RCIA Candidate - Troubled with Doubts

Hello all,

First, I’d like to say thank you so much for taking time to read my post even if you don’t leave a reply. I’m just so grateful to find a community of people willing to answer questions or even to pray quietly behind the scenes.

Backstory: My husband is cradle Catholic, but we got married in a protestant church and have attended only protestant churches our whole marriage. We’ve been “church shopping” for a few years, and he asked me if I’d consider attending (not joining, mind you) the Catholic church. I figured after almost 20yrs of marriage I should at least give it a try. :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyway, I decided to just go ahead and take RCIA classes, so I could prove to him all the reasons why I could NEVER become a Catholic. Needless to say, I found out all my reasons were misconceptions, and I have found myself actually on the road to converting. lol Unfortunately there have been a few roadblocks along the way that have left me feeling discouraged and depressed about the whole process. (But that’s another post…)

Reason for my Post: I finally got up the never to tell my mom about my conversion process, and got a 2 hour diatribe. One the one hand, I have no intention to argue with her about it because my spiritual journey is between me and God. But she raised questions which have left nagging doubts in my mind. If you feel so lead, could you help me answer these doubts, or point me to a website/book/resource where I could find answers. I would be very grateful.

  1. Her first argument is that there is a culture of pedophilia within the priesthood. As the mother of a young boy, I have to admit this has troubled me also. I know the news has had a wonderful time bashing the Catholic church over this issue but… even today in the news I read about 10 priests in Spain that have been accused. Logically I know that pedophiles are drawn to where the children are (teachers, churches, etc.) but it seems like the Catholic church still has a problem. :frowning:

  2. She argues that it’s terrible that the Church decides if I’m “fit enough” to receive the Eucharist, just because I was married once before. Part of me understands the Church’s beliefs on this, but it truly breaks my heart at the thought of never being able to receive Eucharist if I am not granted an annulment.

It bothers me terribly that my current husband can get a form annulment in a snap (protestant wedding), but that I have to jump through hoops and hurdles that may prevent me from ever fully participating, when I wasn’t even Catholic or ever thought I would be. (Not to mention the incredible heartbreak I feel that I probably won’t be joining the church with my son this Easter like I hoped and anticipated.)

  1. And finally, she accuses the Church of being a giant, corrupt bureaucracy full of power mongers, financial corruption and an organization of rules instead of a house of love & welcome. That they’ve left Nuns who have devoted their lives to the church, in poverty and destitution at the end of their lives. (Apparently my Mom talked to some Nuns?) She went on to say that Pope Francis is the first Pope (because he’s Jesuit? I didn’t understand that comment) to speak out against, and tackle this behemoth, and that people have been leaving the Church in droves because of these “very real” problems.

I do have to say, it has bothered me somewhat that the Vatican/Popes seem to be a lavish lifestyle; with gold chairs and jewelry, limousines and living quarters. I know that Pope Francis has been living much differently but… why all the flash and wealth? Why the gold embroidered stoles and the air of royalty? It seems like so much political maneuvering and power plays just like our government. (Forgive me, I’m probably heavily influenced by the media.)

If you have stuck with me this far, thank you! If you dare to take on one or all of these questions, Bless You! :blessyou:

There is not a culture of pedophilia in the priesthood. That is a media construct. The issue is homosexuality. The vast majority of victims are boys over 13.

If victims are young it is because young people are easier to manipulate and coerce than adults. The media cannot say that it is a homosexuality problem because to them homosexuality is not a problem but normal, so they portray it as pedophilia which it is not.

The Pope is a head of state. If the Pope does have “Flash and wealth” then it is no different from any other head of state. Barak Obama sits in some pretty nice chairs but they are not his personal property. Like the President of the United States, the wealth of the Vatican is not the personal property of the Pope.

The Pope actually lives in a seven room apartment on the third floor of a museum. The annual budget of Harvard University is larger than the budget of the Vatican and most of what people see as wealth at the Vatican was donated.

-Tim-

I dispute the claim that the priesthood is full of pedophiles. A couple years ago I read a radio interview with a rabbi who had done a study and found that Protestant churches have a higher rate of sex abuse than Catholic churches.

