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This room is for general discussion that doesn't specifically fit into one of the other CatholicMatch rooms. Topics should not be overly serious as this is to be more of a "cafe setting."

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I am always searching for the truth. Not the truth man has interpreted from God but God's own truth. I feel he only judges us for the good we do in the world and the love we show in our actions toward others.

Is it wrong to lead my life with guidance from inside my heart or should I always rely on accepted Catholic Doctrine?

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Feb 25th 2014 new
All I can tell you is that in my life He guided me to follow His law first, and then led me to know and have an understanding of the mercy and love that wrote that very law.
After studying the catechism at CI here in St Paul I was impressed by the fact that it was taught with that understanding woven throughout. And I found that most people will confuse the two as if they are separate from each other, law and love.

The one book that I read as much as the bible is God Calling. I have never understood scripture as well before, nor the love of Christ as well.

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Feb 25th 2014 new
(quote) Shirley-1031992 said:

I am always searching for the truth. Not the truth man has interpreted from God but God's own truth. I feel he only judges us for the good we do in the world and the love we show in our actions toward others.

Is it wrong to lead my life with guidance from inside my heart or should I always rely on accepted Catholic Doctrine?

Hi Shirley,

This could be a very long and involved post :-) But, I will try not to let it go long.

I've always told all my catechetical students that we are supposed to question -- but not just question -- we are required to then search out the answers. God gave us free will in order that we choose Him rather than having to love Him or go to Him because we have no other option -- that in itself demands that we seek and ask and question. Especially Confirmation students need to do this -- because in the process of questioning and seeking out those answers -- we can truly step up and claim our faith a our own. We can really make that statement to God that Here I am.

It's very easy for us to justify or minimize things because we either don't want to follow them or we don't want to be held accountable to them.

A lot of people will reject "man's interpretation of God's Truth" and that is fine -- you should question other people's interpretation of God -- you must also accept that interpretations do not all have an equal weight. And, the other part of this is if you reject it -- to be honest with yourself -- you have to seek out the answers.

I have also called upon the Holy Spirit more than once to enlighten and guide me in my study. For example, when I was young and newly married, the Jehovah Witnesses were always knocking on my door. I used to just sort of send them away with a smile, but something was really bothering me about the things they would say. So a few years later I invited one of them in and we met every week for a year. I had always believed, but by the end of that year I not only believed I owned my faith. I followed every cross reference in the bible, read every commentary, sought out the early church writings and discussed things with people I trusted and believed in as well. What an awesome and beautiful year that turned into being and it set my course to always question and seek more. God reveals Himself to us through others around us and that includes other people' interpretation of His Truths.

I was for a very long time conflicted regarding the teachings on capital punishment. After the OKC bombing, a man known to my husband and a Catholic fought against the death penalty for Timothy McVeigh -- he had lost his daughter in the bombing -- all of a sudden these teachings on capital punishment had far more relevance and I just wasn't sure I agreed with the Church on the stance (And yes it allows for states to apply capital punishment -- but if there are other ways to protect society they should be utilized -- and of course the hope for redemption of prisoner.) I spent a lot of time scouring through writings on the subject, other people's opinions and can honestly say that at the end of that investigation period I had changed my mind on it and was no longer conflicted.

But, you can't just reject something out of hand -- if you do -- it is intellectually dishonest not to pursue the information. If you after diligent inquiry still find yourself rejecting things then you have to ask yourself if you belong where you are. For me, I couldn't say I was a Catholic unless I could intellectually satisfy myself of the veracity of the teachings and the logic and consistency of those teachings and understand what the implications of those beliefs meant in regard to how I view and behave in the world.

