Don't know what to do...

I’ve been feeling very depressed and confused lately and I don’t know what to do. It started on election day. On that particular day, Barack Obama, our first black president was elected. Everyone else around me was really excited about it and I just felt out of place (I’m black). In the black community, the Obama candidacy was treated like the natural teleological outcome of more then 400 years of struggle, some thing that I was clearly on the outside of (I did a write-in candidate, because I didn’t want to vote for either). Much of the enthusiasm comes from the feeling that the Obama presidency means an end of the feeling of being a metic. The term metic comes from Ancient Athens. Metics were people who were residents of Athens, but not citizens. Many of them had lived in the city-state for many generations, but were still considered foreigners. This has been the traditional situation of blacks in this country; always residents, never citizens. When Obama won the election I thought, “Wow, we’ve finally made it” and then I felt guilty because of his pro-abortion record and that feeling hasn’t left me since. The whole election filled me with a great deal of anxiety, since I was told by my mother that if I didn’t vote for Obama then there would be race riots and blacks would be even worse off than they were in the post-Reconstruction era. Then all of these Catholic blogs and writers were saying that if Obama was elected, then it would usher in a Nazi-type government (which was also what my mom said. Strange how Hitler always wins no matter who wins). he crux is the problem is the phenomenon known as “double consciousness” as described by WEB Du Bois in his book The Souls of Black Folk. It refers to an inability to reconcile the twin identities of being black and American. In my case, it is the difficulties of reconcile black and Catholic identities. Most American black culture stems in some form or another from the black (Protestant) Church. I wonder if this means then that the entire cultural output of blacks is totally worthless then?

My second problem deals with a general depression about the state of the Church. The unity of Catholicism seems superficial given the vast number of Catholics who don’t even believe in “mere Christianity.” Catholic institutions seem to flagrantly do things that are against Church teachings. What’s the point of having all of these rules if no one is going to enforce them? At least the Protestants are honest about where they stand, whereas it seems like we make a big show about non-existent orthodoxy and orthopraxis. The new revelations about the abuse of children in Irish Catholic institutions has really depressed me, especially given how the same thing happened in the US, Canadian residential schools, and in Australian schools. How could such deep-rooted corruption be so widespread throughout the English speaking Catholic world? It boggles the mind. Since most of these incidents happened 50+ years ago, they can’t be attributed to Vatican II. I find myself wondering if there isn’t something with the structures of the Church that enables abuse to keep occuring again and again.

So when I say that I’m doubting, its not that I secretly want to go to the local AME church or that I woke up one day and decided that the Marian doctrines are false or that purgatory is non-existent or that birth control is licit. I flirt with becoming evangelical, but I couldn’t image dumping the Marian dogmas and such and I fear being separated from the Church. But I’m so confused and depressed that it’s interfering with my daily life, both religious and secular. Any help that anyone could give would be greatly appreciated.

I sympathize. Without knowing more, two ideas that occur are professional counseling and/or a retreat.

“Lucy” My heart goes out to you, dear soul. You are obviously a person of tremendous grace. You’re struggling with something, which shouldn’t have been “a struggle”. I’m sorry for that. :console: The election of our first black President… SHOULD have been a joyous occasion for all. But because of the “doctrines” of Mr. Obama regarding abortion and other life issues, his election… has not been joyous… for many. :nope: But rather, a tragedy.

I happen to be of mixed ethnicity, myself (part Caucasian… part Native American). So, I can’t begin to imagine the turmoil which the election of Mr. Obama… must have caused in the hearts and souls of black, Pro-Life Americans… such as yourself. On the one hand, it was (as you said) “Wow, we’ve finally made it”; but on the other, “This man believes in the slaughter innocent children”. It must have been like trying to walk a tightrope with one hand empty, and in the other a 1,000 pound weight. :frowning:

“Lucy” with all due respect to your mother… I believe she was wrong to suggest that there would be race rioting… if Mr. Obama wasn’t elected. My heart goes out to her. It seems that she has “bought into” the fear mongering and general distrust among the varying ethnicities (much of which, is kept alive by the media). I’ve always believed, that if people can get past all the “racial garbage”… change for the better, will occur. We’re ALL, children of the One God; regardless of our skin color. Change in attitude has to begin somewhere. Why not with us? You can be a light to your dear mother, in this matter.

Continued…

No it does not. America is and always has been… a “melting pot” of cultures and ethnicities. No one group can claim more, than another. As far as difficulty in reconciling your black and Catholic identities, I would suggest that the two can very easily co-exist; what reason would there be for conflict? Again, Our dear Lord doesn’t look at the color of our skin, our ethnic background, or our cultural diversities, as if some sort of judgment. We are ALL one family of God. (btw, I’m only 2nd generation Catholic. I was born into the faith, through my mother. But her father’s family were Lutherans; and my dad’s family were non-demoninational Christian; does that make me question my own Catholicity? Certainly not! I view it… as a gift from our Merciful Lord. I pray this for you, too… “Lucy”).

