On Extra-Biblical Matters

((Apologies in advance if I have placed this in the wrong topic.))

Hello, CFA.

I’d like to disclaimer my own post by first mentioning that sometimes I come across as brasher than I mean. If, in this post or others, I come across as being dismissive or so on of a particular precept, I’m not doing it out of malice, but more likely that I’m “not getting it”.

With that aside, I begin: I’m a largely self-educated Christian of no particular denomination (but discerning a conversion to Catholicism) with a bit of guidance from my significant other, a Baptist. Around a year or two ago, I began to feel the need for something more in my life, which is what started me looking toward Christ (in high school I was an Athiest of a somewhat militant bent). It’s taken me at least this long to finally accept as much as I have, which to my eyes seems to be Jesus Christ is our Lord and Saviour, the Son of God incarnate, as the core tenant of the Christian faith, with all other tenants secondary

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who you are), I’m of a fairly liberal bent and I’ve been unable to separate that socio-political bias from my religious views, which seems to interfere with some of the tenants of Catholicism, particularly where teaching on abortion, birth control, and homosexuality are concerned. So, First Question: While I, personally, would never council a woman toward an abortion, or engage in a homosexual act, is it okay that I am reluctant to push people away from doing this? and Second Question: It is my belief that, in lieu of anything biblical that I have seen regarding this matter, it is more responsible of me/others to use a condom/medical contraceptives rather than to bring a child into the world when they are unprepared to raise that child. How sinful is this stance?

I’m also something of a quiet Christian, if that makes any sense. I am uncomfortable confessing my faith without some sort of mask to hide behind, such as an internet persona. I feel that this is somewhat supported by a passage (I believe in the Gospel of Matthew, but I’m often mistaken) which reads to the effect that we are not to pray in the streets, as the hypocrites do, but practice our faith in private. Third Question: Is this stance inherently flawed? Should I be more willing to initiate conversations on the matter of faith? I should note that I don’t (often) deny my faith when asked, but I do try and avoid the issue.

The final question is somewhat more fundamental to Catholicism and is the major sticking point on my thoughts of conversion. Fourth Question: I have seen no biblical support for the veneration of Mary and of Saints. While I accept many other teachings of the Church about sacraments and transubstantiation, I am not sure how I feel about this veneration. What about it does not detract from the worship to God, Whom we shall have no others before Him?

I’m sure there’s more, but I wouldn’t want to overdo it with the questions right out of the gate!
-Deine Z

Welcome!

The first, second and fourth questions you have are whoppers. You may wish to re-address the questions into to separate posts for each one. My experience tells me that it will very difficult to follow any particular line all the way through.

That being said, I want to address one point of the your second question:
Second Question: It is my belief that, in lieu of anything biblical that I have seen regarding this matter, it is more responsible of me/others to use a condom/medical contraceptives rather than to bring a child into the world when they are unprepared to raise that child. How sinful is this stance?

We must all have the utmost faith in Jesus that He will not bring us anything that we cannot handle. As a father of five, I have often worried about being able to provide for my family. But something always comes along and helps.

My wife and I practice Natural Family Planning and are actively try to avoid another pregnancy right now. When my wife’s body is giving us signals of fertility, we abstain. Sometimes, depending on how crazy her cycle is that month, it could stretch into weeks. There is a sense of peace that comes with knowing that a sacrifice like that is pleasing to God. The long and the short of it is really this: If a husband and wife do not feel like they can support a child at all, then it is far better just to not have intercourse than to put a barrier between the God-created process that brings a couple together.

I would also point you to the Bible Christian Society. You can download some great talks here. I would recommend ‘Marriage and the Eucharist’ and ‘Mary and the Saints’.

God bless you and I will pray for your discernment!

I’m not exactly a fan of message boards either because it is so hard to not come across pushy or something. I personally like one on one discussion because I rely so much on body language what and what not. (I am going somewhere with this, so bare with me :slight_smile: )

I want to address your first question, because I think this is the biggest and most serious of all the issues. I first learned about abortion when I was maybe thirteen years old. I was squeeky clean and naive at the time and never heard or learned anything remotely about it. In my total innocence, when I learned what it was, I didn’t even understand that this was a “choice” that some woman might make. I imagined some doctor some how forcing this on a happy expectant mother, and how I vowed to fight if someone were to ever try to do this to my wife and child. Its about ten years later, and admittedly, there have been events in my life that have shook this innate gut instinct that abortion is profoundly and gravely evil. But I managed to hold on to this innate, childlike belief.

But truly what we live in is a society so warped, that we are supposed to accept that woman have a “choice” over their bodies. Its becoming a political litmus test, that you must affirm that woman in a difficult position must be given the “choice” to end their pregnancy.

is it okay that I am reluctant to push people away from doing this?

Yes! but no. Its understandable that, given society’s pressure, that your unsure.

