I don't think I can become Catholic

As many of you know I have been researching Catholicism (and LDS) for quite some time. I was starting to be drawn to Catholicism and had hoped to start attending mass more regularly as soon as we had moved and settled. However another thread has thrown a spanner into the works…

Over on the “spanking ban” thread, I found out the pope advocates spanking. Now I believe it is physical abuse and am fiercely against it. I’m not sure I can join a church where the earthly leader is in favour of something I consider to be abuse.

My question here Is, how much impact does this belief of the popes have on the church as a whole? Is it merely his personal opinion and I can just put him down as a “bad pope” or does it have more influence over Catholics?

Now I don’t want this thread turning into a “is spanking OK”, there is already a thread to that but it has seriously put a spanner in the works and I am not sure if I can/should proceed?

I think to want to become a Catholic is to want to follow Jesus.

I (and maybe many Catholic’s?) don’t agree with some of the hierarchy’s views/opinions on how to live/bring up children, care of animals, and many other issues we will clash on due to our experience of the world around us and the times we were growing up in.
So I wouldn’t let it put you off what you truly believe you want to do.

None of us are perfect :slight_smile:

“I think to want to become a Catholic is to want to follow Jesus.”

Hi friend.

I have seen nothing on spanking in the Catechism and I’ve read it cover to cover. That’s what we should concern ourselves with…official church teaching.

Popes say a lot of things, some of which I don’t like or agree with and much of which are their personal opinions.

God bless you on your journey.

You are allowing yourself to be distracted by looking for reasons not to become Catholic. There are 1.2 billion of those: Catholics themselves. Rather than looking left and right and finding sinners, look up to the perfection of God. Look for a relationship with the One who promises life in abundance and eternal life to those who believe in His Divine Son and are baptized. Trace His “assembly” (Church) back through history and see which stops at the feet of Jesus, and which stops in 1800s America and one man’s unverified claims.

Who do you love?

There are a lot of reasons someone might become Catholic and a lot of reasons they might not. I’ll probably catch some flack for saying this, but I don’t think the Catholic faith is for everyone. It might be for you, and it might not be. But I don’t think one Pope’s opinion on spanking (which I also consider if not exactly abuse then at least undesirable) should be the defining reason one way or the other.

I suggest you find some literature that speaks to what the Catholic Church actually teaches. Spanking is NOT a doctrine of the Church. The pope was giving an opinion on this as he does on other topics. Bear in mind, if they are not doctrines of the Church, they are opinions only and the pope has every right, as do all of us, to express those. We do not have to take them to heart.

God bless you in your journey.

So many beautiful replies here.
I will also add, that while there are many good and knowledgeable people here…CAF is also filled to the brim with oddball personal ideologies and bizarre unfounded interpretations of what Catholic’s should believe. Everyone has an opinion, and yours and the Church’s will often be met with opposition.
Keep studying and use CAF with discretion. After a while you be able to sort the wheat from the chaff, as it were. Such are the “fruits” of online fora.
I second the idea of reading the Catechism, and finding a good Spiritual Director.

I will pray for your peace.


It’s important to note that, as Vatican II explained it, the doctrine of papal infallibility applies when the Pope “proclaims by a definitive act some doctrine of faith or morals.” Most of what the Pope says does not fall in this category and his opinions on these subjects that aren’t “doctrines of faith or morals” are informed by his culture, his upbringing and may even be affected by the context of the discussion, the way the media chooses to present the Pope’s statement, and things getting lost in translation.

Given the Pope’s age, he likely grew up in an era and culture when spanking your child with your hand was considered normal discipline for a child, and not only parents but also schoolteachers and principals did it regularly. Society has evolved and views are different today. In any event this is not a “doctrine of faith or morals” so it may be set aside as one man’s opinion.

Well said, and some other wonderful replies as well.
May God help you with your discernment process
and blessings,


To follow Him and also to be able to receive His body and blood, soul and divinity in the Holy Eucharist. Nothing else compares to those reasons and nothing else can. Those are the reasons to be Catholic and to follow the teachings of His Church.


So one man’s view on spanking is the determing factor? Care to provide a Catholic document on spanking? Second, who is stating spanking is abuse? I know people who claim “time-out” is a abuse? We leave in such a hyper-sensitive world at times is goes to far. My father spanked me many times. More important, but as a child, teenager or as an adult never claimed he abused me-ever.

The Pope does advocate spanking but you are under no obligation to agree with him.

I do not for example agree with him on his position that there is no such thing as Islamic terrorism.

Are you in RCIA right now?

There are doctrines that every Catholic must agree with such as the Divinity of Christ and the Immaculate Conception and the views that an individual Pope verbalizes but is not binding on all Catholics.

This view on spanking is not binding.

Well, for any group of people chances are you’ll find an oddball or three.


That’s the only thing keeping you from being Catholic?

And you feel you must agree with everything the pope believes, even if it has nothing to do with the faith and official teaching?

And you do agree with all his beliefs…except for the spanking thing?
(Climate change, immigration, more inclusive communion, women taking bigger role in church, who-are-we-to-judge, etc, etc…)


It’s not just one man though…its the Pope. I’ve got very good at not worrying over Catholics (as a previous poster mentioned them being 1.2billion reasons to not join) as no-one is perfect and I know that includes the Pope to a degree but he is still an important aspect of the church.

I said this thread isn’t about spanking specifically…feel free to join the other thread to voice your opinions. (I don’t know how to do links otherwise I would)

No it’s not the only thing but it is an important factor currently. I don’t know what his views are on the rest but for me Personally, for those you mention they aren’t as problematic as spanking because of how I feel about spanking specifically.

I don’t know if it’s to do with faith and morals which is why I’m asking? :shrug:

You would have to be able to discern which views are binding and which are not.

The best way to do this is to learn more about the doctrines of the Church, which stands on its own no matter who is Pope.

If the Pope says the Pittsburgh Pirates will win the World Series this year, his view is no more important or more accurate than the opinions of the next man, even if he is Pope.

I have attended an RCIA class but it was a bit ad hoc and not officially set up and even then wasn’t really about what the doctrines are etc (we read over the mass readings). I’m moving soon so was going to look another one up

I thought I would express my opinion and start an uproar. I just love uproars! I grew up with lots of them…I thought I lived with lions!

In the first place, I think purgatory is abusive. I think it is almost excessively cruel to put us imperfect human beans into a big pot over a roaring fire to cleanse us from our sins. God supposedly does that. I guess He loves to cook beans! (just kidding.) Of course mine is only an opinion and I don’t like the idea of purgatory. Just to be serious, I would say I would try to avoid it at all costs. But, it is a church doctrine that the souls of the redeemed will be purified. How it is done is anyone’s guess, and if it involves fire, it can be extremely painful. I remember in the good ole days spanking was considered OK. In fact I got the belt sometimes. Lots of times it was a wooden paddle. Sometimes it was the dog’s leash. I had no knowledge of the law, so I had no defense. Nobody even bothered to defend me. They thought I had it coming.

Nobody at that time was immune to a spanking. My brother got spanked (it probably didn’t hurt because he was wearing a diaper at the time). I don’t think they spanked my sister because they learned on me and by then they had it down pat. Little sister got a get-out-of-spanking free pass.

Even the dog got spanked when she would have an accident on the carpet. Her nose would be rubbed into it as well. I think I would never want to relive those years of my childhood when physical punishment was considered good, and not punishing was considered bad.

The pope probably grew up when spanking was the norm.

On another note: I would never spank a dog.

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