What Church Teaching Do You Have Trouble With...?

When I first came to Catholicism, understand I came as an ex-fundamentalist. As such, there was an invisible moral leesh, so to speak, I felt I possessed for quite some time. There is no longer a “leesh,” as I no longer allow myself to conform to any moral standard because of societal or religious pressure (which, here in the Bible Belt, is great) but rather out of sincere love. It became meaningless for me, I think, to follow norms and standards promulgated by my Baptist faith solely to be “morally upright.” I couldn’t–and can’t–do it. I really have to be moved out of a sincere love of God.

During the first little bit of my transition from fundamentalism to Catholicism, I was still very much an ardent, puritanical Baptist at heart–without realizing it. I decided then to follow the holy Catholic Church’s teachings without reservation or question. Orthodoxy. Good ol’ orthodoxy. I was really alarmed by Catholics who admittedly struggled with certain Church teachings–however small their concerns might have been. “How can you call yourself a Catholic!” was my internal–never external–reaction.

Well, I get it now. I really do. I’m a 14-year-old living in a region wrought with extremes: all-out puritanism or outright atheism. The latter would be so much more appealing were it not for the sanity I find in Catholicism. I have the media, peer pressure, all that good stuff, to deal with. I also find myself experiencing SSA very strongly. Usually it provokes questions and legitimate concerns rather than all-out faith crises. Still, it’s made me re-examine Church teachings in a great many areas. I never ceased to be amazed by the Church’s rationale–and sympathy–but have become able to interrupt my own biases long enough to also think outside of the Church. I agree it’s her duty to teach on faith and morals and help our consciences become aligned with God’s will, but she cannot force us to accept a single dogma–as it should be.

I’m in love with my new faith but find myself less orthodox at times than I would have liked to imagine myself. I think this has been the experience of all sincere Catholics–I’ve noticed the most devout, incredible people I know in the Church are very open about such struggles.

And the whole thing got me thinking. I want to know: What Church teaching do you have the most trouble with? Why? How has it affected your life?
Please, really, no need to immaculatize your accounts. Just be honest and blunt about your doubts and fears. The makings of any great saint start with a virtue as simple as true vulnerability.

When I first came to Catholicism, understand I came as an ex-fundamentalist. As such, there was an invisible moral leesh, so to speak, I felt I possessed for quite some time. There is no longer a “leesh,” as I no longer allow myself to conform to any moral standard because of societal or religious pressure (which, here in the Bible Belt, is great) but rather out of sincere love. It became meaningless for me, I think, to follow norms and standards promulgated by my Baptist faith solely to be “morally upright.” I couldn’t–and can’t–do it. I really have to be moved out of a sincere love of God.

During the first little bit of my transition from fundamentalism to Catholicism, I was still very much an ardent, puritanical Baptist at heart–without realizing it. I decided then to follow the holy Catholic Church’s teachings without reservation or question. Orthodoxy. Good ol’ orthodoxy. I was really alarmed by Catholics who admittedly struggled with certain Church teachings–however small their concerns might have been. “How can you call yourself a Catholic!” was my internal–never external–reaction.

Well, I get it now. I really do. I’m a 14-year-old living in a region wrought with extremes: all-out puritanism or outright atheism. The latter would be so much more appealing were it not for the sanity I find in Catholicism. I have the media, peer pressure, all that good stuff, to deal with. I also find myself experiencing SSA very strongly. Usually it provokes questions and legitimate concerns rather than all-out faith crises. Still, it’s made me re-examine Church teachings in a great many areas. I never ceased to be amazed by the Church’s rationale–and sympathy–but have become able to interrupt my own biases long enough to also think outside of the Church. I agree it’s her duty to teach on faith and morals and help our consciences become aligned with God’s will, but she cannot force us to accept a single dogma–as it should be.

I’m in love with my new faith but find myself less orthodox at times than I would have liked to imagine myself. I think this has been the experience of all sincere Catholics–I’ve noticed the most devout, incredible people I know in the Church are very open about such struggles.

And the whole thing got me thinking. I want to know: What Church teaching do you have the most trouble with? Why? How has it affected your life?

Please, really, no need to immaculatize your accounts. Just be honest and blunt about your doubts and fears. The makings of any great saint start with a virtue as simple as true vulnerability.

I think the biggest thing I have a problem with is the insistance that we have to believe everything. I know, I know, a lot of people will call me a heretic here, but there are a lot of things I can’t believe that the Church teaches; though, I believe in the fundamentals.

I guess among the things I don’t agree with totally are the views the Church has about homosexuals and homsexuality, other religions, and on how our thoughts or feelings can be sins, even if we don’t act on them.

