Why should i be catholic?

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raphaela

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I was raised by an atheist family, with no religious background except one person who died when i was 14. She was my nana and was catholic but i barely saw her after my father died and I moved away. Now, my fiancee is really worried about me. He wants me to become a christian. Naturally I chose catholicism because that is all i really know of christianity. He’s introduced me to his beliefs, pentacostal, but it seemed to untraditional to me. But i have problems with the catholic faith. I’m fine with no contraception, divorce, or abortion (definetly against divorce and abortion, iffy on contraception but nonetheless fine with not using it). but here are the things i don’t get.
-sunday mass: why is it a sin to miss mass on sunday? Having 2 jobs plus going to school in september, this is not possible. No sacrificies can be made for this one that i can see, if i can get out of having 2 jobs, i would.
  • The idea that catholicism is the only right religion, that everyone else will go to hell: why is this?
    -Religious tolerance: I’ve seen thread that say catholics are discriminated against, yet if you associate yourself (ie. have a friend) who is another religion which is completely the opposite of catholicism, somehow you are in trouble because you practice tolerance towards this persons beliefs. why is this?
  • Job: Reading the posts on this forum and other things (trust me, i’ve read a lot, I’ve been studying catholicism for 2 years to see if it’s right for me), catholicism seems more like a job than spirituality, like you have to work to be saved. Is this true?
    -Restrictions: Reading in the family life forum, it seems that catholics restrict their children. This is a consensus of the extremes i’ve seen not every parent out their. Children can’t listen to rap or rock, watch tv, movies unless screened first for indecent material (even if they are 16), go to public school for fear of making bad incluence friends, use the internet unless devices are placed to track or limit where they go, where clothign from a mall. I went to the modest clothign websites and i must say some of the clothes are hideous. I’m not about dressing like a $2 hoe either, just some of it is just bad. It just seems that catholics restrict their children and themselves from the world.
That isn’t all, i just can’t think of anymore right now. Trust me, I’m serious about these questions. I’m not bashing the catholic faith or christianity at all, I’ve devoted 2 years of my life to learn about both. I’ve read the bible, all the way through (NT 2wice). I’ve watched EWTN on the internet. These are bad questions so please don’t be mean because i don’t understand. I’ve gone to other forums before and they got really defensive and mean. Please help me find the answers. Thanks!!
 
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raphaela:
… but here are the things i don’t get.
-sunday mass: why is it a sin to miss mass on sunday? - The idea that catholicism is the only right religion, that everyone else will go to hell: why is this?..
-Religious tolerance: I’ve seen thread that say catholics are discriminated against, yet if you associate yourself (ie. have a friend) who is another religion which is completely the opposite of catholicism, somehow you are in trouble because you practice tolerance towards this persons beliefs. why is this?
  • Job: Reading the posts on this forum and other things (trust me, i’ve read a lot, I’ve been studying catholicism for 2 years to see if it’s right for me), catholicism seems more like a job than spirituality, like you have to work to be saved. Is this true?
    -Restrictions: Reading in the family life forum, it seems that catholics restrict their children. This is a consensus of the extremes i’ve seen not every parent out their. Children can’t listen to rap or rock, watch tv, movies unless screened first for indecent material (even if they are 16), go to public school for fear of making bad incluence friends, use the internet unless devices are placed to track or limit where they go, where clothign from a mall. I went to the modest clothign websites and i must say some of the clothes are hideous. I’m not about dressing like a $2 hoe either, just some of it is just bad. It just seems that catholics restrict their children and themselves from the world.
That isn’t all, i just can’t think of anymore right now. Trust me, I’m serious about these questions. I’m not bashing the catholic faith or christianity at all, I’ve devoted 2 years of my life to learn about both. I’ve read the bible, all the way through (NT 2wice). I’ve watched EWTN on the internet. These are bad questions so please don’t be mean because i don’t understand. I’ve gone to other forums before and they got really defensive and mean. Please help me find the answers. Thanks!!
The first thing I would like to do is address your last concern. Have no fear…you will be treated with kindness and respect. Your sincerity and honesty are appreciated.

