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This room is for discussion related to learning about the faith (Catechetics), defense of the Faith (Apologetics), the Liturgy and canon law, motivated by a desire to grow closer to Christ or to bring someone else closer.

Saint Augustine of Hippo is considered on of the greatest Christian thinkers of all time and the Doctor of the Church.
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05/19/2012 new

(Quote) Mark-786743 said: The Gospel Mark 9:24 "Then the boy’s father cried out, 'I do believe, help my u...
(Quote) Mark-786743 said:


The Gospel Mark 9:24 "Then the boy’s father cried out, 'I do believe, help my unbelief!' "

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I have prayed that as my prayer many times, will keep doing so--it's such a beautiful and simple prayer.

06/01/2012 new

Lorrie, first I would find out what the church really teaches about the belief that you are struggling with. In many cases we often don't really fully understand the teachings on the beliefs that we struggle with. As I tell my Confirmation students, you can't go down to the magazine rack at the Tom Thumb to find out about the church's teachings...you have to go to the church itself. There are many books and on-line resources that you can read about church teachings and I would spend some time looking into these things. Perhaps the best way, however, is to get spiritual direction from a priest or deacon or someone with a good understanding of church teachings.

If I were still unsatisfied, I would try spending some time each day in prayer and reflection. Spending regular time in silent meditation helps to clear the mind of the many distractions of the world so we can listen more clearly to what God is really trying to tell us. Once we have cleared our minds of the distractions of the world, we can ask God for a deeper understanding of the belief that we are struggling with. And he will speak to us through this kind of meditative prayer.

06/01/2012 new

(Quote) Lorrie-735074 said: What do you do when you just can't get your beliefs to line up with the Church's teachin...
(Quote) Lorrie-735074 said:

What do you do when you just can't get your beliefs to line up with the Church's teachings? I'm not going to say what belief and start a HUGE debate. Let's say something that the Church has taken a stance on that is clear and concise---you just can't agree with no matter how hard you try? I try praying and asking God to help me understand. I study, read encyclicals, all sorts of things but it's personal to me and it's really hard to separate the emotion from the teachings. I also genuinely see (in my opinion) what seems to be a totally irrational, illogical basis for the whole teaching and I have this horrible thing about thinking--I can't just shut off my brain and pretend I don't see and think what I do.

I really do struggle with this and I've talked to the priest and left saying, "I just am not there, Father". I am not being angry or trying to be deliberately rebellious at all but I just can't seem to get my head wrapped around it and can't sign on the dotted line.

It also sort of connects (indirectly) to an addiction I struggle with so that makes it harder. Recently I just decided to "throw in the towel" on the addiction as I just can't do it...can't do what the Church says and I've sincerely tried. Confession has become a revolving door and in doing that, the addiction becomes all I think and obsess about, which makes it all worse.

Not sure what to do....I talked to my Confessor who keeps telling me not to give up but I'm sick of bashing the heck out of myself when I fall down which can be 3-5 times a week!

Has anyone else struggled with a teaching of the Church and either is still in that situation or resolved it? I'd like to hear from you--and I think it's best we not name the topics as things can get sidetracked--just asking about the struggle and giving up or resolving it.

Lorrie

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Please don't give up.We all face our own struggles during our lives.It helps if we offer it up and try to ask for God's help as well as angels and our mother Mary.Scripture reading or Catholic books including lives of the saints are also a plus.You are on the right path going to confession.I'm sure your confessor has given good advice.


Keep the faith.


With God all things are possible. Praying rosary theheart

06/02/2012 new

(Quote) Dan-28682 said: Lorrie, first I would find out what the church really teaches about the belief that you are struggli...
(Quote) Dan-28682 said:

Lorrie, first I would find out what the church really teaches about the belief that you are struggling with. In many cases we often don't really fully understand the teachings on the beliefs that we struggle with. As I tell my Confirmation students, you can't go down to the magazine rack at the Tom Thumb to find out about the church's teachings...you have to go to the church itself. There are many books and on-line resources that you can read about church teachings and I would spend some time looking into these things. Perhaps the best way, however, is to get spiritual direction from a priest or deacon or someone with a good understanding of church teachings.

