What is it I'm supposed to agree to?


#1

I am a baptized believer from a conservative evangelical background and am seeking full communion with the Catholic church, mainly out of a desire for Christian unity and a new appreciation for the necessity of apostolic leadership (I’ve come to realize, while re-examining my faith, that the Bible didn’t just fall from the sky for each of us to interpret on our own).

I’ve been attending RCIA for a couple of weeks, and I asked our catechist what I will have to do in order to become Catholic. He described it as a ‘quick and easy’ procedure in which I will state the following, “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.” I asked him whether that meant the entire catechism, and he said, “Yeah, basically.”

This concerns me because while I haven’t seen anything I have a major problem with in my reading of the catechism so far, I’m not ready to stand up and say I ‘believe and profess’ every bit of it, and I don’t know if I ever will be. It also doesn’t make sense based on the diversity of opinions I’ve found as I’ve explored catholicism a bit. I’ve been told that even many priests don’t agree with the whole catechism, and according to Wikipedia, American Catholic Bishops say that it doesn’t “distinguish between matters of faith and theological opinion.” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catechism_of_the_Catholic_Church

I’m quite ready to profess the Nicene Creed and to accept the authority of the church on matters of conduct. Is that a legitimate interpretation of the statement I’m supposed to make? Or is there some other statement of essential Catholic dogma that I should agree to?

I would appreciate any feedback. Thanks for reading!


#2

I think you need to enrol in RCIA. You'll delve much more deeply into Catholic teaching over 1-2 years and will have more opportunities to lean, discern, pray and think. It's never "really easy".

I have studied a lot and am willing to agree to everything, yet my consulting priest says I need to go through all the RCIA rites. Conversion is serious and takes lots and lots of time and sober thought.


#3

You must give assent to the entirety of the teachings of the Church. This is often difficult, as we must deny ourselves and take up our crosses to do so.

Do you have q copy of Catholicism for Dummies? It should be used in all RCIA courses, as it will correct the misinformation that seems so prevalent in the classes.


#4

[quote="SpringRose, post:1, topic:295419"]
I am a baptized believer from a conservative evangelical background and am seeking full communion with the Catholic church, mainly out of a desire for Christian unity and a new appreciation for the necessity of apostolic leadership (I've come to realize, while re-examining my faith, that the Bible didn't just fall from the sky for each of us to interpret on our own).

I've been attending RCIA for a couple of weeks, and I asked our catechist what I will have to do in order to become Catholic. He described it as a 'quick and easy' procedure in which I will state the following, "I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God." I asked him whether that meant the entire catechism, and he said, "Yeah, basically."

This concerns me because while I haven't seen anything I have a major problem with in my reading of the catechism so far, I'm not ready to stand up and say I 'believe and profess' every bit of it, and I don't know if I ever will be. It also doesn't make sense based on the diversity of opinions I've found as I've explored catholicism a bit. I've been told that even many priests don't agree with the whole catechism, and according to Wikipedia, American Catholic Bishops say that it doesn't "distinguish between matters of faith and theological opinion." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catechism_of_the_Catholic_Church

I'm quite ready to profess the Nicene Creed and to accept the authority of the church on matters of conduct. Is that a legitimate interpretation of the statement I'm supposed to make? Or is there some other statement of essential Catholic dogma that I should agree to?

I would appreciate any feedback. Thanks for reading!

[/quote]

I honestly don't know what "statement" your RCIA instructor is speaking of. You will come fully into the Church upon confirmation, should you decide to do so. If I were you, I'd find a priest to speak with concerning your concerns. Were you baptised with water and using the Trinitarian formula (valid baptism)? If not, you'll need to be baptised during your RCIA instruction.

Perhaps what your RCIA instructor is talking about is the fact that you will need to accept the dogmas of the Church. If so, that is true. Again, I'd seek out a good priest to speak with concerning this.

