Thinking about returning to the Church

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thinking about returning to the Church
7
Sat, 09-06-2003 - 7:10am
I was raised mainly Catholic, but exposed to Greek Orthodox Church on my dad's side. I left the Church as a teenager and periodicly attended on Christmas and Easter, then stopped altogether. Lately, I've been thinking that I need something in my life and I know it would be good to give my young sons some religous education. However, I'm not sure what to do. My husband and I were married by a justice of the peace, neither of my sons were baptized. My husband is a buddhist and thinks very negativly about the whole Christian faith. I disagree with many of the Church's policies. I've tried attending a few different Protestant services, but none of them felt right. I have a close friend who is a devout Catholic and she goes on and on about how you can't call yourself a Catholic if you don't follow everything. that kind of makes me feel like it's not worth it to even think about returning. I know there are some things that I just can't do. I don't know if I'm looking for advice here or what, but I needed to talk about this with someone other than DH. Andrea
Avatar for jamblessedthree
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Registered: 10-23-2001
Sat, 09-06-2003 - 11:33am
Hi and Welcome Andrea..If you were raised Catholic, then you have an idea of our faith, right?! Gosh, I know little or nothing about Buddists and what they believe. Who is their God? Just Curious, you have my wheels churchning now (lol). My DH is not Catholic and we have three children, all baptised Catholic. If you are wanting a heads up about our Faith, why don't you attend a couple masses or explore RCIA (it is NOT Mandatory that you convert..it is merely an education of our Faith in the Begining - at least, out here, that is the premise..) Anyway, are your children old enough to read about the Catholic Faith? Do they respect your DHs Religion? Thou hypocritical in my faith, I DO want my children to grow up respecting all Religions including their father's (my DH is Presbyterian) because it is not fair to criticise others, just because they pray differently than we do - that is what I tell them, it is totally on their level, my children's ages are 6, 4 and 8 months...Sorry for Rambling here. Prayers and Positive Thoughts about your Decision. Post Anytime!

Jeanne

 

 

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 09-06-2003 - 12:34pm
My parent required my sister and I to attend CCD until our confirmation. I stopped going to regular mass immediatly afterwards. I did the confirmation strictly because they made me, not because I had any real convictions about it. I doubt I'd really need to convert, as I've never practised any other religion. As for Bhuddists, they don't really believe in any god and it's techinicly not a religion but a philosophy. It teaches mediation to achieve innerpeace and stree reduction, but there is no teachings of a spiritual nature at all. Most American Bhuddists are a mainstream religion AND practise Bhuddism. Many Asian Bhuddists are just Bhuddists. Andrea
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-17-2003
Sun, 09-07-2003 - 2:36pm
It sounds like there are a couple issues on the table: (1) your faith and (2) your children's religious training and/or affiliation.

I can understand your feeling of connecting with your faith. I'm not an expert on the Catholic church (not by ANY means!) but for my money you are a Catholic. You were baptised, first communion, confirmed and raised Catholic. Thereafter you began exploring the Greek Orthodox Church, which has a wonderful tradition. I have an enormous respect for the Greek Orthodox Church: notably their iconography, traditions and beliefs; however, they are different from Catholics (especially in that young children can participate in holy communion).

I'm afraid, however, you may not find what you are looking for and that is a religion that is in synch with your beliefs. Being a Catholic is not easy. It is not a faith of convenience. But it is a faith that nourishes and sustains and one you might eventially return to, if you give it a chance.

I hope you return to the mass and try to establish a relationship with the Catholic Church as an adult. Your former relationship with the Catholic Church was a time when you were a youngster. You have grown up, married, and become a mother. I am sure you will experience the Catholic Church much differently now than before, as your understanding of life is now different than it was in your youth.

