Help me stay with the Catholic Church


#1

I can’t believe I’m even considering leaving but I am. I am a cradle Catholic. I left the Church for a few years as a young adult but then I found out about apologetics and I came full force back to the Church. Now some years later I’m married with four children (all planned through the use of NFP). I was studying to join a Third Order and I had regular meetings with a spiritual advisor who is a Catholic priest. But about two years ago I began to feel distant from the Church. I have been lukewarm since then and have prayed so much for God to restore my faith. I found myself admiring the practices of Muslims and found them to be quite devoted to their faith. But I know the truth lies in Jesus Christ but something wasn’t settling with me with regards to the Catholic Church. I was praying the Divine Office but couldn’t keep up with the four kids. I try to pray the rosary but it is not for me in terms of devotion. I find I come away with more with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy but I don’t always remember to pray it. I have prayed novenas. I have gone to spiritual retreats. And still I am experiencing some kind of dark night of the soul. I read the writings of the saints, I read the writings of JP2. I have been vocal about the Catholic Church being the Church that Jesus founded. But I admit I do not have a close relationship/devotion to the Blessed Mother and I struggle with the doctrine of her assumption. I long for Jesus and I know she can lead me to him and I have prayed for her intersession but I still want to speak with Jesus direct. I also feel very disconnected to my parish where multiple liturgical abuses happen. This disregard for the Eucharist unintenional as it might be really bothers me. Also, my parish lacks a vibrant fellowship. I have been involved in that parish for years but I know that I can simply disapear and maybe just maybe in a few years one person might call to see where me and my family are. I know going to mass is about the Eucharist and the other sacraments but doesn’t living within fellowship of other believers matter too? As for the Eucharist, I don’t always partake because I feel unworthy due to my issues. And when I do take communion, I do not feel any closer to Jesus than if I hadn’t. Yes I know faith is not just about “feelings”. I do try to pray/meditate before the Blessed Sacarament for help but again I tend to come away just as empty.

And now the unthinkable has occurred. I actually started to look into the LDS church. Mormons of all things! My interest was piqued when I heard that they believe in some kind of apostasy that occurred in the early church. I started to think, I could never go to a Protestant denomonation because of the way they came into being but the LDS church is Christian yet not Protestant. It’s out there on its own. I have read the arguements about the lack of evidence for their claims but then in the back of my mind comes in the Protestant arugement for the lack of evidence for the Assumption of Mary. Why is a lack of evidence on our part not an issue but yet on others it is (I know it depends on the evidence we’re speaking of)? I give myself a headache thinking of all this. I obviously need help! I have come to this forum to seek the opinions of both Catholics and non-Catholics as I continue to pray for clarity. Thank You.


#2

Here’s the difference:

The Assumption occurred almost 2,000 years ago. The only proof that we could have is tradition and faith.

The Mormons, on the other hand, set themselves up for real archaeological proof, of which there is none.

Assumption of Mary = faith, unfalsifiable claim;

Mormonism = archaeological science, falsifiable claim;

Catholicism is pure faith (the Resurrection, Ascension, and Assumption); Mormonism is pure science (all of their wild archaeological claims). Catholicism can neither be “proved” nor “disproved”, whereas Mormonism can be either “proved” or “disproved”; and Mormonism has been disproved by archeology.


#3

mormons believe that they will be gods and rule over planets of their own. they also believe that adam is a god and so on and on and. they do not have the truth. God did not say that we would become gods. He did say that we are to have no other God but him. Even muslims don’t believe there are other gods.

iam surprised you’d even consider lds. ever thought of going to a TLM? even if you have to travel a bit, its worth it. there are FSSP churches out there. just have a look at their website.

you also need to speak to your priest about your feelings, and if not him, someone in the church that your close to. i left the church for a long time. i just had no interest in it. then i came back. and i have never been happier since that date. i felt like something was missing in my life, and i knew what it was when i came back, i missed being at Mass and i missed the Church.

i tell you, you can take the catholic out of the church, but you cannot take the church out of the catholic. there is just a deep seated love for the church. i think in a great deal of catholics it never truly leaves. it might be dormant for some, but i just don’t think it ever leaves. it never did with me.

iam glad to be back.please, offer up your feelings and say, Jesus. I trust in You!


