members. There was another couple, but because they couldn't get their paperwork done in time, they dropped out and I don't even know if they are still attending church. Okay with that said.....

When I first started attending RCIA, I didn't know that much about Mary other than what I had learned attending a non-denominational church (again, not much) and for a while even in RCIA, I didn't think about her that much until the past few months. But as I get closer to my initiation into the church, I very much believe she is who they say she is. I don't have any doubts.

I think the problem with us humans is we try to solve all these mysteries with our finite brains and it can't be done. We try to reason everything out.
If "we" don't believe that Mary was a virgin before and after Jesus' birth, how can we believe that Jesus rose from the dead and is living still? How can we believe in the transfiguration?

There is nothing wrong with doubt, I guess, as long as we do the research and hopefully come away of a better understanding of that particular doubt. But we will never fully understand the mysteries-not in this life anyway. So I don't sweat it.

It is a shame that your RCIA experience was poor. I wish I had better info for you. I am sure there will be better input than what I have written.
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  #4  
Old Mar 10, '14, 1:19 pm
MacQ MacQ is offline
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Default Re: Doubting Converts

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeb53 View Post

I think the problem with us humans is we try to solve all these mysteries with our finite brains and it can't be done. We try to reason everything out.
If "we" don't believe that Mary was a virgin before and after Jesus' birth, how can we believe that Jesus rose from the dead and is living still? How can we believe in the transfiguration?

There is nothing wrong with doubt, I guess, as long as we do the research and hopefully come away of a better understanding of that particular doubt. But we will never fully understand the mysteries-not in this life anyway. So I don't sweat it.

It is a shame that your RCIA experience was poor. I wish I had better info for you. I am sure there will be better input than what I have written.
I think that's very good input, actually!
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  #5  
Old Mar 10, '14, 1:28 pm
MacQ MacQ is offline
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Default Re: Doubting Converts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathias64 View Post
Doubt Problems for Coverts
This is for my fellow converts. There are obviously many paths one might take in deciding to adopt the Catholic faith. Considering the fact that not all RCIA programs are created equal, did any of you still have significant doubts about parts of the faith after your conversion? Case and point, the RCIA program I attended was very poor.

.... As a result, I had very little education as to Maryís roll in things. And - I had a very hard time reconciling her true place in the Church. It took me nearly six years to come to grips with it, and to this day, I am very wary of the subject. My first confessor, and 80 year old priest who had done about all a priest can do, told me not to worry, that truth be told, I am was among many with this same issue. He said to just keep praying, praising and worshipping, and God will reconcile it all with me in his time. It took six years before I was finally able to reach out to Mary.
I have doubts about other things too, but Mary was my biggest challenge.
Did any of you have such an issue? Not just with Mary, but with anything?
Views and experiences please?
I was more fortunate in having an excellent RCIA, which I have stayed involved with as a volunteer ever since. I'm sorry yours was substandard.

I never had a problem with Mary. When people (wrongly) criticize our devotion to her, I reckon I would rather be found guilty of honoring her too much than too little.
Where better to turn when faced with loss or suffering of a loved one? Who would better understand? He gave us an extra mother, that's all. (Many view the giving of her to John as giving her to us). Seems to me a very nice thought.
Who better to admire than the one who said YES..." thy will be done"...so perfectly?

It is not necessary to pray marian prayers to be catholic...but it would be robbing yourself not to.

What else do/did you have a problem with?
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  #6  
Old Mar 10, '14, 1:34 pm
coachkfan1 coachkfan1 is offline
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Default Re: Doubting Converts

I would say for me it was the sexual abuse scandals. At the end of the day, they had nothing to do with Catholic Doctrine and everything to do with human failings and sinfulness so I was able to get past it. That being said, I don't think that it is possible to underestimate the scars these scandals have left on the Church.
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  #7  
Old Mar 10, '14, 1:57 pm
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Casilda Casilda is offline
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Default Re: Doubting Converts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathias64 View Post
Doubt Problems for Coverts
This is for my fellow converts. There are obviously many paths one might take in deciding to adopt the Catholic faith. Considering the fact that not all RCIA programs are created equal, did any of you still have significant doubts about parts of the faith after your conversion? Case and point, the RCIA program I attended was very poor. I had 2 instructors, a husband and wife team (who are now divorced, go figure). All they taught me was how to get through mass without making a fool out myself, something I had learned on my own 25 years before. As a result, I entered the faith with a rubber stamp. Even though I had been attending mass for 30 years with my wife (a cradle Catholic), we talked very little about it. I came to my decision through a different door, I believe, than most. I actually played and sung in the choir for 3 years before deciding to convert. I am sure that is unusual in most parishes. At that same time, I was playing and singing in the parish Charismatic Prayer & Praise group, still as a Baptist. When I decided to convert, my music family WAS my FAMILY. My wife was pleased, but my kids sure didnít care. My choir mates lifted me up and carried me right through it. IN fact it was from oine of them that I took my first communion.
Our parish does not have strong Marian devotion, except for our Hispanic community. So in a weird way you might say that the Anglos leave the Mary stuff to the Hispanics. Sad I know, no insults intended. Not saying it is right, only that it is. As a result, I had very little education as to Maryís roll in things. And - I had a very hard time reconciling her true place in the Church. It took me nearly six years to come to grips with it, and to this day, I am very wary of the subject. My first confessor, and 80 year old priest who had done about all a priest can do, told me not to worry, that truth be told, I am was among many with this same issue. He said to just keep praying, praising and worshipping, and God will reconcile it all with me in his time. It took six years before I was finally able to reach out to Mary.
I have doubts about other things too, but Mary was my biggest challenge.
Did any of you have such an issue? Not just with Mary, but with anything?
Views and experiences please?
My experiences with RCIA, poor materials, teachers who have lost touch with their spirituality/faith. I think there is a beyond critical shortage of priests and spiritual mentors. I am okay with what the church has historically taught about the faith, I am not okay with how the churches I have been to operate.
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  #8  
Old Mar 10, '14, 2:11 pm
Della Della is offline
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Default Re: Doubting Converts

