Need answers to a few questions


#1

Hello all,

I am currently in an RCIA program and have run into a couple issues. I was raised Southern Baptist but never fully believed and became an atheist around 10 years ago. I’ve come to the conclusion that God is the most likely creator of the universe. I’ve been listening to Catholic Answers radio for a while now and I’ve read quite a bit about Catholicism aside from RCIA material but I’m still confused.

Anyway, here are my questions/issues:

1.) How does the Catholic church justify forbidding those in AIDS ridden countries from using condoms?

2.) It is difficult to believe that God wants us to tip toe around him worrying about praying right, performing the mass perfectly, etc. Why would God desire mass to be scripted like a play.

3.) How do you get to heaven?

4.) I read on this site that centering prayer is wrong. I suffer with severe depression and praying that way is actually the only thing I have found that helps ease the pain. Is it still wrong if used merely for that purpose?

I have lots of other questions but I’ll leave it at that. Hopefully I didn’t come off as grouchy or anything, I really do want to become a Catholic but I need to get past some road blocks.

Thanks in advance for any assistance :slight_smile:


#2

I’m always bemused by this question. People don’t get AIDS by obeying the Church. Why would they suddenly obey the Church regarding condoms? And frankly, I would consider it bordering on madness to have sex, with a condom, with somebody who had AIDS.

2.) It is difficult to believe that God wants us to tip toe around him worrying about praying right, performing the mass perfectly, etc. Why would God desire mass to be scripted like a play.

God made his mode of thinking about prayer and worship pretty clear in the OT, and it wasn’t “do anything you want as long as you feel like you’re worshipping me.” When priests don’t “say the red, do the black” anything can, and eventually will, be incorporated into the Mass, and it damages people’s faith. The Church understands the wisdom of the ancient maxim lex orandi, lex credendi (roughly, how and what we pray determines what we believe). Is it really a complete coincidence that so many more Catholics have weakened or lost faith in the very same era as all these liturgical and theological “innovations”? Of course it isn’t.

3.) How do you get to heaven?

By cooperating with the grace of God.

4.) I read on this site that centering prayer is wrong. I suffer with severe depression and praying that way is actually the only thing I have found that helps ease the pain. Is it still wrong if used merely for that purpose?

Don’t know what that is, so I won’t try to answer.


#3

AIDS is not spread by the lack of a condom, it is spread by a lack to follow God’s word. Pre-marital sex and extra-marital sex are against God. Condom use results in the sin of Onan.

2.) It is difficult to believe that God wants us to tip toe around him worrying about praying right, performing the mass perfectly, etc. Why would God desire mass to be scripted like a play.

Did God script the way the services were to be carried out in the OT?

3.) How do you get to heaven?

By the sheer grace given by God alone. Grace is like a great power, with great power comes great responsibility(leave it to a spideman movie to give me that one:) ). That responsibility requires actions upon us, like James wrote, faith without works is a dead faith. When the faith is dead, there is no salvation.

4.) I read on this site that centering prayer is wrong. I suffer with severe depression and praying that way is actually the only thing I have found that helps ease the pain. Is it still wrong if used merely for that purpose?

Who in the world told you centering prayer is wrong? Satan?:mad: It better not have been a Catholic!:mad:


#4

We justify it because a disordered view of sexuality is killing millions of our brothers and sisters. Condoms add to this disordered view by providing the illusion that they fully protect against AIDS and other diseases resulting from it.

I can flip your question quite easily: “What makes condom pushers so sure people will use condoms when abstinence is 100% effective and they still will not refrain from sexual practices even when they result in death?”

My answer is that condom pushers care more about spreading immorality than about stopping the spread of disease.

2.) It is difficult to believe that God wants us to tip toe around him worrying about praying right, performing the mass perfectly, etc. Why would God desire mass to be scripted like a play.

Mass is not scripted like a play. Mass is not for show. Mass is the Lord’s Supper, which we conduct in such a way as to revere God, in accordance with Scripture.

Do you believe God lied to the Jews when He taught them how to revere Him?

3.) How do you get to heaven?

Look up “justification” and “sanctification” in the Catechism. This will point you to what the Church teaches on the subject. The short answer is, “Obey God.”

4.) I read on this site that centering prayer is wrong. I suffer with severe depression and praying that way is actually the only thing I have found that helps ease the pain. Is it still wrong if used merely for that purpose?

I don’t know, but praying for others and having them pray for you may be more effective. Depression can result in overwhelming loneliness; being part of the Church and letting others pray for you may help ease this.

