Trying to find where I fit in the amongst Catholics

As a recent re-vert back to our faith I find myself in a quandary. A quick contextual background for discussion. I was raised Catholic (nominally) though I went to Parochial schools I don’t believe I was properly Catachized. While oversees I met Protestant Missionaries at a young age and saw a healthy devotion to scriptures and exemplary lives reflecting in many respects the teachings of Jesus. Contrary to my experiences as my family (devout in the sense of attending mass every sunday) was split by divorce twice, was very secular in language (profanity common usage), quick acceptance of cultural opposition to the church’s teaching, etc… I quickly left the church inappropriately blameing it for my family’s lack of evidencing faith. Ie… My family goes to Mass regularily and it does nothing to transform them into Jesus’ image therefore the Faith is inadiquate. A lot of factors not considered in my youth. So I became Evangelical. However, when trying to determine exactly in which bracket I fell in I discovered that there were so many contradictory teachings between the denominations truth became ellusive apart from the very basics even the Catholic Faith teaches. Ie Trinitarian God, Jesus two natures, Scriptural Authority, the Virgin Birth of Jesus, Jesus Sacrificial death and subsequent physical resurrection, Jesus’ assention, Promise of his return, Jesus’ judgement, Forgiveness of sins, and promise of eternal life for believers. Where things get dicey are on the particulars 1) how does the atonment work, 2) How does justification work, 3) How should we view sanctification, 4) the workings of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer, 5) what extent in Jesus present in the communion, and so on. However, by the grace of God working from my baptism and on in my studies of scripture and how these particular matters were viewed throughout christian history by the Church fathers and honest reflection of many evangelical beliefs. I returned to the Catholic faith holding that it is truely One, Holy, and Apostolic Church.
Now the problem is as I learn more about the Catholic faith and grow in its teaching I find it is very diverse and I’m not sure where I fit in. Now being a fan of history I appreciate the Traditional Latin Mass and often see corrilations between it and the Orthodox Chrysostom’s liturgy in Greek. Though often the Priest who conducts the mass does so quickly and I can barely hear his Latin prayers. So I picked up a 1962 Missal which I found as a great resource not just for the TLM but as a smaller Catachesis book which I often refer to my children. On the other hand I have nothing against the Novo Ordo and am actually excited about the new changes bringing the english closer to the Latin meanings of the words. And I find blessing in both Masses. Having been evangelical for many years its engrained in me to participate in my Parish and help where ever I can which I do. And as many know once you volunteer much more is asked of you for which I don’t mind. This also has led me to the Knights which are involved in many charitable activities. However, as I speak to the wide swath of believers from Catholics who don’t buy 100% into the Magestrial teachings of the Church and the Ultra TLM onlies going to mass in their black suites and women with head coverings which often remind me of Orthodox Jews wearing black suits and hats and locks and both communities seem very tight. I’m beging to wonder where I fit in. I find I’m very conservative and agree with many of the more conservative groups of the catholic faith on social issues such as I wonder why Catholic Politicians who support abortion are allowed communion? Or that the Archdiocese of Boston has been too liberal with the homosexual agenda having a “gay mass” which I understand all are welcome to the Liturgy of the Word but certainly not the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Especially, those catholic men and women who are unapologetically homosexual and don’t see its activity as a sin. In ancient times any one could go to the first liturgy and the second liturgy would be held in secret for only those catachized in the faith and believed to be true all the Catholic church taught. So on one hand I’m very conservative on the other hand I don’t go to the “far right” extreem of believing the TLM is superior to the Novo Ordo. Also I fear (primarily because of my own experience) that much of the Church body of members have “given in” to the secular mores of our society rather than the stead fast teachings of the Church. So where do I fit in?

You sound a bit like me friend. :slight_smile:

Where do you fit in? Right in the middle, where you should be, in the bosom of the Church! :thumbsup:

It seems you have joined me in the Hell of being a devout conservative modern non-modernist traditional non-Traditionalist Catholic. Alas, we have to carve our own path. Find a old-fashioned New Mass and commit to social justice in the name of the Imago Dei.

:p:p:p

Irony is, this is probably the way we ought to be. (Ducks)

That sounds complicated. :slight_smile:

First, the good news about the Catholic church is: It’s like a big family.
Second, the bad news about the Catholic church is: It’s like a big family.
Mark Shea

The Catholic Church: Here comes everyone. (Attributed to Oscar Wilde, I think)

Doesn’t that say it all! :wink:

Another person I know was asked why she stayed in the Catholic church. Her response was that it was the place where she was called to love the most.