As for the rest of it: it bothers me, too. I think it doesn’t sit well with a lot of Catholics. However, what we must do is separate the Faith from the fallible humans who manage the day-to-day business side of things.

Most religious take a vow of poverty.

They have not been left that way by the Church but have made a solemn and public vow to God to imitate Christ in his poverty.

Franciscans and Dominicans, at a minimum, are that way by choice.

-Tim-

I would just say to you the Catholic Church is an institution populated with people. And anywhere you have people, you will find people behaving like people. :wink:

And Protestant people are no different than Catholic people. People are greedy, lustful, prideful, covetous etc etc. No one should be surprised when people behave that way. I would also point out none of her objections have anything to do with truth. That I think is very telling.

The Church is not trying to punish people, but to protect them.

Jesus taught about divorce:

Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.[Luke 16:18, KJV]

Adultery is a serious matter (a violation of the Sixth Commandment). Given sufficient knowledge and consent, it could be mortally sinful.

Paul warns against receiving Eucharist “unworthily” (his word):

Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep [ie, have died]. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. [1Cor 27:32, KJV]

So, if Jesus is correct, and Paul is correct, then receiving the Eucharist while in a possible (some would say probable) state of mortal sin is actually harmful. The Church tries to protect people from doing something that will do them more harm than good.

Paul scolds the early Corinthian Church:

In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good [1Cor 11:17, NIV]

and immediately accuses them of abuses of the Eucharist.

It bothers me terribly that my current husband can get a form annulment in a snap (protestant wedding)

If your husband had been a protestant 100 years ago he would have faced the same problem you face. Protestant attitudes about divorce have become more liberal in recent times, aligning themselves with secular culture instead of sound Biblical teaching. Every protestant faith once prohibited divorce (as well as birth control, gay marriage, and many other things). Many of these liberalizations have been introduced into American protestant Christianity through the Episcopal Church (which, speaking as a former Anglican, is very ironic).

There is no culture of pedophilia in the priesthood. I think once you start getting to know many priests personally, that will become evident. The percentage of priests who have abused minors is lower than the male population in general, and incidentally, it is lower than the rate of public school teachers who have sexually abused minors. There was a lot of publicity over the priests who did commit these terrible crimes. However, the fact that they all came to light at once, and the fact that the Catholic Church is a huge, worldwide church, made it seem as though there were more abusers than there are.

The vast majority of the abuse and alleged abuse happened in past decades. You will find almost none that has happened recently, at least in the U.S. The Church has taken major steps to ensure that it does not happen again; or in the event that it does, the perpetrator will be removed from ministry, and not transferred to a different parish. Also, the majority of young men entering priesthood nowadays are far different than many of the men that entered in the 70s and 80s. Not only are today’s seminarians generally more orthodox and “on fire” for the faith, but seminaries go to great lengths to screen their candidates to make sure that these men are emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually healthy.

A third point that you don’t often hear about, even from Catholics, is that a large number of Catholic priests named in the abuse scandals were falsely accused, but it was just easier for their dioceses to settle with the accusers. You may be interested in this book: Catholic Priests Falsley Accused, by David Pierre, Jr.

(I will come back and address some of your other points later when I get a chance. God bless you on your journey!)

  1. She argues that it’s terrible that the Church decides if I’m “fit enough” to receive the Eucharist, just because I was married once before. Part of me understands the Church’s beliefs on this, but it truly breaks my heart at the thought of never being able to receive Eucharist if I am not granted an annulment.

It bothers me terribly that my current husband can get a form annulment in a snap (protestant wedding), but that I have to jump through hoops and hurdles that may prevent me from ever fully participating, when I wasn’t even Catholic or ever thought I would be. (Not to mention the incredible heartbreak I feel that I probably won’t be joining the church with my son this Easter like I hoped and anticipated.)

