There Are No Rules in the Catholic Church

There Are No Rules in the Catholic Church

Wait, just hear me out. Didn’t God give us free will? Doesn’t he let us choose our own paths? Don’t we make our own decisions about our own lives? If we agree on that point, then we should agree that there are no rules. And this is the concept that finally drew me into the Catholic Church. There are no rules!

Now, what is our ultimate goal? Eternal Life with God in Heaven. How do we get there? Through His Son, Jesus Christ. And what did He tell us? Well, lots of things. So many things that they would fill a, well, a Bible AND a Catechism!

What’s the key to a successful marriage? Yep, do what she says! (Only joking here of course) But if you love your wife, or husband, (boyfriend, girlfriend, brother, sister, neighbor) you WANT to please them. You WANT them happy. And when they’re happy, it makes you happy.

So, the way to eternal life is through the love and acceptance of our Savior, Jesus Christ. And if we truly love Jesus, we follow Him and do as he taught us.

So here is the idea that finally made me switch teams: Jesus gave us no rules, he lets us do whatever we want, but He did give us a list of beautiful gifts to help us please Him. Gifts that we can give back to Him daily.

We receive the gifts of the sacraments, the gifts of prayer, the gift of the Mass. If we look on the teachings of Christ and His Church as gifts, then rather than being nervous about confession, we go with eager anticipation.

We have the gifts of the Catechism, the teachings of the magisterium. Our faith in the truth of our leaders. If we look at the gift of life from this view, suddenly abortion and contraception are ideas that we fully reject despite public opinion and we stand up for life.

The gift of the sacrament of marriage is suddenly a precious unity between a man and a woman despite the secular views to the contrary.

The Church teaches us in all areas of our lives and spirituality. If we look at all her teachings as gifts, not rules, suddenly we WANT to abide by them, we WANT to be holy and accepting of ALL the teachings of Christ and His Church, we WANT to use ALL of His gifts, not just the ones we’re comfortable with. If we love Jesus, we WANT to make Him happy and the Father through Him.

So abandon the “rules” of the Catholic Church and fully embrace the Gifts our God has given us that we may reside with Him for eternity at the end of our Earthly lives.



I’m glad you switched teams, and see what you’re trying to do here. Keeping the Commandments of God and precepts of the Church out of love is certainly better than out of fear…but they are no less rules which we are obliged, under pain of sin, to obey. And keeping them out of fear is better than not keeping them at all.

No argument there, but my point is that we ARE given free will, we CAN chose the wrong path. I’m just saying that if we truly love Jesus, we should WANT to follow His commandments and be honored and blessed to do so.

(Edited to remove poor analogy.) I think the more people who can make this distinction in their faith, the better off the Church will be as a whole.

“and the greatest of these is love.”


Write we follow these rules becasue we love God. I have found that their are some teachings that i dont agree with but i uphold them anyway

Well said. Thanks for this.

free will ≠ liscence.
free will [FONT=Arial]≠ no rules[/FONT]
pillar and foundation of truth [FONT=Arial]≠ us.

Ha, I thought this must be a liturgy thread!

Pardon me, Michaelhager,

Are you aware of the rules for the Catholic Sacrament of Confession/Reconciliation?

I am aware of all of them! What I’m saying is, we should treat them like GIFTS, NOT RULES!

One of the objections to the Catholic Church by non Catholics is “Too many rules.” As a converted, confirmed Catholic I have realized through my (perhaps zealot) study of the faith that everything Christ gave us is a GIFT to help us obtain salvation.

I believe everything the church teaches. There is nothing that I have yet questioned which does not have a logical, sound, purposeful answer, based on or supported by the scriptures. You can trudge through life weighed down by the “RULES” of the church, or you can be lifted by the many “GIFTS” She gives us.

If I am sorry for my sins and ever vigilant to remain holy, then the Sacrament of Confession/Reconciliation is gladly received as a GIFT of forgiveness, not RULES, and I am joyous that the church has given me guidelines to properly receive these gifts.

(The biggest problem with this attitude as that if we all got it, we would ALL be lined up at the confessional all week long!) :smiley:

We are GIVEN all of the sacraments, we RECEIVE all of the sacraments, we don’t receive rules. Rules are lists of things to do or not do, laid down by someone in control over us. The Church is not an oppressor, a control freak bent on enslaving everyone to the “RULES”. It is a magnanimous giver of GIFTS with an incredible set of instruction manuals on how to use them properly.

