Questions regarding rejoining the Catholic Church


#1

This is a repost because I accidentally deleted the previous. My sincere thanks to all who replied previously. I have these replies in my email.

I was baptized Catholic, but was removed from the Church as a child when my parents divorced. I later became evangelical, went to Seminary, and am now in evangelical ministry vocationally. But I feel drawn back to Catholicism…primarily because of the sacraments.

Without the sacraments, the faith stands to slide into being just another philosophy or worldview. Also, just as Christian apologists will say to the atheist that if there is no God, then there is no basis for objective truth, and therefore no basis to claim one moral code superior to another; without a final aribiter (i.e. the Magesterium), there is really no basis for saying that any one biblical hermeneutic is objectively correct. From the prosperity gospel to Protestantism’s progressive movement, we see what happens when given the option to interpret Scripture however you please. Finally, there is so much to be gained from the early church, and it seems that Protestants sometimes pretend the first 1500 years of Christianity didn’t exist. These are all drawing me back to Rome.

What I struggle with is the Marian aspect. I’m reading Bernard of Clairvaux, and believe that he denied the Immaculate Conception. I believe that St. Thomas Aquinas did, too. (Both were before the IC was declared dogma.) In my heart, I am skeptical at best, though may be able to go along if this is church teaching. Is “skeptical assent” enough to rejoin the Catholic Church? Even if I “rejoin” and call myself a Catholic, am I truly a Catholic if I don’t wholeheartedly assent to all matters of dogma? You can’t force yourself to believe something, so I’m not sure I can rejoin the Catholic Church at this point even if I want to.

Also, I hear Catholics deny that they worship Mary. But my own observation is that there is often a difference between what is written in the Catechism and what is practiced in daily life. The incessant prayer to Mary makes it appear to me that in the hearts of many, devotion to her goes beyond veneration.

Let me state that I, too, love Mary. But at this point I would have a hard time giving Mary the devotion that I see so commonly given to her among faithful Catholics. I have started sneaking off to daily Mass, but am not yet comfortable with the Rosary that is said everyday immediately preceding mass. It seems to me that the purpose is to focus everyone’s heart on Mary before the service begins. Can a person thrive in the Church without embracing the Marian aspect to the degree I observe around me? Can we be faithful Catholics who do not incorporate the Rosary into our daily lives (at least not at the beginning)?

If anyone has any more thoughts, I would be most appreciative. Whether it’s a blind spot or hardness of heart, please pray that God will remove it. Thank you very much…those who have already replied and those who will.


#2

Yes.
(That was easy for 10 characters)


#3

Scott Hahn has a great book called Hail Holy Queen that does a great job explaining Mary’s role in the Church. It’s a very easy read. As far as the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, all Catholics are required to accept it.


#4

Check out this article:

https://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/marya2.htm

BTW - in regards to St. Thomas Aquinas, there is some debate regarding whether he actually did, truly deny the doctrine. Check out these articles too

http://www.the-pope.com/stThomas.html


http://jimmyakin.com/aquinas-on-the-immaculate-conception

Plus this video is totally worth watching from Dr. Taylor Marshall:

God Bless


#5

I am a convert and I am not a “rosary Catholic” as they are referred to in our parish. I do pray it from time to time, like at a funeral, etc. Or a Hail Mary here and there or as a penance. And I love our Mother dearly and appreciate her prayers. I just don’t see myself clinging to her the way other Catholics do.

So the answer is Yes, you can be a practicing Catholic in good standing with the Church. The scriptures say without faith it is impossible to please God. It does not say without understanding it is impossible to please him.

Those Catholics who cling to her probably grew up being told to go to their mother in prayer. I used to think they were wrong and idolatrous. But the reality is that she will always point people to Jesus. The rosary is Christo-centric as you focus on the mysteries. You are essentially seeing Jesus through her eyes. And who was closest to Him on earth than she was? And these folks who pray rosary everyday are on a different journey than we are. They are similar but we all have a unique journey before we take our last breath.


#6

Dogmas require the fullest and complete assent of theological faith by all members of the Catholic Church. To be considered Catholic we must hold these to be true “beyond all doubt.”

I would try to learn more about the Immaculate Conception.

While Marian devotion differs in degree in Catholics, it seems like you have a negative view of Mary which also maybe it would be good to learn more about. St.Louis DeMontforts book True Devotion to Mary or his book on the Rosary will help.

Overall you have some terrific understandings about the flaws of Protestantism. I hope you become Catholic, you will be of great help to the Church.


#7

Hi JMM,

A recent book that has been essential to my comprehension of Marian doctrine is

Jesus and the Jewish Roots of MARY: Unveiling the Mother of the Messiah by Dr. Brant Pitre

I heard a synopsis of this book on my local Catholic radio station. I encourage you to purchase Dr. Pitre’s book, as it delved into Jewish themes and theology pertaining to Mary’s role in the Church, which is the “New Israel.”

Hope this is beneficial! God bless.


#8

Joining Catholicism doesn’t require one to fully understand all the mysteries of Faith. Just like most of the newly converts or catechumens and even most of the Catholics don’t have all the full grasp of their beliefs. Our relationships to God and Mary develop and strengthen as we walk on our journey to our faith ultimately leading us to Our Father. The more we deepen that relationship and work on our holiness, the more we come to mass, listen to God’s words in readings and homilies, the more we go to confession, the more we receive the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus in the Eucharist, the more we spend time in Eucharistic adoration, the more we partake in the Marian devotion, reciting the rosary, participate in rosary procession, the more we do penances, sacrifices, mortification along with our prayers and uniting that sufferings in union with Jesus’s sufferings on the cross, the easier it will become for the graces to come and soon our eyes of understanding will begin to open and even without seeing any vision, we will understand and know many things, as well as spiritual things as the things of the faith to include the understanding of our Mother Mary.

Mary was the human ark of the covenant that carried God. If God used Mary to be with His children, to save them and to lead them back home to Him, and if we are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, then we need to go through our Mother to go to God. Mary leads and guides you to Jesus, Jesus sends the Holy Spirit so that they may all bring us to Our Father…


#9

You may schedual an appointment with the parish priest about this.


#10

I used to have a lot of problems with Marian devotions- not that I despised them or called them idolatry, of course. I would just be unable to really direct my prayer towards Our Mother, and Rosary was hardest prayer I could be asked to do honestly.

It is not a sin, nor anything of sort, to not be Marian Catholic. All that is asked of you is to not deny the truthfulness and authenticity of Marian devotions- not to practice them. Only downside would be that here, Priests usually give us “Hail Mary” as Act of Penance, so every time that happened I would have to just try my hardest to focus.

Also, what really helped me after a period where I did not really care that much for Marian Devotions was watching Young Pope (HBO series) and hearing them pray Hail Mary in Latin. I would have this picture in my mind when I prayed Hail Mary in Latin first time, when I really wanted to help someone and pray for them, and thus I am now slowly getting onto trail of Marian Catholicism- still optional, of course.


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