struggling


#1

Hi everyone,

Im really struggling with something and I was hoping that you could give me some advice or say a prayer for me… I’d appreciate that so much.

I’m a convert to the Church and I went through a difficult conversion filled with doubt. I haven’t doubted it for a long, long time though. For a while I’ve just been focusing on being a good Catholic.

But today, there seem to be 2 things that are really bothering me, and even giving me doubt about the Church and my conversion :frowning: I’m not sure how to deal with them…

the first, is this:
I recently read this thread: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=352457
and it’s really confused me. It seems that the position of the Church on this matter has changed??? But I don’t understand how that can be, if the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit :frowning: or does it not matter in this case cause we’re not talking about dogma? I’m so lost :frowning:

both views on unbaptized babies seem to make sense to me… Christ did say, that we need to be baptized… on the other hand, would He not be merciful to those who never got a chance to accept OR reject Him? :frowning: and it seems that there are Church statements to support BOTH views…so which one is true?

I have to say that this is really bothering me, because …well I know that before I was born, my parents also had another child, and he died as an infant :frowning: so I have a brother. I always supposed that he is in Heaven and I looked forward to meeting him someday. But then some Church councils are saying that this would not be possible, and that he’s not in Heaven? This is really causing me pain :frowning: but if I accept what the current Catechism says, and just leave him to God’s mercy, then do I have to reject what the councils said in the past? why is there this contradiction in Church teaching?

and what abuot all the babies who die before birth… from abortion or miscarriage…

I just don’t know what to think anymore. I’m sorry this is so long…

my other problem that is causing me to doubt is how in so many parishes the Mass is not celebrated with reverence and there is so much liberalism/liturgical abuse… I know the devil is attacking the Church, but why is the Church not immune to this particular attack, and the Orthodox church seemingly is? in the East, it seems there is no liturgical abuse, though they have other problems of course.

I’m just really tired… I’m sorry for complaining, but I don’t really know who to talk to. Thanks so much for reading.

during my conversion, I was told so much stuff, like how i’ll be going to hell for being Catholic, and how I’m “grieving my Guardian Angel” etc, and now it’s all coming back…


#2

I don’t really know what to say. Except, I read it and I symphathize. I could pretend to have the answers, but I really don’t. I just ask the Lord to guide you through the confusion.

-Jeanne


#3

Dear Jeanne,

First of all, congratulations on your acceptance into the Catholic Church! You are brave for submitting yourself to the holy army maintained by God on this Earth. May the peace and grace of Our Lord be upon you!! :slight_smile:

As regards your doubts over dogma, I can only offer you what I understand to be the orthodox understanding of the matter. I claim no authority on the matter. Still, I seriously doubt any of what I am about to say is in error. The Holy Church is most certainly guided by the Holy Spirit, and has as one of her many glorious faculties the power of infallibility. Within the bounds of her teaching, however, various opinions may arise, some of which must be erroneous, yet are not contrary to Church teaching. One example would be whether angels are composed of form and incorporeal matter. For this reason, Catholics may hold various opinions on the state of unbabtised infants and still be within the limits of orthodoxy. The Church never contradicts herself, not so all her teachers.

As I understand the matter, there are three commonly held views which fall within the orthodox limitations. First was St. Augustine’s, that the unbabtised infants of this world will burn in hell. It has a certain logic to it, and was held by many great Catholic thinkers. Next is St. Thomas’ reply, that those who die in a state of original sin suffer no positive punishment, but are denied the Beatific vision. It is the view I am leaning towards right now, at least on a purely intellectual level. Finally, most Catholics today would probably assert that a lack of baptism is no impediment to salvation. All three views are lawful. The current Catechism is not an infallible text.

About babies who die from abortions, at least, I think they have as much of a right as anybody to claim baptism by martyrdom.

I extend my sympathy to you over the loss of your brother. I understand how much that could hurt. My prayers go out to him.

About liturgical abuses, I can only say that “no evil is allowed by God save that some good may come of it.” It is not our Job (haha, unintentional pun) to question why God may allow this or that evil to creep in, even in the Church. Why predestine Peter but not Judas? God works in mysterious ways.

