The Gates of Heaven


#1

I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school for 12 yrs. I got married Catholic and Baptized my two children Catholic. I have all intentions in raising them Catholic and teaching them about God and morals. Is it wrong that we don’t go to church every Sunday or that we just won’t be able to afford to send them to Catholic schools? I know they offer CCD classes which I would like to send them too. We pray nightly and talk about God everyday.
I guess my concern is that since we don’t go to church, b/c it really is just a hassle with 2 young kids, will God still accept me in Heaven? Once the girls get older and can behave in public we will go again.
I don’t consider myself an active Catholic, in that I don’t go to confession and yes we use birth control. I lived with my husband prior to marrying him and we had premarital sex. I did go to confession last year for the first time since grade school, and the priest, in so many words, told me I had satan in me. That really made me upset. It’s not like I confessed to anything that no one else is guilty of. (premarital sex, drinking, birth control) I am a germophobic and he says that is Satan in me too.
So my question to all is “Does God still love me and will he accept me in Heaven with my little flaws?”


#2

We can’t afford Catholic school either. Our kids go to a publicly-funded charter school, and we use the RE programs at our parish and also educate them at home about faith and morals.

Missing Mass on Sunday without a serious reason is a sin. I think you know that already. Having children is not a serious reason to miss Mass. In fact, I consider it a serious reason to GO to Mass. Mine go every Sunday from conception on, barring bad illness. It can be hard, and will be much harder for you having not gotten them used to it from the beginning, BUT I have always believed it is worth the struggle. They don’t learn how to behave in Mass except at Mass. Our efforts have paid off in our already-confirmed 9 year old who is perfect in Mass every week and training to be an altar server, our less-enthusiastic-but-coming-along 6 year old who knows the Our Father and Hail Mary by heart along with most of the Mass parts and is working on the Nicene Creed, and our usually-good 4 and 3 year olds who love to sing the Gloria, the Holy Holy, and the Great Amen.

As for the priest to whom you confessed…nice guy. :rolleyes: I went to confession with a priest like that once, and it made me feel worse. Now, when I go, I will wait for a different priest rather than go to him. Condemnation without any help or suggestions for healing our sinfulness is useless. Yes, he can still absolve you, but any other priest can do that too, and I have found the others to actually have helpful things to say. Don’t give up on confession, though. We all need it. And technically, he was right in that both Satan and the human potential for evil in all of us was what made you stray. It’s what makes all of us stray. But now you have made the choice to reconnect with your faith and take it seriously. Don’t give that up just because of one bad priest, or a priest who may have been having a bad day. Remember, they are just as human as we are. For all you know, he himself went to confession later that day and told of how he mean-spiritedly berated a penitent!

If you are truly repentant for all your sins and have made good-faith efforts to keep God’s commandments and accept his grace, then yes, He will accept you on Judgement Day. Same with all of us. But to return to the issue of going to Mass, Jesus did say not to keep the little ones from Him, and also that those who denied His name would be denied by Him before the Father at the Judgement. I think, by keeping your children from being part of the Church, you are denying His name to them…

Not trying to be harsh, just honest.

Trying to find a sensitive way to address your birth control admission… I am sure you know the Church considers that a sin. A mortal sin, in fact. If you go to confession, but do not confess ALL of your sins (barring honestly forgetting something) then you have not made a valid confession and cannot receive absolution. Again, not trying to be harsh or scare you off the Church, just trying to relay the truth.


#3

Missing Mass without good cause is a mortal sin.

This is not good practice nor good example to your children. The Mass is the source and summit of Catholicism.


#4

Ok, I think the priest went quite a bit overboard. You do not have Satan in you. What probably do have, is Satan’s influence over you, trying to persuade you to live a life that can make it difficult to get into Heaven.

Missing Mass and using contraception are objectively mortal sins. If you die in a state of unrepentent mortal sin, you will go to Hell.

You are in a position to know that missing Mass and using birth control are mortal sins. That puts the spotlight on you, as with some people are not aware that these are sins and, although they may still be committing a sin, it probably isn’t mortal.

