Finding My Way in the Catholic Church After Twenty Years


#1

Since I crossed the Tiber eight months ago, I have been carefully finding my way around and getting re-acquainted with the Church of my youth. I returned to the Catholic Church because, when I threw down the gauntlet of challenge, She convinced me that She is indeed the Church founded by Christ.
With a billion people world-wide, the Catholic Church is truly diverse. But at the same time, it requires obedience to the teachings of the Holy See. If one wants a ‘warm and fuzzy’ Jesus, the Catholic Church is not the place for them.
As I am writing this, a Catholic priest in Chicago has made the news by supporting a pro-abortion candidate for president. Recently, I encountered a priest who, to me, appeared to be bragging about his liberal views on homosexuality.
Having grown up in the Church, this comes as no great surprise. I was aware that the Church was far from perfect and not everyone is obedient to her.
Catholics have always taken a stand against racism and for social justice. However, the Church cannot be called ‘liberal’. The definition I am using of ‘liberal’ is one who because he or she can legitimately dissent from Church teaching. A conservative will assent to Church teaching and teach fullness of our faith.
There is a generation of liberal priests from the sixties and seventies who still hold power. These priests are also often not pro-life and believe social poverty issues are far more important than the slaughter of the unborn.
They have misguided their flocks into dissent on matters that are not up for discussion. The Christian conscience is to be guided by the Holy Spirit. The church is to be guided by it and the Pope, etc.
Liberal Catholics do more damage to the Church than any wide-eyed anti-Catholic. They create nominal ‘cafeteria Catholics’ who pick and choose what the doctrines of their Church they want believe in. They have created more fundamentalists, than fundamentalists have.
While some liberal priests are still in control on the parish level, the seminaries, and some of the bishoprics, they are slowly being replaced by those who obey to the Pope and the Church. Many of these replacements come from outside the US.
I have noticed, on a personal level, the differences between American priests and foreign-born priests. When I tell a foreign-born priest of my return to the Church, it is met with joy, interest and enthusiasm. With some American priests I have met, it is met with disinterest.
I did not return to the Catholic Church to discard Her doctrines and teachings. For what would be the purpose of returning?
I am a conservative Catholic and traditional. I believe the Bible is the Word of God and I submit myself to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
I would like to see more Latin in the Mass, but I have nothing against the Norvus Ordo. I am under the authority of the Church and the Pope, who have upheld the doctrine for 2000 years.
On the other hand I will not be part of a schismatic group just because I am conservative and prefer some Latin in the Mass. For what would be the purpose of returning to the Catholic Church only to join with a group that has disobeyed their Pope? That is not conservative, that displays as much disobedience as the Protestant reformers did.
The Catholic Church is 2000 years old, and the gates of Hell will never prevail against her. As I find my way back into her arms, I will defend her against enemies both within and without.


#2

Welcome Home


#3

Welcome and blessings to you. You’re not alone in your feelings at all… And while I’m not a “traditional” at all, I fully support where you stand on that matter.


#4

Not sure what being ‘traditional’ means in that sense, I’m still exploring this jungle.
:smiley:


#5

Welcome Home, Servant.

Everything you say is true. Therefore, rest awhile and catch your breath as there’s “work” to be done!

God Bless

:cool:


#6

This is totally how I see it, too, JustaServant! Welcome home and thank you for defending the One True Faith!


#7

To add my welcome home to the others…:thumbsup:
I’d like to comment on some of your excellant points below.

It is funny that so many of us, after “leaving home” and wandering about in various wildernesses find that, “There is no place like home”, and the Church is way smarter than we thought.

With a billion people world-wide, the Catholic Church is truly diverse. But at the same time, it requires obedience to the teachings of the Holy See. If one wants a ‘warm and fuzzy’ Jesus, the Catholic Church is not the place for them.

Amen to that. It’s amazing how many are not up to the task of even following the minimum requirements of the Church. Jesus came to challange us not just to suckle us.

As I am writing this, a Catholic priest in Chicago has made the news by supporting a pro-abortion candidate for president. Recently, I encountered a priest who, to me, appeared to be bragging about his liberal views on homosexuality.
Having grown up in the Church, this comes as no great surprise. I was aware that the Church was far from perfect and not everyone is obedient to her.

Keep in mind that the “Church” in her teachings and doctrines is “perfect”, or as near to perfect as any earthly institution can be. It’s us pesky members that aren’t perfect.
The Church certainly has her share of the sinners and rebels. Of course not all of this is bad. since the church thrives on discussion and debate. However, when these debates are taken outside of normal and reasonable channels the problems crop up. No religious should be making announcements in the media that contradict the official line of the Church. What they discuss, debate etc in private is another matter.

Catholics have always taken a stand against racism and for social justice. However, the Church cannot be called ‘liberal’. The definition I am using of ‘liberal’ is one who because he or she can legitimately dissent from Church teaching. A conservative will assent to Church teaching and teach fullness of our faith.

