Must one believe EVERYTHING The Church teaches in order to be a Catholic?


#1

Just wondering, is it necessary to believe in EVERYTHING The Church teaches?

What do you think? Do you believe everything?


#2

Yes. However, belief should be more correctly rendered as “have faith in”. Faith is a gift.

I believe it has been said regarding church teachings that “ten thousand difficulties do not add up to one doubt”.

Now, there are those who have “difficulties” with Mary’s Perpetual Virginity, for example. These people must “have faith” in the church’s teaching. With faith will come belief in time; but doubt will NOT lead to faith and may indeed cause us to lose what faith we have. One cannot “doubt” the teaching, one can only say, with humility, “It is a mystery, but Holy Mother Church has said it is so, therefore I have faith that it is so”.

Just my :twocents:


#3

No.

Once you are baptized into the Catholic Church, or accepted into her after a valid baptism in another religion, you are then forever a Catholic – even if you renounce your faith or are excommunicated.

That’s Good News because I don’t know of a single person who actually believes all the Church teaches without a doubt, except for some on this forum who say they do.

Without worldly doubt – or maybe a better term is uncertainty – there can be no faith. If you actually “understood” the Church teachings based on logic or scientific discovery, then faith is not required. Faith is the evidence of things not seen. In the world, we say “seeing is believing.” With faith, we might say “believing is seeing.”

If we say to another person baptized into Catholicism, “you are not really Catholic because your beliefs are heretical,” then we ourselves are speaking heresy as well. Not to mention that by judging the other person we bring judgment on ourselves. IMO, Catholics judging other Catholics is more of a threat to the Church than all the wrongdoing in the world that takes place outside of the church – including abortions. Divided we fall. Not believing something can divide; separating each other into categories of how good a Catholic we are increases the division and prevents healing.

Teaching the ignorant is an spiritual act of mercy. Judging the ignorant or the stubborn or anybody else is quite another matter.

Just my :twocents:.

Alan


#4

[quote=Asimis]Just wondering, is it necessary to believe in EVERYTHING The Church teaches?

What do you think? Do you believe everything?
[/quote]

What specific teachings do you have in mind?


#5

YES!

Pio


#6

Catholics are required to give “mental assent” to the teachings of the Church. But, that doesn’t mean that we can have no doubts, just that we accept on faith that those teachings we do not understand are just as true as the ones we do understand.

Those who openly express rejection of or doubts about the teachings of the Church are still Catholics, they are simply bad Catholics. In order to no longer be a Catholic one must definitely reject the Church by sending a letter to one’s bishop stating that one disassociates oneself from the Church and repudiates one’s confirmation and/or baptism.


#7

[quote=AlanFromWichita]No.Once you are baptized into the Catholic Church, or accepted into her after a valid baptism in another religion, you are then forever a Catholic – even if you renounce your faith or are excommunicated.

That’s Good News because I don’t know of a single person who actually believes all the Church teaches without a doubt, except for some on this forum who say they do.

Without worldly doubt – or maybe a better term is uncertainty – there can be no faith. If you actually “understood” the Church teachings based on logic or scientific discovery, then faith is not required. Faith is the evidence of things not seen. In the world, we say “seeing is believing.” With faith, we might say “believing is seeing.”

If we say to another person baptized into Catholicism, “you are not really Catholic because your beliefs are heretical,” then we ourselves are speaking heresy as well. Not to mention that by judging the other person we bring judgment on ourselves. IMO, Catholics judging other Catholics is more of a threat to the Church than all the wrongdoing in the world that takes place outside of the church – including abortions. Divided we fall. Not believing something can divide; separating each other into categories of how good a Catholic we are increases the division and prevents healing.

Teaching the ignorant is an spiritual act of mercy. Judging the ignorant or the stubborn or anybody else is quite another matter.

Just my :twocents:.

