I don't know if I believe in the Catholic Chruch anymore :Infallibility
I truly feel and understand for everyone who is doubting. I'm in a similar boat. But for me it's not a doubt in Christianity or Religion, but more so a doubt in what I see as the Church today. It's all very confusing to me. Pope Francis say outlandishly foolish things, spews things out that are completely in contradiction to past Pope (off the cuff remarks but nonetheless). Hell I was called a lunatic by a Friar the other day because I support Deus Vult International. That didn't help. I have yet to do anything about my predicament. I'm still Catholic and Latin but I've just kinda began to tune out a lot of the Pope and what the church says, which is hard for me because I deeply believe in authority and hierarchy. We live in a deeply dark time. And despair constantly temps my soul.

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(05-19-2016, 08:02 AM)seanipie Wrote: I'm very tempted to drift towards deism as of late, mostly because I can no longer believe that any god who claims to be as intimately involved with their creation as our God does would allow so much meaningless evil, death and downright misery.

You can't have free will without evil. We're given a choice to follow God or not, with the reward of heaven if we do and the punishment of hell if we don't. If God stepped in to prevent evil any time someone sinned, then what's the use of choosing the good if God won't allow you to do otherwise? You're not practising virtue because you want to; you're doing it because you have no other choice, and God didn't create a race of robots. Besides, if the soul is immortal, and there's a perfect heaven waiting for us where we'll be forever, what's a few decades of misery? Maybe it's like the child who has something bad happen - the worst thing ever to the child's mind - but the parent knows that it's not that bad and the child will soon get past it, even if the child doubts it.
Serious question: How does the God of the deists fix the problem of evil?  You're left with a God who made the world and was content to let evil exit.  The Catholic God gave us free will as a tremendous gift, with the unfortunate by-product of evil.  The deist God simply left everyone abandoned to deal with evil for no end -- that is a rather disturbed construct, in my opinion.
(05-19-2016, 01:12 PM)ermy_law Wrote: Serious question: How does the God of the deists fix the problem of evil?  You're left with a God who made the world and was content to let evil exit.  The Catholic God gave us free will as a tremendous gift, with the unfortunate by-product of evil.  The deist God simply left everyone abandoned to deal with evil for no end -- that is a rather disturbed construct, in my opinion.

I see Christianity as being semi-deist, for precisely the things Paul mentions.  We can't have both free will and freedom from evil.  Free will means some people will choose wrongly, and those wrong choices will have ever-expanding consequences.  We experience evil because God doesn't step in and prevent evil from happening.  That's essentially deism.  Perhaps deism appeals to me because I absolutely reject predestination of any kind, even in its watered down, Catholic approved variety.  What is more offensive to me than the idea of God allowing evil, is the idea that sometimes God does step in and prevent evil, but for me, he chose not to.  I can accept that God allowed evil to happen to me because, were he not to allow it, he would necessarily have to step in and take someone else's free will away from them for a time.  But, as with Christianity, if it is true that God *does* sometimes step in and prevent evil, but he didn't care to do so for me, why?  Does he love me less?  Am I his red-headed step child?  Why is someone else's pain and suffering worth preventing to him, but mine is not?  Deism is easier than Christianity sometimes.
Thank you for that good reply!

                                                                                            I often tell my girlfriend, when the Pope says something outrageous, or Bishop Cupich does, or some other Bishop in Belgium or Germany does. That they're not what I believe in. What I believe in is found in the Baltimore Catechism, and the Tridentine Latin Mass, and Bernadette at the grotto, and Our Lady of Fatima, and St Anthony of Padua helping me find my keys for the 20th time, and my Aunt Rose's incredible childlike faith, and St Joan going to the stake, and the image of St Michael the Archangel stabbing the devil, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the Happy Death, and the kindness of St Nicholas of Myra, and St Boniface chopping down the oak, and the Little Flower and St Francis and his companions, and thousands more.
There are some really good questions and intriguing answers here.  I'm going to follow this thread closely.  Questions asked here are some of the same I am too shy to discuss with my priest.

I struggle with the internal war between Catholicism and submitting to deism too.  In fact, there's a reply somewhere here where I stated exactly that.  There are days it is much easier to accept that God created the world and left us to our own devices than recognize He has a hand in happenings.

