Why is it so hard to be Catholic?


#1

I have lived in the “bible belt” now for about 15 years. I originaly come from a region of the country that is primarily Catholic.

I find the Catholic faith to be a day-to-day struggle. Yet, all around me I meet these so called born again Christians that have litterly turned their life around since being “saved” and are far more christian then 90% of the Catholics I meet.

I have to admit it creates doubt in me. I have hit the “bottom” in my relationship with God on more then one occasion. I have begged and pleaded for a conversion of faith as strong as other christians, but I’m still struggling.

Since, nothing ever seems to change. I am becoming convinced that regardless of what I feel , my heart must just not be in it. Without a doubt I know I want a reationship with Christ. I do love him, but I am a ****** lover.

Why is it so dang hard being Catholic?


#2

I have felt this way too, and though in some ways I really long for a religion that is easier for me and doesn’t demand as much obedience to doctrines that I wouldn’t believe from my own logic, I also think that the fact that it IS hard is why it is so good for me.

It has taught me perseverance, humility, and trust. It is a daily struggle honestly, but one that makes me stronger at the end of each day.

Catholicism to me is like the mature love between a long-married couple. There may not be the romanticism and raw emotions that made it so exciting and easy when the couple first met, but there is more real, battle-hardened love than there was in the beginning.

Keep up your faith. The fact that you’re trying even in hardship shows that you ARE in a good relationship with Christ!


#3

I’ve noticed that Catholics tend to be less emotional about their faith than most protestants, particular evangelicals.

Methinks it’s important to try to keep the outward emotive aspect of being “saved” from the quiet relationship with the Lord that many have, including yours truly.


#4

There is no easy answer to your question.
I too struggle mightily every day with my faith.
Sometimes we can get so tied up in the “ritual” of things that we lose focus.
Sometimes we try to listen to too many different voices (not "in our head’)
Sometimes we just get too tied up in life and lose our way.

One thing that Protestants have over us is a level of simplicity. Not that our faith isn’t simple. Rather, the Church is so old there are many different devotional avenues available and we can become lost in a seeming “labrynth” of different devotions etc. So the first thing I would suggest is keeping things simple.

Start with the simple idea that God loves you and wants you to Love him and others around you. Make sure that you pray daily - keep them simple little prayers that you make up. Just thank Him for the day - and things like that. Just keep God and Jesus in front of you.

Try this and see if it doesn’t help a bit.

Peace
James


#5

Living in the Bible Belt I have noticed a few things. The protestants seem to be way more coomunity oriented than the Catholics around here, and community is a very important aspect of our life. Try getting involved in a group or two at your church, the people you meet and being around like minded people can really help a lot sometimes. It also provides you with some people to talk to when the going gets rough.

Another thing is in the south there seems to be a lot of antagonism towards Catholics. I lost several friends when I made the decision to convert to Catholicism. If you are experiencing some of this negativity, please don’t let it bother you.

And I really think more involvement in the Catholic community near you might make life a little easier. I know I would surely struggle more if it weren’t for the friends I made at church functions :slight_smile:

I hope that helps


#6

In my experience, the kind of christians you’re talking about have turned out to be fair weather christians. They look like they’re doing great in their christianity when you see them, but goodness… let a loved one die a slow death of cancer and all of a sudden God doesn’t love them, the world, isn’t fair, and they’re atheists. A lot of those emotive based churches are just like the infatuation of a new relationship… it may or may not be a good conversion, but their emotive response is covering the answer to that question.

By contrast, I’ve met plenty of catholics who are zealous about their faith. Not so much in the same sunny-kumbaya manner, but in a more rugged and enduring way. I’ve met plenty of catholics who would literally walk through fire for their faith… and they don’t feel the need to go all happy weird about it either. I think, perhaps, you may be too quick to judge your catholic bretheren in their walk of faith. Perhaps what you’re determining to be lack of christian lifestyle is actually a stalwart resistance built up in an area that’s known for its anti-catholic bigotry?