  1. And finally, she accuses the Church of being a giant, corrupt bureaucracy full of power mongers, financial corruption and an organization of rules instead of a house of love & welcome. That they’ve left Nuns who have devoted their lives to the church, in poverty and destitution at the end of their lives. (Apparently my Mom talked to some Nuns?) She went on to say that Pope Francis is the first Pope (because he’s Jesuit? I didn’t understand that comment) to speak out against, and tackle this behemoth, and that people have been leaving the Church in droves because of these “very real” problems.

I do have to say, it has bothered me somewhat that the Vatican/Popes seem to be a lavish lifestyle; with gold chairs and jewelry, limousines and living quarters. I know that Pope Francis has been living much differently but… why all the flash and wealth? Why the gold embroidered stoles and the air of royalty? It seems like so much political maneuvering and power plays just like our government. (Forgive me, I’m probably heavily influenced by the media.)

If you have stuck with me this far, thank you! If you dare to take on one or all of these questions, Bless You! :blessyou:

Hi Forever Joy,

This is a good place to have your concerns and doubts addressed. I’ll try to later post a link or two as to books that you can read to help address the problems. I’ll give my take on the three points you mentioned:

  1. When I was in the process of converting, the scandals involving priests really bothered me, too. But as Timothy has stated, the problem is mainly that of homosexuality. I think that Pope Benedict also made some statements about this. And it’s a relatively small number of priests who are guilty of this, but even a small number can cause a lot of damage. Pope Benedict put a lot of time and effort into doing something about the problem, and the Church is actually far more pro-active in terms of prevention and action, than any secular institution that I know of (such as public schools).

  2. We must be in a state of grace in order to receive Holy Communion. It says so in the Bible (I’ll try to find the scripture passage - I think it’s St. Paul). And if we really think about what the Holy Eucharist is - the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, why would we want to receive Him unworthily? It is literally God whom we are receiving into our very body, through Holy Eucharist. I can understand that if you are not granted an annulment, that you will not be able to receive Holy Eucharist. But you can still make a spiritual communion, and though it seems unfair, our Lord will understand your suffering in not being able to receive.

  3. Regarding your mom’s idea that the Church is a giant, corrupt bureaucracy, well, it is a large institution, that’s true. And there have been those in the curia who may have been corrupt, but since the administrative element is run by humans, there will always be problems. Sin will still be there, but holiness will, too.

I’ve seen a photo of the papal sleeping quarters. It’s actually very simple, not fancy at all. Regarding the regal clothing and air of royalty, well, this is not done to give glory to the person who wears these items, but rather, it is to give glory to God, and to give dignity to those whom are in the service of God. But all glory goes to God. One of my favorite stories about St. John Mary Vianney has to do with how happy he was (he said it was one of the happiest days of his priesthood) when a large container arrived which contained beautiful things for the church and altar. For him, it was not possible to give too much honor and glory to God, and having beautiful items for the parish church is a way to do this. However, St. John Vianney himself lived a simple life of personal poverty, but he didn’t make a big deal out of it, or try to show that he was living simply. He only cared about God, and the sanctity of his parishioners.

Regarding nuns who have been left destitute, perhaps you could find out more about the situation. Most women religious who are elderly are cared for in their communities by the younger nuns. If a community dissolves, this could be a problem for elderly nuns. Also, your mom mentioned that people have been leaving the Church in droves. How does she know this? Someone must be giving her this type of information, which isn’t accurate, IMO.

Hope this helps. :slight_smile: God bless!

Perhaps the biggest question is why so many people hate the Church. Is it because they believe it to be false? (Why do they not similarly hate other false religions?) Or is it because they suspect and fear that its’ teaching is in fact the Truth?

  1. I can almost guarantee that there is no evidence of a “culture of pedophilia” in the priesthood. There has been a problem of active homosexuality in some areas. This is a result of some seminaries and bishops who tolerated/encouraged homosexual activity, despite many Popes forbidding the ordination of homosexuals. (This has also been a problem among Protestant churches, public school teachers, other groups.) The fact that some bishops and priests have been disobedient/unorthodox does not discredit the Church. The Church has always had sinners, from the time of Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial of Christ.

Read Michael Rose’s book: Goodbye, Good Men: How Liberals Brought Corruption into the Catholic Church

  1. Christ explicitly condemns divorce and remarriage in the in the case of a valid Christian marriage. The Church has no power to change Christ’s teaching. The fact that some Protestants accept divorce and remarriage is their very grave error.

