Lost Faith in the Church

Faith is a gift, right? but faith is also an act of the will and I am looking for reasons for faith in the Church.

The reasons that I have begun to doubt the authority of the Church are the following:

-You have to engage in a great deal of "reading into: the the text of scripture to support Catholic doctrines, not the initial meaning of the texts, eg The Eucharist
-The early Church, while similar to the current Catholic Church in many ways was very different in many ways. At any stage of the Church’s history you would have been taught different things about many Church doctrines.
-You have to “read into” history to believe that certain doctrines were always believed for eg the Assumption: no evidence of this doctrine for many years
-The Church claims tradition is infallible, but only she can say what tradition is- thus the Church placed herself above both tradition and the Scripture, she is the only authority to be trusted.

I love the Church, I have grown up Catholic but when I see Our Lord at last when I die I cannot simply tell Him that I trusted blindly in the faith when such faith rebels against my reason.
I’m looking for reasons to believe.

I don’t understand what that means. Protestants encourage “reading into the text of Scripture,” but the Catholic Church does not.

The early Church, while similar to the current Catholic Church in many ways was very different in many ways. At any stage of the Church’s history you would have been taught different things about many Church doctrines.

Can you provide at least one concrete example?

You have to “read into” history to believe that certain doctrines were always believed for eg the Assumption: no evidence of this doctrine for many years

Where does the Church require you to “read into” history this doctrine? Where are you required to “read into history” that the Father and the Son are co-eternal? Since this doctrine pre-dates history, there is no such requirement. Why do you impose requirements that the Church does not impose?

The Church claims tradition is infallible, but only she can say what tradition is- thus the Church placed herself above both tradition and the Scripture, she is the only authority to be trusted.

FINALLY, you said something that is logical and true. The Magesterium is co-equal with Tradition and Scripture, but She is the only earthly representative of either. So She is the only (earthly) trusted authority.

Can you provide at least one concrete example?

Sure, for example limbo- I know this isn’t infallible doctrine- I’m simply talking about what we are taught. Not long ago limbo was taught and widely believed, now not so mcuh. Note my claim is not the Church has not contradicted herself in infallible doctrine but that she has simply taught different things at different times. this limits my ability to put my faith in her, even if it does not prove infallibility wrong. The fact is she has changed, in countless “non-essentials” because only the Church is ever able to say clearly what is infallible and what is essential. Thus the Church can say she hasn’t change because only she can determine what a relevant change is. Bascially if the church changes something it was never infallible, if she wants to keep it then it becomes doctrine. I know I am looking at this in a very human way, but I need reasons to believe it on faith.

Where does the Church require you to “read into” history this doctrine? Where are you required to “read into history” that the Father and the Son are co-eternal? Since this doctrine pre-dates history, there is no such requirement. Why do you impose requirements that the Church does not impose?

There is no evidence for the assumption for hundred of years of the Church’s history. We have to assume it was taught when there is no recorded history to give any evidence for this. We have to take it on faith…

Limbo? That is the biggest problem you can come up with?

The Church is living and growing, therefore you can expect to see changes over time. The question of limbo is a case in point. It rose out of the question of what happens to babies that die before they are baptised. A place, or state of being, called limbo was proposed in an attempt to answer the question. As subsequent generations discussed the problem new ideas came to light and consequently new answers to the problem came along.

The belief in Our Lady’s Assumption is a long held belief among Catholics. It was never written down as doctrine until 1950 when Pope Pius XII defined it infallibly. The pope didn’t just come up with the idea, but gave formal recognition to something that had been around for centuries. (Whether or not Our Lady died before she was assumed into heaven is an open question.)

A questioning faith is good, something that was encouraged when I was at school, providing the purpose of the questioning is to find answers or gain understanding and not a search for reasons to give up the faith. If after enquiring you still can’t find the answers the you just have to accept it in what St. Ignatius of Loyola called ‘blind faith.’ It is often only by accepting and living the faith that the answers are found. Ultimately, though, it depends on whether or not you want to believe. If you do then the answers will come, if not, no answers will satisfy you. My mother used to say, ‘God I believe, help thou my unbelieving.’