I have lots of other questions but I’ll leave it at that. Hopefully I didn’t come off as grouchy or anything, I really do want to become a Catholic but I need to get past some road blocks.

Thanks in advance for any assistance :slight_smile:

There is nothing wrong with asking questions, particularly when we’re talking about the most important decision you’ll ever make.

Welcome to the Church and to the boards.


#5

I recommend you do a forum search for condoms. We had some great threads on this topic over the summer. It is never right to encourage sins.

I think for the same reason He designed liturgy in the first place. The Mass is taken from the synagogue service, which you can easily see if you attend one today. Jesus was a Jew, and worshipped as a Jew. If He didn’t like it, He probably would have said so. :smiley:

It would be best if you put each of these on their own thread. One gets to Heaven by grace, through faith in Jesus.

There is nothing wrong with centering prayer, and it has been used by the church for centuries, ever since the beginning of the Monastic traditions in the 400’s. It becomes problematic when it is not centered on Jesus.

I recommned you use the library link above, then look on the left side of the page,a nd click on salvation. This will take you to releveant articles.


#6

That’s a Moral Theology question…not apologetics.

2.) It is difficult to believe that God wants us to tip toe around him worrying about praying right, performing the mass perfectly, etc. Why would God desire mass to be scripted like a play.

This is a Liturgy and sacraments question…not apologetics.

3.) How do you get to heaven?

This is more apologetics. Put simply…
How Is A Catholic Saved?

Repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38 & 22:16) and then following Christ, (John 14:15, Matthew 10:38, 16:24, & 25:31-46, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23) which is a lifelong journey and not the oversimplified “plan of salvation” as presented by some non-Catholic communities.

4.) I read on this site that centering prayer is wrong. I suffer with severe depression and praying that way is actually the only thing I have found that helps ease the pain. Is it still wrong if used merely for that purpose?

THE DANGER OF CENTERING PRAYER I recommend that you adapt your meditation to a more orthodox form of contemplative prayer. Eucharistic Adoration would be my recommendation.

I would post that question in Spirituality when you get a second. :slight_smile:

I have lots of other questions but I’ll leave it at that. Hopefully I didn’t come off as grouchy or anything, I really do want to become a Catholic but I need to get past some road blocks.

Thanks in advance for any assistance :slight_smile:

Nah… no problem, but you do need to move those issues that are not apologetics into the forums where they sort of specialize in those topics. Choosing Your Forum Wisely


#7

Its your basic, “The end does not justify the means” approach. Once we establish that condom use per se is evil, its use as a means to achieving another end remains sinful. If you really dont understand, try this one out for size: Why dont we simply kill everyone infected with the HIV virus in order to eliminate it and protect the rest of society? The principals which cause you to reject this proposal are the same for condom use.

2.) It is difficult to believe that God wants us to tip toe around him worrying about praying right, performing the mass perfectly, etc. Why would God desire mass to be scripted like a play.

It’s primarily the priests job to perform the Mass, the rest of us should be lifting our hearts and minds to God without any worrying about doing things “right”. If you are new to Catholicism, the Mass may seem so overwhelming - I remember that feeling as a kid. With time, however, you become one with it.

3.) How do you get to heaven?

This is an open-ended, vague question which has nothing to do with your stated reason for posting. Is there something specifically confusing regarding Catholic teaching on salvation?

4.) I read on this site that centering prayer is wrong. I suffer with severe depression and praying that way is actually the only thing I have found that helps ease the pain. Is it still wrong if used merely for that purpose?

I dont know what “centering prayer” is, but if you are using it to treat a medical condition I cant imagine why it would be wrong. You arent seeking a false God to help you are you? Perhaps calling it “prayer” if it is not actually praying but a treatment method for your illness may be the source of confusion.

I have lots of other questions but I’ll leave it at that. Hopefully I didn’t come off as grouchy or anything, I really do want to become a Catholic but I need to get past some road blocks.

Thanks in advance for any assistance :slight_smile:

I hope I didnt come off too grouchy either - I’d like to help you if I can.


#8

Others have given you some great answers to far. I just want to add that it should be difficult to believe that God wants us to tip toe around him worrying about praying–it should be difficult because it defies common sense and Catholic practice. We are all taught to pray both formally and informally–using memorized prayers such as the Our Father, and informally in our own words about the joys and sufferings of our day, addressing God confidentially and trustingly.

performing the mass perfectly, etc.

God taught the Jews in the desert how he wished to be worshipped; from this we know there is a right way and a wrong way. Also, we should offer the best we have and are to God in Mass, so striving for perfection in both the way we assist at Mass and the way the priest says the Mass is fitting and respectful.