#4

I can give you a thousand reasons why the LDS is false. I can give you even more reasons why Islam is false. I can give you reasons why the Catholic Church is fully and completely true. However, it seems to me from reading your post intellectual “reasons” alone are not what you long for.

Does your husband share your deep desire to serve God? Do you walk together before the Lord? Do you see that training your children is the greatest vocation you have right now? Four children is a great responsibility. Learn for their sakes and then live before them a life of holiness and devotion. You have years ahead of you to discover the answers which today seem insermountable. We can’t do everything at once. Remember Jesus’ words recorded in Matthew 6 “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousnes and all these things will be added unto you. Take no thought for tomorrow for each day has problems of its own.” Our sweet Lord sets before us each day and in each phase our lives the work He wishes us to do. Focus on your husband and your children. Keep your devotional life up to snuff. In time, when the children are grown, seek these other avenues you mentioned. You don’t have to do it all on your own or everything all at once. Let God be in control. It is too much for us on our own. We have eternity to learn His ways.

I hesitate to bring this last illustration but it has been helpful to me. The ideas found in it are universal. Yet, the specific development is found in Hinduism. Are you aware of the Four Stages of the Twice born? While some of the underlying assumptions are questionable the principle itself is useful.

The first stage is the Learner stage in which the individual learns all he/she can about reality, religion, duty, honor, etc. This stage ends around the age of 20 or so.

The second stage is the stage of the householder in which one gets married and rears and supports a family. The primary tasks here are to teach your children well and build a strong household. This stage is completed around the age of 50. You are apparently in this stage.

The third stage is the stage of withdrawl or more picturesquely, the “Forest Dweller Stage”. Here is when you really get to explore those deeper spiritual things to which you are drawn. The West calls this stage “The Empty Nester Stage”…rather negative or the stage in which we are to make money…the reward of living the secular life. Yet in Spiritual terms this is the penultimate or nearly ultimate stage of the person’s life. I am here.

The fourth stage should we live so long begins around age 70 and if we choose it we begin to renounce all social connections to be nearer God. My grandmother clearly reached this stage not simply because she lived into her 90’s but because she found a level of peace rarely seen.

Just relax dear one. Let God guide you. Do not fear for tomorrow.

There is a children’s book that my wife used to read to our boys. It’s title was something like “Little Bear”. Perhaps you can find it. The stories still bring comfort to my wife and I.

CDL


#5

This is the only reason you need to stay in the Catholic Church. Everyone else is hitting on the errors of the LDS church, but I think, IMHO, that you should concentrate on this. If you truly believe this everything will work out. Give your confusion to Jesus and let Him guide you. Take it on step at a time, doing all these devotions is not what Catholicism is all about. Catholics are often accused of “checking the box” all the time. I would suggest that you read Humility of Heart by Rev. Cajetan da Bergamo. My wife is reading this and reads me tidbits from it. I want to read it myself when she is done.


#6

All religions need to be tested and there is indeed a foolproof method to test and ascertain the truth of Islam… or any other religion for that matter.

1 Thessalonians 5:21
Test everything. Hold on to the good.


#7

Sniff, sniff, sniff. Something about this history isn’t meeting my sniff test. When did you leave off with your spiritual director? Have you brought up your questions/doubts in Confession? You talk the talk of spiritual darkness but have you reached out to fellow Looked for a parish without liturgical abuses?

I find the LoH does not lend itself to the life of a mom with 4 kids! Maybe you burned yourself out.

Anyway: truth is truth and the LDS ain’t it. Neither is it Christian, which you, as a well-trained Catholic ought to know inside and out without even blinking. But they DO have a heck of a social network and terrific resources for family life. They’re GREAT at that!


#8

Does your parish have anything like small communities of faith? I belong to one and find that it’s very helpful to my spiritual life. You mentioned that you could disappear from your parish and it would take a long time before anyone would notice. That can’t happen in a group of 8 or 10 people – your absence would be noted and someone would be calling to find out if you’re OK.

My group is lectionary based so we read the Scriptures from the upcoming Sunday and discuss them, then talk about how to apply them to our lives. I don’t have children, but I would imagine that a little adult conversation about your spiritual life might be a good thing.

I hope you are able to find something that nourishes your spiritual life. It sounds like you’ve been trying a bit of everything…maybe you need to slow down a bit.


