Cradle catholic, would it be prudent to leave the church instead of being a hypocrite?


#1

Hi all,

my name is chris (short for Kristina), I'm 19 years old living in the us. My entire family is really religious, way more than average. All my life I've been doing all the right catholic things like Sunday school... I'm even really involved as a Sunday schoolteacher altar girl, and lector. I even was a sacristan for a spell.

ive been having doubts and questions about my faith for so many years now. Wat used to have so much meaning for me is now empty and meaningless. It's been a gradual prcess. I used to go through alternating bursts of doubt and "renewed" faith. But now the faith bits are few and far between, and now I only feel doubt, even disgust at the church.

I looked at the reasons why I beleive this stuff in the first place, and they are not impressive:
-I was raised that way
-my parents instilled in me the kinda catholcism based on fear and superstition
-I never really thought about why I practiced
-I don't have a choice- my parents forced me into all church related stuff... I mentioned my doubts so of course their reaction is to push me even stronger into it
-it's the "safe" thing to do... If it's all real, than playing the rules keeps you away from he'll, if it's not, no harm done

so I brought this up in confession, which my family forces on me weekly, and the priest told me that it may be an option to walk away, hqve integrity instead of lying to everyone. That if I didn't beleive, then maybe I should go and leave the church. Really seemed to me like he was afraid of defending the church... Seriously th catholic church is getting weaker by the day, and if it's own priests are afraid tk defend it, is it really blessed???

On top of that Im hiding this really horrible and sinful part of me from a lot of ppl... Everyone thinks I'm a good person but they'd all hate me if they had any idea of the self destructive and abusive things I do. I'm addicted to a lot of bad things, for example I like to start conflicts because I get some sick pleasure outta fighting, anger, humiliation, and pain.

So in a nutshell, I feel like a hypocrit for being so involved while hiding these insane doubts, I can't talk to my parents. Iv tryed praying (I've tried it for years!!!) and ive read the actual bible (which made my doubts worse than ever). Am I a hypocrit? I feel like such a liar to everyone who thinks I'm this uber catholic religious girl ... Including my pastor and parish priests who think I'm some devout parishioner... but I am quite the opposite. I have such doubts but feel uncomfortable with walking away from something i've grown up with...

So yeah I'm posting here as a last attempt to try to get back, maybe find some ppl who might have gone through similar things and gotten thru it faith intact. Thank god for the anonymity of the Internet!!!

-regards, Chris


#2

[quote="UK_filipinah, post:1, topic:178744"]
Hi all,

my name is chris (short for Kristina), I'm 19 years old living in the us. My entire family is really religious, way more than average. All my life I've been doing all the right catholic things like Sunday school... I'm even really involved as a Sunday schoolteacher altar girl, and lector. I even was a sacristan for a spell.

ive been having doubts and questions about my faith for so many years now. Wat used to have so much meaning for me is now empty and meaningless. It's been a gradual prcess. I used to go through alternating bursts of doubt and "renewed" faith. But now the faith bits are few and far between, and now I only feel doubt, even disgust at the church.

I looked at the reasons why I beleive this stuff in the first place, and they are not impressive:
-I was raised that way
-my parents instilled in me the kinda catholcism based on fear and superstition
-I never really thought about why I practiced
-I don't have a choice- my parents forced me into all church related stuff... I mentioned my doubts so of course their reaction is to push me even stronger into it
-it's the "safe" thing to do... If it's all real, than playing the rules keeps you away from he'll, if it's not, no harm done

so I brought this up in confession, which my family forces on me weekly, and the priest told me that it may be an option to walk away, hqve integrity instead of lying to everyone. That if I didn't beleive, then maybe I should go and leave the church. Really seemed to me like he was afraid of defending the church... Seriously th catholic church is getting weaker by the day, and if it's own priests are afraid tk defend it, is it really blessed???

On top of that Im hiding this really horrible and sinful part of me from a lot of ppl... Everyone thinks I'm a good person but they'd all hate me if they had any idea of the self destructive and abusive things I do. I'm addicted to a lot of bad things, for example I like to start conflicts because I get some sick pleasure outta fighting, anger, humiliation, and pain.

So in a nutshell, I feel like a hypocrit for being so involved while hiding these insane doubts, I can't talk to my parents. Iv tryed praying (I've tried it for years!!!) and ive read the actual bible (which made my doubts worse than ever). Am I a hypocrit? I feel like such a liar to everyone who thinks I'm this uber catholic religious girl ... Including my pastor and parish priests who think I'm some devout parishioner... but I am quite the opposite. I have such doubts but feel uncomfortable with walking away from something i've grown up with...