I read on this site that centering prayer is wrong.

Catholics inherit an ancient tradition of contemplative prayer–prayer can be entered into more and more profoundly. We know of saints who lost themselves in trance-like prayer for hours. The Desert Fathers gathered in the wastelands to pray in all the modes. I think you would have to be more clear what you mean by centering prayer. Centering on God is always good.


#9

Condom usage does not result in the sin of Onan, they are two different things.

The sin of Onan was brought about by disobeying God’s Command, not by simply spilling his seed; After God killed his older brother Er, Onan was required by the tradition of levirate marriage to marry Er’s widow Tamar. According to Genesis 38:7-10, when he had sexual intercourse with Tamar he “spilt his seed upon the ground” because the resulting child would be considered his late brother’s, and receive the inheritance of the older son, ie the status of the child would be higher than the status of Onan himself. In response to the transgression of disobedience, God killed Onan too.

On your beliefs in salvation… yes, by grace are we saved by faith… but works have no part in the solution. Yes, the Bible mentions that without works our faith is dead, certainly, if your faith in Christ is true then the Holy Spirit will come to dwell in you which then makes the equation

(-> = yields)

Grace + Faith -> Salvation

and

Faith -> Works…

Works don’t come from you but from the Holy Spirit. If you do works and then say these works justify my faith then your faith is dead… the works MUST come from the Holy Spirit, they will flow naturally, not on your choice.

(Yes, they will come NATURALLY… the presence of the Holy Spirit will without a doubt change a man’s nature.)


#10

Thanks for all the responses, I still have issues with 3 of the questions. Catholics seem to be fiery about the contraception issue and I can’t seem to get any answers to my question without being attacked first so I’m going to give up on that one I guess.

On centering prayer, some of you mentioned that it isn’t wrong but I have seen multiple articles on this site and multiple negative comments including entire radio shows on how it is dangerous. My RCIA instructor taught us that method of prayer and I use it in conjunction with other methods of prayer to clear my mind and relax so I still don’t see why it is wrong.

Concerning the question about how you get to heaven… I am apparently too dumb to get it or it is incredibly complicated. Every time I look this up or ask someone I get different, equally confusing answers.

Sorry about posting this in the wrong forum, I tried to figure out which one to post this in but there isn’t one for RCIA members or basic questions. Thanks for the responses though, I’ll keep searching online.


#11

I and several others answered your question. I didn’t see any personal attacks in any of the answers. You may want to reread them and reflect a bit. The Catechism covers the issue quite well.

On centering prayer, some of you mentioned that it isn’t wrong but I have seen multiple articles on this site and multiple negative comments including entire radio shows on how it is dangerous. My RCIA instructor taught us that method of prayer and I use it in conjunction with other methods of prayer to clear my mind and relax so I still don’t see why it is wrong.

Dangerous means dangerous, not necessarily wrong. It depends upon what you mean by centering prayer. 70s style quasi-Eastern mysticism is not prayer. Monastic silence and meditation is. “Centering prayer” is apparently commonly used to describe the former and not the latter examples. The distinction is whether the focus is upon God or yourself. Folks who struggle with depression may have different risks with such practices than those who do not.

Concerning the question about how you get to heaven… I am apparently too dumb to get it or it is incredibly complicated. Every time I look this up or ask someone I get different, equally confusing answers.

There is no real checklist answer for you. The best path is to be baptised, be free from mortal sin, and be Catholic. Even the best path is a narrow one; most of us struggle to stay on it and need the Church to do so. God alone will judge you; if He provides you a definitive answer please share it.

Sorry about posting this in the wrong forum, I tried to figure out which one to post this in but there isn’t one for RCIA members or basic questions. Thanks for the responses though, I’ll keep searching online.

Apologetics handles most basic questions of the faith, and lots of RCIAers ask such things here. Most questions have been asked before; you can always use the keyword search to find other posts and the forums they were posted in.

I highly recommend checking out the Catechism first for any questions about the Catholic faith. Here is a link to an online version.


#12

Hi, Murdok,

You do not seem to feel that your concerns have been well responded to.

Let me ask you: Do you accept these principles:

  1. The end does not justify the means.
  2. Two wrongs do not make a right.
    ?

If you do, you will see in principle the Catholic answer to your quoted question.

It is difficult to live by principle. We have the Church to help us bring general principles to bear upon individual practical difficulties. If man dies not live by principle, he lives like an animal.

Blessings on your journey.


#13

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