What do I do if I dissent?

I am a former Protestant who grew up in Catholic schools, was a theology major at a Protestant college, and spent a lifetime in leadership roles in my faith communities. My husband and I are currently in RCIA and dearly love our new parish and pastor. My decision to convert was not made lightly. My question is one of dissent. What happens if I disagree with some fundamental things about the Catholic Church, but I still love the Church and want desperately to be part of it? I found this article which gave me hope uscatholic.org/church/2008/07/catholic-dissent-when-wrong-turns-out-be-right, but I get the impression from some fundamentalist Catholics that if one dissents, one is outside. What are reform-minded Catholics (including those of us who are just coming into the Church formally) to do? This is my first post on Catholic Answers, and I write it with the utmost respect and genuine search for answers.

Julie

Hi Julie,

A couple things.

(1) You might consider the distinction between difficulties and doubt/dissent. Here’s an awesome quote from Newman.

I am far of course from denying that every article of the Christian Creed, whether as held by Catholics or by Protestants, is beset with intellectual difficulties; and it is simple fact, that, for myself, I cannot answer those difficulties. Many persons are very sensitive of the difficulties of religion; I am as sensitive as any one; but I have never been able to see a connection between apprehending those difficulties, however keenly, and multiplying them to any extent, and doubting the doctrines to which they are attached. Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt, as I understand the subject; difficulty and doubt are incommensurate. There of course may be difficulties in the evidence; but I am speaking of difficulties intrinsic to the doctrines, or to their compatibility with each other. A man may be annoyed that he cannot work out a mathematical problem, of which the answer is or is not given to him, without doubting that it admits of an answer, or that a particular answer is the true one. Of all points of faith, the being of a God is, to my own apprehension, encompassed with most difficulty, and borne in upon our minds with most power.
–John Henry Cardinal Newman, Apologia Pro Vita Sua, Part VII. bold added]

(2) Make sure you thoroughly and precisely understand the doctrine involved in context.

(3) Don’t forget, if one really holds that the RCC transmits the word of God in time, then when we experience difficulties we should consider questioning ourselves too, not just the doctrine. I am not in the least suggesting that you fit into these categories; but these definitions of Newman’s are a help to me.

“Now by Liberalism I mean false liberty of thought, or the exercise of thought upon matters, in which, from the constitution of the human mind, thought cannot be brought to any successful issue, and therefore is out of place. Among such matters are first principles of any kind; and of these the most sacred and momentous are especially to be reckoned the truths of Revelation. Liberalism then is the mistake of subjecting to human judgment those revealed doctrines which are in their nature beyond an independent of it, and of claiming to determine on intrinsic grounds the truth and value of propositions which rest for their reception simply on the external authority of the Divine Word.”
–Newman, Apologia Pro Vita Sua, (NY: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1900), p. 288, Note “A”, Liberalism.

Rationalism is a certain abuse of reason; that is, a use of it for purposes for which it was never intended, and is unfitted. To rationalize in matters of revelation is to make our reason the standard and measure of the doctrines revealed; to stipulate that those doctrines should be such as to carry with them their own justification; to reject them if they come into collision with our existing opinions or habits of thought, or are with difficulty harmonized with our existing stock of knowledge. And thus the rationalistic spirit is the antagonist of Faith; for faith is, in its very nature, the acceptance of what our reason cannot reach simply and absolutely upon testimony.
–Newman, Essays, Critical and Historical, 2 vols. (London: Basil Montagu Pickering, 1871), 1:31.

Its also important to make a distinction on what you are dissenting.

If it is a dogma, like the male only priesthood, then, according to what the Catholic Church Teaches, you are wrong on this as the Church can not change dogma

If it is a discipline, such as a celibate only secular priesthood (in the Latin Church), or something like female altar servers or communion in the hand, then you can disagree with it but follow it. By follow it I mean that you do what the Church says though you disagree.

Make any sense?

I would suggest reading and studying as thoroughly as you can before you make the commitment - in other words, find the potential “bugs” and try to deal with them before running the program. (No, I’m not in IT.) Seriously I will pray for you and hope this Forum will be a good opportunity for you to discover lots of good resources. :newidea:

I know your not in IT (I was before my days as a religious started. I even teach in the “Computers” department at the high school rather than the Religion department. I think it shocks some of the freshmen to see a brother in his habit teaching computers.) because no matter what you do there are always bugs after you run the program.

Sorry for going off topic.