There are very, very GOOD reasons why these things are mortal sins. Missing Mass seperates your relationship with God. It cuts you off from His grace that makes it extremely hard to be close to Him. I have experienced this myself when I went through a long period of not going to Mass.

Don’t be afraid to take your kids to Mass. Misbehaving kids are not an excuse not to go. They can’t learn to behave unless you TAKE them. Do your best and remember that even when you are frazzled with a naughty toddler in Mass, you are still receiving the graces that you need from that Mass. Some couples will solve this problem by taking turns going to Mass and one staying home with the kids. This is a better alternative than not going at all.

It is not necessary to send your kids to Catholic school to be a good Catholic. Yes, it’s nice if you can afford it. But you do have an obligation, especially since you had your kid Baptized, to send them to CCD and make sure they receive instruction on the Faith and the Sacraments (Eucharist and Reconciliation).

As for birth control, that is a very serious sin. And it’s also an unneccesary sin! Check into natural family planning. When used correctly, it is just as effective as the Pill and so much healthier! Don’t put your soul on the line for something like this. There ARE alternatives. :thumbsup:


#5

Of course God loves you. God will always love you. God does not love your sin, but you are not your sin, obviously.

If you’d like your girls to behave in Mass, the best way to do that will be to take them to Mass and get them used to it. Maybe start off at a daily Mass so they can see the church and get used to the silence and won’t disturb as many people. If you want your children to be Catholic, if you want to raise them as Catholic, they’ll need the graces, practice, and identity that comes with attending Mass. It is a mortal sin to miss Mass on Sunday, unless you have a valid reason such as weather, illness, or needing to care for a child.

You do not have to send your children to Catholic schools. That’s not a requirement or a sin. If you did want to look into it, many Catholic schools offer financial aid, but I knew many good Catholics from public school, and knew Catholics who are now athiests from Catholic school.

Birth control is an issue you should look into more. The Church has very good reasons for why it’s wrong. Theology of the Body for Beginners by Christopher West is an excellent place to start. It’s an easy read and explains The Church’s teachings very clearly, and gives WHY, which is very helpful in staying away from it. The pill can be an abortificient, did you know? If you still want more after that, Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Theology of the Body can be found online for free and it’s what the book is based off of.

God Bless, and please continue to go to Confession. Now more than ever we need the grace and forgiveness of Christ found in the Sacraments. Maybe find another priest if the one at your parish is too rough for you. Confession at any parish, from any validly ordained priest, counts.


#6

I’d like to second the recommendation for Theology of the Body for Beginners. It’s a great book. If you don’t have time to read the book, go to secure.catholicity.com/cds/. They have free cd’s you can get. They only charge $1 for shipping, and ask for a donation but you don’t have to give a donation if you don’t want.
Anyways, Marriage and the Eucharist is a talk by Christopher West that summarizes his Theology of the Body for Beginners book. Also pick up Fr Larry’s The Mass Explained while you’re there.

As someone who uses NFP (Natural Family Planning) and knows others who use NFP, I can attest that it works as well as artificial birth control. And its much better to practice too, I would encourage you to look into it.


#7

We don’t use the pill, we use condoms…but I guess it’s all considered a sin. My cycles range from 15-45 days, I really don’t think its possible for NFP.

And can I really go back to confession and confess that I am using birth control again when I confessed last year? And I will continue to use it. Technically, I can’t recieve the Holy Communion if I am under sin without confessing but then I can’t recommit a sin I already confessed too.

I understand that my kids need to go to Mass to understand how to behave, but it’s also a whole germ thing with me. I have a problem that I can’t stand to be around lots of people and touching everything. Kids touch everything. And our masses are always crowded.

I am sure many think I’m crazy for thinking this way, but I am not alone, I know that. I am terrified of going to Hell, but this is the way I live and I still love God and he is still part of my everyday life. I know I’m not the only Catholic that misses mass and uses birth control.


