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#1 of 47 Old 09-06-2010, 05:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, I haven't been around MDC for a while but am stuck on this issue and thought, what better place to come for insight than the spirituality board!

Basically I am being very drawn to Catholicism and I am resisting it. This has been going on for a very long time now (really since I was a little kid when I think about it) and now in the past couple years has intensified. I grew up first Christian (Protestant - we went to a great Pentecostal church for a while) and then Buddhist, then atheist briefly as a teenager, then theist since then, then since I went to college 6 years ago I've been flirting with Christianity again. I have no trouble with a belief in God, but haven't quite made the leap to Christianity (which would be my pick of the monotheistic religions). Some Buddhist and nature-based spirituality ideas resound with me as well, but I haven't had the same pull towards a whole belief system with them.

My parents were both raised Christian and are now happily Tibetan Buddhist. My mom had a very bad experience with her Catholic childhood and calls herself a recovering Catholic My DP of 5 years (nope, we're not married, yet another reason I'm resisting this) is sort of Buddhist as well and, while accepting of Christianity, not at all accepting of the eeevil Catholic church. My personal study of history hasn't really made it look all that great either. Yeah, I haven't gotten a good view of the Catholic church *as an institution*.

BUT in the past couple years I have been closely following several Catholic blogs, and... I like what I see there more and more. I see peace and happiness, a sense of community and deep spiritual connection. In addition to that, many, many things about the Catholic faith appeal to me deeply. The prayers, the saints, Mary, the sacraments, the strong idea of vocation, the beautiful and dignified mass, the depth of the theology, the consistency of the moral rules (though I don't agree with all of them and don't know how I would reconcile myself to those), the *juiciness*.

I've read some of the catechism and some of it rings very true and some of it seems really foreign. I've read some theological explanations with similar results. One minute I feel like this is the perfect thing for me and the next I feel like I must be insane to even be considering it.

The RCIA class in my area (there is only one per year that I know of in this area) started today. I found out today, by "chance", that it was starting today, and I really would have had time to go to it too. But I didn't go. I think I was scared of getting too close, like it was a cult or something And I still haven't gotten up the courage to go to a mass either - last time I went to one was when I was 15 in a Catholic school.

I've been praying to be shown the way, to be found, to find, etc.. Catholicism seems to be the huge thing that just "happens" to be everywhere I turn. But, but! Has anybody been in a similar position, where Catholicism (or any faith) has just "chosen" you despite your resistance? If you have converted to Catholicism, particularly if you weren't already Christian before or didn't agree with all of its teachings (for example on homosexuality), how did it work? Is it possible to be wary of the institution of the church while still being deeply attracted to the faith? How to reconcile these? Should I just give it up? Help!

Anyway, thanks if you read my novel Any insight would be very appreciated.

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#2 of 47 Old 09-06-2010, 05:39 PM
 
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Oh how I can relate to your post! I don't have time to reply properly right now, but I'll be back.
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#3 of 47 Old 09-06-2010, 05:51 PM
 
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I'm in RCIA now. I was raised secular Christian. We celebrated Christmas with Santa and Easter with the Easter Bunny. My parents didn't take me to church, but I've been drawn to spirituality and religion my whole life. I converted to Judaism as an adult, eventually lost my faith in it and explored Buddhism for awhile, spent years IDing as first eclectic pagan and then a recon pagan, explored Hinduism and vedanta, read about Islam. Through all that I got drawn to Catholicism, partly through my time studying the classical religions of Greece and Rome and wondering why the Romans converted. Read alot on Orthodox Christianity too.

I originally was very concerned as to how I could possibly make it work because I didn't really get why the church had the stances they did on birth control, homosexuality, womens ordination ect. I was very steeped in modern liberal thinking about freedom and liberation and all that. The thing that turned it around for me was listening to every single episode of Father Loya's A Body of Truth podcast on Catholic Radio International. It's also available on itunes ( choose get all episodes). I started with the very first episode they aired ( called Your Body Speaks to me from 3/08) because frankly I needed the remedial version and I wanted to hear it all from start to finish in order LOL. He is so loving and gentle with his explanations and I was open to learning the Churches position, which I think is paramount. I know I would never have understood it, if I was not open to it.

