Catholic Weddings

Any good books?

I'm trying to better understand the Catholic position in a few areas.  These are areas where my opinions do not coincide with Catholic beliefs.  One of them was brought up in the on-going thread about IVF. 

So does anyone know of any good books/scholarly articles that I could learn why the Catholic beliefs are what they are regarding:

Birth control/sex/infertility/why life begins at conception (that's very broad, I know.  I am very interested in why the Church has their view of fornication as well).

Communion (I know why there is communion but I've been told in the Catholic church many parishes believe it to be literal instead of symbolic)

Why evolution is wrong? (I am very familiar with evolution, I'm just not familiar with how the Church can vehemently deny it.  I don't want to start a debate as I know this is a hot topic, I'm simply interested in the Church's stance on why it can't be true.)

Homosexuality being a sin (I realize that the Church believes that sex should be only for child rearing, so I get that part, I just didn't know if there was more to it)

I'm sure there are more that I just can't think of right now.  Like I said, my main goal is not to refute the beliefs of the Church or sway my own beliefs.  I just don't really know WHY the teachings are what they are and I would like to.  I would like a better understanding if I'm going to start attending masses and if my children will be raised in the church.

Or, if any of you could explain these things to me objectively you can PM me. 

Thanks in advance for your help.

Re: Any good books?

  • caitriona87caitriona87
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    edited December 2011
    Hi,

    It's commendable that you are interested in learning. =) The first bolded section (sex/birth control/etc) and the last (homosexuality--yes, there is more to it) really all come from the same place and are part of the Church's consistent theology on human sexuality. For amazing explanations on these areas, I would check out any book by Christopher West, who has taken John Paul II's Theology of the Body and made it accessible to the average layperson. Theology of the Body for Beginners or Good News About Sex and Marriage would be good places to start and will address all of those issues.

    http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/sexuality/se0002.html

    The above url is a well-known talk about contraception specifically by Dr. Janet Smith.

    As far as the Eucharist, I can't think of any books in particular off the top of my head, but yes, in the Catholic Church it is believed to be the literal, actual Body, Blood, Soul & Divinity of Christ, and this is not something that varies by parish; it is the universal teaching of the Church. Hopefully someone else knows of an awesome book for you.

    In regards to evolution? I'm not sure where you heard that the Catholic Church is "vehemently against" it. That's typical of evangelical churches, but not the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is very open to science provided that it does not contradict revealed Truth. (In fact, the scientific method and Mendelian genetics came from monks.) God created the world and everything in it, so there is nothing to fear from studying the natural world. Certain APPLICATIONS of scientific discoveries can indeed be sinful.

    http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_jp02tc.htm

    Here's a talk John Paul II gave to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences that touches on some of these issues; it's not long at all.

    http://www.catholic.com/library/Adam_Eve_and_Evolution.asp

    This article discusses the issue as well. Basically, there are certain truths that we must believe from the creation story in Genesis (e.g. God created the world from nothing, Adam and Eve were the first two actual humans, not symbolic or representative of a larger group, etc) but the six-day, 5000 year old Earth is not one of them. The theory of evolution becomes problematic only when it claims the non-existence of God or is used to deny the fact that human beings have an immortal soul, etc.

    Sorry this got to be a bit long, but I hope you find it helpful.


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  • mica178mica178
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    edited December 2011
    It's not a Catholic publication, but I'll point you to Darwin's Black Box for an argument in favor of intelligent design/ the inaccuracy of the publication of much evolutionary biology data.

    Regarding much of the other stuff, here's the website of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, specifically the areas that discuss areas of marriage including homosexual marriage, birth control, human sexuality : http://www.usccb.org/laity/marriage/publications.shtml


  • newlyseliskinewlyseliski
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    edited December 2011
    [edited to include links] 
     
    caitriona87  totally beat me to forwarding an article by Janet Smith :)  I've heard her speak a few times and she is really great at articulating issues with sex, birth control, etc.  I just noticed that she has several of the same links I found, too :)  Sorry for the redundancy and let me know if you have any specific questions!


    IVF: The USCCB website has some good articles! If you search IVF, several will come up. Also www.chastity.com/chastity-qa/birth-control/morality/what-does-church-teach-ab">http://www.chastity.com/chastity-qa/birth-control/morality/what-does-church-teach-ab



    Birth Control/Sex: Articles by Janet Smith, The site http://onemoresoul.com/, writings on Theology of the Body, Love and Responsibility by Pope John Paul II, "God is Love" by Pope Benedict XVI (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20051225_deus-caritas-est_en.html) , Humanae Vitae (www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae_en.html">http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae_en.html)



    Communion: Its the understanding of the bread's "substance" and "accidents." The accidents, or physical characteristics of the bread remain the same, but there is a change in substance (aka transubstantiation). Real Presence of the Eucharist (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05573a.htm), "Give us this Day our Daily Bread" by Dr. Scott Hahn..

