Thinking of becoming Catholic but conflicted

Oh my goodness, this is an awful thing to say and is not true!

You are a unique and beautiful creation of God and we would love and welcome you into the Catholic Church! You have wonderful gifts to share. Clearly you have a questioning mind and take your faith life seriously, that is a good thing! Dear one, there is an answer for each and every question that you have, I promise you that. Some of the answers are long and complex, others are short and to the point. However you deserve an answer!

Questions are good, asking good and hard questions is a great place to start. Good for you!

On my faith journey I actually got the book “Catholicism for Dummies” which sounds silly but it answered a lot of questions for me. Some parts made sense, some parts I had to read several times before they sunk in.

Whatever happens know this: You are not going to make a decision of what faith community to belong to because someone gives you really good answers to your questions. Answers are important of course, but ultimately you will need a conversion of heart that can only happen by regular conversation with God.

Spend time with Jesus in prayer. You are His child! Ask Jesus to guide your steps, ask Jesus to walk with you on this journey. Ask Jesus to help open your heart to the Catholic Church is that is what He wants. How wonderful that you came here and asked these questions. Please be assured of my prayers for you and for your life and for your faith journey, God bless you.

It doesn’t matter what we think? We are supposed to just go along with something that screams “wrong” or “waste of time?” Really is that what the Catholic church teaches??

I don’t think it’s okay to say “i want all the sex and none of the babies” but is it usually that black and white? What about a couple with 5 kids whose doctor says no more? I mean it is not always just about being lustful or selfish, but sometimes lifesaving.

I don’t know, it seems like the Church has an answer for everything but its a real iffy and vague answer. Usually it seems like they just want to control people and place barriers between people and Jesus. I would go to mass if I didn’t feel like such a “failure” according to church definitions. But I don’t even bother since I doubt I will ever be able to believe what the church teaches not about the divinity of Christ and the nature of god, but about all the miserable trappings that the church imposes on its people

I don’t understand what Church definitions make you feel like a faliure? Do you mean birth control or are there other issues.?

Just I mean, when I was in the nondenominational church it was not a “mortal sin” to miss Sunday service once in a while. Now it’s like, when I decide not to go one Sunday, why even bother if I have to go to confession? I’m not really very sorry if I miss once in a while, so why go to confession?

Then yes, birth control. What if I get married and decide to use it after careful consideration? Might as well not go to church anymore since apparently I’m going to hell anyway. Might as well forget the whole thing.

I just feel like there are so many arbitrary hoops to jump through that make me really dislike going to mass and keep me from just being real with God.

My fiancé says this is why Catholic church is filled with old people. They can live by the mandates of the church because they aren’t worried about getting pregnant AGAIN, don’t have any reason to go somewhere else on the weekends, and aren’t doing much to have to confess. And our nondenominational church was filled with young singles and families with kids.

I am one of 6 kids and let me tell you, I will NEVER do that to my family. In my experience, most people from huge families don’t want one of their own. I love all my siblings but my parents were so maxed out. So tired and we never had the means to do anything that our peers were doing. I was always embarrassed to have friends over because the house was always messy from little kids, someone was always crying. Kids got forgotten because there were just too many to meet all their needs. You could say that the benefits outweighed the drawbacks (yes, my siblings and I had fun, but guess what? I barely talk to three of them these days) but the truth is that I lived a family of 8 and I know for sure that I don’t want to raise my kids that way. It’s just too much for any mother to handle well. So if my fiancé and I want to stop at three kids, I don’t need a church breathing down my neck telling me to either cut off my husband or keep pumping out more kids to prove a point.

Thanks for the explanation. I understand where you are coming from now and good luck in your discernment process. You would have a lot to think and overcome to become Catholic I see, but RCIA is always an option with no need to convert.


Two words: Cafeteria Catholic

Sorry, but Catholicism is an all-or-nothing proposition.

Now having said that, there are some things with the Church that I do not necessarily agree with either. But rather than outright rejecting them, I make an ongoing effort to understand why the Church teaches what it does. With a better understanding, I’m like “Yeah, now that you explain it that way, it makes a lot of sense.”

