To remain in the Church?

As a baptized member of the Church, you retain membership throughout life. Being a member of the Church is not the same as membership in a club.
I will reaffirm what others have stated. Until such time as your beliefs are in line with Catholic teaching, refrain from receiving the Sacraments. Do continue to attend Mass. Listen to the homily. Attend retreats. Read scripture, not simply the gospels but the Old Testament and the Epistles. Read the Old Testament in line with the New Testament and the New Testament in line with the Old Testament.
Our beliefs are not a matter of how much work we do, or how much we have studied. Faith is a response to the gifts that we have already received by virtue of the Sacraments.
I have heard the testimony of priests who questioned their calling, who were ready to leave the priesthood, and even the Church. Instead they submitted their lives to the Holy Spirit. As a result, they experienced the power of the Holy Spirit as the Apostles did at Pentecost. They received the necessary zeal to preach Christ crucified.

What I would do in your position is research more carefully what Catholicism teaches, why it believes what it does and what its answers are to your various questions. There are great books available about the Virgin Mary, such as “Hail, Holy Queen” and “True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin.” There are also loads of excellent books available on the other issues you brought up, including homosexuality (just see The Theology of the Body, or CAF’s faith tract on it), the Papacy and Christ’s role as Savior, the necessity of this and the reality of it.

You’re right now relying on yourself as your final authority for understanding the nature of the world and of religion. You’ve rejected the infallibility of Scripture, obviously, because you believe parts are contradictory (though really, look at them more carefully and you’ll see they aren’t), Tradition and the Magesterium. Rejecting these authorities is a deadly dangerous thing to do, for it leaves you to rely solely on your own understanding. Look at how many different theologies, philosophies and belief systems there are! Your way of looking at things causes you to think persecution is evil. Others think it’s good. Your way of thinking leads you to think homosexual marriage is fine; others think it’s evil.

Our belief systems, our religions, direct our moral lives. If God has not given the world an infallible authority through which to know what is true, we are left to depend on ourselves, on our personal understandings and what we think is true of the beliefs of those around us. Considering how many millions of different perspectives there are in the world, this is like chancing one’s morality as a person on a shot in the dark. It leaves us in blind ignorance. As Jesus said, “If a blind man leads a blind man, will they not both fall into a pit?”

Our human understanding is next thing to blind. Humans are fallible. You cannot know that you are right and the millions of perspectives worldwide that presently contradict yours, and that have existed and contradicted yours but now are extinct, and that have yet to come to exist and will contradict yours, are wrong. You cannot know that. To guess that you’re right and rely on yourself as your final authority is therefore like putting on a blindfold, spinning until you’re dizzy and then throwing a dart, hoping to hit the center of a dartboard, while if you hit anywhere else, you’re leading an immoral life. We cannot rely on ourselves; that is the bottom line. We need divine revelation, and not just our human, fallible understanding of that revelation, but an infallible understanding of it. In the end, we can’t “know” we’re right and all these other millions of perspectives are wrong, though our reason can help us and give confirmation. In Catholicism, we rely on faith in what we believe to be an infallible revelation. Outside of Catholicism, nearly everyone relies in faith on what they know is their own human fallibility; they have no way of knowing they’re right and their position really is that “shot in the dark.” Catholicism is the only major religion that teaches an infallible authority we can rely on in faith, to understand the supreme revelation of God for humanity that transcends human understanding. Outside of Catholicism is human reasoning, divisions without number and disagreements over how to live this “good life” everyone wants without number.

We can’t just rely on the fact that we feel good in our consciences either. Our consciences can become warped: Just look at the Nazis who killed the Jews with good conscience, or the countless women who ignorantly commit abortion, only to have the emotional or spiritual repercussions of the act catch up with them years or decades later. Or look at the Aztecs, who slaughtered thousands of humans in good conscience, as they felt otherwise the sun would not rise. Our feelings of our consciences are not enough to ensure we are safe in front of the Judgment Seat of God.

Jesus said in the Bible, “If you love me, you will do as I command.” How is that supposed to take place if we all read the Bible for ourselves and come to our own conclusions about what He commands? Doing that, we get people supporting abortions- a Christian just a few days ago was arguing to me, “Where in the Gospels does Jesus condemn abortion?” Of course, it’s in the Sacred Tradition of the Church – one just has to look at the Didache – but she felt she was a perfectly good Christian even though she was willing to accept the murder of children in their first trimester. What Jesus commands differs from person to person, when they interpret the Bible, or God’s will, for themselves. We need an infallible authority and an infallible way of interpreting that authority, the one the Scripture and Sacred Tradition say Jesus gave us. We need to rely in faith on what we believe is infallible, or we can be next thing to certain we’re lost as to moral conduct (because of the endless disagreements and the logical improbability that we happen to be the correct ones), because we rely on what we know to be fallible.

