A question about attending the Catholic Church and personal convictions

I was attending a Catholic Church regularly for quite some time. It was a wonderful experience for me. I met so many wonderful, Godly people. I agree with the Church on moral issues, so it was nice to have people around who had the same moral standing ground as me, as we could openly discuss important issues. I found it much easier to resist temptation. I found myself reading the Bible and praying more often, so many wonderful changes took place in my life.That being said, I stopped attending the church because I personally felt convicted that some of the practice were wrong. I agree with most practices, though - confession, marriage as a sacrament, etc,. But there are certain things that were brought into the Church later on that I just feel convicted are not necessarily right. I did some research and those practices were taken from pagan worship, but have been blessed by the Church. I truly believe that God has heard the prayers and anything evil/negative once associated with those practices is no longer present in the Church. That being said, I’m torn because on one hand I miss the Catholic Church terribly and I want to go back because I feel it makes me a better Christian. On the other hand, I don’t know if it’s right for me to attend if I don’t agree with everything being practiced and/or taught. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! God bless!

What practices are you referring to that you believe were taken from pagan worship?

Faith,

It sounds like you are sorting out the things that you have been taught. This is a great forum to seek Catholic truths. Use it to answer any concerns. I have attended a variety of churches (different faiths). I have come to know that the Catholic Church is the true Church of Christ. You are feeling the True Presence of God in Church. I would recommend praying and following the Holy Spirit. Also, do not believe that everyone attending a Catholic Church agrees with all the Church’s teachings. I do because I was blessed by the Holy Spirit. I am 150% Catholic now. I pray that you will be blessed too.

Including the saints and Mary in teachings outside of their context. That was worded pretty sloppily, but I know Mary and the saints aren’t worshipped so I’m not sure how exactly to word it. Anyway, between 300-400 AD, the Catholic Church wanted to attract Pagans to the truth of Jesus Christ (which is fantastic!) but according to written history I came across, in order to do that, the Catholic Church began to heavily focus on teaching about Mary and the saints because of the Pagan goddess Ishtar/Isis and the many other gods/goddesses. Many of the saints are referred to as the Patron saint of such-and-such, and there were pagan gods/goddesses who had domain over those specific areas which saints are now associated with. As for Mary, I agree completely that she was very blessed by God and that she is a role model to aspire to. However, I’ve heard her referred to by the Catholic Church as being “the queen of Heaven” which is Pagan terminology that was used to address Ishtar/Isis. In the Bible in the book of Jeremiah, there is explicit instruction against the queen of Heaven. Jeremiah 7:18; “The sons gather the wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the wives spread the grease, so as to make cakes to the queen of Heaven and to offer libations to strange gods, so as to provoke me to anger.”

Aside from that, the sign of the cross was apparently something that started in Egypt and was a sign of allegiance to the Pagan god Nimrod. The Rosary is something that began in Buddhist/Hindu culture and then was adopted by the Catholic Church to be pleasing to God and to pray to Him. Still, because of the origin, I still can’t bring myself to participate or feel 100% convinced that it’s completely okay.

I would like to add at this point, though, that I what I am saying is not meant to offend or to tear down the Catholic Church or those who are Catholic. As I mentioned in my first post, most people I met were very Godly and loved the Lord. I believe this to be true of the Catholic Church in general. I just struggle with the aforementioned practices because of their origins.

Thank you so much for your response! I have been praying and will continue to do so. I am glad to hear that you’ve been so blessed! :slight_smile:

I thik you need deeper and more formal education-probalby even more so than you would get in RCIA -perhaps posting one question at a time and reviewing old threads-for example

where did the symbol of the Cross originate from?

there are some learned people here who could help you

God bless you for writing!

I am so glad you were blessed by your attending Mass. And your comments regarding the theology and devotions that bother you are not offensive in the least with respect to you mentioning them. What is offensive is that people write this garbage without concern for the truth with the only goal of keeping people away from the Truth of the Catholic Church.

You even said that you saw visible fruits of Catholicism! Do you really think that good fruits could come evil pagan practices of false worship of idols?? Hardly! The false history that you refer to sounds very much like the debunked history by Loraine Boettner. In this anti Catholic book, Boettner ties together a loose set of coincidences and portrays it as fact! It is all complete nonsense!

Instead of seeking such anti Catholic sources, I would suggest you look for more objective sources, even if they are non Catholic. There are enough solid objective Church historians, non Catholic and non Catholic which will show you just how shoddy conclusions drawn by the Beottner-like anti Catholic work really are.