Alan
[/quote]

Alan excellwnt post with one question. I thought that once a Catholic always a Catholic except when one apostasizes and makes a formal statement of withdrawal from the Faith. I think it is usually mentioned in connection with marriage by a Catholic outside the Church after formally rejecting the Church. Such a marriage then being considered valid by the Church. Merely walking away doesn’t severe the bond to Catholicism.


#8

I assent to everything the Church teaches, and I believe in everything that I’m personally aware of 100%. I may have confusion on some issues, or wish they were articulated more clearly, but I believe absolutely in the authority of the Church.


#9

[quote=AlanFromWichita]No.Once you are baptized into the Catholic Church, or accepted into her after a valid baptism in another religion, you are then forever a Catholic – even if you renounce your faith or are excommunicated.

That’s Good News because I don’t know of a single person who actually believes all the Church teaches without a doubt, except for some on this forum who say they do.

Without worldly doubt – or maybe a better term is uncertainty – there can be no faith. If you actually “understood” the Church teachings based on logic or scientific discovery, then faith is not required. Faith is the evidence of things not seen. In the world, we say “seeing is believing.” With faith, we might say “believing is seeing.”

If we say to another person baptized into Catholicism, “you are not really Catholic because your beliefs are heretical,” then we ourselves are speaking heresy as well. Not to mention that by judging the other person we bring judgment on ourselves. IMO, Catholics judging other Catholics is more of a threat to the Church than all the wrongdoing in the world that takes place outside of the church – including abortions. Divided we fall. Not believing something can divide; separating each other into categories of how good a Catholic we are increases the division and prevents healing.

Teaching the ignorant is an spiritual act of mercy. Judging the ignorant or the stubborn or anybody else is quite another matter.

Just my :twocents:.

Alan
[/quote]

Alan excellwnt post with one question. I thought that once a Catholic always a Catholic except when one apostasizes and makes a formal statement of withdrawal from the Faith. I think it is usually mentioned in connection with marriage by a Catholic outside the Church after formally rejecting the Church. Such a first marriage then being considered valid by the Church. Merely walking away doesn’t severe the bond to Catholicism.


#10

I could be wrong, but I don’t think there’s a person alive who does not honestly doubt something that the Church teaches. So the question isn’t necessarily whether the individual has to believe everything the Church teaches as much as it it that when s/he realizes that there is doubt on a subject to investigate, ask questions and pray for understanding.


#11

[quote=AlanFromWichita]No.

Once you are baptized into the Catholic Church, or accepted into her after a valid baptism in another religion, you are then forever a Catholic – even if you renounce your faith or are excommunicated.

Just my :twocents:.

Alan
[/quote]

A Catholic may remove themselves from communion with the Catholic Church by statements or actions. Doctrines and Dogmas must be believed in order to be fully united to the Church. A person may not fully understand a teaching but as long as they do not reject the teaching they remain in full communion with the Church. Discipline must be followed by all Catholics. One may not agree with a specific Canon Law and may publicly disagree with it as long as the abide by it they remain in full union with the Catholic Church.


#12

[quote=rwoehmke]Alan excellwnt post with one question. I thought that once a Catholic always a Catholic except when one apostasizes and makes a formal statement of withdrawal from the Faith. I think it is usually mentioned in connection with marriage by a Catholic outside the Church after formally rejecting the Church. Such a marriage then being considered valid by the Church. Merely walking away doesn’t severe the bond to Catholicism.
[/quote]

My reply is based on two AAA posts I read several months ago, but I cannot seem to find them now with searches. To my recollection, the apologists said we are still Catholic even if we renounce our faith or are excommunicated. I don’t exactly know what “apostasizes” implies or whether it fits into the same category.

BTW, I do have a concern about another poster’s assertion that such a Catholic is a “bad” Catholic. I do recall some words about how to describe such a Catholic from the AAA forums, but I don’t remember what words it is. When we say one Catholic is bad, however, that must imply that there is such a thing as a “good” Catholic, who I suppose then would be in a position to judge another and label them as “bad.”

None of us are without sin, so I wonder how one compares the relative sinfulness with the relative ostensible assent to the Church in determining whether any given Catholic is “good” or “bad.” What if I assent to everything the Church teaches but am not currently in the state of grace? Does that make me good or bad?