No offense, but while the op’s concerns are a great opportunity for charity , instead we seem to be offering just a dose of apologetics.

SirEwenii, Take the time to come to grips with each of you doubts or objections, one at a time. They are all legitimate and a natural part of our faith formation.

When we have concerns like you mention, we often have a tendency to just turn away from the issue. For example, if we are doubting the effectiveness of scripture, we simply stop reading scripture…that doesn’t give us answers to our concerns, it just buries them.

I note that the effectiveness of prayer is not mentioned in your list of concerns. Prayer has the power to give you the answers you may be looking for.

Read, if only the daily reading, the gospel each day. Find a time and place where you can best focus, and apply lectio divina to the readings: prayerfully read the passage two or three times; focus on a word or phrase you seem to be drawn to; meditate on that word or phrase, not centering on what you think about it, but quietly listening for what God is telling you about it; use what you have experienced through your reflection and meditation as the basis of prayer; apply all learned or discovered to your day (as James wrote, “be a doer of the word, not just a hearer of the word”).

If you give this some time, and make it a happen, thing may eventually become clearer to you. But this is only one tool God gives you! Don’t for get the Eucharist, the rosary,spiritual direction from a priest or religious.

And relax!

I will include you in my prayers!

Let me first say that I’m sorry. This must be a difficult time for you. My prayers are with you. I’m a revert, who had left the Church for about 6 years with many of the same reasons you have here. Much of what brought me back was Vatican II’s document, which emphasize above all the relationship that we have with Jesus Christ, and de-emphasize the notion that being Catholic is about being able to check every item on a list. I would strongly urge you to read a bit there. Sacrosanctum Concilium and Dei Verbum were both a light to me.

I will also say that faith is not the same thing as knowledge.

The reasons that I have begun to doubt the authority of the Church are the following:

-You have to engage in a great deal of "reading into: the the text of scripture to support Catholic doctrines, not the initial meaning of the texts, eg The Eucharist

Well, I’ll grant you that on some doctrines, but fundamentally, being Catholic is about a worldview centered on Christ. The Eucharist, in particular, is a tricky case. While there are obviously verses like John 6 and 1 Corinthians 11 that speak to transubstantiation, to me, our reliance on translation out of the initial Aramaic and Greek means that we view the text through the theology that was later used to explain the imperfect translation. For example, in the Greek of the Lord’s Prayer, the word we express as “daily” in “daily bread” is actually the word epiousios (epi = across or beyond; ousia = substance). A reasonable translation of the word is literally “transubstantial,” but it’s weird because the Lord’s prayer is the only place in all Greek writing of the ancient world in it occurs – we don’t have others who explain it. But just think about a church full of Christians speaking in Greek, and every day saying “give us this day our transubstantial bread,” and the theology was in the daily words. Translation into Latin or other language meant that theological explanation was needed to convey the meaning of the original Greek. That put us more distant from the practice and language of the first Christians, making belief more an intellectual exercise than a daily practice.

Regarding the Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist, we know from pagan sources, like Pliny the Younger, art in the Roman catacombs, and the architecture of the oldest known church, that at Dura-Europos, that the liturgies of “word” and “Eucharist” were separate as they are in Catholic liturgy. Part of this is due to the Eucharistic celebration being in the form of an “agape feast,” which was later regulated and eventually brought into the church building itself.

-The early Church, while similar to the current Catholic Church in many ways was very different in many ways. At any stage of the Church’s history you would have been taught different things about many Church doctrines.

Absolutely it was different. For example, for the first two centuries, there was no doctrine of the Trinity, but if you look at the earliest writings of the Church Fathers, you won’t find them contradicting it. For example, look at the writings of Melito of Sardis (about 170 AD).

True. Then again, it’s Jesus who is the Messiah, and he is King. The historical evidence for belief in a Marian assumption or dormition first shows up in the fourth century. For the Immaculate Conception, evidence first shows up in the fifth century.