It is a sin to miss mass on Sunday because we are told in the third commandment of God to “Keep holy the Lord’s Day.” Since God is infinite and He created all things and sustains all things out of nothing, it is appropriate that we, his creatures, love, obey, and worship God with our whole, hearts, minds, and our whole strength. Missing mass on Sunday betrays this and the third commandment, because we have chosen something created over the creator. As catholics, we must make every reasonable effort to have our employer(s) adjust our schedule so that we can attend mass on the Lord’s Day. The Saturday vigil mass fulfills the Sunday obligation, and that can help with scheduling.

While the Catholic Church is the church started and sustained by Jesus, Himself, it is not correct to say that everyone that is not a member of the Catholic Church is going to hell. If someone knows the truth and turns away from the Catholic Church, then they have willfully turned away from that which God has given them for their salvation. This puts them in severe spiritual jeopardy and they may indeed have chosen eternal damnation. The invincibly ignorant person, on the other hand, can still be saved. The term “no salvation outside the church” requires more explanation than can be given in the length of this post, but suffice it to say that you can find short tracts on the subject on catholicanswers.com, jamesakin.com, and other catholic websites. I would highly recommend getting the catholic catechism for reference on catholic teaching.

The Catholic Church in no way teaches that we are saved by our works. Instead, we are saved by grace alone, through the merits of Jesus Christ, by faith and works but not by faith alone. The Catholic Church has the most complete and biblically consistent teaching on salvation within all of Christianity. Again, refer to jamesakin.com and read up on justification, salvation, faith, works, and sanctification.

Finally, I would be the first to point out that protecting our children is of tremendous importance. I personally wish that I had been more protective (i.e. restrictive) with my own children during their formative years. The culture is awash in immorality and it is flooding the media and our institutions. Very few of our traditional institutionalized moral standards remain intact. Jesus told us that we must be holy as our heavenly Father is holy. We must be separate. We must, as it says in Hebrews 12:14, “Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”

There is much more to be said and perhaps further posts will bring greater understanding.
 
Hello!

First, please become Catholic, because the Holy Eucharist is the Most Awesome Gift!
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raphaela:
…-Religious tolerance: I’ve seen thread that say catholics are discriminated against, yet if you associate yourself (ie. have a friend) who is another religion which is completely the opposite of catholicism, somehow you are in trouble because you practice tolerance towards this persons beliefs. why is this?
I’ll try to respond to this one. The mission of the Catholic church is evangilization - spreading the faith to the whole world, so I don’t know how this could possibly be done without associating with people of other beliefs. Pope John Paull II is preaching tolerance and respect of other cultures and beliefs. So, I don’t understand why a Catholic would say that if you have a friend of a different religion, you are in trouble. What I’ve been taught is that you treat everyone with gentleness and respect, and if your friend doesn’t want to talk about religion, you evangalize by the example of your own life.

I hope (actually, I pray) that this helps, and that you get alot more helpful responses.
 
Thank you for the helpful responses.
Nobody, in another thread, someone actually told me that i was in trouble because a friend of mine is a satanist. I’ve explained my beliefs, about God and Jesus, to him, but he wasn’t interested. That was the basis of my question.
 
I have atheist friends, but can’t say I know any satanists - probably because I’m older than you (I’m 35). Looking around, it seems the goth, wicca, etc., is growing in popularity among young people, I’m hoping it’s just a rebel “fad”, that will not stay. As long as you don’t participate in any of his/her rituals or practices, I can’t see why you’d be in trouble. I pray that your friend will see your faith & life, and someday convert.

I don’t want to lead this thread astray from your original question of why to be a Catholic. I hope you get more responses on that one!
 
i don’t mean to be rude, but goth is not a religion. I’m a “goth” and have never practised anything like satanism etc., when i was 12 my friends and i tried witchcraft, it didn’t work, we moved on. I found that wicca is more of a psychological things rather than actual magik (from what i have read and heard from wiccan friends). The spells they use are almost like a prayer with physical objects to solidify they’re belief that they are praying and that thier prayers are being heard.

anyway, of track a little.Goth has more to do with societal views and politics, the state of the world, much like punk, but goth tends to focus on the darker side (not the evil side). We see the sad injustices of the world and mourn for them. Most goths are very creative in expressing thier beliefs and thier sadness of how the world is. We dress to express our feelings and also to show the world “here we are, we dispise the state of the world”. It’s almost like a protest. Goth has been around for 20 years, and hasn’t died, however, it has evolved. Goth is a very gentle poetic lifestyle.