I am a craddle Catholic but I too had problems with some issues in my younger years. Today however, I have no such problems with anything that the Church holds to be true. I was blessed to eventually come in contact with clergy who took the time to explain things and clear up many misconceptions that I had. :thumbsup:

Hey, I must compliment you: 14 years old and already so well spoken and reflected. :thumbsup:
I too am a convert to Catholicism (from liberal protestantism). In the beginning I thought it was easy to say Amen to everything the Church said and it was easy to do everything that was asked and more… I sadly also had some pride in my heart against those who did not pray, fast and attend Mass as much as I did, but I think it was more out of fear for what would happen if I let go, myself… I who had once just existed but now felt I was living in Christ. I wanted to be close to the Lord and everything seemed somewhat light back then.
Now things have been somehow different for a long time. I have had many struggles… to me it seems that Church teaching is awesome and the ideals expressed in the Bible and Tradition are great… but my experience of life in my parish leaves me feeling too often that if I am not an elite Catholic in my self, then my faith life will die for there is no help in the parish… no real fellowship or urging forward together for sanctity.
But if you want a specific example. When people tell me: “Go to Mass or you commit death sin”, I shiver… because of lack of attendance in a ritual they are ready to condemn me to hell. I dont say we should not admonish and urge each other to take part in Church life but it should be done out of Love… not calculation and fear… It seems that is one thing that looks more like pharisaism to me than anything I have ever seen in the evangelical places I have been… Paul says clearly in one of his epistles that we must let no one judge us because of times, feast days, new moons, food or whatever… but it seems the Church does just that. And THAT puzzles me and I havent been able to get a good answer from anyone about it…
Such things especially bother me if I am otherwise stressed or bothered about something that is or isnt going on at Church.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on it… and hope I dont tempt anyone by voicing my own doubts.

Grace :juggle:

Masturbation. The ides that something that gives pleasure without harming another person can be so sinful is…well…a stretch:(

I can see this thread coming to a close already…:wink:

In any case, the OP stated things very well for 14. Methinks we’ve got to be careful to distinguish which teachings we struggle with, as suggested by the OP, and those that some may outright reject.

The former is OK, as long as it is done in a genuine spirit of a need and want to understand; the latter is simply…well…let’s say somewhat heretical, no? :shrug:

The latter could also be a sincere desperate cry for help from someone who feels threatened by too much doubt and confusion… someone who might wish to be a perfect and humble Catholic but who is struggling with a lot of questions and… on top of that being called heretic sometimes is just a major turn-off for a person and could lead him/her to give eventually give up.

:shrug:

AMEN!!

I have trouble with this one, too. I do believe that it CAN be a mortal sin, but not always. If it is done out of hate, lust, complete objectification of a person, etc. then yes, that is mortal sin territory.

Yet it has always been my opinion, and based on my experiences, that most people do this act not because they are intending to sin, but rather because they are lonely. They want to be loved by someone and to give love to someone in that one intimate way. That is a human need that cannot be fulfilled until one is joined in the Sacrament of Matrimony (and even then ---- ), so what we experience is a loneliness and a longing for someone that is imperfectly expressed in this imperfect act.

As well, it does feel good so we can get attached to it through habit. And it also relieves stress, clears the sinuses, and can also help with insomnia! Still, it is not an ideal thing to do, but I cannot accept that it is the ultimate of all mortal sins, like I was taught by “S’ter” when I was a lad.

Was it Newman who said, “A thousand difficulties do not add up to a single doubt”?

For me, as a convert coming into the Church, the Marian dogmas were the hardest part, as they are for many. For years, after I understood and ACCEPTED them, and even would explain them to CATHOLICS, I still had a problem with the fact that the Church expects us to believe them as “divine and Catholic faith” with the same allegiance we give to the Creeds.

Finally, I realized that so many of my former “core” beliefs had been completely turned around after studying the Catholic position (Real Presence in the Eucharist, Apostolic Succession, Petrine primacy, OSAS, Confession, Communion of Saints) that it would be dishonest of me to withhold my consent based on this one outstanding matter. I just jumped into the Tiber in FAITH and started to swim.

No regrets.

That’s why I wrote “somewhat”. Good point. :thumbsup:

I have had trouble understanding and accepting doctrines in the past (teaching on ABC is one of many) but invariably the problem has been my own lack of understanding, failure to educate myself properly, and refusal to accept the teaching because of its implications in my own life. From that I deduce that not only further education, but conscience formation, are both necessary in resolving doubts.