The Church claims tradition is infallible, but only she can say what tradition is- thus the Church placed herself above both tradition and the Scripture, she is the only authority to be trusted.

Well, I’ll point you to the dust-up that occurred after the persecution by the Roman Emperor Decius on 250 AD, where he insisted that everyone in the empire acquire a certificate attesting that they had sacrificed to the Roman gods or face death. Many Christians gave in. After the persecution was over, you see the first test of “papal primacy” (in a dispute over a big issue of faith and ecclesiology). Pope Stephen I insisted that the church could forgive lapsed Christians through the sacrament of confession. Other bishops, including Cyprian and Firmilian, resisted, claiming that the church was not competent to forgive the sin of the lapsed. Ultimately, Rome won, but not before a schismatic group of the ultra-purists set up their own separate “church,” which they claimed was the real church. This just illustrates to me the Church’s commitment to being one, as St. Paul tells us, and that any who try to put themselves up as the arbiter of tradition risk splintering the church. That pattern of splintering is the norm among Protestants today, with “church planting” allowing anyone who disagrees slightly with their congregation to start a new congregation. Picking a church becomes like buying a car… whichever you like best, you pick.

I love the Church, I have grown up Catholic but when I see Our Lord at last when I die I cannot simply tell Him that I trusted blindly in the faith when such faith rebels against my reason.
I’m looking for reasons to believe.

Let me give my own testimony. I have gone down every rabbit hole that my reason has opened, following my intellect in matters of science (e.g., evolution, neuroscience) and church history (e.g., Petrine primacy). What I can say is that while the Catholic position isn’t air tight, the Catholic Church has a really, really good claim on history. Early history, like before 250 AD.

More fundamentally, the center of my faith is Jesus Christ.

Great post.

The sublime posts get to the heart of the matter.

The OP said that he lost faith in the Church but our faith is not in a Church but in a person - Jesus Christ. Our faith is not in doctrine or dogma but in God who became man, was crucified, suffered, died, buried, rose from the dead and ascended to heaven.

-Tim-

Jesus and His Church, the Catholic Church, are One and the Same.

“It is an absurd dichotomy to love Christ without the Church; to listen to Christ, but not the Church; to be with Christ at the margins of the Church,” he said. “One cannot do this. It is an absurd dichotomy.”

ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-francis-a-christian-without-the-church-is-an-absurd-dichotomy#When:2014-01-31%2001:59:01#ixzz2rwegcaMm

I just wanted to enter a note here. The concept of Limbo is an infallibly defined doctrine. How it is understood is where the confusion comes from.

Limbo refers to that place wherein the saints of the old testament resided before Christ freed them at His death/resurrection. This is the infallibly taught doctrine regarding Limbo.

What was never infallibly taught about Limbo, not even held by the Magesterium as true, was the idea that unbaptized infants went to Limbo. This could never have been taught by the Magesterium, because the Bible is very clear about this: in the end there will only be heaven and hell (see Matthew 25:31-46). So, unbaptized infants would either go to heaven or hell. The Church recently clarified its position on this, indicating that we may hope in the Mercy of God that they are in heaven. Prior to this clarification, it was widely held by the faithful, but not universally so, that unbaptized infants went to Limbo, but neither Scripture, Tradition, not the Magesterium ever supported/held this.

In speaking with friends and family who have also lost faith in the Church, they cite that the Church never taught them who Jesus was. This is sad. It is also sad because most likely they never learned who Jesus was from their parents as well.

It is sad when Jesus gets buried underneath the treasures of the Church - it is up to us to uncover these treasures for He is the center of our worship.

True Magnificence of the Mass: (its Jesus)
youtube.com/watch?v=5MOyDjizb1s

Love Comes Down by Matt Maher:
youtube.com/watch?v=beAXbgFP3Wg

I just finished listening to a great cd titled “Confessions of a Mega Church Pastor” by Dr. Allen Hunt and recommend it:
lighthousecatholicmedia.org/store/title/confessions-of-a-mega-church-pastor

You’ve asked for prayers recently about this same issue. Give prayer a chance. :thumbsup:

Watch some Journey Home shows to see how and why others have come to know the One True Church of Jesus Christ. This is just one of many shows that are on youtube.

youtube.com/watch?v=XkQ4Kj5v_wo

And perhaps pick up a book actually titled Reasons to Believe by Scott Hahn.