So yeah I'm posting here as a last attempt to try to get back, maybe find some ppl who might have gone through similar things and gotten thru it faith intact. Thank god for the anonymity of the Internet!!!

-regards, Chris

[/quote]

Wow Chris. Thank you for the sincere post. As an adult who only recently chose confirmation in the Catholic Church - I certainly would see that I believe the Catholic Church indeed holds the fullness of the truth. But, this is something you need to find for yourself.

I would not "leave" the Church - but, while the sacraments of the Church are important and can bestow graces - they are not, themselves, the source of our faith. You might consider putting some time aside each day, alone in your room or in a private place, when you can just pray to God. If you are so moved, you could do this in front of the blessed sacrament in Church. But just spend some private time with God - pray for wisdom and guidance, start a dialogue. If you don't currently pray the rosary, consider spending part of each day praying the rosary - as a means of creating an intimate connection with God.

You are young in your walk - the fact that you are reaching out here is a wonderful sign that the Holy Spirit is active in you. Is wonderful to question - I wish more people would do it. So pray to God to strengthen your faith.

I'll keep you in my prayers.

Blessings,

Brian


#3

[quote="UK_filipinah, post:1, topic:178744"]
Really seemed to me like he was afraid of defending the church... Seriously th catholic church is getting weaker by the day, and if it's own priests are afraid tk defend it, is it really blessed???

[/quote]

I understand your sentiment to a point, as a convert who had a history of trouble with faith.

Perhaps it might help if we knew what it is about the Catholic Church you are having a problem with.... or if, really, your problem is with something much larger than the RCC.

I look forward to your response,

Gordon


#4

Dear Chris,

I could be wrong, but I think I can see part of the reason why things have gotten to the point they have for you. When you first started having these doubts, you didn't ask the questions to knowledgeable Catholics who could get you the answers you need.

Why do we believe? On what is our faith based?

There is a TON more than faith and feelings. However, perhaps because of fear of what others will think of you, you didn't reach out for knowledge when these doubts first began to appear, so the questions festered inside you instead of being answered, and those answers filling your life with joy.

There are so, so many reasons to believe . . . I want to pull out reams of evidence for you to prove the truth of Catholicism's doctrines (and there is a ton of proof available that I can show you if you're interested; just say the word! :) ) but I'm not sure that that's what you need first. The intellect can use answers, but the heart has to be open to the truth before the mind can receive it.

Is your heart open to receiving answers to your questions and solid, logical reasons to believe? Are you willing to submit your life to Jesus if He is indeed real and all that the Church says He is? This surrender involves taking a risk, changing your lifestyle, making resolutions to live your life according to moral principles and striving to hold fast to this stance. This continual battle against sin and sometimes slow, sometimes fast ascent into righteousness is what St. Paul describes as "running the race," or "persevering to the end." All the while, we praying to the Holy Spirit for help, help He is glad to give and provides with power.

So are you willing to really receive the truth if it's given, and are you willing to surrender to it if it becomes clear to you? That's the first question you need to answer. Your heart needs to be ready before the mind can receive. If your heart is ready to receive truth, just tell us, and if it isn't, then what we must do is pray that it becomes so.

God bless you. It's a very difficult point in your life, and perhaps it is indeed time to reject Christianity in one form. By that I mean that perhaps it's time to reject the form of Catholicism you've been practicing so far, which is outward appearance rather than heart and soul. Don't put your spiritual emphasis any longer on these outward actions alone (though continue to obey the Church's teachings), and don't consider these outward actions to be all there is. The new Catholicism you need to put on is becoming a Catholic in spirit and truth, not just in outward appearance and actions.

In Matthew 9:17, Jesus said, "Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved."

You need to become a new wineskin so that the new wine, the living, breathing fire of Christ can be poured into you. The first step is surrender. Surrender all your doubts to Jesus and ask Him from your heart to take them away through revelation of truth. Surrender all your sins to Jesus and ask Him to take them away. Surrender everything you have and are to Jesus and ask Him to make you a new person. Tell Him you will try to do His will and that you sincerely desire a deep and personal relationship with Him. Then you will have cleared yourself off the throne of your life and will have emptied it completely so that Christ can seat Himself on it and reign, filling your life with the graces of the Holy Spirit and with spiritual unity with Christ.

If your heart is open to the answers, there are many answers and your Catholicism can become something completely new to you. If your heart is not open, pray that Christ will open it. And we will be glad to help you in every way we can.