I come to the same questions as all of you.  Why is it that someone with the exact same intentions, perhaps similar spiritual beliefs, receive an answer to their prayers (an obvious one!) yet it seems my prayers fall upon deaf ears?  It's disheartening and sometimes the only comfort is to say that perhaps deism is the answer.

Then, I remind myself that God owes me nothing.  He is the Creator, the ultimate force in the universe and the ultimate force for good.  He has blessed us with a world and wonderful things as well as eternal life.  We are led to believe that God has a master plan that only He understands.

Let's not forget that prayer should be an act of worship and not solely based upon our personal intentions.  I wholly understand that but it still hurts and is demoralizing when one prays so strongly and 'evil' still occurs.  We're reminded that evil occurs so that we can identify true goodness but really, I think I could identify goodness in improved test results.  :LOL:  :Hmm:  >:(

Then comes in Redemptive Suffering.  That's a good way of dealing with our personal struggles and evils.  But, why is it that one receives a reprieve from their suffering and not the other?  So, one continues to offer up their suffering as redemption with the hope of eternal life but we are still human and it does a number to our psyche.  Questions like those asked enter into the equation.  Everyone struggles, the Saints struggled, we don't understand why but we hope we can learn something from it.  That's so vague, and really unsympathetic, like saying 'there, there' but it's one of the things that keeps me coming back to Catholic teachings.

When I have some really terrible days, my mother reminds me, "Our life is not of this world."  Even when we say, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven", it means God's will hasn't been completed on Earth yet.  It's a work in progress, I guess.  So, I have to have faith, live a Catholic life and practice Catholic values in hopes that God's plans come to fruition.

It's difficult.  To me, it's natural to see people have this discussion and question their belief in Catholic teachings.  I hate that people here have suffered so terribly; it breaks my heart.  I just hope that now involving yourself in these questions leads some spiritual peace in the end.
Hey Brogan, I can identify with a lot of what you say here.

I grew up in a Catholic family where we would attend a Novus Ordo parish every Sunday, I always had an interest and belief in the faith. When I was a teenager I became very interested in the intellectual side of Catholicism, I bought tons of books, study bibles, things of this sort and would have lots of online discussions and debates about these sorts of topics.

As I did more research I began to be perturbed by a lot of the same things you mentioned in your post, issues of infallibility and how they relate to texts that  would seem to contradict on matters of doctrine when I first read them, Old Testament violence, etc.  At this point, although I think I would be ready to die for the faith if necessary, I have to admit my confidence in the faith is severely wounded.

I've also been pretty disturbed by what I see going on in the hierarchy of the Church. I've been very discouraged by what I have both seen and what I have not seen from bishops, priests, etc. Here in the US we are currently facing a seismic shift against our ability to practice out faith when it pertains to the issues raised by Obamacare and other socially liberal policies of the current administration. We needed Pope Francis to speak out boldly on these issues when he was here; he had the eyes and ears of the entire nation and he did not really address these issues at all from what I saw. It was extremely discouraging. And Cardinal Dolan of my archdiocese here in New York, where was he on the day the SCOTUS approved gay marriage? We needed him to lead, to offer a statement in opposition to rally Catholics and others who opposed it, I didn't see any such thing. Where are the shepherds? What are they doing to protect and lead the sheep?

Right now I still go to Mass and practice the faith, but I do admit I'm plagued by distress over doubts that come into my mind, particularly in areas where I'm trying to see consistency in the Church's teaching over the centuries, but I have to say it's quite hard to see consistency on certain issues. I try to investigate these issues but to my further discouragement it doesn't seem a lot of Catholics these days are that informed, so it's a rarity in my experience to encounter a Catholic who is informed enough to offer a defense of the continuity of the Church's teaching on various issues.

These doubts have in part led me to an interest in traditional Catholicism since traditional Catholics seem to be the loudest voices of those crying out about the crisis in Church's hierarchy in particular.
Living with doubt is living with a wounded heart, one that must endure the trials and tribulations of the world with little consolation, except in the wound itself---the lovelorn heart, yearning after God.  I don't think the answer is in history or academic theology, but rather in choosing to hope, to love God in our brokenness, and to have faith "on the margins," since we can't do it whole.

I have found some words valuable, from trusted guides:

Bl. Ramon Llull, Llibre d'Amic e d'Amat, trans. E. A. Peers
Quote: The  Lover  feared  whether  his  Beloved  would  fail  him  in  his greatest  need;  and  he  ceased  from  loving  Him.  Then  he  had  contrition and  repentance  of  heart;  and  the  Beloved  restored  hope  and  charity  to the  Lover’s  heart,  and  tears  to  his  eyes,  that  love  might  return  to  him.