WE are called to “enforce” the teachings of the Church… by being faithful to them ourselves. I was saddened by the fact that only 40 Seniors at the Notre Dame Commencement chose to “boycott” the ceremony. How sad for those 40 Seniors, that they HAD to choose; but they set an example for ALL of us to persevere in the Catholic faith. We may never be faced with such a decision, ourselves. But hopefully, if we are… we will remember the sacrifices which so many souls have made to testify to the truth.

Jesus promised that the “gates of hell” would not prevail against His Church. However, He did not promise that the Church would not be attacked. Sin will remain in the world, until the final judgment. The Church on earth… (us)… is made up of sinners. All other churches, including Protestant… are also made up of sinners. Why stay within the Catholic Church? Because it is the One Church, founded by Jesus Christ… Himself. Other Christian Churches were founded by men. Why would anyone, once a Catholic… be compelled to step away from the One Truth? From the Sacraments? From the Mass? From the Eucharist? Hang on to those, “Lucy”. They are treasures beyond our imagining.

You clearly have a place in your heart for Our Blessed Mother. I will end, by encouraging you to go to Our Lady in prayer and ask for her help with this. I “credit” her, 100% with bringing me back to the Church (especially under the title… “Our Lady of Mount Carmel”). She is a powerful intercessor and advocate… because she has “the ear” of her Divine Son, in everything. She continues to intercede for us… just as she did, at the Wedding of Cana. Take all of your concerns to the Immaculate Heart of our dear Mother. And she will help you.

God bless you, “Lucy”. You are in my prayers.

MV

((hugs)) Lucy, don’t feel guilty that you thought “wow, we’ve finally made it”. I think it’s really unfortunate that Obama is pro- abortion… it would have been so great if he wasn’t. Even though he’s pro abortion, it’s still true that America got its first black president. Well hopefully in the future, there would be another black president who wouldn’t share Obama’s views on abortion. But don’t feel bad sister. It’s alright to feel glad about one thing, and sad about another; or to support some things about Obama but not others. The Church just says we shouldn’t support abortion.

Most American black culture stems in some form or another from the black (Protestant) Church. I wonder if this means then that the entire cultural output of blacks is totally worthless then?

I don’t think so… see in the Catechism it says that all people are called to be in unity with the Church. And we know that all people are called to unity with God. The Catholic Church exists in every part of the world, in every country… it’s really multicultural. When I go to Mass at my parish, I see people from different races and nationalities there.

As for your second problem… this is something that I’ve also struggled with. I really think that the devil attacks the Church, and this doesn’t mean the Church is wrong, but rather that it is in fact true. The devil especially tries to destroy the truth, and lead people away from it. It’s really sad that there are Catholics out there who don’t care about Church teachings, or that there are Catholic schools and institutions that don’t uphold them. However, there are many priests and many bishops who are trying their best to enforce the rules and encourage people to follow them. And we’re really blessed with our Holy Father, he’s a very orthodox Pope. The Church is going through a hard time, and that means we should pray for it… but we know that in the end, the gates of hell will not prevail. Also, sometimes the media only reports the problems in the Church, not the good things… so we’re left with the impression that no one is doing anything right at all. But that’s not true, as I said there are many good leaders out there. If the laity don’t listen… well what we can do, is of course pray, and also be good Catholics ourselves, and lead by example. There are also lay ministries we can get involved in.

The reason why we say the Church is unified and one, is because the official teachings are all the same for all Catholics, and we’re all one Body, and all follow one Pope. Of course, that’s speaking of the official teachings. There are still Catholics who don’t follow these teachings. But that’s because the Church has a human component too and it’s not perfect.

what Jesus promised, is not that everyone in the Church would be good Catholics, or that Church teaching would always be upheld. What He did promise though, is that the real, official, doctrines of the Church, would always be protected by the Holy Spirit. If we just believe what the Church actually teaches, we’ll be safe from error. This can only be said about the Catholic Church… not about the Protestant churches, which all teach different things, and have lost the connection to historical Christianity… the way Christians have always believed.

concerning the child abuse… I find this really, really sad as well. :frowning: I think that shows we need to pray for the priests. Like I said before, I think the devil is really attacking the Church. And one very powerful way he does this is by attacking the priests: the leaders… becuase of course, strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter. We should pray for the priests but not let this discourage us so much that we leave the Church. That’s just what the enemy would want. Also, I don’t think that child abuse is only a “Catholic problem”, it’s a general human problem. It happens in all kinds of churches and places in society. In fact, it’s a problem in Protestant churches as well. The Catholic priest scandal is just more publicized. I don’t mean to say that it’s just something the media made up… no, it’s real… but it’s real in other places too. I read a report about sexual abuse in Baptist churches… it’s all very sad, no matter where it occurs.

I really hope and pray God would give you peace about this :hug3:
remember, - confusion, anxiety, doubt, - that’s not something from Him. Unfortunately it’s something we all go through at times, though. I’m a new convert to the Church and I’ve gone through this a lot in the past. Try to trust God though. Ask yourself… do you believe that the Church teachings… the real, official teachings… are true? Do you believe in the Immaculate Conception, the Eucharist, the Pope, purgatory, etc?

I suggest maybe going to Eucharistic Adoration and spending time there… even before the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle. It’s really Jesus there so we can visit Him at any time and talk to Him completely honestly, especially when we’re struggling.

God bless you

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