Some cradle Catholics may not see this, but having come from the side that viewed the Catholic Church as oppressive and strict, I think that it is imperative that we show our non catholic neighbors that it is a joyous, holy place to be. Wrapped in the FULL glory of Christ, eating at the banquet table, not pillaging for scraps…

What I’m really talking about here perhaps is just semantics, but it’s a change in attitude about how we present ourselves to the rest of the world…

Before I converted there were several teachings of the Church that I thought I disagreed with. Chief among them was my exclusion from the Eucharist just because I didn’t have a Catholic Church Membership Card.

When somebody finally took the time to fully explain the reasons, the basis in scripture and the logic behind the Catholic belief, I joined an RCIA class and converted.

Like you, there were still things I thought I disagreed with so I began to study those teachings to learn what exactly the Church taught and why. I am finally to the point that if I ever see or hear anything that I think might not be quite right, my attitude has switches entirely fro “Why do they teach that silly thing.” to “Teach me why the Church teaches that.”

If there is something you don’t agree with, I’m confident that if you study it carefully you can put a check mark next to “Yep, I get that!”

It is semantics. However, it is dangerous to change “rules” to “gifts” from any position. Christians and others usually recognize that the Ten Commandments are rules. Yes, the Ten Commandments are gifts which help people live good lives… Yet, rules are attached to these gifts in order for the gifts to be efficacious. These rules cannot be hidden.

In my humble opinion, one can change the “attitude” about how we present ourselves to the rest of the world by simply praising the rules, presenting them as something we need for our assurance that we did receive the graces of a Sacrament.

Here is a comment from your post 9. I numbered the rules.

(Rule #1.) If I am sorry for my sins and (Rule # 2. However I would reword it to a sincere intention) to be ever vigilant to remain holy, then the Sacrament of Confession/Reconciliation is gladly received as a GIFT of forgiveness, not RULES, and I am joyous that the church has given me guidelines to properly receive these gifts.

In the last line, rules were changed to guidelines. However, being sorry for our sins is more than a guideline, it is a strict requirement. Rules are true gifts because they give us the means to become truly holy.

It may be just semantics but it ultimately depends on our perception of the Ruler. If we perceive the Master to be a hard man, reaping where he did not sow, if we have complaint, we may not have compliant. This is usually the way those outside view the Catholic Church, rules rules rules, (that includes many protestants), but those inside will not necessarily perceive it that way.

Well, what better way to evangelize non Catholics than to present the Church as a joyous loving place. Because right now, most objection to the Church are based around it’s “Strict” adherence to the “rules”.

People are oppressed by rules. That’s why there are so many non-Catholic denominations. “I don’t like those rules, let’s start our own church and make up our own.”

If we start letting them know that we are joyous in the rules, perhaps they will start to see the truth.

Jesus made some conditional statements when He said

"if you love me… " John 14:15
“do what I command…” John 15:14

Jesus was all about obedience. He didn’t look at obedience and adherence to teachings of His Church as oppressive. In fact it’s a way to see whose on His side. Luke 10:16

Not true. It is a Rule in The Catholic Church to obey all that Jesus Commanded. There may be other Precepts of The Church as well.

P.S. If you think having mushy church rules, look at what is happening to the churches who have tossed out all of their rules. Their membership is dropping like a rock.

Rules are boundaries. If the analogy of sheep in a pen can be used, the sheep in the pen are only aware of the fence, the boundary, when the boundary gets in the way of the sheeps personal desires. Anyone who says “I don’t like this boundary let’s start our own sheep pen and place our own boundaries” are

  1. assuming the sheep built the boundary when in fact it was the Shepherd.
  2. rebelling against the Shepherd.

Rebellion has always been at the heart of man. I don’t believe the Shepherd smiles on the self-bounding pen builders, I think it breaks his heart.

I don’t think I’d want to go forward stating that there are no rules and that there are only gifts. I prefer to maintain the idea of rules. I simply explain that dogma does not control our lives, it informs our lives.

I think eschewing the word “rules” will have negative ramifications.

A quote I admire says “Law is love which binds and obliges.”

Make no mistake, a man who fails to obtain a wedding ring for his wife has broken a rule. He meets the requirements when he buys a ring. And he fills the measure that makes him a suitable husband when he not only buys the ring, but buys it out of love which has obliged him to do so- not for the sake of fulfilling requirements.

Guess you didn’t actually read the post before responding…


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