If you are serious about coming back, then you should; in time you may come around about your beliefs and eventually understand that the Church is right. Remember: A “good Catholic” is not something that you are; a “good Catholic” is something you strive to be.


No, it is a realistic thing to say, and for the OP, it could very possibly be true. After what seems to be quite a bit of serious reflection on her part, she clearly does not believe many of the things that make the Church…Catholic. What would you have her do? Make a profession of faith, and join the Church when she clearly doesn’t believe any of it? Your suggestion that she read Catholicism for Dummies, while well-meaning, probably isn’t going to be helpful in this case. It’s not that she does not know about or understand Church teachings. She simply does not believe them.

Yep, that’s the kind of nonsense she could expect to deal with if she entered the Church while being honest about her beliefs.

Thank you for posting. That is kind of what I thought - either you are “all in” or don’t bother. I just don’t have the personality to “go along” despite deep reservations or disagreements. I am just not that kind of person who will live inauthentically just because one of many churches says I should do xyz to get to Heaven. I keep waiting for the “better understanding” to come - but I just flat out think that the Church is wrong on some of this stuff. I can’t get past the paternalistic “father knows best” mentality. If there is zero room for discernment and personal discretion then I am probably just not cut out to be a Catholic.

What if I never “understand that the Church is right?” The truth is that I doubt many people think “The church is right” based on statistics that the vast majority of Catholics happily use contraception. I guess I could just do what I believed was best and go to mass anyway, participating in the ways I felt were positive and beneficial, but I am not the kind of person who does that either.

There’s a thing called Natutral Family planning (NFP) that allot of Catholics use, and it is a completely licit way to control family size, or to have more children.The idea is that its in no way ABC, but rather it goes off of signs of when a woman is ovulating or not, and you abstain from sex when she is, or you have sex if you are wanting kids. The difference is, there is nothing artificial or “keeping” you from having children. Rather its about paying attention to your body and studies have shown its just as effective as ABC. Most dioces have classes on this, you might want to look into it.

The reason why contraception is wrong, is because it turns sex into something merely for pleasure. In a God made universe, where God made man and woman, and God gave them sexuality for a purpose, contraception goes against that purpose. You take away the meaning of it when you take away one or both of its purposes.

The thing is, the Church is right atleast on moral teachings and the big T traditions, no matter how much Catholics dissent, privately or otherwise. Jesus said " You are Peter, and upon this Rock I build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it" and they haven’t and wont. To think otherwise, you know better than Jesus. To think so otherwise means you know better than the Holy spirit, who guides the Church.Part of understanding the teachings of the Church is hacving humility enough to realize that you might be wrong. And the institution thats been around for 2000 years might be right. None of the Church Fathers, or anyone whose made the doctrines and dogmas did so off a mere whim. It was through much contemplation, and prayer ( prayer isn’t just about asking God for things), and thought and faith. And understanding them takes allot of the same. Praying for you

I would recommend being sure that you actually understand what the Church teaches before making any decisions. A book that helped me, coming from a somewhat similar background as you, was A Biblical Defense of Catholicism by Dave Armstrong and also, as Monica recommended, Catholicism for Dummies. Don’t be put off by the title–it’s an intelligent, informative book, and one of the best introductions to Catholicism out there.

Also, take your time, and take it one step at a time. Don’t feel that you have try to learn everything at once and make a hasty decision. Good luck to you!

Well, the simple fact that the Church has been around 2000+ years - longer than any other “christian” church should tell you that it must be doing something right. People say the Church needs to get in touch with the times, but I submit that the times need to get in touch with the Church. You sound like a person who does not simply blindly believe what she is told. That tells me that you are an open-minded thinker which means that someday - maybe not right away - you could be willing to change your views on things.

If there is zero room for discernment and personal discretion then I am probably just not cut out to be a Catholic.

I would never presume to read God’s mind but I suspect that He is aware that many people think the same way you do. Besides, the mere fact that you are even considering coming back to the Church may be that God is sending you a “vibe” calling you to return.

What if I never “understand that the Church is right?” The truth is that I doubt many people think “The church is right” based on statistics that the vast majority of Catholics happily use contraception.

