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Returning to church

Hi all,
This is my first post and I see that things can get a bit heated here, so please understand that this is not meant with any disrespect.
I was raised a Catholic, but my family stopped going to church after my Communion (I was about 10yr old). I am starting to get involved with the church again but have a LOT of brushing up to do. I cannot remember anything about the teachings! Only some of the prayers. I am working with the church to find out what classes I need to take to get back up to speed, but in the meantime, as an adult, I have a few questions:
1) Are all Catholics against homosexuality and gay marriage? Again, please be kind and know that I am just looking for the Catholic perspective.
2) Are Catholics prohibited from having recreational sex?
3) My priest wants FI and I to think about what will be different for us after we become a married couple. FI and I live together and are taking care of my adopted son together. How do you all view this as Catholics?
Once again, I do not mean to offend anyone. I'm just looking to learn. FI was also raised Catholic but, like me, stopped practicing as a child.
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Re: Returning to church

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    Hello Rooney!

    Welcome to the boards and back to the Church.  Your church will probably want you to do either RCIA class or adult confirmation classes.  You'll learn a lot in these classes, but you're not obligated to do anything you don't want to do.  They're for your benefit.  It sounds like you weren't confirmed, so if you haven't been, you have the option of doing that after you finish your classes.

    I'll try and address your questions the best I can, and others can chime in too.

    1.  If by "Catholics", you mean people who say they're Catholic, then there are a lot of diverse opinions that range across the spectrum.  If you're asking what the Catholic Church teaches, the Catholic Church teaches that it is not a sin to have same sex attractions, but it is a sin for those with a same sex attraction to act on those feelings and have sexual relations with someone of the same sex.  Therefore, the Church also does not believe in gay marriage.  The Church teaches that marriage was created primarily for the family, so that a man and woman could join with God in the process of creation and reproduce and raise children.  This may not be the case for every couple (some are infertile, or some may have very serious reasons to postpone children indefinitely), but the relationship between a man and woman, including physical intimacy, is by nature still open to children. 

    While the Church does not condone homosexual action, homosexual persons are to be loved and accepted like anyone else.  Homosexual actions are just one of many sins, and we are all sinners.  Those with same sex attraction are called, like everyone else, to live chastely, which means they will remain celibate unless they choose to marry (in a heterosexual marriage).

    2.  Catholics who are married are free to have sex as often as they want as long as the sexual act remains procreative and unitive in nature, not necessarily in result.  So a couple does not have to produce a child every time they have sex, and they don't have to only have sex when they want children.  They can have sex while avoiding children, but they must avoid children in a moral way (NFP, not contraception), and for the right reasons.

    3.  Living together before marriage, while not intrinsically wrong, may be wrong in many instances because it can lead one to other sins (and other reasons).  Premarital sex is wrong, but there are those who can live together chastely. 

    I think it's great that you're taking care of your child together.  Nothing wrong with that.  And if by doing so you need to live in the same house, then that's understandable.  But before you are married, the Church teaches that you should abstain from sex, and it would be wiser to avoid sleeping in the same room if possible.

    Different priests will handle that situation differently.  Some will refuse to marry couples living together, some will ask just that you abstain, some don't care at all.  Either way, I encourage you to learn more about what the Church teaches for yourself, figure out what you believe, and then take the steps to live that out.

    Congrats on your upcoming wedding, and feel free to stick around!


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    Thank you for your response. You answers were very clear to me and respectful. FI and I are working with the church and they are aware of our living situation. Our priest said that while the Catholic Church may have reservations about it, he is not going to judge us but recommended that we take caution bc of the divorce stats of couples who cohabit prior to marriage. That is why he asked us to find out what will be different about our relationship when we become married. That is something I will continue to think about, although I already have some answers.

    What is NFP? I am actually on BC now in order to preserve my fertility. I don't think that is against Catholic teachings, but I could be wrong. I get cysts when I am not on it. However, I don't know that I would comfortable not using some form of contraceptives at this point in my life. We both want children, but are not financially ready for more. The child I adopted has 9 siblings and 2 or 3 more half-siblings. Having more children than you can afford both economically and emotionally can have sad results.

    Once again, thank you for the response. I will continue to stalk and learn what I can from this board.
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    NFP is natural family planning. It has a higher rate of effectiveness of avoiding pregnancy than any kind of artificial birth control. Charting the cycle can help the right doctors diagnose and treat problems at their source, rather than covering up the symptoms like birth control pills do. 

    All hormonal birth control has the potential to be abortive as well.

