I’m 12 weeks away from being baptized (and just 6 weeks away from completing the Rite of Election). My main motivation for joining RCIA originally was my boyfriend, but I’ve really committed to it and learning more about the Catholic Church in general – I go to class every week, I go to Mass every Sunday – I’ve even gone on my lunch break on weekdays a few times when I was going through personal problems – and I’ve read a bunch of extra books (“Rome sweet home,” “Choosing to be Catholic,” etc.)
My problem is that, despite all this, I still don’t feel Catholic. I disagree with the Church on a lot of social issues in sort of a “if the Church is right, then God is wrong” kind of way. I feel no connection to Mary or the saints. To some extent, delving so deeply into Christian history/philosophy etc. has raised MORE doubts for me about whether any of it is even true. And today I referred to myself as a Methodist and then had to catch myself and say “well…not for much longer…”
Shouldn’t God meet me halfway on this? If the Church is the true Church and I’m actively trying to embrace it, shouldn’t it work? And is it alright to go ahead with baptism even if I still have doubts?
When I came over, I also found it difficult. Mary was a very difficult subject - still is. I accepted the teaching authority of the Church. Bargaining or asking the Church, or God, to meet you halfway won’t work, primarily because He is the creator and it’s “His ballgame” We don’t get to set the rules or change them. You don’t mention which social issues you are having difficulty but please remember the saying “Love the sinner, hate the sin” Time to pray.
There are a lot of things that are acceptable to keep at some distance - for example, as long as you can assent to doctrinal teachings on Mary (even if you don’t understand it all), it is fine to not feel any particular devotion toward her. It isn’t like she’s your Mother or anything…oh wait…:rotfl:
But seriously, it is okay to not feel a connection to Saints. For some people, devotion to a Saint or Saints comes later; for other people, that just isn’t something that they are ever going to be comfortable with.
I think there’s a difference between doubting and disagreeing. Can you be willing to accept and follow what the Church teaches about contraception, for instance, even if that isn’t a position that you fully agree with or understand? Or would you be taking a stance against the Church on this issue, selectively accepting only the teachings that agree with you? The former would be okay, but the latter would be a problem.
I think the Church’s theological logic on the contraception issue is hopelessly flawed. I don’t know yet if I’ll follow it, but I do know that I don’t feel any obligation to follow it precisely for that reason. I don’t want to derail this thread onto something else, but just for the sake of elaborating:
The church says each sexual act must be unitive and procreative.
Yet sex is still allowed during your period or post-menopause, even though there is no or almost no chance that it could possibly be procreative at those times. The presumption being that as long as you’re having sex, there’s always a chance.
Hormonal contraceptives and spermicides don’t disrupt the unitive aspect. And no contraceptive is 100% effective, therefore there is still always a chance, even when you’re using them.
Based on the churches accepted logic from #2, #3 shouldn’t be a problem either.
People will argue that using contraceptives indicates you’re not open to children, but since there is always that margin of error, you’re actually more open to children if you’re having sex with a contraceptive then if you just don’t have sex at all (because then there really is no chance – unless you’re Mary )
So I guess to me, using contraceptives says “God, I’d rather not have a kid right now, but ultimately it’s up to you” whereas NFP abstinence says “Sorry God, no dice.” (and is less fun for us, too )
I disagree with your disagreements, but, like you said, that’s a whole other thread (and there are already lots of them).
Contraception was the hard issue for me to get over when I first became interested in Catholicism, and it was ironically the issue that convinced me to take the Church seriously. Before that, I was just playing around with the idea of converting; then I found something that I felt I couldn’t accept. I thought, “Well, maybe I could just be a Catholic anyway and not worry about that one thing,” and then I realized that I was looking at an audacious Church that believed that She had the God-given authority to say that thing that I didn’t believe; I had looked at other denominations that made statements like “This is what we personally believe to be true,” but here was Catholicism saying “This IS the truth.”
GK Chesterton said something like “It is not enough for the Church to be right when I am right; I want a Church that is right when I am wrong.” I had been searching for a Church like that, but when I found it, it was a difficult process for me to let go of the habit of being right-er. When I studied a bit, I came to the conclusion that the Catholic teaching on contraception was something that I could reasonably accept.