When I went through RCIA I often felt I was more Catholic than those leading it. So I can relate to your dilemma.

Coming from the Assemblies of God I had a lot of misconceptions about Mary and many other things, but Mary was the hardest part for me, too. Looking back on it after being a Catholic for about 25 years now, I find it odd that I ever had such misgivings, but then I'm not in the same place in my life as I was then. God has been very good to me.

Anyway, the thing to remember about Marian doctrine/dogma is that it is Christ-centered not Mary-centered. If we think about it that becomes obvious. For instance, why does the Church teach that Mary is the Mother of God? To give her honor? Well, yes, but that's not the primary reason, that's more of a side effect, so to speak. Rather, it is because by giving her the title "Theotokos" (God-bearer in Greek) the Church was combating a heresy and confirming the 2 natures of Christ--that he was from the moment of his conception fully God and fully man. So, it defends Christ first and gives honor to Mary second.

And the other Marian doctrines/dogmas do the same thing. Seeing this issue from this perspective helps put it in its proper place. Also, a correct understanding of the Communion of Saints does this as well. For Catholic teaching all hangs together. We believe all of it because all of it is necessary. We don't believe what we like to believe or what makes us comfortable or merely what we can understand (or think we understand), for who truly understands the Trinity or the Incarnation or Redemption? Such mysteries are divine mysteries precisely because they are the things of God and not of man only. And it's the same with the Marian teachings, as well.
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  #9  
Old Mar 10, '14, 2:18 pm
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AnneTeresa AnneTeresa is offline
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Default Re: Doubting Converts

I am a revert not a convert (was raised catholic then left for protestant churches) and I had many doubts when I returned to the catholic church. Not Mary, but many other things.

I mentioned this once in confession and the priest said, "none of the priests here are without some doubts. (there were many priests there that day). It is not a sin."

Most of my doubts are gone now. It's taken 4 years though. Just keep trying to learn and to understand and don't give up in the meantime. If you keep seeking God, He will answer. I have found that to be true. If I get confused now I ask God to show me the truth. He has and He will do it for you too. But maybe in His timing, not ours.

Also, I hope you DO discover Mary. She is just such a blessing once you get to know her!
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  #10  
Old Mar 10, '14, 2:21 pm
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Brigid34 Brigid34 is offline
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Default Re: Doubting Converts

My RCIA program was just so-so. The team who led it tried hard, but unfortunately the focus was on catechumens rather than on educated candidates. I could have spoken to my pastor about taking me individually, but he had been the one who'd first suggested the RCIA so although I didn't know that it was a possible option then it is very unlikely that he would have taught me.

Mary was the reason that I had joined the Catholic Church in the first place as I was saying the rosary daily for 3 years prior. I also had a deep devotion (protestant) to Jesus' birth to a virgin and to the motherhood of Mary. There were other intellectual reasons for joining too, however I really believe in the rosary.

There were no real "big ticket" items that I didn't agree with having done a lot of reading/listening before hand and already having dealt with them. I wanted to have to be obedient and I didn't have to do that where I was worshiping. I also wanted where I was joining to be scripturally sound, which the Church was.
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  #11  
Old Mar 12, '14, 6:10 am
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jeb53 jeb53 is offline
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Default Re: Doubting Converts

I found this in the Handbook for Today's Catholic: Fully Indexed to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Revised Edition, Liguori Publications. On page 18, Faith and Doubt..........But when a person "doubts," we should not jump to conclusions....A person seeking deeper insight may sometimes have doubts, even about God himself. Such doubts do not necessarily indicate a lack of faith. In fact, they may be a sign of growing faith. Faith is alive and dynamic. It seeks, through grace, to penetrate into the very mystery of God. Faith is a living gift that must be nourished by the word of God. Even when inclined to reject a particular doctrine, the person should go right on seeking the revealed truth expressed by the doctrine. When in doubt, "Seek and you shall find." The person who seeks by reading, discussing, thinking, or praying eventually sees light. The person who talks to God even when God is "not there" is alive with faith. [162]
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  #12  
Old Mar 12, '14, 6:25 am
MacQ MacQ is offline
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Default Re: Doubting Converts