Congratulations on your journey to RCIA.

When one disagrees with Church teaching, one is obligated to obey Church teaching and continue to pray and study until one understands it and can fully embrace it.

The Church cannot err in doctrine. If you dissent, it’s not the Church that is wrong.

If it is a disciplinary matter, one can legitimately disagree but one may NOT “dissent” publicly as the Church still has authority over you and the Church’s discipline.

What is a “fundamentalist Catholic?” There is no such thing. There are faithful Catholics and there are unfaithful Catholics.

What about this article did you find “encouraging?” This article is, on the whole, misleading.

Only Galileo was in an area of doctrine, and was rightly censured. The other examples given were either in areas which did *not *have defined doctrine (first two) or were *disciplinary *in nature (Ward). So, I don’t know if you can really cast them as “dissenters.” Theologians speculate on things all the time. When one becomes a “dissenter” is when one is instructed to cease and does not. If ordered to cease, then their duty is to obey. That doesn’t mean that the Chuch cannot and does not change. It does mean that one must obey the authority of the Church.

What do you believe needs to be “reformed?” I think you will have to be a bit more specific in order to understand your issue.

Julie, if you feel comfortable, would you be able to share with us the things that you are struggling with? because it sort of depends… there are certain things that Catholics must believe. I’m a convert from Protestantism too and let me tell you, the Catholic Church has really good reasons to teach the way it does. I used to not believe in veneration of Mary, the Sacraments, Purgatory, the Papacy, and I wasnt sure about some of the moral teachings as well. Researching the Church’s position in depth, together with prayer, changed my mind on all those things. I would suggest trying to learn as much as you can about Catholicism, from Catholic sources, while you are in RCIA :slight_smile:

God bless.

I have one small quibble with your post, juliefoster. There is a set criteria that makes a Catholic, well, a Catholic. So there really is not such a thing as a “fundamentalist Catholic” or a “reform-minded Catholic.” Sure, there are Catholics with varying degrees of adherence, but a Catholic assents to all Revelation contained in Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the teachings of Magisterium.

Thank you so much, everyone, for your replies. I really appreciate the spirit in which they are given! And yes, it would be helpful if I were more specific about what it is I disagree with. :slight_smile: But I am a little afraid of a potential storm when I articulate it. Specifically – and to the root of my dissent with other dogma, doctrine, and teachings – I do not believe the Pope and the Magisterium are infallible. (Again, with deepest and true respect.) I don’t understand why the Church cannot allow its teachings to evolve. And I say that with the enormous caveat that I absolutely do NOT believe the essential truths of our faith can change (for example: Jesus is God incarnate who redeemed humanity from original sin through his death and resurrection). I suppose my deviation with the Church is where I draw the line about what is “essential,” which I realize is seen as very Protestant.

It’s funny, as I sit here typing and deleting, and typing and deleting, I am finding myself more and more at a loss to adequately express myself. I’m super aware of the deeply held belief by so many that the Church is infallible, and I have a sincere wish not to offend. But I don’t know how to express myself on this issue without risking offense and provoking people to anger. It is my ardent desire to see unity among Christians. I take very seriously Christ’s prayer that Christians be one as he and the Father are one. So please see my question and comments through that lens. I’m hoping this forum can be a safe place to discuss these kinds of issues.

The dogma of infallibility seems to have created a system in which current theologians need to find justification for teachings handed down in the clouded and riddled-with-ignorance Middle Ages – and even in the last couple of centuries; justifications that sometimes require one to suspend reason and history. My post could go on and on if we start debating rationales of specific infallible teachings, so I won’t start down that road – at least not too far. I suppose we need at least one example to articulate the point. So I’ll use the Church’s teaching on women not being allowed to be priests. (There are others as well, but we need to start somewhere.) It is my understanding that Pope JP2 said women cannot receive the sacrament of Holy Orders because Jesus did not have any female apostles. Others have argued that Jesus didn’t choose women apostles because the culture of the time didn’t readily accept female leadership. That fact doesn’t necessarily exclude them now. And if the question is one of sacraments (holy orders) as Christ-instituted during his lifetime, I suppose that opens up a whole other can of worms worthy of its own thread, and yet also an example pertinent to this discussion. Additionally, people point to Pauline writings on women in church as a basis for exclusion of women priests. There is much scholarship on this subject that should at least give one pause as to the historical context and today’s application of Paul’s writings.