I know a lot of goths and they are hard-core and this is a list of thier beliefs:
jevovah’s witness
native indian spirituality (she is a native and belongs to the first nations, a canadian native government)
satanist
wiccan (2)
jewish
athiest(3)
pentacostal(4)
non-denominational christian (2)
catholic (2) one is very devout

This is just an FYI, hopefully people won’t argue about goth and miss my question all together. BTW, i’m not included in the list.
 
It seems that other people have responded to most of your questions, and kudos to you for the research you have done!

Do you have a Catholic Catechism? If not, and if you are able, pick one up…you may find one in a half price bookstore or even at a garage sale. Otherwise, it is worth it to spring for the cost of a new book.

Unfortunately, I didn’t remember the exact wording, but the Catechism does address issues of having to work. The Chuch recognizes that some employment does carry through on Sundays, and by necessity; Hospitals, restaurants, group homes…etc. I don’t know which fields you are working in so this is for you to discern, but you do have a right to go to your employer and request a schedule that allows you to attend church. This is not always possible, depending upon the nature of the employment (I have been in this position) but in any case you offer this situation up to Christ to remedy or accept as a temporary situation.

Now, if yoiu are off and you are able to attend a Mass, whether Saturday or Sunday, and you willfully choose not to go, then that is a sin.

Remember, ultimately, Christ is the judge and he can read your heart and know your circumstances. If you have to work several jobs and have several important committments that you cannot change or incorporate into your religion, it is OK to miss Mass…just be sure to go when you can, and if able, make an effort through your employer to allow you a schedule in which to practice your faith.

Hope that helps!
 
Please dismiss my goth comment as naive-ness (is that a word?), rather than anything else.

Back to why to be a Catholic: The Holy Eucharist…Oh, I already said that.

Regarding the restrictions on children you mentioned, I think the parents are just doing, out of pure love, what they feel is needed to protect their children. It will be different for every parent/child combination, and this is not something just found in Catholicism alone.

I’m impressed by the reading you’ve done. Have you talked to a priest or other Catholic religious yet?
 
I’ve spoken to my friends who are catholic, my fiancee’s grandmother who is as well. I haven’t spoken to a preist yet, i guess because I’m scared they’ll reject me because of my questions. I just find it very hard to follow somethign blindly, i need to know everythign about it before i devote my life to it. My guess is that i am very skeptica about all things due to my ateist upbringing.

i wasn’t trying to make parents who do raise thier children they way they do feel bad or mad. It’s just different. I know it’s not a catholic phenomena, that any parent can do that, it’s just what i have seen on this forum. I guess i feel that being that “strict” (for lack of a better word) doesn’t allow children to choose what’s right from wrong, i mean, how do you know that what you are teaching your children is right if they have no exposure to anything else? i know my parents were wrong in teaching me atheism, because that has hindered me, but they thought that what they were doing was so right. It’s just a question based on observation and personal experience.

Thanks you for your reply!!
 
I personally guarantee that a priest will not reject you because of your questions – quite the contrary, in fact! He will (or should) be very happy to chat with you about the Catholic faith and to answer your questions. Most priests I have met over the years are friendly and very approachable. I would recommend talking to several priests (not together, of course – at different times :)). They’re human too and have different personalities, so you may find it easier to talk with one man over another. There’s no need to feel nervous, so get out there and keep asking your questions! 👍

God Bless you in your search, and be sure to continue frequenting the Catholic Answers forums to have your questions answered! You’ve definitely come to the right place if you want to get the truth about the Catholic faith. :tiphat:
 
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raphaela:
… i need to know everythign about it before i devote my life to it…
I don’t think there’s many people in this world who can say they know everything about the Catholic Church. But don’t let that stop you from trying, I know I am still trying. But also pray, and ask Jesus for guidance.

I saw another person suggested the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I agree with. I would also suggest a book I’m just starting to read, called “This is our Faith” by Michael Francis Pennock, published by Ave Maria Press. It is “correlated and referenced to the Chatecism of the Catholic Church”, and written in a front-to-back, easy to read fashion, with prayer reflections and discussion questions.

