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Old 06-25-2010, 03:49 PM
 
1,785 posts, read 3,020,911 times
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Hi Shyspider, I'm really sorry you are going through this and with all the wonderful people on this board, please do not feel alone. I understand from reading your posts that you are not yet a Catholic, but at one time thought you desired to do so - and now are questioning it. I totally get that. For the record, I am a practicing Catholic and have been my entire life (including 12 years of Catholic schools - and with the nuns I might add!). I say I read your posts and to be honest, being in a rush, I obviously did not read it properly the first time. I was taken aback by your observations of the rituals and the dogma. It is so funny, Spyspider, I guess after more than 40 years of them, that is PRECISELY what I DO find comforting.

There is, to me, something beautiful in the rituals, the incense when used, and I particularly enjoy a Latin Mass. I feel so transported back in time, following the same rituals that my ancestors have done for generations - kneeling at the same time, the same murumed responses, bowing the head, etc. I find it a comfort to hear the clack of my Mom's rosary beads next to me at Mass, and when she does a deep inhale, I know she is starting another "Hail Mary".

Sometimes when life gets crazy, and I get swept up in it and then tossed out, there is nothing like finding a quiet little chapel, tucked away in some city street, entering into the cool shadows, seeing the candles at the front slowing burning, smelling the left over incense or just the smell of a church, seeing the pictures of saints or the way of the Cross and slipping into a pew and getting on my knees. It's like I've come home, you know? I feel so close to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in that moment. The peace just washes over me.

Obviously, Shyspider, I understand that you don't have the same tradition in the Church that I have or perhaps that comfort level yet. I am also VERY sorry about the response you received to your question - but I can tell you that it is a LONG process since they really want to be sure that YOU are confident in what you are doing and the step you are taking. There are probably a few people out there that think the Catholic Church will be happy to get anyone they can get - but it is not the case. The entire RCIA experience is for your benefit. To teach you the doctrine of the Church, and to see how comfortable YOU are with accepting that. Frankly, from Baptism to Communion for us, it is 7 years, and then Confirmation is another 7-8 years. So RCIA does, in a sense, fast-track it! Trust me.

As to crisis in faith - sure I have had them. I don't think you can truly experience life without one or two moments that shakes you down to the core of your being. Somehow though, I have always been led "home". It seems to me that perhaps entering into the Catholic Church is something you no longer seem to want to do. Please - don't feel bad about that. As the other posters here have said, anywhere you find peace in your heart and a love of Jesus, then that is where you belong. I would offer one suggestion to you though: I don't know where you live, but if there are any convents in your area, I have always found it enlightening to speak to a nun. I have a great deal of respect for these dedicated women, small though their number may now be. Also, there are various mediation centers run by Catholic organizations that you might find helpful. I use to roll my eyes at them when I was younger, but they are really in a peaceful setting, and depending on what the topic is, you are left a great deal of time to simply meditate on your own. There are, of course, people far more qualified at these retreats than me in answering any of your questions or dealing with your concerns.

Whichever way you go, I truly wish for you to find the same sort of peace in your faith that I have, and to feel like part of a loving community. Take care of yourself.
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Old 06-25-2010, 04:01 PM
 
Location: Maryland
3,540 posts, read 6,079,527 times
Reputation: 981
Quote:
Originally Posted by cokatie View Post
Hi Shyspider, I'm really sorry you are going through this and with all the wonderful people on this board, please do not feel alone. I understand from reading your posts that you are not yet a Catholic, but at one time thought you desired to do so - and now are questioning it. I totally get that. For the record, I am a practicing Catholic and have been my entire life (including 12 years of Catholic schools - and with the nuns I might add!). I say I read your posts and to be honest, being in a rush, I obviously did not read it properly the first time. I was taken aback by your observations of the rituals and the dogma. It is so funny, Spyspider, I guess after more than 40 years of them, that is PRECISELY what I DO find comforting.

There is, to me, something beautiful in the rituals, the incense when used, and I particularly enjoy a Latin Mass. I feel so transported back in time, following the same rituals that my ancestors have done for generations - kneeling at the same time, the same murumed responses, bowing the head, etc. I find it a comfort to hear the clack of my Mom's rosary beads next to me at Mass, and when she does a deep inhale, I know she is starting another "Hail Mary".

Sometimes when life gets crazy, and I get swept up in it and then tossed out, there is nothing like finding a quiet little chapel, tucked away in some city street, entering into the cool shadows, seeing the candles at the front slowing burning, smelling the left over incense or just the smell of a church, seeing the pictures of saints or the way of the Cross and slipping into a pew and getting on my knees. It's like I've come home, you know? I feel so close to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in that moment. The peace just washes over me.