I had a few people tell me that the Holy Spirit was guiding me in this journey and even though it took me years to finally get to where I feel sure I'm where I am supposed to be and my husband who was pretty agnostic and didn't even agree to come to mass with me originally is also in RCIA with me and has attended mass with me for almost a year now.

I have done the dance around the Church for years, I went to my first RCIA class about 3 years ago and I'll limit my comments to just say, well it wasn't going to work out there. After that I went to mass off and on. I didn't give up though. Earlier this year dh and I were studying with a priest to become baptized and confirmed but we ended up moving out of state due to the economy and we ended up in an awesome RCIA group. I just wasn't going to give up and I'm glad I didn't.
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#4 of 47 Old 09-06-2010, 11:33 PM
 
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My DH is a convert and he felt the same way as you. His father was a youth pastor and the Catholic Church was the last thing he ever thought he would think about. He said that when the thought wouldn't go away, he finally started to study and research- but only because he was eager to prove the Catholics wrong. Then when he discovered that he couldn't prove them wrong, he became very angry. He went through a phase where he was actually resentful of the Catholic Church for being what he felt was "right." Then, finally, he felt peace and became Catholic. During all this he had been talking to his pastor from his families church- and a year after he converted, the pastor converted too (as he was dying... he got throat cancer and was no longer able to preach, which forced him to be quiet and gave him time to learn and pray). This caused a lot of turmoil in the church and in DH's family because they still attended that church.

Then I watched his younger brother go through the exact same thing he went through. I remember him asking me questions one day. I gave him the answers, short and simple. He blew up at me and stormed out. He later apologized and admitted that he was angry because the very last thing he wanted to do was become a Catholic and it made him mad that things were making so much sense. Where is he now? Living in a discernment house and taking classes at a seminary. He thinks he might be called to the priesthood

I think they way you feel is absolutely normal. I'm not trying to sway you in any way. Believe me, I am not eager to talk anyone into becoming Catholic. The last thing the Catholic Church needs is anymore cafeteria Catholics or people entering who aren't 100% convinced that the Church has the authority from God that it claims to have.

Ask questions. Lots of questions. The answers are there, although sometimes you have to really persist to get the whole picture (especially on topics like birth control and gay marriage and artificial reproductive technology and all that... the answers to why the Church teaches what it does are very beautiful and reasonable, but you really have to want to understand to "get it").

People sometimes ask my DH about the Church. The first thing he tells them is to look into the teaching on the Eucharist. Read the bible passages supporting it, read the early fathers, the miracles, the documents- all of it. If, in the end, you find that you dn't believe the bread and wine become the real Body and Blood of Christ, then nothing else matters. It is this that is the center of the Catholic Church- without this teaching and this belief, nothing else matters at all- not Mary, not the saints, not confession, not priests, etc.

However, if you find that it all makes sense and you believe, then you can go on to tackle the rest and it will be much easier. The reason for this is because once you realize that Christ is physically present in the Eucharist, and that this awesome miracle occurs at every Mass, it is very hard to walk away. You usually find the motivation to keep going and keep trying to understand the other issues that you struggle with. If you believe that Christ gave this amazing gift to the Catholic Church, you will find it much easier to accept the authority of the Church and the teachings that are "controversial."

I love the Catholic Church because it is so very complete. Nothing is missing and everything works together. It's like a tapestry- all the different threads and teachings woven together make a beautiful picture.

Sorry for rambling! God bless you on your journey!