What happens when scholarship advances in favor of women priests? I know this might seem trite to many in this forum, but scholarship advanced to the point of proving Copernicus and Galileo correct. Perhaps many will see the two as apples and oranges because one is interpretive (women priests) and the other empirical (astronomy). Even as I write this, I know what I would say to me were I convinced of the veracity of infallibility: You’re right; they are apples and oranges, and the Church claims only to be infallible on matters of faith and morals. Point well taken.

(Gosh, this is so long already! My apologies! I just really want my spirit settled on this.) So then if we start talking about matters of faith and morals, we have to talk about the bodily (as opposed to soul and divinity only) presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, birth control, definition of sacrament (not as a conduit of grace – I believe that – but narrowly defined as instituted by Christ himself), etc. And that makes me tired. :ouch: I mean, I’m up for it, but not for a barrage of stuff I’ve already heard from people who are not interested in collegial discussion in good will.

I guess my bottom line is that the argument for infallibility seems circular to me: The Church is right on “x” issue because it is right. And I don’t know what to do with that. My reason (please do not read rationalization), which I hold as a God-given virtue, does not allow me to accept that. Am I alone in this? Can’t the Church be the holy bride of Christ, the people of God, and the guardian of truth while still being able to say occasionally, “You know what, I think we got that one wrong,” and even, “We all need to agree to disagree on this one”?

Whew!

To Windfish and 1Ke, I’ve spent so much time agonizing over my just-posted reply that I didn’t address you specifically! Sorry!

I suppose by “fundamentalist Catholic,” I mean people who fervently believe everything the Church teaches. Over time in Protestant circles, the term “fundamentalist” has sort of morphed from meaning people who believe a specific set of doctrines to becoming a type of religious slang meaning people who are, in secular terms – only because I don’t know a religious equivalent, party liners. Protestant fundamentalists may have varying doctrines from each other, whereas “Catholic fundamentalists” have the one Magesterium. Totally my own verbage, though. I just mean it to distinguish between those who believe and adhere to it all and those who don’t.

And I understand what you mean, Windfish, about certain criteria defining “Catholic.” That’s kind of what I meant by being “outside” if I don’t believe everything set out by the Church. I believe people like me are referred to as “cafeteria Catholics.” That kind of hurts my feelings because it implies that I casually dismiss teachings I don’t like. It’s not just that I don’t like certain stuff; it’s that I honestly believe the Church is wrong on some things. Not in a “Grrr… that’s crazy and I’m outta here!” kind of way, but in a, “Hey, can we talk about this and maybe re-examine some things?” way. That’s also what I mean by “reform-minded” Catholic. If it’s wrong to think that way, then haven’t we left very little room for growth? It seems intellectually dishonest to me to say that we have certain issues irrefutably figured out when there are good reasons and scholarship pointing in other directions. And I believe very much that we are created by God with great capacity to reason, so we should not ignore that capacity.

Wish we could have these convos verbally so we could hear tone. So much is lost in translation through written word alone. Thank goodness for these: :slight_smile:

well if anyone says anything, - I think the purpose of this forum is to answer people’s questions about apologetics… :slight_smile: I don’t think it’s a problem at all to describe aspects of Catholicism that you (or anyone else) is struggling with

Specifically – and to the root of my dissent with other dogma, doctrine, and teachings – I do not believe the Pope and the Magisterium are infallible. (Again, with deepest and true respect.)

Many people struggle with that one. It might help to read about the early Church… for example, St Iraneaus wrote to heretics in around the 2nd century AD saying that the reason he knows he’s in the true Church, is because of Apostolic Succession from the Apostles, and that is how he knows the Church’s teachings are true. That supports the infallibility of the Church. As for the Papacy in particular, Catholic Answers has a section with quotes about the Papacy, which might help: catholic.com/library/church_papacy.asp there are also similar articles about other topics on the website: catholic.com/library/faith_tracts.asp

There’s something to keep in mind that not many people realize… when the Pope proclaims something as dogma, - he’s not making it infallible. He’s only declaring that it’s already a teaching of the Church. With all the dogmas, we can see that they were taught in the Church before they were proclaimed as such… and sometimes, under different terminology. Proclaiming something a dogma usually just involves giving it a particular title, and saying that it’s indeed the Church’s teaching. For this reason, teachings are declared dogma often when they are being opposed by someone (like in the Reformation). Some people say, - the infallibility of the Pope was only proclaimed a couple hundred years ago, etc, so it’s not historical, - but it was in fact believed before then, it just didn’t have the title. It was declared dogma perhaps because it was being opposed at the time. Another thing to keep in mind is that it’s not like God speaks through the Pope when he speaks ex cathedra… the Holy Spirit simply protects him from error. There have been cases when some bad Popes wanted to change doctrines to fit their agendas, but something always intervened - either they died, or changed their mind the day of, etc. One in particular believed a heresy prior to becoming the Pope, and then changed his mind about it.

