lavatea: while i appreciate your concern, in my second post after posing the question about not agreeing with a Church teaching, i specified that i was not looking for the perspective of Traditional/Orthodox Catholics. you replied, again, with an offhand reference to closet Protestants. i found that very upsetting and unsupportive. that was the point where i did not feel comfortable responding on this thread. however, you did ask for clarification, so this is for that purpose.
New Beginnings vs. All-Comers: I think if we want to get into hard questions among the liberal/non-orthodox/questioning Catholics, it would be helpful to go back to a New Beginnings Catholic chat instead of All-Comers. If we're just chatting about Advent and Christmas preparations or the latest homily at Mass without getting into theological issues, then I think everyone could be welcomed and supported in a single thread. I didn't really grasp the difference beforehand, but I now see that it makes a big difference. I know I read all of the Traditional Catholic threads because I learn a lot from some of the articles or questions posed there even if I don't agree with the views stated always, but I respectfully do not post there. I also think that Religious Studies is a great resource (I have spent so much time reading past threads) if we want to get into debate or the nitty gritty of specific doctrines.
scottishmommy: thank you, that is a very helpful perspective. i have attended a few Episcopalian services (mostly funerals, as my grandfather and his brothers are Episcopalian) but i don't think they were full-on mass services or perhaps just a low church style of worship. i do remember one lovely Christmas service when i was a child with the kyrie being chanted.
"However, if you can't reconcile the your beliefs with Church teaching and it's causing you to have less faith in God, I would suggest looking into the EC. I would rather you find God in another church than abandon Him altogether( I know you didn't say that your faith is wavering, I would just hate for that to happen)."
I think if I got to this point, I would totally agree, but luckily this hasn't affected my personal convictions of faith. I'm happy staying with the Church and I have come to peace with that decision, so I've given up thoughts of conversion. After reading more about church history and beliefs, I have some concerns about the EC as a whole historically and how certain doctrines have been abandoned or are optional...so that was another reason to nix the idea. I do wonder what the current state of the EC is worldwide, I know a few years ago it seemed like schism/breaking off for more conservative groups was inevitable and there was a lot of coverage on it but I haven't heard much recently...that's probably OT though!
I would also like to put forward the idea that the Catholic Church does a great job of providing a moral framework and thought process--even in the past when I was very opposed to some other teachings and practices (like the no birth control or anti-choice activities), I have always respected the fact that the Church puts so much thought and effort into creating the teachings. I was reminded of that today when reading about that crazy fundamentalist church (forget the name) picketing Elizabeth Edwards' funeral--the flyer advertising the picket seemed to be written by someone with very poor logical or reasoning skills even apart from its offensive and hateful nature. I can't say that for anything official I've read in the Catholic Church.
I have found that framework and tradition of theology very helpful and, I will admit, I have changed my mind on some of the things I used to disagree with as an adolescent
Birth control and abortion to name a pretty major example. I've done a 180 since just a few years ago!
So, in short, I'm sticking with the Church. If anyone wants to reply to my previous post about Catholics who struggle with some of the teachings and stay with the Church, I would love to hear from you on this thread or via PM, but I'm not considering converting anymore, so don't worry about convincing me to stay, for better or worse I'm here