Today I don’t have issues with doctrine, but with practice, mainly pastoral practice, which on the face of it seems to contradict doctrine, and canon law. I am speaking generally of sacraments–preparation for reception, conditions imposed for reception, age for initiation etc.

Masturbation is mine, when it is done with no lust, no fantasy, no pornography…still deadly mortal in some people’s opinion, in others not so much. Some of us who have a previous habit with this, and super high sex drives really strugle with damnation and this sin. I resist as much as I can, but sometimes am overtaken…should this damn me to hell? Then again, it doesn’t matter what I think.

If one is in an ideal marriage, MB is not a problem. The husband and wife come together often, without reservation, regret, fear of pregnancy, and in complete love and self-giving. That is an absolutley beautiful thing and is the way it ought to be. MB then becomes a sin because it is used very selfishly, and probably to fantasize about other women.

UNforturnately, it’s not the way our culture and society work. If we are judged on the way we live in this Western society, and those judgements are based on the black and white ‘law’ of the CCC, then we all are failing miserably…maybe just a very small minority are doing ‘the right thing’. In that case, as it has been said, very few are going to be saved. This disconnect between the ideal spelled out in the Church’s teaching, and the way things really are ‘in the field’ is what causes most to MB. If you hold that MB is a mortal sin in mostly all cases, then all the things that cause a person to MB should be considered mortal as well.

For me, MB is, when it happens (and is confessed) is a ‘stop gap’ measure in our imperfect, less than ideal world. It keeps me from ‘pestering’ my wife for love making (she is a very low libido person…once a month or less is good for her), and it does make me a better person in ‘public’ as it frees my mind from keeping my drive repressed and makes me better focuses to be happy and helping people. If you bottle something up for a long long time, eventually you will fail and give up, no matter how much prayer and fasting goes on.

The key is to fix the root of the problem; but in the real world, this is a very difficult thing to do, and not always practical. It’s the reality of the situation.

So this is what I struggle with regarding church teaching. I do struggle; I don’t give in to every impulse. But when I get overwhelmed, is MB a mortal sin? My priest thinks not, and I think not, but I do believe it is not the ideal.

The end.

I could quite possibly be wrong…puzzleannie probably knows for sure…but I thought you were not held responsible for thoughts, feeling, urges that you could not help but that if you acted on them it was a sin.

If you mentally perform the act associated with the thought, it is a sin. If a thought of a naked person appears in my mind, no big deal, but if I imagine my self with her, doing sexual things with her, then it’s a sin.

I am sorry to hear about your struggles brother… have you talked to your wife about your need for more sexual intimacy, I wonder. I think it must be wonderful to be wanted by a husband… but sad to have to have to let him down… maybe your wife has some medical condition … (its not my business, I am just thinking out loud).
I am not “a masturbater” my self… never had that as a temptation although I do long for marital unity sometimes till the point where I wonder if I am indeed going crazy.
Yesterday I felt a lust rise in my flesh. I looked down at my self and told my body: “Look it ain’t gonna happen… DEAL with it… it ain’t gonna happen for at least a year or two so SNAP OUT OF IT”.
I have plenty of anxiety, sexual tension and worries in my everyday life… but masturbating was never an option for me.

How is that analysis different for fornication?
God Bless

Thanks for the sympathy. I have talked to her about it; she acknowledges she has a problem, but won’t make the effort to do anything about it. She’s got to make that step. I’m not going to push her to do it. She knows of my struggles, and my fallings do not upset her in the least.

Again, if she were ‘all fixed up’, then MB would not be a problem anymore. There would be no need for it. She feels like she can’t handle any more children, so NFP is in use, and we do that, so there’s 2 weeks of red-lights. She doesn’t even like to do anything more than sleep close to each other most nights.

See? The ideal thing is absolutely beautiful…but in our culture, that just rarely happens anymore. Not every marriage is perfect in that aspect of it.

Oh, and for those that maybe think I don’t do enough to help her, and all that…I cook, clean, wash the dishes, bathe the baby, play with the baby, do all the yard work, etc… the only thing I don’t do is wash the clothes cause I mess up from time to time with her stuff, and pay the bills, as she is an accountant, and has a pretty good handle on that sort of thing.

I love her to death, and always will. We all have challenges and issues.

brother… I dont judge you in the least…
I think its sad that your wife is not trying to solve the problem… if not for her own sake then for you because the situation makes you sad.
But you are right… everyone has their problems… and I am happy for you… you are blessed with a loving marriage… many of us dream of that so much…

Treat her real good… a woman needs a lot of love :thumbsup:

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