Newby - asking for help


#1

Please be kind. I am a long timer lurker, however this is my first post. This has been weighing on my mind for a long while and to be honest I don’t know who to talk to about it. Hoping this community may help.

A bit of a background. For the last few years I feel I am completely losing faith in my belief in God and the Church. I go to church weekly and say prayers/devotions most days. I have two young children and very much go through the motions of bringing them up in the faith. My husband is Christian (not catholic) but comes to mass with us each week and very supportive of ‘catholic’ ideals. Here is where I am at:

  1. I grew up in a very cult like Catholic branch. We only went to a mass in Latin, were home-schooled, not permitted any contact with the outside world (TV, friends, etc). Due to this my education was severely limited and rigid. We also grew up believing that basically everyone was hell bound and that the apocalypse was very near. We even had a emergency plan if it occurred. It was a very traumatising time in my life and has severely impacted and shaken my belief in community and perhaps God’s plan.

  2. I am now a science researcher with a Masters degree. Am studying my doctorate. Obviously I am in an industry where we are trained to evaluate and analyse. By nature I don’t particular get drawn to philosophical or theological discussions. I like achieving a concrete understanding (however chaotic theory) of the world. I don’t feel faith gives this to me.

  3. I have spoken to many priests over the years. I am not American and in my country we don’t have the same outreach programs it seems the US has. I live in a very spiritually dry nation so church homilies are repetitive and not particularly informative. There are NO parishes with families around, we have tried quite a few. We actually feel like the only Caucasian family in our church at the moment (nothing wrong with this! - they just have their own community to draw from). I don’t have many friends that are Catholic. Most have left the church completely some time ago or are still heavily involved in the Latin mass community. I cannot go back there.

  4. I lean towards the left politically (I believe this would be Democrats in the US?). I am pro-life and anti-euthanasia (this is a big issue where I live) but on many other issues such as socialism, welfare availability and immigration I certainly lean left. I am made to feel (mainly by my family) that this is very anti catholic of me. However, I feel their ultra right views are horridly cruel and do not attempt to reach out of anyone beyond their small world. Again this isolates me from anyone I know who is Catholic.

  5. I have prayed to God about this for YEARS. I have said Novenas, fasted etc. I almost feel disappointed that despite this I feel very little. It is like I am going through the correct motions, without any actual emotional connection.

I realise this is a ramble. I just feel alone and not sure where else to go.


#2

Theology and philosophy are very strong pillars for my faith. I don’t know if a concrete scientific outlook will suffice.


#3

Where do you live? I too kind of grew up in a household where the mentality was “fun is evil, everything leads to hell, and one must suffer in everything on earth in order to go to heaven.” It wasn’t until I went out on my own that I discovered that God wants us to feel joy and he forgives us for our sins. God is a God of mercy and compassion. He isn’t God the crazy dictator who wants everyone to hate life and suffer out of spite for only his enjoyment.


#4

I feel for you. I’m an engineer myself, so science has a big draw for me as you might guess. It sounds like your upbringing has made faith a sort of all or nothing ideal and I don’t understand how that could really be true. I guess my fall back belief is in the wonder of the universe and how some group of amino acids manage to develop into something that can, at least in part, understand how it was created. I’m not a creationist, but there is an strong analog to the Bible’s version and the big bang. We also know for a fact that a man named Jesus exists, that’s proven by third party sources, so he must have been a big deal at the time.

So how does this all fit together for me? It’s a tradition of faith in the hope that there is more than me in the universe. I feel this most relevant in the Christian sense. At very worst faith is a practice of understanding that there is more to life than that which is in front of us and a call to be a better person. I don’t think we’ll ever know what truly created the universe in which we live and that opens the door for faith.


#5

Three quick comments: You are correct that the ultra-traditionalists are sometimes cult-like and near schismatic. The Church is not at all hostile to science. The Church is above politics.

A suggestion: Can you listen to EWTN tv or radio?


#6

I really don’t think your political position makes a difference. You are pro-life and anti-euthanasia, so that is wonderful.

Unfortunately, a lot of Catholics have left the church because, in my opinion, they may have truly not completely understood the church? I was one of these people. I have since reverted back to Catholic, and I find myself learning something new on an ongoing basis that I never knew before.

I have heard of stories where people said they were brought up in strict environments, attended Catholic Education, and they really hated it. I never had the Catholic Education, received my baptism and First Communion, not really understanding what it was all about.

Now that I am back, and like I said before that I am continually learning about the faith, I am loving it more and more and have developed the closer relationship with Jesus. I still have to work on myself, but I feel really good about my decision to come back to the Catholic Church.

Maybe you can pray and ask Jesus to reveal to you or help you understand the faith? You said there are no families in your Parish? Are you able to somehow be able to connect with anyone in the parish? Do they have ongoing programs? I imagine it’s different in different countries.

I wonder if the Vatican might have information to help you? I think coming to Catholic answers was very good for you, and you can connect with other Catholics online for support.

Do you have access in your country to the EWTN channel on TV?


#7

Have you had the opportunity to talk to anyone about your difficult childhood? It sounds like you are still very affected by it.

I get that it’s much harder to be Catholic without any support and really feel for you.


#8

Thanks for such quick replies!

To answer a few questions.

I’ve never heard of EWTN here so I doubt it is available. I will look into it though.

I’ve never really spoken to anyone about my childhood. I guess I’d feel i was being indulgent. Afterall I was loved, fed and cared for. But my relationship with my family is still strained because of their involvement in the Latin rite and their opinion novos ordo (spelling!!??) as being wrong. Not much I can do to change this.

