I’m a lifelong protestant Christian who has always respected Catholicism but was ignorant of its beliefs for the most part. Now, I am fascinated and intrigued by Catholicism after I came upon a Catholic radio station and have been listening to it ever since. I am now trying to learn and understand Catholicism better. Although I am happy in my denomination and don’t plan to leave it, I plan to attend a Saturday night Mass in the near future to experience a Mass in person to see and feel what it is like.
While reading and participating on CAF, I have come across many friendly Catholics who share their faith willingly and openly and I appreciate it very much. Many of you have been very gracious and understanding to me as I ask questions, and I am grateful to you for that. Here’s where I am at.
Positives I see in Catholicism:
– Continuity of the Church from end of apostolic times to modern times. Same structure over all that time is impressive. When there is a disagreement, it goes to leadership to decide and the faithful accept and follow the decison instead of creating another denomination if they disagree.
– Biblical authority structure from Jesus Christ to Peter to the series of Popes.
– Hierchical structure based on authority that reminds me almost of a military structure. This structure appears to be very orderly to me and easy to understand and follow.
– Clarity on what is believed and taught.
– Rich tradition, including learning from the lives of the saints and early Church fathers.
Areas where I struggle:
– Seems a little legalistic to me, but then again I wasn’t raised Catholic. For example:
I have seen threads where people seem to agonize over what category of sin a certain action falls into and almost the micro-managing of certain aspects of the Catholic’s life, such as “What is the proper posture for someone as they approach the priest to receive the Eucharist?”.
– Some of the beliefs and practices regarding the Virgin Mary almost appear to me to be borderline goddess worship. I believe Mary was a special and godly young woman chosen to be the mother of Christ and therefore deserves special recognition, but I struggle with the level of recognition she receives in some circles, which can take away from attention to Christ, in my opinion.
Do Catholics on CAF find aspects of Catholicism legalistic or are all the rules and regulations helpful and essential to being a good Catholic?
Thanks again for your time. I am not trying to be argumetative or disrespectful. Just trying to better understand things from the Catholic point of view. Your insights are much appreciated, as usual.