Consider trying this: go to a Catholic Church, when it’s empty (or nearly so), and just sit in a pew and say a prayer - talk to Jesus.

I’ll be praying for you.
 
Hey Rapheala!

Simply put - because it is God’s will.

I’ll try to answer your questions in order and quickly
  1. Sunday obligaitons can be met by making use of the Vigil Mass on Saturday evenings which is there specifically for those who have to work on Sundays. We are obliged to Sunday worship in answer to the Lord’s Commandment to keep Holy the Sabbath. Going to Mass is the main requirement but not all of it.
  2. extra ecclesia nolo salus is pretty deep, but there are exceptions - The Church Itself has never said anyone was in Hell specifically but we imagine Judas is pretty surely not in Heaven! We don’t judge the final state of anyone’s soul in this respect. The universal/Catholic Church includes all Baptised persons aand there is the principal of invincible ignorance which most of us folks in the western world cannot claim for ourselves. God made the Church the means of receiving His salvation via His Sacraments and thus those who refuse to accept this cannot be saved.
The impression you have of tolerance is skewed by your own experience. We all are called to help each other in this journey of faith and if others don’t do so, I cannot help that. I try my best and can only answer for myself.

Your question about all the “work” envolved I can really realte with. I too was un-churched and had no clue and it seemed all uphill when I first started. But the grace to do so is provided by God. We just have to remain willing. That is key! If we say “yes” to His will for us, He provides His Holy Spirit to do the work. The trick is to just ask for this grace and remain willing. This assent of the will is something cradle Catholics struggle with as well. They usually get book knowlege growing up, but at some point in their lives they must make this assent or they get stale or worse. those of us who come into the Church usually have it backwards - we are willing but haven’t got the book knowlege. Oi. Just trust on this point God provides the grace and does most of the work.

I’m inclined to laugh heartily at your last question especially about the $2 ho part! I remember getting really cautious with my daughter’s T.V. viewing habits and looking one day at my collection of clothes and wondering which ones were okay for Mass! I dress differently today, though I don’t think I look like a school marm. My daughter is away at college and has thus far made me very grateful that I changed the channels on the tube when I did. Yes, answering God’s call in your heart takes change and challenges us to our very core. But it would hardly be worth it if it didn’t right?

Here’s something that helped me take the plunge:

Take a good long look at a Crucifix - that isn’t the church picnic you’re looking at.

Peace and all good,

Thomas2
 
raphaela, after reading your post carefully, I feel that you are sincere about studying the catholic faith, but despite your study, you have been misinformed about the church’s teachings regarding most of the issues that are troubling you.

It is hard to study catholicism on your own!. I suggest contacting a church near you and participating in RCIA classes. (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults.) You can attend these classes, ask your questions, hopefully get answers, and defer making a decision on joining the church until you are fully satisfied.
 
Arnulf, thanks for the advice, I’ve been looking in to RCIA classes but i recently moved and need to find a church that does it in this city.

Also, my questions were based on years of observation of catholics, so i could very well have been misinformed about it because the people i talked to don’t represent every catholic.
 
May I offer another insight on the question regarding Mass attendance?

You asked why it is an obligation for us to attend Mass, and why it would be a sin if we didn’t. First of all, as other posters mentioned, God has commanded us to, and it is our priviledge to obey Him. However, there is more to it than this. When we go to Mass, we celebrate Eucharist, which means “thanksgiving.” We give thanks to God for creating us, living, dying, and rising for us, and just because He is Good! You have an “obligation” to celebrate the birthdays of your family and friends, but it is really such a joy to do so, that it can hardly be called an obligation. It is a sin not to go to this celebration because: 1) We disobey God’s command 2) We turn our hearts from Him- sometimes out of selfishness and laziness because we don’t want to get up and go, and sometimes out of lack of faith because we are not trusting that He will provide us the means to get to Mass. If you must work during scheduled Mass times, pray that God will provide the means for you to get to Mass, and He will! Trust God with all your heart, and He will not fail to bring you to Mass so that you can praise Him. Remember: Mass is a celebration. You have been invited to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, and God misses you when you don’t attend. Praise the Lord!
 
thanks, ok so, if i was unable to go sunday but i could go saturday, would missing sunday and attending saturday still be a sin?
 