Finally, DO NOT let what those people said about your conversion stop you from ANYTHING. It may be they who said those things, but it is Satan who is reminding you. St. Michael Archangel, defend us in battle! If you are feeling really bothered by these nagging thoughts, try praying for a firmer faith on a nightly basis, and for protection from the assaults of demons. Everybody experiences that kind of uncertainty. I know I did when I read the Koran. And remember that feelings or temptations of doubt are never sins themselves.

Once again, may the grace of Our Lord be upon you! Have a blessed day! :o

-Leo


#4

Have courage, Monica! I’d pray to your Guardian Angel about these doubts if I were you, because the devil may well be attacking you. It’s your Guardian Angel’s job to help look out for you. St. Padre Pio recommended strongly praying a lot to one’s Guardian Angel, and he experienced many attacks from the enemy.

I’m glad you asked the questions you have. The answers aren’t hard to find, so I’m glad you brought them to the attention of other Catholics rather than trying to deal with it all yourself. We’re a family and all here to support one another!

God bless you, I’ll be praying for you! Please let me know if my answers to your questions don’t make sense to you for any particular reason. I’d be glad to respond to any further questions or problems you may have with my answers.

It’s a non-dogmatic issue. Because the Church has never given a dogma on it, there is no infallible teaching and we are free to speculate. No one can disprove the Church’s infallibility by showing a contradiction between statements that were never intended to be infallible.

So you don’t have to worry about this one. Protestants or nonbelievers that don’t understand the Catholic faith very well might try to use it to attack our Church’s credibility based on contradictions between non-infallible positions like this. But their argument is one of ignorance and is not worth listening to. There is a TON of ignorance about the Catholic faith among non-Catholics and it leads them into an endless variety of errors.


#5

The Eastern Church has just come through a big trial by fire. It endured a lot of persecution during the Communist era and that strengthened its faith. Millions of Orthodox believers–and many Catholics in the East too–were martyred. We in the West are very decadent and prosperous. We haven’t been tested recently. But I believe we will be, soon, and the Catholic Church will be purified as well.

A teaching from Scripture that’s very useful at times like this comes from Phillippians. It says, “Whatever things are good and pure and upright and noble and true, think on these things.” Or it says something very like that. One of the things the devil might try to get you to do is look at the negative. Try focusing on what God is doing in and through the Church rather than on what the Devil has been doing to it. Dwell on the Virgin Mary, or read the Early Church Fathers, or attend daily Mass maybe for a while and meet some of the people who go to that. They tend to be amazing believers, filled with the Holy Spirit and grace. Focusing on what’s good is very helpful and will deepen your love and faith.

Asking your questions of Catholics and getting more information also helps!

I am very glad you brought up the issues you’ve been having to the rest of your Catholic family. May the Mother of the Church intercede for you as you fight against the enemy.

I know. It’s persecution, and it is very painful. You may know already (I don’t remember) that I converted too. I was told that my beliefs were the spirit of the Anti-Christ and the spiritual experiences leading me to the Catholic faith were probably given by demons. I’ve been mocked and hurt too, and my conversion also was very difficult and included alienation and lots of heated arguments. I had loads and loads of doubts constantly beating at my brain. My experience at the Sacrament of Confirmation took all my struggles and doubts away, and since then I feel like I’ve been flying through the sky. Though I still get the occasional piece of mockery from friends over some part of my faith.

Part of what drew me to Catholicism in the beginning (one piece of many) was how strong its reason is. Its reason and logic are overwhelming, and there are intelligent answers that will refute any attack. I looked at a lot of attacks and arguments against Catholicism while converting, and they almost all were proven to be based on lies or ignorance. And the ones that weren’t faulty for those reasons were groundless for other reasons. It was proven to me how amazingly strongly the Catholic faith can stand its ground. It’s the Catholics, not the faith, that face trouble in this world, as Jesus foretold we would in the New Testament. He said we’d be persecuted and insulted and mocked, that we’d be attacked and that He would send us a Counselor to see us through, the Holy Spirit. Doubts are one more attack from the enemy and we have the Heavenly resources in the Communion of Saints, the Sacraments and the heavenly, glorious truth revealed in Christ through the Catholic Church to satisfy all our intellectual, emotional and spiritual needs. Praise be to God!

