I wanted to thank those of you who responded to my initial post about Catholic doctrine! It was definitely some much appreciated information. I am unsure if I was clear in the question I was asking. What I am really wondering about is how certain dogma or aspects of our faith got established. I am wondering if there is a good source (be it the internet, or a reputable book) that explains what steps were involved to a certain belief being established. This is more an investigation for me to INCREASE my faith, to get the “where are they coming” from in this piece of dogma.
As an example, I am going to use the example of the Immaculate Conception. My questions would be pretty simple. Where in the Bible does it talk about Mary being conceived without sin (direct or indirect evidence)? What made the Pope decide in the 1850s(forgive me for forgetting) that this should be an infallible statement? What are the other pieces of evidence, including visions from Saints? Now I found a good website about this: newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm) What I am wondering is where else could I find general information (that describes how aspects of our faith came into existence) about Catholicism like this?
The second big point I am wondering about is what some might call Cafeteria Catholicism. What are we as Catholics absolutely suppose to believe? Now I would imagine that anything in the Apostles or Niece Creed are those fundamental statements about our faith. Those are the “absolutes.” What about other topics and what other topics? I am a little bit more curious about issues that seem to come and go with time. One now might be the issue of stem cell research. Say, hypothetically, I did not agree with what the Church had to say on that. Does that mean I am sinning or what? I may sound somewhat antagonistic about this, but I am trying to understand where my beliefs and those of the church seem to agree and not agree. (By the way, I do believe everything in the Apostle’s creed). I am just wondering what sort of stuff makes you go “out of line” to the things that it is OK not to agree with.
I hope this line of logic all makes sense. I am just trying to grasp some of this.
Thanks again everyone!