So nice to read about Catholicism being above politics. Certainly not my experience and nice to know I am not alone there.

There is no one to connect to in the parish. Most are elderly italians (who keep to themselves) or younger Indians (who also keep to themselves!). There is no social aspect at all. My children go to a lutheran school who are much better at promoting Christianity and have very active youth groups. I am tempted to send them there although this may be problematic when they are older.

PHJ I feel we think the same. That is where I am at at the moment.


#9

I can understand why you feel this way. Your family didn’t raise you with a happy or hopeful or pleasant experience of Catholicism, which is unfortunate, and they aren’t being helpful now. Also you don’t have any other sources of support in your life as a Catholic. I’m impressed you have managed to hang in there as long as you have.

For me, Catholicism reminds me of happy times with my parents and provides a sense of security and peace. It sounds like you were raised in some weird rigid form of it where all of that was lacking. My mother deflected every discussion about the end of the world and said we should just pray and have faith in God and not worry about stuff like that. We also had a ton of Catholic neighbors and friends and I went to a Catholic school with dozens of other kids and had friends and outside activities out the wazoo. I can’t imagine living as you describe.

Can you find some books focusing more on the joyful experience of Catholicism and the personal relationship with Jesus, and read them? You need to shake off all this upbringing baggage and just get to know Jesus in a happy way. Like he’s your friend.

Are there any other parishes where you could try attending, where the membership or the focus might be different?


#10

I’m so sorry you went through this.

It’s always astounding how inept catechesis can cause as much or more damage than inaccurate catechesis.
I’ve seen the type of thing you describe up close and it’s not pretty.

Kudos for staying in the Church.

I’ll bet your parents were driven by fear, and wanted to protect their beloved children, but got carried away with their methods.

I’ll uplift you, your family and your parents in my prayers today.

:pray:t2::pray:t2::pray:t2:


#11

Thanks so much for the replies. This is the first time I have ever discussed this with anyone.

We have tried moving parishes. No different really. Plus husband is a shift worker (emergency medic) so we usually change times monthly to suit his work. Makes consistency hard.

0Scarlett you’re correct about it being a fear thing with them. I don’t really feel they love God, they’re scared and guilty all the time. That is the impression I get anyway. The thing is I can’t imagine ever giving my children the impression that the church will always comes before their needs. My family unfortunately still very much do that. Thus my not being able to join that church again.


#12

Here are my thoughts on your situation:

  1. It sounds like your parents, while laudably introducing you to tradition, failed to correctly raise you in the faith. That doesn’t mean you can’t make up for that now, keeping your eyes fixed on the mercy of God.

  2. Many scientists reconcile their career with faith, having a clear understanding of the fount from which the processes they study originate. Your faith should be more important than your secular career.

  3. Not all TLM communities are equal. Plus, you don’t have to be involved in the community to be a Faithful Catholic Just find a local parish, and, regardless of who attends, go. You seem fixed on the irrelevant.

  4. So do I. In fact, I favour Socialist economic solutions, and am probably further left than you are. You can reconcile this with your faith and live a moral life, as long as you do not oppose Catholic Church dogma.

  5. Then pray to God to reinvigorate your faith. Try liturgical prayers, such as the Liturgy of the Hours or the Little Office of the B.V.M, to unite you with the Body of Christ yet more intricately than private devotions such as novenae. The Church has a wealthy devotional and liturgical heritage for a reason: different things work for different people, and you shouldn’t blame yourself for detachment, which we all experience from time to time. It’s a healthy part of a fulfilling life in the Church, and a test from God.

Nothing you have said precludes Catholicism. God Bless!


#13

Yeah, if it makes you feel better, I have two engineering degrees and worked for about a dozen years as an engineer before I changed careers. I never found it conflicting with my faith at all. I don’t see everything through a logical lens. Science is great for explaining how physical things work. God isn’t bound by any of those rules, so scientific logic will always ultimately fail when applied to God, although there are many examples of God using science and physical things to accomplish His work, including having His son be born of a human woman and walk around with us in physical human form with human functions, attributes and emotions.

My husband had an engineering career of about 35 years and while he was not Catholic (was a mainline Protestant), he never had any kind of unbelief in God or Jesus as savior. He just had that gift of great faith. I would note that husband was also from a loving home where his religion was not used to instill fear.

My point is there are lots of scientists and engineers and the like who balance their Catholic beliefs with their science knowledge. I think it requires a lot of faith and hope, which are infused through divine grace, so I will pray for you that you get more of those.


#14

Welcome!

Contrary to social medial appearances, the Republican Party is not the “Official Party of the Catholic Church” nor are we supposed to be “one issue voters”.

Even though you are not in the US, you might want to sit down and read http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/
A thoughtful document on our role in politics. And remember, THIS^^ is the Official Catholic Voter’s Guide for Americans :slight_smile:

You might also want to read what the Church teaches as doctrine on social issues:

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents/rc_pc_justpeace_doc_20060526_compendio-dott-soc_en.html

Philosophy? Oh, I’d start with the bloggers over at www.strangenotions.com


#15

EWTN TV and radio streaming at:

http://www.ewtn.com/


#16

Fundamentalism, Catholic or otherwise, is very dangerous. I would suggest studying the Catechism and leaving the other nonsense behind at this point. The heart of our faith is in those teachings. Find out what Catholicism really is first of all. One thing you’'ll find out is that your orientation as per #4 above appears to be quite Catholic.


#17

Thankyou all for your advice and support.

I need to keep plugging away :blush:


#18

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