I don't see how I can believe in the Church anymore


#1

I joined the Church several years ago, after a long search. It involved prayer, reading about the Church’s history and becoming engrossed in scholastic philosophy. It was a wonderful time, though I always prayed for strength for trying times if they should ever come.

While I know that the first year of a conversion is full of passion and love, that’s like a romance. Whereas the lifelong passion of a good Catholic is more that of a marriage.

Like most sinners I can’t say I was the best Catholic, though I prayed the rosary semi-daily and occasionally parts of the Liturgy of the Hours.

All the while I was battling something many Catholics have trouble with. The sin of impurity. I prayed about it every morning, evening, it was part of my rosary and mass intentions; To be healed, to have strength, to cultivate virtue and lessen cupidity.

But no matter how I fasted (always and only with the approval of a spiritual advisor), what special retreats I went to, what shrines I visited… the habit was entirely unchanged. Not as much as a dent was made in it.

This contrasted with the Catholic Church’s strong claim that no one is tempted above their mean. One liberal confessor assured me though that it wasn’t even a sin, another that my addiction had decreased my culpability, a third would say I should avoid communion (adding that as a qualifier)…

Since I fell (and fall) several times per day, that meant I could only have communion on those Fridays in which our parish had confessions.

People suggested (and kept suggesting until recent - when I kindly told them to stop suggesting more books) to read this saint or that saint, to wear this medal or that medal, to pray this prayer or that prayer. And for a while I indulged them. Enrolled in a St. Thomas confraternity, wore a rope around my waist, special blessing by priest. Put on a scapular, special blessing by priest. Placed a statue of Mary right next to my computer, special blessing by priest. An icon in my entry which I pray a Hail Mary before and once entering my home (along with a prayer that I should not die outside of God’s mercy), of course with an adding special blessing from a priest. Salt and Holy Water, etc… .etc… etc…

The only saint I found some solace in was St. Augustine’s writings, though he doesn’t exactly offer up a solution. St. Aquinas leaves me cold, since he got blessed to never have cupidity. Stories about saints magically transferring other people’s into themselves so they could carry them, or stories about desert fathers transferring the lust from one man into another (point of story was that the one it was transferred into was being judging I know…)… I don’t know what to do with. I had a litany of these saints I prayed to, St. Thomas I asked for a little bit of the blessing he had, the Archangel St. Michael I asked daily (and at the end of each rosary) to protect me from temptatious spirits.

At the very least I can say that I never moderated my belief in the rightness of the Church’s claims about sexual immorality. But I never gained the ability to resist.


#3

I was in a similar boat a month ago , dates kept compromising my abstinence streak . So i decided to not speak or interact or look or think of women for some weeks. This was a fantastic decision on hindsight because it allowed my mind to filter primal urges into diff shades , from there it was no longer an automatic conscious pattern but a choice.


#4

I am glad you experienced success. Good for you.


#5

So, you’re letting the devil win?

You are carrying a very heavy cross, brother, but you haven’t reached Calvary yet.

“You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin” (Heb 12:4).

You will let the devil win and steal the crown of victory away from you?

Pray more, dear brother … you are fighting with the devil, not with mortal men.


#6

I encourage you to actually read my post.


#7

It sounds like you have tried a lot of things and have put a lot of effort into it. Scripture teaches us, though, that our actions reflect what is in our heart, so in order for our actions to change, there must first be a change of heart. You sound like you have a desire for this, and that is good.

Only God can change a heart. “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My Statutes, and ye shall keep My Judgments, and do them.”(Ezekiel 36:26-27) “Without Me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5)

I would suggest that you begin to ask God to take away your desire for these things and to give you a change of heart in these matters. The scripture says “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” This is referring to those who realize that within themselves they have no power and so they fall back on God and rely totally on him, and they wait on him and struggle with him through their trials.