So, by all means question, even reject if you want, but do the hard work and really seek to understand the why and how of those teachings -- once that is done you are still free to reject or to accept them and make them your own.
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Feb 25th 2014 new
When you say "Not the truth man has interpreted from God...", would this include the men who have consecrated their very lives to God, and to giving us the most precious Sacraments that give us the grace, the sole means, to love one another? Giving one's life to God, and surrendering one's natural inclination to start a family and have children of their own doesn't come without a measure of authority to make moral pronouncements. Those moral pronouncements are inviolable and axiom (thank God they are--can you imagine the chaos if they weren't? Oh wait...), but we are certainly welcome to question them. I accept and use the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus without question, but if I want to understand it better, I study it, question it, test an example against it, etc. Obedience is not automatically concurrent with never questioning....so long as our "questioning" is responsible, and isn't being used as a euphemism for "disobedience" (in the latter case, we will hurt ones we love, and render ourselves incapable of being in a healthy, loving relationship).
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Feb 25th 2014 new
There's a great passage in St. Thomas Aquinas, I don't have it handy but may be able to dig it up, in which he says that the authority of conscience is so absolute that anyone whose conscience told him to leave the Church itself would be morally bound to do so. Of course he was not talking about "Inner Light" Protestantism, which didn't exist in his time, but about a properly informed and catechized conscience. He put it a lot better than that, but hey! he was St. Thomas Aquinas :)
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Feb 25th 2014 new
There was a really good article in Catholic Answers recently on the topic of conscience (the next to the last issue, Jan./Feb., if you can get a hold of it) The author described how conscience is a tool of measurement that is used so loosely these days, and a tool that is typically self-serving and largely lacking in actual truth (based on the Church, her teachings, scripture, etc.). I found this to be a helpful differentiation, realizing that developing a true Catholic conscience means putting the work into learning more about who God is and what He desires of us. It also helped me to better see how loosely and how relative one 'conscience' is from another. As Catholics, our conscience needs to be rooted and guided firmly in and by the Holy Spirit, and in order to truly hear and discern what the Holy Spirit is calling us to do and think, I think we also need to put in the work required to best understand His language.
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Feb 25th 2014 new
Absolutely not - ask ask ask! But then have faith that God and His Church have the answers to your questions if you delve deeply enough. Not in the sense that you have to have blind faith in the Church, but if you have trust that God has provided the answers, that they're there for us to find, at least eventually then you can keep looking and looking and studying even if it takes you awhile to find that answer.

I've spent many years engaged in apologetics with both non-Catholic Christians and atheists alike and what I keep finding is that the Catholic Church is the most logically sound institution that there is. So now I know that even when there are things that I can't figure out the answer right now (like if Jesus got all of his human DNA from Mary His mother, where did His Y chromosome come from?!) there is a logical and reasonable explanation for it that God will provide for me one day, if I get to Heaven, God willing. I don't need to know it right now because that answer is out there, somewhere.

Just think of it this way. There were great thinkers all throughout the history of the Church like Sts Thomas Aquinas and Agustine. I, at least, am not going to claim that I am anywhere near their intellectual prowess and yet despite their many, many hours of thought on matters of theology they remained not just Christian but Catholic. If such intelligent men couldn't think themselves out of the Church, then I feel free to think as much as I want about anything that I want without worry that I'll think my way out either!
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Feb 26th 2014 new
(quote) Lauren-927923 said: Hi Shirley,

This could be a very long and involved post :-) But, I will try not to let it go long.

I've always told all my catechetical students that we are supposed to question -- but not just question -- we are required to then search out the answers. God gave us free will in order that we choose Him rather than having to love Him or go to Him because we have no other option -- that in itself demands that we seek and ask and question. Especially Confirmation students need to do this -- because in the process of questioning and seeking out those answers -- we can truly step up and claim our faith a our own. We can really make that statement to God that Here I am.

It's very easy for us to justify or minimize things because we either don't want to follow them or we don't want to be held accountable to them.

A lot of people will reject "man's interpretation of God's Truth" and that is fine -- you should question other people's interpretation of God -- you must also accept that interpretations do not all have an equal weight. And, the other part of this is if you reject it -- to be honest with yourself -- you have to seek out the answers.