    [additional links in PM]

  • agapecarrieagapecarrie
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    edited December 2011
    Also, just reading the catechism on the Eucharist is a good place to go. Actually, the catechism on anything.

    Fornication is so basic...its in scripture.
  • edited December 2011
    Ack. The Catholic church does NOT endorse Intelligent Design. And the church is not against evolution either; it does not view evolution as incompatible with its views on creation.

    http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=18503
    http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0600273.htm

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  • mica178mica178
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    edited December 2011
    You're right about the Catholic church not endorsing intelligent design.  However, I do think the book I recommended is a good one in that it criticizes a lot of the "group think" of science.  
  • edited December 2011
    Thank you for all the links and information.

    On the evolution question, I suppose the Catholics I have spoken to were extremists and what they told me was not the view of the religion itself.  Thank you for that clarification!
  • edited December 2011
    Thank you ladies!  I too have found myself asking the same questions as the OP.  I just ordered those two Christopher West books to start.  Thank you.
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  • caitriona87caitriona87
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    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: Any good books?:
    Thank you for all the links and information. On the evolution question, I suppose the Catholics I have spoken to were extremists and what they told me was not the view of the religion itself.  Thank you for that clarification!
    Posted by purplepeopleeater11
    Unfortunately not every Catholic is well catechized. If you are in doubt or hear conflicting things, always go to the Catechism for the authoritative teaching of the Church. =)
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  • catarntinacatarntina
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    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: Any good books?:
    Thank you ladies!  I too have found myself asking the same questions as the OP.  I just ordered those two Christopher West books to start.  Thank you.
    Posted by TeamBaby
    I thought "Good News about Sex and Marriage" by Christopher West was particularly helpful for my own understanding of the church's views on sex, birth control, etc.  I don't have anything else to add, just that I thought this was a good reference.
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  • edited December 2011
    OP: are you Catholic or is your FI Catholic?

    I think you definitely have some things mixed up about the Church. Perhaps sitting in on an RCIA class would be beneficial to you.

    With regards to sex/bc - the Catholic church is against contraception and therefore teaches NFP bc we believe that sex is the love between husband and wife with God just like God loved the Church. And we do not belive that sex is only used for procreation, it is just that couples need to be open to new life at all times.

    Communion - we believe in transubstantiation which is that the Eucharist and the wine become the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Chirst. We are being fed His body and Blood, just like he told his disciples at the Last Supper.

    evolution - see what ring_pop said

    homosexuality - the Church does not hate gays or condemn homosexuality. A homosexual desire is not sinful, it is the acts and engaging in those homosexual acts that is considered a sin. Masturbating and pleasuring oneself can also be put into this category.
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  • edited December 2011
    MissySue: BF is Catholic and wants a Catholic wedding.  I think if that's what he wants he needs to start actually practicing and I told him I'd support him in going to the church even if it's not my faith.  I was baptized Catholic and had read about RCIA, but after reading some of the articles suggested to me...I think I'd be a pretty terrible Catholic.

    I do agree I did have some things mixed up about the Catholic faith.  I've been reading the aritlcles mentioned and learning more.  It's definitely giving me more information about the beliefs and why they are taught.  Again, I appreciate everyone's help!
  • newlyseliskinewlyseliski
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    edited December 2011
    completely NWR... but I love your "purplepeopleeater" icon image... it just makes me smile :)
  • Hope61Hope61
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    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: Any good books?:
    I think I'd be a pretty terrible Catholic.
    Posted by purplepeopleeater11
    Well, if you mean you're not "holy" or "good" enough, hey, we're all sinners. We all have weaknesses. And fortunately, we have the blessing of confession :)  If you mean because you are uncertain or disagree on too many teachings, well, then you're doing the right thing--reading about and studying the Church before making a choice one way or the other. Just remember, we won't turn you away because of a disagreement here or there, and who knows, it might not be until RCIA or after that some questions really get answered.

    I've heard great recommendations for Scott Hahn's books. I've never read any myself, but he is a convert to Catholicism and writes a lot about his own conversion and about why he (and the Church) believes what he believes. Here is a list of his books---http://www.scotthahn.com/scott-hahn-books.html
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  • edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: Any good books?:
    completely NWR... but I love your "purplepeopleeater" icon image... it just makes me smile :)
    Posted by newlyseliski
    Yeah, that is a pretty cool SN. It reminds me of a kids song we sing by Gregg Russell.
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  • edited December 2011

    Thanks ladies!  I like the little guy, he makes me smile too.

    And thank you Katie Anne, I'll ahve to check into that.  Mostly I meant I think I'd be a bad Catholic because I was reading those articles and what I believe just isn't in sync with what the church teaches.

  • clearheavensclearheavens
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    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: Any good books?:
    Thank you ladies!  I too have found myself asking the same questions as the OP.  I just ordered those two Christopher West books to start.  Thank you.
    Posted by TeamBaby
    That's awesome!  You'll love Christopher West, TeamBaby.  I particularly love his style of writing and its clarity because what he talks about is commonly misunderstood.
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