Questioning Catholicism

I am really questioning if Catholicism is the Church. I pray to be guided to truth, and if I am lead to the Catholic Church I will go - happily!

But I have multiple things that keep looking not right.

  1. Paul was very clear in giving liberty in what one eats or days being holy in Romans 14. The church does not seem to do so, with days of obligation and meatless Fridays.

  2. Papal infallibility - was not a unanimous vote, with some bishops walking out. It is not accepted by the Orthodox church I believe. It seems to also lean against Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 20:25 when He said the rulers of the Gentiles lord over one another, but it shall not be so among you. The RCC seems to do a lot of lording over. Authority is one of it’s main claims.

  3. Assumption of Mary - I think Papal infallibility was used to declare this (correct me if needed). It’s something that no one truly knows today. And it’s not necessary for salvation. But you can not be an active part of the Church if you don’t agree.

  4. Priest being married - it’s so clear that it is totally acceptable in the Bible, even stating in 1 Timothy 3:2 that a bishop should be the husband of one wife. When I ask of this most of the replies are not even of a neutral stance, but state that what the church does is best. I am not even asking for submission, just simple acknowledgement that either way is OK. Because of this, I don’t put much weight on the other responses of these people, as it looks to me like they are not seeking simple truth, but supporting the organization no matter what.

I do not mean to be uncharitable, and if the truth leads me to the RCC that’s where I’ll go.

Thank you all.

That’s hardly a problem. The Church can order meatless Fridays not because meat is bad, but because meat is good. It’s a discipline, one which can be imposed or loosened. We don’t have the notion of “unclean” foods. The penitential discipline is to briefly deny ourselves a good thing out of love for God. Paul is talking about ritually unclean foods. Catholicism has no notion of this.

  1. Papal infallibility - was not a unanimous vote, with some bishops walking out. It is not accepted by the Orthodox church I believe. It seems to also lean against Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 20:25 when He said the rulers of the Gentiles lord over one another, but it shall not be so among you. The RCC seems to do a lot of lording over. Authority is one of it’s main claims.

The very same Gospel gives the Keys to one Apostle only. Matthew 16.

It’s not “lording over”, but it’s also true that Jesus gave Peter the singular authority to bind and loose. That is authority. In Matthew 18, he also gives the same collegial power to the rest of the apostles. That’s authority. In Acts 15, Peter makes a doctrinal pronouncement and James makes a disciplinary decree. That’s authority.

Without authority, how do you think the Church can effectively spread the Gospel? Or teach the truth? The only reason the Church has authority is because Jesus himself gave it.

Don’t just read selective chapters. Read the whole Gospel.

  1. Assumption of Mary - I think Papal infallibility was used to declare this (correct me if needed). It’s something that no one truly knows today. And it’s not necessary for salvation. But you can not be an active part of the Church if you don’t agree.

It is necessary for salvation as it is binding. And yes, it was defined as a dogma only in 1954. But this does not mean it was invented in 1954. It is one of the most ancient beliefs of the unified church, both East and West.

Otherwise, given our propensity to jealously collect and guard relics of the saints, sometimes to the point of being macabre, answer this question: Where is Mary’s body? Or, who claims to possess it?

  1. Priest being married - it’s so clear that it is totally acceptable in the Bible, even stating in 1 Timothy 3:2 that a bishop should be the husband of one wife. When I ask of this most of the replies are not even of a neutral stance, but state that what the church does is best. I am not even asking for submission, just simple acknowledgement that either way is OK. Because of this, I don’t put much weight on the other responses of these people, as it looks to me like they are not seeking simple truth, but supporting the organization no matter what.

I do not mean to be uncharitable, and if the truth leads me to the RCC that’s where I’ll go.

Thank you all.

Priest married, priest single. This is hardly a point of doctrine.

The celibacy of priests is a discipline, not a doctrine or dogma. And then, only in the Latin church. And then there are exceptions. The Pope can snap his fingers and say going forward, any married man can be ordained a priest. Because it is a discipline, it can be imposed or relaxed solely on Church authority. In the Latin church, it just happens to be the current discipline. Eastern Catholic priests are typically married (bishops excepted) There are also married Roman Catholic priests, with children, in good standing with their bishop and the Pope. Did you know any of that?

You are clearly not ready, so it is best not to convert at this point. Do your due diligence, watch/listen to Call to Communion featuring Dr. David Anders on YouTube and give it time.

