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


#46

Fasting is an excellent physical/spiritual discipline. It works with food, because we begin to learn to deny our bodily urges. It also works with fasting from other things to which our flesh is attached, internet, TV, etc.

My thought was, when reading the original post, was that there is an evil spiritual force at work. These kind of entrenched problems generally have a source in a previous exposure to a sinful pathway that has taken root into the soul. Pornography is the most common.

This is great advice. It sheds light on the constant struggle we have between the Spirit and the Flesh, and how the Spirit within us is the conquerer. We cannot win this battle by strength of the will, however much we desire it.

It sounds like you will need to avail yourself of some other opportunities for confession. I also recommend the sacrament of the sick, which many parishes offer on the first Friday of every month, or upon request. The sacrament forgives sins, and can help carry you to the next confession.

I can definitely appreciate this dynamic! I think there are times when substitution works better than surfing the urge. This is more difficult in the middle of the night! I have had to fill my day with activity and get myself very physically tired so I sleep through the hard times.


#47

I think it might be better to frame this as a higher form of righteousness is being offered. It makes me think of St. Paul, pleading with God to take away his thorn in the flesh. It was “something righteous” (nothing wrong with the desire), yet God wanted Paul to depend upon His grace. When it seems that we are being “denied”, this may be the reason.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10

8 Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, 9 but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

Like most of us, it sounds like your weakness makes you shamed and frustrated, rather than being a source for glory and boasting.

You need to, because deliverance from slavery to sin is always miraculous. For some, it takes place all at once, for others, it is years of healing.

This might be an error in your thinking process. Jesus wants you to be free of sin, and He wants to heal you of all that separates you from eternal happiness with Him.

This is understandable, but when Jesus talked about cutting off your hand if it keeps you out of the kingdom, He was trying to illustrate that being in a dark place during this life is fleeting compared to the darkness of eternal separation from Him.

One can work the 12 steps with any kind of compulsive behavior.


#48

That’s an awesome resource, thank you!


#49

Look at the definition of “sin” in the original Biblical languages = “Missing the Mark”
When Jesus told the woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more,” he was NOT telling her, “Go and run away from every possibly sinful situation that you see.”
He was saying, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not miss the mark again.”

The woman went.
Where did she go?
She went looking for the mark of purity and did those things, hitting that mark everywhere she saw it.
She did not go in trepidation asking “Is this, is that, impure? Do I have to avoid this and that?”.

She went away LOOKING AT THE MARK. Prior to this she was not looking at the mark, and missing it.

You are trying to avoid things. But your command is to look at what is good and right and true and think on these things. Positive movement rather than always looking at what you are trying to avoid.
You will not miss the mark if you always keep it before your sight and aim at it.
You will miss it if you are not looking at it but only looking at a thing you are avoiding (because you are not looking where you are going when you are backing up).

This is why the priest gives us a Penance for doing after leaving the confessional - he is seeking to focus our sight on a good target of activity - if the priest tells you to do a Hail Mary and an Our Father (two acts of faith), think about them as you are praying, and maybe do ten of each instead of one. That is practice at seeing and doing something good and right and true, and all the while, without trying, you are not missing the mark (not sinning).

John Martin


#50

It takes a bit of translating, but you just plug your own addiction into the places where they talk about substances. You have a different “substance” or process, but the dynamics are all the same, and the recovery process is the same.

It is always “right” to ask for healing and wholeness. This is God’s will for us, and it is important for us to be conformed to it. Righteousness will never be denied to the faithful, but there are many different paths to the goal.

I agree with you, this is a spiritual battle, and we have to fight it to the death!

While I don’t think it is possible to “pray too much”, I do agree with you that the focus needs to be on the resurrection, not the cross.

“2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2 ).

This is so critical. The evil one wants us to focus on the sin, because he knows we will be defeated when we do so. He wants to rob us of the love of God, which is our birthright.


#51

I was given this advice ages ago as I was similarly concerned regarding my sins. I thought it sounded a little cliche, a little corny. Certainly nothing that could make even a dent in the seriousness and pervasiveness of my own sins. It’s twenty years later and I bring forward every day, in my mind and in my prayers, the blessings I have. It has made an enormous difference. I (slowly, slowly, over years not days or weeks or months) gained more mastery over those thorns of my own. They did NOT disappear, they are still thorns in my flesh and I still fall to them…way too much. But despair is where the devil wants to keep you and counting your blessings every day has very much been an antidote to that for me. Hope it helps.


#52

Thank you, very much.


#53

@leonhardprintz: Maybe you’d like to become an intercessor on the prayer forum. You can post prayer requests for yourself and/or pray for others. Being on the prayer board has helped with my problems. And I can help others. You can pop in wherever you wish.

God bless you and I look forward to seeing you there.