#5

I know how you feel,
though their is nothing wrong with believing in something because you were taught that, thats a beautiful thing, but after a while, you have to learn what its all about for yourself.
When I started really learning about the church, and the catholic faith, I realized how flippin awesome it is :D
But I dont suggest you leave the church, I suggest you learn about it and make an informed desission to stay or not, rather than one based on lack of a reason to stay


#6

Same exact story! I'm 18 now, and I had my faith problems a few years ago, up until fairly recently.

Looking back, the best way I can describe me figuring things out for myself, is as a 'maturing in faith'. Because up until that point, now for you, both of us were Catholic only by birth, and feeling like none of it even made sense any more... and that praying feels like praying to a wall. And that, how is God real? I cannot see Him!?!?

For me, it sort of just happened. I was sinning badly, and God was telling me to stop. Over and over and over, until I could no longer deny that this is coming from God.

Then I went to a retreat (I was still extremely involved, just nobody really knew my secret doubts.) and after scheming for months of how to get to confession where the priest didn't know me and I would make an utter fool of myself, I confessed my horrible, digusting sin. And afterwards went back into adoration in the little cabin... And just sobbed with joy. I mean I felt like I was flying. I cannot even describe how wonderful this was... And ever since I've been becoming more and more devout... I mean God even has me taking communion on the tongue now! A few years ago I could never even have imagined where I am right now. And same goes for the future:heaven:...

Deep down, somewhere, you still know that God exists. (I mean even I still have doubts, then I shake them off and say, that's ridiculous, look what He's been doing for you and telling you.) He has a plan to bring you back to Him. I would say until then, DO NOT stop going to mass. DO NOT stop being involved. Try your hardest to keep an open mind. And then after a lot of effort, when you'll least expect it, you'll begin to see His hand in your life, and you'll finally start to develop a Love for God that is free of your parents and habits.

PM me whenever if you want to talk. I feel like your post describes me exactly a few years back. Maybe I can help.

God bless you Chris!
Abby

PS I would just warn you about developing a dislike of the Church without having a healthy alternative (I had similar, I looked into the Orthodox church, basically just online, and got sort of unfoundedly annoyed with both my priest and Vatican II). In my case it made me stronger, but I'm not sure where yours will go.
What keeps me going through all of the imperfections of my local parish(like I literally cannot stand the music... like hippies LOUDLY strumming their banjos. And the EMs give me weird looks when I take communion on the tongue...) is the feeling you get when you receive the Body of Christ in a state of grace... and when I figure out what God is trying to get me to do (like He asked me to go pray outside of an abortion clinic... there were a LOT of issues, and then I ended up going, and all these incredible things happened, culminating in the clinic actually closing four days after we went. And so many more things... Like when the 'family problems' were at their climax my sister and I were sobbing right outside our bedrooms, and then we began to pray the rosary, and the most incredible feeling of peace came over us... I mean literally when it seemed like life as we knew it was over we suddenly couldn't stop smiling and giggling like little toddlers. I remember saying that this must be what the matryrs felt like back when they were being flambayed:D)
Anyways, gotta go. It's really late:eek:

My love, (again)
Abby


#7

I will probably be bashed for this, but I would, if I were you, not leave the church, but take a break from it for a week or two. Study. Go to another parish. Change it up a little bit and see if rediscover the things that bring you peace and happiness.


#8

thanks for your honest post :hug1: I've met several people who are struggling with this but few have brought it up openly.

Here's my honest opinion.

Don't worry so much what people think and if you're a hypocrite or not. If you're struggling with Church teachings and faith, why not use this opportunity to learn more? :) I've met many people who left the Church without ever truly understanding it, even if they were raised in a really religious home. And that's because one part of understanding is experience.. I don't mean just going to church but really being close to God. I have Catholic friends who were raised in the faith but there came a time for all of them where they had to choose what to believe on their own. It's a natural thing that all people come to. Do you keep the faith you were raised with, or find another one, or none at all. But in this search, remember to seek the truth..not just what is easier, or what fits you better. How do you know what fits you now is the reality?

I grew up in an agnostic family and then was baptized Orthodox.. later on I became a Protestant. Then a Catholic. I can see so clearly now, all those years I've been searching. I've finally found my home in the Church. God was VERY patient with me through the years. He was patient with me as I struggled with Church teachings and went to Mass without understanding or believing anything or cried out to Him cause I didn't know where He was anymore. I see now, He was always near. But back then, it didn't make sense.