Oh... and welcome to the forums!! :thumbsup:


#5

[quote="Tietjen, post:4, topic:295419"]
I honestly don't know what "statement" your RCIA instructor is speaking of. You will come fully into the Church upon confirmation, should you decide to do so.

[/quote]

Tietjen, when a baptized person asks to be received into full communion they are asked to make the following profession of faith: I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches and proclaims to be revealed by God.

(from section 491of the RCIA rite)
This is done after the homily and before the candidate receives the sacrament of Confirmation. This is significantly shortened from the profession of faith prior to the revised rites.

I, name, .... years of age, born outside the Catholic Church, have held and believed errors contrary to her teaching. Now, enlightened by divine grace, I kneel before you, Reverend Father ...., having before my eyes and touching with my hand the holy Gospels. And with firm faith I believe and profess each and all the articles contained in the Apostles' Creed, that is: I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended into hell, the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father almighty, from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy Catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

                 I firmly admit and embrace the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and all the other constitutions and ordinances of the Church.

                 I admit the Sacred Scriptures in the sense which has been held and is still held by holy Mother Church, whose duty it is to judge the true sense and interpretation of Sacred Scripture, and I shall never accept or interpret them in a sense contrary to the unanimous consent of the fathers.

                 I profess that the sacraments of the New Law are truly and precisely seven in number, instituted for the salvation of mankind, though all are not necessary for each individual: baptism, confirmation, holy Eucharist, penance, anointing of the sick, holy orders, and matrimony. I profess that all confer grace, and that baptism, confirmation, and holy orders cannot be repeated without sacrilege. I also accept and admit the ritual of the Catholic Church in the solemn administration of all the aforementioned sacraments.

I accept and hold in each and every part all that has been defined and declared by the Sacred Council of Trent concerning original sin and justification. I profess that in the Mass there is offered to God a true, real, and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead; that in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ is really, truly, and substantially present, and that there takes place in the Mass what the Church calls transubstantiation, which is the change of all the substance of bread into the body of Christ and of all substance of wine into His blood. I confess also that in receiving under either of these species one receives Jesus Christ whole and entire.

                 I firmly hold that Purgatory exists and that the souls detained there can be helped by the prayers of the faithful.

                 Likewise I hold that the saints, who reign with Jesus Christ, should be venerated and invoked, that they offer prayers to God for us, and that their relics are to be venerated.
                 I firmly profess that the images of Jesus Christ and of the Mother of God, ever a Virgin, as well as of all the saints should be given due honor and veneration. I also affirm that Jesus Christ left to the Church the faculty to grant indulgences, and that their use is most salutary to the Christian people. I recognize the holy, Roman, Catholic, and apostolic Church as the mother and teacher of all the churches, and I promise and swear true obedience to the Roman Pontiff, successor of St. Peter, the prince of the apostles and vicar of Jesus Christ.

                 Moreover, without hesitation I accept and profess all that has been handed down, defined, and declared by the sacred canons and by the general councils, especially by the Sacred Council of Trent and by the Vatican General Council, and in special manner all that concerns the primacy and infallibility of the Roman Pontiff. At the same time I condemn and reprove all that the Church has condemned and reproved. This same Catholic faith, outside of which none can be saved, I now freely profess and I truly adhere to it. With the help of God, I promise and swear to maintain and profess this faith entirely, inviolately, and with firm constancy until the last breath of life. And I shall strive, as far as possible, that this same faith shall be held, taught, and publicly professed by all who depend on me and over whom I shall have charge.
                 So help me God and these holy Gospels.

From Sancta Missa

As you can see the older profession of faith was formulated in such a way to specifically profess those things that protestant churches had rejected from the Catholic faith.


#6

SpringRose,
When making the profession of faith we are agreeing to accept all those things that the Church teaches. This includes things like the Nicene Creed, dogmas (e.g. the immaculate conception, the assumption of the blessed mother, purgatory, intercession of the Saints, etc.), as well as other teachings of the Church on social and moral issues. One must accept these things even if they don't like them or disagree.