#8

This is how I look at things. I keep things very simple in my mind or I could talk myself in and out of things. Here goes. God is my Father. He set the rules for me, just like I set them for my children. I would prefer my children come to me when they break the rules so that I may teach them how to better handle themselves next time they are in the situation. I know my heavenly Father is more loving than I am so I am sure that is how he would also like things to be. Now my rules are to keep my children safe and to teach them how to grow. I am sure God’s rules are set up for the same reason. When my children don’t understand the rules, I explain the rules to them. God has done the same thing through the Bible, the Saints, and the Popes. I am old enough that he expects me to gather the information for myself. Now when my children solve a difficult problem or master a skill, I am so incredibly proud of them, and I admire my children when they come to me and say they broke the rules and they want to change. That takes great courage! I am really excited when my children struggle and finally come around. I am sure my Father in heaven feels the same way. Sometimes I have to punish my children so that they may remember how to behave in the future. God does the same thing. I really want my children to succeed. God wants us in heaven more than we want it. My life was not all that different than your. You made a wonderful first step, by going to confession, don’t stop! Learn why we are not to use birth control. Find out why we have the rules we do. God didn’t make them so that he could see us jump hoops. He doesn’t play games. Take them sweet babies to Church. They will never learn how to behave unless they practice. You can do it. I take 3-8 kids to mass all the time. It ain’t easy, but it ain’t impossible. God Love you! I am going to cheer you on!!!:thumbsup:


#9

Yes, using condoms are still a sin. You can still successfully use NFP with irregular cycles. Modern methods do not depend on regular cycles at all. They mostly rely on detecting cervical mucus that will tell you well ahead of time that ovulation is approaching. So, it doesn’t matter if you ovulate early or late in your cycle, you’ll have plenty of warning from mucus to abstain from relations.

Yes, you can and SHOULD confess that you are using birth control, however many times you fall into the sin you need to confess it again. BUT, you need to stop using it NOW. Do not jeopardize your soul. You could die tomorrow. Why take that chance? You may have to abstain from sex for a few weeks until you learn NFP, but it really doesn’t take that long. And you can handle a little abstinence for the state of your soul.

Have you sought help for your germ phobia? This is an understandable reason why you don’t want to go to Mass, but it doesn’t excuse you from trying to get help and finding a solution. Maybe you could go to the early Sunday Mass where there’s not a lot of people. Maybe with some therapy, you can get to a point where you can handle being in a crowd. This is truly something you need to seek help for.

And no, you are not the only Catholic that’s fallen into sin. There are many others. But that’s really no reason to throw in the towel and say it’s too hard to follow the rules. If half the Catholics in this world jumped off of a bridge, would you jump with them? Of course not. Don’t follow the example of those following the wrong path. Follow the example of the Saints who finished the race and won. :thumbsup:


#10

God is perfectly merciful and perfectly just. Do you think there is safety in numbers?


#11

You are not responsible for the afterlife of any of the other Catholics that miss Mass or use birth control. You are only responsible for your own actions. You also have an obligation to take care of the children God left in your care.

I’m not trying to be harsh or mean - just truthful.


#12

But if she has full intention to use birth control again, even while she is confessing, then the confession is not valid. There is a difference between trying, failing, and being sorry about it, and knowing something is a sin, wanting absolution, but having no intention of stopping the sin.


#13

I don’t understand why God has made different “rules” for different religions. There is only one God and He loves us all the same. So why do have different rules than someone else?


#14

Hmmm, this would indeed be strange if it were true.

However, God did not found various religions. He founded one religion, one faith and one Church.

And that, is the Catholic religion, the Catholic Faith and the Catholic Church. :slight_smile:

Anyone that differs from this is in error. There is one universal Truth, not many!

Faithhopejoy (I quite like your name, by the way. :)), I will be praying for you and your family in your continuing journey.

Please pray for me, also. :slight_smile:

JD


#15

There are only one set of rules. Some have fallen away and disreguarded the rules they don’t like and that is how we get so many different religions Jesus set up the Church and gave us the first Pope the Catholic Church is the faith that has come down directly through the Popes.


#16

And no one is alone in Hell either. I am not saying you are going there per se, but the fact is, majority rules never got anyone in Heaven, nor did the attitude of I’m better than the avergae Joe.

The visions of Fatima depicted the souls falling into Hell like snoflakes in a snowstorm. That was over 90 years ago. And the world is certainly in much worse state than it was in 1915. I doubt the snowstorm has become just flurries at this point…


#17

Yes, you are absolutely right. That was a point I intended to make but it didnt come out clear enough…that’s why I followed with the statement that she needs to stop now, and then go to Confession.