You don't have to leave the Church if your'e struggling. I know this is what the priest said but it sounds he listed it as just one of the options. Another option is to seriously give the Church another try - research it, pray, ..and when you pray, don't focus on feelings. If you feel nothing, still pray. Try to believe and if it's difficult ask God for help. Just try your best and leave the rest to Him... let Him take you the rest of the way. Are there any particular teachings you're struggling with? you can bring them up here and I'm sure many people would be willing to help you out.

Above all, try to be really honest with God in prayer. Understand how He sees you.. that even if you're struggling, even if you feel like a hypocrite, even if you're not the person everyone thinks you are - He knows who you are, and He knows the depths of your heart, but He loves you more than anyone else ever could. If you could see Jesus right now, do you think He would look at you with anger or disappointment or indifference.. or would He simply look into your soul and then say, "despite all that, you are My child". He would look at you with so much love in His eyes. Just try to believe in His love and pray with as much honesty as you can. It's oki to tell God things like "I dont know if you're real" or "I don't know how to pray" or "I have no idea what i'm doing right now, but here's all that I'm going through...." God hears prayers like these and many others on a daily basis and He's compassionate with anyone seeking Him. Just seek Him with an open heart. It's so worth it. The closer we get to God, the more the Catholic faith comes alive to us..the more the Mass comes alive. Try to build this foundation first and go from there... read what the Church teaches, pray about it, talk to knowledgeable people. Every time you go to the Sacraments, Jesus Himself is there and wants to work in your soul...let Him.

here's something to think about: mcpriests.com/03_I_thirst_PrayerEN.htm

take it one step at a time..don't give up.

God bless you


#9

Been there. Done that.

No, do not leave.
No, you're not a hypocrite.
Yes, continue to practice your Faith and seek answers.

IMPORTANT: If you do not believe in the Real Presence in the Euchrist do not take Communion but DO attend Mass.

Do Eucharistic adoration even if that means just sitting there doodling or coming in for a 10second flying vis.

I would advise removing yourself from teaching until you come to a livable resolution. That's the right thing to do.

Apart from teaching, don't stop helping others.

Pray. Pray. Pray. Sometimes that means without words.

Remember when you learned to ride a bike? The only way to do so was for who ever was holding you up, keeping you safe, had to let go so that you could ride on your own two wheels. After that, you could start cycling together and with others.

Congratulations Krisitna, you are growing up.:cool:

Got iTunes? Start subscribing to some Catholic podcasts.

There's a vast library of apologetics here, and at EWTN to start reading, too.


#10

Shame on that priest for not giving you guidance. Two things have brought me back to the Church and have helped me maintain my Faith the most. The Rosary and reading Catholic Church History, the Encyclicals, etc. Scott Hahn has a book that is called The Lamb’s Supper, the Mass as Heaven On Earth. I have found that for myself, faith doesn’t come by osmosis. Sometimes we have to work with God.


#11

Wow, guys. thanks for all the thoughtful replies.

so the general vibe i'm getting is that it's actually not unusual to question things?

QUOTE=Robbinson;6021345]
But just spend some private time with God - pray for wisdom and guidance, start a dialogue. If you don't currently pray the rosary, consider spending part of each day praying the rosary - as a means of creating an intimate connection with God.

I'll keep you in my prayers.

Blessings,

Brian

Well, I have been trying that for a while now, and sometimes, it might work temporarily, like for the moment, but as you can see, i'm still pretty uncomfortable with faith.

[quote="plan19, post:3, topic:178744"]
I understand your sentiment to a point, as a convert who had a history of trouble with faith.

Perhaps it might help if we knew what it is about the Catholic Church you are having a problem with.... or if, really, your problem is with something much larger than the RCC.

I look forward to your response,

Gordon

[/quote]

Thanks. there are so many things that really bother me about the rcc, and christianity in general. Their positions on gay marriage and female priests for example. i mean, if god creates people to be gay, wouldn't it be cruel of him to make it a sin for them to fulfill their desires? it seems to me that a lot of the rules and traditions with the church have arbitrarily been picked out of the bible.

i recently read the bible for an english class. this was the first time i really examined the text in depth... before that, my experience with the bible was limited to the select, pleasant passages in catholic and sunday school, sugarcoated children's bible stories, and the readings at mass. what I read bothered me a lot. the God of the old testament seems NOTHING like God in the new testament. He doesn't seem omniscient, and seems to lose his temper frequently. i also can't wrap my head around His sense of justice :x

and to me, it seems like the catholic church is dying out. church attendance and vocatiosn at an all time low, their practices are so out of sync with common culture, which is why a lot of people are repelled by it, and there are a lot of divisions within the church itself- for example, the president of notre dame has drawn controversy by inviting pres obama to speak at the school, i hear of priests denouncing the church's anti-gay views, nuns ordaining themselves as priests... and of course, the sex scandal....