Best wishes.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2003
Sun, 09-07-2003 - 6:20pm
Hi Andrea,

It sounds like you have a wonderful opportunity to discern your faith. I am a cradle Catholic, went to Mass every week, sang in the choir, and thought myself a pretty good Christian. When DS was born, I found I wanted to know if everything I had been taught and taken as truth really was true. I read (C.S. Lewis, Max Lucado,Philip Yancey), I prayed, I went on retreats. I found that the truth of Christianity was much bigger than the box I had put it in. In a journal, I wrote, "It seems to me that up until this point, there has been a corner of my life painted 'religion', but if it's true that God would make Himself a helpless baby, suffer and die, all for me, to save me from my own sin, then that would have to color absolutely every aspect of my life from this point on." And it has. In reading mostly Protestant authors, I came to understand the importance of the personal relationship with Jesus. Heck, I'd never even really said 'Jesus' before...I had really thought that if I just did the right things I'd be okay. But to know God and to know His Mercy and Love...it's much more than I imagined. God is certainly calling you to know Him, and He wants to give you His peace. I never appreciated the richness of the Liturgy or the Eucharist until I knew Jesus better. Here's what I'd recommend for you: 1. Read about Jesus; reclaim your Christianity before you reclaim your Catholicism. 2. Pray, journal, Seek. Open your heart and He will most certainly come in. 3. Experience the Mass again and try to find the beauty in it through the eyes of an adult. That Jesus would make Himself small as bread just so He could get closer to us...that's amazing.

Sorry this is so long. I'm really excited for you; He's knocking on the door of your heart. Let Him in...:)

Kerry

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Registered: 03-28-2003
Mon, 09-08-2003 - 12:17am
Sometimes you just have to trust the Holy Spirit. (Well, ok, all of the time, I suppose...:-) )

A good place to start is to start going to Mass at a church where you feel comfortable. RCIA can be a good refresher if you feel you need it. Find a good priest (don't be discouraged if you don't find one you connect with immediately) and set up a meeting to ask all your questions and share your concerns. Read a few books. Even though you were raised in the faith, it may be that some things that concern you will make more sense now that you approach them as an adult. Other things that were explained appropriately to you considering the age you were then, may resonate more now that you're able to approach them more intellectually/theologically.

Continue to pray about it and let the Holy Spirit guide you. As for not agreeing with everything -- if you wait until all the lights are green to begin this journey, you'll never get started. I bet it will be a very exciting and uplifting journey. Enjoy it.

Polly

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-05-2003
Tue, 09-09-2003 - 9:34am
(Sorry, posted reply under wrong msg. This is to the OP)

I just want to echo what everyone else here has said and add a little, if I can, you've gotten such excellent advice already!

As far as your friend and your personal/political beliefs go, it is frustrating sometimes for devout Catholics to hear so many people call themselves Catholic but publicly proclaim very un-Catholic beliefs such as pro-choice, pro-contraception, etc. It's not meant to be blind following of what the Church teaches, but rather people should see the beauty and truth of the Church's teachings on these matters through good catechesis. Unfortunately it can come across, esp. to non-Catholics, as "do this because I told you to" instead of "do this because it is beautiful and full of life and glorifies the Lord".

Your search here is two-fold and I definitely recommend following Kerry's advice of reclaiming your Christianity before your Catholicim. However, at the same time you can educate yourself as to why you and the Church disagree. Where do her teachings on life, abortion, divorce, contraception emanate from? Before you can really say you disagree you must learn what it is that is taught AND why. It's not enough simply to disagree.

As for your DH, Buddhism is a beautiful philosophy and certainly has some distinct differences from Christianity, but the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive. I would find out specifically what your DH's problems are with the Church. Is it Christianity is general? The Catholic Church specifically? The pedophilia scandal, perceived hypocrisy? Or just a difference of belief systems? Thomas Merton, a Catholic monk, wrote extensively about the connections between Catholicism and the Eastern religions, you may want to pick up some of his works.

"Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have. The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases." - Thomas Jeff

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 7:15am
Thanks for all the replies. I'm still concerned about all the political issues and I know that my husband is very concerned that I'll try to convert him. Since my dad was Greek Orthodox, I was raised that to believe that each person is entitled to his own faith. now that I've meet IRL devout Catholics and some on-line, I realize that I've never had a good example for Catholicism. My mom was raised in a devout home (she lived in Rome)but here in the states, she kind of gave that all up. When my parents got divorced, she just stopped going to Mass except Christmas and Easter. My sister has become much more devout and is married to a very devout Catholic, but she takes birth control. I guess I'm just afraid of what being a Catholic means. Andrea