Is the Catholic Church possible?


#1

I am currently not a practicing Catholic, having been participating at an Anglican church for a time. I have since become interested in becoming Catholic again (or returning to consistant practice).

But I refuse to agree with the Catholic Church, at this time in my life, on the matter of contraception. I think those in the Church who teach that artificial contraception is sinful are themselves wrong.

Is it possible to convert to Catholicism while still believing contraception is right? (My wife is interested in conversion, but also will not compromise on this matter)

Is it right to take communion while holding that the “official” Church teaching is wrong about contraception, if one believes that this teaching is itself wrong?

Thank you.


#2

It wouldn’t be right, but half of The Church does anyways.
How long have you not been a practacing Cahtolic? You might want to check into signing up for RCIA, so you can hash out these disagreements in a non-threatening aptmoshpere.


#3

About six or seven months now.

RCIA would be fine and useful (and probably necessary for my wife; I have been through the program myself, with a very good instructor).

This is not an issue that I would be willing to compromise on at this time in my life. I cannot imagine ever changing my mind on this, but I have said the same about other issues…


#4

Before you decide that you absolutely cannot agree with the Catholic Church on contraception, you might want to do some more reading on the issue.

The main Catholic Answers site (catholic.com) is a good place to start. Just type “contraception” into the search box. Here is a good article to start with.

By the way, did you know that up until 1930, every Protestant denomination agreed with the Catholic Church in condemning contraception? In 1930, the Anglicans at the Lambeth Conference, made a change, allowing for it in special cases. Others followed. The Catholic Church never changed it’s doctrine, which up till then had been the same as the Protestant position.


#5

I cannot imagine ever changing my mind on this, but I have said the same about other issues…

If you are keeping the door even slightly ajar, try reading this:
catholiceducation.org/articles/sexuality/se0002.html
It’s Janet Smith’s talk “Contraception: Why Not”. It revolutionized my thinking on the issue.

You would have to refrain from Communion if you are practicing contraception. It is completely irrelevent how many other Catholics use ABC. What matters is forming your conscience with the teaching of the Church by keeping your heart and mind open to her wisdom. God bless!


#6

I agree entirely with blessedtoo’s endorsement of Janet Smith’s talk.

My husband and I heard this talk years ago while we were Protestants (we were involved with pro-life activities). It changed our mind about contraception!

Give her a listen-to! Brilliant woman.


#7

Keep educating yourself. I came from the Episcopal Church and I too saw nothing wrong with contraception at one time.

The Church holds the Truth. **What, if anything, have you read on the Church’s teaching? ** Does this opinion come from study or from “I just don’t agree”? What, if anything, have you read regarding natural family planning?

Yes, you can join the Church* if *you plan to submit to the teaching and not practice contraception. You must submit your will to the authority of the Church-- who is inerrant in faith and morals-- even if you do not understand or agree.

Only if you are actually using contraception or publically proclaiming your dissent. If you disagree but are still trying to understand and come to embrace the teaching-- and if you are obeying the teaching-- then you certainly may receive the Eucharist.


#8

I want to thank you all for your responses,

My wife and I have listened to the Janet Smith talk. My wife and I have gone through eight hours and read five books on NFP. All this was required before we could be married in the Catholic Church.

I have also read Theology of the Body, one of the best expositions on human sexuality. But on contraception, I am still unconvinced and unmoved.

My wife and I both practice contraception, and I don’t think (though I can never be certain) that’s ever going to change.

We found a Priest who doesn’t mind about contraception (he disagrees with the “official” stance on contraception at the time), and he’s willing to bring us into the Catholic Church, and to give us communion once we become Catholic (or confess sins, in my case).

So the questions, and it could be generalized to include other points of contention/sins (it’s possible it is one), is it best just to spend time away from the Catholic Church, only returning if you change your mind? Would it be best just to attend mass, but not convert? Or should you go through the whole conversion, even if you do disagree on certain social stances that the Church has taken?

Thank you for your help.


#9

If you are going to be Catholic be a good Catholic.


#10

That brings up another good question. Do you think people like me should just stay away (or leave, if they do attend mass regularly)?

Or do you think we should attend, but just not take communion/convert yet?

Or is it situational, dependant on the spiritual journey of the individual?


#11

I don’t understand why you won’t consider NFP. From an effectiveness standpoint it is equal to most and superior to some. Of course, it would only be a partial step towrads embracing the actual teaching of the Church, but it would be a start.

Wow, that’s very sad. Truly awful. The priest, of course, is wrong.

Tto take the Eucharist while obstinently sinning (and you know the Church teaches it’s wrong and therefore cannot say you are ignorant) is itself mortally sinful.

Continue to study and put off entry into the Church until you can submit to her teachings. Prior to Confirmation you must go to Confession. You clearly have no ammendment of purpose to stop contracepting-- so how will you make a good confession? How will you stand up and profess to believe all the Church teaches when you don’t?

Really this is difficult. When I converted it was becaues I was convinced the Church was True and that she taught Truth. Therefore, I knew that even though I didn’t agree on these issues that the Church was right and I was wrong and I had already decided to submit to the Church’s teachings.

And, what a blessing. I cannot even understand how I ever believed something as completely offensive as contraception was morally right. Ugh!