May God bless you. I’ll pray for you! May you find every aid you need through Saint Joseph, Blessed Mother Mary, our great King Jesus Christ, and the intercession of all the saints of Heaven. God bless you forever.


#6

My dear friend Monica

You must be baptised to go to heaven, but there is a baptism of desire in which God will baptise you Himself if you never knew you should and were genuinely ignorant. I can look up the quote from the NT if you like but did not the apostles come across people who had receved the Holy Spirit and they said how can we refuse baptism to them if they have already received the Holy Spirit? Yes, they did. God baptises babies and the unborn who die in the womb in my opinion. That’s just my opinion and I could be wrong. The church is being led into the fullness of truth over time by the Holy Spirit as we read in the NT. We don’t understand every mystery right now.

I am praying for you:crossrc::crossrc::crossrc:

May God bless you and keep you:thumbsup::slight_smile:
John


#7

the first, is this:
I recently read this thread: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=352457
and it’s really confused me. It seems that the position of the Church on this matter has changed??? But I don’t understand how that can be, if the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit or does it not matter in this case cause we’re not talking about dogma? I’m so lost

The forum you referred to contains opinions from different people. Different people can say different things. There is no need to be disturbed.

Could the Church teaching change? The Church is a church of revelation. The Church follows the leading of the Holy Spirit. Our understanding surely may be modified along with the new revelation. There is nothing wrong about it.

both views on unbaptized babies seem to make sense to me… Christ did say, that we need to be baptized… on the other hand, would He not be merciful to those who never got a chance to accept OR reject Him? and it seems that there are Church statements to support BOTH views…so which one is true?

God is merciful. His mercy is beyond our imagination. We just need to trust in Him. Many things are beyond our understanding. But knowing God’s mercy, we can rest our puzzlement into his loving kindness. He will take care of everyone with his righteousness.

my other problem that is causing me to doubt is how in so many parishes the Mass is not celebrated with reverence and there is so much liberalism/liturgical abuse… I know the devil is attacking the Church, but why is the Church not immune to this particular attack, and the Orthodox church seemingly is? in the East, it seems there is no liturgical abuse, though they have other problems of course.

We are not living in a perfect world. There are many liberal Catholics and cafeteria Catholics today. At the same time, there are also many Catholics who closely follow the Church’s teaching. This is just the fact.

As long as we live in this imperfect world, we will see all kind of abuses and problems. The Church is a church of sinners. There will always be problems in the sinners’ church. If you have to be bothered by this fact, you will constantly be bothered. To be bothered or not is your choice. Try not to, and pray for the Church. Church, means you and I and everyone else in the Church.

during my conversion, I was told so much stuff, like how i’ll be going to hell for being Catholic, and how I’m “grieving my Guardian Angel” etc, and now it’s all coming back…

If you believed those lies back then, you would not have been converted. If you did not believe those lies then, why do you want to re-think those lies and try to believe them now?

What to think and what to believe is one’s choice.

God bless you!


#8

I think the safest teaching is the one I have heard many, many times - ***we entrust babies who did not have the opportunity to be baptized into the great love & mercy of God the Father. ***


#9

thanks so much everyone. :slight_smile: I feel better about the issue with unbaptized babies… as Lief Erikson said,

hmm yes that makes a lot of sense :wink:

I guess the liturgical abuse and all the rest, I have to simply surrender to God.

sadly there’s one more thing that’s making me doubt now. lol!! it’s like the enemy saw that I feel better about these two, so he gave another one. :rolleyes:

a while ago, (after I became Catholic) a good (Orthodox) friend of mine sent me some emails about how the current Pope “is a freemason”. I don’t actually believe that! but because of the emails, I started looking into the matter, and saw that the Church forbids Catholics to be freemasons. In fact, Pope Benedict, when he was Cardinal, made that statement himself. lol. But I also read that the freemasons want a “one world government” or something, I have no idea if that’s true or not. It’s just what i’ve read. And I know lots of Protestants and others think that’s a sign of the antichrist.
WELL to make the long story short, today I came across this thread:
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=354441
and I don’t know what to think… Is the Pope calling for a one world government or not? and what would that mean… I KNOW this is a lot of speculation. But it’s really on my mind, and it’s like all my previous thoughts are coming back. It was very difficult for me dealing with those old emails, cause at that time I had exams (in university) and was very tired, at the same time felt a lot of doubt, and one time was definitely ATTACKED by the enemy.

