Catholic Convert Doubting


#1

Hi,

Here's my problem in a nutshell: I'm a convert from Evangelical Protestantism. I was a strong Christian my entire life. I was drawn to Catholicism over a number of years and then had a sudden pull to it 3 years ago at the same time that I discovered EWTN. I immersed myself in reading and discerning things and came to the conclusion that the Catholic Church was the one true Church founded by Jesus. I went through RCIA and became Catholic 2 years ago. I was excited and thankful for the grace of finding the Church. I truly believed everything the Chuch teaches. I was excited about the Eucharist. I started contemplating religious life and/or working for the Church as a teacher or lay minister sometime in the future. The desires of my heart changed for the better and I became a much more peaceful and forgiving person.

Fast forward to today. I feel like I've lost my Catholic faith. I feel like I don't believe much of the Church's teachings now. I am not doubting God or Christianity in general, just whether or not I should've stayed Protestant. I tell you, I truly am shocked at this turn of events. If someone had told me this was going to happen, I would not have believed it could because I know how I felt and I know what I believed up until a couple of months ago. I would've staked my life on the Church and its teachings.

I need to figure things out fast because I don't want to feel like this. I don't know what the exact cause of this is. I think most of it stems from two things: I have a very liberal priest. He came the parish after I became Catholic. He preaches things contrary to the Church's teachings. I was enraged when this happened and I planned to find a better parish but then some other conservative people begged me to stay. I stayed. After awhile, I started to try and see things from the liberal priest's perspective, and then I started to think liberal (by liberal, I probably should say "heretical"). Some of the things he taught were: women are denied equality in the Church, God can be called "mother", God wants us in heaven so we're all going to end up there. Stuff like that. Anyway, after flirting with liberalism myself because I didn't fit in with some of the extremely conservative Catholics (the more Catholic than the Pope types), I came back to my senses and was enraged again that I didn't quit this parish when I had the chance. Now I am involved in it too much to quit (I teach catechism and I don't think I can quit it since it's my duty to keep my word and it's hard to find teachers).

A friend of mine wrote to the priest to address his heretical ideas but got no response. My friend then wrote to the Bishop and got no response. I think I started to get bitter and doubtful about the faith after seeing that the Bishop doesn't seem care.

The second thing that may be causing my doubts is that when I see that the majority of the other parishoners are not bothered by my priest's liberalism. I've started to wonder if anyone knows their faith or even cares (I'm generalizing, I know). And then adding further confusion, I joined a group of supposedly conservative Catholics who meet to discuss doctrine and I'm taken aback by some of the things they do and say and it confuses me because I know Protestants that are more clean living than them.

So I guess in a nutshell, I see lots of spiritual fruit from some Protestants and a lot of Evangelical Protestants know the Lord and know their Bible and love the Lord with their whole hearts and they are bearing much fruit despite the fact that they don't have the Eucharist. Then I see other Catholics that have the Eucharist (which at this point, is the only thing I'm clinging to) and they don't know anything about the Bible or Church teachings.

I've rambled some and I don't intend any disrespect to anyone here. I'm baring my heart in the hopes that I can get some advice because I'm heart broken about the way my thoughts and beliefs are messed up.

I don't know who I can talk to about this because I'm ashamed that I feel like this. I alluded to some of this during Confession with a conservative priest but he basically said it's no wonder I'm mixed up based on the liberal priest stuff. But that Confession was a month ago and I initially felt better after it and now in the past week, I feel worse.

Thanks for listening.:(

And does this happen much? Do Catholic converts ever revert back to Protestantism???


#2

[quote="SetonGirl, post:1, topic:303561"]
I alluded to some of this during Confession with a conservative priest but he basically said it's no wonder I'm mixed up based on the liberal priest stuff.

[/quote]

I would go back to this priest and ask him to be your spiritual director. If he won't, then ask him for someone who will and do what they tell you to about this situation.

Don't let the sins of others keep you from the truth.


#3

Your confusion is understandable, because you meet the current Church crisis. A liberal priest made that my family left the Church. I recommend that you may go to a tridentine mass(also know as the extraordinary form), usually the people there are not conservative, they are traditional. Conservative is not really Catholic.