St. Paul struggled with sin. I suggest that you read Romans chapter 7. Saint Paul was in total despair over his sins. He realized, though, that he had to rely on God who was the one who had made reparation for sin. But Paul also said, “Shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound? God forbid!” (Romans 6:1&2)

Our lives are ones of struggle, and I urge you to struggle on with God as your strength, knowing that when we fall, if we run to him, he stands ready to forgive us and to embrace us. So, do not let this become a matter of life-ruining emotional upheaval, but pray about this also.

I’m saying prayers for you.


#9

People often forget that, even though God can do anything, we should also contribute our will. So, for lustful sins, I think maybe you need some self-discipline to help God’s Grace work. And, for your depression, maybe you need to see a good psychologist, sometimes is a medical matter. Lastly, try not to be too harsh after you fail with sin, remember that, in the end, God is a merciful father. Prayer (honest prayer, communicating with God) is VERY important, but sometimes it isn’t enough to solve a problem


#10

My post was already twice as long as was allowed on the forum, but I went to long lengths to self-discipline in various ways. Including giving a friend of mine administrator access on my computer, and installing Covenant Eyes, to block out things on in the internet.

As I’m a software developer, this turned out not to work as I just kept finding ways to bypass Covenant Eyes. And it wasn’t accidentally seeing things on the internet that was troubling anyway.

I definitely worked hard to try to abstain as much as possible. Having more than a few sleepless nights just trying to wait it out, though the urge never went away it just kept building.

The only thing that made it go away was indulge the urge three or five times per day. Even just the meagre goal of getting this down to once per day failed. And often backfired.

I did. He suggested self-acceptance. For a while I was on anti-depressants that had all sorts of side-effects, amongst other things was a radical lowering of my testosterone. This made me extremely lethargic, and I started gaining weight, and developed tinnitus (it still sounds like someone is pouring out a bag of sand right behind my head).

I stopped that eventually, because I had gotten so tired I couldn’t take care of myself.

The depression went away not long after I stopped fighting my sexuality, and I started practicing self-acceptance, and reconnected with my friends.

There is currently no depression to treat, I’m keeping a job and my apartment is clean and I’d like it to stay that way.

I hope people can understand that.


#11

I understand the despair….you are asking for something righteous and it is being denied. You cannot understand why God seems to have left you high and dry and struggling on your own, when you have absolutely done everything on your part, and still God does nothing. Familiar? Yeah, been there, done that…didn’t buy the t-shirt cause I do not want to be reminded of it.

Are you feeling angry and frustrated with God now? Very likely….
Giving up on Him now? Absolutely…where is the love they say He feels for us?
He wants you to do something for Him that is difficult for you, and then, He puts road blocks to make the journey even harder. Yes?

What worked for me is this:

  1. I asked everyone (including CAF) to pray for me.
  2. Still went to mass even if I was angry with God. Grumbling…but I went.
  3. Still went to confession, told the priest this is frustrating, and I am angry with God, cause He just isn’t helping here.
  4. Just accepted that God thinks and does “weird” (meaning I have no chance of understanding why He does what He does).
  5. Absolutely gave up on everything and just asked God to do what He wants. As in, “I will do all I can here, but if You allow me to fall, again, then You will forgive me, again. Pretty please.”
  6. Once I asked God to do what He wants, and accept it, things started falling into place. Meaning, I still haven’t received the yes to my “righteous” petition, it is still my cross….but I do not beat myself up about it anymore.
  7. Found several churches/cathedrals with daily confessions and go and confess again, and again, and again. We were given this mechanism to clean ourselves up, use it. So instead of “bringing my sin around” for days, it was gone instantly. Eventually, I stayed “cleaner” for more than a day….then more than a week, and now I do not have to go to almost constant confession anymore.

See if that helps. Also, if you have access to adoration, I suggest you go too. Just go, you don’t have to pray or anything, just sit there in front of the Holy Host, and just “hang around” with God.

I have said prayer for you. Hopefully…He will answer you soon (the way you want to be answered, this is definitely not a guarantee). God bless you.