#7

I just found this article today and thought it was especially appropriate to the discussion:

Time Magazine
Bible-Belt Catholics

By Tim Padgett/Charlotte Monday, Feb. 07, 2005

Eight years ago, a handful of Roman Catholic families in Huntersville, a suburb of Charlotte, N.C., started a new parish. The home of their church, St. Mark, was a bowling alley. Our Lady of the Lanes, as they jokingly called it, was an apt symbol of the scarcity–and supple ingenuity–of Catholics in a region known as the buckle of the Protestant Bible Belt. Soon St. Mark was gaining a family a day. Now its almost 2,800 families hear Mass in a cavernous gymnasium as they await completion of a new church. Among the newcomers is Ben Liuzzo, 54, a financial-services manager who a few years ago moved his family from New York to North Carolina. He had thought Catholics in the area might be as outnumbered as Jews or Muslims–and that the meager church life that did exist wouldn’t engage his 14-year-old son. Instead, the Liuzzos are attending standing-room-only services like St. Mark’s teen Mass, complete with a pop-music ensemble that could be mistaken for one of the area’s rollicking Christian rock bands. “This I was not prepared for,” says Liuzzo, who flashes a smile at a recent service as an altar girl marches a crucifix past 1,000 parishioners.

Yankee transplants like the Liuzzos aren’t the only ones helping fill the pews in the Charlotte diocese. Mexican immigrants are the fastest-growing group, and Hispanics as a whole make up half the diocese’s 300,000 Catholics. Thousands of Vietnamese and Filipino Catholics are settling in too. “I’ve wondered often how bishops in the Northeast handled the waves of immigration in the 19th and 20th centuries,” says Bishop Peter Jugis, 47, who took over the diocese in 2003. “It’s exciting.” It also transcends demographics: the newcomers are practicing a more conservative Catholicism than their brethren in many other parts of the country.

That more orthodox approach is proving as popular as a revival meeting. Priests and lay people in traditional Catholic strongholds in the Northeast and Midwest are distressed by a plunge in regular Mass attendance to just 30% of the registered congregation in many parishes, by a chronic shortage of priests and by the financial burden of paying off settlements for sexual-abuse cases. But Catholics in places like Charlotte say the church is being born again in the cradle of born-again Christianity–the South. The Catholic population in Charlotte is growing almost 10% a year, and the ratio of newly ordained priests to parishioners there is 1 to 7,000, more than seven times as high as Chicago’s. Bishop Jugis last year blessed five new churches in the diocese…

continued at link…

time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1025176,00.html?xid=feed-yahoo-full-nation-related


#8

I’m not sure that it has to be that way, although I do hear that complaint from time to time. Ironically, it was probably this exact complaint that began Protestantism in the first place, since it was Luther’s scrupulosity, in part, that led to his acceptance of salvation by “faith alone”.

Someone once said that Catholicism is so simple that the most uneducated peasant can understand it, and find comfort and peace in it, and yet so rich and complex that the most enlightened scholars could continue to probe its depths and find new expressions of faith until the end of time. It is unique among religions in that it appeals to both groups equally well. What you have to remember that getting to heaven is actually quite simple for a Catholic, and although no one knows definitively what their final judgment will be, we can be reasonably sure because we know what God asks of us through morality, and we have the sacraments to assist us as well. Through our Baptism, we are guaranteed the mercy of God. It is only by turning from Him through mortal sin that we can lose our salvation. Even in that scenario, we have the Sacrament of Reconciliation to forgive our sins and return us to a right state with God. We also have the reassurance that God is merciful, and may forgive even those sins that we have not confessed formally.

The problem with the idea of being “saved”, and altar calls, and all of that, is mortal sin. What if someone claims to be saved at a young age, and then it turns out several years later that he murders someone. Was he really saved in the first place? Well, many Baptists will tell you that the person probably wasn’t really saved in the first place. So, if that is true, then Protestants are equally unassured of their salvation!