Another thing I find puzzling, is that if the CA apologists are right, and if the Church does in fact teach that you are still Catholic even if you reject certain teachings, then anyone who says we “must” believe everything the Church teaches is, in fact, contradicting her. Isn’t that correct, or am I missing something?

In case that isn’t clear, here’s a more blunt way to put it. Isn’t answering “yes” to this question an act of heresy, or at least ignorance? Is it an emotional knee-jerk reaction intended to protect the Church, similar perhaps to Peter cutting off the soldier’s ear?

Alan


#13

I learned a long time ago that in a discussion it is important to define terms. I once had a very long discussion, two hours, only to discover we were both saying the same thing.

What is a Catholic. My definition is anyone who has been baptised.

The answer to the question as stated is no under my definition.

However if you change the question a little bit to read Must a Catholic believe EVERYTHING The Church teaches? The answer would be yes.

I believe from Asimis statement that is what he is really asking.
Asimis said "Just wondering, is it necessary to believe in EVERYTHING The Church teaches?

What do you think? Do you believe everything?"

Yes I believe everything because it is God who teaches us through the Church.

[left]

[/left]


#14

I assume you are intending to mean a “formal” Catholic as in one who professes to be a member of the Catholic Church in union with the bishop of Rome.

Yes, you must believe all that the Church teaches in matters of faith and morals. This does not mean that you cannot have difficulty in uderstanding the depth of the teaching, but that you must accept the teaching no matter what. For example, there are times that I have difficulty in understanding the Eucharist. However, I don’t doubt what the Church teaches in regard to the Eucharist.

In regard to what others have posted. Every validly baptized person is a part of the Catholic Church from the moment of their baptism. This is why we do not re-baptize converts unless there are any possible reasons to doubt the validity of their original baptism. In this case, a conditional baptism is given which is only valid if the original one was not.


#15

[quote=AlanFromWichita]My reply is based on two AAA posts I read several months ago, but I cannot seem to find them now with searches. To my recollection, the apologists said we are still Catholic even if we renounce our faith or are excommunicated. I don’t exactly know what “apostatizes” implies or whether it fits into the same category.
[/quote]

To apostatize is to renounce one’s faith, so it is a rejection of the Church, which does mean such a person is no longer a Catholic. Excommunication is a disciplinary action taken for three reasons:

  1. To let the person understand that he is in spiritual danger.

  2. To correct him so that he will understand the gravity of his situation and renounce whatever led to his excommunication.

  3. To reduce any scandal the person may have caused by his actions, be they public sin or heresy, etc.

BTW, I do have a concern about another poster’s assertion that such a Catholic is a “bad” Catholic. I do recall some words about how to describe such a Catholic from the AAA forums, but I don’t remember what words it is. When we say one Catholic is bad, however, that must imply that there is such a thing as a “good” Catholic, who I suppose then would be in a position to judge another and label them as “bad.”

No, the only persons who can judge if someone is a bad Catholic is his confessor and himself. We cannot see the interior of another’s soul, and so have no right to judge. However, if a Catholic publicly rejects Church teaching and teaches others to do so, it becomes pretty obvious to all that he is not acting as a good Catholic ought to act. Still, whatever guilt he may incur is not for anyone to decide except his confessor.

None of us are without sin, so I wonder how one compares the relative sinfulness with the relative ostensible assent to the Church in determining whether any given Catholic is “good” or “bad.” What if I assent to everything the Church teaches but am not currently in the state of grace? Does that make me good or bad?

Whether or not one in a state of grace cannot be determined by anyone except, once again, one’s confessor and one’s own conscience.

Another thing I find puzzling, is that if the CA apologists are right, and if the Church does in fact teach that you are still Catholic even if you reject certain teachings, then anyone who says we “must” believe everything the Church teaches is, in fact, contradicting her. Isn’t that correct, or am I missing something?

