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4 years ago  ::  Feb 21, 2011 - 12:21AM #21
realtheist
Posts: 3

Susan,


I am what you would consider a protestant, but grew up in the Catholic Church.  I encourage your journey for truth and ultimately a deep relationship with God.  Which ever path you choose, it is important to understand the reasons you are doing it. 


You are not alone in your experience of people in protestant churches being over-zealous to get you committed.  But this is out of their joy for your consideration of being part of the family God.  All of us, catholic and protestant alike would praise God for you choice to be a part of the body of Christ.


May I suggest that you read through the Gospels and also pray to God that He would reveal truth to you.  This was very helpful for me when I was in a similar position. 


I'm sure everyone here will praying for God to guide you as well as I! 

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3 years ago  ::  Apr 19, 2011 - 10:44AM #22
susan
Posts: 8

Dear All,


Many thanks to all of you for your postive posts and advice. I'm afraid to say, though, that my spiritual journey is going through a very, very rocky patch right now. If anyone has similar experiences, I would be so grateful for some insights into this. I don't know who to turn to.


You might remember me saying that I was considering Catholic conversion and had started the RCIA classes. You might also remember me saying that I'm in a relationship with my partner of 15 years who is very dear to me, but who is not a believer and therefore he has problems with marrying in church. I always thought that this would be a problem for me in converting and when I told the priest running th RCIA classes I was expecting him to point this out. However, he didn't say anything negative at all. In fact, he regularly enquired about my partner and even asked if he would be coming to my confirmation. I was surprised, but assumed that Catholic teaching had moved on a bit. I knew marriage was still the ideal, but figured the church must now be prepared to accept other committed relationships. This tied in with the fact that I know many Catholics who co-habit and they are still accepted members of the church. So, for the last 9 months I've been preparing for confirmation and getting more and more excited and committed to the faith.


On the first Sunday of Lent I attended the cathedral to be presented as a Catechumen. It was so moving. Less than a week later I got a call from the senior priest at my church (not the one who leads the RCIA) asking to see me. He didn't say what it was about and I assumed that he wanted me to bring my Anglican Baptism certificate since I knew I had to produce that before confirmation. I wasn't prepared for what happened next. The priest said to me that because I had written on my registration form some months earlier that I was 'co-habiting', this meant I was 'living in sin' and this was a 'scandal to the Church' and so I couldn't take communion. I was in shock. I told him that I knew the church's teachings on marriage and I had really been prepared to address this point when I first approached him 9 months earlier, but it had never ever been raised as a problem. If it had been, I would have stepped back and thought deeply about my situation. As it was, I'd been encouraged to take the classes and developed such a deep commitment to the church that this news - 6 weeks from my anticipated confirmation - blew my world apart.


He offered no words of support. I left in silence, deeply, deeply upset. I have heard nothing from the church since and am too upset and humiliated to approach them. I feel that the church has thrown me away. I don't expect the church to make an exception for me, but I was given to believe that people in my position were no longer to be excluded from the church. If only they had told me sooner. And now, if only they would help me. I feel like an abject sinner, as if my faith journey was hollow and worthless.


As I try to make sense of this, I see that God wants me to sort out my relationship. I hope to talk seriously with my partner about marriage and what it means to me. I see that good could come out of this, but I don't know how I can repair my relationship with the church.  


This is the first time I've put these thoughts anywhere outside of my own mind. I've had nobody to turn to. My friends were not sympathetic to my conversion in the first place. the only safe place I had was the church I hoped to join, and the church sees me as a sinner and a scandal. I really am at my wits end. God has kept me going, just about. At times, I have felt abandoned even by God.


Please help, if anybody can.


x   


 

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3 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2011 - 10:30AM #23
Mysty101
Posts: 2,027

Dear Susan,


I am so sorry for your pain, and the insensitivity of some very human priests.


We all sin, and we know the Church accepts sinners, or there would be no need for the sacrament of reconciliation.  Everyone is welcome in the Church, but if you wish to receive Holy Communion, you must be in Communion with Church teaching.  The reason many in a similar situation to you receive Holy Communion is because they ignore the teaching they do not wish to follow.  There is no Communion police, so it is up to us to follow the teachings, if we wish to receive Catholic Communion.  This is what we profess to believe.


Can you speak to the priest who is the director of the program you attend?  You may continue to attend Mass, and certainly pray while you are trying to find your path.


God Bless you in your journey,


SuZ

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3 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2011 - 5:40PM #24
susan
Posts: 8

Thanks so much, these are the only kind words I've had so far about this. It means a lot!


 To be honest, I admire the church for sticking to its guns when so many other denominations are making very uneasy compromises with the modern secular world. It's one of the reasons I was attracted to Catholicism in the first place. I respect the fact that I'm not able to take the final step unless I can sincerely say that I'm living according to the teachings of the church. I just wish that the church had been open with me a year ago. I do suspect that the RCIA leader actually was happy for me to convert even with my unorthodox lifestyle. I think he was hoping the Diocese wouldn't take a hard line, or maybe that I wouldn't kind of blow my cover by actually writing 'co-habit' on my form! I mean no disrespect to the priest in saying this. I think some priests are prepared to make compromises in difficult situations. Well, I know this is true as friends of mine have said that priests have told them that contraception is not a sin as such, but a 'falling away from an ideal that the church approves'. I think I've fallen between the cracks - a priest willing to compromise and a more hardline (or should I say authentic) position at Diocese level.


The sad thing is that the way the church has treated me has left me with deep reservations about the church. There was a severe failure of pastoral support in my case. I think I'm old enough and strong enough to deal with it, but a vulnerable younger person might have broken down. It sounds a bit dramatic when I say that, but to be turned away so very abruptly and with no kindness or empathy, when I was only 6 weeks away from something I've devoted a year of my life to felt like a brutal slap in the face. I'm a sinner, yes, but I am also a sincere faith seeker and I trusted the church with my heart and soul. I don't know if I can come back from this. On Saturday, my companions in the RCIA class will have their confirmations at a church yards away from where I live. I'll hear the bells ringing out. How to deal with this? I don't know. Except that me and my partner will talk about marriage over the Easter break and who knows what God has in store.


Thanks again for your kindness  :)


 


x       

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3 years ago  ::  Apr 21, 2011 - 7:02AM #25
Mysty101
Posts: 2,027

Hi again,


A very Blessed Tridium to you.  I do hope you attend  these beautiful services, and focus on prayer and worship, rather than your confusing situation.


Remember God hears and answers all prayers, but not always right away or in the way we want. 


May the Pease and Joy of the Tisem Christ be a blessing to you at this difficult time.


Love & Prayers,


SuZ

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