And the Council of Jerusalem was very clear that the Gentiles were to follow the Noahide laws, which include dietary restrictions. Was it out of their scope to do so? Or were we to follow this to the end of times? The Church has the authority to set such disciplines for the spiritual edification of the faithful, as evidenced by the Council of Jerusalem. We must be clear about the context of Romans 14 (which also doesn’t give total freedom, as it specifies that you should abstain if you’re around weak people who will be scandalized or weakened in their faith). The issue was about whether food offered to idols was unclean, and a major issue in the very early church was the Judaizers, which received a lot of attention from Paul, in pushing strict adherence to Mosaic/Deuteronomic law in order to be a better Christian. Paul is addressing these controversies, and there’s no need for this to be misconstrued into some absolute, universal statement applied to all instances or a comment on Church discipline.

There is no “lording” regarding Papal infallibility. It’s not some special superpower of the Pope. It’s God protecting his Church from going into doctrinal error. It’s a limit on the Pope, not an additional power. Papal infallibility is often misconstrued as the Pope getting to make things up or change things at his whim. On the contrary, it’s exactly what prevents him from doing so. As for not lording it over others, both Catholics and Orthodox are quite clear that a real, structure hierarchy was instituted with bishops, priests, and deacons. John 13 helps add some additional context to this verse. Priests and bishops are not lords greater than others, but those entrusted to be the servants of those under them. It’s a reversal of the traditional concept of master and servant. The master must be the greatest servant of all, at least if they wish to follow Jesus.

I suggest looking up Pope Benedicts XVI’s thoughts on the Assumption. I am going to get this wrong, but in a way, it’s the highest possible “sainthood” that can be given. Mary was so united and never straying from God in this life that she now is fully in union with God in both spirit and body, a closer union between God and man (well, excepting a man who is also God, of course) is not possible. It’s about our Christian baptism being more than just baptism into Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, but into his Ascension as well. She’s, in a way, the archetype of the Church and all believers. Pope Benedict XVI goes further and really explains both the christological and ecclesiological importance behind the doctrine of the Assumption. On the human person as both spirit and body (not just spirit), on the truth of the Resurrection for all believers in Christ, on countering such heresies that treat the body as something unclean, impure, and that the bodily resurrection is just a metaphor. He also doesn’t focus on the Assumption as so much a historical fact of her literally floating up to heaven (though I should be clear that he does believe her united body and soul with God now). I can’t do justice to his thoughts, but I do suggest looking up Pope Benedict’s thoughts on the subject. It’s important to note that the Orthodox also teach that Mary is body and soul with God.

I do feel like you’ve been uncharitable with this one. I mentioned numerous times in the other topic that the earliest traditions hold that the apostles stopped having sexual relations with their wives after joining Christ, and I didn’t see you once even acknowledge that I said this or that this tradition exists. Clement of Alexandria. Tertullian. Origen. Various western synods all attest to it. Even at least some Orthodox traditions recorgnize this, even if they don’t hold their priest’s to the same standard and wish to emphasize the goodness of marriage. Some eastern traditions do have traditions of married priesthoods, but they themselves also have traditions of not raising married men to the episcopate. Anyway, as we know, the Latin Rite does allow for ordaining married priests with dispensation. It’s not absolute. The Church could change it. But John the Baptist lived celibately. Jesus lived celibately. So did Paul, who encouraged celibacy for everyone if they were strong enough. But 1 Timothy 3:2 is frequently misapplied as meaning that only married men can be ordained and, furthermore, that Paul’s statement applies to all bishops at all times. This just isn’t true. The Latin Church has emphasized following in the apostolic tradition of sexual continence for it’s priests and bishops. And, in response to political disputes, and in keeping with the idea of clerical sexual continence, has not ordained married men for some time. Absolute? No, but I hardly think there are weak reasons for doing so or that it should just be thrown away. And the oldest and apostolic tradition, particularly in the west, as stated, should we return to it completely, would be that ordained married men stop having relations with their wives. Not simply ordaining them and expecting them to continue to live as husband and wife in all respects.

I wasn’t trying to simply say “no” in the other topic, but I am just trying to emphasize that we shouldn’t be hasty and lose sight in the value of this and the longstanding tradition of our Church. But just because it’s a discipline does not mean it’s not within the church’s authority to set it, and it certainly isn’t against scripture. That goes too far if that’s what you’re alleging.