There is a huge moment in the novel Hucklebury Finn by Mark Twain, where Huck, a rebel by all counts, starts feeling sick to his stomach for helping his friend, a fugitive slave escape. His society taught him it was a sin to steal a slave. The moment comes when Huck decides he’d rather go to “Hell” than betray his friend by turning him in to the bounty hunters.

I’m being a bigger jerk here than I really am :wink: by repeating this quote again but…

is it okay that I am reluctant to push people away from doing this?

Do you mean that you don’t fully understand the Church’s teaching, but would be willing to accept her teaching on the matter, deferring explaining it to others, or do you mean that, if a friend of yours confided in you that she was going to end her pregnancy, you would literally be reluctant to dissuade her from killing, possibly in ignorance, her baby?

This is mostly rhetorical, and I know you weren’t trying to be dismissive of this issue, but Its a one line question that needs a multi-lined answer. It is literally and truly a matter of life and death, unlike say veneration of the saints. No one ever died venerating a statue representing a saint!

Howdy Fermat. I’m not dismissing the rest of your post out of hand (it was all very helpful), but I wanted in particular to highlight the link and your recommendation for which talks to listen to as they were particularly helpful, particularly regarding Mariology and the practices of veneration. I can safely say they brought my thinking around with only a cursory re-examination. I had all the right verses at my fingertips and never made the connections! Thank you for your advise and your prayers; God Bless You!

My problem is that I don’t see this as being a problem. While I share your reaction to the concept of Abortion (though I admit mine is less visceral), I don’t see a need to impose that, particularly on a governmental level. For context, I’m a Canadian, and the pressures are very much multicultural here. If I were in legislature (I’m not, Thank God), I would have a very difficult time imposing a law that reflected my religious beliefs. But, as you say, this is attributable entirely to social pressure.

Do you mean that you don’t fully understand the Church’s teaching, but would be willing to accept her teaching on the matter, deferring explaining it to others, or do you mean that, if a friend of yours confided in you that she was going to end her pregnancy, you would literally be reluctant to dissuade her from killing, possibly in ignorance, her baby?

I’m fairly certain I understand the teaching, with the obvious caveat that I’m not a theologian and probably never will be (though stranger things have happened), so I suppose the answer to your question is the latter. I feel that (and this is hypothetical as nobody close to me has made this sort of choice), while I have every ability to make an argument on some level which would hopefully convince my friend she should reconsider, that it is not my place to do so. I feel very strongly that making that argument would be a judgemental act, and I don’t feel I am someone who can be a moral judge for anyone.

A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but in principal is always a vice.

Thomas Paine

I’m not trying to harp on this issue, but it is that, deep in my god-given gut, I feel that children are being murdered. Many protestant churches have embraced abortion as an unfortunate and tragic procedure that is sometimes necessary.

This is an issue that as Catholics, we believe is first and foremost on the Sacred Heart of Christ. “Do not hinder the little ones from coming to me”. The Catholic Church will never back down on this issue, and it is essential to consider this when discerning the Catholic faith.

And I’m trying not to be judgmental here. I have only a few paragraphs of text to base my discussion, but you describe yourself as kind of shy. I’m no one to judge shyness, its something I struggle with too. I’m calling you call out in part because I have the advantage of an online mask as well! :D. But I think that we are all called to call others out on sin. Not to condemn mind you, for we would all cast our first stones unworthily.

The point is that one must be bold for Christ, and trust the Lord to provide if you take his side. Try reading Jeremiah, if only the first chapter. Admittedly, today was the first time I read the whole first chapter, but I think it speaks to a lot of what I’m going through with my shyness, and possibly yours as well.

Jeremiah describes himself as totally unworthy to do the Lord’s will. God assures him that he was chosen and anointed before he was even born. God assures him that everything he says in the Lords name will be true. In Chapter 31, Jeremiah prophethood is confirmed, because he predicted the new covenant brought in by our Lord Jesus Christ!

This passage is so important, because it not only addresses shyness in proclaiming the word of God, but also describes each and every human being as handcrafted by our Lord in the womb! Abortion is nothing less than destroying God’s own handiwork!

Again not to harp on this, but we Catholics don’t even see this as a religious belief but as a fundamental right to life, that has existed since humanity first emerged. It is just as evil for an Atheist to kill an unborn Child as it would a Catholic to do so. Even if you never convert to Catholicism, what we consider nothing less than Christ’s Church, you would still find favor with the Lord for defending the most vulnerable of the vulnerable, the unborn!

This isn’t easy mind you. Experiences with the real world, which are too personal to share online, have kicked me in the gut about this issue, twisting and cajoling me to the brink of becoming “pro-choice”. Never did I actually counsel or support Abortion, however, as doing so would have involved abandoning the Lord in a very grave way.

Putting you on the defensive isn’t my goal. I encourage you read and reflect on the scriptures, because I don’t think this is a particularly extra biblical matter. After all, it at the very least, it should be covered under the blanket commandment “Thou shalt not kill”!

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