For me, I had a difficult time because the Catholic faith is so deep that it's was hard to say I accepted it all, because there was so much that I might not know. I kept thinking "What if there is something I disagree with?" In the end I put my faith in God, His Son, and the Church. If I start questioning if something makes sense I remember making my profession of faith and tell myself that Christ entrusted the faith to the Church and my place is not to question, but rather to submit and to obey.

That was the most difficult part of my conversion; learning to accept that my opinions do not have equal weight with the magisterium and to learn to submit to an authority other than myself.


#7

[quote="Usige, post:5, topic:295419"]
Tietjen, when a baptized person asks to be received into full communion they are asked to make the following profession of faith: I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches and proclaims to be revealed by God.

(from section 491of the RCIA rite)
This is done after the homily and before the candidate receives the sacrament of Confirmation. This is significantly shortened from the profession of faith prior to the revised rites.
As you can see the older profession of faith was formulated in such a way to specifically profess those things that protestant churches had rejected from the Catholic faith.

[/quote]

I doubt the accuracy of this last statement. The Nicene, and Apostles creeds were codified well before the reformation. The Nicene creed was a response to something other than the reformation.


#8

[quote="lssanjose, post:7, topic:295419"]
I doubt the accuracy of this last statement. The Nicene, and Apostles creeds were codified well before the reformation. The Nicene creed was a response to something other than the reformation.

[/quote]

Yes, the Nicene creed was a response to Arianism in the mid 4th century. But remember there are a number of Christian sects that are not trinitarian and that reject the creeds. If you walk through the specific sections of the older profession it specifically calls out areas where Protestants have rejected parts of the Catholic faith.

Here was the short form 50 years ago

I, N.N., reared in the Protestant religion (or another religion as the case may be) but now by the grace of God brought to the knowledge of the truth, sincerely and solemnly declare that I firmly believe and profess all that the holy, Catholic, apostolic, and Roman Church believes and teaches, and I reject and condemn whatever she rejects and condemns.

It was a stronger statement about rejecting Protestant beliefs. Also remember that when a Protestant used to make their profession it was done kneeling and the priest would be vested in a surplice and purple stole, the same vestments as worn during confession. That is important because the old profession was both accepting the Catholic faith as well as asking forgiveness of... well.. heresy. After the profession of faith the priest would say:

God, whose nature is ever merciful and forgiving, accept our prayer that this servant of yours, bound by the fetters of sin, may be pardoned by your loving kindness: through Christ our Lord.

...

By the authority of the Holy See which I exercise here, I release you from the bond of excommunication which you have (perhaps) incurred; and I restore you to communion and union with the faithful, as well as to the holy sacraments of the Church; in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Those things taken together make it quite clear that the old profession was formulated to reject Protestant beliefs and reinforce Catholic teachings. One of the keys in my original statement is in the last section where one professed "... I accept and profess all that has been handed down, defined, and declared by the sacred canons and by the general councils, especially by the Sacred Council of Trent ..." The Council of Trent was called to address the heresies of the protestant reformation.

Now obviously Protestants are no longer considered heretics and hence the removal of absolution and penance after the profession of faith. That being said the statements in the older profession are a good guide for Protestants on what the Church traditionally considered as part of "... all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches and proclaims to be revealed by God."


#9

Thank you all. This has been to say the least informative, but more important , it tells me my journey into Catholicism(more properly, back into) is by no means complete
Fortunately around the same time I was scared back to God, I also met a neighbor , who actually attends all the sacrements , I have been attending a monthly Cenacle with he and his wife and it has been helpful because we have a chat and coffee session after and all the attendees( between 8 and 13 people usually. They are all very long and strong in their Catholic church beliefs and lifestyles. To be honest that was stronger prompting than all I have read. As a Protestant I followed my grandfather and was a part-time preacher.
whityd57:


#10

[quote="SpringRose, post:1, topic:295419"]
I am a baptized believer from a conservative evangelical background and am seeking full communion with the Catholic church, mainly out of a desire for Christian unity and a new appreciation for the necessity of apostolic leadership (I've come to realize, while re-examining my faith, that the Bible didn't just fall from the sky for each of us to interpret on our own).