Well said. We submit to the authority of the church because we are convinced that this authority is correct and given us by God for our own salvation. This allows Catholics much more freedom to pursue true social justice because we know what the goal is.

(Snip)

Liberal Catholics do more damage to the Church than any wide-eyed anti-Catholic. They create nominal ‘cafeteria Catholics’ who pick and choose what the doctrines of their Church they want believe in. They have created more fundamentalists, than fundamentalists have.

I basically agree with this. I will add that I believe that we have always had some form of “cafeteria catholics”. Taking the analogy to the extreme caricature, I see the Mafia family where all the women are devout catholics and all the men are devout mobsters.
That being said I think that the liberal and disobedient clergy do the greatest damage because they do mislead other catholics and lend some sort of “legitimacy” to the dissent. We must pray for God’s mercy on their souls.

While some liberal priests are still in control on the parish level, the seminaries, and some of the bishoprics, they are slowly being replaced by those who obey to the Pope and the Church. Many of these replacements come from outside the US.

The pendulum is definately swinging back. God will right His church.

I have noticed, on a personal level, the differences between American priests and foreign-born priests. When I tell a foreign-born priest of my return to the Church, it is met with joy, interest and enthusiasm. With some American priests I have met, it is met with disinterest.
I did not return to the Catholic Church to discard Her doctrines and
teachings. For what would be the purpose of returning?

Don’t judge the priests too harshly. They are but humans as well.

I am a conservative Catholic and traditional. I believe the Bible is the Word of God and I submit myself to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

You will be a glorious asset to the church. Converts and Reverts from Evangelical denominations often bring with them an enthusiasm that is contagious and is often missing in cradle catholics.

I would like to see more Latin in the Mass, but I have nothing against the Norvus Ordo. I am under the authority of the Church and the Pope, who have upheld the doctrine for 2000 years.

I believe most people actually share this view and eventually a middle ground will be reached.

On the other hand I will not be part of a schismatic group just because I am conservative and prefer some Latin in the Mass. For what would be the purpose of returning to the Catholic Church only to join with a group that has disobeyed their Pope? That is not conservative, that displays as much disobedience as the Protestant reformers did.

It is obvious that you have thought this all through completely. I too prever the Latin and even more I would like to see a return of many of the older forms of rites and devotions. However, to do so outside of the authority of Rome is to place my “Self” and my “Pride” ahead of God’s will.

The Catholic Church is 2000 years old, and the gates of Hell will never prevail against her. As I find my way back into her arms, I will defend her against enemies both within and without.

may God continue to lead you and Bless you Abundantly.

Peace
James


#8

Amen, the doctrine is perfect. I was referring to the people themselves.
I think many who leave the Church into evangelicalism are looking for the ‘perfect’, not necessarily the doctrine, but a perfect group of saints all of whom agree with one another.
When they discover that isn’t so, they become disillusioned.


#9

I do not think you are a conservative at all. You are just a true Catholic and there are many of us who are truly Catholic and not conservative or liberal. We just believe in the Teaching and authority of the Catholic Church and do not pick or choose as the liberals do. We are not conservatives who question the validity of the second Vatican Council and interpret infallible teaching from a thousand years ago and say there is no infallibility in Popes after Pius XII and Vatican II is heretical.
God bless,
Marlin


#10

Welcome Home!

I am thinking that, perhaps, the better terminology to use instead of “conservative” vs “liberal” would be “orthodox” vs “heterodox” (unorthodox) in regards to discussions of belief and adherence to church teaching.

This leaves “liberal” and “conservative” available for views on prudential judgements that still fall within the domain or universe of the magisterium (or at least in areas where it has remained silent . . .)


#11

I agree. Actually “orthodox” and “unorthodox” would work well.

“Liberal” and “Conservative” are terms that carry too much baggage. We have no way to even understand what they mean anymore. Those are words that mean different things to different people.

However, how would you define orthodox or unorthodox. I don’t think you could label a person with those terms but you could label ideas and actions. I wouldn’t presume to say that this person is unorthodox and that person is orthodox but I could say that this or that concept is orthodox or not.


#12

I agree as well.
‘Conservative’ and ‘liberal’ can mean a lot of things, politcally, socially, and theologically.


#13

You are an orthodox Catholic, the others you spoke of are heterodox.

Here is an interesting read:

Liberalism is a Sin


#14

If I could write as well as you, that could have been my letter.

Welcome Home!

(Tiber Swim Team, 2002, revert division)


#15

I agree that its probably more proper to say that ones beliefs are orthodox or unorthodox . . .


#16

If you are defining a liberal as someone who dissents from Church teaching, then obviously the Church (in its official sense) can’t be liberal. That is a tautology!