I hope you continue to pray about this and that the Holy Spirit does guide you to the truth or bring you to the place that you can submit to the church’s teaching.

Do you in fact believe the Church teaches only truth? Is inerrant and infallible? If so, how can you stay outside her and refuse to submit to what you know is true even if you don’t understand it?


#12

No, you should not stay away. God wants all people to come to Him.

You should refrain from the Eucharist, but you will draw grace from the Mass itself.

Keep praying.


#13

Saul,

May I suggest you read Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae? When I first read this 1968 document, I was shocked at the accuracy of what he predicted as the consequences of a contraceptive culture. It changed my mind about contraception being permissible.

Peace be with you, and I hope we can welcome you home to the Catholic Church very soon.


#14

And, if I may ask, on what specifically is your reasoning based that contraception is acceptable and a moral good?


#15

I would say go to Mass, but do not convert until you are willing to accept that the Catholic Church is the authority given to Christians by Jesus Christ Himself.

It’s none of my business and I’m not expecting an answer on this public forum, but I would ask, too, why you won’t consider NFP? The doctor, a woman, who is the Chair of our diocesan “Respect Life”, became convinced early in her medical career that NFP was the only safe option for women. She was a feminist, not a Christian, when she made this decision. So it’s not at all a “Catholic” thing. It’s a “woman” thing.


#16

Paul, the question you need to ask yourself is: “Do I WANT to believe - and put into practice - all that the Catholic Church teaches?” If your heart is seeking to justify your points of unbelief rather than seeking to understand and to assent to the Church’s teaching, you will inevitably stay at on the fringe, so to speak.

We believe there is objective Truth to be known and embraced re Faith and Morals because Christ has come from the Father to reveal Himself and how we should live in Him in this life and the next, and that Christ has given the authority to His Church to preserve and teach these truths for our salvation. So those who do embrace Christ in and through His Church DO have a deeper spiritual insight and anointing than those who prefer the a la carte approach to religious belief and practice.

If one denies the authority of the Church to teach, or proposes that a particular teaching on either faith and/or morals is in error, then one must explain why his insight is greater than those who are faithful, e.g., Pope Benedict, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Fr. John Corapi, Scott and Kimberly Hahn, Mother Angelica, to name but a few who come to mind. One doesn’t look to the dissenters for examples of how to believe and live, but to those live and have lived the Faith to the full.

Keep in mind that we don’t “get” ourselves to believe. We prepare ourselves to believe through simply saying, “I believe, Lord, help Thou my unbelief.” One wanting to believe through one’s own sorting through all the arguments that can be arrayed pro and con will not come to the fullness of the faith; but rather wanting to believe as the Lord would have one with and through His Church is what is efficacious to belief. The Lord did not create us to live in unsurety, but to be assured of the truth of His teaching through His Church to which He has entrusted all that He would have us believe and how He would have us live in concert with what we believe.

We found a Priest who doesn’t mind about contraception (he disagrees with the “official” stance on contraception at the time), and he’s willing to bring us into the Catholic Church, and to give us communion once we become Catholic (or confess sins, in my case).

Why would you want to enter into union with Christ’s Church through such an unfaithful priest?! Far better to find one who will challenge you to believe - one doesn’t follow after Judas, but Peter.


#17

And, for the purpose of this conversation, you don’t really need to understand.

But for the rest of what you have written, I think it makes excellent points, and gives your opinion as to my situation quite well.

I think that the Church in principle does not make mistakes or teach error. But I do not think that any human or group of humans in the Church can determine with certainty what is true and what is not. There is always a margine for error (even on such issues as the Real Presence and authority of scripture; these things are true, but not because anyone has determined such). Maybe gay marriage is right, but I believe elsewise. Maybe contraception is wrong, but I believe elsewise.

I do not think that any human component of the Church is perfect. Nor do I think that the Catholic Church is the One True Church, but merely a part (or denomination) of that Church.

We want to join because the worship is nice, and because the beliefs are closest to what we believe in a variety of issues (real presence, priesthood being reserved to men, praying to saints, etc.).


#18

Thank you. I haven’t, but I shall.


#19

Your barriers to entering the the Church are much larger than contraception.

I urge you to keep studying and praying. I’m sure it will take a long time to undo all the erroneous teachings of a lifetime on the nature of the Church.

For me, it was about 10 years of saying to God, ‘but I don’t want to be Catholic’… and then one day (while miserable for a lot of reasons) I said (literally, out loud), “Ok, fine, take me where you want me to be…” and then a switch flipped. It was truly that instantaneous. Everything tilted on its axis and it all made sense.

I hope one day that happens to you-- since you’ve taken the name Saul I hope it doesn’t involve blinding light and falling off a horse for you to come home.


#20

I also admire and look to John Calvin, Martin Luther, Gregory Palamas, C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, James Sire, and many others.

saying, “I believe, Lord, help Thou my unbelief.”

Amen. I do pray this, and this is why I do not know. Maybe God will lead me to change what I think about contraception and authority of the Catholic Church, or maybe He will lead me to greater tolerance and love of practicing gays in marriage (if such is possible), and women priests. But I will follow as God leads, the best that I know how.


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