What if I cannot agree with the Church?


#1

Help! I'm afraid my question may be more pastoral than doctrinal but I fear no priest has time to deal with my concerns. The primary one of which is that, after years of prayer, I cannot bring myself into agreement with many Catholic beliefs, especially those related to sexuality. While I am a heterosexual male, the Church's teachings on abortion and homosexuality could be considered as irrelevant to me, but I cannot believe. I'm sorry. I really am. And I have no intention of arguing against the magisterium. And I simply cannot vote "prolife" while I have doubts on that issue and against every other moral and social justice which I hold dear (and which I have learned from the church!).

My question is, what becomes of me? Can I somehow be a "Catholic" by following the liturgy of the hours, centering prayer, and such and just keep my mouth shut on doctrine? Or am I lost? I have studied Catholic doctrine, have a bachelor's degree in pastoral ministry and completed the Ignatian Retreat before these doubts became front and center. I have considered Protestantism as a solution but feel that the church "has the words of everlasting life." Am I lost? Is it time for me to check out Buddhism?

Please help. Do I have any options?


#2

Dear friend,

You say that you have considered Protestantism, but “feel that the Church has the words of everlasting life.” You said, “feel,” but I hope you meant “believe.” If the Catholic Church has the words of everlasting life, then not only is Buddhism not an option, putting your opinions over the teaching authority of that same Church is not an option either. We don’t have to understand all that the Lord asks of us through His Church and we don’t have to like it. We DO have to accept it.

I know that these words sting as you read them—but only because you begin with yourself and how you see things. When we begin with ourselves, we judge everything according to what we like and don’t like. We become our center. BUT when we begin with God, we judge everything by what HE likes and doesn’t like—and HE is our center. Since He came first, He alone has the right to always come first.

Our Blessed Mother never understood what God wanted of her until after she had accepted it. When He asked her to be the mother of His Son, He didn’t explain how He was going to accomplish this. What was she to say to Joseph? What was she to say to the rabbi? Adultery was punishable with death. She simply trusted Him because she loved Him.

“Be it done to me as you have said.” “Father, not my will, but yours be done.” This is what the Father asked of Mary and Jesus. It is what He asks of each of us throughout our lives. Responding with our “yes” is the only way to find peace. I will remember you during my daily hour before Him in the tabernacle that He will give you the strength to give your “yes.”. Feel free to write me privately by clicking on my name here.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.


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