I remain confused as to just what you are trying to say here. Clearly the Catholic Church takes some positions that appear “conservative” in our culture, and others that appear “liberal.” It seems to me that you very badly want to deny that a faithful Catholic can be in any way “liberal,” and so you are defining words in such a way as to ensure that result.

Edwin


#17

Hello Servant,

Well said! I returned to the Church about ten years ago, and I have noticed that those who left and returned, or who have come to Catholicism from other faiths, have a much deeper understanding of the faith than those who never left. I think we may have a job to do, evangelizing those who have become complacent and never took the time to explore their faith and make it personal. They often do not know what they’re missing. I teach catechism, and I am dismayed at how many parents do not even go to Mass. They want their children to be raised in the faith, but they do not practice it themselves. It is very difficult to make an impression on children who do not see their parents living the faith themselves. This is something we have to deal with all the time.

I do not know what the answers are, except that maybe we need to pray for opportunities to evangelize our fellow Catholics whenever possible, and we certainly need to be praying for them.

By the way, I confess that I’ve had some trouble fully embracing all the Church’s teachings. I was outside the Church for many years and learned just about every anti-Catholic teaching there is to learn. It has been a process and has taken awhile for the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth of all these things to me so that I can fully embrace everything again. In the meantime, I do not have to express my doubts, and I can support all the Church’s teachings verbally and by my actions, even if I have doubts. But I do want to make the point that for some of us, coming back to a place of 100% assent to everything the Church teaches has been difficult.

Thanks for the inspirational message!

Judy


#18

STILL Finding My Way.

Interesting reactions from both sides on last weeks Blog entry on different forums. Both liberal and conservative seemed to read more into the post than was there. Extreme liberals considered it an ‘angry’ post. Extreme conservatives GOT angry AT the post.
As I stated earlier ‘Conservative’ and ‘liberal’ can mean a lot of things, politically, socially, and theologically. There are many political and social issues that I would come down on either side.
So perhaps those labels are not appropriate since they have come to be mean different things to different people in the course of history. FDR and JFK would not be considered ‘liberal’ in the modern sense of the word.
So, forgive the baggage I picked up from my days in fundamentalism.
It disturbs me that our society is becoming more and more divided politically and is driven to extremes by ideologues. Robert Bork observed once that in his day (WW2 era) two political opponents could disagree and still remain great friends. Today, if one disagree, you’re not just wrong, you’re evil for thinking the way you do.
In the Catholic Church however, orthodox and unorthodox I believe is better terminology. As one fellow commented: “You are just a true Catholic. We just believe in the Teaching and authority of the Catholic Church and do not pick or choose as the liberals (unorthodox) do.”
The terminology might change, but commitment to our Lord does not.


#19

Thanks for your informative post. It is good to hear someome say how they feel without trying to tell me how I should feel. I too am trying to return to the Catholic Church. I left in 1956 when I joined the military and went to Japan. I found quickly that I did not have a solid Catholic upbringing, mearly some information that had not been formed into a belief.
Of course I didn’t realize it then and it wasn’t until I got sober in 1989 that I gave much thought to God. During the years I had periods of longing for Him but alcohol prevented me from doing anything about it. In sobriety, I accepted that there was a God and I said that I might as well accept the Trinity as my God. That association has helped me greatly and for the last two months I have had the desire to become an active Catholic.
I have attended Confession once,and Mass and Holy Communion twice. Then I missed Mass for no good reason. Then I missed it again. I pray every day, talk to God during each day, ask for His blessing and help but it is very hard for me to go to Mass. I cannot figure out why this should be so difficult except that perhaps trying to do something only once a week doesn’t lend itself to any kind of regularity or routine. I do pray that wilh God’s help I will be able to make weekly mass an important part of my life.
I have been searching the San Diego Diocese for a men’s organization, other than the Knights, where I might meet other Catholic men but they are scarce and rather inactive. The only one in the church near me puts on a pancake breakfast once a month as their only activity. If anyone in the san Diego area knows of a Catholic men’s group that is active and fosters male fellowship I would like to know about it.
May God bless you and stregnthen both of us.
Bill Dowling:thumbsup:


#20

May God Bless you on your journey home. You will be in our prayers.

I found a couple of websites that might help you in your journey.
The first was on the Diocese website and is a listing of catholic organizations in the San-Diego area.

This is the website for the National Fellowship of Catholic Men

If I may suggest, try to establish a daily time for prayer or, if not a specific time of day, at least a certain time period like 15 or 20 minutes to start with. It doesn’t have to be a long period, but be consistant. This will help you develop some of the disipline you desire.
You will soon find that you look forward to your prayer time.
Also try to go to Church during the week just to pray and be in the Lord’s presence. This will get you in the habit of going to Church more often. Check around for parishes that have Eucharistic Adoration during the week. This is a good opportunity to sit quietly,cimmune with and contemplate our Lord.
May God continue to work with and through you.
Peace
James


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