Corrie, "trad" Catholic, wife to DH and Mom to DD (4/07), DS (2/09), DD (2/11), DD (4/13), two angel babies. 
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#5 of 47 Old 09-07-2010, 12:05 AM
 
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Hello, I entered the Church in 2009 at Easter after participating in RCIA and I can totally relate to your post! I remember feeling a sort of "oh, NO" feeling when I first began being attracted to Catholic Christianity. No one in my family is Catholic - and I a mean NO ONE. My grandfather is decidedly anti-Catholic to be honest, my mother is about as liberal as you can get and I grew up nominally Protestant taken to church on Sundays by my father. I had no real knowledge of Christian theology, the differences between Catholic and Protestants theologically and I grew up being taught that Catholics worship Mary, have a ton of kids because the Pope told them to, and that they believed in a form of cannibalism because they think the wine magically turns in blood and the bread into body. Oh, and my husband is agnostic after being raised by Buddhists. So my point here is that it wasn't an easy transition for me to make. To be honest, I think my mother would have preferred me becoming a stripper in Vegas !

Yeah, it was weird but OH SO WONDERFUL! I love my Church, I love the liturgy, the unity and the Sacraments. I love to sit in Adoration, I love to read the CCC in conjunction with my Bible. It is really home.

Welcome!

"Hey, I've got nothin' to do today but smile." - S & G
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#6 of 47 Old 09-07-2010, 02:30 AM
 
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I was drawn to Catholicism (or still Christian but repulsed by what I was seeing in the protestant church so I thought I had no where else to go but the Catholic church.) but had some real issues with some of the doctrines and huge chunks of the churches history. I found a home in the Eastern Orthodox church. It had the history and tradition of the Apostles without the stuff that was making me uneasy about the Catholic church. At first I resisted that too but once there was a little chip in my fortress wall everything else fell pretty quickly and I positively swooned.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#7 of 47 Old 09-07-2010, 12:16 PM
 
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Hi, I converted (along with my husband) in April 2007. We were both raised non-denominational Christian and were atheists (me more agnostic and into alternative spirituality, him pretty hard core atheist). I have a 3 part conversion story you might find interesting, up at my blog. (The link to each part is on the left hand side somewhere). I had many of the same issues you've brought up. Initially I was "church shopping" in a way, trying to find something that would basically tell me what I wanted to hear. I finally just came to a point where I realized I needed to mold myself to God, instead of trying to mold God to myself.
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#8 of 47 Old 09-07-2010, 12:54 PM
 
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I love reading these stories! Mine is similar, but I have not taken any solid steps toward converting yet. I'm actually still reading and praying and trying to decide between Orthodoxy and Catholicism. Just when I was thinking that Orthodoxy was it, I started feeling a pull toward the Catholic Church and the things I thought I didn't like about it are now making more sense. I just want to echo what others have said that being open to understanding the Church's position on issues is essential, and I am constantly having to remind myself that my opinions aren't always right just because they're mine. I'm at the point, like CherryBomb said, where I need to mold myself to God instead of the other way around. Right now I just wish there was never a schism between the Catholic and the Orthodox because I honestly love both of them and you can't join both.
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#9 of 47 Old 09-07-2010, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your answers! It's so reassuring to hear that others have gone through similar processes. I guess really I just have to read more and get up my nerve to actually even go to a mass and see how it feels.

Arduinna, I am absolutely going to check out Father Loya! Thank you for the recommendation. I really don't know many resources besides the Vatican webpages and some personal blogs. Also, good to know that the first time may not be the charm but that doesn't have to kill the whole process.