Best wishes on your journey, though. I pray that you find Christ and truth, and I don’t mean to sound uncharitable if I did so above. It’s been a long day.

No worries Wesrock. The simple show of effort you put in to your replies shows charity enough.

I guess I’ll ask this, why did they have to define the Assumption? Was it necessary?

And why did they have to state Papal infallibility? Was it necessary?

And what is the benefit of not giving liberty of marriage to a priest?

If I recall, some years ago when St. Patrick’s day fell on a Friday in Lent, a bishop in one diocese gave permission to eat meat (corned beef?). A close by diocese did not, and it would have be sinful. Catholics talked about driving to another diocese to have corned beef as it was not sin there, but it was where they were.

Does that not make you scratch your head?

IMHO it was so the Pope could flex his newly minted infallibility. There was no heresy in the Church denying the Assumption, so I don’t see what other purpose the declaration might have served.

This didn’t just come out of the blue (and is a truth known to the faith). It was a response to our times and modernist thought. Not even just to protect the doctrine of the Assumption (though protecting Our Lady was and is important), but to firmly protect the idea of a bodily resurrection and the importance of union of body and soul as a whole person. To combat rising tendencies to look at the body as simply a type of a machine possessed by a soul and to look at our hope in the bodily resurrection as simply a “metaphor”. To protect what Christ redeemed, and the idea that all Creation, our bodies included, are good. Also, if it wasn’t defined as dogma, but was still the authoritative teaching of the Church (both Catholic and Orthodox) that she is body and soul united to God, would you go against Church teaching on this?

Again, I really recommend looking at Pope Benedict’s thoughts. He is a brilliant scholar and theologian who I did not appreciate when he was in office and whose books are absolutely great (though you should be able to find things free and legal online).

This was in response to a particular movement of the time called Concilliarism. Vatican I closed the book on the issue. So again, it wasn’t out of the blue, but was the Church responding to an issue

Well, priests, neither Catholic (Latin or Eastern) nor Orthodox, can marry. The question is simply on whether we ordain married men or not. Are you implying that celibacy is somehow lesser than married life? Did not Christ call on his followers to, if they want to be perfect, “go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Did no Peter tell Jesus, “We have left everything to follow you!” A priest, in a sense, puts married life on the altar as an offering to God (not because it is bad – you would never give something bad as an offering to God, God was very specific in wanting first fruits and unblemished lambs!) to follow Christ more closely. Paul himself believes that there are many benefits to celibacy over married life (though we must be careful here and recognize that both are good and pleasing to God).

A bit silly, perhaps, and I don’t know the canon rule (and I don’t think running between dioceses really works in this situation, as you belong to a diocese by geographic territory… If I go to France, I’m still a US citizen – maybe that’s not the best example… to my knowledge it’s not like there’s a law within the boundaries, but a law that applies to the people actually united to their bishop. Simply running temporarily across lines doesn’t seem to me like it would change what gets applied to you, but I’m no expert here), but Bishops do have local authority to bind and loose and jurisdictions for their areas, and we should follow our bishop, as suggested by Saint Ignatius.

Newly minted? The doctrine of the Assumption was proclaimed in 1950, nearly 80 years after the defined notion of infallibility. It was an “unofficial” belief of the Church from the very beginning. Pope Pius saw fit to make it a doctrine of faith. It hardly seems remarkable that he would define it as such; it is part of the deposit of faith.

You’re wrong here even logically. The Bible supports assumption of some people in the Old Testament. See my article Reasons Why I Believe in The Blessed Virgin Mary’s Assumption

It is pretty much Protestant to talk about what is “not necessary for salvation” or what is the minimum requirements for it. My question is what does it hurt?

As for salvation, I have 2 articles that I think you might benefit from. How Is A Catholic Saved? and Who REALLY Preaches “A Different Gospel”?

[4. Priest being married - it’s so clear that it is totally acceptable in the Bible, even stating in 1 Timothy 3:2 that a **bishop

should be the husband of one wife. When I ask of this most of the replies are not even of a neutral stance, but state that what the church does is best. I am not even asking for submission, just simple acknowledgement that either way is OK. Because of this, I don’t put much weight on the other responses of these people, as it looks to me like they are not seeking simple truth, but supporting the organization no matter what.Here again you’re dead wrong buddy. Look at this from my blog. Priestly celibacy is unBiblical. NOT!

