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Feeling a draw to Catholicism

(18 Posts)
tungthai Tue 21-May-13 14:11:39

A few years ago I felt that I was being told that I should explore Catholicism. I was baptised a Catholic but never attended church and was not raised a Catholic. I have probably been agnostic for most of my life.

I ignored the messages because I felt that I am probably not suited to being a Catholic. I'm quite liberal in my views on most topics.

I'm feeling an increasing strong draw. I don't feel that I will be at peace with myself unless I explore this further.

Has anyone else ever felt anything similar?

niminypiminy Tue 21-May-13 17:15:41

I'm not a Catholic, but I do know exactly what you mean. A few years ago I began feeling a sort of internal yearning towards Christianity -- at the time it felt very scary, like looking into the unknown. (I was brought up in a staunchly atheist family -- as far as I know I'm the only one of my immediate family who's ever been to any other church service than a funeral. My background attitudes and default settings were all to atheist, and I was -- still am -- a leftie and feminist.)

I sternly repressed my feelings, but they wouldn't go away. In fact they became more and more insistent. I found myself praying, and then thinking 'where did that come from?'. I'd look at churches, and imagine myself inside them. I did some reading -- covertly at first, because I was worried about what people might think if they found out I was 'one of those Christians'. Eventually the pull got too strong to resist, and I turned up at my local parish church one Sunday morning (it was CofE, for various reasons, which aren't important here.) Eeeeeeek! It was a horrible, evangelical place with awful, embarrassing worship songs. It wasn't me. It wasn't as liberal as me.

But somehow I kept getting pulled back, and even though that church isn't what I personally like, and even though I know I have theological differences with the vicar, it's been the place where I've become a Christian, and where I've begun my Christian journey -- the walk with, and towards Jesus. Who knows where it will end?

So this is a long way of saying, listen to the message. Explore, and see what you find. You won't compromise who you are by exploring Catholicism -- you'll probably find that that Catholics are much more diverse than you think, and that there are more like-minded people than you expect. Take a chance -- and if you are right, you will find the peace that you are looking for.

dawning Tue 21-May-13 21:42:06

Not quite the same but similar - I was baptised Catholic but not really brought up as Catholic, and my catholic parent was fairly lapsed while I was still a child. I'ld always believed in God, and occasionally went to various denominations of churches through school, guides, friends etc. I thought I would find a home in a more liberal denomination. However, throughout my adult life, I find I keep being drawn back to the catholic church. I'm never sure it is where I want to be, but it seems to be where God wants me to be. I rebel from time to time, I've had big rows with our local priest, but still I am drawn back to it. Every time I have thought about leaving I have prayed about it, and found myself drawn further in. Gradually I have had to admit that it is where I should be - in the different places where I have lived I have found myself in communities that have supported me and helped me to grow when I have needed it, and in communities where I have had things to offer at other times. I have learnt to find great beauty and peace in the sacraments. I don't know if it is where I will always be, but it is where my path leads me at the moment.

tungthai Tue 21-May-13 22:08:24

Thank you both of you. You have articulated how I feel.

I'm going to explore it further and see where it takes me.

Mitchy1nge Tue 21-May-13 22:15:51

I am in and out of love with the church and God and not currently feeling too evangelical but you will find plenty of Catholics with liberal views. They are not all pro-life homophobes I promise.

You could start with an Alpha In A Catholic Context course, or have a chat with a sister of the parish or the parish priest or just show up for mass? There is usually one every day in most places.

I know is not quite the same but there is an organization for returners to the church, they sent me an interesting book called 'why catholic' or something like that. I'll have a look and post a link.

mrspaddy Tue 21-May-13 22:23:56

I too was brought up Catholic.. had lapsed during University years.. became sceptical etc. However, a very personal experience lately made my rediscover my faith. I did a Novena to Our Lady and during the Novena, a stranger gave me a medal of Our Lady - totally random in local shopping centre.

Anyway, my prayer was answered and it is more than that - I found my faith again. For me, I am not truly into the institution (mass is lovely etc. but when I pray on my own I am much closer to God).

I don't talk about this openly to people but I cannot explain the feeling or comfort I get.

Mitchy1nge Tue 21-May-13 22:24:07

you've probably already found this site but they look helpful and will send info, help you find a church etc

good luck

AsphyxiaXIX Tue 21-May-13 23:29:58

I know lots of Catholics who, e.g. have just decided to ignore the anti-contraception point and are very tolerant, not homophobic etc.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that Catholics/Christians have to be perfect all the time. A big part of the faith is the acceptance that everyone is human and fucks up.

There is a lot of misinformation about Catholicism, partly due to a lot of people who aren't doing it right - basically using religion as an excuse to be smug and judgmental when Jesus was the complete OPPOSITE of that.

Mitchy1nge Tue 21-May-13 23:33:04

growing up it seemed very much about your own conscience and it's only later in life that I realize how impossible it is to reconcile mine with certain teachings

but it's not supposed to be easy, apparently

tungthai Wed 22-May-13 10:32:42

Thanks everyone. I think that my problem in the past has been that I have expected Christians to be "perfect" and I have felt unworthy myself. I know this view is wrong because Christianity accepts that we are all flawed.

I have bought myself a copy of Amy Welborn's book on the catholic faith and plan on attending mass and am also considering the Catholic equivalent of the Alpha course in the future. I think that should help me work things out in my mind.