Cagnew, thank you for sharing the experiences of your relatives, making me feel normal, and putting it so clearly about the eucharist. I suppose I have a sense of what you are saying, and I suppose that's part of my vaccillation - sometimes the body and blood of Christ belief resounds with me on a deep level, other times I feel like it's not that important and how could I base a whole belief system around it. It's one of the reasons I'm not officially Christian (along with the belief in the resurrection). I suspect it may be one of those things to try out believing (letting myself believe) and see how it "works", because it's not going to believe itself, I have to choose it. I am curious though, I thought the eucharist was central to most Christian denominations, not just Catholics? Or do many of them see it as symbolic? Clearly I need to do more reading But anyway thank you for centering the issue for me, you are right. Though does it follow then that if I find the literal blood and body belief, the core of Catholicism, to be right, then the other teachings of Catholicism are somehow peripheral and not as necessary to believe? That may be the "core" of the religion, but how do I know where the line goes between absolutely essential (eucharist) and "good, but not the real point of it all"? Is there such a line? I am really curious, because I just don't know much about these things!

BMG580, about the stripper thing! I think my family would pretty much feel the same way. And I also come from and live in very "liberal" areas where saying you are Catholic (or even considering it) is not likely to get the most sympathetic responses.

Lilyka, that's interesting to hear. The Orthodox church is bigger here than the Catholic because we are right by Eastern Europe so it has definitely entered into my head to explore it more, especially since it seems not to be as controversial as the Catholic church in many areas. But somehow it doesn't have the same pull for me, though I can't place the reason. I can definitely identify with the chip in the fortress wall feeling though.

Hi CherryBomb! I actually read your conversion story a while back in the conversion story thread that was up, and followed a link from your blog to Evangelium Vitae, which was one of the first Catholic "from the horse's mouth" things I read and very positively surprised me with what it was saying. Sort of made me do a double take, as I really hadn't thought of the Catholic church saying such reasonable things before! As for shaping myself to God, I suppose that's why I'm entertaining the idea of Catholicism at all - it's not something I would choose myself based on my personal beliefs or surroundings, but it seems to be everywhere I turn.

ETA: Purple Sage, you posted while I was writing. Thanks for sharing too, and yeah, getting over the idea that just because I believe it doesn't mean it's right. Wow, what a concept!

Really interesting to read all of the responses... I have a lot of thinking to do! I guess it wouldn't be silly of me to ask you to pray for me, either? It's not something I can really do in my real life so it feels sort of weird! But I think prayer is amazing so would like to ask that.

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#10 of 47 Old 09-07-2010, 01:16 PM
 
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I suppose I have a sense of what you are saying, and I suppose that's part of my vaccillation - sometimes the body and blood of Christ belief resounds with me on a deep level, other times I feel like it's not that important and how could I base a whole belief system around it. It's one of the reasons I'm not officially Christian (along with the belief in the resurrection). I suspect it may be one of those things to try out believing (letting myself believe) and see how it "works", because it's not going to believe itself, I have to choose it. I am curious though, I thought the eucharist was central to most Christian denominations, not just Catholics? Or do many of them see it as symbolic? Clearly I need to do more reading
Yep, keep on reading! There is SO MUCH out there that it can be overwhelming when you first get going. The Church is 2000 years old and the breadth of its theology is pretty amazing, along with so much writing from the saints of the Church throughout that long period of time. For me it all hinged on the theology - without understanding and accepting the key theological teachings of the Church I wouldn't have converted, even though I love the liturgy, the social justice mission of the Church and so on. I am especially in agreement with the Church on its teachings on Justification/Sanctification, apostolic succession, and transubstantiation (the bread and wine turning into the Body and Blood during the consecration).

A great post you might like: http://www.conversiondiary.com/2010/...omes-dust.html

You might really enjoy Catholic Answer's forums. Lots of great discussions there. http://forums.catholic.com/

Also getting your hands on a Catholic Bible and a Catechism of the
Catholic Church are great places to start!

The eucharist can be central to the worship of some Christian churches but not as much in others. There are something like 30,000 Protestant denominations so figuring out and placing importance on a specific aspect of Christian worship for the entire group is almost impossible as their theologies all vary slightly. Some do infant baptism, other don't, some believe in the Real Presence in the eucharist, others don't, some believe in liturgical worship, some don't. Some allow female ministers, some don't and so it goes on.