If I were still unsatisfied, I would try spending some time each day in prayer and reflection. Spending regular time in silent meditation helps to clear the mind of the many distractions of the world so we can listen more clearly to what God is really trying to tell us. Once we have cleared our minds of the distractions of the world, we can ask God for a deeper understanding of the belief that we are struggling with. And he will speak to us through this kind of meditative prayer.

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Thanks Dan, I agree with all you have so wonderfully stated. I am always keeping my heart open and in a spirit of prayer. I admit there were times I was being obstinent, but these days I know I need to change some things, but reading some reasons WHY the church teaches as it does is important. It doesn't help I have a priest who rants about how horrible some things are and never stops being angry long enough to explain WHY/HOW the church views the topic so we can understand. Ranting tends to make me hit the off switch in the listening center of my brain.

Lorrie

06/02/2012 new

(Quote) Lorrie-735074 said: What do you do when you just can't get your beliefs to line up with the Church's teachin...
(Quote) Lorrie-735074 said:

What do you do when you just can't get your beliefs to line up with the Church's teachings? I'm not going to say what belief and start a HUGE debate. Let's say something that the Church has taken a stance on that is clear and concise---you just can't agree with no matter how hard you try? I try praying and asking God to help me understand. I study, read encyclicals, all sorts of things but it's personal to me and it's really hard to separate the emotion from the teachings. I also genuinely see (in my opinion) what seems to be a totally irrational, illogical basis for the whole teaching and I have this horrible thing about thinking--I can't just shut off my brain and pretend I don't see and think what I do.

I really do struggle with this and I've talked to the priest and left saying, "I just am not there, Father". I am not being angry or trying to be deliberately rebellious at all but I just can't seem to get my head wrapped around it and can't sign on the dotted line.

It also sort of connects (indirectly) to an addiction I struggle with so that makes it harder. Recently I just decided to "throw in the towel" on the addiction as I just can't do it...can't do what the Church says and I've sincerely tried. Confession has become a revolving door and in doing that, the addiction becomes all I think and obsess about, which makes it all worse.

Not sure what to do....I talked to my Confessor who keeps telling me not to give up but I'm sick of bashing the heck out of myself when I fall down which can be 3-5 times a week!

Has anyone else struggled with a teaching of the Church and either is still in that situation or resolved it? I'd like to hear from you--and I think it's best we not name the topics as things can get sidetracked--just asking about the struggle and giving up or resolving it.

Lorrie

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Lorrie,

First, realize that you are already doing more than many in similar situations do: you ARE struggling and you ARE attempting to see things the Church's way. Here you have the humility to admit your failings; you don't attempt to rationalize your opinion (the latter being the impetus for the vast majority of the forum flame-fests).

If I understand correctly, you are experiencing two difficulties related to this particular teaching: behavioral and cognitive. While it may seem reasonable to assume that if you understand the reason for the teaching it will be easier to follow, it may actually be easier to approach it from the other direction.

Recall Christ's admonition in Matt. 18:3: "unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." One oft he things parents expect of little children is that the follow the rules, even though they may not understand them. Sometimes we must do the same: to commit ourselves to following a teaching of the Church, even though we don't understand the reason for it, accepting that the source of the Church's teachings is Jesus Himself, who teaches only what is necessary for our eternal salvation.

As you noted, there are times when the it is very difficult to resist temptation. God know this. And unlike a human judge, He also knows our intentions and our struggles. Don't beat yourself up -- God knows we are the weak opponent in the battle of good vs. evil. Intention, perseverance and repentance are the three things we must keep up: as long as we have those, God will forgive our failing, regardless of how many times we go through that revolving door. In fact, when taken with the proper perspective, failing helps build humility - the virtue which opposes the cardinal sin of pride.