yeah, my problem is much larger than the rcc. I've been looking into taking a theology class to straighten some of the more basic tenets out, but my beef with the current church still remains.

not to mention, i can't logically understand why there should be a god in the first place. my aunt actually told me that part of being catholic was trusting in god-- and that means believing in even though i don't understand. how can i do that?!?! hasn't history shown that large masses of people believing blindly in things that don't make sense to them can never lead to anything good?


#12

[quote="Lief_Erikson, post:4, topic:178744"]
Dear Chris,

I could be wrong, but I think I can see part of the reason why things have gotten to the point they have for you. When you first started having these doubts, you didn't ask the questions to knowledgeable Catholics who could get you the answers you need.

There are so, so many reasons to believe . . . I want to pull out reams of evidence for you to prove the truth of Catholicism's doctrines (and there is a ton of proof available that I can show you if you're interested; just say the word! :) ) but I'm not sure that that's what you need first. The intellect can use answers, but the heart has to be open to the truth before the mind can receive it.

[/quote]

Wow, great post. I have a hard time being comfortable with things if I don't understand the logic behind them first.

I'm actually interested in the proof you can show me... I spoke more about it in the above^^ post.

[quote="Lief_Erikson, post:4, topic:178744"]

You need to become a new wineskin so that the new wine, the living, breathing fire of Christ can be poured into you. The first step is surrender. Surrender all your doubts to Jesus and ask Him from your heart to take them away through revelation of truth. Surrender all your sins to Jesus and ask Him to take them away. Surrender everything you have and are to Jesus and ask Him to make you a new person. Tell Him you will try to do His will and that you sincerely desire a deep and personal relationship with Him. Then you will have cleared yourself off the throne of your life and will have emptied it completely so that Christ can seat Himself on it and reign, filling your life with the graces of the Holy Spirit and with spiritual unity with Christ.

[/quote]

But how can this surrender "count" if it's not sincere? I really want to sort my doubts out and find the truth, but how can I surrender my doubts and all if everything about christianity bothers me?

[quote="ljubim, post:6, topic:178744"]
Same exact story! I'm 18 now, and I had my faith problems a few years ago, up until fairly recently.

Looking back, the best way I can describe me figuring things out for myself, is as a 'maturing in faith'. Because up until that point, now for you, both of us were Catholic only by birth, and feeling like none of it even made sense any more... and that praying feels like praying to a wall. And that, how is God real? I cannot see Him!?!?

Deep down, somewhere, you still know that God exists. (I mean even I still have doubts, then I shake them off and say, that's ridiculous, look what He's been doing for you and telling you.) He has a plan to bring you back to Him. I would say until then, DO NOT stop going to mass. DO NOT stop being involved. Try your hardest to keep an open mind. And then after a lot of effort, when you'll least expect it, you'll begin to see His hand in your life, and you'll finally start to develop a Love for God that is free of your parents and habits.

PM me whenever if you want to talk. I feel like your post describes me exactly a few years back. Maybe I can help.

God bless you Chris!
Abby

What keeps me going through all of the imperfections of my local parish(like I literally cannot stand the music... like hippies LOUDLY strumming their banjos. And the EMs give me weird looks when I take communion on the tongue...) is the feeling you get when you receive the Body of Christ in a state of grace... and when I figure out what God is trying to get me to do (like He asked me to go pray outside of an abortion clinic... there were a LOT of issues, and then I ended up going, and all these incredible things happened, culminating in the clinic actually closing four days after we went.

My love, (again)
Abby

[/quote]

Thanks, Abby. :)
Expect a PM soon :P

[quote="Monica4316, post:8, topic:178744"]

Don't worry so much what people think and if you're a hypocrite or not. If you're struggling with Church teachings and faith, why not use this opportunity to learn more? :) I've met many people who left the Church without ever truly understanding it, even if they were raised in a really religious home. And that's because one part of understanding is experience.. I don't mean just going to church but really being close to God. I have Catholic friends who were raised in the faith but there came a time for all of them where they had to choose what to believe on their own. It's a natural thing that all people come to. Do you keep the faith you were raised with, or find another one, or none at all. But in this search, remember to seek the truth..not just what is easier, or what fits you better. How do you know what fits you now is the reality?

