Faith/Spirituality Forum: Confusion with Catholicism
Confusion with Catholicism QUESTION from Grace on July 5, 2002 Greetings & Peace to you in Christ.
Please forgive the lengthy content of my question but I feel it necessary.
I am a convert to the Faith. I am so in love with the Lord. I try to attend daily Mass, spend time before the Blessed Sacrament and go to confession (or try to) about every three weeks. I belong to two prayer groups and have many wonderful friends who support me and pray for me. I feel that I have learned a great deal and have had many questions answered (either in the confessional, from reading the Catechism, or by asking one or two special friends - very orthodox, Catholic Christian friends.
For some reason though, for about the past 6 months or maybe even a year now, I have felt (several times) as though I should just give it all up and go back to my protestant Faith. I feel as though the Catholic Faith is so contradictory. I think that this might be the devil but I am not sure what to think. I know that the Catholic Faith, the Catholic Church is the one true Faith because it was founded by Christ Himself. I love the Pope with all my heart and firmly believe in him and what he teaches and would not do anything to disobey him (I would hope!). I have a wonderful Spiritual Director - a Priest and he has helped me a lot this past year and a half (even though some of the things that he said were not to my liking) but I find that all Priests do not think alike and this is somewhat distressing to me.
We are told to defend the Faith; then someone will say who gave you that right? we are suppose to love the sinner, not the sin; if we do that then we are seen as conding - e.g. one Priest says - you shouldn't have your daughter's boyfriend in your home because you are conding their sin of fornication; I just can't turn him away and risk alienating her (and I have told both of them that it is wrong and why and that I do NOT approve but I still love them); another Priest says basically nothing...and it goes on and on and on. It would be ok if I could go to the same Priest all the time for confession but that is just not possible, hence the contradictions. Where do we draw the line? Why do things have to be grey? Why can't they just be black or white? Sometimes my head feels like it's going to explode. Sometimes I just wish that I could go before the Blessed Sacrament and never come out! But then we are supposed to help others so I can't even hide. (Hide in Christ I mean).
I just want to do what's right but sometimes it's like I don't know what is right. I try to keep my mouth shut but it's sure hard. Got any suggestions? Ask my spiritual director - I'd love to! but he's so busy!!! especially with WYD and the hospital work that he does. I won't be seeing him now until August and I just don't think I can wait that long.
I feel like I am a lukewarm Catholic or straddle the fence or living kind of a lie or something! Need your advice please. Thank you and God Bless You!!!!
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on July 15, 2002 Dear Grace:
I am sorry that you are getting such conflicting signals from this priest or that. Such a thing shouldn't happen but it does unfortunately.
Yes, it is the devil tempting you to go back to Protestantism. The devil hates the fact that you converted. Resist Him, the bible tells us. No matter what hardships or conflicting signals you get from men, the CHURCH is the Body of Christ and subsists visably on this earth in the CATHOLIC CHURCH that He founded upon Peter.
It can be diffiult when you are trying to learn and you get different answers. That is why it is so important to find a good spiritual director who is loyal and obedient to the Pope and Magisterium of the Catholic Church.
I would recommend to you a book called, Seeking Spiritual Direction by Fr. Thomas Dubay. It is an excellent volume to help you understand what spiritual direction is and is not, how to find a spiritual director, and what to do if you cannot find one. You can order that book by clicking here
Also read the Catechism. If any priest contradicts what is in the catechism then something is wrong.
As for defending the faith, yes we are to do that. We do love the sinner and hate the sin, but how is the sinner to know any better unless we tell them. The Church OFFICIALLY teaches that we are to admonish the sinner and teach the ignorant. We have not only the RIGHT, but the DUTY to defend the faith, according to the Bible and the Church.
As far as your daughter is concerned the Church teaches that is we see sin occur and we are in position to do something about it and do nothing, then WE are accomplices to the other person's sin. If you let your daughter sleep with her boyfriend in your own house, then YOU are sinning, not just your daughter.
According to 1 Corinthians 13 love rejoices in righteousness not in sin and error. It is a UNLOVING to not demand from your daughter that she behave herself under your roof. To love her is to set rules and to insist upon those rules in your own house. She can sin all she wants in her own house, but in YOUR house you cannot knowingly allow them to sin or encourage them to sin or to acquiesce to their sin by allowing them to sleep in the same bed. Love DEMANDS that you do this.
If your daughter were about to do something that would kill her, such as get in the car drunk, or climb onto the roof drunk to walk along the edge of the roof, would you worry about her feelings and whether she will be alienated, or would you worry about saving her life?
Well, your daughter is behaving in a way that could possibly kill her soul. You must stand firm to save her soul. You cannot do anything about her behavior when she is elsewhere (other than to pray for her like St. Monica prayed for her reprobate son who eventually became the great St. Augustine). But you can insist upon moral behavior in your house.
If your daughter and her boyfriend cannot respect this, then they have a BIG maturity problem. Do not let them step all over you an disrespect you and God.
If you daughter becomes alienated because you insisted she respect your house rules, she will come back eventually.
I did this with my children. Twelve years later my children told me that my insistence upon moral behavior was the right thing to do and that without my determination they would have never attained a moral compass.
Hang tough. Defend the faith. Insist upon moral behavior in your own house. And PRAY, PRAY, PRAY.
Your daughter will appreciate it -- if not now, she will later.
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