Statistics, no. I doubt the Church bases its doctrine on statistics. Yes, may Catholics use contraception but that doesn’t mean it is OK.

I guess I could just do what I believed was best and go to mass anyway, participating in the ways I felt were positive and beneficial, but I am not the kind of person who does that either.

Yes, you can and probably should. And as I said, in time you may rethink your point of view. Don’t expect overnight miracles. It takes time. My own grandmother was a “wild child” and got pregnant out of wedlock back in the 1930s. By the time she passed away she was one of the most devout Catholics I have ever known; I wish I could be half as devout.

People change. If you can’t be a “perfect” Catholic then start by being an imperfect one. It is a step in the right direction. Everything will work out for the best. That’s what faith is all about. :slight_smile:

The church is always right because… the church is always right? Appeal to antiquity? Because of a line in the Bible where jesus leaves the “keys” to Peter? So because Jesus we can’t use contraception. I think that “rule” a) has very, very loose and tangential ties to anything Jesus taught or did and b) has A LOT of evidence that, when the “rule” was made, it was very much about controlling women, controlling people’s bodies, vilifying sexual pleasure and increasing the population of Catholics. I am not sure it is so much what God wants as it is what the Church Fathers wanted.

I see it like food. Yes, we eat for nourishment which is the most basically critical part of eating. But we also eat for pleasure. And sometimes we eat ONLY for pleasure. And that is okay as long as we don’t overdo it and stray into gluttony and unhealthy habits. Sex is the same. No, we should not turn sex into an idol. But in the right circumstances, it IS okay to “just enjoy sex.” Everyone in favor of NFP is always talking about how well it works. The truth is that the reason it is “okay” is because it still leaves a window open for conception. What if you have discerned that all the windows need to be closed? My father had a vasectomy after 6 kids. I think they did their procreative duty.

I definitely do not think I know better than Jesus. I am just not sure the modern incarnation of the catholic church is exactly what God has in mind as the “ideal.”

But even when you eat merely for pleasure, you still allow the results of eating to occur to your body. You still get the calories, your body still takes in the nutrients, your digestive system does its thing. But what if you - not wanting the natural end from eating - decided to throw it all up? That’d be pretty crazy. In fact, if you have a habit of doing it, it’s an eating disorder known as bulimia.

To deliberately alter the nature of the sex act, either by temporarily or permanently sterilizing either or both of the partners, is a disordered approach to sex. People can have sex for fun all they want, but they can’t change what sex is. That’s the basis of Catholic teaching on sexuality.

If I want a second bowl of ice cream, I have to be prepared to deal with the natural result of that. If I’d rather stay trim, I won’t eat it, even though it’s delicious and there’s nothing wrong with ice cream, as a thing. Eating it may just not be the thing for me to do, right now. Same with having a baby. If it’s not a good time, then my husband and I abstain. If we’re willing to accept a baby, then we don’t abstain. Simple as that.

It’s less about trying to pop out a bunch of kids or doing some kind of “procreative duty” as you put it, and more about respecting our bodies and treating them the way God has designed them to work. Specifically addressing this issue, check out this book: Holy Sex!. Catholics don’t view sex as something dirty but necessary (actually, your characterization makes me laugh a little bit to myself, because 100 years ago it was the exact opposite, at least in the US: Catholics were maligned for enjoying earthly pleasures too much, including alcohol, food, and sex. Now we’re seen as overly restrictive, but we haven’t changed a thing.)

You might be interested in some reading on natural law, which actually predates Christianity but serves as the basis for a lot of Church teaching. I’d also recommend Scott Hahn as an excellent author, as well as Devin Rose.

No The Church isn’t right because the Church is right. The Church is always right in its moral teachings because Jesus said that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church and the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit.

No, it is about controlling peoples bodies and sexuality. You should really check out JPII’s Theology of The Body. Our sexuality is a wonderful gift for God, but like any gift it can be misused. when we use sex only for pleasure, than it just that, use of another person. The Church’s stance on sexuality and contraception is about protecting a person dignity, and the gift of our sexuality. seriously, Theology of The body, there original writings themselves are difficult, but there are allot of “study” type version as well.