"Hey, I've got nothin' to do today but smile." - S & G
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#11 of 47 Old 09-07-2010, 02:42 PM
 
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While I don't think there is anything wrong with reading, I don't think you will ever find what you are looking for in a book. I got lots of information from books and articles and reading and reading some more but until I went to liturgy I didn't really connect with Christ and his church on a meaningful level. It effected a part of me that had nothing to do with history or doctrine. It was about entering into worship and becoming Orthodox. Not just agreeing with it. I don't know if that makes any sense.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#12 of 47 Old 09-07-2010, 02:51 PM
 
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While I don't think there is anything wrong with reading, I don't think you will ever find what you are looking for in a book. I got lots of information from books and articles and reading and reading some more but until I went to liturgy I didn't really connect with Christ and his church on a meaningful level. It effected a part of me that had nothing to do with history or doctrine. It was about entering into worship and becoming Orthodox. Not just agreeing with it. I don't know if that makes any sense.

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#13 of 47 Old 09-07-2010, 03:19 PM
 
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While I don't think there is anything wrong with reading, I don't think you will ever find what you are looking for in a book. I got lots of information from books and articles and reading and reading some more but until I went to liturgy I didn't really connect with Christ and his church on a meaningful level. It effected a part of me that had nothing to do with history or doctrine. It was about entering into worship and becoming Orthodox. Not just agreeing with it. I don't know if that makes any sense.
Do you not think an understanding of theology enriches the life of a Christian? I suppose I think understanding and becoming knowledgable about what the Church teaches to be a fairly integral part of the process for me. Of course being a part of the body of Christ and worship is important, but for me, I am not sure I could have converted if I didn't have some sort of theological basis of understanding for *why* the liturgy was the way it is and why it has changed or why the Church accepts the Bishop of Rome as supreme and Pope, or why the Church doesn't allow female ordination or what the early church fathers and writers had to say. Etc.

To each their own! I'm sure the process of becoming a Christian is very different for every single person who experiences conversion. I suppose I don't trust just my emotional instincts, though I have had some very powerful emotional experiences both during Mass and during prayer and Adoration. I studied the Baha'i Faith for a long time and it felt really good but it wasn't the truth. Hope that clarifies why study and reading was so important to me during the process!!

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#14 of 47 Old 09-07-2010, 03:28 PM
 
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Do you not think an understanding of theology enriches the life of a Christian? I suppose I think understanding and becoming knowledgable about what the Church teaches to be a fairly integral part of the process for me. Of course being a part of the body of Christ and worship is important, but for me, I am not sure I could have converted if I didn't have some sort of theological basis of understanding for *why* the liturgy was the way it is and why it has changed or why the Church accepts the Bishop of Rome as supreme and Pope, or why the Church doesn't allow female ordination or what the early church fathers and writers had to say. Etc.

To each their own! I'm sure the process of becoming a Christian is very different for every single person who experiences conversion.
I think this is true, but it will only take one so far, I think. It is rather like the Divine Comedy: Beatrice the beloved propels Dante on his journey, Virgil (reason) guides him much of the way, but cannot take him into Heaven.

Reading and thinking are abstract - it is in the Church that one meets the living God.

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#15 of 47 Old 09-07-2010, 03:57 PM
 
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I think this is true, but it will only take one so far, I think. It is rather like the Divine Comedy: Beatrice the beloved propels Dante on his journey, Virgil (reason) guides him much of the way, but cannot take him into Heaven.

Reading and thinking are abstract - it is in the Church that one meets the living God.
Eh, I can see what you are saying, but it was the total dependence on emotion and feelings to determine one's relationship with Jesus in evangelical Christianity that drove me away. I think people can have all sorts of very believable and impressive emotional experiences within the wide range of religion and spirituality but just because the experience is good doesn't mean it is based on truth.