    The church does not view the "birth control pill" taken for medical reasons as actual "birth control". Its medicine, with a side effect of temporary sterility.  However, I encourage you to look at other possibilities-- the pill is a group 1 carcinogen, and is pretty bad for a woman's body. Napro technology is designed to treat fertility issues by working with a woman's cycle, not against it. 
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    I also recommend "Theology of the Body for Beginners" and "Good news about sex and marriage" by Christopher West. Very easy reading that explains the church teaching extremely well. 
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    pretzelgrrlpretzelgrrl member
    First Comment
    edited August 2012
    Not all Catholics are against homosexuality or gay marriage but as a PP said the catholic church itself does not believe in gay marriage.  There are many catholics who believe that homosexuality is not a sin and that they should be able to marry but there are also a lot of catholic who believe and follow the churches beliefs/teachings on the subject.  I feel it is actually one of the topics that a lot of catholics disagree over.
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    chelseamb11chelseamb11 member
    5 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited August 2012
    1) Are all Catholics against homosexuality and gay marriage? Again, please be kind and know that I am just looking for the Catholic perspective.
    Oh man this has to be the first question an everything! (I only say this because, like yourself, I was in the Church as a young'un, but didn't come back until a few years ago, so my views have been evolving like crazy the past few years).
    I don't think there are many people who are truly against homosexuality itself or homosexual people (which I think is one of the biggest misconceptions about the Church).  Against gay marriage =/= against gay people.  Many people truly feel that it is God's will that marriage is only between a man and a woman, that doesn't necessarily mean we all like it.  But God's will trumps anything else we feel lol. 
    Even the Catholic Church recognizes that, yes, you are born with it.  However, that is when you are called to a life of celibacy.  It is not a sin to be gay.  It is a sin to have premarital sex, and because the Church believes gays cannot marry, there is not a way for two men or two women to unite themselves in that way without sinning.

    Monkey put it perfectly:
    "While the Church does not condone homosexual action, homosexual persons are to be loved and accepted like anyone else.  Homosexual actions are just one of many sins, and we are all sinners.  Those with same sex attraction are called, like everyone else, to live chastely, which means they will remain celibate unless they choose to marry (in a heterosexual marriage)."

    2) Are Catholics prohibited from having recreational sex?

    Not sure what you mean by recreational sex.  Any sex outside of marriage is considered a sin in the Church's eyes.  Any sex that is out of lust instead of love (even within a marriage) is also considered a sin.

    3) My priest wants FI and I to think about what will be different for us after we become a married couple. FI and I live together and are taking care of my adopted son together. How do you all view this as Catholics?
    Once again, I do not mean to offend anyone. I'm just looking to learn. FI was also raised Catholic but, like me, stopped practicing as a child.


    Your situation is slightly different, in that it includes a child already.  Is this child your FI's son?  I would talk quite openly to your priest about your questions (which it seems like you have, which is great).

    As for BC, please please please don't take BC to "preserve" your fertility.  BC doesn't preserve anything, it's actually a Class 1 Carcinogen.  I also recommend looking into NFP.  Once I started NFP, I felt SO much more in control of my fertility than I ever felt on the pill or with my IUD (back before I met H).




    Like others said, welcome back to the Church! We are happy to answer any questions you have.  Not to worry, contrary to popular belief, we are very accepting people and only get "feisty" when people are disrespectful to us :)
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    Hi Rooney,

    It's AWESOME to read that you are considering coming home to the Church.  God bless you and your FI on the journey.  :-)

    I know that you may be feeling overwhelmed with everything we're recommending that you read (I second agapecarrie's mention of Christopher West, btw) so I'll keep my suggestions down to two!

    If you haven't read the Bible recently, that's obviously very important.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church is also a must-read for all of us Christian Catholics.  You can look for a "reading plan" - here's one from the Coming Home Network that takes you through the Scriptures and the Catechism together: 

    http://www.chnetwork.org/readguide04.pdf

    Oops, I have three suggestions after all . . .

    If you didn't already make a good confession (a.k.a. the Sacrament of Reconciliation) so that you can receive the Eucharist at Mass, take a look at this really helpful link:

    http://www.scborromeo.org/confess.htm

    (And if you're struggling with any of the challenges that the Church asks us to resolve within ourselves . . . tell the priest that!  He's heard it all before, trust me.)

    The ladies here are warm and wonderful and really helpful, as you've seen, so please don't be afraid to ask more questions. 

    God loves you and is with you!

