RCIA - not sure if I should continue - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 10-06-2010, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm currently attending RCIA classes to convert to Catholic and have been for a couple of months now. Recently, at the end of September, I went through the Rite of Acceptance to continue on and learn more about the Faith and become committed to Mass on Sunday's and meetings every Tuesday with my RCIA classmates.

Well, last night, during an RCIA class, one of the Priests from our church spoke on Human Dignity and some of the things that he covered I did not agree with (invitro, homosexuality, views on rape and abortion, etc.,) and felt a tug at my heart that I wasn't sure if this was right for me - to continue with these classes. While I'm interested in what the Catholic faith is all about, I think I'm finding myself more interested in just being spiritual and not being labled as a Catholic or Baptist or any other religion.

I think this might be something that I should pray about, too. But the more I think about it and the more I type about it on MDC, the more I think that this is the right move for me.
My initial wanting to join the RCIA class and become Catholic was to fill a void in my life both personally and spiritually. My DH is Catholic but not a practicing one and in the beginning he was unsure as to why I was doing this, but the more I explained why, he supported me. He'll support me even if I decide to discontinue the RCIA classes. He's excited that I want to be spiritually fullfilled in any way that suits me.... I just don't know where to find it right now.

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#2 of 15 Old 10-06-2010, 11:29 AM
 
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Well honestly, the stance on abortion is one of the core beliefs of Catholicism. You really can't be pro-abortion and be Catholic if you truly search your heart because abortion eats at the very foundation of the Catholic view of life. So, as a Catholic who went through RCIA, if that is something that you can't reconcile, it might be best to step back and do some more soul searching to find out if Catholicism is truly where you are being led. I won't say to quit RCIA....that's between you and God, really. I will say that if you continue as a Catholic and then promote a pro-abortion stance, there could be some issues arising. I'm sure there are pro-abortion Catholics (wasn't John Kerry one?), but you will be bombarded with anti-abortion messages, homilies, events, etc. at church.

For me, I don't agree with every single thing the Catholic Church teaches (for example, I agree with the Catholic stance on marriage and the family, but I don't vote against gay marriages and the like. For me, it truly just doesn't affect me, and I have some homosexual relatives, and I don't sit there and try to convert them and make them feel horrible.) However, abortion, transubstantiation, etc. are at the very soul of the Catholic belief, and if I didn't agree with one of those, I'd try to find someplace that meshed a little more with what I believed in.

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#3 of 15 Old 10-06-2010, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well honestly, the stance on abortion is one of the core beliefs of Catholicism. You really can't be pro-abortion and be Catholic if you truly search your heart because abortion eats at the very foundation of the Catholic view of life. So, as a Catholic who went through RCIA, if that is something that you can't reconcile, it might be best to step back and do some more soul searching to find out if Catholicism is truly where you are being led. I won't say to quit RCIA....that's between you and God, really. I will say that if you continue as a Catholic and then promote a pro-abortion stance, there could be some issues arising. I'm sure there are pro-abortion Catholics (wasn't John Kerry one?), but you will be bombarded with anti-abortion messages, homilies, events, etc. at church.

For me, I don't agree with every single thing the Catholic Church teaches (for example, I agree with the Catholic stance on marriage and the family, but I don't vote against gay marriages and the like. For me, it truly just doesn't affect me, and I have some homosexual relatives, and I don't sit there and try to convert them and make them feel horrible.) However, abortion, transubstantiation, etc. are at the very soul of the Catholic belief, and if I didn't agree with one of those, I'd try to find someplace that meshed a little more with what I believed in.
I think the two biggest things for me are the invitro - where the church sees it as 'evil' because God had no part of it and the ideas on marriage, divorce, and birth control. I currently don't use bc, but my DH is planning on having some 'surgery' done. Would that also be against the church? And divorce - the church views on divorce is that they strongly oppose it even if my DH were to commit adultry? I'd have to continue with this marriage even if I was betrayed?
I guess I still have quite a few questions and some serious soul searching to do before I can fully commit to wanting to be converted.

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#4 of 15 Old 10-06-2010, 11:41 AM
 
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I think you should do some reading on theology of the body, it was extremely helpful to me in understanding the Church's position on the issues you mentioned. I highly recommend Father Loya's podcast A Body of Truth on Catholic Radio International and available from itunes.
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#5 of 15 Old 10-06-2010, 11:45 AM
 
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I think the two biggest things for me are the invitro - where the church sees it as 'evil' because God had no part of it and the ideas on marriage, divorce, and birth control. I currently don't use bc, but my DH is planning on having some 'surgery' done. Would that also be against the church? And divorce - the church views on divorce is that they strongly oppose it even if my DH were to commit adultry? I'd have to continue with this marriage even if I was betrayed?
I guess I still have quite a few questions and some serious soul searching to do before I can fully commit to wanting to be converted.