From your comments, it seems as if the sin may have a habitual component. It may help to remember that habits can be very hard to break. If it is triggered by certain circumstances, it may help to either avoid (or remove yourself from) the circumstances, or to develop a new habit (i.e., praying three Hail Marys) to replace the old.

Fasting along with prayer can be very helpful in developing resistance to certain types of sins. This is why the Church used to require fasting for all of Lent -- and one of the great looses with the modern discipline, where fasting has, for all intents and purposes, been eliminated. Fasting on a regular basis for an extended time helps us to learn to resist physical temptations and develop good habits to deal with them. As with the sin itself, realize that fasting can be difficult and not to get discouraged by falls -- just get back up and keep going. [N.B. those who are pregnant or have diabetes and other medical conditions should check with a physician before fasting. If fasting is not advisable, check with a priest, who may be able to recommend an alternative.]

Finally, keep up the prayer and studying. Ask the Holy Spirit not only to help you with your struggle, but also for the wisdom to understand the Church's teachings.

06/02/2012 new

Thanks so much! What a great response, I will keep praying and reading. I need to know more and I have been studying the Cathechism. Thanks so much for your warm comments.

Lorrie

06/02/2012 new

(Quote) Richard-831657 said:
(Quote) Richard-831657 said:

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[Rishard's comments are prefixed by ">>". I apologize to those who may have trouble following this, but it's the best way I know of to adress multiple points without the ability to have multiple quote blocks.]

>> If this issue is becoming a big issue in your mind, then perhaps it is time to set it aside, and instead focus on some other aspect of the church that you can fully support. Maybe in a year or two this will not seem like as big an issue, or you will have come around to some degree.

This might be helpful advice if the problem were merely an intellectual one. However, as I read the description, there is also the issue of committing sins on a regular basis. One cannot just set this aside, at least not without putting their soul in grave jeopardy -- there's no guarantee we'll be here in a year or two (or even tomorrow) to make things right then.

The good news is that, unlike humans, God's mercy is without limit. He doesn't care how often we fail and fall into sin -- as long as we repent and try to avoid the sins in the future. Setting something aside suggests a lack of a firm purpose of amendment, and possible even contrition -- the requirements for receiving God's mercy.


>> I think that people sometimes get caught up in miniscule points of doctrine, procedure, or church rules, and lose sight of the big picture.

You are correct -- one must not lose sight of the big picture. At the same time, one must not neglect the details.

>> Remember that Jesus just taught two commandments, love God and love your neighbor.

"If you love me, keep my commandments" (John 13:15) (This includes the 10 commandments given to Moses, which were never abrogated.)

>> My catechism is about 700 pages long, not counting the index and other notes. Occasionally I listen to the call in shows on EWTN and people are nitpicking tiny procedural points.

The Church's mission is simple: to help souls get to heaven; her laws are there to serve as handrails we can hold to guide us along the path. Alas, we make this difficult for Her by looking for every possible way to climb outside the safe path and wander off toward the abyss.

When you love someone (your parents, your spouse, your children), do you do the bare minimum they ask of you (in addition to what might suit your fancy)? Or do you make an effort to go out of your way to do thinks you know will please them?

So why then do we so often look for any excuse possible to avoid doing what God asks of us?

>> Jesus [...] generally spent his time with people that others disapproved of, like tax collectors.

Jesus accepted these people -- but not their sins, telling them to "go and sin no more."

>> I also tend to take a historical view, realizing that some teachings of the church have substantially changed over time, even though the church usually denies it.

Please provide some examples of what you are speaking of.

>> Many saints, if not most saints, were not well regarded by the church hierarchy while the saint was alive. My favorite story of that type was the Australian saint who was actually excommunicated by her bishop. St. John of the Cross was imprisioned by other monks. When I was in the church of St. Peter Carver I read about his conflicts with his superiors. If you study the lives of the saints, many of them were in conflict with the church hierarchy. Similarly, Popes, including our beloved John Paul, have supported people who turned out to be really bad, like Fr. Marcial, who founded the Legionaires of Christ, but fathered several children and was finally ordered to retire to a life of repentance. I don't mean to get into the papal infalibility issue, I just wanted to point out that it is not hard to find lots of examples where the hierarchy have taken one position at one time, and years later have come around 90 or 180 degrees.

