What To Do?


#1

Lately I have been unsure in a lot of things to the point that after “returning” to the Church last spring I left again after this past Christmas and started going to a Lutheran Church, I read the Book of Concord and considered becoming a Lutheran, but now seem to be having second thoughts. I have a lot of doubts about what the Catholic Church teaches on “Justification” for one and have the feeling that the Church teaches that ultimately we earn salvation by our “merits”. I am willing to learn what the truth is and what the Church really does teach. The 2cnd issue is the Papacy, did Jesus really establish such an “office” or is it just a historical development that evolved over the centuries like non-Catholics claim. The third issue is Mary, I have read some Catholic stuff about Mary and sometimes the language used seems to put Mary in the place of Christ, for example “The Glories of Mary” by Alphonsus Liguori, to be honest what I read in it just doesn’t seem right. Again I am willing to learn the truth. Plus I have made posts on some websites that are not too “Catholic friendly”. Should I just go to Confession and just work things out by reading, talking to the Priest and asking God for the grace to understand? In spite of some doubts can I come back to the Church?


#2

I think you already have the right instinct which is to study more about an issue which is hard to understand in any case, either from the Catholic position or the Lutheran, and even in the light of the joint statement on the issue a couple of years ago. More study, prayer and reflection is definitely called for.


#3

Hi. My advice would be to hold tight to your faith.

Faith is two things:
Content of the Faith
Act of Faith

Content is what we believe–all the ideas proposed for our belief. A simple statement of this content would be the Creed recited at Mass.

An Act of Faith is that act of our will whereby we deliberately incline our hearts to embrace as delicious and good what our minds are holding as true.

We need to make an Act of Faith to help us hold dear what we are taught is true.

In other words, the Faith is a Prayer as well as a Truth.

Embrace your faith, what you understand of it, and say the prayer “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.” That is an Act of Faith.

As to the Content of the Faith; please do not read or listen to anything not from a pure Catholic source right now. To do so in your shape is to court an occasion of temptation. You are shaky right now, and that is a time to pull back and do your research and study ONLY in solid Catholic sources.

Please put away all non-Catholic sources. Please go directly to the horse’s mouth about any ANY point of doctrine. Do you have the Catechism of the Catholic Church? Please just read it with an inclined heart. You can get it free online if you wish.

Find out what the Church really teaches. You seem to have misconceptions about that. Because what She teaches is Truth, and we are lucky to be her children.

Enter fully and deliberately into your inheritance, Kotek. And don’t fool around with your faith–it is possible to lose it, and then one is in a worse spot than if one had never had it to begin with, for we are responsible for turning away from a good once received.

Anything you think sounds “off,” may indeed be not Catholic teaching, or it may be that it sounds off to an ear not tuned to that frequency. Believe me, nobody puts Mary in Christ’s place, or any other of your worries.

Holy Spirit, illuminate Kotek’s mind and heart. Keep Kotek close to you.

Kotek, Keep the Faith.


#4

Yes I have a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, I also have Ludwig Ott’s “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma”, the RSV-CE 2cnd edition, “A Textual Concordance Of The Holy Scriptures” by Thomas David Williams (TAN Books).


#5

Good. Then be childlike, and read your catechism, Kotek. God will bless that effort with light.


#6

I read the Book of Concord and considered becoming a Lutheran, but now seem to be having second thoughts.

I don’t see how Lutheranism can stand without the Catholic Church. It can’t make any historical claims except as a break-away group from Catholicism. One might say that the schism was “necessary” but as I see it, Lutheran doctrine is so radically different that one would have to believe that there was no true Christian Church since Martin Luther came along.

I can’t see where Martin Luther was given the authority to start a new Christian church either. Or I should say, if he could do it, then anybody could. And that’s what happened, actually. Other preachers did what Luther did and just started new denominations.

I think it’s important to look at the historical picture from a broad view. Don’t just limit yourself to reading texts like catechisms and the Concord, etc.

I have a lot of doubts about what the Catholic Church teaches on “Justification” for one and have the feeling that the Church teaches that ultimately we earn salvation by our “merits”.

That would nullify the need for the sacrifice of Christ. But Catholicism makes that sacrifice central to the doctrine of the faith. So the idea of earning salvation by ourselves doesn’t fly at all as part of Catholic doctrine.

I am willing to learn what the truth is and what the Church really does teach.

That is essential – to stay open to what the Church teaches. It’s good to hear that you’re seeking answers.

The 2nd issue is the Papacy, did Jesus really establish such an “office” or is it just a historical development that evolved over the centuries like non-Catholics claim.

We see enough evidence in the early Fathers of the Church to conclude that the papacy was functioning from Rome in the apostolic age.

The third issue is Mary, I have read some Catholic stuff about Mary and sometimes the language used seems to put Mary in the place of Christ, for example “The Glories of Mary” by Alphonsus Liguori, to be honest what I read in it just doesn’t seem right.

St. Alphonsus was a great devotional and spiritual writer. But it’d be surprised if your concerns about “Catholic stuff” comes from his writings. I think you should start with the official doctrine. Usually, anti-Catholics will point to St. Alphonsus or St. Louis de Montfort on their devotional writings.

Plus I have made posts on some websites that are not too “Catholic friendly”.

As above, I was going to ask if you’ve been reading some anti-Catholic material.

Should I just go to Confession and just work things out by reading, talking to the Priest and asking God for the grace to understand?

Yes, absolutely.

In spite of some doubts can I come back to the Church?

Yes. I think it’s important to have some peace of mind and soul. Personally, from the issues you raised here, it seems to me that you’ve taken in some anti-Catholic ideas which can be very seductive because they are partial truths and one-sided attacks.
Keep in mind, these anti-Catholic propagandists really do not have a leg to stand on. There is almost nothing of substance to that kind of religion. It’s fabricated from subjective judgements and it’s built in a large part on attacks against Catholicism. They don’t even admit how much they owe to the Catholic Church (for the Bible itself and the definition of the Trinity which they use among many other things). They can’t admit that because that would expose how weak a foundation they have.

In time you’ll see how there’s nothing to those arguments against Catholicism.


#7

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=3228625#post3228625


#8

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.