See Jim Blackburn on marriage and divorce:

catholic.com/magazine/articles/did-jesus-allow-divorce

  1. The Church was a secular power, with royal trappings, for some some centuries. Today, we would eschew such secularism. The Church today, despite having over a billion members, is financially tiny compared to governments, corporations, universities.

There is some truth in this - there is corruption and there are power-hungry people. But it is grossly unfair and uncharitable to imagine that every one (or even most) of the Bishops and Cardinals are corrupt and power-hungry.

There’s no doubt that the bureaucracy of the Church is too large and unwieldy. The Church is 2000 years old. The United States is not even 250 years old, and look at its bureaucracy. Pope Francis is taking extraordinary steps to make reforms. But, surely, she does not claim that the Church is somehow wrong because it is too bureaucratic? There’s no doctrine here. It’s not sinful to be bureaucratic. It’s not a scandal. It’s an organizational issue.

financial corruption

This has certainly been true in the past. The Vatican banking system was a complete mess. But, under Pope Francis, it has been completely reformed, and is now in compliance with European Union banking practices and regulations. It is now no different than any other European banking system. But, again, this is not a matter of doctrine.

and an organization of rules instead of a house of love & welcome

.
Well, there are certainly many rules. The modern Church has the Code of Canon Law with hundreds of rules. But Canon Law is not intended for the laity. Most laypeople have never read a single Canon, and the Church does not encourage them to do so. Canon Law is mainly for priests, Bishops, and Canon Lawyers.

As far as rules for the laity are concerned, there are exactly five rules. These are called the precepts (rules) of the Church. There are more Sacraments than rules, as far as laypeople are concerned.

I’m not sure exactly what she means by “a hose of love and welcome.” Many protestant churches are more social; Catholics tend to be more private in their worship. I’m not sure why that would make Catholicism wrong.

That they’ve left Nuns who have devoted their lives to the church, in poverty and destitution at the end of their lives.

This has happened. It is very shameful. Priests and monks as well.

She went on to say that Pope Francis is the first Pope (because he’s Jesuit? I didn’t understand that comment) to speak out against, and tackle this behemoth, and that people have been leaving the Church in droves because of these “very real” problems.

She probably means the first Pope in her lifetime, because there have been many Popes throughout history who have been very pastoral and have expressed a deep sense of social justice (which is the hallmark of Pope Francis). She may not recall the earlier reign of Pope St. John Paul the Great, who also took a very pastoral approach.

But, if she concedes that this Pope is “fixing” many problems, why isn’t she encouraged?

The Church is not trying to punish people, but to protect them.

Jesus taught about divorce:

Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.[Luke 16:18, KJV]

Adultery is a serious matter (a violation of the Sixth Commandment). Given sufficient knowledge and consent, it could be mortally sinful.

Paul warns against receiving Eucharist “unworthily” (his word):

Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep [ie, have died]. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. [1Cor 27:32, KJV]

So, if Jesus is correct, and Paul is correct, then receiving the Eucharist while in a possible (some would say probable) state of mortal sin is actually harmful. The Church tries to protect people from doing something that will do them more harm than good.

Paul scolds the early Corinthian Church:

In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good [1Cor 11:17, NIV]

and immediately accuses them of abuses of the Eucharist.

It bothers me terribly that my current husband can get a form annulment in a snap (protestant wedding)

If your husband had been a protestant 100 years ago he would have faced the same problem you face. Protestant attitudes about divorce have become more liberal in recent times, aligning themselves with secular culture instead of sound Biblical teaching. Every protestant faith once prohibited divorce (as well as birth control, gay marriage, and many other things). Many of these liberalizations have been introduced into American protestant Christianity through the Episcopal Church (which, speaking as a former Anglican, is very ironic).

The other two have given fine responses regarding question 1.