If Jesus said it should be then it is actually unscriptural for n-Cs/a-Cs to oppose the church for allowing and encouraging priestly celibacy while they have almost no clergy that even aspire to obey Our Lord.

I do not mean to be uncharitable, and if the truth leads me to the RCC that’s where I’ll go.

Thank you all.

Then don’t be…you haven’t been so far, but you mentioned elsewhere that you are helping with CCD classes and I have to ask if you have resigned from that until you get all this resolved one way or the other. Life for our Catholic school kids is tough enough without someone helping teach the class that isn’t a squared away Catholic.

Well, was Eastern thought as influenced by the likes of Descartes, the Reformation, and a mechanistic conception of the body as Western thought was?

Then don’t be…you haven’t been so far, but you mentioned elsewhere that you are helping with CCD classes and I have to ask if you have resigned from that until you get all this resolved one way or the other. Life for our Catholic school kids is tough enough without someone helping teach the class that isn’t a squared away Catholic

THIS^^^

The DRE should have only vetted and certified Catechists in the classroom.
With all due respect, a non-Catholic should not be teaching Catholic children.
My pastor would fire me as DRE if I had a situation like this in our parish.

I noticed that before, and it is unwise.
Pray about your concerns, get some solid reading material (Including the Catechism, taking care to read all the footnotes) and then, after conversion if it’s in your future, help out as a classroom aide.

I will pray for your personal journey.

Greetings, well the Lord has already shown you the flaws within SS and the fruit it has produced - some positive, but so much division and no real authority whatsoever. 33,000 denominations all reading the same bible and all interpreting it differently. The Spirit is not a schizophrenic and I think Truth matters. There has to be a visible Church, somewhere that is rock solid doctrinally - 1 Tim 3:15. And there must be a visible Church somewhere with actual, tangible authority Matt 18:17/John 20:21-23 If not then these scriptures do not seem to make much sense in the protestant realm, imo. Because over there if you don’t like the pastor’s ruling you can just walk across the street and go to that church. And under the protestant umbrella a pastor’s interpretation of the scriptures sadly holds no more weight than that of a 13 year old kid with his/her parent’s backing. My point is the grass is not greener on the other side, imo.

  1. Paul was very clear in giving liberty in what one eats or days being holy in Romans 14. The church does not seem to do so, with days of obligation and meatless Fridays.

Keep in mind that not everything was written down. We do not know what was being imposed on the Churches in regards to spiritual discipline like fasting, etc. So Paul may very well be speaking of people doing things in addition to the calendar. I think when read in it’s context, his main point is don’t cause people to stumble. Also, picture the Church in it’s infancy stages - looks quite different with nobody having a actual bible. You had the Septuagint and maybe 2 Pauline letters and were waiting for more instruction. The Church was united ,but because of the limitations of that era(transportation, illiteracy, etc) not united enough yet. This took time and just like anything else, developed.

  1. Papal infallibility - was not a unanimous vote, with some bishops walking out. It is not accepted by the Orthodox church I believe. It seems to also lean against Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 20:25 when He said the rulers of the Gentiles lord over one another, but it shall not be so among you. The RCC seems to do a lot of lording over. Authority is one of it’s main claims.

But the Orthodox now admit Roman primacy.

catholicnewsagency.com/news/orthodox_recognize_pope_first_among_equals_disagreements_remain/

First among equals is still first!! :slight_smile: You can’t be sorta first anymore than you can be sorta pregnant.

And the protestant argument against Papal authority was always petros/petra. But now most the scholars from their side worth their weight are now admitting this argument has no legs. Instead they argue against apostolic succession - but by doing this they must conclude the Church went off the rails for quite sometime, which is in direct opposition to the promise in Matt 16:18

And notice that as much as Jesus disliked the Pharisies’ practice, He was NOT anti-authority:

Matthew 23:2-3New International Version (NIV)

2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.

Did you catch that? Follow the Church authority but don’t follow bad examples. God has always had his guy such as Moses and you listened to that guy and were under authority. And if you started griping about God’s guy He sent snakes to bite you, lol. That’s a true story, Numbers 21:6

The passage you quote Matt 20:25 is not anti-authority, it is emphasizing humility. If the Son of God came to serve, so shall we do the same.

  1. Assumption of Mary - I think Papal infallibility was used to declare this (correct me if needed). It’s something that no one truly knows today. And it’s not necessary for salvation. But you can not be an active part of the Church if you don’t agree.