Obviously, Shyspider, I understand that you don't have the same tradition in the Church that I have or perhaps that comfort level yet. I am also VERY sorry about the response you received to your question - but I can tell you that it is a LONG process since they really want to be sure that YOU are confident in what you are doing and the step you are taking. There are probably a few people out there that think the Catholic Church will be happy to get anyone they can get - but it is not the case. The entire RCIA experience is for your benefit. To teach you the doctrine of the Church, and to see how comfortable YOU are with accepting that. Frankly, from Baptism to Communion for us, it is 7 years, and then Confirmation is another 7-8 years. So RCIA does, in a sense, fast-track it! Trust me.

As to crisis in faith - sure I have had them. I don't think you can truly experience life without one or two moments that shakes you down to the core of your being. Somehow though, I have always been led "home". It seems to me that perhaps entering into the Catholic Church is something you no longer seem to want to do. Please - don't feel bad about that. As the other posters here have said, anywhere you find peace in your heart and a love of Jesus, then that is where you belong. I would offer one suggestion to you though: I don't know where you live, but if there are any convents in your area, I have always found it enlightening to speak to a nun. I have a great deal of respect for these dedicated women, small though their number may now be. Also, there are various mediation centers run by Catholic organizations that you might find helpful. I use to roll my eyes at them when I was younger, but they are really in a peaceful setting, and depending on what the topic is, you are left a great deal of time to simply meditate on your own. There are, of course, people far more qualified at these retreats than me in answering any of your questions or dealing with your concerns.

Whichever way you go, I truly wish for you to find the same sort of peace in your faith that I have, and to feel like part of a loving community. Take care of yourself.

Yea. What Cokatie said.
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Old 06-26-2010, 06:19 PM
 
528 posts, read 684,789 times
Reputation: 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by shyspider View Post
Hello. This isn't meant to be Catholic bashing, and I actually have two separate but related questions. I was wondering if anyone was ever a devoted Catholic and then later left that church for any reason? If so, what was your reason? How did it make you feel inside yourself to leave...were you scared you were going to end up in hell?

And similar to that, has anyone ever adopted a different view of Christianity than the one you previously had? I don't mean you stopped believing in Jesus, but something about your spiritual understanding changed? Can you describe your experience.
Yes, my Pastor grew up Catholic, but later converted to Christianity or our nondenominational religion. And I grew up in the Church of Christ & I left. But even now I feel myself growing & thinking differently every day.
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Old 06-27-2010, 09:20 AM
 
621 posts, read 1,052,547 times
Reputation: 283
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oakback View Post
After an awakening and subsequent spiritual quest, I ended up feeling very much at home in my local Catholic parish.
No one really knew who I was, so I would go to mass and take the eucharist. I later joined the RCIA program, and was eventually asked very gently to wait until I became a full member after the rite of initiation.
I completely understood and respected them for telling me what I should have known.
I'm confused. What is it you should have known? Were you previously a Catholic when you took the Eucharist? If so, why did you go through RCIA...and why would they tell you to wait until you became a full member after the rite of initiation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oakback View Post
Being a member in "full communion" is a choice we make, and it comes with some responsibilty as a member of the Church. It really is not just about whatt the Church will give me, but also about what I can give the Church.
Which is...what?? Service/time? Money? Contribution of something related to our talents? Love and devotion to the community? See, that lady's comment hurt and offended me because she presumed I was only being self-centered - that I only wanted to go to church to take something from it without giving anything in return. Why would she say something like that? She doesn't know anything about me - if I wanted to give something or not - nor why I was interested in converting to Catholicism. Furthermore, what does Jesus demand we give him in return for receiving his body and blood? I'll go into this more below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oakback View Post
"Jumping through hoops" is not a new thing. The early Christians, particularly when they were being pursued and prosecuted, met in homes and even deep in the catacombs of rome. Getting into their services took a bit of "jumping through hoops" too.
I'm not really talking about getting into the service itself. I'm talking about how the Catholic church seems to add all these extra steps that someone has to go through before becoming a confirmed Christian. From a Biblical perspective, all a person needed to do was accept the truth of the gospel, believe in Jesus, repent, and then be baptized in order to be considered a Christian.

I don't necessarily object to the notion of the church wanting to make sure a potential convert understands the doctrines of the church, but if the convert, through an extended period of personal research, already understands and believes those doctrines, why still make them go through the months-long RCIA process before being confirmed at Easter? In recent years, through my private studies of the CC, I grew to understand the teachings about transubstantiation, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, authority, tradition, the papacy, purgatory, the sign of the cross, and other teachings of the church - but yet I would still have to go through the process of RCIA before I could be confirmed at Easter. I mean, surely the early church didn't make people wait until a specific time of the year before accepting them as believers. Once the person believed and was baptized, they were Christians. As an example, I will refer to Acts 2:38-47, which speaks of how the people heard and accepted the gospel, were baptized the same day, and tells how the church was adding people daily. I'll even refer to Acts 8:26-39, which talks about how Philip was led by the Holy Spirit to meet up with the Ethiopian eunuch along the road to Gaza, whereby Phillip preached Jesus to him. When the eunuch believed, asked to be baptized and bada bing, bada boom...Philip baptized him right then and there. He didn't tell him "Oh, but you must wait until the anniversary of the resurrection of Jesus before we will do that."

