What do I do? I don't have a spiritual home anymore.

I recently started a thread about accepting communion despite the fact that I believe with all my heart, having studied and read the Catholic teaching very carefully, including the catechism, that Papal infallibility is false.

From some of the information I received there, especially writings from Vatican I, I have learned that I really should not be taking the Eucharist. In addition, I really cannot, according to the Church, be a truly practicing Catholic…including doing the very things Jesus clearly outlines in the gospels as proper ways to live, such as taking the Eucharist, confirmation, etc.

I have been in the Catholic Church my entire life, and have come back to the Church after years of being away, but now that I have studied the issues very carefully, and can’t accept this one Catholic teaching, I am left without a spiritual home. I believe in apostolic succession (except for infallibility), Church authority, the divinity of Jesus, the Nicene Creed, the gospels, the Catholic teaching on justification, and virtually every other teaching of the Church except those taught based on Papal infallibility. For instance, I believe that the Church has the authority to teach that contraception for married couples is correct, but they do not have the authority to declare that infallible…since I don’t believe they have infallibility and since Jesus did not directly address that issue and it cannot be inferred directly from his teachings. I believe in Church authority, but not infallibility, except on issues where it is clear from the gospels or the teachings of Jesus that something has been handed down to us and is infallible. But this isn’t really the point, the point is…because I believe what I have just stated, I cannot have the Eucharist, I cannot be a full-fledged member of the Church, and as a result, I cannot live the life I believe Jesus wanted me to live. So what do I do? I don’t want to disrespect the Church and just ignore their authority by taking communion and pretending to be in full communion with the Pope…but I don’t know what else to do.

Please help.

But before you do, please understand that I have already had extensive discussions on Papal infallibility and I cannot accept it in good conscience, so I don’t want this post to become a debate on that…I just need to know what I should do…How can I live a life the way Jesus wanted if I truly believe Papal infallibility to be false? What do I do? Should I be attending another Church in an attempt to receive the Eucharist?

you make an appointment and sit down with your priest for spiritual counsel.

I agree - spiritual direction is a good plan. Try to reconcile yourself with the Church despite your fallible opinion on infallibility and do so in the context of ongoing spiritual direction. Some might point you in the direction of one of the Orthodox churches, but I find that an unlikely fit unless you are culturally aligned with them.

If you are a full member of the Church, then as it has been stated, this is a matter to be discussed with your priest.

Your parish priest should be more than happy to make time to discuss this with you, and would be the best qualified to address it appropriately, and may even thank you for giving him the opportunity to use his seminary formation and education for something other than answering the question “when is bingo?”

As was stated in the other thread you had going, all any of us can do is give you magisterial teaching, church statements, and a whole lot of opinion.

Brother, I feel your pain in more ways that I care to admit.

See if you can find a Priest in your area that has the time to talk and research with you.

My little advice would be to start from the foundation of Christianity without ignoring its rich History.

Please understand that I am not trying to ignore or minimize your intelligence and your experience. But I don’t think there is any other way than to set root in what you believe.

Nicene Creed:

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen


If you agree with this then you should not despair. If you don’t then you need to reexamine your belief system.

One step at a time and don’t rush.

Above ALL, pray to our Lord for His Grace and Guidance.

I pray that the Lord comforts you in your search for Him and that you are able to listen and obey Him.

God Bless you brother.

If the only part of the faith you don’t agree with is the concept of papal infaillability, then I don’t see a problem and this is why. If you truely don’t disent on even one other teaching of the faith, than you are not in disobedience unless you go around telling others not to believe in papal infailability. Everybody has doubt and you can doubt a teaching and still follow it. For example, some people may disagree with the teaching of not using birth control but submit to the teachings of the Church despite their doubt. From what you said it sounds as if you disagree that the Pope is protected from error by the Holy Spirit, but you happen to agree with every doctrine the Popes have currently declared. Therefore, you are not currently in a state of disobedience, so I don’t see why you can’t be in a state of grace for the Eucharist. Now, if the Pope makes a statement ex cathedra that you aren’t willing to follow, then you’ve got yourself a problem, so I would continue seeking the truth in good faith.

Your post brings out many interesting points.

First, there is a difference between between infallible and impeccable. Do you know the difference? (honest question, hope it doesn’t seem acusatory (interweb is hard to know vocal inflections and meaning and people take things the wrong way a LOT!!!).

The catechism (2089) states, “Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same.”

As a practical matter, where has a Pope ever erred in making an ex-Cathedra pronouncement? Remember that the eyes of the entire world are upon the Pope. If he declared something demonstrably false, it would be a permanent headline. He can never declare, nor can the Church teach, something that is at odds with scripture. Note: Scripture must be interpreted correctly before any such comparison is made.

He has never declared something by himself. The entire college of Cardinals has been with him in his discernment process and in his pronouncements. He is simply the voice of Peter that silences the discussion, as seen in Acts 15.