As stated above, one thing Protestants DO do well though is fellowship. It may benefit you to try new things out at your parish. Try being a reader, or joining a Bible study, or a charity, or some church organization. There are endless rich ways for Catholics to become more firm in their faith.


#9

Ooh! Oh oh ooh! Pick me! Pick me! I know, I really do! I know, pick me!

:extrahappy:

I know!

Do you know why it’s so hard to be Catholic?

:rotfl:

Because there’s someone who doesn’t **want **you to be!

Oh it reminds me, from Rabbi to protestant pastor, when faced with the truly diabolical, to whom do the turn? The Roman collar! Even they know it, if they don’t like to admit it, we, we stand at the front lines! It is the Catholic Church, and no other that has stood as firmly, as strongly, as resolutely against the gates of Hell!

So if the battle rages ferocious, do not despair! Rejoice! And know by your very existing, you and doing damage to the Enemy!


#10

You know what’s funny about this? I just mentioned in another thread that I’m dating a protestant girl. Her and I have talked about the subject of possession and exorcism (REAL exorcism and possession, that is) and how violent of an event that it is. We’ve also talked a lot about what is required of a priest who goes into the profession of exorcist.

Anyway the other day, she told me about someone she met who was thinking that she could give exorcisms and wanted to give it a try. My girlfriend apparently told this person to contact a priest if they thought they knew someone who needed an exorcism. chuckle We most definitely are the most “battle hardened” of all the christian faiths when it comes to standing against Satan.


#11

That’s why you never see a Protestant exorcist in a movie :smiley: When dealing with the diabolical, everyone goes to the Church with the strongest weapons for fighting it.


#12

Are you getting enough support from people in your parish? Maybe you’re feeling beaten down by being in the minority. I feel that way sometimes just being a Christian in the Pacific Northwest but I hang out with people at my parish and feel I’m not alone. And the forums help a lot as well. And good reading.


#13

Thanks guys. This is encouraging stuff. It gives me some things to think about. I think despite the lack of parish activities here, I will make an attempt to get more involved in Church community.
I’m dealing with a lethal combination of bad habits and weak spiritual discipline. Add the fact that I am in the Bible belt with all these well informed Christians doesn’t help.
It’s good to know I am not alone. Again, thank you.


#14

As an athiest, one of the things I think the catholic church is correct in is that human transformation(growth) takes a lifetime.

However, the reason the pentacostal and evangelical churches work, is that humans sometimes need a “donk” on the head. No rational thinking or human reason nor telling people the catholic church has the truth is going to do it, for many. Nor will an athiest argument.

There are people governed by nothing other than their own will. No rational argument will persuade them. These churches through their enthusiasm break a person down and give them the overwhelming feelin that they need. Unconditional love. It’s a wham bam thank you mam kind of thing.

Another reason it can be hard to be catholic, is because some humans begin to realize their own church may be wrong. But at that point…it’s not longer about catholicism, it’s about belief itself.

Not sure what fence you sit on.


#15

That’s what we are here for. :thumbsup::thumbsup:

Keep the faith Brother

Peace
James


#16

I think the evangelicals have two things going on that make them seem attractive for a time and to outsiders.

  1. They are very enthusiastic about their faith.
  2. They tolerate no ‘weeds among the wheat.’

The second is crucial to their sense of being ‘in the world, but not of it’ but they ignore Jesus own teaching about the wheat growing amidst the weeds. Why did they do this? Because it is essential to maintaining the enthusiasm and sense of community of believers I noted in item #1. It’s harder to be confident of spiritual victory when the pews are filled with sinful and broken humanity instead of shiny, happy faux saints - which is exactly what YOU are finding hard about the faith. But the shiny, happy faux saints don’t stay that way for too long. The churn rate amongst those churches is famously high. Once a marriage collapses, a child runs amok, a bankruptcy comes along, a porn addiction develops, alcoholism bites… They are noted for shooting their own wounded. Not an army I’d recommend joining.

So be encouraged that you - WE are doing the right thing, even if it doesn’t always FEEL the most exciting or encouraging.


closed #17

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