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CanYouRecommend wrote:

Hi, guys —

I'm a Catholic convert but after 5 years of Catholicism I can no longer accept certain teachings from the Church.

  1. the Pope
  2. Marian Doctrines
  3. Purgatory
  4. Oral tradition, or
  5. Confession

These are the top five topics for every Protestant as well, and I can objectively understand why. To save time on these issues, this is not the question. I've studied in depth all those issues from multiple sources:

  • EWTN Tracts
  • Priests
  • Catholic Apologetic call-in shows
  • Books
  • the CCC, Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • the Holy Scriptures
  • prayer
  • etc.

and I still do not accept these teachings; not because I simply rebel against them, but because
I have researched it objectively and cannot be convinced.

I feel that:

  • the Church
  • Priests, and
  • the saints, especially Mary

stand in the way of Christ, Our Lord. I can't explain why I feel that way and others don't, but this is how I feel.

Since I doubt these teachings, I have thought about joining a United Methodist Church or (ELCA) Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The Roman Catholic Church has a beautiful dialogue with both of them. I ask this in regards of your personal experience and ecumenism with other Christian faiths.

  • Which of the two do you think is a better fit to Catholicism?
  • Which one would you recommend?

I can't stay in the Roman Catholic Church, so I don't want you to waste your time trying to convince me otherwise. I can say humbly that I know more about the Catholic Church and Her teachings than the overwhelming number of priests and laity; not all, but the majority.

Thank you, I ask this sincerely.

Blessings,

CanYouRecommend

  { Which of these churches is a better fit when compared to the Catholic faith? }

Paul replied:

Dear CanYouRecommend,

In my opinion, and maybe you'll get something very different from my colleagues, you are asking us an unfair question. What you seem to be saying objectively sounds similar to this:

"I cannot accept the one Church that Christ established, so please give your opinion of the best denomination He didn't establish."

or

"Since I can't accept all the doctrines the Word and Spirit have led the Church to proclaim through the centuries, then please give me your opinion of which community that broke off communion from Christ's established Church I should join."

or even

"Since I can't fathom why the Holy Spirit would move Christ's body as He has for the past 2,000 years in the development of doctrine, I would like to choose a community with a portion of the truth that I'm more comfortable with."

I realize you may be sincerely searching for the truth, and the Church would never want to stop you from following your conscience, but we believe it would be morally wrong to direct someone to a community that is not the fullness of the Truth that Christ has established and continuously gives His supernatural life through for the sake of our salvation. It is much better to wrestle with God and persevere, as Jacob did in the desert, for which he was rewarded for, than to choose another seemingly easier route to walk.

That's my two cents. Let us pray for each other.

Peace,

Paul

CanYouRecommend replied:

Hi Paul,

Thank you for your timely response!

You made some interesting points that ... well, I never really though about.

It sounded like you were saying:

So, as long as I try to understand, though I do not, certain teachings, by trusting that the Church is right, not on Her own accord, but because Christ started it, and is with Her, that is good enough.

  • I can still receive Holy Communion though I have trouble understanding these teachings?

I ask this, because you hit the nail on the head!

It's not the issues. It is because of a trust issue I have, not just with the Roman Catholic Church, but with society in general.

CanYouRecommend

Mike replied:

Dear CanYouRecommend,

Thanks for the question.

I don't doubt your cognitive ability to grasp the teachings of the Church but I do find it strange that you said: I can't explain why I feel that way. Our teachings are not based on feelings.

There's not much more I can add to Paul's stellar answer but, if you hadn't read it, I suggest
you read these two portions of the Catechism that deals with your exact issue:

  1. Chapter Three - Man's Response To God: Article 1 - I Believe
  2. Chapter Three - Man's Response To God: Article 1 - We Believe

In another question we received today, the questioner asked:

  • Is this statement true?

    "As Catholics, we are called to believe all the teachings of the Church, which are put forward and explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. At times, we may not fully understand the Church's teaching on a particular issue, however, we can never reject the Church's position on an issue. Instead, we must explore and research the issue with an open heart and mind, praying and hoping for our heart and mind to eventually believe and understand why the Church takes that particular position."

I would say, Yes, this is true.

Seeing you have come from a Protestant background, I've found the advice of one of our backup helpers, John, really helpful and insightful to seeking Protestants or converts who are still struggling. One of the key points John has made in the past is Protestant theology and Catholic theology start out based on two good, but very different statements.

Protestant theology is based on the question:

  • How does one get saved?

where Catholic theology is based on the question:

  • Who is Jesus Christ?

We can't persuade anyone to believe in a faith they are not interested in persevering in it, as
St. Paul refers to in the sections from the Catechism I gave you. (1 Timothy 1:18-19) If you are having a hard time understanding a teaching of the Church, yet trying to understand it within the context of the Church and Her history, you should have no problem participating in both the sacrament of the Eucharist and the sacrament of Confession. Both sacraments should be a powerful help toward your understanding. Search around and see if there are any faithful priests at nearby parishes or monasteries that can help you understand the teachings that are giving you a difficult time.

I hope this helps,

Let's keep each other in prayer,

Mike

Richard replied:

Hi, Mike —

CanYouRecommend and Paul really have put the issue together well.

We don't believe in the Church because of her own human qualities, but because Christ founded Her and remains with Her.

It's even more than that. The Church is not just a friend of Christ, not just loved by Christ.
The Church is something more — inseparable from Christ. The Church is the extension of Christ's presence through history. The Church is the mystical Body of Christ; and Christ, who is risen and lives in glory, is still the Head of the Church, directing her footsteps and giving her life, and through her, giving life to all the faithful. He is the vine, we are the branches. This way — this sometimes puzzling way — is how God has chosen to bring grace and salvation to man.

In this perspective, it is practically obvious that Catholics believe in the Church's infallibility. Christ cannot err; his Body cannot err and cannot be deceived in teachings of faith and morals. Since we believe that Christ will not let his Church fall into doctrinal error, we know that any difficulties we might have about understanding some particular teaching, don't add up enough to really doubt Her.

— Richard

Eric replied:

Dear CanYouRecommend,

I agree, Paul's answer was excellent. Moreover, simply logic would dictate that any church we would recommend, if we did, would be close to the Catholic Church, and would share what you reject.

  • Why ask us which church is a "best fit besides Catholic" when you've already rejected what we deem to be best?

You said:
I can't explain why I feel that way and others don't, but this is how I feel.

Maybe you should not rely on feelings you can't explain but rely on reason, logic and faith. Mary, the saints, and the Church (which is the Mystical Body of Christ) are all there to help us get to Christ, not to impede our access.

Eric

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