I’m kind of tired :frowning:

but thank you so much for the prayers and encouragement.


#10

Oki here’s what I’m going to do… I am going to PRAY. a lot. Im so tired of all this.


#11

One thing that’s hard to grasp sometimes is that the Church teaches things on different levels.

There are things taught on levels that have less certainty and the views change as more insights can be accumulated.

with respect to fetuses and infants that die, God is sovereign, just, and merciful. We have nothing to worry about. St. Paul says that we should not worry and fret over sufferings and injustices of this life, which do not compare to the riches that God has in store for us.

What has happened with Church liturgies is that since Vatican II, there has been some flexibility allowed to the Bishops in their own dioceses. One bishop we had just passed that along and said the priests could exercise that discretion – which results in excesses in the liturgy. The church itself did allow experimentation (I don’t know if that is what they called it).

My advice, search for the parish where the liturgy is done the best (you have the right to do this under the Church’s code of law, called Canon Law). Even though I have found the right parish for me, I often worship at Mass with my eyes closed, so as to avoid the distractions around me. I cannot control other people nor do I want to judge them for their mental or spiritual immaturity. Pray for them.


#12

Monica,

God bless you on your journey. I will pray for you.

I went through a period – about thirty years ago – when I wondered if the Roman Catholic Church was – :bigyikes: – the whore of Babylon. One can read sooooooooooooooooo many things in books and, now, on the web. After much prayer, reading and discussion, I decided that the RC was okay. In any case, I realize that there’s a lot of church history that is less than stellar and that there’s a lot I don’t understand. However, I remember that it’s Jesus’ church – the one He established and that I’ll have to accept that He’s a lot brighter than me and that I’ll just have to trust Him – and His church – on these things.

One of the things that might make you feel better – aside from prayer – is to go to ewtn.com, click on *television, ewtn prime *and the journey home. Then click on real video and watch this week’s program online. ewtn.com/audiovideo/index.asp might bring you directly to the page. Scroll down and click on “The Journey Home” under archived video. I really enjoy and benefit from learning what drew others to Holy Mother Church. This week’s guest was particularly informative and entertaining. While he probably will not answer your specific questions, hopefully, it will be uplifting and relaxing.

God bless,
Dan

P.S.: I am fulfilled. I’ve been waiting for over a year to use that “scary” icon inserted above. I have finally done so.


#13

Matthew 16:18, period. I will never hear out any Protestant, non-Catholic, or whoever trying to dismiss the Catholic Church as the One True Church that Jesus Christ instituted. Ever.

Don’t ever let the devil tell you otherwise or make your “feelings” change inside. Feelings are subjective, truth isn’t. Truth is real when you’re eyes are open and you’re awake during the day, and the same when you hit the hay at night for sleep.

I’ll pray for you. Stay strong, go with the punches, and you’ll find and start feeling the Truth again soon enough.

:thumbsup:


#14

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s interpretation looks to me more likely. She said:

“Pope Benedict has encouraged the state leaders to create rules so that this sort of worldwide economic crisis isn’t repeated. I also saw this as an order to work toward a social market economy in the world.”

The political leaders, as far as I’ve seen thus far, haven’t said anything about hearing in this a call for a one world government. It is a call for a better integrated and more humane world economy, though, with a political body administrating how it operates.

The pope didn’t say anything about dissolving nations or any other existing political entities.

However, if I’m wrong and he is calling for a one world government, there are still many more ways of looking at it than through the perspective of one group of Protestant End Times theorists. For instance, one can look at it through the eyes of the Catholic saints, some of whom, if I’m not mistaken, prophesied the coming of a Great Catholic Monarch who will rule the world in an age of peace. One could argue from a Catholic prophetic perspective that these economic events set the stage for his coming.

Maybe Satan gave some Protestants this idea about the End Times in order to create enmity between a large group of Protestants and the Great Catholic Monarch when the king comes. I actually remember reading about a Protestant first-person shooter video game where the hero (the player) guns down soldiers of the Anti-Christ that rules the world.