#9

I can understand what MariaRose is saying. I was also a cradle Catholic but I eventually did leave the Catholic Church. The LDS Church has a lot going for it even though a lot of Christians do not agree with the teachings. I eventually ended up in a Lutheran Church. If you do not feel as close to Christ in the Catholic Church then it may be time to investigate other churches. Nowhere is the Catholic Church mentioned in the Bible. We are told to follow Christ. As Christians, that is the best that we can do. Go where Christ leads you. If He wants you to remain in the Catholic Church then you will be prompted to stay. Be quiet and listen for His promptings. I still agree with most of the Catholic teachings but since I divorced my first husband and remarried I felt that I didn’t belong so I had to find a church that welcomed me. I’ve been married to my present husband for more than 30 years so no one can tell me that this is not a valid marriage! If you are uncomfortable in church then there must be a reason. I hope you find out what it is and find a place where you can worship, feel closer to Christ and feel at home, whether it’s a different Catholic church or a different Christian church.


#10

have you looked at what was going on in your life then to cause this? Why do you think you started feeling that way right then?

okay let’s look at that. what isn’t settling with you here? this is an opportunity for you to examine your beliefs and study what the church teaches and why. I think it’s important to understand and be able to accept church teaching.

have you tried something simpler? perhaps just reading/studying the bible and praying to God in open conversation?

well here is where you might want to study exactly what the church teaches and why.

then I would encourage you to do so. Praying directly Jesus is a wonderful experience that all Catholics should participate in as well as praying to the Father and the Holy Spirit.

unfortunately this is a problem in some places. have you tried looking for another parish or discussing these abuses with your priest or the diocesan officials?


#11

(continued)

this seems to me to be an issue in many places. we Catholics could probably do a better job of fellowshipping and building up church communities. All I can say is do your best to get involved at church and seek out others to share your faith with.

of course it matters. it matters to us as people. BUT…it shouldn’t cause you to reject the truth because of a better social life.

then this is something you should speak to your priest about. deal with why you feel unworthy and obtain sacramental reconciliation if necessary.

well it happens all the time. they seek out people looking.

why is that so significant to you? do you not believe that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church that Jesus established?

not so different really. Most believe in an apostasy requiring them to set the church right. the difference is most protestants think they did it immediately and LDS believe God waited about 1800 years to correct things.The LDS church came into being the same way as many protestant religions did. some man decided he had a better way of doing things and started his own church.

yes it does matter. Think about what is being claimed. what did Jesus teach compared to that?

good for you. God bless you in your search. (although I must admit to a certain level of agreement with ,mercygate here as to what is going on)


#12

hmmmm…same here…


#13

I’ll try to answer some of the questions raised. My husband is not the spiritual leader of our home, I am. He does not wish to be and is pleased to let me lead family prayer and so on. I have asked him to take over the reins and he says he’s just uncomfortable in that role. He was raised Catholic up to a point then came back to the Church with me. I think he’s self-concious about making mistakes and looking kind of silly. He even does the sign of the cross in such a discreet way.

I try my best to raise our kids in a Catholic home. We pray together, read Bible and Saint stories, sing songs, etc. I take them with me to light candles and say a Hail Mary. I try to explain what the Eucharist is and generally talk about Jesus. We have crucifixes, pictures and little statues around the house as visual reminders of the faith. We have a Holy Water faunt at the front door as well. But they are young still, all are under 6.

The only small groups in our parish are the Catholic Women’s Leage and a few prayer groups. I did attend but I was always the youngest by about 25 years. I started to get depressed at all the sickness and death these groups were going through so my spiritual advisor suggested I scale back hanging with the old Catholics a bit. While there are families in my parish I know for a fact that many do not subsribe to the teachings of the Church. And when we do get together for bbqs or group dinners I think I make some of them uncomfortable when for example everyone starts eating and I say nicely, maybe we should say grace first. They look at me like I’m some kind of Jesus-freak.

As for my spiritual advisor, he was moved to another ministry in a different country. The monastary he was at no longer offers spiritual direction. I have met with my priest (he’s new to the parish) but he is a bit abrassive and spends more time complaining about the financial situation of the parish than the spiritual situation. He also is typical of many priests in that he is stretched way too thin and doesn’t have much time for meetings. When I first called to set up a meeting he called me back and asked if it was necessary to meet or could we just have a quick phone conversation, plus he had to head out soon. I felt like I was totally bothering him and still do whenever I see him.