#4

[quote="SetonGirl, post:1, topic:303561"]

So I guess in a nutshell,** I see lots of spiritual fruit from some Protestants and a lot of Evangelical Protestants know the Lord and know their Bible and love the Lord with their whole hearts and they are bearing much fruit despite the fact that they don't have the Eucharist. Then I see other Catholics that have the Eucharist** (which at this point, is the only thing I'm clinging to) and they don't know anything about the Bible or Church teachings.

And does this happen much? Do Catholic converts ever revert back to Protestantism???

[/quote]

I think a lot of people feel this way, ESPECIALLY converts. I say this because converts tend to be more orthodox than Cradle Catholics. There are many within the Church who do not follow her teachings. I had a similar problem of not feeling spiritually nurtured enough but I solved that by doing two things: 1. I attend(ed) another Church that is VERY orthodox as often as possible and 2. I remain(ed) at my first parish to evangelize those that only go there. That way, I get to experience Catholicism how it was meant to be but also invite those from the first parish to actually understand the Church's teachings.

As for the underlined portion, look at Luke 9:49-50

Jesus disciples were rebuked for trying to stop a man from doing good works even though they would one day be the foundation of His Church. There are many Protestants who do good works (like the man who cast out demons) and there are those in the true Church (like the disciples) who aren't always correct/don't always do the right thing.


#5

Just to encourage you...I have been waiting close to 13 years to complete my journey home...waiting for my spouse to complete some work needed regarding a previous marriage. During this long spell of delay, I have contended with many discouragements, including infrequent Mass, little or no family support or interest, downright hostility from some, and inner struggles over why it is taking so long. Through it all, the Lord is teaching me patience and refining me for eternity, praise His Name.
I too have come on a long journey to get here...I too am a convert from a varied background, including Methodism, fundamentalism, and several flavors of Baptist faith communities. Despite your bad priest (I would not seek him out for any spiritual advice, especially regarding Church teachings!!), the Mass is still the Mass, the Eucharist is still the Eucharist, and Holy Communion is still Holy Communion, no matter how reprobate the priest...his Holy Orders remain.
Having survived the onslaught of moral relativism that is growing more rampant daily, I turn to the Scriptures and the Catechism for the Church's teaching, and run everything through that filter. Also, the Rosary and Daily Offering prayer can really build your faith.
So sorry you've had a rough time! I hope you don't give up on the Church! After the intial honeymoon, it sounds like you are disillusioned over the imperfect members of the Church...me too!
I also find great support on a number of orthodox Catholic websites, including Catholic Answers Forums! Holy reading will also build up your faith...The Journey Home is another great resource (EWTN).
I'll be praying for you and the priest in question!


#6

Thank you for being up front about your challenges. First, I would say the enemy is the father of lies, and where he is confusion reigns.

Second, our faith is about commitment, not necessarily feelings. Most of those around the early Apostles did not believe the faith as they did; even beat and persecuted them according to scripture. Our faith is dependent on our relationship with God as revealed in scripture and connection to the church.

It sounds like you are a light in the parish. With your work catechizing, you can teach the truth and fullness of the faith. This will most likely cause the ire of the priest as people ask why he is teaching one thing and you teach another. If what you are teaching is according to the church, stand fast and take the resistance as a sign your work is having an effect. When light is brought into darkness, people who live in darkness will get annoyed.

That said, as you have found, most people at Mass are not that much into their faith, particularly not as much as converts who have studied and joined the church by choice. It is frustrating for many to see apathy.

If the priest is liberal it would be a lot easier to find another parish, particularly if you are fairly new to the faith and being in that environment is detrimental to your walk. There are many conservative Catholics out there with whom you can join. You won't find them all in one place though. Like you they will be in smaller groups.

Finally, remember that all the good which you were drawn to is still in the church, just not in that parish. Keep searching and find one or two others with whom you can engage and be supportive of each other.

Good luck with your journey!


#7

Some of the things he taught were: women are denied equality in the Church, God can be called "mother", God wants us in heaven so we're all going to end up there.