Saturday night Mass is absolutely not a sin- it fulfills the obligation of the Sunday celebration. However, you must be going to a night Mass, not a noon or morning. If you go to the noon or morning, you are receiving wonderful spiritual blessings for attending the Supper of the Lord, but this is not included in the obligation to worship on Sunday. The reason for this is simple: Sunday is the anniversary of the Lord’s ressurection, so although God loves it when we celebrate with Him during the week, the obligation is on Sunday. (Just as you would want to celebrate an anniversary on the day of the event, so God wants us to celebrate with Him on the anniversary of His resurrection.) So why does Mass on Saturday night fulfill this obligation? Because Saturday night is a vigil. A vigil is kind of like when we were little kids, and we waited up all night for Santa. We knew we couldn’t open presents until the next day, but we were so excited, we couldn’t sleep because of our anticipation. On Saturdays, worshippers may come because of schedule conflicts, but the atmosphere of the Mass is one of a vigil- worshippers are so excited to celebrate the Lord’s resurrection on Sunday, that they have gathered the night before. Absolutely attend the vigil! The Lord wants to see you at His Wedding Feast!!
 
Raphaela ~

After reading all the posts on this information you’ve requested, a couple of thoughts may ease your mind.
  1. Satuday Mass is technically Sunday mass. Since the Jewish people believed a day started at sundown (Ramaddon is one example) then Saturday evening to the church is Sunday. The day goes from sundown to sundown. ( I got that from James Akin on a Catholic Answers Q & A show !)
  2. Regarding other religions,and those people going to be in hell ~
    Well, the other posters have said it better than I. We as Catholics can only help guide them to see the truth by our own examples.
3.You made posts about Gothic friends. As a Catholic I have to say “So what does THAT have to do with anything”? If you believe in God, and Jesus, that He was raised after being dead for 3 days,and that He will come again, quite frankly you could be anything you wanted to be, or voice your opinion on this world any way you want. The key to me is WHAT you want to do with your life. I want to be able to show the whole world how much God and Jesus , and the Virgin Mary love me. I can say it until I’m blue in the face, and no one could hear me . But if I show them. … .that’s all the difference in the world.

Question: Since you’ve mentioned you’ve been into Goth and Wicca, do you think that may be what’s making you a little timid in seeing a priest ? Do you feel perhaps he’s going to judge you ??
the priest shouldn’t . . and neither should anybody else, for that matter.You are you,. and God loves you right where you are, and who you are, no matter what .
  1. As far as knowing everything. … I hate to disappoint you, but only GOD knows everything. That’s why He’s God !
    But is it wrong for you to try and know everything ? Absolutely not ! that’s how you grow. …
    I hope this helps. and I do pray you’ll talk to a priest ( or several, which was a good idea posted here !) and see that being a Catholic, while it may seem hard, is the easiest way to be closer to Jesus, and God.
God Bless you, and Peace to you

:tiphat:
 
Randell, thanks!!

If it were up to me, i woudl know everything. I mean I’d join a convent but only for the information not the lifestyle, a nun is somethign i’m not called to be!! I guess I should really take the leap and start going to mass, but right now, it’s the matter of learning the bus system. I know which church i want to attend after researchign all my options. It’s called St. gregory the great. Sounds real good!

I guess with all the things i’ve done in my life and gone through, I’m worried about talking to a priest. Too much stuff to discuss here but most of it is not pretty and definetly sinful.

Beign goth, i’m not ashamed of that, that is just who i am. The dabbling in wicca only happened once or twice but I’ve read a lot. I read a lot about lots of religions, just a hobby of mine. i don’t know, i guess I’m just worried about not fitting in because of all the things i have lacked as a child, ie. religious education, going to church. When I do go to church it will be the first time in 12 years, and I’m 20. I was too young to remember what church was like. I feel I may be rejected.

thank you for your words of encouragement!!
 
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raphaela:
I guess with all the things i’ve done in my life and gone through, I’m worried about talking to a priest. Too much stuff to discuss here but most of it is not pretty and definetly sinful.
Have you been baptized?
 
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