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Joseph wrote:

Hi, guys —

I'm a Catholic from Germany. I'm baptized but was not confirmed since I lost my faith in my early teenage years and regained it a few years later. Nevertheless, I considered myself just a Christian and not necessarily a Catholic because I did not know the Catechism and the dogmas of the Church. In fact, I was just praying, going to Mass from time to time, and reading a lot including the Bible.

During my study times, I met evangelical Christians about once a week which enhanced my interest in Christianity and my love for God but I also decided to find out more about my specific Catholic faith. A few months later, I met the (TFP) Tradition, Family, and Property by accident and attended their meetings. I also contacted the Pius Brotherhood and met with them. I developed a love for the old Mass and learned a lot about Catholicism. Nevertheless some of the information I got seemed to contradict the official line of the Church and others issues seemed very medieval to me. Today I'm very confused and, though I consider myself to be a Catholic, I don't want to loose my own conscience and positions on certain aspects of the faith. I am probably like a lot of Catholics out there.

So here is an example of my confusion:

When it comes to Confession, I don't get the Catholic position. I understand that Jesus established the Sacrament of Confession but from my point of view, I see it as a gift of God to those who struggle with fears of whether certain sins are forgiven or not. I see the sacrament as a way to give them a definite answer already on earth. I went to Confession and confessed only the sins that I considered as grave and felt very released by doing so. I encouraged other to follow in my footsteps and to go to Confession as well. Now, the TFP has told me that my Confession was invalid because I did not confess this or that sin which I considered either not grave or one that I wanted to deal with later when I better understood my position on this behavior. They said I committed a sacrilege by continuing to receive Holy Communion afterwards. Now all my love for Confession is gone. I also found out, that Confession is not a gift but something that has to take place at least once a year though is also recommended on a weekly basis. My life, as it should be according to Catholic doctrine, suddenly appears to me as a constant alternation of sinning and Confession and thereby very sad. Especially since I have found out the truth about Confession. Confession, as we know it, was invented by monks hundreds of years after Jesus! and the duty to go to Confession and the banning of Communion for those who did not go to Confession, was again invented hundreds of years later!

Especially considering the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), the whole you must confess thing is absurd. Jesus said, that you commit adultery already if you are sexually attracted by a woman.

Imagine: You go out of the church and a young girl passes by and you, almost automatically, look at her body. You are in the state of mortal sin and now have to go back into the church to confess again.

The first Christians have interpreted Confession totally different. Later on, there was a public penance for Confessors but they would have to had done truly bad things like murder! I was shocked when I read what kind of things are considered mortal sins by the Catholic Church today!

For example, for the past half year I've been dating my first girlfriend (age of 22). She is a lovely young woman who shares my principles and values. After a few weeks we decided to engage.

In Germany, this is a very rare thing at our age. Lots of people, including our parents, were very surprised. We got lots of good comments because we decided so early to get engaged and were treated almost as saints. We pray together every day as in Tobit 8:1-9. In our hearts, we are already married. We do not use contraceptives because we want to start a family and have children. Marriage is already planned, but we have to:

  • save some money
  • find a flat, and
  • there are certain tax and insurance issues affecting our parents

so that we decided to wait a year until this has changed out of respect for them, especially since religious and state marriage usually can't be separated in Germany.

Being happy and confident, the TFP told me now, that:

  • I am in the state of mortal sin, and
  • will end up in Hell like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and so on because I love my fiancée and want to raise Christian children.

I'm sorry but this is too much for me. If this truly is the teaching of the Catholic Church, then this Church is not for me. Today, people can't marry at the age of 12 or 13 like in biblical times. It's absurd to claim, that a murderer or rapist is at the same level of sin as a 13-year-old boy who is doing self-satisfaction. I mean: There is no doubt, that no sex before marriage is the optimum and that masturbation may lead to even worse sins and is not a good thing but to make it a mortal sin is out of this world and is an absurd over-interpretation of the biblical word fornication.