You don't have to leave the Church if your'e struggling. Another option is to seriously give the Church another try - research it, pray, ..and when you pray, don't focus on feelings. If you feel nothing, still pray. Try to believe and if it's difficult ask God for help. Just try your best and leave the rest to Him... let Him take you the rest of the way. Are there any particular teachings you're struggling with? you can bring them up here and I'm sure many people would be willing to help you out.

[/quote]

Ahh, thanks :). I think I mentioned a couple of the things I have a beef with in the above post. In "seeking the truth", what am I supposed to look for, if not what "fits me" or what's "easier"? it's difficult to discern from different sources claiming to be the truth- atheism, christianity, etc..., because none of them seem any more convincing than the other.

But I don't think praying does anything for me. I can't "open my heart", ie, trust and talk to someone I can't be sure even exists. It leaves me feeling foolish and uncomfortable.

Believe me guys, your posts are really helpful, even if I may seem to you like i'm too thick to get what you're trying to tell me.


#13

[quote="UK_filipinah, post:11, topic:178744"]
Wow, guys. thanks for all the thoughtful replies.

so the general vibe i'm getting is that it's actually not unusual to question things?

[/quote]

no, it's not unusual :) pretty much everyone who is raised in the faith comes to this stage, and then they have to choose to keep it or not. Many keep it, many don't. It's a serious decision though.

Well, I have been trying that for a while now, and sometimes, it might work temporarily, like for the moment, but as you can see, i'm still pretty uncomfortable with faith.

that's alright!! when I first started praying and believing in God, I was very uncomfortable. This lasted for a while!! but after around a year, my faith really grew and after then it was much easier.

Thanks. there are so many things that really bother me about the rcc, and christianity in general. Their positions on gay marriage and female priests for example.

remember the Catholic view is a bit different from the Protestant view, on gay marriage. We don't see it as a sin to BE gay, but rather homosexual behavior. The reason this is sinful is because it goes against one of the purposes of sex: which is to bring a new life to the world. Through self giving love of a husband and wife, God creates a new person. This is how He designed it... all sexual sins go against this design, in that either they prevent a life from being born, or, they promote self gratification instead of self giving.

I know a few homosexual people who are good Christians, and they live a celibate life. But as an unmarried person, I'm called to live a celibate life too at least for now. And people in religious orders or priesthood live this way too.

i mean, if god creates people to be gay, wouldn't it be cruel of him to make it a sin for them to fulfill their desires?

be careful about this one, because God didn't actually create homosexuality. We dont know why some people are homosexual.. some seem to be born that way, others become that way over their life. But since it's disordered in nature, it wasnt originally part of God's design, and so it's not something He created. However, He loves homosexual people as much as everyone else, not any less, not any differently.. and He created their individuality and their souls. Just not their homosexuality. That might seem like a strange thing to say, but - so often in society we tend to define ourselves by our sexuality... I don't think that's the primary thing that defines people. Straight people are also born with MANY different traits that were not originally from God!! they're just different. And we're all born with original sin. Salvation is a transformation through which we're changed into the type of people we were MEANT to be. (and this is what brings real fulfilment and real lasting happiness and joy and union with God.)

also keep in mind that there are many sexual sins that relate to straight people.. it's not like God sees homosexual people as horrible and straight people as perfect. We're all sinners but we're also all His children.

as Christians, we shouldn't look at gay people as somehow 'lower' - because they are not - and they should be welcomed at Church too. We just dont believe in gay marriage, but there are many gay Christians who have accepted this Church teaching too. Even though no doubt it's difficult and a cross to carry... yet Christ did say, if we carry our crosses joyfully for Him, we will share in His glory also. Having a cross to carry is not a punishment at all.

it seems to me that a lot of the rules and traditions with the church have arbitrarily been picked out of the bible.

what do you mean? the Bible talks about homosexuality...and in places very negatively. The Church softened this up by saying that BEING homosexual is not a sin. One can be homosexual and a Saint.. but they live celibate lives. (but so do many straight people, who are single, or chose to join religious orders)

i recently read the bible for an english class. this was the first time i really examined the text in depth... before that, my experience with the bible was limited to the select, pleasant passages in catholic and sunday school, sugarcoated children's bible stories, and the readings at mass. what I read bothered me a lot. the God of the old testament seems NOTHING like God in the new testament. He doesn't seem omniscient, and seems to lose his temper frequently. i also can't wrap my head around His sense of justice :x

that's a good question. The way I see it, the Old Testament shows us about God's justice, and what it's like for humanity to be separated from God. The New Testament shows Him to us more clearly and focuses on His mercy. It's the same God in both. But the OT can be hard to understand, I agree. I think the reason is that back then, before Christ, humanity was separated from God and He was trying to teach them morality.. He chose the Israelites as His people because the Messiah (Jesus) would come from them. He sometimes had to use dramatic ways to preserve them and help them in difficult situations. (that's why He tells them to protect their land, etc.)