Yes, the relationship a person cultivates with God during conversion and the actions of that person to retain and grow that relationship via prayer and participating in the Holy Mass, the Sacraments and fellowship and charity with other Christians and humanity as a whole are super integral to the life of a Christian and the process of sanctification, but I personally think it is extremely necessary to have a foundation to it all and to understand what that foundation is for the experience to be truly meaningful.

I read complaints online and hear complaints constantly in my parish about how poorly Catholics have been catechized over the last few decades and frankly, that is probably why droves of people have left. They don't actually know what the Church teaches beyond surface information and when something happens that upsets them or they don't have a "rich enough" spiritual experience during Mass they leave and go elsewhere to try and find that emotional energy that they lack because they don't understand enough about what is happening to embrace the miracle of the sacrifice of the Mass.

With all that said, yes, I found Mass to be a primal way for me to encounter God prior to me really understanding what was happening. But, as a convert I also remember distinctly feeling like a freak and a fish out of water and that can be a distraction! I didn't know the responses, crossing myself and genuflecting were totally foreign to me and I was so busy trying to keep up that I don't think I was fully able to appreciate the beauty and miracle of the Mass until I had been attending regularly for quite awhile. Once again, personal experience changes each person's perspective.

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#16 of 47 Old 09-07-2010, 04:47 PM
 
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Oh, I think it is very important to have a knowledge of the past and specific doctrines (and many of the ones you mentioned are why I am Orthodox and not Catholic) but none of that can replace actually becoming a part of the Body. And a lot of that make much more sense when it is wrapped in the tradition of the church and taught by a knowledgeable spiritual father rather than read in a book and filtered through our own faulty, unilluminating, minds and interpreted without the church helping us. I found immersing myself in the church has totally changed the way I read stuff about the church. Especially the church fathers. No all of it. Doctrine and theology and even history make so much more sense now.

It is not the emotional response to liturgy I am talking about. As a matter of fact you read all kinds of teary eyed, emotional responses to liturgy but I have never felt it. I come from a eve.prot charismatic back ground and left because it felt like a bunch of emotional manipulation and mind games and no substance. But it doesn't matter how much you think about church and read about it if you don't participate in it. participating in the liturgical year, saying the prayers, using all five of your senses, surrounding yourself with pious, devout people 9many of whom have never read a single book on the church but faithfully follow God every day) will all fortify you and give you a solid foundation for the things you are reading.

I think it is important to go to liturgy, meet regularly with your priest and get his reading recommendations etc. Start participating in the prayers, the fasts, the feasts. All of these will give meaning to the things you read and the things you read will give you background on what is going on. they work together and your priest will be able to tie it all together and answer any questions you have.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#17 of 47 Old 09-07-2010, 06:02 PM
 
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I don't think anyone was suggesting that the OP should not go to mass and experience it. But the OP did ask specifically how those that have converted to Catholicism came to understand and embrace Catholic teachings that they may have had difficulty understanding at first. So that is why BMG and others were specifically mentioning ways to educate oneself on the Churches teachings, and given the wealth of info the Church gives us in writing there is no reason not to take advantage of it.
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#18 of 47 Old 09-08-2010, 09:39 AM
 
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I don't think anyone was suggesting that the OP should not go to mass and experience it. But the OP did ask specifically how those that have converted to Catholicism came to understand and embrace Catholic teachings that they may have had difficulty understanding at first. So that is why BMG and others were specifically mentioning ways to educate oneself on the Churches teachings, and given the wealth of info the Church gives us in writing there is no reason not to take advantage of it.
Yes, but I think what Lilyka was saying also speaks to that directly. I would also say that she is reflecting something that is quite different in an average Catholic and Orthodox parish, in my experience. Catholic parishes are in many cases huge, there may be little contact between individuals and overworked priests (in some cases the priests are part of religious orders which makes it even more difficult), Confession is often short and anonymous, and the most common form of the Mass is a bit - well, not up to the standard of the Divine Liturgy.