[/quote]

Congratulations and welcome home....:thumbsup:

I've been attending RCIA for a couple of weeks, and I asked our catechist what I will have to do in order to become Catholic. He described it as a 'quick and easy' procedure in which I will state the following, "I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God." I asked him whether that meant the entire catechism, and he said, "Yeah, basically."

True...and when the time comes you may indeed find it to be fairly easy...remember that you have just entered the process.

This concerns me because while I haven't seen anything I have a major problem with in my reading of the catechism so far, I'm not ready to stand up and say I 'believe and profess' every bit of it, and I don't know if I ever will be. It also doesn't make sense based on the diversity of opinions I've found as I've explored catholicism a bit. I've been told that even many priests don't agree with the whole catechism, and according to Wikipedia, American Catholic Bishops say that it doesn't "distinguish between matters of faith and theological opinion." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catechism_of_the_Catholic_Church

Something to remember is that "Belief" does not necessarily = understanding. You believe in the Trinity - but do you really understand it? Things like that. some things we simply accept on faith for the very reason that brought you to RCIA....
The recognition of the need for the authoritative Church as revealed in Scripture.

I'm quite ready to profess the Nicene Creed and to accept the authority of the church on matters of conduct. Is that a legitimate interpretation of the statement I'm supposed to make? Or is there some other statement of essential Catholic dogma that I should agree to?

Be patient...you have only begun the journey. I would say at this point YES the above is a good position to be in. As you come closer to next Easter I believe you will find yourself much more at ease with the idea.

Will you have everything figured out?? Nope...but then none of us do...Even those of us raised in the faith...So I say again - be patient with yourself.

I would appreciate any feedback. Thanks for reading!

You are welcome - hope it helped some...

One last thought...Part of the problem you are having is probably the latent effects of the "protestant" background where you personally accept or reject as you saw fit. The thing is that you have recognized the confusion in this view...the many denominations and conflicting teachings etc within protestantism. Don't lose sight of this as you move forward. You are coming into the Church because you seek consistency, truth and certainty in the Ancient Church. The Church of the first century. The Biblical Church.

Peace
James


#11

I will say, that if you truly believe the Catholic Church is the Church established by Christ, and you are a believer who wants to give yourself totally to God, then given up your doubts to the Lord and believing in Church teachings (even in the midst of doubt) by faith in the Church, you would be giving yourself more fully to God.


#12

JRKH's post was excellent advice.

There is a reason the Catholic Church uses the word "formation" for the period of time that people spend preparing to receive sacraments. "Truth" and "Beliefs" sound like very intellectual concepts but there is also a need for growth where those truths are incorporated into the life of the individual. The time before you are received into the Church is YOUR formative period.

Part of becoming Catholic is accepting the authority of the Church even when it doesn't make any sense to us ...or even seems outright wrong to us. It's normal for this to take time. Sometimes we just need familiarity with concepts. Sometimes we need to sort out the differences between doctrines of the Church, binding practices of the Church, and theological theories of the Church. Sometimes we need to make peace with the fallible people who are the Church here on earth.


#13

[quote="SpringRose, post:1, topic:295419"]
I am a baptized believer from a conservative evangelical background and am seeking full communion with the Catholic church, mainly out of a desire for Christian unity and a new appreciation for the necessity of apostolic leadership (I've come to realize, while re-examining my faith, that the Bible didn't just fall from the sky for each of us to interpret on our own).

I've been attending RCIA for a couple of weeks, and I asked our catechist what I will have to do in order to become Catholic. He described it as a 'quick and easy' procedure in which I will state the following, "I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God." I asked him whether that meant the entire catechism, and he said, "Yeah, basically."