I have a friend who is catholic and attends mass every week and yet her husband has had a vasectomy I asked her about this and she just shrugged her shoulders and said it was right for them. I think I need the confidence and understanding to know when you can go against the religious teaching and how you reconcile that. I have tendencies towards OCD type behaviour and I don't want to tie myself up in knots agonising over every single thing or set myself up for failure because of my lack of understanding.

jammietart Wed 22-May-13 10:49:11

I am Catholic and liberal and the two can sometimes be at odds with each other. I try to keep the central teachings of Christ at the forefront of my mind (Love God, love one another). Our parish is fairly traditonal but what I find within that parish is just about every type of person you can imagine, living very different lives from each other but united in their belief.

And yes we are all unworthy!

Good luck with your journey.

tuffie Thu 23-May-13 21:54:41

Yes good luck from me too tungthai ! Enjoy the joy and fulfillment it will hopefully bring you.

tungthai Fri 24-May-13 14:19:57

Thanks everyone. I don't think I will have dh's support. He just doesn't get it at all. He was brought up CoE and was confirmed and everything but only did it to please his mother. He is anti religion and views it as as a weakness in people.

How do you overcome objections from a partner? Obviously I'm free to do what I want to do but it isn't easy when your husband feels so strongly against it.

I'm not discussing it with dh at the moment but he saw me reading a childrens bible that ds bought home from school and was annoyed.

lightfairy Fri 24-May-13 14:28:21

The partner question is always difficult - you have to explain that this is something that you want to do and you hope that he can respect you and let you get on with it and you will continue to respect him and let him get on with it.
Nobody feels worthy and the person that does feel worthy probably isn't.
Catholic Churches have Journey in Faith courses you can go to. Look on the local parish website to see what is available.
Try and find a practising catholic to help you on your journey and to answer your questions.

tuffie Sat 25-May-13 20:54:39

tungthai, my dh is an atheist so we have lots of interesting discussions ! As lightfairy said, it's down to mutual respect.
He used to be very anti religion but is much more accepting now that he sees just how important my faith is to me. Hopefully your dh will eventually see this in you too.
Equally, I accept that he doesn t believe and would never try to convert him to my way of thinking.

Tuo Sat 25-May-13 23:13:28

Hello tungthai. I haven't responded up till now, because I am not Catholic, and you have had helpful responses from others who are. However, I do sympathise on the partner issue. My DH is a fairly vehement atheist. I was agnostic for most of my adult life, but for much of that time had a bit of a yearning to go back. I finally did about three years ago, and at first I took advantage of being abroad with my DC for a few months (for work) without DH, as I knew he would be against it. That experience was really positive and convinced me that I needed to keep on attending church and rediscovering my faith. But when I came back to the UK I knew it'd be difficult. DH actually said to me 'You're not going to persist with all that church-y nonsense are you?'. So I calmly said that, yes, I did want to persist with it. We agreed that I would not pressurise the DC into attending (in fact, one does, and has chosen to be baptised and confirmed, and the other doesn't), and that, for his part, he would not openly disparage or criticise us for going to church. We don't discuss it much, although we do sometimes discuss religious issues that come up in the news or whatever (I don't know... like the women bishops debate, and so on). It has also helped to reassure him that I still have the same (leftie, feminist) views as before, and have not turned into some embodiment of the Tory Party At Prayer, despite being a member of the CofE! He was quite visibly disapproving at first (he was as good as his word in not saying anything, but there was a fair bit of tutting!), but that has lessened, and it has become part of our weekly routine that I go to church with DD2 on a Sunday morning, while he and DD1 take the dog for a long walk.

I think that it's only with time that you can reassure your DH that this is not going to be something that will come between you, and not something that will change you in a negative way into someone different (into some sort of caricature of a pious fun-refuser) but rather - to quote something that a rather wonderful friend of mine wrote to me recently - something that makes you more yourself. In the meantime, can you tell him that this is something you need to explore for yourself, and ask him not necessarily to endorse it, but to support it in the sense, at least, of not trying actively to prevent it? I wish you every happiness in your search, and hope your DH is accommodating...

tuffie Mon 27-May-13 09:04:52

Great post Tuo - a very similar experience to mine (love the Tory Party at Prayer bit!)

mikkii Mon 27-May-13 09:56:12

I was raised CofE, went to church schools until 18 etc. I was then in a relationship where religion didn't feature and I drifted away, at an age where many do.

Many years down the line I started to get interested and attend church with a couple of friends who happened to be Catholic. I got into a new relationship, with someone born and raised Catholic but lapsed. I continued to attend the Catholic Church with my friend (cousin of then boyfriend now DH) I had 3 children all baptised Catholic, 2 at Catholic school.

This year I converted, there was no pressure to do so, I attend church regularly with DC, DH works weekends, could come more often than he does, but prefers a Sunday lie in.

I was asked if I was doing it to get the DC into Catholic schools, but I pointed out 2 already were and the same priest would be asked for secondary reference for DS and primary reference for DD2 in a couple of years and there were no changes since the references were previously given.

No, I was doing it for myself.

I would second the suggestion to speak to the parish sister, ours is fantastic, a real inspiration.

With regards to the contraception question, I wondered if I would be asked about my views on that, I wasn't. For me, I have been given medical orders not to have any more children. With DC2 I suffered a life threatening complication. With DC3 I had the same condition as previously, plus another separate one on top. I reconcile this by considering that I am doing the right thing by ensuring I am around to see my children grow up (the I obgyn consultant's words) and nurture them and their faith.

I know I'm not perfect, but I try to do the right thing.

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