I have also called upon the Holy Spirit more than once to enlighten and guide me in my study. For example, when I was young and newly married, the Jehovah Witnesses were always knocking on my door. I used to just sort of send them away with a smile, but something was really bothering me about the things they would say. So a few years later I invited one of them in and we met every week for a year. I had always believed, but by the end of that year I not only believed I owned my faith. I followed every cross reference in the bible, read every commentary, sought out the early church writings and discussed things with people I trusted and believed in as well. What an awesome and beautiful year that turned into being and it set my course to always question and seek more. God reveals Himself to us through others around us and that includes other people' interpretation of His Truths.

I was for a very long time conflicted regarding the teachings on capital punishment. After the OKC bombing, a man known to my husband and a Catholic fought against the death penalty for Timothy McVeigh -- he had lost his daughter in the bombing -- all of a sudden these teachings on capital punishment had far more relevance and I just wasn't sure I agreed with the Church on the stance (And yes it allows for states to apply capital punishment -- but if there are other ways to protect society they should be utilized -- and of course the hope for redemption of prisoner.) I spent a lot of time scouring through writings on the subject, other people's opinions and can honestly say that at the end of that investigation period I had changed my mind on it and was no longer conflicted.

But, you can't just reject something out of hand -- if you do -- it is intellectually dishonest not to pursue the information. If you after diligent inquiry still find yourself rejecting things then you have to ask yourself if you belong where you are. For me, I couldn't say I was a Catholic unless I could intellectually satisfy myself of the veracity of the teachings and the logic and consistency of those teachings and understand what the implications of those beliefs meant in regard to how I view and behave in the world.

So, by all means question, even reject if you want, but do the hard work and really seek to understand the why and how of those teachings -- once that is done you are still free to reject or to accept them and make them your own.
And where does the Magisterium fit into this paradigm?

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Feb 26th 2014 new
Shirley,
I would say it is not about the good and the love we show to others, but about your love towards God, which we learn from the lives of the Saints transpires into loving His creations, included also many sacrifices and standing up to those who would not put God first. So in our final judgement it won't just be about what you did good or not, but if you did it because of your love of God. The thought that you should follow a "light within" is something that ST. Pope Pius X warns about on his encyclical letter: Pacendi Domine Gregis.

Our Lord did established the Church, and how he wanted to be payed respect, adored, and what we shouldn't do as well, it isn't just a bunch of men coming up with "interpretations" out of the blue. There are 2000 years of history, writings, private revelations, persecutions, discussions, Saints, well read and wise theologians, that have helped shaped what the Church is now.

If you want to question the Church's authority, first remember who gave that authority to the Church the spouse of Christ.

If you are really looking for the truth, learn what it is you are questioning first, read the works of the Fathers and the Doctors of the Church, search for council with a wise God loving priest, learn the history of the church, where the Cannon Law came from, understand the encyclical letters, read books written by Saints, they are already in heaven, and have a better insight that I would presume to have as to what God expects from us. Mostly pray, try to receive the Sacraments, that you may receive the grace of discerning if what you are doing pleases God.


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Feb 26th 2014 new
(quote) Pamela-880383 said: .... So now I know that even when there are things that I can't figure out the answer right now (like if Jesus got all of his human DNA from Mary His mother, where did His Y chromosome come from?!) there is a logical and reasonable explanation for it that God will provide for me one day, if I get to Heaven, God willing. I don't need to know it right now because that answer is out there, somewhere.
Could it be:

If there is no shadow of change in God, because perfect means unique means unchanging in all aspects, the human adult Jesus who is now sitting at the right hand of the Father must be the same human adult Jesus sitting at the right hand of the Father before anything was created, (along with X and Y chromosomes and a blood type of ....?


Why does the blood on the Shroud test AB (universal recipient - able to take from all blood types but can only donate to another AB) when, aesthetically speaking, it should perhaps be O (universal donor - able to donate to all but receive only from O)?


But we digress ... .
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