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeb53 View Post
I found this in the Handbook for Today's Catholic: Fully Indexed to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Revised Edition, Liguori Publications. On page 18, Faith and Doubt..........But when a person "doubts," we should not jump to conclusions....A person seeking deeper insight may sometimes have doubts, even about God himself. Such doubts do not necessarily indicate a lack of faith. In fact, they may be a sign of growing faith. Faith is alive and dynamic. It seeks, through grace, to penetrate into the very mystery of God. Faith is a living gift that must be nourished by the word of God. Even when inclined to reject a particular doctrine, the person should go right on seeking the revealed truth expressed by the doctrine. When in doubt, "Seek and you shall find." The person who seeks by reading, discussing, thinking, or praying eventually sees light. The person who talks to God even when God is "not there" is alive with faith. [162]
Wise words!

For what it's worth, I have noticed over several years that enquirers in RCIA who struggle with doubts are often the ones who have the deepest conversions. It's the ones who try to rationalize things as "pretty much the same" as their previous tradition that I worry about. Or the ones who just decide to pick and choose what they'll adopt.
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  #13  
Old Mar 12, '14, 7:43 am
InLight247 InLight247 is offline
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Default Re: Doubting Converts

I am not a convert, but I am facilitating our day time RCIA class and supporting our evening RCIA class. Our parochial vicar always attends our sessions when he can and helps answer questions. We currently have a very strong community with 15 candidates and about equal number of supporting team members. It is too bad your RCIA was not ideal. But our journey is largely up to our own seeking and efforts after RCIA. Catholic faith is very rich. Just keep on learning.

For Mass, I recommend this: http://ascensionpress.com/t/category...grams/the-mass I use this for the class. This is an amazing teaching DVD. You will learn a lot from it and attending Mass will never be the same afterwards. If you do not want to spend the money to buy the DVD, at least you may consider buying the book to read it.

For your journey deep into the faith, I recommend this: http://catholicismseries.com/study-program These DVDs are expensive. If your parish has a library, maybe you can ask the church to order these DVDs and borrow them if they will.

You can also watch EWTN who has lot of good programs. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten you about Mary, pray for grace and understanding about the Mother of God.

God bless!
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  #14  
Old Mar 12, '14, 8:32 am
Qwikness Qwikness is offline
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Default Re: Doubting Converts

I had a problem with the Real Presence. But I finally accepted it like accepting chapeau means hat. I don't know why or how, it just is. I can look at the etymology of the word but at certain point you accept it and you accept the authority of the teacher who told you.
Mary was hard too. I like what Della said. The two natures and the correct understanding of the Saints. We can relate to Jesus because he has a mother. We know what its like to have a mother. So we talk to Mary as a Mother and to Jesus as a brother. She brings him closer to us. Otherwise Jesus might be distant.
The Saints might be hard but I understood that easier as, say your at the cemetery and you talk to a loved one who has passed away. Do you think they can hear you? I think so. The same with Mary and the Saints. They can hear us and they can pray for us.

The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism (No. 2) might be good. It has explanations and Quizzes.
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  #15  
Old Mar 12, '14, 8:52 am
Moonbug Moonbug is offline
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Default Re: Doubting Converts

I'm truly sorry your programmed instruction for entering the Church was not a more positive one. The traditional teachings of the Church must be believed (the Apostles' Creed---further formalized in the Nicene Creed) must be accepted by all believer or they are not part of the Church. Along with these teaching, one must believe all proclamations In matters of "Faith and morals" made officially by the Pope from the "Chair of Peter," EX CATHEDRA, must be believed as true.

A priest in a religion class, many years ago, told me that if the teaching is not from apostolic tradition or biblical scripture, then one may exercise his free will as to the validity of the teaching. He stated further that there are less than thirty doctrines in the church that we are required to believe under the threat of excommunication.

Examples: Years ago, a Catholic child that died without being baptized could not be buried in consecrated ground. So Catholic cemeteries had a patch of earth just outside the formal cemetery where these unbaptized children were buried. That is a teaching that is no longer held today.

A person who committed suicide could not be buried in a Catholic cemetery because the act was a mortal sin. Today, since the age of psychiatry, the Church gives such a person the benefit of a doubt as to his sanity at the time of the act. This doctrine has been reversed because of scientific evidence.

The Church had a rule that a Catholic committed a mortal sin if they ate meat on Friday. This is no longer a valid teaching.

There are similar teachings the Church holds that are neither supported by Apostolic tradition, scripture, or by a proclamation from the "Chair of Peter." These questionable teachings are the cause of a great deal of confusion in the Church today. These mandatory doctrines excluded, a Catholic is free to use his own judgment as to whether the teaching is true or not. If there is any doubt, he or she should discuss it with a priest.
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