the way the Church’s teachings evolve, is they evolve in terminology and amount of detail. The core however remains the same. This is simply because all we need for salvation has already been given to the Apostles. No doubt there’s much more to know and understand, but it’s not part of general revelation, - typically it falls under private revelation and is not mandatory for the faithful to believe… we only need to believe in general revelation that was “once given”, - because that is what God gave us as most important and necessary for us. This revelation is both Scripture and Tradition (Tradition is the correct interpretation of Scripture).

Don’t worry about offending, you are here to ask questions, not to attack anyone :slight_smile: disagreement or doubt or struggling with something, shouldnt be offensive to anyone. If it is, that is not your fault.

I also wanted to say about Middle Ages… they were not as clouded and ignorant as people think. After all, that is when the Church began to start universities. Especially among the monastic orders, there was much academic learning going on at the time. Also, which teachings do you mean in particular? I can’t really think of a teaching that started in the middle ages… they all seem to go back further… except perhaps limbo, but that’s not a doctrine and most people dont’ believe it anyways. Limbo is just theological speculation. Dogmas about Mary, etc, - all go back to the early Church, not to the middle ages.

Regarding female priests, one other reason women can’t be priests is because the priest symbolizes Christ when he does the Sacraments. Christ has a human nature and is a Man. Also, all the other ancient churches - Eastern Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, - also don’t allow women to be priests. It seems to be the original understanding from the early Church. There are theological reasons for it. That doesn’t mean the Church looks down on women… women just have a different role. Just as men can’t be nuns, ie brides of Christ, so women can’t be priests. Our Blessed Mother, is second only to God, and she is a woman. :slight_smile:

About the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, - He is everywhere spiritually, but physically/substantially present in the Eucharist, as in Heaven. We don’t exactly understand how this works, it’s a mystery, but He said it is His Body and Blood, not just His Soul and Divinity. When we are before the Eucharist, we are before the same Jesus who the blessed adore and worship in Heaven. He still has a body. Regarding birth control, it separates sex from one of its purposes, it’s like a couple wanting to have sex but don’t want to let God create. It’s taking too much control, when God should be in control. With the Sacraments, - we can see them all in Scripture, instituted by Christ, particularly Baptism, and the Eucharist… He instituted Confession when He gave the Apostles the power to forgive…

I don’t see the argument for infallibility a circular one, because it’s not “the Church is right on ‘x’ issue because it is right”. The argument is: “the Church is right on ‘x’ issue because Christ promised to protect the Church and to guide it”.

Hope that helps!
God bless

Can’t the Church be the holy bride of Christ, the people of God, and the guardian of truth while still being able to say occasionally, “You know what, I think we got that one wrong,” and even, “We all need to agree to disagree on this one”?

But this would be like saying that the Holy Spirit didn’t protect the Church. There ARE things the Church can be wrong about, but they are not dogmas… rather speculations, like limbo. If something was wrong in terms of dogma, yes the Church would be able to say, “we were wrong”. But the Church believes it is being guided by Christ. The Bible says, the Church is the pillar and the foundation of truth.

Regarding ‘fundamentalist’ or ‘cafeteria’ Catholics, I would say that part of being Catholic is being “of one mind” with the Church - as the Scripture says.

About the Middle Ages being riddeld with ignorance, let me direct you to a couple of sites:
catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0208.htm
catholiceducation.org/articles/history/world/wh0041.html

Yeah, that makes sense. I mainly referenced doctrine as is plain from my language, e.g., “doctrine” and “word of God.”

However even on disciplinary matters, if I disagree, I would still question myself too. Lenten practices, for example, are a disciplinary matter. But, like you say, in the end I would follow what the Church says.

The Magisterium teaches infallibly (no possibility of error) in three ways:

  1. solemn definitions of the pope (papal infallibility)
  2. solemn definitions of ecumenical councils
  3. the ordinary and universal Magisterium

All other teachings of the Magisterium, by Popes, Councils, and individual Bishops, are non-infallible and subject to a limited possibility of error.