I do think the saints are more reliable than these Protestant interpreters.

Don’t be taken in by this particular sect of Protestant’s interpretations of Revelation. There are thousands of other Protestant interpretations of Revelation out there, and consequently it’s highly probable that some events some of them prophesy will parallel things that actually happen. It’s very natural they’ll take this as confirmation of their theories and increase in faith and in their power to gain converts, for a while. But Protestantism has been disintegrating into ever increasing factionalism and spreading disagreement throughout its history. Protestants talk about how they’ve always held to certain “essential” doctrines, but these essential doctrines were much more numerous in the past than they are now. And among liberal Protestants of today, “essentials” are often nonexistent.

Protestantism does not work. To the extent that it leaves behind the constant and unchanging doctrine of the God who said He never changes, it walks into darkness. May we never touch it.


#16

“There is no neutral ground in the universe; every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan.” I’m sure youve heard that saying before. Not a doctrinal passage, but a very poignant and clever quote that illustrates whats going on.

Hey, beonthelevel, I like Padre Pio as much as the next guy, but I think you have to be careful on saying that rarely does evil influence peoples’ minds, when in reality , it does. The devil doesnt force anyone to do anything, just like God. Only free will is influenced and every one has their own choice in deciding for themselves how to move their body, what action to do, or what thought to dwell on.


#18

thanks guys :slight_smile:

yesterday I was VERY upset because it seems lately I’ve been coming across LOTS of stuff to make me doubt my faith. It was just the ‘last straw’. What got to me was how RIGHT when I came downstairs last night, I heard on the news that “Pope Benedict said we need a one world government” …what are the odds of that happening at the same moment I walk past the tv :frowning: (once in the whole evening)

then, I just started to pray…I was praying the chaplet of the 7 Sorrows of Our Lady, and then it came to me how little my suffering is compared to hers.

But then I just felt soo confused and kept on asking myself, what if it’s all true, all that I’ve heard… (and trust me I’ve heard A LOT…)

eventually I just told God, let His will be done in this, even if this is a trial and even if I have to suffer. I’ll rejoice that His will is being done, though I am suffering. With that, I felt better and finally went to sleep lol.

This morning, I logged onto facebook… and on the homepage, it says “you are Peter and upon this rock I will build My Church” (from one of my groups). :slight_smile: That was really encouraging. And then, the same group posted a note about the Church’s teaching on unbaptized infants and limbo, and how we should just leave them to God’s mercy. wow!! as you know these were the two issues that were bothering me for several days now.

soo maybe it was just a trial.

I know that I still do believe in the Church. It would take much more to make me leave it. It was just painful to have to go through all that doubt again.

I’ll keep on reading about the encyclical :slight_smile:

I found some different interpretations of it that AREN’T related to a one world government. Which is encouraging… maybe the media are just taking it too far?
lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/jul/09070812.html

God bless


#19

I liked your whole post except that red part. Remove that from your thinking and your feeling and you will be just fine. I’ll keep praying for you.


#20

Glad to hear that today was a better day.

God bless,
Dan


#21

Hey! I am glad to hear you are feeling better. I agree with j2c99, just take the idea that something could remove you from your faith out of your thoughts! I remember how Peter Kreeft once said even if Christ told him to eat dirt, he knew it would be the right thing to do. There will always be a lot to test your faith in this world. Do not let it stop you! You are an inspiration to me, Monica3146!

On a less positive note, I would like to respond to beonthelevel. I am sorry to say this, but “evil” (that is; demons; devils; Satan; fallen angels; real, concrete intellects) do act on our souls all the time. And if leading somebody to question the authority, legitimacy, and sanctity of the Holy Church (not in a “why?” “how is that so?” “what does that mean?” sense, but a challenging, self-assertive, anti-authority sense) is not “the tail of the serpent,” I am afraid I know not what is.

-Leo Carton


#23

Does’t the devil tempt us each day? Jesus was tempted for 40 days in the dessert. I don’t think we are giving him(the devil) credit. It’s just that we are aware at that particular moment that there is a devil and we need to make a choice whether to sin or not to sin.


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