It's the same thing with celibacy. This was also invented 1,000 years after our Lord was born. I know that there are good reasons for celibacy but 1,000 years of Church history without celibacy obviously proves that it is not an ultimate necessity. Take a look at the history of the Church. There is actually no such thing as teaching of the Church. Nothing at all is constant. Everything was invented, changed, and revised again and again. I think my conscience is a better guide. I don't go to Communion at the moment. I mean, it is a joke. Everybody receives Communion, although they probably are in state of mortal sin.

  • Can you solve these problems?

If you do so, please do not leave out any specific argument or detail. The example with the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) seems very convincing to me.

Best regards,

Joseph

  { Can you address the problems I have with the Church and the TFP on sex issues and celibacy? }

Mike replied:

Hi Joseph,

Thank-you for your questions.

Let me see if I can clear up a lot of misperceptions you have.

You said:
During my study times, I met evangelical Christians about once a week which enhanced my interest in Christianity and my love for God but I also decided to find out more about my specific Catholic faith. A few months later, I met the (TFP) Tradition, Family, and Property by accident and attended their meetings. I also contacted the Pius Brotherhood and met with them. I developed a love for the old Mass and learned a lot about Catholicism. Nevertheless some of the information I got seemed to contradict the official line of the Church and others issues seemed very medieval to me. Today I'm very confused and, though I consider myself to be a Catholic, I don't want to loose my own conscience and positions on certain aspects of the faith.

I have never heard of the group you mentioned but one problem the Catholic Church in America has today, which is probably worldwide, is we have scandalous members on both side of the heretical coin. I have no idea where you are on your faith journey but it was good to hear you say that you don’t wish to loose your conscience and positions on certain aspects of the faith.

There are Catholics, who swear they are Catholics, yet dissent on basic teachings of the Catholic Church like:

  • Being pro-life, in word and actions
  • Being pro-Traditional marriage, in words and actions, as the only design God physiologically had for the bodies of men and women
  • Knowing and practicing their faith in the public square — what Jesus told us to do before His glorious Ascension into Heaven.

There are also groups, similar to the TFP here in the United States, who have their own version of what the Catholic Church should be.

Usually they will:

  • Deny the validity of the documents of Vatican II.
  • Claim there are errors in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and
  • Claim the Novus Ordo Mass is invalid.

Some will even say we haven’t had a valid pope for the past 50 or so years. The groups I've dealt with over here that are similar to the TFP are always in debate mode.

They are always in debate [and/or] conversation mode because they, themselves, are not confident they are being faithful Catholics loyal to the Magisterium of the Church.

Your foundation for truth should not be the TFP but the teaching authority of the Catholic Church which is best physically represented in book form in:

It was Pope St. John Paul II who discouraged the faithful, on both sides, to favor with one form of the Mass over the other.

When done correctly, both the Ordinary, or Novus Ordo Mass, and Extraordinary, or Old Mass, are valid and bring down the same amount of grace on all participating in that One Sacrifice of Calvary.

You said:
So here is an example of my confusion:

When it comes to Confession, I don't get the Catholic position. I understand that Jesus established the Sacrament of Confession but from my point of view, I see it as a gift of God to those who struggle with fears of whether certain sins are forgiven or not. I see the sacrament as a way to give them a definite answer already on earth.

Now I’m confused.

  • Where in the Bible or in the Tradition of the Church did Jesus authorize your view as a valid view?

Yes, Confession, like all the sacraments of the Church, is a divine gift. Men become priests through the sacrament of Holy Orders. After a man has been ordained a priest, Jesus uses the voice and whole body of the man and acts in his place to administer what the sacrament promises. This is why women can never become priests; because Jesus was a man and because grace builds on nature and does not destroy it. Jesus, the God-Man, needs a man to administer the sacraments of the Church.

Confession is not for fears but to forgive sins, whether we feel (what the Church calls a sin), is a sin or not. Though it may seem like the priest is absolving you of your sins, it is really Jesus using the body and voice of the priest to absolve you of your sins.

  • Make sense?

You said:
I also found out, that Confession is not a gift but something that has to take place at least once a year though is also recommended on a weekly basis.