Why do I, a believer in Jesus Christ, have to go through a months-long RCIA process to learn things I pretty much already know before I can partake of communion after being confirmed at one particular time of year?
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Old 06-27-2010, 10:24 AM
 
621 posts, read 1,052,547 times
Reputation: 283
Quote:
Originally Posted by cokatie View Post
Hi Shyspider, I'm really sorry you are going through this and with all the wonderful people on this board, please do not feel alone. I understand from reading your posts that you are not yet a Catholic, but at one time thought you desired to do so - and now are questioning it. I totally get that. For the record, I am a practicing Catholic and have been my entire life (including 12 years of Catholic schools - and with the nuns I might add!). I say I read your posts and to be honest, being in a rush, I obviously did not read it properly the first time. I was taken aback by your observations of the rituals and the dogma. It is so funny, Spyspider, I guess after more than 40 years of them, that is PRECISELY what I DO find comforting.
I think the issue with rituals, for me anyway, is that I'm afraid that church will become more about those practices instead of a relationship with the Lord. I understand how comforting they can be, sure - but I'd also be concerned about whether I was pleasing the Lord by the rote practices of liturgy.

Also, my times of prayer seem to be very "casual", like ordinary conversations that aren't formal. How could I, in the course of the week, have a casual - albeit close, meaningful, and deep - relationship with the Lord in which I interact with him as though he's my best friend/confidant, and then transition into a formal version of myself reciting scripted prayers and responses to the priest on Sunday? It would feel like I had a dual personality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cokatie View Post

Sometimes when life gets crazy, and I get swept up in it and then tossed out, there is nothing like finding a quiet little chapel, tucked away in some city street, entering into the cool shadows, seeing the candles at the front slowing burning, smelling the left over incense or just the smell of a church, seeing the pictures of saints or the way of the Cross and slipping into a pew and getting on my knees. It's like I've come home, you know? I feel so close to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in that moment. The peace just washes over me.
I completely understand, and I'm not opposed to that experience. In fact, I've experienced that great peace and it is something I seek. It's what I call "sanctuary". And you cannot find that in most Protestant churches. They are all too "hectic and noisy". They seem to lack solemnity. HOWEVER, that being said, I still find myself struggling with the scripted liturgies of mainline churches.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cokatie View Post
Obviously, Shyspider, I understand that you don't have the same tradition in the Church that I have or perhaps that comfort level yet. I am also VERY sorry about the response you received to your question - but I can tell you that it is a LONG process since they really want to be sure that YOU are confident in what you are doing and the step you are taking. There are probably a few people out there that think the Catholic Church will be happy to get anyone they can get - but it is not the case. The entire RCIA experience is for your benefit. To teach you the doctrine of the Church, and to see how comfortable YOU are with accepting that. Frankly, from Baptism to Communion for us, it is 7 years, and then Confirmation is another 7-8 years. So RCIA does, in a sense, fast-track it! Trust me.
Aside from what I said about RCIA in my last post to Oakback, I can only add that I would maybe feel differently about it if the church followed the Biblical example of simply proclaiming the gospel and baptizing so that believers could partake of communion. Going through RCIA after that would perhaps be more understandable...kinda like what Protestant churches do when they have Sunday school and Bible studies. They don't require people to go through those things first before being baptized or partaking of communion. I do want to note that have not and never have thought the CC was only interested in "getting anyone they could get." HOWEVER, it does seem to come across as an exclusive "club" that someone has to jump through hoops to enter before being allowed to receive the body and blood of our Lord.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cokatie View Post
As to crisis in faith - sure I have had them. I don't think you can truly experience life without one or two moments that shakes you down to the core of your being. Somehow though, I have always been led "home". It seems to me that perhaps entering into the Catholic Church is something you no longer seem to want to do. Please - don't feel bad about that. As the other posters here have said, anywhere you find peace in your heart and a love of Jesus, then that is where you belong.
I hope you won't take this the wrong way, but I'm not sure I understand why a Catholic would encourage a non-Catholic to find a church outside the CC where they find peace. Doesn't the Catholic church believe that those Christians outside the CC are lacking in sacramental grace? For instance, in Catholic/Orthodox communion, it is believed that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus via transubstantiation. My understanding is that Catholic/Orthodox communion is a source of true strength and life, as they are more than mere symbols. Christ said that unless we eat his flesh and drink his blood, we will not have life. How could I just belong to a church where I find peace in my heart and love of Jesus if the bread and wine of communion in that church are merely bread and wine, having no efficacy?