When we think of the Church as an institution, you can see how the pendulum is always swinging–liberal/conservative, traditional/modern. But the Church is no mere institution. It is the Body of Christ, where each member is being called by God and responding to that call in a unique way. Don’t think you have to put a label on your way of being called.

A lot of people will say the Church is not “up to date”, “relevant” or “progressive”. But, that’s looking at it from a worldly perspective. The only progress we need to aim for is Heaven, which means our own personal growth in sanctity.

God gives us all the grace we need, and the Church is the means to that grace.

It sounds like you fit in fine. You’re involved in your parish and the community, you continue to educate your children and try to lead by example, you study the things of God and keep developing your relationship with Him. Sounds like you’re a follower of Jesus, which is all you really need to be.

You are right where you should be.

All of a sudden, I don’t feel so alone. Who knew?

Well, its comforting to know I’m not alone in this placement of somewhere in the middle of two extremes. However it seems to me the “catholic divide” is widening at least in the United States. And it seems there are bishops on either side of this issue. Where does that leave us?

I am aware of some lax bishops. That leaves me with the authentic teachings of the Church as taught by the Magisterium.

sambos671,

I have run into difficult situations in my own parish, with an older priest who is near retirement. You’d think he’d be straight and conservative, but I find otherwise.

It’s on the tip of my tounge to say to you “I’d lower my expectations, if I were you.”

I think YOU and I should be guided by our Faith, and not worry too much about the carnival atmosphere that seems to surround us at times. In my parish, there are a lot of sincere people, but, you know, they’re not all educated and sophisticated. They are not on top of all these issues that you mention. They’re not all Bible scholars. They may not be making the commitment that you and I think, or that the Church says, that they should be making.

We are involved in our own spiritual journey. I don’t want to judge or criticize people who don’t have the capacity to sort things out the way they should. And, that may even go for the priests.

I read some of the things that the Pope writes (he is such a great theologian and Bible scholar). I urge you to look for the good things and to ignore the “noise.” Scripture says that about ignoring or overlooking the faults of others.

When you see the black suits and the veils, don’t judge others’ spirituality. I’m the guy who usually has worn jeans to Mass on Sunday, and I’m reformed about that – we should be wearing our best for Mass. (“Worship the LORD in holy attire.” – in two of the psalms).

For Mass, sit in the first or second pew, to put the distractions behind you (the people talking, elbowing each other, etc.).

You ARE in the Church of Jesus Christ, beyond any doubt or reservation. Heed the words of Jesus about the greatest commandment: You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. And, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

In 100 years, all the nonsense will be behind you. Stay focused on our great future.

Friend, we go where God calls us to be even though it may seem the most unusual place to be. I was born into a Roman Catholic family, grew up going to Roman Catholic schools (I have never attended a secular school). Yet even before I knew who the Orthodox were, there was a deep longing in me to explore their faith. When I discovered Eastern Catholicsm I didn’t think twice and didn’t look back. I stayed at a parish I’m not sure would embrace or welcome me. Now, even though they clergy and even the bishop himself has been very warm and embraces me and my family, I still feel out of place. To Roman Catholics I know, its hard to explain where I am. Some think that I have become a Protestant (ignorance of the Eastern Rites). To my own parish, I’m an outsider. Its a Ukrainian Church with Ukrainian people, but I’m not Ukrainian. I don’t speak the language nor appreciate the culture as deeply as one who grew up with it. I’ve been sad so many times, I feel out of place. But God constantly reminds me this is where He wants me to be.

Its what you need to find out for yourself. You should know where God leads you, and follow. Follow that path and despite troubles and trials, you will be at peace, you will be spiritually fulfilled.

Isn’t that magnificent?! :smiley:

To the OP. I’m in pretty much the same boat as you.

I was looking for a Spiritual Director and had a few meetings with one of the Nuns in my Archdiocese office. She was very nice and very helpful but not a good fit for me. During our discussions she said it’s difficult for those Catholics in the middle for exactly the reasons you stated in your post.

I agree with one of the posters in this that thread that said you’re exactly where you should be. Hang in there.

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