I will first try to find another parish for mass but there’s a bit of an issue in that for my children to get into the Catholic school we have to be members of the parish. So I thought about continuing my weekly contribution but going to a different church.

Why my attraction to the LDS or even Islam for that matter? I don’t know it’s so hard to say. Maybe because they remind me kind of what Catholics used to be. Big families, lots of community interaction, dedicated prayer, outward signs of their faith in the manner of their dress, etc. But let me be clear, I have not accepted the LDS teachings, I’m just saying I’m curious and interested. I do see the LDS as Christians even though I know that the Catholic position is they are not.

I’m not sure what the two posters meant about the “sniff” test. Is that supposed to mean something is untruthful about me?


#14

“Sniff test” – I sense more going on than what your OP stated. Your dissatisfaction with your husband puts more perspective on this. I see the problem with the school – although since 3 of your kids are under 6, it’s not a quadruple threat yet.

Islam and LDS would be the last places I would think a Catholic would be drawn to notwithstanding the LDS marvelous view of the family.

No “Moms & Tots” group at your parish, huh?

My small group has people who are kind of fringy about the faith, but they are all sincere, and as a strong, educated Catholic, I feel that in fellowship I am in a position to help them see the big picture. So many people in their 30s, 40s and 50s were so badly catechized that it scares you to death.


#15

If you want what Catholicism used to be (and still is in some areas), looks like you want to be a Trad. Plenty of us have went that way. :thumbsup:

That said, I know its harder than it sounds. As a married woman with children, you can’t just pick up and go “where the action is” so to say. I know that in my area, one could be an “associate” of their traditional parish and still be a registered member of another parish though I didn’t think one ever had to be a member of a certain parish in order to send your children to the Catholic school. I suppose it depends on the locale and what kind of school it is (small grade school attatched to one parish or large K-12 school for a particular region or group of parishes).


#16

Hi Maria, I sympathize with your plight. I am a Catholic who has gone through a similar crisis of faith. I honestly think it is something we all go through to some degree or another. If you leave the Catholic Church, there is no guarantee that you won’t go through it somewhere else. Since you have read the lives of the Saints, you know that your doubt and dryness were experienced by many of the “greatest” Saints, often times it seems that they made the most spiritual “progress” during these times by simply staying where they were.

Religion is an exercise in faith. The doctrines the Church wants you to assent to require faith. No religion can prove that God exists, it is an exercise in faith. Regardless of which faith tradition you end up in, you will need faith. No one is going through a check list when you are in the communion line asking you about the Asumption, Papal Infallibility etc. You will never find indubitable “certainty”, you must become comfortable with “only” having faith. All the events relevant to Christianity, Islam etc. occurred so long ago. The ideas and facts and the way these things are understood have changed and developed. No one can (honestly) say that they are 100% certain that they have the truth-though many here will argue about that.

Personally, I have come to the conclusion that “spiritual insecurity” is a “gift” in that it requires you to surrender to the Lord more fully and have the humility to say “I may never know the “truth” but I want to be with you Lord”. Everyone gets so caught up in “who is worshipping” the “right way” and following the “right people” rather than simply living our lives as though we love and believe in God with all our heart, mind and soul. It could be that your doubt has been placed in your path for your growth; if you run away from it you may be missing out on an opportunity to develop spiritually. I know that your decision is not that simple, it sounds like there are many other important factors in your life at this time.

Whatever your decision, may God bless you.


#17

I’m sure you’re getting tons of posts on this but I’ll add one more. And this is my first post…I just had to join to respond to your plea. I, and I’m sure all the others on this site are praying for you!
I agree with the one individual who suggested a TLM (Traditional/Tridentine Latin Mass). I am a convert to Catholicism (2004). I came into the church with the Novus Ordo, but have been slowly drawn to the TLM. It started out as an aesthetic appreciation for Gregorian Chant, but has since turned into a deeper devotion for the liturgy. I did not feel comfortable at first (as with all things new and especially in Latin), but with following along with the missal and attending more regularly, I am now able to focus on the deeper meaning of it all. In this community, you will find individuals deeply devoted to the liturgy and tradition. With that come young families with lots of children (and so well behaved!), couples that understand the model for a marriage is after Jesus and His bride, the Church, very modest dress (most wear chapel veils), silence in the sanctuary before and after mass and a general reverence for all things God. With this mass there are also minimal liturgical abuses (this is one of my biggest reasons for attending the TLM, especially when I travel.).