For question 2, I do not understand why someone would ask this. To say that the church has no right to impose a judgement of whether or not we can receive the Eucharist implies that we ourselves have the ability to rightfully discern whether or not we can receive the Eucharist. Of course we have our own prudence of when to receive the Eucharist (such as realizing we have committed a grave sin, or listening to the advice of a spiritual father). However, we cannot reject the fact that the church is Christ’s authority on earth and the bulwark of truth.

15 But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth. (1 Timothy 3:15, NABRE)

Furthermore, has not Christ the living God given the keys of binding and loosing to his disciples, succeeded eventually by the bishops of today. They hold the authority, as…

19 I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:19, NABRE)

The authority of the church was given to the apostles and bishops, as we can see with the Council of Jerusalem in Acts with the dealing with the gentiles. They have this binding and loosing. The specific context of having the Eucharist, and your mother’s disagreement, is a conflict of belief. Considering that the CHURCH, not laymen individuals, will be lead in the fullness of truth, it is prudent that the church, not our own individual opinions, is to be followed. Who should we believe, the church, which has the binding and loosing, authority, and 2 millenia of history and wisdom, or the opinion of a single person who I presume is no theologian. It is true individuals may have immense influence on the growth of the church, as Thomas Aquinas, Pope Leo, St. John Chrysostom, and the Cappadocian Fathers have shown. However, they have only allowed the growth of the church and have added to its wisdom. The disagreement with the receiving of the Eucharist is something that goes against almost two thousand years of teaching from the early church. Catechumens in the early church sometimes could not even be present for the consecration of the Eucharist (as seen in the Eastern Divine Liturgy, that says let the catechumens leave prior to the Eucharistic celebration). Sometimes people were barred from receiving communion for years at a time for grave sins. The Eucharist is no small thing, and the church is the authority, not us.

Also, it is important to see the other side of why the church would not give us the Eucharist. For one thing, to receive the Eucharist in an improper disposition is to commit sacrilege. Ask your mother if she would stop someone from committing a grave sin even though the person committing it thought it was a perfectly fine thing to do. I expect the answer to be yes. The church does this on behalf of both us and Christ. For Christ, it is a duty to protect the most sacred Eucharist, a sacrament instituted by Christ himself. For the laymen, it is to protect us from committing sacrilege, as St. Paul has said…

27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment* on himself.**

This is the consequence of receiving the Eucharist unworthily, to bring judgement to oneself. This is one of the reasons why the church should not give the Eucharist to someone who should not, as to also protect the soul of the person from committing a grave offense against God.

This is why we should not receive the Eucharist unless we are all sure we are in the proper spiritual disposition to receive Eucharist.

It is unfortunate that the annulment process is a difficult one, especially for those who wish to partake of the Eucharist. I hope Christ is there for you, whatever obstacles and difficulties you may face.

There are about 1.1 BILLION Catholics in the world. The Vatican has about 2000 employees. If the United States were run with the same efficiency, there would be only 600 federal employees. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) website states there are 2.6 MILLION federal employees in the executive branch ALONE. I’m pretty happy with the efficiency of the Vatican.

I will direct my comments to the question of nuns and monks in poverty. For 2 centuries devote Sisters and Brothers have known that the way to Jesus is in removing them selves from the secular world as much as possible. They pray up to seven times a day, they forgo sexual relations, they give their time and money to the poor, they in fact give there life’s to the needy.

When they enter the convent or monastery, they after years of discernment take a make a vow to Jesus Christ of POVERTY, CHASTITY, FAITH, AND OBEDIENCE. this vow is not taken lightly. They all know that the way to perfect love in Jesus Christ is this vow. Do not feel sorry for them, thay are where they want to be, they are in Gods hands. They are very blessed, and if you need prayers they will say them for you.

One last thing all of us are troubled by doubts at one time or another. Read matt 7 v7. then seek and you will find.

I’m very impressed about you fortitude in Jesus. Welcome Home to the Roman Catholic Church.

  1. Sexual abuse by those in a position of authority is certainly not a problem limited to the Catholic Church. Our Church leaders, however, are taking steps to help prevent it from happening again, and trying to make amends where they have failed us in the past. What more should be done? I don’t know. It’s a very emotional issue.

