This question may be confusing for those of you who don’t know a little history about me b/c my username is not so appropriate…
Last year, I decided that I could no longer, in good conscience remain Catholic. I realized that I had convictions far more in line with anabaptist beliefs than I ever realized. I sought a conservative Mennonite congregation and began visiting their services and becoming a part of their community (as far as was possible, since they are not so close to me).
Anyway, I never stopped studying the Catholic faith. I have a pretty good understanding of Catholic apologetics, and over time, I’ve looked more into history and started to see the idea of “sola scriptura” as problematic. I had to admit that, even though I believed the same things that Mennonites believed, it was still based on my own personal interpretation of scripture. Perhaps it was coincidence that we agreed? I never thought so, and that was what moved me to continue. But over the year, history troubled me more and more and the church’s claim of authority (deciding canon, etc.) got to me. By Lent I had decided to return to the CC.
It has only been a matter of weeks since my return, and I’m getting that uneasy feeling again. I simply can’t pick up a bible and not see my fundamentalist, anabaptist beliefs there! I know that the CC does seem to have a scriptural basis (in many instances) for its beliefs and practices, but I still maintain that many of them contradict other scriptures. I’ve seen many other denominations do the same. I’ve seen JWs and other like groups use scripture (convincingly, until further research…) to “disprove” the deity of Christ for instance.
I’m going on a tangent here…
My main question is: I’m not the smartest, and I am easily fooled. I admit that my interpretation of anything is not infallible. My evaluation of a church’s beliefs may be just as fallible as my understanding of scripture. Do you see my problem here???
I am curious what the Catholic church teaches about conscience. I believe the Word of God (that we have in scripture) was not meant for learned men alone. I believe salvation should be obtainable, for simple ordinary man, through the Bible. I don’t believe that God has made salvation so complicated that we need to understand complex doctrines or go through rituals or sacraments…
If it goes against my conscience to continue to be Catholic because I simply can’t grasp and accept its practices and beliefs (albeit, possibly b/c of my own flawed capacity to understand it), should I remain Catholic anyway? What does the Catholic church teach about following one’s conscience? It’s not that I am uninformed either. I’ve studied and studied and continue to study, but regardless, I simply don’t see it in the Bible and I understand that I shouldn’t necessarily see it there, or at least, not explicitly so.
IOW, I see in the Catholic church the possibility that its claims are true, but I feel as though I am going against my own convictions and against my own conscience when I follow it
Isn’t there a scripture about this? Even though, in truth, meats that were sacrificed to idols were clean, if it was against someone’s conscience to eat it and they ate it anyway, they would be commiting sin. So, if, in truth, the Catholic church is all it claims to be, but its against my conscience to practice it, wouldn’t that too be a sin?
Thanks in advance for trying to break through my denseness :o