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In the Year of Faith Doubt Is Good For You

Does this statement ring true for you, surfers; doubt is sometimes considered a dirty word? Do you feel that admitting you have doubts about your faith is considered a sign of weakness?

Catholics are particularly vulnerable to these worries because, as you may have been told, Catholicism is all-or-nothing. You will be labeled a “Buffet” or “Cafeteria” Catholic if you are not in lock-step with the Church teachings.

I am certain that when the year of faith began the parish priest told you to take time to read the catechism and become familiar with the teaching of the Catholic Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church has been touted as the answer book for Catholics. While it might not have inspired many to read the catechism, the Year of Faith did inspire all sorts of new catechism reading programs. My favorite is the daily reading schedule. The “catechism-a-day” reading program could not be further from the way it was intended to be read. My apologies to surfers who are still in the midst of the catechism a day reading program.

Unfortunately, these reading programs don’t come with a commentary. Perhaps in reading the catechism you are left with more questions than answers. You are not alone.

With all that said, I have a serious question for you. If you had the opportunity to meet the Pope could you express your fears and doubts about your faith?

1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Matt 18: 1-5

I have raised three children and if they had doubts about anything they asked about it. They were not shy and I was considered the trusted source for answers, until they became teenagers. Teenagers, what can a parent do? Anyway, consider how a child might express the doubts you feel. How can you change and become like a little child? If you don’t think children have doubts about their faith, you would be mistaken.

You don’t have to wonder what a child might say because I have an example for you. I will ask again, if you had the opportunity to meet the Pope would you have the bravery of a child to express your doubts about your faith?

One teenage boy told the pope that he was trying hard to believe in God and be faithful, but that he often struggled with doubt. “What can you say to help me and others like me?” he asked the pope.

Pope Francis said the journey of life “is an art” that isn’t easy because it requires juggling the need to move forward with the importance of taking time to reflect.
“If we walk too quickly, we’ll get tired and won’t be able to reach our destination,” yet if we stop or take our time “we won’t get there either.”
Life’s journey “is truly the art of looking at the horizon, reflecting on where I want to go, but also putting up with the fatigue from this journey,” he said.

Don’t be afraid of failure,” he insisted. The problem with the journey of life and faith isn’t falling; it’s not getting back up.

“Get right back up, immediately and keep going,” he said.
Carol Glatz | Catholic News Service

If you are concerned that having doubts is a sin, click the link and read this discussion thread on the subject.

As with all spiritual crises, whether of individuals or communities, we know that the ultimate answer can only be born of a searching, critical and ongoing self-assessment and conversion in the light of Christ”s truth.”
B16 on evangelization

Doubt is a comforting sign of growth in mature faith. Questions can lead a person away from God to be sure but they also lead a person much deeper into the mystery of faith.
Sr. Theresa Noble Positive Post

Need to hear some people like you witness to their doubts? Have a look at Jacob’s blog and consider your doubts.
and

Take Arrowhead 42’s blog, for example.

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About neodecaussade

I am a Roman Catholic quester. You will find that I have scripture based academic interests. You will discover that I am a conservative Catholic but I am also prone to heterodox tendencies. I am versed in highly pietistic traditionalist practices but I am not a traditionalist. I am interested in entering a discussion on the future of the Roman Catholic Church. I would like to have a role in discussing how the future Church will be shaped.

9 responses »

  1. Yes, doubt can be a tough one but it can be good as well, if it is guided in the right direction.

    Many who have doubted in the beginning have ended up great saints.

    God bless you.

    Reply
  2. 91. The Acts of the Apostles illustrates that a person cannot convey what is not believed or lived. The Gospel cannot be transmitted in a life which is not modelled after the Gospel or a life which does not find its meaning, truth and future based on the Gospel. Like the Apostles, we, even today, have access to a life of communion with the Father, in Jesus Christ, through his Spirit who transforms us and equips us to not only transmit the faith which we live but also elicit a response in those whom the Spirit has already prepared with his presence and action (cf. Acts 16:14). A fruitful proclamation of the Word of the Gospel calls for profound communion among God’s children which is a distinguishing sign accompanying proclamation, as St. John the Apostle recalls: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”(Jn 13:34, 35).

    Reply
  3. The questions remain the same. My search for faith continues. Since Sept. 11, however, I feel in some ways even further away from a visceral experience of faith. While I have never conceived of a God who could directly intervene in my life or others’, God seems even more remote today.

    Reply
  4. “Obstinate” doubt means the answers you’ve been given haven’t resolved you doubts. That’s why you keep praying—doubt keeps coming back and you have to reenforce your faith.

    Reply
  5. Lucinda Church

    I believe. Nothing can make me stop believing that God is Love, and that Jesus is God. Nothing can make me stop believing that God loves me, and all humanity. I believe because God has taught me truths contained only cryptically in the Bible. God the Holy Spirit has explained away my former doubts. However, I also hope and have faith in that which I can not see and do not understand. Faith, hope and love are the foundations of Jesus’ message to us. Unfortunately, Christianity has generally failed Christ and we believers because of its man-made dogmas. Fortunately, Christ does not need Christianity. His message will endure if every Christian church became extinct. “My words will never die,” He said. This I also believe.

    Reply
  6. When I started into my skeptic phase, my Christian community gave me space to struggle. They listened to my doubts about faith. They took my questions seriously.

    Reply
  7. In my childhood in Pennsylvania, I belonged to a Cub Scout Pack that had many Roman Catholic boys and met monthly in a Methodist building. But various forms of prejudice surfaced on “Scout Sunday” when Catholic boys felt truly unwelcome in Methodist worship, and vice versa. Anyone who doubts these religious frictions must examine the 1960 presidential campaign where a candidate’s Catholicism became a political question.

    Reply
  8. I spoke to a mother who lost her mother the other day. She said she was angry at God, and wondered if he was upset with her. I told her that it is ok to be angry at God (look at Job), but after you’ve had your shout, you must stop and listen to what he has to say back to you.

    I think, when you doubt, it opens up the possibility of deeper understanding. My life of faith is a journey, not a destination.

    Reply
    • David,
      Your personal anecdotes add a grounded layer to your thoughts. Genuine is the word that comes to mind. Very well spoken.

      Reply

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