We must believe everything to be a Catholic in good standing. That is what you are missing. If people aren’t disciplined for making erroneous statements about Church teaching it is the fault of their superior, be that person their priest or bishop. But, there is no idea of not being a Catholic unless one repudiates his confirmation. Wrong ideas or wrong-headedness do not negate one’s membership in the Catholic Church.

In case that isn’t clear, here’s a more blunt way to put it. Isn’t answering “yes” to this question an act of heresy, or at least ignorance? Is it an emotional knee-jerk reaction intended to protect the Church, similar perhaps to Peter cutting off the soldier’s ear?

Alan

Much more ignorance than heresy, I’d say. As well as a knee-jerk reaction–an act of frustration with those who call themselves Catholic but not follow what the Church teaches. One of the seven acts of mercy is to correct people who make such errors–in love. We are to help one another, not dismissively judge one another.


#16

[quote=Asimis]Just wondering, is it necessary to believe in EVERYTHING The Church teaches?
[/quote]

A Catholic that has reached the age of reason must believe ALL the infallible teachings of the Catholic Church to be a member of the Catholic Church. When a convert from another Christian denomination wishes to come into full communion with the Catholic Church, he or she must make a profession of faith. At the Profession of Faith, the convert swears before man and God that he or she accepts all the infallible teachings of the Catholic Church.

The Profession of Faith in the revised Roman Ritual is this:I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.

This is the The Profession of Faith that was said before the Roman Ritual was revised after Vatican II:The Roman Ritual
Reception of Converts

Profession of Faith (short form, pp. 35.)

I., N. N., having before me the holy Gospels, which I touch with my hand and knowing that no one can be saved without that faith which the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Roman Church holds, believes, and teaches, against which I grieve that I have greatly erred, inasmuch as I have held and believed doctrines opposed to her teaching –

I now, with sorrow and contrition for my past errors, profess that I believe the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Roman Church to be the only and true Church established on earth by Jesus Christ, to which I submit myself with my whole soul. I believe all the articles of Faith that she proposes to my belief, and I reject and condemn all that she rejects and condemns, and I am ready to observe all that she commands me. And I make the following profession of Faith:

I believe in only one God in three divine Persons, distinct from, and equal to, each other – that is to say, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

I believe in the Catholic doctrine of the Incarnation, Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ; and the personal union of the two Natures, the divine and the human; the divine Maternity of the most holy Mary, together with her most spotless Virginity.

I believe in the true, real and substantial presence of the Body and Blood, together with the Soul and Divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the most holy Sacrament of the Eucharist.

I believe in the seven Sacraments instituted by Jesus Christ for the salvation of mankind – that is to say, Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Order, Matrimony.

I believe in Purgatory, the Resurrection of the Dead, Everlasting Life.

I believe in the Primacy, not only of honor, but of jurisdiction, of the Roman Pontiff successor of St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, Vicar of Jesus Christ.

I believe in the veneration of Saints and of their images.

I believe in the authority of the Apostolic and Ecclesial Traditions, and of the Holy Scriptures, which we must interpret and understand only in the sense which our holy mother the Catholic Church has held and does hold.

And I believe in everything else that has been defined and declared by the sacred Canons and by the General Councils, and particularly by the holy Council of Trent, and delivered, defined, and declared by the General Council of the Vatican, especially concerning the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff, and his infallible teaching authority.

With sincere heart, therefore, and with unfeigned faith, I detest and abjure every error, heresy, and sect opposed to the said holy, Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church. So help me God, and these His holy Gospels, which I touch with my hand.The Catholic Church does not have a double standard. She does not have one standard that requires converts to accept all the infallible teachings of the Catholic Church, while at the same time she gives cradle Catholics the right to dissent from her infallible teachings.

[quote=AlanFromWichita]No.

Once you are baptized into the Catholic Church, or accepted into her after a valid baptism in another religion, you are then forever a Catholic – even if you renounce your faith or are excommunicated.
[/quote]

This is not correct. It is possible for a Catholic to lose their membership in the Catholic Church. Excommunication, unrepentance for the mortal sins of schism, heresy and apostasy all entail the loss of membership in the Catholic Church.