The things you mentioned are not what a bishop would consider "gravissima delicta" -- very serious offenses, and it is most likely not high on his list of priorities. You don't know whether he has spoken to him behind the scenes, just because he did not personally answer your friend's letter. Many threads on this forum deal with mistaken ideas of salvation, and it is possible to have misunderstood him (just saying).

OTOH, you may need to tape record some of these teachings as proof of how off-the-mark they are. There are inexpensive hand-held recorders that many use in conferences and can be barely visible to anyone else.

http://ts3.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.5001971212222522&pid=15.1

It is a common temptation, to believe that the grass is greener "over there." God has called you to serve Him in the True Faith, and you will never be happy anywhere else.
Have you heard the expression, "bloom where you are planted?" You may be the only light that shines in that darkness, and Our Lord has placed you there as His lamp. I am glad to see you are teaching and serving the people in your parish.

I would suggest you finish out your agreement to teach, but go to another parish for mass to avoid the occasions of this temptation. There are no territorial boundaries today.

God bless you.


#8

Hi SetonGirl and may the Lord's blessings be with you,

I am very sorry that the bad example of some catholics seems to have given you doubts about the catholic faith and this is understandable. What a great grace Jesus gave you and to which you responded in becoming a catholic. That is wonderful. As you know, we believe that the Catholic Church is the one true Church of Christ.

You need to try and hang on to the catholic faith with all your might for the love of the Lord and with the help of his grace. Try not to focus to much or any on the bad example of other catholics. Offer everything up to Jesus and Mary and believe without a doubt that Jesus and Mary know your struggles and that they are bearing fruit even though you may not see this. The following of Christ entails struggles, contradictions, and persecution. And this can come about, sadly enough, from fellow catholics. Jesus was persecuted to the point of dying on a cross and as Jesus said if we are to follow him, we must renounce ourself, pick up our cross daily and follow him.

A good spiritual director, such as the priest you mention, where ever you can find him would definitely be a good thing. Maybe considering going to Mass at another parish, one that is not so liberal, at least you might leave Mass in peace. Try to be as charitable as possible with the parishioners who belong to the liberal church you attend now. We don't want to be uncharitable toward them though we don't have to, nor should we, accept any heretical teachings either.

Do you pray the rosary? If not, I would recommend it as Our Lady, our mother, will help us in our struggles.

I'll offer some prayers for you. God bless, Rich


#9

I would try to find a different parish as soon as possible. But do finish your teaching assignment. Don’t pay any attention to either the conservatives or the liberals, both can be way off. Just stick to the truths of the Faith and ignore everything else. In time you will understand what is going on. Satan has always attacked the Church from the beginning because that is his favorite way of " getting even " with Christ, whose Angels drove him from Heaven. Just pay attention to your own spiritual life, let God take care of the rest. :thumbsup:


#10

Dear Convert, I really empathize with you. At the risk of overusing the word, consider yourself on a journey and you have hit one of the rough patches. I have longed for consistency in my life and really have not found it in the church. Oh, it is there, but you really have to look for it.

Once our family decided to climb Harney peak, kind of a smallish mountain in the Black Hills. Easy peasy = only 3 miles on a clearly defined track.. Our young sons were eager, DH and I were eager so off we went. It was easy, then we noticed that we were going slightly downhill for the first mile, then we started slightly uphill. Not as easy. The last mile was I swear, straight up. OK it wasn't, but it sure felt like it. this parallels in some respect my own journey.

When I was young, I was an enthusiatic Catholic, then reality hit and it became harder. There were things happening in the world that I did not understand and at which I grieved unsupported by "the Church" which at that time was not changing fast enough for me. Later I came to see that the pace of change was right and my problem was one of not placing Jesus at the center of my life,rather looking at externals. That became part of the straight uphill part!

I will support the poster who said get with a spiritual director. This may be a really important time for you. Increase rather than decrease your prayer life. Ask Jesus to lead you. Try to love those you are journeying with rather that being fearful, critical or disappointed - they are "in process" also.

I hope you find some like minded people to support you, but if not, Christ will.