  2. The Church must protect your soul and your marriage–not your feelings (though we should also show compassion). Your feelings are understandable, but feelings are not facts. Remember that it’s not about what we want, it’s about what we need. And in order to protect your current marriage, the Church must be relatively sure that you are/were free to marry. Trust in God, put Him first.

Also, umm… how can I say this? You’re upset that your husband doesn’t have to struggle with the process of annulment the same way you do “…just because” you were previously married and he wasn’t? :frowning: I hope you were just expressing frustration, and didn’t really mean to imply that a marriage vow/covenant is no big deal! :eek:

  1. Yes, as with any large organization, there are (and probably always will be) some problems in various areas, because the Church members and leaders are human beings who may sin and make mistakes. The Church doesn’t claim to be infallible in financial matters, organization, hiring practices, etc. Only in matters of faith. But often, we do the best we can.

The beauty, the art, the skilled craftsmanship in the pieces used in the Church… these are meant for the glory of God. When we enter a beautiful Church, it helps us to separate the “everyday” from the sacred; it reminds us that Jesus truly is the “King of Kings.” We should offer our best, our “first fruits.” We seek to honor Him by making His House lovely and special and full of meaning.

Many of the lovely items in the Vatican (and in many Churches, for that matter) have been donated. Even a priest’s vestments are often given to him as a gift (often from his family or friends when he takes his vows), borrowed from another parish, or passed down. Most of the art in the Vatican museum is restored, housed, and maintained for the benefit of all. Remember, too, that, “[t]he Catholic Church is the largest non-government provider of education and medical services in the world.”

Here’s what most of this comes down to: on what do you base your faith: human beings, or God?

Don’t become Catholic because the people in your parish or the Church leaders seem like saints… because at some point, they will disappoint you. We are human; we are sinners.

Become Catholic because it’s TRUE, and because that is where God is leading you. And be patient; all in His time, not ours. :thumbsup:

P.S. You must be extremely patient to sit through a 2-hour diatribe about your decision! Maybe you’ll get a little bit of time taken off in Purgatory for suffering through that! :wink: :smiley:

The usual idea of monastic life is that you continue doing various duties for the community and living a life of prayer, until you can’t do it anymore, and at that point the younger members take up the slack. If a community starts doing not so well, it gets absorbed into another religious community that is doing better. This has worked for about 1700 years.

The main reason that some nuns and monks find themselves in difficult straits at this time is that there are fewer young people joining certain orders, and many of them lost 50% or more of their membership from people leaving during the Seventies. Often this was because the religious orders changed their practices drastically, and then didn’t change back when the experiments didn’t work. So now, even when communities get absorbed by other communities, it’s often still not a large enough group to continue unless they can get new recruits by the boatload. Hence the problem.

Also, most older religious are not signed up for Social Security because they never were employed with taxable work that made money.

If a dying religious order has a fair amount of properties, the few religious left are in pretty good situations, because they can sell the properties and then spend all the proceeds of all their predecessors’ hard work.

If a dying religious order doesn’t have much to liquidate, they are in a harder place. But what usually happens is that they get grants from various funds for the retirement of religious. If they let people know there’s a problem, they usually do get a fair amount of help.

Occasionally you do have a hard situation, where an older religious leaves the order out of disagreement, continues to do religious duties but isn’t adequately supported by the order, or is kicked out of the order for doing something bad (pedophilia, for example). But there are groups out there that try to help these people also, if they find out about them.

So the biggest problem is having people “fall between the cracks,” especially if they are reluctant to speak about things having gone beyond a manageable situation of normal religious poverty and reliance on God, and into a dangerous one.

:tiphat:you’re welcome

IOW he is NOT making you a project. :cool:

How very socratic :wink:

That is a powerful recognition. I would suggest only someone who has had that recognition can see how powerful that recognition is.

I would suggest she is steeped in misconceptions as well. And THAT is what is behind the diatribe

Others have answered this. I would only amplify the point, the scandle was not handled properly by the Church. To be fair, It wasn’t all that long ago that psychology thought there was a cure for this disposition through therapy. And the Church tried to work with that information. As it turned out, that wasn’t scientific reality. And the price tag for that error was huge.

