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Thinking of Catholicism

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I guess I'm seeking some answers, maybe input, I don't know what.

I was baptized Episcopalian in college, one of my sponsors was (is) Catholic. At the time, I never would have considered the Catholic church because 1) my parent's families were very protestant, anti-Catholic (not that either of my parents were, but somehow it rubbed off on me) and 2) most of my Christian friends were Baptist and also anti-Catholic.

But as time rambled on in my life, I found myself becoming more "Catholic" in my beliefs (about things like communion and my personal feelings on birth control etc). Later in college I dated a Catholic guy and we went to his church together and I honestly would have converted had that relationship gone anywhere.

So now, I'm married to an Episcopal priest. We have 3 Episcopalian kids. But things are complicated. I'm not very comfortable with many things going on in our church (on the national level), and I'm not very comfortable in my role as the priest's wife. I don't get much worship out of the experience of going to church every Sunday and feeling like I'm under a magnifying glass all the time. It's basically a huge stress to me and our relationship becomes conflicted over it regularly.

So we've had the conversation on many occasions and recently my husband wondered if I wouldn't be happier in the Catholic church, that is me, personally, not necessarily him. Funny thing is, I've suggested that many times, but now he's suggesting it. And so I've been thinking about it and thinking about it. I do have a little crush on the Catholic church in a way.

But I also wonder, I'm very opinionated, very liberal and my husband and children are Episcopalian. Would I be able to be a Catholic? Would it be ok to disagree with the church on some teachings? Would it be ok to have my next child (if there is one) baptized Episcopalian if I'm Catholic? Would it be wrong to be married to a clergy person from another denomination? Maybe these seem silly, but I kind of thought that when I married this priest I was signing on to being what he was for the rest of my life. But now even he thinks maybe I'd be better off somewhere else.

Any thoughts?
post #2 of 16
You need to talk to AnnetteMarie, one of the MDC mods. She's Catholic, married to a Protestant pastor! Sounds like you could really relate to her.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
I have talked to AM. But she always was Catholic and didn't marry a pastor, the person she married became a pastor. So my situation is quite a bit different, perhaps even opposite.
post #4 of 16
i'm glad that your husband recognizes that you would be more at home in another church, and that he would be supportive. seems that would be a big help.

if someone at the catholic church thinks it is odd you are married to an Episcopalian and not attending there....well, that would be fine, right?

about baptizing your child, sees the only question is what the Episcopal church allows. your husband could likely answer that, but i can't imagine there would be objections.

to me, the only practical matter that could be hard is who will accompany your children to services. but if they can go with their father, you can all meet up after. it may not be ideal, or what you envisioned, but you could certainly try it out.

i wish you peace in your seeking. i hope you find a place where you feel at home and not under a microscope.
post #5 of 16
For me, I would have to look outside of how Catholics and Episcopals live day to day. Do you believe, with all your heart, that God only functions through the pope, that he is the voice of God on earth, and that all dispensation comes through him? Is that not the fundamental difference between Catholic and Episcopal? Because all of the beliefs underlaying the acceptance of women or homosexuals in priesthood, could be addressed by turning towards a more traditional Anglican or one of the Episcopal churches that have broken off from the the communion. What other differences are you struggling with?
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
I absolutely could not join a church that split from the Episcopal church, that would be seen as way too politically charged and even an attack on our particular parish since all 3 split off churches in our area came directly out of ours in a vary painful way. Not only that, but I really have no desire to join a splinter church like that. My issues are not about social causes per se, but about specific church politics, infighting and the unholy way people who disagree with one another are treating each other. As I said, I am very liberal.

As for the Pope, I'm not sure how I feel about him. I like that structure better, I think it works for cohesion better than ours. If we were talking about John Paul II, no problems, I adored him. But I'm not sure how I feel about Benedict, but that again is part of what I was asking: is it ok to disagree with the Pope as a Catholic?
post #7 of 16
It's okay to disagree with the Pope on certain matters; I don't agree with some of his opinions on certain subjects. It's not okay to reject Church doctrine (abortion, homosexuality, papal infallibility, etc). Liberal Catholics, of course, will say that you're free to agree and disagree with whatever you want, but according to the Catholic Church, you can't go and have abortions or say Mary didn't remain a virgin her whole life and be considered a Catholic in good standing. Obviously some doctrine is more difficult for individuals to accept, but even if you are struggling with accepting doctrine, you're still expected to adhere to it. So, if you're struggling with the Church's stance on birth control, that's okay, but it's not okay to use it. I hope that makes sense.