#12

Have you been to therapy? This sounds like a compulsion and addiction issue more than anything else. There are programs that have proven effective for addictions of all kinds.

The reality is that truth is truth and sin is sin. All you have done is put down your cross and decided not to bear it. Of course your load feels a little lighter now, but the cross is still where you left it.


#13

In the very same post you’re quoting from I said I’d been to therapy.


#14

@leonhardprintz , a forum like this is in my opinion not a satisfactory place to give spiritual guidance .

However I will suggest that you ponder Galatians 5:16-24 .

Also gently through the day tell the Holy Spirit you want to be guided and directed by Him . And don’t forget you have the Holy Spirit dwelling within you , your body His temple .

At the start of each day there is advice and a prayer which was given by Cardinal Mercier which you might use .

Go easy on yourself , and may the Lord grant you the healing and power you need .

i love you brother .


#15

Not that kind of therapy. Addiction therapy. 12 steps, etc.


#16

Thank you.

What’s the difference between “righteous”, with and without the scare quotes?

I’m asking to cooporate with God’s will, and if my heart is dark to have it changed as only God can. And then to try as hard as possible to resist on my own.

“Pray as if everything depends on God, work as if everything depends on you.” - St. Augustine, Church Father, Doctor of Church

I’ve done the entire checklist for years. I’m afraid daily confession is impossible. Its recently been taken down from a weekly occurance to a biweekly occurance, and soon it’ll be ‘by appointment’, and those tend to be put into the future quite a bit.

When I did go weekly, I was called obsessive. So I’m not too keen taking this painful issue back to them, especially because they kept making the penance more and more convoluted each time.

Can we both agree that a priest rambling on for the better part of fifteen minutes describing a penance is giving you a long one?

I have more luck confessing at the rare vetus ordo mass celebrated by a Benedictine priest friend of a local Catholic group I belong to. He’s also a great confessor. Thankfully he never called me obsessive, and he always gave a penance that could be completed the same day I went.

I do concur that frequent confession is good. But in my case its just not a possibility.

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I honestly don’t expect miracles. I believe those are extremely rare now. I also don’t expect healing of this issue. Whatever is God’s will would be fine. If he want to find me wanking on my death bed, and forgive me for it there before I die of a stroke or a heart attack, that’d be fine with me.

All I don’t want to is to go back to the dark place I left when I stopped pursuing purity.


#17

We don’t have a 12 step program for impurity in my country.


#18

I won’t speak on what the Church teaches because I should study on that before I do.
I don’t know if you know of this scripture or if it is helpful.

2 Corinthians 12:1-10 New International Version (NIV)

Paul’s Vision and His Thorn

12 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.


#20

Thank you for the post Guest1, St. Paul’s thorn is probably not a sinful habit, but St. Paul at other points in his epistles does speak of the struggle between the new man and the old flesh and how that torments him.


#21

By the way I’m not saying God won’t remove this from you in this life because I don’t know. He could.


#22

I specifically asked the Jesuits in my country, and they told me that while they run a 12 step course for addicts, they don’t do it for those suffering from impurity.


#23

Sorry man, having trouble quoting you to answer your questions. I put my “righteous” in quotes, as I am beginning to think that maybe what I thought was absolutely righteous, may be peanuts to God. :slight_smile: I believe your petition is actually fully righteous though. :blush:

When a priest called me obsessive for going every day…I changed priests and church. I did not care about his personal opinion, I wanted to be clean and that’s that. My problem is with God, not the priest. (Apologies to the honest clergy around who really want to help.)

Me going to confession every time I fell was me saying “Ha!” to the evil one. As in…“you had me in sin for what, all of 5 minutes or something?” God wins. :blush: Take that! You good for nothing you. :blush:

Also…with the way you word things…I believe you are losing faith. :thinking: “I also don’t expect healing of this issue”…not the right attitude I think. Claim it man! Claim your healing from Jesus!


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