By the way, I do not find your priest so heretical - Women have not always been treated well in the Church and we have some "breakout saints" to thank for the change - Dorothy Day leaps to mind. I don't at all mind calling God mother at times. There is a feminine principle in God. He/She is really not bounded by our understanding. Maybe in an off-putting way your priest is calling you to greater conversion, love, and unity.

God bless you, Keep pounding up that hill!


#11

It may be time to find a new priest and a new parish if this one isn't making you feel right. Read and re-read the Catholic Catechism. Know in your heart what is right even if your priest is saying something different. Please don't give up on the Catholic Church. I am praying for you!


#12

Welcome to CAF! :wave: I wish it were under less tumultuous circumstances. :console:

We all have mountain tops and valleys in our spiritual journey. It's not uncommon to go through a period of a spiritual "high" when converting which then tapers off in time. It's difficult to sustain that level of enthusiasm as a perpetual state of being. And life's circumstances can easily weigh us down.

Here are a couple things I think are helpful to keep in mind when coming to these types of crossroads.

First, remember where the truth is.

You became Catholic because you discovered and embraced the fact that the Catholic Church possesses the fullness of truth with regards to Jesus and Revelation. That fact does not change simply because of a liberal priest or some lukewarm parishioners.

Which brings me to the second point: Don't get hung up on what others are doing / not doing.

It is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking we know where others are at spiritually just by looking at them (or maybe even hearing them say a few things). But the truth is that we don't know where they are at in their spiritual walk. And we don't know what things God has in store for them. If we see a lack of enthusiasm around us, then we should do our best to be enthusiastic. If we see a lack of knowledge of the faith, we should do our best to catechize (which it seems you are already doing :thumbsup:). As the maxim goes, be the change you want to see.

And lastly (which is actually the first thing), keep praying. Stay connected to the vine and you will persevere.

The Church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum of saints. The longer you hang around a parish, the easier it is to see the warts. But God is still there and His Truth and Mercy and Love abound even in those places.

That you notice the bad things is not bad. It shows you are paying attention and recognize where things need to change. The big question is what to do about it: Do we despair and become despondent? Or do we throw ourselves at God's mercy and do the work that He wants us to do in order to build up His Church? Pray for the grace to choose the latter.


#13

It has oft been said, "The Church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints."

It is true that people in the Church are sinners, from the laity to the papacy. So sometimes even a priest can be very wrong. Pray for him.

Due to your particular weakness, it may be beneficial for you to seek out a more orthodox parish where you can participate in the Mass. You may need to continue to teach catechism for the remainder of the year (and it may require you attend the other parish on Saturday evening or drive more), but at least those children will have a sound teacher.

What's the worst that can happen if the "liberal" priest finds out you're going to Mass elsewhere? He might dismiss you from the position, but then he's stuck with finding a new catechist. :D


#14

[quote="Sirach2, post:7, topic:303561"]
The things you mentioned are not what a bishop would consider "gravissima delicta" -- very serious offenses, and it is most likely not high on his list of priorities. You don't know whether he has spoken to him behind the scenes, just because he did not personally answer your friend's letter. Many threads on this forum deal with mistaken ideas of salvation, and it is possible to have misunderstood him (just saying).

[/quote]

Building off of this point, simply because your bishop did not respond to your friend doesn't meant he doesn't care or that writing to him is pointless. But these situations can be tricky, espeically if it comes down to hearsay.

Also consider that a bishop can't just fire a priest. And even if he could, he cannot just post a help wanted sign and start interviewing a dozen potential replacements by weeks' end. A little bit of iffy theology is almost always better than having no priest at all and damaging the parish community because of that absence.

So we cannot expect the bishop to just swoop in and fix everything with a single letter. Would that he could. But keeping him in the loop (provided it is done always in a spirit of charity and with proper documentation) is not for naught.


#15

Well said, Joe. Thanks.


#16

[quote="Joe_5859, post:14, topic:303561"]
Building off of this point, simply because your bishop did not respond to your friend doesn't meant he doesn't care or that writing to him is pointless. But these situations can be tricky, espeically if it comes down to hearsay.

