To grow in the Catholic faith one has to be convinced that this is the path to God. It is easier to grow in holiness as a traditional catholic because you can rest assured that what you will find in your search are ancient catholic beliefs. You do not have to sort through thousands and thousands of opinions and teachings. Many modern catholic could believe in abortions as a good thing, a woman’s right and state that very strongly. Others strongly support the homosexual lifestyle. Many believe there is nothing wrong with receiving communion when you are in a second marriage without an annulment. Many believe that there is nothing wrong with relations before marriage. Most believe that using birth control is morally correct. (The Bible and the Catholic Faith have always taught against these sins).
So navigating through all these differing opinions and practices can be very confusing and detrimental to you finding God, being saved by Him and arriving at peace and happiness. If you were to start the Rite of Initiation of Christian Adults in a parish, you could be taught all sorts of different catholic teachings and morals. It just depends on the group in charge of the R.C.I.A. I personally know of many many R.C.I.A. teachers who do not and I will say that again, do not teach what the Catholic Catechism of the Catholic Church states. So when you approach learning about what is Catholic, you can be very confused and mislead.
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There are also good R.C.I.A. groups with very prayerful and faithful catholics. But how as a beginner can one discern between what is true and what is false. We do tend to shop for a faith that agrees with what we like and we already believe. That is very dangerous. As you probably already know there is a strong group of catholics who are “cafeteria catholics”. That means they choose to believe in the teachings of Jesus and His church depending on what or what they believe and like. It is like having your cake and eating it too. You get to be “catholic” and still disagree with what you do not “personally” do not agree with.
Only true faith, passed on by Jesus to the Apostles, can lead us to salvation, holiness and happiness. Probably before Vatican II there were some dissenting theologians. But in my life time I have personally been greatly influence by numerous and famous theologians who reject what the catholic church and the Bible teaches. This goes on continuously today.
Most “Catholic Universities and Colleges” have dissenting teachers. Many catholic parents spend a great deal of money to send their kids to a “catholic” school only to have them loose there faith. There a some good catholic universities and colleges. The Cardinal Newman Society can give you a good guide to good catholic universities and colleges.
There were good catholic magazines that started to become progressive over the years. These magazines that are called “catholic” but but use their influence to teach dissenting catholic beliefs that are against what has been believed by catholic through out the centuries. Read these magazines and examine them for yourself.
But as a person who really wants to please God and be a faithful catholic, you need to look to tradition and before everything was muddled up by the “spirit” of Vatican II. Since then it has become very confusing and difficult to know what it means to be a catholic.
Take the time to study the Church Fathers like St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Irenaeus, St. Jerome, St. Augustine, St. Ciril of Alexandria, St. Ciril of Jerusalem, St. Anthanasius, and all the early church fathers. You can also look at the very early document “the Didache”.
Then go to writings by famous saints, like St. Theresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Francis, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Albert the Great, St. Bonaventure, St. Alphonsus Liguori and St. John Vianney. Any of the saints writings are of great use to us who want God.
So if you are afraid of all this investigations and study it takes to find the true catholic church and the true catholic faith, there is a short cut. You can look into traditional catholic faith and not have to be afraid that what you are being taught is false catholic teaching. I still advise studying all this material. But you can go slowly through the process and enjoy it rather than having to be discerning every other minute if what you hear at one parish and then another parish, is true.
With an open heart to God’s call, the most important part is quiet time of prayer with Jesus truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus will give you His Holy Spirit to guide your conscience and help you know what is the truth.
Remember the devil is the best of liars. But the Holy Spirit is the best of teachers. And once we have discovered the truth we start to change our lives to be like the TRUTH, Jesus. All sins cause us un-calculated suffering. All goodness brings un-calculated joy. That is why it is so important to get it right. Eternity depends on it. And the Bible and the 2000 year old teachings of the catholic faith have it right. Not what has been taught recently that contradicts what has been catholic teachings. The Catholic teachings cannot and do not change. They may be expanded on, explained and developed, but they never change. Jesus left the deposit of faith to the Apostles and that is our treasure.
A friend of mine came back to the catholic church precisely because everything that I told her, she was able to do her research and find out that it was true. She was very disciplined to do the research. But over and over again when I challenged her false teachings from a protestant church, she would do the research, and bingo, she believed. She would look at the early church documents and fathers.
Many today will know that the church taught these truths before but believe that the church has to change with how the world believes. They make man as the source of truth, rather than God. God does not change, we do. Truth does not change either. 2 + 2 still = 4.
Long time ago when I was studying Psychology, I read “Modern Man in Search of a Soul”. I was in search of my soul at that time too. In it I remember something like this: (it named the president of the US) he had come back from church and his wife asked him what the preacher had to say. He said “sin is still sin”. Sorry, no matter what you believe, sin is still sin. And God is still God. And love is still love. And Truth is still Truth.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.