Pope John Paul II: “This magisterium is not above the divine word but serves it with a specific carisma veritatis certum, which includes the charism of infallibility, present not only in the solemn definitions of the Roman Pontiff and of Ecumenical Councils, but also in the universal ordinary magisterium, which can truly be considered as the usual expression of the Church’s infallibility.” (Address John Paul II to the bishops from the United States on their ad limina visit, 15 October 1988)

Infallible teachings require the full assent of faith.
Obstinate doubt or obstinate denial of any infallible teaching is the sin of heresy.

Non-infallible teachings require the religious submission of will and intellect.

vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P2H.HTM

Some faithful dissent is possible from non-infallible teachings, since there is some possibility of error, but the extent of possible faithful dissent is like the extent of possible error: substantially limited. One might dissent from a point within a non-infallible teaching, without sin, if the dissent is based on Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium – but not if the dissent is merely based on one’s own reasoning. Faith is greater than reason.

Obstinate doubt or obstinate denial of the ability of the Magisterium to teach infallibly is a heresy.

I wouldn’t be afraid of a “storm.” You came here to learn, and hopefully everyone gives answers in a charitable way.

I suggest you read up on development of doctrine. Church teaching most certainly can evolve. It can be articulated in different ways, it can be more fully developed, we can come to a richer understanding of it. And, in disciplinary matters, things can and do change all the time.

Dogma and doctrine cannot change because God does not change. The Church doesn’t make up doctrine and dogma, She only faithfully teaches what God has divinely revealed.

If you truly do not believe the Church-- Magesterium and Pope-- are infallible, then I suggest you delay joining the Church and study more. This is the foundational dogma of the Church. If you cannot at least **assent **to it while continuing to strive to understand it, then you should refrain from the Sacraments.

Well, yes, it is very Protestant. It does take time to root all that out of ourselves. I converted 18 years ago. Fortunately for me, the authority and infallibility were the things I did accept as true. I had problems with other teachings, but since authority wasn’t one of them I easily adopted the “it must be true, I’ll keep studying” attitude. That bore much fruit b/c I did eventually, with the help of the Holy Spirit, come to understand the Church’s teaching and moreover how they are all inter-related.

Have you read Ordinatio Sacerdotalis?

I will only make one comment and that is regarding the “cultural” argument against female priests. There were plenty of female priestesses of high rank in the Greek and Roman culture as well as pagan cultures in the near East. God ordained Israel’s priesthood and then the Catholic priesthood in a specific way to point the way to Christ. Christ who is the Truth among many error-riddled religous systems. Think on this.

I also think you should think more on your assumption that the ages of the past are “riddled-with-ignorance.” Perhaps it is our modern culture that is riddled with ignorance.

It cannot.

And the Church had absolutely NO problem with the science of either man. The Vatican supported many scholars in their scientific pursuits.

I think you’ve bought in to a modern rendition of these stories that fail to understand the real problem.

No, one is doctrine and one is not. That is the real difference.

You are probably not alone in this. HOwever, I am going to struggle to relate to it because it’s been almost 20 years since I was in that position myself.

All I know is that in reading the bible I saw the truth that God had given authority to the apostles, and they were given the Truth to pass on. They taught to hold tight to that Truth. They taught with authority (in Acts, after Peter taught the people were SILENT.)

And the Holy Spirit moved me to see that God had established his Church in this way to protect his people.

No. It can’t. Objective truth exists. We must be in relation to that Truth, not make up our own truth. Otherwise, we are Adam and Eve-- making our own good and evil.

There is a modernist heresy of moral relativism that is in opposition to the nature of God. God’s truth doesn’t change. It can’t. And, the Church was given that truth. The Church’s job is to communicate it and protect it and protect US.

Many people today, especially women, think the Church is trying to somehow oppress them. The Church is trying to get us all to Heaven. If there is something that stands between you and Heaven the Church’s job is to help you get rid of it. It does this by proclaiming the Truth about morality, the truth about the Faith, the truth about the WAY to Heaven.

I call such a person a joy-filled Catholic. I’m a joy-filled Catholic.

I find the ones who are constantly trying to find ways that the Church is wrong and they are right to be anything but joy-filled. They are chasing the sin of Adam and Eve.