I think your problem is not so much with infallibility, since that also applies to the normal magisterium of the Church. I think you have a problem with Church authority in a more general sense.

By What Authority? by Mark Shea.

The Church does not teach “good conscience” is correct or enough, but “true moral conscience.” There’s a difference. Read the link. It took me several readings to “get” it.

Good luck and God Bless.


What’s worse: doubting papal infallibility (on a small amount of things in matters of faith and morals) or Jesus’ resurrection the way Thomas did, after having witnessed miracles after miracles, after being with Jesus almost everyday for 3 years? If I witnessed a man raise someone from the dead, walk on water, give sight to a man who was born blind, drive demons out of possessed people, get a coin in a fresh-caught fish, I might perhaps have an inclination that just maybe there was something supernatural about them. Apparently Thomas (and others) did not. If you thought that the papacy was a fraud, that the Catholic Church is the whore of Babylone, THEN we’d have something to talk and worry about. God is looking for a contrite and sincere heart, that is the true measure of things, not being a committed papist (with all due respect).

I second going to speak with a priest, but also, pray. There have been times when I didn’t understand a teaching and so I learned to obey (act as if I believed) and pray about it. God always let me know what I needed to know one way or another… sometimes through reading, sometimes through something someone said, and sometimes just by letting me know directly.

Dear one, Aside from seeking spiritual direction from your priest ,Perhaps if you consider this:
There are many converts and people who are on the journey who have dealt with or are dealing with various ‘stumbling blocks’ in what they feel they can and can not accept in the Catholic Church teaching. For me one was the whole ingrained belief from whatever denomination that taught me that the Catholic Church was the whore of Babylon, this ugly teaching reared its ugly head to me literally after I had gone through all the machinations of working my way through a whole bunch of objections but for me the initial turning point that put me on the journey was authority and what did Jesus intend . I had to pray, which I am sure you have already done, and finally I literally had to make a leap of faith and put myself in God’s hands and trust that he would not have led me on this path if it were for my perdition.
What I am trying to say is that if you believe in all that you do agree with and you believe that the Catholic Church has the legitimate authority of Jesus ,then ask yourself ; is which is more important to your salvation ? following the authority of Jesus as handed down through his Church in-order to be able to validly impart the Eucharist and other sacraments etc or the issue of papal infallibility?

The catechism (2089) states, “Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same.”

According to the Catechism (and therefore the Church and by natural extension God), one is not worse than the other.

Thomas repented when he took time and looked for the Truth.

I sincerely hope there is a special crown of glory awaiting people like you, who had to swim upstream against an unrelenting swift current to reach the destination. Hats off to you. I think your post also goes to show that we’re on a journey.

That’s why I said as long as he doesn’t deny this teaching (state that it is false to other people.) he is not in heresy. It doesn’t sound like a case of obstinate doubt to me. There is evidence in his post that suggests that he has diligently made attempts to understand the teaching fully. I guess only he and God know if he sincerly tried to understand or was merely looking for a reason to disagree.

Don’t leave home! Fake it to make it!

I’d say, stop worrying about infallibility and just try and be a good Catholic.:thumbsup:

I mean I don’t understand a ton of things that I believe, or rather that I have faith in! Just keep on keeping on, and stumble forward.:cool:

Couldn’t you have waited at least a week before you started throwing condemnations around? There are more than enough hurdles on the path of a believer, don’t be one. Don’t keep the pharisaic spirit alive, Jesus hated it.

In any case, go to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass every weekend when you can. People do remain in the pew when others go up to receive Holy Communion. That is no big deal.

To me, personally Papal infallibility can mean a number of things. And I did spot references to ex cathedra in posts. So I am wondering what do you consider Papal infallibility to be? Are you looking at current doctrines or are you concerned about the future? Are you aware as to how doctrines are formulated? If you are concerned about the “power” of infallibility, then you may consider what that power covers and when it can be used.

I am not going to debate your understanding of Papal infallibility, I am suggesting that you figure out what your gut feelings are. I am not asking you to share your thoughts. Those are private.

I don’t read ‘obstinate’ as meaning ‘insincere’ or ‘arising merely through negligent failure to look for the truth.’

When we find it difficult to accept some necessary teaching of the Church we are not to merely say ‘I doubt and cannot in good conscience accept’, we are to say ‘I believe, help my unbelief’.

Now St Augustine was no slouch as a student, thinker or reasoner. But He understood that there are some teachings - the Trinity, the Incarnation and the like - that are simply beyond our capacity to really wrap our heads around. And so he said we believe and then seek understanding rather than the other way around.

This is where Jesus’ admonition to become like little children comes in. Children accept all sorts of things without seeking the why’s and wherefores, simply because they trust the person who tells them. People may deceive or prey on the trust of a child, but then the fault is with them, not the child.

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