Also consider that a bishop can't just fire a priest. And even if he could, he cannot just post a help wanted sign and start interviewing a dozen potential replacements by weeks' end. A little bit of iffy theology is almost always better than having no priest at all and damaging the parish community because of that absence.

So we cannot expect the bishop to just swoop in and fix everything with a single letter. Would that he could. But keeping him in the loop (provided it is done always in a spirit of charity and with proper documentation) is not for naught.

[/quote]

A bishop is also likely to write off single protest letter as being more vent than evidence of a problem. If a number of parishioners write letters citing their own objections, it may improve the odds of action.


#17

We show the love we have for someone by the amount of time we spend thinking of them, but even more so by the amount of time we spend in their presence. I suggest that you go and spend time with our Lord at adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, or before Him in the Tabernacle. All else seems to fade to near insignificance while we contemplate the Son of God. It is the primary place to pray for those in the Church that need prayer.


#18

[quote="Sirach2, post:7, topic:303561"]
The things you mentioned are not what a bishop would consider "gravissima delicta" -- very serious offenses, and it is most likely not high on his list of priorities. You don't know whether he has spoken to him behind the scenes, just because he did not personally answer your friend's letter. Many threads on this forum deal with mistaken ideas of salvation, and it is possible to have misunderstood him (just saying).

OTOH, you may need to tape record some of these teachings as proof of how off-the-mark they are. There are inexpensive hand-held recorders that many use in conferences and can be barely visible to anyone else.

http://ts3.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.5001971212222522&pid=15.1

It is a common temptation, to believe that the grass is greener "over there." God has called you to serve Him in the True Faith, and you will never be happy anywhere else.
Have you heard the expression, "bloom where you are planted?" You may be the only light that shines in that darkness, and Our Lord has placed you there as His lamp. I am glad to see you are teaching and serving the people in your parish.

I would suggest you finish out your agreement to teach, but go to another parish for mass to avoid the occasions of this temptation. There are no territorial boundaries today.

God bless you.

[/quote]


#19

Pray tell ..how do you figure 'women denied equality in the church'...God can be called "mother'...we are all going to end up in Heaven....not serious matters...I doubt seriously that these statements and whatever else heard..were mis interpreted....I recently went to confession to have a priest tell me what I was confessing was not a sin...shared this on this site..but it wasn't published and I got no response..I am a cradle Catholic who is admittedly conservative...and I am quite looking to the conservative wing of Catholicism...the church of my childhood....trust me ..there is NO ambibuity here..PAX....I am glad to hear that you appreciate the Holy Eucharist....You are in my prayers...find a real Priest....who understands and teaches the faith according to the Church's teachings....


#20

[quote="Sirach2, post:7, topic:303561"]
The things you mentioned are not what a bishop would consider "gravissima delicta" -- very serious offenses, and it is most likely not high on his list of priorities. You don't know whether he has spoken to him behind the scenes, just because he did not personally answer your friend's letter. Many threads on this forum deal with mistaken ideas of salvation, and it is possible to have misunderstood him (just saying).

OTOH, you may need to tape record some of these teachings as proof of how off-the-mark they are. There are inexpensive hand-held recorders that many use in conferences and can be barely visible to anyone else.

http://ts3.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.5001971212222522&pid=15.1

It is a common temptation, to believe that the grass is greener "over there." God has called you to serve Him in the True Faith, and you will never be happy anywhere else.
Have you heard the expression, "bloom where you are planted?" You may be the only light that shines in that darkness, and Our Lord has placed you there as His lamp. I am glad to see you are teaching and serving the people in your parish.

I would suggest you finish out your agreement to teach, but go to another parish for mass to avoid the occasions of this temptation. There are no territorial boundaries today.

God bless you.

[/quote]

I would say that teaching that everyone is going to end up in heaven IS a serious matter and a grave heresy. It amazes me that I read about so many serious Catholics on these boards rightly concerned with whether they have committed a mortal sin or not, and some pastors have no qualms about preaching in direct opposition to what the Church teaches.:confused:


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