#54

Your struggles have my utmost sympathy. We all struggle with purity, but there seems to be a certain pathology (sorry if that term seems harsh) that strikes a persons attracted to members of the same sex. My gay loved ones have similar struggles. Are you living in Denmark? The general anti-Christian atmosphere can really drag down your resolve. I visited a relative in England this summer, and the secularism was palpable and really dragged me down. I wish you had a Courage chapter near you so you could have some comradery in your struggles. Two gay men with a strong online presence that I have enjoyed (I’m a single, heterosexual woman) are Terry Nelson at Abbey Roads and Joey Prever at Gay Catholic Blog. I think they have e-mail addresses where you can contact them directly. Joey sounds like he has fallen off the wagon lately. Maybe you guys can commiserate together. Please be gentle with yourself. I’ll keep you in my heart. Love to you, my fellow Catholic!


#56

A clear rule for self-control handed down by the Fathers is this: stop eating while still hungry and do not continue until you are satisfied. When the Apostle said, ‘Make no provision to fulfill the desires of the flesh’ (Rom. 13:14), he was not forbidding us to provide for the needs of life; he was warning us against self-indulgence. Moreover, by itself abstinence from food does not contribute to perfect purity of soul unless the other virtues are active as well. Humility, for example, practiced through obedience in our work and through bodily hardship, is a great help. If we avoid avarice not only by having no money, but also by not wanting to have any, this leads us towards purity of soul. Freedom from anger, from dejection, self-esteem and pride also contributes to purity of soul in general, while self-control and fasting are especially important for bringing about that specific purity of soul which comes through restraint and moderation. No one whose stomach is full can fight mentally against the demon of unchastity. Our initial struggle therefore must be to gain control of our stomach and to bring our body into subjection not only through fasting but also through vigils, labors and spiritual reading, and through concentrating our heart on fear of Gehenna and on longing for the kingdom of heaven.

Desert Fathers?

Peace


#57

I contacted several spiritual advisors on this and got wildly different answers. One would say that as long as I struggled, my fallings wouldn’t be mortal sin. Another said that most of what you say are poor excuses, and we should consider each fall in impurity as if it was a mortal sin.

I conferred with Ed Feser, a famous theologian over it, and discussed it with someone who had studied the intricacies of moral theology.

As nearly as I can tell, the Church refuses to draw a line in the sand. The broadest consensus is that if you fall in impurity, you abstain from the Eucharist until confession. At best, the possible notion (and it is only considered possible) that addiction can infact lessen culpability to the point where a grave sin isn’t mortal, can only serve to keep a person in the sin in hope of their salvation.

I refrained from communion until I had confessed.


#58

I thank you for your post hazcompat, but I refuse to take copy-pastes as actual arguments. Anything in that list I’ve tried, through a severe depression, and for years.

No results.


#59

The CCC teaches that lust is the hardest of all sins to overcome. If you are going to confession for it, are you confessing it less frequently? You should be. It could take several years of confession to truly uproot it.


#60

At the moment I’m not a practicing Catholic. I have some good spiritual advisors I will talk to at some point. One of them being a priest who is returning to Denmark after having studied Canon Law in Rome. I’ve been an altar server for him, and we’ve had many good conversations in the local pub.

I have no lack of comradery in the Church, and no lack of people who support me. But its not a lack of community I miss. I also have many secular friends, and whether in the Church, or not, I will always have friends.

The issue is that I was absolutely miserable as a Catholic. I prayed for healing, daily. And I didn’t get it. I only got worse, sicker, more miserable.

And the instant I stopped fighting, I stopped drowning. I got back friends I has pushed away (on the advise of a spiritual advisor no less). I got a job, and I’ve seen been promoted twice. My health returned, my apetite.

I stopped wanting to die on a daily basis.

And now I’m looking back on it and asking, why should I even give the Church a second chance? I asked Christ, through Mary, and through a litany of saints, through fasting, through acts of charity, through retreats, to heal me of something I’m reassured, over and over and over again, that is something God not only wants to give me, but will give.

I mean, people on this thread are blaming my failures on me not being bold enough to demand it of God (I was just open to it happening the way God wanted - either by my virtues becoming stronger, or by the temptation itself being lessened).

Nothing happened. Yet I love God. I never stopped believing in God. But I find a heavy amount of nausea just thinking about returning to a mindset of fasting, self-punishing, regulating thoughts, more self-punishing etc… for something which it seems isn’t really happening.

I’ve been entirely disillusioned of the Catholic Church. I guess I’m just looking for inspiration to believe in it again.


#61

My spiritual advisors, on the contrary, adviced me to confess it more often. Others here have advised me to confess it weekly if possible (its not in my situation). At a convent I was advised to confess daily if possible, even if it was just thoughts.


#62

Have you done this yourself? Gone to a Twelve Step Program for people with substance and alcohol abuse, and pretended your problem with masturbation was that?

If you have, I’m sorry for being frank, but that’s weird.


#63

A Catholic should confess it when he willfully entertains the thoughts.


#64

Then your post confuses me. Why should I then confess it less often?


#65

If you have been confessing it with the right spirit of repentence, you have been receiving the grace needed to avoid the sin. In other words, you should see improvement over time. Like I said, it could take several years.


#66

I see, thank you for your words, but I only got sicker, not better and as far as I could tell I was both rependent and working and sacrificing, and cooporating in getting better.

It is something I consider though.


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