Its true that the Church was very successful in converting pagans into Christians by overlaying Christian meaning on old pagan symbols. But that does NOT mean that the Christian teaching was perverted by the Church. It may have been perverted by the pagans themselves, but theological truth of the Church was NOT. Reverence for Mary, much of the Marian theology , and the theology of the Communion of the Saints can all be found in the writings of the Early Church Fathers well before many efforts to convert the barbarian pagans to Christianity.

Furthermore, Boettner like histories are also very dangerous for one simple reason. They non only condemn Catholicism, they condemn Christianity at the same time! In other words, the same criticism of the Catholic Church, could be made for Christianity in general! Christianity itself has been charged with being nothing other than a remaking of very ancient Greek, Roman, Persian gods! Atheists, many of them former Protestants familiar with the very charges you are concerned about from Boettner and others, no doubt have simply extended the charges by Boettner to Christianity as a whole!

One cannot confuse coincidence, temporal proximity, and sequence be causation. Yet that is exactly what Boettner and his pagan Catholicism theories try to do! And this is exactly what atheists do in their charges against Christianity as well. Once you start accepting such arguments as truth without question, you might as will explain away all of Christianity as well as modern atheists are trying to do.

Please dig a little further by looking for material here on CAF and other objective sources.

Peace! Yours in Christ!

Welcome aboard, Faith:
The references to paganism-crossover to Christianity comes not from the Bible but from Lorraine Boettner’s book Roman Catholicism circa 1962. The book is roundly denounced for its lack of scholarship by both Protestant and Catholic authorities.
Boettner makes a claim (like the sign of the cross based on the pagan god Nimrod) but then offers no objective research to back up the claim. He might cite an authority but fails to document the source.
Even with such glaring errors, his book still sells catering to the anti-Catholic crowd.

When it comes to such things, would you rely on the source–or what others have said about the source? Put it another way (I use this example in my catechism classes), if you wanted to know anything about your Ford F-150 pickup truck from bumper-to-bumper would you get the shop manual from Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan or would you ask your local Chevy preowned car salesman?
Similarly, I would find out what I want to know from real Catholic authorities and not second-hand from others think they know.

I am not offended by your comments and I’m glad that you are seeking out the Way, the Truth and the Life. Keep praying and loving the Lord your God.

Joe

I have a question;
If I were to go to mass for 1. confession and a 2. blessing at the mass, is this ok for a P. to do?

I am noticing that committed Catholics are using C. methods to actually get rid of any repeat sin, to be free from things.

(some of the things I read about on here I wasn’t even sure if they were sin, but maybe so)

I get confused trying to read and understand all the doctrine, and the diff. in doctrine between P and C., and some C. things are still foreign and unusual with me.

I thought I might like to work on getting any sin out of my life with the teachings about that
and going to the confession,…plus I heard about grace from confessing.

I don’t know what you’re reading or where you’re getting your information, but ISTM if you dug a little deeper, you’d find those accusations are usually false, or at the least, highly exaggerated. :shrug:

Mary’s titles usually reflect something more about Jesus than strictly about His mother. For instance, the mother of the king is the queen (aka the “queen mother”). Mary is the Queen of Heaven because she is the mother of the King of Heaven, Jesus. It has nothing to do with pagan goddesses. In Jeremiah 7:18, Mary did not yet have that title (since she wasn’t even born yet), so that verse obviously does not refer to her, but to a goddess that the people were (falsely) calling the “queen of heaven” (and “heaven” in this instance probably referred to “the sky,” not really Heaven, where God is).

Prayer beads have been around for a long, long time (true) and the beads on string (or knots on string) are an easy way to keep track of prayers said (also true). However, praying the Rosary does not even require the use of “prayer beads,” nor was the Rosary taken from Buddhist worship (and in fact, prayer beads were/are used in many religions and cultures, not just Buddhism). The Rosary is about meditating on the life of Christ (the Mysteries) and making use of frequent, sincere prayer (if you’re just mindlessly repeating the prayers, you aren’t praying the Rosary–slow down and focus). I suppose if you’re really that worried about using prayer beads, you can always use your fingers instead, if you prefer. But I sincerely doubt anyone who saw you using rosary beads would think you were actually praying to Buddha.

The sign of the cross signifies that we worship God with our minds (forehead), our hearts (chest), and our strength or soul (shoulders). It also reminds us that Christ loves us so much that He died for us. Of course He died on the cross… and yes, the Romans were polytheistic (worshiped many gods/goddesses). But the pole with a crossbar was not “invented” or claimed solely by the Romans. It’s also been around for a very long time. And again, I sincerely doubt anyone who saw you make the Sign of the Cross would think you were pagan.

