Need help with some hard questions. Please!


#1

Hi all! Thank you Catholic Answers for this forum.

I’m asking for prayers for my husband and for help to answer this very intelligent and well-read man regarding our Catholic Faith.

He was born and raised Catholic, left Christianity all together as a teenager and young adult, has come back (praise God!), but now worships in a Methodist congregation. Until he met me, he had ill feelings toward the Catholic faith. By the grace of God, I somehow changed his view on many issues such as the Eucharist and the Mass. Yet, he still has not returned home!

He has said that if someone were to put a gun to his head and ask him to name a denomination that he belongs to he’d say he is Catholic. However, he also said that he’s not ready to leave the Methodist church yet. Here are some of his concerns (quoting him):

“Papal infallibility is man made.” He bases this on Galatians 2:11-14 where Paul rebukes St. Peter. I tried to explain that Paul wasn’t telling Peter that Peter’s teaching was wrong, but that his behavior was wrong. My husband is convinced that it was Peter’s teaching that Paul is rebuking, therefore Peter was in error, therefore Peter was not infallible. Anyone out there has an answer?

“Priestly celibacy is false.” I tried to explain that this is a church discipline, not a doctrine or dogma. He can’t see himself coming back until this practice changes. He believes that a priest cannot council him as a husband and father when that priest has not experienced the same.

“Confession does not have to be to a priest.” He says that the Bible reads to confess our sins one to another – it doesn’t say that it has to be a priest. I’m not sure how to clear this issue up for him.

“The belief in purgatory, perpetual virginity, and the Assumption of Mary, are not mandatory for salvation.” Obviously, it’s hard to answer one question with so many different concepts. (Aye…aye…aye!!!)

“The Catholic Church should disavow itself trillions of dollars of wealth for the reparation for slavery of blacks and the Jewish holocaust?” What is he talking about?!!! He also says that Catholic leaders continued to promote segregation during the integration period. I’ve never heard of any of this, so I don’t know how to answer him.

He also said that the modern sex scandal is due to a “system that teaches them [priests] that they are superior because their leader is infallible.”

I need some concrete answers for this guy. I can’t simply hand him some tracts and essays, because he won’t read them. Any advise/direction would be greatly appreciated.


#2

P.S.

We were having some marital problems. One night he told me that he went to the Perpetual Adoration Chapel. Before he went into the Chapel, he knelt at the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and made a promise that if she helped him save his marriage, he would be a disciple of her son’s in the Catholic Church. He has since recanted that promise, saying that God doesn’t hold someone to their vows if they are said under duress. I was heartbroken! I was rejoicing in the fact that we’d be worshipping together (and what better form of worship is there than the Mass!), and I am now very disappointed. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


#3

I’d recommend calling the Catholic Answers Apologist Line at 619-387-7200 to get specific answers to these questions, as well as some advice as to the best way to approach your husband.

You will be in my prayers.

God bless!

Eric


#4

H[font=Times New Roman][size=3]e knelt at the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and made a promise that if she helped him save his marriage, he would be a disciple of her son’s in the Catholic Church. He has since recanted that promise, saying that God doesn’t hold someone to their vows if they are said under duress.

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God may not hold them to it…but His mother will! :D. He’s asked for Mary’s help, and that’s exactly what he’ll get, whether he wants it or not!


#5

[quote=angelicangela]Hi all! Thank you Catholic Answers for this forum.

I’m asking for prayers for my husband and for help to answer this very intelligent and well-read man regarding our Catholic Faith.
[/quote]

Angela: Get over the idea that your husband is well read on the Catholic faith. He is not. This list of worn out objections takes the “sophomoric and superficial” prize of the year. Responses to all of these objections are ready and available.

Take the advice of other posters and go directly to the CA phone line and the CA home page: educate yourself! Your husband may never come around, but you will be wonderfully rewarded for your effort by an increase in self confidence and a new joy in your faith.

Though you will respond with sound answers, do not argue with him. As many here will remind you: you cannot convert him – only God can do that.


#6

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[size=3][font=Times New Roman]“Papal infallibility is man made.”

** He bases this on Galatians 2:11-14 where Paul rebukes St. Peter. I tried to explain that Paul wasn’t telling Peter that Peter’s teaching was wrong, but that his behavior was wrong. My husband is convinced that it was Peter’s teaching that Paul is rebuking, therefore Peter was in error, therefore Peter was not infallible. Anyone out there has an answer?

The teaching in question is whether or not all things God made are clean or unclean. Peter received the 3 time vision from God that showed Peter that nothing God made was unclean, eat everything. However, after Peter declared that teaching, he did not practice what he preached. Your husband does not think that the dietary restrictions of the Jews are still in place does he? If not, then Peter was being rebuked for not practicing what he preached. Peter was being rebuked for falling back into dietary practices of the Jews. The teaching is still true today.

**

**
[font=Times New Roman]“Priestly celibacy is false.”**** I tried to explain that this is a church discipline, not a doctrine or dogma. He can’t see himself coming back until this practice changes. He believes that a priest cannot council him as a husband and father when that priest has not experienced the same.