But the Law of the OT was fulfilled in the NT. Jesus told us, we should be peacemakers and not revengeful and love our enemies. In the OT, God seems to be saying something different, but that's only because the people back then were not ready for the full message. For example, He tells them things like: a tooth for a tooth. Do you know why? not because He wanted them to fight their enemies but because often it would be something like: an arm for a tooth. lol. He was trying to limit the violence they were committing. We have to see it in a cultural context. Then, Jesus came and gave the full message: love thy enemy, do good to those who hurt you.

that's just one example.


#14

and to me, it seems like the catholic church is dying out. church attendance and vocatiosn at an all time low, their practices are so out of sync with common culture, which is why a lot of people are repelled by it, and there are a lot of divisions within the church itself- for example, the president of notre dame has drawn controversy by inviting pres obama to speak at the school, i hear of priests denouncing the church's anti-gay views, nuns ordaining themselves as priests... and of course, the sex scandal....

the Church is under a lot of attack, but to me this actually shows that it's the true Church because the devil hates it so much. That's especially why so many priests are under attack with temptations etc, because the devil knows if the shepherd falls the sheep will scatter. Yes it's horrible about the scandals but we have to remember the people in the Church are not perfect, and that's precisely why we need a Savior... as for divisions, there are no divisions in official doctrine, etc, it's just that some people don't like Church teachings and rebel against them. Being Catholic is often being counter cultural.

as for Church dying out, I think it depends where you live, - my parish's attendance has grown over the past year, the church full at every Sunday Mass (there are 3 Masses on Sunday alone and one on Saturday), and there are many converts every year! I became Catholic last year myself :) along with a good group of other people. People are leaving but others are coming in!

yeah, my problem is much larger than the rcc. I've been looking into taking a theology class to straighten some of the more basic tenets out, but my beef with the current church still remains.

remember as Catholics, we believe the Church is the Catholic Church. Non Catholics are outside of the Church even though they are united to it through their baptism and faith in Christ. But if there are problems in Protestantism, that of course concerns us too but these problems did not originate in the Church.... but in ANY case, these problems are not from God, they're the devil attacking God's people, so that's why we need to pray and be good Catholics ourselves.

not to mention, i can't logically understand why there should be a god in the first place. my aunt actually told me that part of being catholic was trusting in god-- and that means believing in even though i don't understand. how can i do that?!?! hasn't history shown that large masses of people believing blindly in things that don't make sense to them can never lead to anything good?

well we don't really believe 'blindly'.. God has revealed Himself to us. He has come down to earth and became a little baby and then grew up among us and died. He willingly gave Himself up to be crucified just to save us, even though we hurt Him with our sins. He didn't have to do any of this, but did it out of love. We believe in God, love Him, and trust Him, as a response to His love. The more we pray, the more we get to understand His love, the more we want to love Him in return and do His will.

we believe in God also because we were made for Him and only He can fill that empty place in our hearts. He made us for union with Him.. He is love, and made us to share in that love for all eternity.

Also, maybe other religions like cults lead to nothing good.. but Christianity has lead to a lot of good, even though there have been people who misused it. But it's best to not judge it by people who misuse it.. but by those who practiced it the way it was meant to be practiced. Some examples of these people are the Saints, who did a lot of good in the world.

God bless


#15

I wanted to also say about priesthood and why only men can be priests. We believe that men and women are equal in dignity but they're different and have different roles. It's not about women being "lesser".. just look at Mary, she's a woman and she's the ONLY person to have been raised above the Angels :)

only men can be priests because the Apostles were men. But women have roles too, and important roles at that. Some examples are nuns, and mothers. They're not any further from God than priests are.

basically, all I'm trying to say here is that men and women have different roles, and equality does not mean being the same.


#16

Great! Here’s a post I sent a guy in the Scripture Forum, who was asking if Biblical miracles were untrue because nothing that amazing happens today.