This concerns me because while I haven't seen anything I have a major problem with in my reading of the catechism so far, I'm not ready to stand up and say I 'believe and profess' every bit of it, and I don't know if I ever will be. It also doesn't make sense based on the diversity of opinions I've found as I've explored catholicism a bit. I've been told that even many priests don't agree with the whole catechism, and according to Wikipedia, American Catholic Bishops say that it doesn't "distinguish between matters of faith and theological opinion." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catechism_of_the_Catholic_Church

I'm quite ready to profess the Nicene Creed and to accept the authority of the church on matters of conduct. Is that a legitimate interpretation of the statement I'm supposed to make? Or is there some other statement of essential Catholic dogma that I should agree to?

I would appreciate any feedback. Thanks for reading!

[/quote]

The Catechism is a good resource but it is neither an exhaustive summary of Catholic teachings nor is it composed exclusively of them. As you mention, it does contain "theological opinion" that is doctrinally nonbinding and even, in some cases, what at least appear to be errors. That said, most of what is in the CCC is revealed truth and doctrinally binding, so your catechist's "Yeah, basically" answer is spot-on.

I think the interpretation you give ("profess the Nicene Creed and to accept the authority of the church on matters of conduct") captures most of what is expected of you. You are simply to acknowledge the Church's teaching authority in matters of faith and morals and assent to those teachings in toto.


#14

[quote="SpringRose, post:1, topic:295419"]
I'm quite ready to profess the Nicene Creed and to accept the authority of the church on matters of conduct. Is that a legitimate interpretation of the statement I'm supposed to make? Or is there some other statement of essential Catholic dogma that I should agree to?

[/quote]

As a Catholic, we don't have to determine what is true. We leave the to God and His Church.

As a Protestant, one is often in the position of comparing what you believe with what the pastor, hired by your church, believes. If there is a difference, either fire him and hire another, or find a different pastor in a different church.

In the Nicene Creed (at least in Latin, I don't know Greek.) It says

CREDO** in** unum Deum, Patrem * in One God, the Father]
Et
* in** unum Dominum [and in one Lord]
Et
in **Spiritum Sanctum [and **in the Holy Spirit]
Et unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam.[and One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church]

I would add, (I believe) before each phrase:

I believe in one God, the Father
I believe in One Lord
I believe in the Holy Spirit
I believe the ... Church

The Nicene Creed calls us to believe the Church, lead by the Holy Spirit, whose head is Jesus Christ. It teaches truth, when in doubt, turn to the Church.


#15

[quote="SpringRose, post:1, topic:295419"]
... I've been attending RCIA for a couple of weeks, and I asked our catechist what I will have to do in order to become Catholic. He described it as a 'quick and easy' procedure in which I will state the following, "I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God." I asked him whether that meant the entire catechism, and he said, "Yeah, basically."

This concerns me because while I haven't seen anything I have a major problem with in my reading of the catechism so far, I'm not ready to stand up and say I 'believe and profess' every bit of it, and I don't know if I ever will be. It also doesn't make sense based on the diversity of opinions I've found as I've explored catholicism a bit. ...

[/quote]

Hello,

The Catechism is a sure norm for teaching the Catholic faith (as Pope John Paul II said), but your concern is appropriate since not everything in the Catechism is said to be "revealed by God." In this profession, you are affirming that you believe everything that is a dogma of the faith: the 10 Commandments, the Creed, the dogmas regarding the Blessed Virgin, Purgatory, the Sacraments, the Papacy and hierarchical nature of the Church, the contents of Sacred Scripture (i.e., what books are in the Bible), fundamental moral law. That's all I can think of off-hand.

Stated negatively, the profession of faith is your declaration that you are not alligned with any heresy, in the proper understanding of that term. The old forms provided by "Usige" get at the heart of the matter and that your profession is related to the core matters of the Faith.

Dan


#16

[quote="po18guy, post:3, topic:295419"]
You must give assent to the entirety of the teachings of the Church. This is often difficult, as we must deny ourselves and take up our crosses to do so.