Please pardon my bluntness… How can you claim to “love the Church” when you don’t seem to understand much about it? Either you’ve been poorly educated in which case it’s no wonder you’re having difficulty or you’re not Catholic at all.

“This is my body.” The initial meaning of this text is that the bread has become His Body. Anything else is reading into the text. I’m missing your understanding of how you arrive at the opposite conclusion.

As Jesus told us, the Kingdom of God (the Church) is like a mustard seed at first (what we see in the Scriptures) and becomes a large tree as it grows (what we have today). Spend some time reflecting on His teaching.

Other than your example of Limbo (which you admit was not doctrine), any other examples?

The Church only definitively defines doctrines when there is confusion or challenges on beliefs. That is why the canon of Scripture wasn’t decided until the 4th century, and the Trinity defined in the 4th century as well.

I view it along the lines of the testimony of two witnesses as required under the OT law. The Church and Tradition testify to the truth of Scripture, Scripture and the Church testify to the truth of Tradition, and Scripture and Tradition testify to the truth of the Church.

Keep searching. There are answers to all your questions, you just have to keep asking. :thumbsup:

Jesus is not the Church. Jesus is God. The Church is not God. God is the creator. The Church is his creation. We worship God in the person of Jesus, not the Church. We worship the creator, not the creation. Some have it backwards.

A Christian without the Church is an absurd dichotomy but a Church without Jesus is even more absurd.

-Tim-

calledtocommunion.com/2009/07/ecclesial-deism/

Aquinas believed that faith in Christ necessarily involves trusting the Church, because Christ cannot fail to guide and protect the development of His Church.

I came to see that I did not fully trust Christ, not because I thought Him untrustworthy, but because I had not understood that Christ founded a visible hierarchically organized Body of which He is the Head, and which He has promised to protect and preserve until He returns. I had not apprehended the ecclesial organ Christ established through which the members of His Body are to trust Him. I came to see that faith in Christ is not something to be exercised invisibly, from my heart directly to Christ’s throne, as though Christ had not appointed an enduring line of shepherds. Inward faith was to be exercised outwardly, by trusting Christ through those shepherds Christ sent and established. Jesus had said, “The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”29

This is the sacramental conception of faith, not simply belief that, but belief through. This is the sacramental conception of the Church, the basis for the priest speaking in persona Christi.

But upon coming to understand that Christ founded a visible hierarchically organized Body of which He is the Head and which He promised to preserve, I came to see that the way to trust Christ is to trust His Church of which He is the Head, just as the early Christians trusted Christ precisely by trusting the teaching of the Apostles. Trusting the Apostles did not subtract from (or compete with) their trust in Christ. On the contrary, when Jesus tells the Apostle Thomas, “Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed,”30 He implies that greater faith is required and shown in those who trust in Christ not by seeing Him, but by believing the testimony of the Apostles. Jesus refers to this way of believing when He prays, “I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word.”31

Jesus is the Church, for the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. Jesus is God, yes, and the Church is not God, true, but Jesus is both human and divine. Therefore, just as the human nature of Jesus was not God, Jesus the person is God, by virtue of His divinity. In this way, the Church is both Jesus, and not God, for as the Body of Christ, we are partakers in His humanity, not His divinity.

It would be a mistake to think about the Church as merely a “body” in the sense that the students of a college are a “body.” This is incorrect. The Church is not merely a group of likeminded people. In a mystical way, we are Christ’s actual body. Not analogically, but actually. It is incorrect to say that the Church is divisible from Christ. They are one. Not one in unified cause, or something to this effect, but one numerically, indivisible.

:eek:

The Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature. (2 Peter 1:3-4)

-Tim-

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