Struggling with Catholicism?

Hello all, I just wanted to quickly thank everyone for answering.
Recently I have been struggling with the claims of Catholicism. First of all I want to say that I am a Catholic, but I am doubting my faith as of recently. A few weeks ago in my world history class, we learned about the Church’s role in Europe during the middle ages. We learned about the church hierarchy and what the church did, and I was shocked. I had a rough idea of what the church did in that time period and how people greatly revered it, but didn’t know that it was basically a corrupt organization that did a lot of horrible things out of greed. I didn’t know that tithes were required, an entire area could be excommunicated for not paying enough, positions could be bought, not to mention what Dominicans did during the inquisitions. I guess I’m struggling with the idea that an organization founded by God can be so corrupt.

I seriously doubt that.

Most high school history texts and teachers are ill equipped to teach this subject with any rigor and if your teacher taught you the types of myths and untruths I have to spend many CCD classes with my high schoolers debunking, it is no doubt you are confused.

I can recommend Regine Pernoud’s excellent books, particularly Those Terrible Middle Ages and Women in the Days of the Cathederals, Also Thomas Woods’ book How The Catholic Church Built Western Civilization and Hilaire Belloc’s Europe and the Faith. I’d suggest William Carroll, but I doubt you are up for a six volume series. If you are, go for it, they are excellent.

So have you not learned about the Church’s hierarchy in your religious education classes?

Perhaps you can enlighten us.

Yep, now I am sure of the ineptitude of your teacher and/or your text.

See books above. These are caricatures and half truths, and some outright fabrications.

Let’s just take one fabrication-- that positions could be bought. That has always and everywhere been the sin of simony. The Church is quite clear on this.

Were some people corrupt and did some people do this? Yes. Certainly. Why? Because people sin.

Did “the Church” do this or teach this? No.

Don’t let sinful people shake your faith. The Church is a hospital for sinners, we are all sinners.

And if you continue to struggle, make an appointment to talk to your pastor about this crisis of faith.

Don’t doubt - thumb through the Gospels and pay close attention to Judas. It’s by divine decree that there will always be a cyst on Christ’s mystical body, the Church. It’s just another way to show His glory through weakness.

Just as well, you are probably learning some wonky things about church history in a secular school…

Built roads
Built hospitals
Built hostels for travelers
Built universities
Sponsored great works of art

Monasteries fed the poor.
Scientists like Mendel made great discoveries.

It is real easy to dig around in the dirt and not bother to look at the flowers.

I’d also be curious to know exactly what period you are referring to when you say “Middle Ages”, as that could be anything from around 375 AD to the 1600s. That’s a huge time span.

The Church has gone through periods of corruption, when members of the hierarchy went *against Church teaching. *However, one result of the Protestant revolt, esp in the English-speaking world, was a lot of propagandizing against Catholic institutions, often to justify a king’s takeover of Church property. See King Henry 8th and his seizure of the monasteries.

A huge problem with this was that the monasteries provided the “social safety net” of society. This function was not immediately taken up by those who took the properties, andmany suffered as a result.

Per Our Lord’s parable of the wheat and the tares co-existing, it is to be expected that not everybody, or in this case every THING, associated with the one true church will be holy and pure.

You will never understand the faith 100% but do not fret. I did for years and got easily led astray. Christ doesn’t require total knowledge, just total obedience. Stay strong, talk to a priest and avail yourself to the Sacraments. Be blessed!

Hi Tom. I took the liberty of rewriting your post by adding a few words, replacing “Catholic” with “PEOPLE” or “PERSON”. I hope this makes you think and puts your worries into proper perspective so you can stop feeling bad about our Church. The Catholic Church is not God. It’s PEOPLE. A bunch of people. People who sin. Just like every single other organization of people everywhere on earth, throughout history until Jesus comes back. Our Church is full of dirty, rotten scalawags and great saints. Don’t let it shock you when you find out about the scalawags. Peace!

tomspitzley3 #1
I guess I’m struggling with the idea that an organization founded by God can be so corrupt.

The first essential to understand is that the Catholic Church is founded by Christ Himself and His chosen Peter, and his successors are protected from teaching error when defining dogma or doctrine to the whole Church on faith or morals.

**Thus, Jesus explicitly made four promises to Peter alone: **
“You are Peter and on this rock I will build My Church.” (Mt 16:18)
“The gates of hell will not prevail against it.”(Mt 16:18)
“I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven." (Mt 16:19)
“Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven.” (Mt 16:19) [Later to the Twelve, also].

Sole authority:
“Strengthen your brethren.” (Lk 22:32)
“Feed My sheep.”(Jn 21:17).

Thus we see that Jesus very specifically formed His Church, and no other, on Peter leading the twelve Apostles

Therein lies the root of the problem this poster has concocted, for Christ Himself warned “if he refuses to hear even the Church let him be like the heathen and a publican.” (Mt 18:17).

In First Things (November 1997), Harvard Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon answered precisely this monumental error when she wrote that “the Pope himself has acknowledged the mistakes and sins of Christians in connection with, among other things, the Crusades, the Inquisition, persecution of the Jews, religious wars, Galileo, and the treatment of women. Thus, though the Pope himself is careful to speak of sin or error on the part of the Church’s members or representatives, rather than the Church in its fullness, that important theological distinction is almost always lost in the transmission.”[My emphasis].

**So it is vital to understand that the Pope never apologises for the Church which is “held, as a matter of faith, to be unfailingly holy.” **[Vatican II, *Lumen Gentium, art 39].

Not understanding or accepting the real teaching of the Church established by Christ, and thus not really accepting Christ, is the obstacle over which so many stumble.

Thus the organisation is not, and cannot, be “corrupt”.

What research will you now do to know and understand Christ’s Church and what She has done to make mankind more holy and identify and punish miscreants in protecting the flock? Have you studied Vatican II?

From my non-Catholic perspective:

“The Church,” the “Bride of Christ,” Holy Mother Church, etc, cannot be corrupt. The organization of the Church, on the other hand - the hierarchy and the leadership of the Church - is composed of men. Sinners, just like the rest of us. They are certainly vulnerable to corruption. In fact, I would argue that they are more vulnerable than most sinners. The hierarchy of the Church is, among other things, a political organization. As in all political organizations, it is full of ambitious people who want to advance their positions. Also as in all political organizations, the ones who succeed have typically been compromised. And the more successful one is, the more they are willing to compromise their integrity. Of course there are exceptions. The current pope, for example, appears to be a man of integrity, and I’m sure there are many others. That said, history is full of examples of abuses committed not by the Church, but by corrupt Church leaders in the name of the Church.

I beg you to read *How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization *by Thomas Woods.

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