One must be careful to distinguish between the Magisterium (the teaching authority of the Church) and the hierarchy, which is a group of fallible sinners, just as the rest of us are. Yes, the hierarchy makes mistakes. This is not a justification to discount the Magisterium.

>> In the spiritual practices of St. Ignatius, one of his key tests as to whether something was good or not was whether it resulted in an increase in trust, hope, and love. It sounds to me like this issue is probably hurting you in terms of trust, hope and love. It may be hard to set an issue aside, especially if it is tied to an addiction, but it sure sounds like this issue is a detriment to you. I am poor at turning off my brain also, but you might be able to turn your attention in a different direction, and get out of the vicious circle that you are in.

It's not clear what you mean by "set an issue aside." If you are suggesting that she ignore the sin, how do you explain such a path as being an act of love toward God ("if you love Me, keep my commandments")? See also my comments at the beginning of this reply.

06/03/2012 new

(Quote) Lorrie-735074 said: Thanks Dan, I agree with all you have so wonderfully stated. I am always keeping my heart open a...
(Quote) Lorrie-735074 said:

Thanks Dan, I agree with all you have so wonderfully stated. I am always keeping my heart open and in a spirit of prayer. I admit there were times I was being obstinent, but these days I know I need to change some things, but reading some reasons WHY the church teaches as it does is important. It doesn't help I have a priest who rants about how horrible some things are and never stops being angry long enough to explain WHY/HOW the church views the topic so we can understand. Ranting tends to make me hit the off switch in the listening center of my brain.

Lorrie

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Lorrie, it is great that you keep your heart open in a spirit of prayer so that you can listen to what God has to say to you. As for being obstinent, all I can say is welcome to the human race...we all have that problem from time to time. Remember that God has infinite mercy and is always willing to forgive...all we have to do is ask.

It is unfortunate that your priest rants. I would not expect that is helpful when trying to understand matters of the faith. Are there any other members of your parish that are well versed in the faith that you could approach? Maybe there is a neighboring parish where you could find a priest who you could discuss these issues with.

You could also try the Catholic Answers website (catholic.com). They have a page (link is below) that is called "Ask an apologist" where you could enter questions regarding Catholic teaching. I listen to their radio call in show (Catholic Answers) and they have some wonderful apologists who do a great job of explaining matters of the faith. I think you have register and get a log in and then you can go to the link below and enter your question or questions and they will have an apologist give you a response. You should also have the ability to ask follow-up questions after they send you the first response. I hope this helps...

forums.catholic.com

06/03/2012 new

Actually the issue has to do with my son. He's gay and it's very hard for me to wrestle this out because I love him very much. I really struggle with issues like gay marriage and such and so I really have a hard time separating his lifestyle from him as a person. It's really hard for me to do.

Lorrie

06/03/2012 new

(Quote) Lorrie-735074 said: Thanks Dan, I agree with all you have so wonderfully stated. I am always keeping my heart open a...
(Quote) Lorrie-735074 said:

Thanks Dan, I agree with all you have so wonderfully stated. I am always keeping my heart open and in a spirit of prayer. I admit there were times I was being obstinent, but these days I know I need to change some things, but reading some reasons WHY the church teaches as it does is important. It doesn't help I have a priest who rants about how horrible some things are and never stops being angry long enough to explain WHY/HOW the church views the topic so we can understand. Ranting tends to make me hit the off switch in the listening center of my brain.

Lorrie

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Below are links to two web sites with recordings of homilies by priests on a number of topics. Not knowing the nature of the problem, I don't know whether there are any that apply. It can't hurt to check, and you might find something else of interest as well.

www.audiosancto.org
www.sensustraditionis.org

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