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Billy Gibula wrote:

Hi, guys —

I actually have a question about questioning Catholicism.

I want to start an event with the Young Adults' group at my Church where we discuss what the Catechism teaches about certain issues that we may be unclear about. I know that as Catholics, we believe the teachings and doctrines of the Church. I've also been taught that it is okay to question certain aspects of your Faith at times. In fact, by questioning why we believe what we believe, we can gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for our Faith.

That said, here are my questions.

  • Is the following statement true, false, or partially true?
  • Furthermore, what are the quotes or documents that prove the statement is:
    • true
    • false, or
    • partially 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."

Billy

  { What does one do if a Catholic doubts Church teachings but wants to receive the sacraments? }

Mike replied:

Hi Billy,

Thanks for the question.

We just finished answering a related question from someone who:

  • had been a convert to the faith from been a Baptist
  • did not understand certain teachings, so
  • was thinking of leaving the Church.

You said:

  • Is the following statement true, false, or partially true?
  • Furthermore, what are the quotes or documents that prove the statement is:
    • true
    • false, or
    • partially 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."

Yes, this is a true statement.

I referring the questioner to these portions of the Catechism:

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

Because it refers to issues like:

  • free assent
  • trust
  • faith
  • faith seeking understanding
  • free will
  • faith being a personal act and a free response

I when on to tell him:

Seeing you have come from a Protestant background, I've found the advice of one of our colleagues really helpful and insightful to seeking Protestants or converts who are still struggling with the teachings of the faith. One of the key points he has made 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?

So if a Protestant who has converted to the faith is still having problems with a teaching, as a Catholic, they should go back and reflect on the basis for Catholic theology:

  • Who is Jesus Christ?

Everything we believe and teach is based on this one question.

I went on to say:

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 are trying to understand it within the context of the Church and Her history, you should have no problem participating in both:

  1. the sacrament of the Eucharist and
  2. the sacrament of Confession.

Why? Because you are bringing a heart and will that is striving for unity when you participate in the Eucharist; you aren't bringing one that wishes to dissent.

Both sacraments should be a powerful help toward your understanding. Also, search around and see if there are any faithful priests at nearby parishes or monasteries that can help you understand those teachings you are having a hard time with.

If, on the other hand, you have no real interest in understanding a Church teaching you disagree with, you shouldn't receive the Blessed Sacrament because when you do receive the Eucharist, publicly, you are publicly saying, whether you know it or not, that you are in communion with the teachings of the Catholic Church Jesus founded on St. Peter and his successors.

If my colleagues have something to add, I'm sure they will chime in.

I hope this helps,

Mike

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