"No longer wanting to enter the Catholic church" isn't the issue for me. Not wanting to jump through hoops to become Catholic IS - but it's being inferred that I'm self-centered for feeling that way. I just don't find it to be Biblical to make someone wait before they can be confirmed and receive communion.
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Old 06-27-2010, 10:37 PM
 
Location: Maryland
3,540 posts, read 6,079,527 times
Reputation: 981
Quote:
Originally Posted by shyspider View Post
I'm confused. What is it you should have known? Were you previously a Catholic when you took the Eucharist? If so, why did you go through RCIA...and why would they tell you to wait until you became a full member after the rite of initiation?



Which is...what?? Service/time? Money? Contribution of something related to our talents? Love and devotion to the community? See, that lady's comment hurt and offended me because she presumed I was only being self-centered - that I only wanted to go to church to take something from it without giving anything in return. Why would she say something like that? She doesn't know anything about me - if I wanted to give something or not - nor why I was interested in converting to Catholicism. Furthermore, what does Jesus demand we give him in return for receiving his body and blood? I'll go into this more below.



I'm not really talking about getting into the service itself. I'm talking about how the Catholic church seems to add all these extra steps that someone has to go through before becoming a confirmed Christian. From a Biblical perspective, all a person needed to do was accept the truth of the gospel, believe in Jesus, repent, and then be baptized in order to be considered a Christian.

I don't necessarily object to the notion of the church wanting to make sure a potential convert understands the doctrines of the church, but if the convert, through an extended period of personal research, already understands and believes those doctrines, why still make them go through the months-long RCIA process before being confirmed at Easter? In recent years, through my private studies of the CC, I grew to understand the teachings about transubstantiation, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, authority, tradition, the papacy, purgatory, the sign of the cross, and other teachings of the church - but yet I would still have to go through the process of RCIA before I could be confirmed at Easter. I mean, surely the early church didn't make people wait until a specific time of the year before accepting them as believers. Once the person believed and was baptized, they were Christians. As an example, I will refer to Acts 2:38-47, which speaks of how the people heard and accepted the gospel, were baptized the same day, and tells how the church was adding people daily. I'll even refer to Acts 8:26-39, which talks about how Philip was led by the Holy Spirit to meet up with the Ethiopian eunuch along the road to Gaza, whereby Phillip preached Jesus to him. When the eunuch believed, asked to be baptized and bada bing, bada boom...Philip baptized him right then and there. He didn't tell him "Oh, but you must wait until the anniversary of the resurrection of Jesus before we will do that."

Why do I, a believer in Jesus Christ, have to go through a months-long RCIA process to learn things I pretty much already know before I can partake of communion after being confirmed at one particular time of year?


You don't have to do anything. You don't have to accept anything. You don't have to understand anything.

Your completly free to do anything you want.

Ok?
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Old 06-27-2010, 11:35 PM
 
Location: Tucson, Arizona
987 posts, read 908,097 times
Reputation: 295
I changed from belonging to a church of Christ/Christian church to trying many denominations to now just being comfortable to talking to God when ever and where ever I feel like it, where ever that may be (we are the church, after all, not some building) I, too, became convinced that the idea that God would consign milllions or even billions of His creation to hell to be false.
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Old 06-28-2010, 01:40 AM
 
621 posts, read 1,052,547 times
Reputation: 283
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Originally Posted by Oakback View Post


You don't have to do anything. You don't have to accept anything. You don't have to understand anything.

Your completly free to do anything you want.

Ok?
Not if I wanted to become Catholic. Otherwise, if what you say is true - that I don't have to do, accept, or understand anything...and I'm free to do anything I want - then why can't I partake of Holy Communion in a Catholic Church without having to first go through the RCIA process to become a confirmed Catholic?
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Old 06-28-2010, 06:23 AM
 
Location: Maryland
3,540 posts, read 6,079,527 times
Reputation: 981
Quote:
Originally Posted by shyspider View Post
Not if I wanted to become Catholic. Otherwise, if what you say is true - that I don't have to do, accept, or understand anything...and I'm free to do anything I want - then why can't I partake of Holy Communion in a Catholic Church without having to first go through the RCIA process to become a confirmed Catholic?

Them's the rules
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Old 06-28-2010, 08:19 AM
 
621 posts, read 1,052,547 times
Reputation: 283
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Originally Posted by Oakback View Post
Them's the rules
LOL! I guess so. Hoops....seems to me. Man-made hoops?? But then what did you mean when you said I don't have to "do, accept, or understand anything"?
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