Lief Erikson:

Whooooaaaah boy. I don’t think you’ve read much at all about the Catholic saints. There are thousands canonized. Look any of them up and you’ll see the “cool events” did not stop with the Bible.

Here’s one, the famous “flying monk,” St. Joseph Cupertino. Here’s the longish version of his story, a good article I really enjoyed reading. ewtn.com/library/mary/joseph.htm
A shorter version:
newadvent.org/cathen/08520b.htm

Here are some of St. Padre Pio’s miracles: padrepio.catholicwebservices.com/ENGLISH/Miracles.htm

A description of the marvels at Fatima:
scribd.com/doc/16920434/Fatima-Prophecies-the-Miracle-of-the-Sun

This one you must read about the marvelous apparitions of Mary at Zeitoun:
marypages.com/ZeitoenEng.htm

And look at this one, about the “Incorruptibles,” the saints whose bodies never decayed because the saints were so united with God in their lives:
catholicapologetics.info/library/gallery/incorrupt/incorrupt.htm

Here’s one of the most famous Eucharistic miracles:
therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/lanciano.html

And the Miracle of the Holy Fire which has annually occurred at the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem for 2,000 years:
holyfire.org/eng/

Here are several links to Eucharistic miracles you can read about, all the links on this page:
homebusinesslink.com/eucharistic.html

The Virgin Mary appeared at Siluva in Lithuania during the Protestant Reformation and converted the whole nation to Catholicism.

Around the same time period, she appeared at Guadaloupe in Mexico and converted that whole country!

Here you can read about St. Catherine Emmerich, one of the greatest visionaries of history, or the greatest. jesus-passion.com/ANNE_CATHERINE_EMMERICH.htm

Seriously, look up any of the saints, look up and google the saints, and you’ll see the most amazing things come up all the time.

God’s power is as real and active today as it was in Biblical times. The Catholic Church is full to bursting with wonders. Read about some of them through these various sources and enjoy! :thumbsup::thumbsup: :smiley:

Post end.

The lives of saints are filled with wonders that prove the truth of Catholicism. There are so many wonders in Catholicism. This is the place where Heaven and Earth meet and are made one!

You also will want to look up the Shroud of Turin (newgeology.us/presentation24.html) and Image of Our Lady of Guadaloupe (Some evidence for the miracle: catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=16789 - and a blog with links to the story and some further evidence: romancatholicblog.typepad.com/roman_catholic_blog/2006/12/our_lady_of_gua.html) online.

All the stuff I just gave you is only a good place to start. There’s a LOT more. I can refer you to some books. “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel is a great book to read for evidence proving that the New Testament is true. There are a lot of other good apologetics books. I don’t have time now to get you more references.

I was recommending a conditional prayer :). The prayer that if Jesus is God and Catholicism is true, you will surrender your life to Him. And pray that He will fill your heart with faith.


#17

Hi Chris

Firstly, I think that the questioning you are going through is something that many people go through – sometimes a number of times in their life – and that what is different in your case is that you have the courage to recognise it and do something about it.

Think it is important that you discuss your doubts with people who are able to help you with your questioning. In my view these are people who
can empathise with someone who doubts and asks questions
who takes your doubts seriously
gives you ideas
who challenges you
who has been through what you are going through or has experience with people who have
who has the time to listen to you
really listen to you (not just what you are saying but what you are saying underneath).

Choose someone else and there is the possibility that someone will give you advice without hearing the whole situation or you may end up being considered difficult because you are questioning.

You asked in your first post whether you were a hypocrite for being so involved at church while you have such doubts. I don’t think so as you are being open and honest to yourself and God about the situation and are working to resolve it. Whatever decision you finally make about staying or leaving you will know much more about yourself and why you have made the decision you have.

Having been through a similar process – I eventually left the church (a Protestant Church) because it was more painful to stay than leave and because my views and its were too different – I know the process you are going through is not easy and that some people just cannot understand why you have to work it all out for yourself. I got tired of hearing “Why can’t you just believe?”, “Why isn’t 400 years of tradition good enough for you?” and “No-one has ever asked me THAT before?”

Some people seem to think that leaving is the easy thing to do. Maybe it is for some people but for others of us it wasn’t. If we do leave we need to why are we doing so and should be for positive not negative reasons.

When talking to people about your questions keep in mind that the answers people give reflect them as people. One poster (Lief Erikson) commented that “your heart needs to be ready before the mind can receive” this may work well for him but not work for someone who is differently wired.

I wish you well in searching and questioning and look forward to following the thread.

Cheers

Salonika


#18

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