The Church as a result, has taken zero tollerance.

But to be balanced, and this is also true, there are priests who have been unfairly made victims as well, just by accusation that isn’t true. People sue the Church, and how does a priest who is not guilty of the charge, even defend such an accusation? It’s a huge difficulty given how people automatically come to certain conclusions. Even if he successfully defends himself, and is found innocent, the accusation seems to never go away. It still follows him.

All I can suggest, Do NOT presume a negative result. Annulment from your first marriage might be a slam dunk! You don’t know either way. I will tell you this, the tribunal whose job it is to investigate past marriages, and make decision on validity or nullity of them, they take their job seriously. When the process is over, you will see that reality.

Again, don’t presume the final outcome before it even gets started.

  1. And finally, she accuses the Church of being a giant, corrupt bureaucracy full of power mongers, financial corruption and an organization of rules instead of a house of love & welcome. That they’ve left Nuns who have devoted their lives to the church, in poverty and destitution at the end of their lives. (Apparently my Mom talked to some Nuns?)

All the religious “orders” male and female orders, take the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. They know the terms upfront when they take their vows. Nobody gets blindsided. In order for a religious order to be approved by the Church, they must 1st be able to sustain themselves financially and demonstrate that… That goes for Jesuits, Franciscans, Dominicans, etc etc

People leaving the Catholic Church is not new. It was taking place DURING apostolic times. Why else would Paul warn the Church of Rome

Romans 16:17-20

division/dissension also brings huge consequences for one’s who does it.
Galatians 5:19-21

@ Foreverjoy:

I could add depth to what has been posted above, but it would only be a matter of volume, and detail, which probably isn’t necessary.

What I would note however, is your mother’s ‘diatribe’ is not unusual, if not typical, of protestantism–cite flaws of Catholicism [some alleged, some well founded, if out of proportion]–from which you are supposed to conclude that the Catholic Church, is therefore false. This is fallacy.

The Church is comprised of human beings, who are imperfect. St. Peter denied Christ 3x; all of the Apostles, save John, abandoned Christ during the passion. Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ. Yet, this is the lot upon whom Christ built His Church.

The point is that pointing out flaws of the Church, does not discredit Her as the Church that Christ founded; she is testified of, by Scripture. Described in detail (Acts); her foundation, in the Gospels (i.e.–the Apostles, the Pentecost…).

Protestantism however, is not. Nothing about protestantism is.

In order for protestantism to be true, it would have to have been prophesied.

Alas, no such prophecy exists.

NOTE:

“The* Church* is the pillar and foundation of truth” (I Timothy 3:15).

“I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.” (Matthew 16:18-19)

So, the Church was prophesied. But there is no prophesy of scripture that would come into being, or anything like a Bible–let alone such as would serve as master over that Church.

This is of course a gross simplification for message board, but the point is simply that it would take much more than 'the Church did this or that wrong’ to overcome what was prophesied in the Bible–if you accept the Bible as revealed Truth.

It would require nothing less than Divine Revelation, on par with sacred scripture.

It is wrong to blame the plight of the poor nuns on the institutional Church (the pope and his relatively small staff of assistants and the other bishops and their relatively small staffs of assistants). Although the institutional Church permits religious orders to operate, they operate quite independently of the institutional Church and the orders themselves are responsible for the care of their own members, including their elderly members. The nuns did not devote their lives to the institutional Church but to their particular religious order. Sounds like the nuns your mother talked to had joined a religious order of nuns that didn’t have a very good retirement plan. What can the institutional Church do now but ask Catholics to help the poor nuns out? And they have done just that for many years:

In the United States, “the Retirement Fund for Religious (RFR) is the annual appeal coordinated by the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO). Originally known as the Tri-Conference Retirement Office, the NRRO was established in 1986 and is sponsored by the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, and United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.” In other words, a special collection is taken up in Catholic churches in the United States once a year to help retired religious (nuns, etc.).

Still, according to the National Religious Retirement Office, a Mercer Human Resources Consulting report commissioned by NRRO projected that by 2030 religious institutes [in the United States] will face a retirement deficit of $9.6 billion.

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