Not so.

Not to derail the thread any longer, there’s a discussion thread on this here:

Thankyou for your comments - I am glad that I clarified what I was asking. It does appear though that what I believe is important to the Church. That is fine, the Church is allowed to ask whatever it wants of their members. As for myself, following “the way” has been far more fruitful than believeing the right things. I think of the comment about why the early Christians were willing to sacrifice their lives (I think it was Br. JR) - having started to live this way - death is rapidly losing its power over me. To give without counting the cost (to paraphrase Ignatius of Loyola) has shown me how much greater life becomes when I give myself to others unconditionally. If the Church would prefer that I not recieve the sacraments, then that is perfectly fine - I am not angry at the Church for deciding what she wants. But I have found myself through following the example of Jesus’ life. Where that takes me with regard to Church membership…well…that is the start of another exciting journey.

On another note - let us all hope and pray that the cycle of violence from both pro-abortion and anti-abortion activists stops right now. Furthermore, let all acts of violence of any sort cease.

I would remain in the Church but try to work out these issues. I’m not sure about receiving the Eucharist though…I’d want to work through these things first… I’d do a lot of research and try to understand the Church’s perspective as well as I can, and pray A LOT that if I’m wrong, God would change my mind - and be open to that possibility… :slight_smile:

just a question, what do you mean by “unique role of Jesus as Savior”?

God bless

So, do you not believe that Jesus is our savior? Am i misunderstanding you? b/c that is a Christian belief, not just Catholic…and most Christians are against gay marriage…so it seems a lot of your beliefs are anti Christian not just anti Catholic…I used to have a lot of misgivings about the Church but through prayer and spiritual education, I became a strong Catholic…you may change your mind too, don’t leave the church…:slight_smile:

TheBrit, Please do not leave !
Brendan said it very well here in just a few lines…Jesus is GOD, and only in the Catholic Church do you have the awesome opportunity to receive Him and adore Him.
Please, do pray; give Him a chance to work with you !
Take it from me, if you sincerely invite Him in, He will meet you RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE AT.
Also, regarding the rosary- Our Lady is more than willing to help if you let her. If you knew how much she loves you…

Finally, ask yourself the same question Peter asked Jesus when Jesus asked the Apostles whether they were going to leave him too (in John 6):
v67 Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”

68 Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

69 We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God."

  • Peace of Christ to you,

Make no mistake about it: these events and times are here to confuse, bewilder, baffle, befuddle & nervously excite you so that your head spins and the scream of the chaos keeps you from hearing the “still, small voice” of the Holy Spirit.

I agree.:thumbsup:

thebrit please pray and trust in God.Pray for the Lord to open Your heart and mind.You may not agree with certain teachings of the RCC,but do not let that get in the way of loving the Lord and your personal relationship with him.By all means attend mass but as others have said don’t receive the sacraments of Holy Communion or Reconciliation until/unless You are sure of the Lord’s true presence.You are a very sincere honest person and the Lord loves you as he does all His children.He will be watching over you.I will remember you in my prayers God bless you

I may be in the minority, but I don’t believe that this road you are on means that you should leave the Church at all. As for the sacraments, I believe you should only separate yourself from Confession and the Eucharist if you do not believe in their power and do not agree with the fundamental idea that you are receiving the body of Christ and that it is life, and that you do not believe that God acts through absolution.

I think your willingness to be open to the truth and to continue to listen to God will bring you to peace and full appreciation of the mysteries of the Church, even if you still intellecutally question certain aspects of theology. I have never believed, though, that having the right mental ideas is equivalent to being in a state of grace. Correct theology certainly helps, but it is my opinion that intellectual understanding is subordinate to a person’s inner state of acquiescence or rebellion to God. I believe you can have intellectual questions, even perpetually unresolved questions, and not truly be in a state of rebellion against the Church. Others may have different opinions, and my opinion is certainly not authoritative, but it is my opinion.

Please let me field a question…Why don’t you believe in God?
God is all knowing, all caring and all loving. Why would you want to separate yourself from such a caring Father?

Dear Brit,
SO how is it going with you, we are praying for you, can you feel it ?
If there are any specific points for you, maybe you can throw them out here for discussion, one at a time.
What bothers you most ?

No God, No Peace .
Know God, Know Peace .

Hope all is well with you !
Remember , when your heart needs lifting, ASK God ! :slight_smile:

Yes !!!
I agree with this.
Give God’s Grace a chance to work with you.
You cannot find more of it anywhere else.
His grace is present in the Mass beyond your wildest dreams.
Be there, give Him time.
Give yourself time…

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