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    I think you've gotten some wonderful answers so far, and I'll just add that it's great that you're starting to come back to the Church! Just keep doing what you're doing now- searching! - and never stop that, and you will find answers. All the books and resources that have been suggested are excellent and will really help to answer your questions in depth!
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_returning-to-church?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:ab148c60-8d29-48d7-bc47-2d6a89788402Post:1c81569e-9fba-4cd7-ad0b-8bca3e394279">Re: Returning to church</a>:
    [QUOTE]Thank you for your response. You answers were very clear to me and respectful. FI and I are working with the church and they are aware of our living situation. Our priest said that while the Catholic Church may have reservations about it, he is not going to judge us but recommended that we take caution bc of the divorce stats of couples who cohabit prior to marriage. That is why he asked us to find out what will be different about our relationship when we become married. That is something I will continue to think about, although I already have some answers. What is NFP? I am actually on BC now in order to preserve my fertility. I don't think that is against Catholic teachings, but I could be wrong. I get cysts when I am not on it. However, I don't know that I would comfortable not using some form of contraceptives at this point in my life. We both want children, but are not financially ready for more. The child I adopted has 9 siblings and 2 or 3 more half-siblings. Having more children than you can afford both economically and emotionally can have sad results. Once again, thank you for the response. I will continue to stalk and learn what I can from this board.
    Posted by rooney2012[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>NFP is actually really easy to learn and great for conceiving OR avoiding conception when necessary.  I'd recommend you look for an NFP-only doctor to seek alternative treatments for your cysts.  I'm not saying BC is bad all the time, but you said yourself that if you're not on the pill, your cysts come back.  The pill isn't actually treating your problem, it's just covering it up.  A lot of girls here have discovered and treated underlying causes for a host of fertility-related problems.</div><div>
    </div><div>PPs answered your original questions really well, so I won't add to that.  Welcome to the board!  Please stick around!

    </div>
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    The ladies above have have said everything better than I could! I just wanted to pop in and say hello! I also wanted to commend you for investigating and opening up your mind to the teachings. Whether you wind up agreeing or not, I applaud anyone who actually chooses to understand a point of view before casting that view (and those who follow it) aside!

    Please stick around and feel free to ask more questions. I have learned so much from the ladies on this board. Especially in areas of the Church's teaching I thought I disagreed with!

    Also - if you are suffering from PCOS, there are many ladies using NFP to treat the condition and have had much more success than those on pills. Utilize their experience as much as possible. I hope your condition improves and I wish you many blessings in your journey back to the Church/towards marriage.
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    agapecarrieagapecarrie member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited August 2012
    The church does not acknowledge that people are born with homosexuality. Nor does she deny it. 
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_returning-to-church?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural Wedding BoardsForum:615Discussion:ab148c60-8d29-48d7-bc47-2d6a89788402Post:1e829358-ae1c-408a-ab44-f2eb64073175">Re: Returning to church</a>:
    [QUOTE]The church does not acknowledge that people are born with homosexuality. Nor does she deny it. 
    Posted by agapecarrie[/QUOTE]

    I have had more than one priest tell me that the Church acknowledges that people are born with it/have no control over it, but that is when you are called to live chastely. Idk maybe I was misinformed, but if the church doesn't deny it, then I'd guess she doesn't have any firm arguments against it.
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    The explanation is in the catechism. 
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    [QUOTE] <span style="font-family:Arial;font-size:12px;background-color:#ffffff;">I have had more than one priest tell me that the Church acknowledges that people are born with it/have no control over it, but that is when you are called to live chastely. Idk maybe I was misinformed, but if the church doesn't deny it, then I'd guess <strong>she doesn't have any firm arguments against it.</strong></span> [/QUOTE]<div>Not quite sure what you mean by the last phrase- do you mean the Church doesn't have any arguments against people being homosexual and acting on their impulses?</div><div>One analogy I know of is that of alcoholism. An alcoholic may be "born with" their unquenchable desire for "just one more drink," but no one would say it is a good thing to let them have it. Whether or not homosexuals are born with their tendencies, the Church teaches that b/c the actions are sinful, it is bad for their soul (as well as a plethora of non-spiritual evidence why homosexual actions are harmful for more than just the soul, ranging from higher risks of STDs to higher statistics of suicide and depression.) </div><div>While someone might hate the analogy, it is true that since the Church teaches and believes in harmful results of homosexual actions, it it is <em>loving</em> for the Church to tell people they should not engage in them, just like how it is loving to take the drink away from the alcoholic.</div>
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_returning-to-church?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural Wedding BoardsForum:615Discussion:ab148c60-8d29-48d7-bc47-2d6a89788402Post:965d85dd-81bb-4497-959e-cb62f858b0ce">Re: Returning to church</a>:
    [QUOTE]<strong>Not quite sure what you mean by the last phrase- do you mean the Church doesn't have any arguments against people being homosexual and acting on their impulses?</strong> One analogy I know of is that of alcoholism. An alcoholic may be "born with" their unquenchable desire for "just one more drink," but no one would say it is a good thing to let them have it. Whether or not homosexuals are born with their tendencies, the Church teaches that b/c the actions are sinful, it is bad for their soul (as well as a plethora of non-spiritual evidence why homosexual actions are harmful for more than just the soul, ranging from higher risks of STDs to higher statistics of suicide and depression.)  While someone might hate the analogy, it is true that since the Church teaches and believes in harmful results of homosexual actions, it it is loving  for the Church to tell people they should not engage in them, just like how it is loving to take the drink away from the alcoholic.
    Posted by lalaith50[/QUOTE]