We human beings have often venerated (honored) those who exemplified virtues we admire. That’s nothing new and is not pagan in origin. The saints are honored because they are good role models, because they practiced those virtues we admire and want to emulate. Like any other hero, we don’t worship them. But to imply that the Church sort of “invented” the idea of saints just to convert pagans is false. We read of saints in the Bible (Rev 5:8, Matt 17:3, Ps 103:20-21, and others), and we are called to become saints. Just like any other person we admire, we honor those who lived very holy lives, and we might share their stories to inspire others. Often they were given “patronage” over a certain area simply because they went through similar struggles. And those who have been through similar situations are easier for us to relate to when we’re struggling.

Again, we shouldn’t just assume that because “the pagans did it,” that it’s a strictly pagan practice or that it came from the pagans. Otherwise, how far should we take it? Should we stop praying at all, just because “the pagans did it”? Should we stop using the roman alphabet and the “plus” sign (+)? Because you know, the Romans and Greeks were pagan. I mean, in reading some of these accusations online (not referring to OP’s but other ones), it gets a little bit ridiculous sometimes.

I’m also not sure why some people have such a big problem with re-using a simple idea or method in a new way to teach about God. It’s one thing to be careful about demons and falling prey to occult practices, etc., but I think we often give superstition and false idols much more power and credit than they deserve.

Even if a practice actually used to be pagan, you still can’t “accidentally” mortally sin, especially not by properly using a practice that has been blessed by the Church. But do be careful that you don’t lean too far the other way and give false idols (or false accusations) more influence over you than they should have.

Lastly, keep in mind that praying the Rosary, praying to saints, and even calling the Blessed Virgin by the title, “Queen of Heaven,” are all not necessary. They are good and holy practices, true… but they are not required by the Church.

So my suggestion is to pray, to stop reading this “everything has a pagan origin” garbage, and to find out what the Church really teaches about these things. Don’t just put your trust in those who accuse without any real substance, just the twisting of facts and appealing to fear. Trust, instead, that God has power over everything, and therefore, His Church has the authority to cleanse and bless items, practices, and places to make them good and holy. :wink:

And come on back home to the Church. :slight_smile:

The best thing to do is to start a thread with these questions because then people will answer them without derailing someone else’s thread on what is for us a slightly different topic.

The quick answer is no, those who have not been baptized or received into the Catholic Church should not receive the sacraments. *This is to protect the non-Catholic, *not to leave them out of a good thing. Yours are good questions and if you ask them in a new thread, people will give you good explanations :slight_smile:

thanks,.i see what you mean about another question potent. changing the topic of a thread,…

Thanks to posters’ references…I read Cardinal Ratzinger’s ‘Spirit of the Liturgy’ and he explains ancient Jewish feastdays and how they correlate with the day of the Incarnation, the time of Christ’s birth, the time when Passover is celebrated by the Jewish people and when it is celebrated by the Christians…and when Easter is celebrated.

There is nothing drawn by paganism. Those are part of the false spins out there…and to me I think the inspiration can come by none other than the Evil One, to keep people away from the fullness of Christ and His life in the Church.

Persecution of the Church stopped with Emperor Constantine who made Sunday a public day of rest. He did not become a Christian until shortly before his death. He was your typical ruthless emperor but his mother was a true Christian. Anyway, when Christianity was legalized by temporal order, many pagans joined the Church. They brought in a beautiful custom of genuflecting before the Lord when they entered, as well as the Roman use of statutes to create a more sacred environment of the church setting, as well be signs of honors to those who died living exemplary lives for Christ whose lives of self sacrifice provided tangible communion of saints who pray for us and our perseverance in the Lord no matter the troubles or persecutions. That is the message we get in statues, not in themselves but in knowing about the lives of those particular saints, so when we are at communion, we can recall their witness and pray to seek to grow in the Lord as they did. There is no paganism in that.

The Church is not out to destroy individual cultures of the people it brings the Gospel of Christ to. On the contrary, to do so would not be “saving” people anymore than forcing people to eat, dress, think, and act alike in a dangerous mind-altering cult is “saving” people.

While the details of what you describe are actually different from what really happened, you are not too far off about some of the things you mention. (For example, your connecting Mary to pagan goddess worship is actually from anti-Catholic propaganda, hundreds of years old that isn’t based on anything proven via critical analysis of history or archaeology, just plain on anti-Catholic propaganda that some people choose to believe without doing the real homework about it.)

It is very true: Several customs that the Church has adopted through the centuries includes practices and celebrations of the peoples who came into the Church with them. Several Church holidays, for example, absorbed the customs of the people that later became popularized into widespread customs, such as some observed at Christmas.

But there are two very important points you have not come across in your research:

1. It has been the custom since antiquity for one religion to prove it’s god as true by taking over the temples, customs, and holidays of the god it conquered.