This is one of those things that we should ask ourselves…is it plausible? If God assumed Enoch and Elijah then does it stand to reason He does the same with the Mother of God? We have relics from pretty much all these people and know most of their grave sites a well…all except the blessed Mother. The Orthodox believe she was assumed a well(called the Dormition), they just don’t make it dogma. And we split with them in 1054AD but actually that number is arbitrary as it happened long before that. So you know this was indeed Church tradition and not pulled out of thin air with Papal infallibility being the caveat. .

  1. Priest being married - it’s so clear that it is totally acceptable in the Bible, even stating in 1 Timothy 3:2 that a bishop should be the husband of one wife. When I ask of this most of the replies are not even of a neutral stance, but state that what the church does is best. I am not even asking for submission, just simple acknowledgement that either way is OK. Because of this, I don’t put much weight on the other responses of these people, as it looks to me like they are not seeking simple truth, but supporting the organization no matter what.

. Just out of curiosity, can I ask why you are opposed to it since scripturally it can be argued from both sides? 1 Corinthians 7:8

I do not mean to be uncharitable, and if the truth leads me to the RCC that’s where I’ll go.

Thank you all.

Take your time and be convinced in your heart before you make the commitment. :wink:

Because someone challenged it as in many believed it and others challenged. Generally the church doesn’t define anything until it’s challenged. Just exactly why they defined the canon at Trent because the reformers opposed it.

And why did they have to state Papal infallibility? Was it necessary?

Sure it was because the New Testament teaches it and that being the case it means that it’s important otherwise we are in the same bad boat as Protestantism, with everyone having to reinvent the doctrinal wheel for themselves (based upon Sola Scriptura) every day…which has not worked at all.

And what is the benefit of not giving liberty of marriage to a priest?

I answered this above but the short answer is that if Christ says so why do you challenge it? Why don’t you take issue with all the n-Cs that oppose the clear teaching of Our Blessed Lord Himself and make no effort to provide for those who would obey Him?:hmmm:

If I recall, some years ago when St. Patrick’s day fell on a Friday in Lent, a bishop in one diocese gave permission to eat meat (corned beef?). A close by diocese did not, and it would have be sinful. Catholics talked about driving to another diocese to have corned beef as it was not sin there, but it was where they were.

It’s a discipline not a doctrine or dogma and since it’s not a grave matter it wouldn’t have been a mortal sin. Moreover the teaching of the church is that we do penance on Fridays and we are free to decide what to do. Sometimes it’s special prayers or alms to charity or some good works. The important thing is the heart and the penance…not the specifics.

Does that not make you scratch your head?

Not one bit my friend…

Excellent advice! :thumbsup:

Here’s 2 great links to get you that catechism time that you need.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

No more input needed here. I think I have read what I need to on this for now.

Thank you all.

No, but the reformers had become rather radical at that time and our blessed Mother went from Theotokos, ever Virgin to a mere ‘incubator’ for Jesus with several other kids.Luther would turn over in his grave if he saw how the Non-Catholics feel about Mary long after he died, imo.

The Church has always responded to non sense and this was no different. They rightfully defended our Lady.

From Vatican I: Further, all those things are to be believed with divine and catholic faith which are contained in the Word of God, written or handed down, and which the Church, either by a solemn judgment, or by her ordinary and universal Magisterium, proposes for belief as having been Divinely-revealed.

And since, without faith, it is impossible to please God, and to attain to the fellowship of His children, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life, unless be shall have persevered in faith unto the end. And, that we may be able to satisfy the obligation of embracing the true faith and of constantly persevering in it, God has instituted the Church through His only begotten Son, and has bestowed on it the manifest marks of that institution, that it may be recognized by all men as the Guardian and Teacher of the revealed Word.

catholicplanet.org/councils/20-Dei-Filius.htm

God bless you.
We’re all on the journey together, as brothers and sisters in Christ.

In addition to the OPs reference to Timothy about bishops being married, St Paul also referred to his right to have a wife. 1 Corinthians 9:5.

Yes it’s a discipline, but when a discipline is strictly held for centuries, is it really differentiated from a doctrine for all practical purposes? Given that and the Bible’s allowance of marriage for apostles/bishops, one might ask whether the Church has the authority to make a discipline more restrictive than what Scripture allows.

For example, could the Church make a discipline that all Catholics must be vegetarian permanently? Wouldn’t the first question be that eating meat is allowed in Scripture (to the OP’s point)?

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