A Catholic that obstinately refuses to accept even one infallible teaching of the Catholic Church would be a heretic.**Catechism of the Catholic Church

2089**… "Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same …


#17

PART II : PENALTIES FOR PARTICULAR OFFENCES
TITLE I: OFFENCES AGAINST RELIGION AND THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH

Can. 1364 §1 An apostate from the faith, a heretic or a schismatic incurs a *latae sententiae * excommunication, without prejudice to the provision of Can. 194 §1


#18

Excerpt from article “Dissent”, Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Catholic Doctrine, Edited by Russell Shaw, Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc. Huntington, Indiana
DISSENT

Of the truths taught by the Church as revealed by God, some are solemnly “defined” by the Magesterium in a definitive way. In other words, the are proposed, in very precise formulations, “in a form obliging the Christian people to an irrevocable adherence of faith” (CCC 88)

Many other points of Catholic teaching, while not solemnly defined in this technical sense, are also authentically proposed as revealed doctrine: expressions of what God wants us to believe or do (or avoid), in order to be saved. Examples in the moral field could be Catholic teaching on abortion and contraception. Without being defined as dogmas, these points of magisterial teaching are no less part of the Catholic faith, of the belief that necessarily distinguishes a Catholic. They should be received as such, for they too have behind them the guarantee of Christ: “Whoever listens to you, listens to me” (cf. Lk 10:16)

Even if not the object of solemn definition, such matters cannot therefore be considered open to questions theologically. The Second Vatican Council (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 25) and the 1983 Code of Canon Law (Canon 752) say that a “religious respect” (obsequium) of the will and intellect must be given to such authentic teaching. The Latin word obsequium does not just mean submission and does not imply mere obedience, less still of an unthinking type. The word carries overtones of the attitude that a thinking person should naturally take before what is seen to be higher than his or her own mind. It is therefore the rational acceptance of the humble person who has a minimum of faith.

The person concludes: “Even though I do not see the truth of this point of teaching, if the Church proposes it officially, Christ’s guarantee must stand behind it. Perhaps it may be expressed – defined - in a more precise way the future (always in the same fundamental sense), but meanwhile I offer God the rational gift of my acquiescence – of will and mind - in what the Magesterium proposes.” That is the free and intelligent conclusion of the person with faith, who wants to have the mind of Christ (cf. 1 Cor 2:16) and knows it must be found in communion with the Church.

The Nature of Dissent

The Catholic who dissents refuses to accept something that is taught by the Church’s solemn or ordinary Magesterium. …To dissent is to not only substitute one’s own judgement for that of the Church: it is to show a lack of understanding of Christ’s presence in the Church: “He who hears me, and he rejects you rejects me” (Lk 10:16) …

“Dissent … is opposed to ecclesial communion and to a correct understanding of the hierarchical constitution of the People of God” (Pope John Paul ll, encyclical The Splendor of Truth, Veritatis Splendor, 113 [1993]. One who dissents is not in living communion with the mind of Christ present in the Church’s Magesterium, and is not in a proper condition to receive the sacraments. Pope John Paul says, “It is sometimes claimed that dissent from the Magesterium is totally compatible with being a ‘good Catholic’ and poses no obstacle to the reception of the sacraments. This is a grave error. (Address to U.S. bishops, Los Angeles, September 16, 1987) …


#19

[quote=Asimis]Just wondering, is it necessary to believe in EVERYTHING The Church teaches?

What do you think? Do you believe everything?
[/quote]

This thread could be done more effectively in the form of a poll.


#20

I won’t insist that I am right, because I was only taking the word of two different CA apologists who posted answers to this question on the AAA forum. Other than that, I did precious little research.

Maybe you’re right and the CA apologists are wrong.

I did not feel the need to use a disclaimer when I wrote my original post, because I was confident enough in the answer that I had adopted it as my own. Maybe I should be more careful about repeating others’ words without citing my source.

Alan


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