OTOH, Orthodox parishes in many cases are smaller, the priest (or another person) is very intimately involved in the life of every individual, Confession is personal and detailed, and the Divine Liturgy is in itself a formidable teaching tool. So attending and speaking to the priest is about the best way to get answers about many difficult questions, and to see how they are actually lived out, and to have them tailored to your individual understanding and needs.

So I suspect this difference in emphasis may reflect what seems to be the differences between Catholic and Orthodox parishes.

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#19 of 47 Old 09-09-2010, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well ladies, you are actually all right. I definitely need to understand the theology intellectually, because I am a very mentally-focused person and that's how I usually operate. But in order for the mental concepts to have meaning I also definitely need to maybe start going to mass so I can get a *feel* for what is going on. Otherwise I won't be able to make a real connection. And, particularly because I do naturally approach things with my intellect, maybe I need to focus even more on the doing and feeling sides of things.

Interesting point about the difference between Catholic and Orthodox parishes though Bluegoat. I wonder how it is here. The Orthodox are definitely more numerous here but there are only 2 Catholic churches in the whole area so they are probably pretty full. I will have to go see!

Anyway, thank you all for your input!

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#20 of 47 Old 09-11-2010, 02:38 PM
 
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How beautiful that you have been given the grace to search...

I am not in the US so my perspective is a bit different. I just find it hard to belive that anyone would choose a church due to "smaller parish size, priest knows everyone, etc". Maybe I am misunderstanding, so please forgive me if it is so. I mean isn't the question here what is truth.

I have never been to an Orthodox church in the US but there are more Orthodox than Catholics where I live. I am very surprised to hear the idea that the "difficult" teachings are not found in Orthodoxy. Other than remarriage, what difference is there in questions of moral? (None, as far as I know.) Could it be that the Orthodox churches in the US have become something different and no longer really teach the Orthodox faith? Certainly, as far as I understand, the Orthodox churches do not teach any less than the Catholic Church that sexual acts outside of marriage (whether hetero or homosexual) are sinful. They may be quieter about it but certainly the teaching is still there.

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#21 of 47 Old 09-11-2010, 08:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Anumaria View Post
How beautiful that you have been given the grace to search...

I am not in the US so my perspective is a bit different. I just find it hard to belive that anyone would choose a church due to "smaller parish size, priest knows everyone, etc". Maybe I am misunderstanding, so please forgive me if it is so. I mean isn't the question here what is truth.

I have never been to an Orthodox church in the US but there are more Orthodox than Catholics where I live. I am very surprised to hear the idea that the "difficult" teachings are not found in Orthodoxy. Other than remarriage, what difference is there in questions of moral? (None, as far as I know.) Could it be that the Orthodox churches in the US have become something different and no longer really teach the Orthodox faith? Certainly, as far as I understand, the Orthodox churches do not teach any less than the Catholic Church that sexual acts outside of marriage (whether hetero or homosexual) are sinful. They may be quieter about it but certainly the teaching is still there.
I didn't say that one should make a choice based on parish size, at all. I was suggesting why an Orthodox poster might be more likely to argue that actually attending the DL is an important part of the intellectual apprehension of religious belief - a view that seems to be ubiquitous among that group - compared to a Catholic poster.

As far as hard teachings, the only day to day one that comes to my mind besides divorce is contraception, which isn't categorically quashed to the same extent. However, if people are thinking more theoretically, there are a number of issues not found in Orthodoxy that Catholics are compelled to believe.

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#22 of 47 Old 09-11-2010, 09:04 PM
 
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What does Orthodoxy have to do with the OPs question though?
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#23 of 47 Old 09-11-2010, 09:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
What does Orthodoxy have to do with the OPs question though?
Originally, Lilyka, who is Orthodox, made a comment, which I thought reflected a very Orthodox POV, so I tried to expand on that as I understood it (hoping I didn't totally misunderstand Lilyka's point!). That's all. I'm not sure why "hard teachings" came up, that seems to have been a new direction.