I’m a cradle Catholic. However, I was not educated in the Faith as a child and did not always believe in needed to follow all of the Church’s teachings. But when people would ask me if I thought the Church should change the teachings, I would always say “no, we need someone to show us the ideal.”
Then, I hit a low point in my life and heard God calling me back to the Faith. I learned more about the Faith, listened to Catholic speakers, experts, etc.
Over time, I began learning the whys behind the teachings. In regards to birth control, I now understand first hand why it’s not good. If you like, I can share my personal experience with it regarding my wife (who is pro-birth control).
Anyway, my point is, no matter how hard it may seem to understand the Church’s teaching on things, keep this in mind… they have had over 2000 years to grow. Birth Control, Abortion, etc are not new. They were around before Christ and used a lot in the Roman Republic/Empire.
The big problem with contraceptives is that when you might have that break through ovulation, and conception could occur, abortion is highly likely also. It is highly likely because of what the pill is designed to do, suppress ovulation and make your womb hostile to any newly conceived child.
With NFP, it is getting to know your body and communicating with your spouse when is a good time/when it is not a great time to conceive a new child. Although a child could still be conceived, unlike the pill, it would not stand the chance of being aborted by a hostile environment created.
Don’t be discouraged. I am sure there are many more out there who could explain it better than I.
Assent is required not full understanding. There are many mysteries and the mind does not grasp these, yet sometimes the heart may. I hope you can accept the teachings, because it is necessary to accept the dogmatic teachings of the Catholic church, for a Catholic, and if you are not going to do that, then you will be severely conflicted and not able to remain in a state of grace. Below, I shown the canon law on the topic:[LEFT]Canon 750
§ 1. Those things are to be believed by divine and catholic faith which are contained in the word of God as it has been written or handed down by tradition, that is, in the single deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and which are at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn Magisterium of the Church, or by its ordinary and universal Magisterium, which in fact is manifested by the common adherence of Christ’s faithful under the guidance of the sacred Magisterium. All are therefore bound to avoid any contrary doctrines.
[LEFT]§ 2. Furthermore, each and everything set forth definitively by the Magisterium of the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals must be firmly accepted and held; namely, those things required for the holy keeping and faithful exposition of the deposit of faith; therefore, anyone who rejects propositions which are to be held definitively sets himself against the teaching of the Catholic Church.
[LEFT] The Catholic Church does not have am itemized list of dogmas of faith, but it has been estimated at about 255 or more. You can see a list here:
There is no harm in asking God to help you find your way. I would certainly go ahead with the Baptism, but as far as converting to Catholicism, pray for answers. We most certainly would and do welcome you, but when Easter gets here, if you are still having overwhelming feelings that invoke questions in your mind such as if the church is wrong then God is wrong, then something is not right.
NOTHING wrong with questions. MUCH better to ask them than to keep them in your heart unanswered. Talk with your sponsor or others. This is an important decision, but one that you don’t have to rush into if you are not ready.
I feel in my heart that as far as Christianity goes, the CC is it! But that is me. Also make this decision for yourself, your spiritual journey is about you, no one else.
Having said all of this I would only add, if you are considering marrying a Catholic man, and conversion is not right for you, then it is time for Catholic pastoral counseling, and I mean right now. **
The important thing to remember, I think, would be the wording of your #1. It should read something like “The church says each sexual act must be ordered towards procreation and unity”, not simply “The church says each sexual act must be procreative and unitive.” There is a difference. The first statement allows for things such as infertility/menopause and all that. The second doesn’t necessarily. If you use that first statement, when a couple uses contraception to avoid pregnancy, the act is not ordered toward procreation precisely because they are trying to eliminate the possibility of pregnancy. You mention that there is still a possibility of pregnancy - true, but why do people use contraception (usually)? To avoid pregnancy. When a couple uses contraception specifically to avoid pregnancy, their act is no longer procreative.
Regarding having doubts while in RCIA, I think that is fine. The only thing is that you must be willing to 1) not publicly denounce the Church’s teaching, and 2) do your best to find out all you can in order to understand the teaching. If you can’t do either of those things, then maybe it would be better to put it off until you can do these things. I mean, without a doubt you should talk to your priest about your concerns. He should be able to tell you whether you should go ahead with the baptism. If the above things are met within your heart, then I say go for it but that’s just me.