The heresies of the Enlightenment have taken deep root in people, especially coupled with the American experiment of the 18th century. We’ve got a double hard row to hoe to remember we are members of a Kingdom-- the Kingdom of Christ. And that Kingdom has a King who we are to obey. And that King sets stewards over us, not to “lord it over us” but to help us to Heaven.

The Church as a different word for those Catholics who don’t. It’s called heretic. It’s a word no one wants to use now days, and one that people use improperly. But, there it is. Formal heresy is no small matter-- it puts your soul in great danger.

Heresy is not the same as questioning or not understanding. It is an obstinate refusal to believe the Truth.

I would question that scholarship. You call the ages past riddled-with-ignorance. I think in ages past they had much more clarity spiritually than we do. Our modern technology gives us a false idea that we have authority over the Earth and therefore authority over ourselves. We don’t have authority over ourselves. Christ bought us with a great price, and he is our King. We’ll be celebrating Christ the King this Sunday, ask Christ to show you his Kingdom and those he set as stewards over it.

Yes, the forum only goes so far.

Keep studying, Julie. I think you’ll make a fine Catholic one day.

The issue of infallibility was the one that got me into the Church - it’s intrinsically bound to the issue of authority: what authority did Christ give to teach in his name, and to whom did he give it?

You agree (do you not?) that Sacred Scripture is the inerrant Word of God, that the men who wrote them were protected by God with a charism which ensured that what they wrote was true. If so, then you’ve already agreed that the charism of infallibility exists, because infallibility means that when the Apostles intended to teach on matters of faith and morals God protected them from teaching error.

I looked to Sacred Scripture to find what evidence I could in support of this idea. I found that Jesus gave the authority to teach in His name to the Apostles (Matthew 10:20; Luke 10:1; Luke 10:16), with Peter having the preeminent position among them (Matthew 16:17-19), and promised that the Holy Spirit would protect them from ever teaching error (John 14:16-18, 26; 15:26; 16:13; 17:17-19; Luke 21:33). He said that they would remember everything Jesus taught them. (John 14:16-18, 26; Luke 21:33). He further promised that the fruit that the Apostles bore (i.e., the Bishops they appointed and the Church that He built on them (Ephesians 2:19-22)) would remain faithful (John15:16). The Apostles in turn taught (again, without error) that they had the authority to pass that office on to their successors (Acts 1:20,26; Rom 13:1-2; Heb. 13:17; 1 Tim 1:3; 2 Tim 2:2; 2 Pet. 1:16–21, 3:2; 1 Cor 3:9-11; Jude 8:10-11 (ref. to Num 16). This is supported by the writings of the earliest Church Fathers: Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, and Irenaeus of Lyons among them.

Based on the word of Christ, we can know that the teaching authority (the Magesterium) of the Church is protected by God from ever teaching false doctrine as being infallibly true and binding on all believers.

This promise of Christ is absolutely essential for the life of a Christian, precisely because it is the nature of fallen man to deceive himself…* and without guidance from an outside authority it is impossible for you* to know that you aren’t deceiving yourself in matters of revealed truth. There are many things in Sacred Scripture that are difficult to understand; the ignorant and unstable can bring themselves to ruin, and by definition the ignorant and unstable don’t know that they’re ignorant and unstable.

As for the evolution of doctrine, that most certainly does happen. The understanding of revealed truth has been developing since the time of the Apostles, and there are many teachings that we now understand with greater clarity than did those living in the First Century. But what does not and cannot happen is for new doctrine to contradict previously defined doctrine.

As I made my journey into the Church there were a number of issues with which I had difficulty, and for one or two in particular the reasoning that I had been given was unconvincing. Nonetheless, I knew that Christ truly had promised that His Church would never teach false doctrine, and so I made an act of the will to reject my own ideas whenever the contradicted those of the Church. I was able to honestly affirm that I hold as true every doctrine of the Church, because it is revealed by Christ who is Truth itself and who neither deceives nor can be deceived.

At the Easter Vigil when I first was able to receive our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, I experienced a feeling that something had opened up inside of me. One of the things I found within the sensation of being swept away by a river was the realization that it had to be this way, of *course *those teachings I didn’t understand were true, how silly of me to think that I had to understand Truth in order to believe Him. And now six years later I can honestly say that I no longer have any reservations about any doctrine of the Church.

May God’s grace be with you on your journey.

Thanks for the response, julie.

If, after very serious reflection, you still “dissent,” then now it’s between you and God. The best advice we can give is to just trust.

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