There are only one set of rules, rules which God revealed to mankind through His Church, The Catholic Church. However, there are people who, through no fault of their own, do not know the truth. Those who were brought up in a Protestant church and taught that birth control is OK are not as culpable in judgement day as a Catholic who was brought up being taught that it’s a sin. There are also many, many Catholics who are not taught their Faith as they grow up and the same applies to them.

I’m not saying it’s not a sin for those people, but their culpability is lessened because they “don’t know better”.

Yes, God loves us. But He also wants obedience from us. And he has an endless amount of Mercy, but we must first repent and choose to be obedient. If we don’t repent and we refuse to be obedient, we are rejecting God’s love. And THAT is what can lead us into Hell.


#18

Well I was raised by a Catholic “alcoholic, never at home” father and a Protestent mom who was the one that took me to a Catholic church every weekend with my paternal grandmother. I was raised that birth control is ok, honestly I just found a link last year that explains each of the 10 commandments in detail. I knew all the commandments but I guess I just followed what I thought they meant and not too much in depth.

I was raised not going to confession or even knowing any one else (like my Catholic friends) going regularly to confession.

I’m not a follower and don’t think its ok to do just b/c
others do. All these rules were made YEARS ago before birth control and other medical technologies. What about those who seek help getting pregnant, are they going to go to Hell b/c they want to raise and love a child, but couldn’t do it naturally???


#19

Some forms of fertility treatment are OK. As long as it doesn’t violate the integrity of the marital act or remove conception from the marital act. Things like Clomid are OK, but IVF is not.

It seems to me that you really need to approach your parish about education and get thorough grounding in your faith. I was very poorly catechized as a child as well. I only got knowledgeable about Catholicism as an adult, and then only because I sought it out. Our faith is so deep and so beautiful, there is neverending learning and growing to be had by studying it in depth. A great place to start is right here at Catholic Answers. Go to the main catholic.com site and read the position papers in the Library section at the top left. You can get a whole lot of in-depth education on Catholicism right there!

When the rules were made does not matter. What matters is whether the things we want to do violate the moral code the Church teaches us, which it forms from Scripture and Sacred Tradition. There are areas where there is discussion and debate. And there are some where there really is not anymore. Did you know that EVERY Christian church condemned artificial birth control until the 1930s? It was only after the Anglicans approved its use, and then only in certain situations, that the floodgates opened and the Catholic Church ended up standing alone on this. The Anglican example shows us the slippery slope in action. Once they allowed it for any reason, even though they tried to keep the circumstances narrow, people took it to mean they could use it any and all the time. Look at what Paul VI said in Humanae Vitae about what the consequences would be of widespread use and acceptance of contraception. It’s kind of hard to argue with the fact that it all came true. :frowning:

Honestly, though, you seem like a person who is honestly searching and just has not gotten the education you need. Seek out the knowledge you need. Read here at Catholic Answers. Read the Catechism. Do get a copy of the Theology of the Body for Beginners (a book I want to read myself, as we have struggled with that particular issue in our family as well!). But in the end, once you have the information, you have to make a decision. Either you will submit to the authority of the Magisterium and accept what the Church teaches, or you will not. That’s up to you, but realize that you choose a set of consequences either way. The first choice makes your life on Earth so much harder. The second choice might make your Earthly life easier, but at what price?


#20

Be at peace. The one qualification for membership in the Church is that you be a sinner. You and I and everyone else who contributes to this forum is certainly qualified to belong. Some of us follow the rules better than others, but we all belong to the community of sinners-believers. Jesus didn’t die for the righteous, he died for us.
You, like everyone else, must work out your salvation “in fear and trembling.” Doubt is part of the journey. You will never be certain of your own sanctity, nor of your own condemnation. St. Paul reports his own doubts about "running the race."
Know that God loves you and that He desires you and all your family be with Him forever. Do the best you can, as do all the rest of us. Know that none of us can do enough, and that we all trust in God’s generous mercy.

Matthew


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