Do you have q copy of Catholicism for Dummies? It should be used in all RCIA courses, as it will correct the misinformation that seems so prevalent in the classes.

[/quote]

When do people do this? I converted in 2000 and I don't remember doing anything like this. Hmmmmm


#17

[quote="Usige, post:5, topic:295419"]
Tietjen, when a baptized person asks to be received into full communion they are asked to make the following profession of faith: I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches and proclaims to be revealed by God.

(from section 491of the RCIA rite)
This is done after the homily and before the candidate receives the sacrament of Confirmation. This is significantly shortened from the profession of faith prior to the revised rites.
As you can see the older profession of faith was formulated in such a way to specifically profess those things that protestant churches had rejected from the Catholic faith.

[/quote]

I never did that long one I read but this sounds familiar. I was converted in 2000 and was already baptized in another faith. I have no memory of having done that long rite. Good thing I'd be in the same boat. I am doing much better at aligning myself with the Church but I still have a long way to go. I'm glad I am a work in progress.


#18

[quote="Irishgal49, post:17, topic:295419"]
I never did that long one I read but this sounds familiar. I was converted in 2000 and was already baptized in another faith. I have no memory of having done that long rite. Good thing I'd be in the same boat. I am doing much better at aligning myself with the Church but I still have a long way to go. I'm glad I am a work in progress.

[/quote]

The longer profession was from the 1962 ritual book. They may do some of the longer profession like the renewal of baptismal promises (e.g. "Do you ???" "I do"). I don't have my copy of the rites in front of me so not sure if that's the case.

Only people validly baptized in another faith community are asked to make a profession of faith. Those being baptized are essentially professing their faith through requesting baptism. I included the longer profession to show what the Church traditionally had asked converts to profess. While I'm glad I didn't have to read the whole long piece during mass I'm glad I had read it before hand.


#19

[quote="SpringRose, post:1, topic:295419"]
I am a baptized believer from a conservative evangelical background and am seeking full communion with the Catholic church, mainly out of a desire for Christian unity and a new appreciation for the necessity of apostolic leadership (I've come to realize, while re-examining my faith, that the Bible didn't just fall from the sky for each of us to interpret on our own).

I've been attending RCIA for a couple of weeks, and I asked our catechist what I will have to do in order to become Catholic. He described it as a 'quick and easy' procedure in which I will state the following, "I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God." I asked him whether that meant the entire catechism, and he said, "Yeah, basically."

This concerns me because while I haven't seen anything I have a major problem with in my reading of the catechism so far, I'm not ready to stand up and say I 'believe and profess' every bit of it, and I don't know if I ever will be. It also doesn't make sense based on the diversity of opinions I've found as I've explored catholicism a bit. I've been told that even many priests don't agree with the whole catechism, and according to Wikipedia, American Catholic Bishops say that it doesn't "distinguish between matters of faith and theological opinion." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catechism_of_the_Catholic_Church

I'm quite ready to profess the Nicene Creed and to accept the authority of the church on matters of conduct. Is that a legitimate interpretation of the statement I'm supposed to make? Or is there some other statement of essential Catholic dogma that I should agree to?

I would appreciate any feedback. Thanks for reading!

[/quote]

Keep going to RCIA, the rest will come with time, all our lives are journeys, look for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We accept all Catholic dogma, ( this should go without saying,if you don't accept it you are protesting i.e protestant) You have the right heart.:thumbsup: I changed to red an important insight in your first paragraph:D


#20

Thanks, everyone, for your thoughtful and very helpful responses. Yes, I think I am starting to see that this is a different paradigm, where we realize that we ourselves are not the ultimate authority. I've always said that when deferring to the Bible on things I didn't understand, but it seems that maybe it is appropriate to defer to the Church in interpreting the Bible. I definitely have some "protestant thinking," which I have always been taught was THE right way to think, so it is a big step to consider changing that. Anyway, I will continue to attend RCIA as I study and pray through this.

Thanks again!


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