You're free to have whatever opinion you want on other matters. Priestly celibacy, for example, is a disciplinary rule and not a doctrine of the Church, so you can have whatever opinion you want on it (I personally think it's a great idea).
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by KoalaMommy View Post
My issues are not about social causes per se, but about specific church politics, infighting and the unholy way people who disagree with one another are treating each other.
This is very interesting. What about the Episcopal politics and infighting are bothering you? Is it the very existence of splinter churches that bother you? Every church has the same issue, people fighting over what is right and wrong, and what Jesus really meant, or what God would really want. Even the Catholics disagree and fight about abortion, divorce, what have you. Perhaps because you are so intricately involved in the E church you see it more, and take it to heart. I have seen it in every denomination.
post #9 of 16
I asked myself a similar question years ago regarding how much I could disagree with the church and still become Catholic. Because I just didn't see how I could make it work, coming from the secular liberal views I had. It's a process and it took me quite awhile *read years LOL* to get to the point where I had learned enough to understand the truth of what the Church teachers and was comfortable converting. I also very much wanted my husband and I to share the same faith and I tend to move faster than he does.

I actually posted here once that I was afraid of who I would become if I did, because I couldn't picture who that person would be.

Have you started exploring and studying the issues that concern you from the Catholic Churches perspective? I think your dh's attitude is very encouraging and I'd take it as a sign that he is open to this change in your family.
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by KoalaMommy View Post
I have talked to AM. But she always was Catholic and didn't marry a pastor, the person she married became a pastor. So my situation is quite a bit different, perhaps even opposite.
Oh, I didn't know those details. Sorry.
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by KoalaMommy View Post

But I also wonder, I'm very opinionated, very liberal and my husband and children are Episcopalian. Would I be able to be a Catholic? Would it be ok to disagree with the church on some teachings?
I encourage you to read and learn about why the Church teaches as she does about certain subjects. I think oftentimes, we steep ourselves in popular culture, listening to the arguments against the Church's position on certain subjects, but we don't listen to why the Church "holds the line" on those issues. In other words, we listen to one side, but not the other. (At least, I know I'm guilty of that.) It may surprise you, hearing the "why" of the Church's side.
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Multimomma View Post
Do you believe, with all your heart, that God only functions through the pope, that he is the voice of God on earth, and that all dispensation comes through him? ?
I would just like to gently say that this is not the role of the Pope. He is our Bishop, he is the succeeder to St. Paul, but in no way does he (nor do Catholics believe) that he is the voice of God or that dispensation (I'm not sure what you mean by that BTW) comes through him. Just another misconception about Catholicism I see bandied about on this board.

To the OP, I would talk to a priest. Go to him and tell him what you are feeling. He can definitely help you. My God bless you in your journey.
post #13 of 16
Pardon my misconception then...

It's my understanding that he is generally considered infallible, and the final authority on what is moral and true in all doctrines. That's what my mother's mission pamphlets say.
post #14 of 16
No, he is not infallible. He sins just like the rest of us. An infallible pronouncement—whether made by the pope alone or by an ecumenical council—usually is made only when some doctrine has been called into question. Most doctrines have never been doubted by the large majority of Catholics, and therefore an infallible pronouncement is not necessary.

Infallibility applies only to solemn, official teachings on faith and morals, not to disciplinary decisions or even to unofficial comments on faith and morals. A pope’s private theological opinions are not infallible, only what he solemnly defines is considered to be infallible teaching.
post #15 of 16
I posted here and my message disappeared... not sure what happened.

As to the two popes you mentioned... There is absolutely no difference in what they teach! Benedict has been treated quite differently by the media, even before he became pope. He is less poetical than JPII and has had to deal with some things JP had been too sick (or the wrong personality type) to take care of. (JP himself had said he was not the type to be an administrator.) BTW, Benedict is actually a very gentle, wonderful man, say those who know him. (I have a friend who knows him and have read plenty of others say it, also.) The media likes to try to make something harsh out of him...

Anyway, the main point of my earlier message was that if you convert, it is YOUR decision. What your husband thinks or professes is not something you need to worry about. However, you would be professing to believe everything the Catholic church teaches as truth, so no, I do not see how you could join, if you have views that are not compatable.

Do read A LOT, as there are so many misconceptions about what the church really teaches and why.
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
So this distinction about what the church teaches is interesting to me, and probably something I need to learn more about. I tend to have a very religiously conservative view on things but be very socially liberal. For instance, I think people should have the right to legally marry who they want no matter the gender, however I don't think churches should have to bless a union they don't agree with. Is that a compatible position to take within Church teaching?

I have always known Catholics who span the spectrum on most issues, so, until recently, had thought it was ok to separate your personal beliefs from your greater political ideology as it applies to other people, but recently I've been wondering. I could be, as you suggest Anumaria, the way the media portrays Benedict rather than the real state of the church
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