The part about the divorce isn't quite so clear cut. There are ways to determine if a marriage was invalid to begin with--even a marriage with a legal marriage certificate and a church-sanctioned wedding can later be determined to be invalid. And in that case, an annulment happens.

However, the church seems somewhat mellowed on the divorce issue...there are a lot of church-sanctioned support groups and events for people who are divorced, so while the official position is that divorce isn't allowed, it's not quite the "you divorce and remarry, you're excommunicated" attitude of the past. There seems to be a welcoming back to the church so to speak.

ETA: Yes, a vasectomy is against Catholic theology because you have then closed off any possibility for life. And of course, the official Catholic position is to always be open to God's gift of life.

~Brandon Michael (11/23/03), Jocelyn Lily Nữ (2/4/07, adopted 5/28/07 from Vietnam), Amelia Rylie (1/14/09), & Ryland Josef William (9/7/05-9/7/05 @ 41 wks). 
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#6 of 15 Old 10-06-2010, 12:01 PM
 
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I read recently that the Church went from about 300 annulments in 1960 to 50,000ish in 1970, so yes I'd say that has been relaxed. Those dates are approximate because I can't remember the exact year off the top of my head.

The vasectomy would be her dh sin as long as she doesn't support it.


edtied to add that those numbers quoted above are only US annulments. Sorry forgot to specify that before.
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#7 of 15 Old 10-06-2010, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I read recently that the Church went from about 300 annulments in 1960 to 50,000ish in 1970, so yes I'd say that has been relaxed. Those dates are approximate because I can't remember the exact year off the top of my head.

The vasectomy would be her dh sin as long as she doesn't support it.


edtied to add that those numbers quoted above are only US annulments. Sorry forgot to specify that before.
But see, that's the thing. I do support it. It's a decision that we agree that would be most beneficial for our family planning. Our family is complete.

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#8 of 15 Old 10-06-2010, 01:30 PM
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Hugs mamma. Those are some of the more difficult teachings in the Catholic Church. A lot of people struggle with them. I would not encourage you to complete RCIA to become Catholic if those issues do not become resolved for you, but maybe you could look into those issues and why the Catholic Church teaches them a little bit more before you decide for sure. It sounds like they didn't get the chance to explain it very well. These are such complex issues that any one of them could take a very long time to understand. Do check out the Theology of the Body. Christopher West has some great explanations.

Briefly, divorce is certainly not desirable, but if your husband committs adultery or abuses you, it may be what you need to do to keep yourself safe. There is no sin in getting a divorce in and of itself. The thing is that a valid marriage can never truly be dissolved, not even by divorce. If you were to find yourself divorced, you would be encouraged to ask the Church to look at your marriage with you to determine if it was vaild. If it was, you may not get remarried while your husband is alive. If it was invalid, you are free to marry or pursue another vocation. Adultery does not automatically invalidate a marriage. Many couples have recovered from adultery with intact marriages. Some denominations that have exceptions for adultery have problems with partners cheating just to get out of the marriage. Nobody would ask someone to stay in an abusive situation.

IVF and contraception are 2 sides to the same coin, and homosexuality is related. The Catholic Church believes that sex is both unitive and procreative (though not always procreating). It is wrong to take part in the unitive part without the procreative (an openness to life), and it is wrong to take part in procreating without the unitive aspect. IVF is procreation without the unitive marital embrace, and contraception is an attempt to have the unitive aspect of sex while excluding the procreative aspect. Homosexual sex can be unitive, but in and of itself, it cannot create a bioligical child of the partners involved and therefore, cannot be procreative. Contempt for and mistreatment of homosexuals is not at all encouraged. They are people and deserve the same respect and dignity that would be given to anyone else.

IVF has some additional issues. Embryos (people) are created that are not implanted and left to die or be frozen forever or used in scientific research, and we do not believe any of those options properly respect their dignity. Also, sperm is collected through masturbation. Masturbation is neither procreative nor unitive, so it is considered to be immoral. Interestingly, NaPro Technology, which treats underlying medical problems to allow a couple to conceive naturally, has a better rate of success than IVF.

Abortion in cases of rape is also a very difficult issue. My heart goes out to women who are trying to heal after such a horrible assault to their dignity. Conceiving a child in such a situation would be very difficult indeed. The thing is that the child is innocent. The fact that the child's father is a rapist does not make the child any less human, and the child should not be forced to suffer for the sins of his or her father. Additionally, abortion has very serious spiritual and often physical and mental consequences for the mother. As horrible as her rape was, having an abortion will likely only make her situation worse. She needs true healing that validates her feelings about her experience, not something that denies that it ever happened.
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#9 of 15 Old 10-10-2010, 04:05 AM
 
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These issues are the big ones. I was in your same place during RCIA. What helped me was to realize that the Church always has a clear and concise reason for teaching was it does. Read, research and pray, pray, pray about it. God will lead you where he wants you to go. The Deacon who taught my class said that he went through RCIA two years in a row before converting. It is not an easy move to make which is why it is a long process.