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#24 of 47 Old 09-12-2010, 11:19 PM
 
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It has nothing to do with it. rabbit trail.....

as for the hard teachings....contraception has always been an easy one for me even while protestant. As have all the other teachings about sex and marriage. Its one of the reasons I left the protestant church. Its not hard teachings, there are some different doctrinal beliefs between the two. I originally considers Catholocism but there were a few doctrines/teachings I could not wrap my head around, did not percieve as truth, they didn't make sense to me (immaculate conception, papal supremecy, purgatory, original sin) that it turns out were not always understood the way they are now and are not part of Orthodox tradition.

now, back to our regularly scheduled thread....

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#25 of 47 Old 09-13-2010, 12:57 AM
 
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People sometimes ask my DH about the Church. The first thing he tells them is to look into the teaching on the Eucharist. Read the bible passages supporting it, read the early fathers, the miracles, the documents- all of it. If, in the end, you find that you dn't believe the bread and wine become the real Body and Blood of Christ, then nothing else matters. It is this that is the center of the Catholic Church- without this teaching and this belief, nothing else matters at all- not Mary, not the saints, not confession, not priests, etc.
So true! Great post.

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#26 of 47 Old 09-13-2010, 10:03 AM
 
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The reason I wanted to continue about Orthodoxy is that it is sometimes seen as some sort of light version of Catholicism. As they are not as loud about many things (even if they really do teach them), some people feel drawn there, as they can get valid sacraments but don't need to hear about the "hard stuff." (Which was never hard for me, either, but for many considering conversion, the teaching on contraception, etc. are at first difficult things. Although... considering where we are discussing, the average reader here prob. already knows about nfp, etc.)

Anyway... Yes, you are nuts... and in very good company.

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#27 of 47 Old 09-13-2010, 07:25 PM
 
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Wow, I wouldn't consider it Catholic lite We are actually quite a bit more conservative and traditional on a lot of things. But you are right. We don't have much of a voice in the west like the Catholic church does so most people just don't know our teachings. But we are every bit as firm in our beliefs about birth control, marriage, premarital sex etc as Rome. Those are things that were set in stone from the beginning and neither ancient church has wavered from them (kudos to them both!).

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#28 of 47 Old 09-14-2010, 09:11 AM
 
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Not to mention the fasting!

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#29 of 47 Old 09-14-2010, 02:53 PM
 
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Not to mention the fasting!
Yeah, that's the first thing I think of when people describe Orthodoxy as "easier than Catholicism." Putting aside the marriage/contraception issues, we go essentially vegan for HALF the year. I've known people who refused to convert because they simply couldn't cope with the thought. It does get easier! Great Lent & Holy Week are one long ascetical marathon of fasting and multiple services a week (try *every* day for the first week of Great Lent and Holy Week). No piece o'cake, but it's absolutely my FAVORITE part of the Church Year.

My nominally Catholic coworkers usually do fish on Fridays in Lent, but I find it sad, but somewhat amusing, that many of them complain bitterly about having to have no meat, which is only one day a week (and Ash Wednesday). They always are extremely curious as to what I'm eating, and usually find my vegan Middle Eastern dishes more appealing than their own tuna subs or veggie & cheese pizza.

Sunday Divine Liturgy goes about 90 minutes, whereas my parents (I was raised Catholic) have always griped in a major way if Mass went a second over 60 minutes. The Orthodox also stand, although people can sit if they need to for health reasons. I'm choir, so we're always standing.

Back to the Catholic focus of this thread!

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#30 of 47 Old 09-14-2010, 04:34 PM
 
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Sorry, i really did not mean to get this thread off track. my point is, you are not crazy. People are flocking towards traditional expressions of Christianity for many of the same reasons you are and more. definitely read but also seek guidance from someone who can give you a more personal real life explanation of the doctrines and theologies. (a priest or someone trained to teach this stuff...)

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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