So his problem is with receiving counseling? Go to a Christ centered married couselor. No one is telling him he has to go to a priest for advice. But frankly, that kind of seems like saying that just because someone has never murdered a person before, they can’t understand and give good advice. Not every piece of advice needs to come from someone who has been there and done that.

**

[size=3][font=Times New Roman]“Confession does not have to be to a priest.” He says that the Bible reads to confess our sins one to another – it doesn’t say that it has to be a priest. I’m not sure how to clear this issue up for him.

**[/size]
**** [/font]
But the Bible tells us that Christ gave the apostles the authority to forgive sins. John 20:21-23 shows that this is the way Jesus set it up and the way Our Lord wishes us to seek forgiveness. Jesus was wrong? Early Church Fathers also show that this passage was understood in this way. Look at the history of the church and he can see that history does not support his view. The Catholic teaching is supported by the Bible and by Church history.

**

**
[font=Times New Roman]“The belief in purgatory, perpetual virginity, and the Assumption of Mary, are not mandatory for salvation.”**** Obviously, it’s hard to answer one question with so many different concepts. (Aye…aye…aye!!!)
Is his problem that he does not believe they are Biblical? If so I or others can site many Bible verses. Or is his problem with the authority of the Church and its authority to declare what a Catholic must believe? This is a much different issue, but once again, I or others can provide Bible verses and ECF if this is the case. Pin him down. Frankly to me, it seems as if most of his problem is the authority of the church. Most people have the same problem.

God Bless,
Maria[/font]

p.s.
Sorry it is in bold. That seems to happen when I quote others and they have bold in their text. I have not yet figured out how to stop that. :nope:
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#7

You have gotten some good answers here! I would suggest using the resources mentioned. Also, I STRONGLY suggest that you continue to pray for your husband! Maybe say some Rosaries since you husband has made an appeal to Mary. Remember, it’s not YOU who can change your husband’s beliefs, it is GOD who does that. Keep up the faith!


#8

angelicangela -

I agree with the other posters that your husband reasons for rejecting these teachings is not based on the Bible (the answers you gave him were right on) but he is simply making excuses. It seems to me he may have deeper personal reasons for not wanting to return to the Church and it may be, from what you say, related to your marriage. I know from hearing it from other men in similar situations that when they don’t think they can live with some moral teaching of the Church (usually the prohibitions against adultery, pornography, self-abuse, divorce or birth control), rather than come across as hypocrites (which men openly despise) they will make up any number of excuses to reject Catholic practices or doctrine. As members of other denominations, one can massage the Scriptures until they can justify what they are doing, but Catholic teaching is fairly concrete in these matters. There’s also the added element of having to confess these sins to a priest.

If you have not done so, I urge you to seek counseling together. In the meantime continue to educate yourself in and practice the Faith so that when he is ready, you will be able to help in this area as well.

Good luck, and I will be praying for you and your husband.


#9

Hi angelicangela! :wave:

Just before I got on-line I was doing my prayer time. The things you discribe in your husband brought to mind what I read in Scripture this morning:

We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the things freely given us by God. And we speak about them not with words taught by human wisdom, but with words taught by the Spirit, describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms.

Now the natural person does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God, for to him it is foolishness, and he cannot understand it, because it is judge spiritually (1 Cor 2:12-14)."

Perhaps your husband is considering these topics though the eyes of the world rather than the eyes of faith. Human wisdom will not help to understand or accept these things but only the holy Spirit.

I know there have been times in my spiritual journey when I finally “got it”. Whatever “it” was wasn’t presented to me in any different words than it had been a dozen times before. The words weren’t different, but my heart had to have been, and the holy Spirit revealed to me what I didn’t see before. Maybe it’s like that with your husband.

He’s in my prayer journal by the way.

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:


#10

Thank you - every one of you - for your answers and prayers. It is so comforting to know that complete strangers are praying for my husband and me. It is because of this that I know things will work out eventually – in God’s time – in God’s way (whatever that may be).

You are all in my prayers as well.

Peace,

Angelic Angela


#11

read Search and Rescue by Patrick Madrid, and work on your marriage and your own spiritual growth and education in Catholic doctrine. Stop trying to convert your husband. That is the Holy Spirit’s job, not yours. Your job is to be the best Catholic Christian you can, the best wife and mother, your actions will speak much louder than words. Just live your faith and be a witness.

Do not allow him to draw you into pointless arguements about topics he has no intention of changing his mind about. For one thing, he probably does not even believe what he is saying, just repeating something he heard at his church, he is just trying to get a rise out of you. It will be just as big a waste of time to argue about doctrine as to argue about who will go to the superbowl.

At the most, to shut him up and move on to something else, you could say, “I am not the best person to explain that point, but I read a good book by ----- or on this website, if you would like an expert opinion.” put the ball back in his court and quit worrying about it. Don’t let him off the hook about doing his research himself.


#12

PuzzleAnnie,
I just want to say how much I enjoy your posts. Some day I would like to buy you a cup of coffee. :thumbsup:
Paul


#13

icy mocha, please


#14

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