We took the Rite of Acceptance in November and I remember thinking in the weeks prior, "Maybe I can't go through with this!" and they put it off until I was sure.

I know of Catholics who are all over the spectrum on their views of homosexuality, contraception, IVF, abortion, etc. and it kind of always surprises me. Not to say that I am a perfect Catholic; but these are core beliefs that the Church holds firm to and it seems interesting to me to be in opposition to them and still be a part of the Church. Not saying it is right or wrong but it does go against the Church. The Episcopal Church has a lot of similarites to the Catholic Church in their liturgy if that is what one is looking for and they are pretty open when it comes to these issues. That's where I started out and where I would be now if I had not decided that the Catholic Church was the right place for me.

You've got time to sort things out. Best wishes to you!
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#10 of 15 Old 10-10-2010, 06:15 AM
 
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Yeah... with one billion Catholics you can find just about any opinion and verious ways and levels of "practicing."

However, there is a difference, IMO, between someone baptized as an infant and a person, who goes through RCIA. The latter goes in front of the parish and vows to believe everything the Church teaches.

I completely agree with the PP who said that in Catholic teaching there is a reason for every teaching. Take your time... You really should feel no pressure to convert until/if you are truly ready.

Mama to a little lady and always praying for more.
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#11 of 15 Old 10-10-2010, 09:37 AM
 
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However, there is a difference, IMO, between someone baptized as an infant and a person, who goes through RCIA. The latter goes in front of the parish and vows to believe everything the Church teaches.

I completely agree with the PP who said that in Catholic teaching there is a reason for every teaching. Take your time... You really should feel no pressure to convert until/if you are truly ready.
Agreed. When you're brought into the Church, you're standing before God and His Church and saying you belief and accept His authority (and by proxy, the authority of His Church). To do that while internally having no intention of adhering is to basically lie to God. So certainly, don't follow through with conversion if you can't reconcile these issues.

I don't think that means you need to drop out of RCIA immediately, though. Pray and take the time to learn why the Church teaches what she does on these issues.
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#12 of 15 Old 10-13-2010, 08:14 AM
 
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I don't think that means you need to drop out of RCIA immediately, though. Pray and take the time to learn why the Church teaches what she does on these issues.
Agreed. As a former Catholic "from birth" who was active in the Church through college, and took RCIA for purposes of marriage (to a Lutheran) I can say that I believe you should go all the way to the end.

About halfway through RCIA I realized that the Catholic Church was not where I should be. But, I kept going, to learn more, study the reasoning, and pray that the Holy Spirit would help me find my way.

It didn't work for me, but it might for you. I would see it through.

In the end, I decided to move to the ELCA Lutheran Church - a decision which I still grapple with.

But, I believe, if you're not grappling with your religion, you ain't doing it right.

Christian, father of Santiago (HB 9/6/10) and loving husband to Wendy.
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#13 of 15 Old 10-28-2010, 07:37 PM
 
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There is no need to drop out of RCIA even if you come to the conclusion that completing the process this year is not right for you. There are many converts, even well-known ones, that took years to convert, classes included. These are usually the best adult education in the faith that the Church has to offer, unfortunately (I mean, it is unfortunate there are not other avenues as well).

I highly recommend the book "Good News about Sex and Marriage" to answer many of your questions along those lines. I think it lays out Church teaching in a user friendly format.

I pray the Spirit will guide you and that you will be open to His leading! You may be surprised by where you end up.

Mom to eight!!  Our twin girls arrived 3-3-2011.

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#14 of 15 Old 10-28-2010, 10:50 PM
 
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I personally don't think one has to agree with every offical teaching of the Church. I certainly don't, but I still think this is the place for me. Having said that, I was born Catholic and it is home. However, my DH's beliefs are very similar to mine and he just converted last year. My Uncle is a priest and theologian who disagrees with lots of official standings.
Of course, there certainly may be other denominations within which you may be more comfortable.
Good luck.
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#15 of 15 Old 10-29-2010, 01:04 AM
 
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When my husband was in RCIA, there wasn't a whole lot of commitment in the autumn sessions. I think they even had two groups, one which was more for the curious and asking questions, and another for those committed to the process.

Even if you have committed, I would encourage you to think about what the Church teaches, what your own thoughts and feelings are, what your prayerful reflection suggests.

My family chose a Catholic school where the priests encouraged us, if we needed to, to mentally argue with the homilies, and think through our positions.

Unitarian Universalist Pagan
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