No, the second precept is a minimum requirement for the Catholic. Catholics have to go to Confession at least once a year, but if you work in the Church or are active in Church-related affairs, you should definitely go more often. The Catholic bishops of the United States have encouraged Catholic families to go to Confession at least once a month. Again, if you are involved in Church affairs, as we are at AskACatholic, one should consider going more often.

You said:
My life, as it should be according to Catholic doctrine, suddenly appears to me as a constant alternation of sinning and Confession and thereby very sad.

No, it’s not very sad, it’s very normal and you should combat it through a normal routine of:

  • praying on a regular basis
  • going to Adoration when possible, and
  • going to Confession.

    (Renewing your Sunday Covenant by going to Sunday Mass is assumed.)

While Baptism removes original sin, the remnants of that original sin, concupiscence, still exists. Until our ([particular judgment] our one on one with Jesus), we will be having this battle. Confession, praying the Rosary, and living the sacramental life of the Church is the best way to handle it.

You said:
Especially since I have found out the truth about Confession. Confession, as we know it, was invented by monks hundreds of years after Jesus! and the duty to go to Confession and the banning of Communion for those who did not go to Confession, was again invented hundreds of years later!

  • Where did you get this loony idea?

Have you read what the Early Church Fathers, the first Christians have said on this:

Do some reading first.

You said:
Jesus said, that you commit adultery already if you are sexually attracted by a woman.

Imagine: You go out of the church and a young girl passes by and you, almost automatically, look at her body. You are in the state of mortal sin and now have to go back into the church to confess again.

If a man, walked out of a Church, saw a beautiful looking girl passing by, and didn't react in a positive manner, I would say something was physiologically wrong with him. A man was made for woman and a woman was made for a man. Jesus being One Substance with the Father told us this in Genesis 1:26-28. Now on the issues of mortal sin, the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us:

1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin:

  1. whose object is grave matter and which is also
  2. committed with full knowledge, and
  3. deliberate consent."

If one of these is missing, it is not a mortal sin.

You said:
. . . the TFP told me now, that:

  • I am in the state of mortal sin, and
  • will end up in Hell like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and so on

Neither, I nor the TFP, nor anyone can tell if a person is going to Heaven or Hell. Jesus is the sole Judge. Where our eternal destinies are, will be based on the choices we make in our lives. God does not send people to Hell. People, by their own free will choices, send themselves to Hell.

You said:
I mean: There is no doubt, that no sex before marriage is the optimum and that masturbation may lead to even worse sins and is not a good thing but to make it a mortal sin is out of this world and is an absurd over-interpretation of the biblical word fornication.

As I stated in my first YouTube video, you may not like the answer you receive from us but you will at least understand the logic behind any answer we give. One answer I gave in another posting based on a talk by a Catholic priest I heard years ago on EWTN may help.

You said:
It's the same thing with celibacy. This was also invented 1,000 years after our Lord was born. I know that there are good reasons for celibacy but 1,000 years of Church history without celibacy obviously proves that it is not an ultimate necessity. Take a look at the history of the Church. There is actually no such thing as teaching of the Church. Nothing at all is constant. Everything was invented, changed, and revised again and again. I think my conscience is a better guide. I don't go to Communion at the moment. I mean, it is a joke. Everybody receives Communion, although they probably are in state of mortal sin.

  • Can you solve these problems?

First, celibacy is a discipline, not a doctrine, so it can change but probably will not change here in America.

Celibacy was not invented 1000 years after Jesus was born. The source of your information is just anti-Catholic crap, besides both Jesus and St. Paul were celibate :) Check out what the very first Christians taught on this issue:

The problems and many misperceptions you have Joseph can be solved but they require one critical thing on your part:

A willingness to believe and obey, even if you are struggling to understand certain teachings.

You are right, someone who openly dissents from Church teaching should not receive Communion but if one is sincerely striving to understand a set of teachings and is willing to accept them, if intellectually shown how they are true, they may receive Holy Communion.

I have done the best I could with quite a long e-mail. My colleagues may or may not have more to add.

I hope this helps,

Mike

Joseph replied:

Dear Mike,

Thanks for your answer and the interesting links.

Best regards,

Joseph

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