Anyways, back on topic, you can’t separate Jesus from the Catholic church. The Catholic Church is what Jesus instituted, and yes therefore it is guided by the Holy Spirit, and infallible in its big T traditions, and Moral Teachings. The people in it can be as misguided and what have you, and allot are, but there is a a distinction between them and the moral teachings. a very important difference. You can privately question anything you want, or outwardly question, but it does not change that Jesus instituted this Church. Again, it takes prayer and humility to accept everything, and there are allot of things that I still have trouble accepting, but I ultimately have faith in what what Jesus said, and I have faith in his true presence in the Eucharist. it is a hard thing to except, but once you come to recognize the True Presence, everything else sort of falls into place. See if there’s ever Eucharistic adoration in your area, and try going sometime and pray for guidance.

No, I don’t know how “the Bread” becomes Jesus, but it does. All of us would love to google the answer for how it becomes the Holy Eucharist, but it’s not on there. There’s no instruction manual.

I can twist myself in knots trying to figure it out or I can accept that God and my relationship with God will not always be as clear as I would like it to be.

Like Lost Sheep, I am also independently minded and walk to my own drummer.

I tend to be leery about strict interpretations of the Bible because I grew up in a very legalistic Baptist church. I also know how to spot cults real quick because of that experience.

Ultimately, faith is a journey. I didn’t start off by buying everything that the church teaches, but I kept learning and studying. I still don’t buy some things (a couple of them, you’ve listed), but I keep in mind that Catholic scholars and priests disagree about these things and give intellectual, rational arguments for their positions. Some people will tell you that it’s up to your conscious to decide what it right. Others will tell you that “church rules are church rules”. I figure that the Holy Spirit will lead me in the right direction. Sometimes, you need to stop reading the different ideas and listening to everyone’s opinion and just accept that you don’t have an answer at that moment, but you are working towards an answer and getting comfortable with an idea and that’s good enough.

In the end, I just don’t think that every question always has a clear “black and white” answer. I never would have joined the RCC had I thought it was a mindless cult. I had enough of that when I was a kid.

So, here’s the deal.

NO ONE comes into the Catholic Church fully formed, believing every doctrine, understanding all the dogma, or doing it all so PERFECTLY.

In other words, each one of us that belong to Christ, and you and your fiance certainly do, has a lifetime of growing in the faith ahead of us. Ahead of us. Do as much soul searching as you need to to decide to land in a church that supports your beliefs now, and continue to discern and believe. It is important not to wait until you feel you have all the answers, because that will never happen.

But start somewhere, anywhere Christ calls you NOW. The Catholic church may be right around the corner, or years away. But, start. He will lead you.

Also something else to clarify, the Church doesn’t make truth. Something isn’t true just because the Church declared it so, but rather its always been true and the truth was revealed to the Church by the Holy Spirit. God is still ultimately in charge.

Do your soul searching, everyone does it, and I believe its almost a continual process is how I see it. But you have to keep a degree of humility, and that you might be wrong, while doing it.

Praying for you.

In all honesty the issues that you’ve raised seem so piddling to me that they are scarcely worth arguing about. Would any of the issues you’ve raised make the smallest difference in your life? Are any of them worth living and dying for?

I think for the OP it all comes down to the need for an honest examination of the Catholic Faith. If you are confused or don’t understand why the Church teaches what she does, really take some time to read and look into these issues. Talk to a priest. Explain to him your misgivings and doubts. It’s very easy to sit back and criticize or disagree with the Church when you don’t understand all the facts or when you take ideas out of their proper context. Many have left the Church and turned against her because of tragic misunderstandings.

Fulton Sheen famously said “There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church — which is, of course, quite a different thing.” I think these to be wise words which point towards the immense need for those who question or disagree with the Church to at least do her the service of learning what (and more importantly WHY) she teaches what she does before lambasting her ancient doctrines, customs, and traditions by calling them “baloney”.

Of course, perhaps you have already “done your research” and have honestly concluded that, about certain issues, you simply can’t believe what the Church does. Either way, you will be in my prayers.

To the OP: what is passionate worship?

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