So, just food for thought. For a list of the TLM masses, go to this site… ecclesiadei.org/masses.cfm. Also, with the Motu Proprio that was just issued, hopefully there will be more of these. And for some further information on how to participate more fully in the mass, check out this website… donjim.blogspot.com/2004/09/seven-tips-for-participating-in.html
You already know that the Catholic Church is the one that Jesus founded. You just need to know that it’s still there (as the gates of hell will not prevail over it).

God Bless you.


#18

mariarose,
Hang in there, dear. I too went through a ‘dry spell’ after being a fervent apologist. I too felt the pull of false religions. It wasn’t so much I believed in what they said, it was the lure of the unknown perhaps. Mass became a chore, and not an enjoyable one. I plodded through this period feeling dead, only going through the motions. But I remembered the psalms and in the depths of my despair, I always called to God.

He answered.

I’m not entirely out yet, but I know that God has made a path for me. I don’t know what it is, but I trust in him to lead me out of the wilderness. My reawakening is in part due to an ACTS retreat I went on. It taught me (among a great many other things) to remember that I am not in control, God is.

You are looking for fellowship with your community, and are not finding it. I GUARANTEE that if you had a forum within your church to say what you are feeling, you would find others who feel as you do. With four kids, you probably feel like you don’t have the time to do anything else. I gather that you spend a lot of time in devotional prayer. Perhaps you should trade that for some ‘active’ prayer (my term). What I mean is, look to start a small Christian community within your church. Landings, Familia, Bible Study, St. Anne’s Society, almost anything. Living that active ministry is a form of prayer, and will reconnect you to the faith you seem to love.

I hope I’m not making too many assumptions, but know that there is a path out there for you that has already been set by God. I will pray for you.


#19

[SIGN]And when we do get together for bbqs or group dinners I think I make some of them uncomfortable when for example everyone starts eating and I say nicely, maybe we should say grace first. They look at me like I’m some kind of Jesus-freak. [/SIGN]

Take courage, sister. If we will confess Jesus before men, He will confess us before His Father in heaven.

[SIGN]As for my spiritual advisor, he was moved to another ministry in a different country. The monastary he was at no longer offers spiritual direction. I have met with my priest (he’s new to the parish) but he is a bit abrassive and spends more time complaining about the financial situation of the parish than the spiritual situation. He also is typical of many priests in that he is stretched way too thin and doesn’t have much time for meetings. When I first called to set up a meeting he called me back and asked if it was necessary to meet or could we just have a quick phone conversation, plus he had to head out soon. I felt like I was totally bothering him and still do whenever I see him. [/SIGN]

It can be difficult to find a good priest. If, after careful consideration, you do not think moving to find a good traditional parish and sanctified priests is worth it (though it almost always is, as the faith should be absolutely central in our lives), or if your husband will not allow it, another great help is to read the words of great priests of the past, the saints whom the Church holds up as trusted teachers. I recommend particularly St. Francis de Sales, with his “Introduction to the Devout Life”, and even more strongly, “My Imitation of Christ”, by Thomas a Kempis.

Finally, dear sister in Christ, cling to the cross! If you willingly bear your hardships, your cross, our crucified Lord will bear you up. No other faith but ours shows the love and beauty that can be found in suffering. Why is there suffering it the world? Why has our God humbled himself, taking on flesh and then suffering and dying? Because in no more powerful way can we know of His love for us! It is through someone sacrificing for us that we know they truly love us.

Fear not. Be not anxious. Our Lord is both more powerful and more loving than we can imagine. Thanks be to Him! May He bless you, and may our Blessed Mother Mary watch over and guide you. Peace be with you.


#20

I feel sorry for your delimma. I notice that there is quite a bit of prayer in your life but something is missing. My suggestion is to take your prayers and put them more into action. Are there any Social Justice groups for you to join in your city or nearby? Watch this fall for the JustFaith class (or similar classes) on Catholic Social Teachings. Maybe you need to explore this side of your faith more and then apply it after (or even during) learning about that side of your faith.

justfaith.org/
osjspm.org/social_teaching_documents.aspx
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_social_teaching

Contact your diocese Catholic Charities office or look to surrounding parishes to see if it is offered. In the meantime, you can also do some volunteering in your community. Ask your parish for leads or just look around in the phone book and something may come up. Maybe this will relight your spiritual fire.


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