Quote: Said  the  Lover  to  the  Beloved:  “My  grief  and  its  healing  are  both in  Thee:  the  more  surely  Thou  healest  me,  the  greater  grows  my  grief; when  Thou  dost  wound  me,  even  then  dost  Thou  give  me  health.”

St. John of the Cross, trans. Willis Barnstone:
Without a place and with a place

Without a place and without a place
to rest---living darkly with no ray
of light---I burn myself away.

My soul---no longer bound---is free
from the creations of the world;
above itself it rises hurled
into a life of ecstasy,
leaning only on God. The world
will therefore clarify at last
what I esteem of highest grace:
my soul revealing it can rest
without a place and with a place.

Although I suffer a dark night
in mortal life, I also know
my agony is slight, for though
I am in darkness without light,
a clear heavenly life I know;
for love gives power to my life,
however black and blind my day,
to yield my soul, and free of strife
to rest---living darkly with no ray.

Love can perform a wondrous labor
which I have learned internally,
and all the good or bad in me
takes on a penetrating savor,
changing my soul so it can be
consumed in a delicious flame.
I feel it in me as a ray;
and quickly killing every trace
of light---I burn myself away.

I hope folks here can provide you some insight on these questions you have, but perhaps, passing by quickly,  I can offer a gentle reality check based on my own experience.

First, you seem to be looking for a metaphysical certainty in things from the descriptions you offer. You think you understand things from a particular perspective and it all seems certain. Eventually, you get bothered by a certain aspect, so you question them and then lack the certainty you had before, so as a result you look for another perspective that can provide the certainty you are seeking, yet that has its own problems, so you find yet another and etc. In the end, none seem to fit with how you think they should.

To be frank, many of us have been in that boat, but one of the most important things I've come to realize having gone through that myself is that it is fundamentally a too human way of thinking. in such a situation we are searching for a niche where we can be certain about everything and comprehend it all in our own mind. There is a fundamental flaw in this logic, however. The universe is not a construct of human thinking, and we are incapable of comprehending everything even if we limit ourselves to the material realm. Yet there is also a supernatural realm, which is beyond nature. This means we can't understand it all, and especially when it involves the various "mysteries" we often speak of. We can in such cases have only a relative certainty. Yet, that is not nothing, nor is it doubt. It is having a certainty without any reasonable doubt.

The life of the Church is one of these mysteries. Human reason can get us quite far, but look at the Arian crisis, for instance. Nearly universally the world's bishops and even Poep Liberius were Arian, or had, intentionally or not, accepted a Creed that was at least ambiguous and did not express the doctrine of Nicaea. They accepted and ratified the excommunication of St. Athanasius. As St Jerome said, "the world groaned and awoke to find itself Arian". How did Providence arrange for the solution to this crisis: An apostate Christian emperor who undid everything the pro-Arian emperors did and persecuted the Church again, but since it was full of Arians, they took the brunt of the assault. No human mind would have thought that was a possible or even would be an effective solution. If you worry about infallibility, that crisis should help understand it is not a clear cut as we'd like.

So we have to rely on our reason, yes. But we cannot always have the certainty that we want, and most especially when it involves supernatural "mysteries". That is where Faith and Hope come in.

Secondly, you are admittedly at least objectively not in the state of grace because you've left off you duty of Mass attendance. I don't judge your subjective state, only God know that. But, looking at it from that perspective, if you are hoping to have God's help in obtaining peace of soul, you need to recover that state of grace. Find a confessor, and make it right, or at the very least pray and make the best act of contrition you can. You can't try to solve  you problems alone and certainly not without grace.

Finally, your questions can be addressed by good competent folks. Perhaps talking to a good priest would be in order, because he could likely give much better well-studied answers on certain questions. Still, you have to separate the questions. You will never get solutions if you throw out such a melee of topics you need to have addressed. Take each doubt and problem one at a time. Ask questions, listen to the answers, consider them slowly and peacefully. Give God and the Church the benefit of the doubt.

If you do those things, you'll be well on the way to having the peace you're looking for. While I can't spend the time to answer your questions personally, there are great folks here and great and holy priest who can. Find them.

I will offer my Rosaries this week and some other prayers this evening especially for you, that you find God's peace and the answers you need.

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