One of my huge stumbling blocks that keeps me from becoming Catholic, or returning to the Greek Orthodox church which I was confirmed/chrismated in is the sense of pride. A part of me feels more informed than 2,000 years of Holy Tradition when it comes to subjects like gay marriage, abortion, contraception, etc. It doesn’t help that I also struggle with SSA (same sex attraction) and become conflicted over gender identity. How can I free myself from this? I really want to believe, and I know that everyone should find happiness in life. Surely its possible for me to be Catholic and not be miserable, especially in regards to my internal struggles/crosses?
I hope my questions are appropriate or could benefit someone who is in a similar position. If this is in the wrong subforum, then please feel free to move the thread to the right place.
I would suggest taking it slowly. Attend mass. Confess what you are truly sorry for. Read up on the Church’s reasons for the positions it holds (you could start with an encyclical like Humanae Vitae).
Pope Francis, in his recent interview, made an important point that the Church should not attempt to confer a “disjointed multitude” of teachings and doctrines. This is not to say that the Church’s positions are not important - they are - but they do not make sense outside of the context of what the Church teaches more generally. If prohibitions against abortion and homosexual acts are construed as mere assertions, then I would not expect anyone to agree with them. But the Church holds them for a reason (which is why such moral doctrines could not be changed).
You must consider that if you were to wait until you were holy and at peace with yourself before returning to the Church, then you will never return to the Church. It is a condition of man to be tormented by our hunger for autonomy, and to be our own Lord, and thus to be forever in conflict with oneself, because in spite of our pride, we also have a longing for our true Lord.
God is our physician, and you must go to Him, broken and such as you are. Otherwise, what need would we have of the redeeming sacraments in the first place? This includes our conflicts with doubt, both of God and of the wisdom of His teachings. I came stumbling back to Christianity after an affair with secularist thought, and just speaking from my own experience, I never had an immediate transformation of thought. It was - and is - a day by day experience of intellectual, emotional, and spiritual training and discipline.
Well, as to contraception, I don’t think it works!
When it first came out, it was hailed as the “magic bullet” that would solve all our problems! It would do away with all unwanted pregnancies. Then, it failed in that. As a direct result, abortion was legalized in the first trimester, second, third, and now, people are wondering what to do if a baby survives the abortion!
If contraception actually worked, we wouldn’t have had all that. If it worked, why did we have fewer “unwanted pregnancies” (teen, etc.) under the abstinence system?
Which, percentage wise, had greater success, abstinence or contraception. Percentage wise, did we have more teen, and other out-of-wedlock, pregnancies before, or after contraception?
Contraception does NOT work. We were told abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare”. It is NONE of those things, thanks to contraception!
I’m a gay Catholic. For some time, I had trouble not so much accepting Church teaching but living in accordance to it.
When I decided to put God first, I discovered He was right. He doesn’t want me to be miserable - He want to spare me the misery of all the things you mentioned. Even if you do not understand why, those things not only offend God but take away one’s happiness.
And so I was miserable, until I gave up all hope in realising my earthly desires. Though that was painful at first, I felt peace and became rather joyful, so much so that people would notice. But I was never expecting what would happen next.
God decided to surprise me. I was resigned to being alone but knew I could be happy as long as I had a friend in God. But then a man I was very fond of expressed his desire to be with me. I would befriend him, and after I told him that I could only be with him on God’s terms, he told me he was a Catholic like me, and was willing to live in accordance with God’s will just as I was.
And so God entrusted me with a loving friend and companion, so that we may share our cross and help one another on this journey. That’s more than I could have believed was even possible, and more than I dared hope for.
So, what I’m saying is that God not only gave me happiness when I decided to pick up my cross, but chose to surprise me. He did not take my cross away - I still have same sex attraction. But though it is a predisposition towards sin, I can direct it to the glory of God by assisting another person in my position, all the while grateful to God that He permitted me to share my own burden with somebody I love.
I trust that God loves me, and that His will is for me to be happy, if not in this world, then the next. Through the intercession of St Jude and St Rita, He has chosen to hear my pleas for assistance in this world and has shown me that nothing is impossible with God. Trusting God spared me the pain, sadness and degradation of a homosexual lifestyle, and God in His goodness decided to make my cross lighter to bear. Whatever suffering may lie ahead, I will be forever grateful for His assistance in making my walk with Him a joy.
Be bold in asking Him for help in your needs. Accept God’s will, even if it means you will be miserable. Be patient with God. And God will see your sacrifice and reward richly, and, if it is His will, He may even surprise you with times of unexpected happiness in this life.
God created us so that we may love him and live in eternal happiness with Him, the angels and saints, and indeed, the ones we love. That’s what God’s will is for our lives. Therefore, may God’s holy will be done in your life and mine.
It seems like the main issues you brought up relate to human sexuality? Do you like to read? That would be my strongest suggestion. Read everything you can. Humanae Evitae was suggested. Please read information from Theology of the Body.
The Truth that the Church harbors is more *enlightening *than you can even begin to imagine! Being Catholic and not miserable is possible. I’m not going to lie and say there isn’t a cross to bear in knowing this truth. Mostly though the weight of the cross has to do with distractions from the world telling you, you need money, fame, and power and things of the flesh to be happy. It can be painful and isolating to have beliefs that are counter-cultural. But God, the saints, and your guardian angel are always with you! Good luck, I’m very excited for you. What is attracting you back to the Church?
As long as you are intend to obey the commandments your condition is no obstical. But you should perhaps seek some counceling through the local Diocease. It is possible to get things straightened out but it will take much time and much prayer and perhaps even penances like fasting. What is happiness? I don’t think many of us go through life with the glow of happiness 24/7. But one should be able to find a good measure of contintment with one’s lot in life.
I recommend adoration and being honest with God. My personal journey has been one that has been continuously plagued with doubt. There was this one day when my doubt had reached such a point that I told myself I would be atheist for sure. Yet there was a quiet voice that said “go to Church”, so I did. I remember sitting in the pew and I looked at Christ on the cross and laughed and said; “you look ridiculous!” “How can I be expected to believe some dead guy on a wooden cross is God who is going to meet me after death and judge my life”? It all just sounded so stupid and crazy.
Then I got on my knees and said; “despite all this I’m going to put my full trust in you whether you exist or not. I’m not going to expect any miracles or give you a date and time for when this should be accomplished. I’m not going to have any expectations or hold any outlooks on what I think is correct or the right way. If you are truly God you will be able to guide me and in your own time show me the Truth.”
If I read him right, Pope Francis has been working very hard to make clear that Catholicism is NOT first and foremost a philosophical and moral system for happy living, but a relationship with Christ by which the entirety of our lives is renewed and given deeper meaning.
So my suggestion is to push ahead, go deeper with Jesus and ask him to help you understand your struggles more after your relationship deepens. Remember, the relationship with Jesus is not a tool to achieve another end, it IS the end. Once you get that right (not easy!), other things have a surprising way of working out.