This is the way the humans have done things since the beginning of time. Wherever the Church did this, introducing the God of Abraham and even turning some pagan temples into churches, it was done because this was the accepted convention and expected. Like the custom of when a nation that conquers another disposes of the loser’s flag and raises it’s own, the overtaking of another god’s “territory” is the way almost all peoples have understood and practice the change or conquering of one religion by another. That “territory” often involved holy days and customs that some cultures felt inseparable from religious propriety (such as the custom of bowing heads during prayer).

2. Except for the Jews, all the customs of the people who would join the Church are customs of pagans–because they were all pagans except for the Jews.

That’s right. Unless you are a descendent of Abraham, you ancestors worshipped false gods. To put it bluntly, most of us are descendants of pagans. Our families were pagan, our customs were pagan, our nations were pagan.

So when the Church admitted pagans into it, it did what it could to ensure that the customs associated with the people were not lost. It adopted what it could using Christian themes. What else could it do? Except for the Jews, pagans and pagan customs were all that the Church had to absorb because that is all that you had left to bring in the Church.

So OF COURSE many customs in the Church come from or seem similar to that as practiced in pagan cultures. If it had not done this none of the nations of Christendom would have had different foods, different dress, different languages, different ways of doing things.

So when people say: “Hey, the Church adopted pagan stuff and just labeled it Christian.”

Uh, DUH! Did you want the Church to destroy your culture or instead do what it could to allow your ancestors to preserve it?

Now the details you present aren’t correct. Like I said they are based on anti-Catholic propaganda.

They also come from a phenomenon of the human mind’s ability to notice patterns of similarities. Just because some religions or pagans had practices similar to Catholics or Jews does not mean that all these religious groups borrowed from one another. It only proves that people have similar ways of doing things. To go into detail about it would take more space than we have here for now.

Actually it is Catholic missionaries who work to integrate with the indigenous people, accepting them on their level.

Hundreds of years ago, they baptized people without enough study of anthropology and people would still continue to practice some pagan practices. Now the Church takes more time before baptizing, and does alot of interaction with the natives to make sure they are sufficient to be initiated.

I remember seeing photos of Fr Blanchett using the totem pole to teach the bible to natives.

Seculars admit the Catholic Church has done a much better job at working with indigenous people than others.

The only complaint is listening to the Gregorian Chant and sitting in the pew when people would prefer their own chant and more movement, like the African people. I heard a priest play the ‘Kyrie Eleison’, Lord Have Mercy for the Penitential rite at beginning of Mass then play it put into African dialect and music and we all enjoyed it.

That’s a very good point you made about good fruits not being able to come from evil pagan practices. I do believe it’s possible for evil to masquerade as good, but not to the point where people are living in accordance with the Word of God and giving into temptation less often. So you’re correct, that would make absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Have you read any objective books or articles on the subject matter that you would recommend? I’ll definitely do some more searching on this site, but I’d like to find some entirely unbiased works so I could just read the facts as they are and work things out. If it’s not possible to find completely unbiased material, then I’d like to find something very close.

I am very aware of some people claiming that Christian practices are Pagan. I’ve heard many arguments against Christmas and Easter. Perhaps at one time, those particular days were pagan holidays but now they are used to glorify and worship the Lord. I don’t think it’s the day that holds the meaning, rather your actions and what you are celebrating. So I do understand how things can get twisted sometimes.

Thank you so much for replying! God bless!

I’d never even heard of that book before, but it sounds very messy.

Your truck analogy made a lot of sense. Who in the church should I try to get in contact with to talk about this? Is it allowed to meet with the priest and discuss things with him? Or is there someone else I should contact?

Thank you so much for your reply! God bless!

Thank you so much for your clarity in regards to the Queen of Heaven title! It made much more sense when you broke it down like that, and the concept isn’t so difficult for me to grasp any more.

I feel better about the Rosary now, too, knowing that beads aren’t actually a part of it, rather a representation as you’re praying. I suppose I am still ignorant on many things.
That’s how I’d always heard the sign of the cross defined, and it broke my heart when I read that it was pagan. I would always make the sign of the cross and it was like a reminder to myself that God is with me and that I need to keep my focus on Him. It helped to keep me on track. I’m glad to know that in fact it was not pagan and that the pole and crossbar design did not necessarily come from one source.

I have nothing against veneration. I believe it’s very important to have God-fearing, God-honoring role models to look up to. That’s another thing I was unaware of - the reasoning behind giving the saints patronage. I had no idea why it was done, other than what I’d read about it coming from pagan practices. So thank you for clearing that up as well!

So, those practices are not required? I won’t be looked down on if I don’t participate in them?

I will gladly accept your suggestion. I will be praying more reverently about all of this and I hope that the Holy Spirit gives me complete clarity. Thank you so much for your reply and taking the time to explain everything! God bless you!

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