    Arguments against them being homosexual, not acting on them. I know the Church doesn't agree with acting on them.

    That is a good analogy though Lala!
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    OP -- welcome to the board and Home to the Church.

    In addition to the wonderful information and advice that others have given you (and seriously, NFP is amazing -- I am a former doubter turned its biggest cheerleader), I want to recommend that you open your heart and pray about those things that concern you and those things you don't perfectly understand. God has a way of softening our hearts to ideas that our brains can't wrap around or that we can't otherwise understand perfectly.
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    Thank you all. I appreciate the respect that I received, as I also try to be understanding of others.

    I guess I'm getting the acronyms confused. I'm using the Nuvaring, but I'm sure it contains the same stuff as BC pills. I am excited at looking into NFP bc I am not comfortable taking medications. I have to be careful though bc I'm a small person and the cyst was the size of a grapefruit.

    So condoms are a "no"? I feel so silly asking these questions. The reality of the situation is that I don't foresee myself not having sex with FI for a year.

    No, my son is not FI bio child. He is actually my cousin's child. That is one of the changes that would happen after the marriage is that FI would adopt him also. Long story short: I was married in court to my HS BF. We were pushed to be married by the adoption agency. I never intended to marry bc I didn't want to have children of my own. However, exH has long been gone. Our priest knows of this and said that an annulment is not necessary. I have grown a lot since then, and now that I found the right partner, I want to bring children into the world. We both want to become closer to God and begin a life and family together. I feel so blessed to have had the experiences that I did. It played a role in bringing me where I am today.

    Thank you for Bible reading recommendations. I'm sure I will need them! There are so many that I get confused. My priest made a recommendation as well.

    Jasmine: If you didn't already make a good confession (a.k.a. the Sacrament of Reconciliation) so that you can receive the Eucharist at Mass, take a look at this really helpful link:
    I didn't know this. I have been receiving Eucharist and my priest hasn't mentioned this to me!

    Thank you all :)
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    Condoms are wrong to. The sexual act images the trinity-- and the love of Christ to His church, which is full, complete, and all of Himself. Not just part of Himself. Without a covenant commitment in marriage, or with contraception, this does not happen, its using each other, not giving of oneself. 

    NFP is effective in avoiding pregnancy. This isn't complete abstainence. 

    With your first marriage, I assume it wasn't in a catholic church. If this is true, you will need a "lack of form" document (some call it "lack of form annulment). This isn't a full blown annulment, but its just proof that you didn't marry according to canonical form, which catholics are bound to do to be validly married.

    Sex before marriage is a serious sin. PLEASE please read the books suggested. 
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    It's already been mentioned, but Good News About Sex and Marriage does a really great job about answering some of your contraception questions.

    The hard thing about NFP is that it forces you to be responsible.  If you know you can't have a child rightthissecond, you have to abstain for certain times, and a lot of people (especially in a society where we're told we deserve whatever we want whenever we want) find that difficult, and that becomes the big turnoff.

    There are a lot of people on here (including me) who were not abstinent before marriage, and I think a lot of us will tell you that it can be very hard shutting that part of yourself off if you've gotten used to it.  I would strongly urge you to just really consider why you're asked to wait and really discuss it with FI.  It doesn't necessarily get any easier to abstain once you get married, so it's worth it to "practice" now.  ;)

    As for your cyst, there are some websites you can check out to find doctors that are skilled in NaPro technologies that I think would definitely help you.  I think one is www.ccli.org, and someone will correct me if I'm wrong.
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    Welcome, Rooney, to the board and much more importantly back to the Church!

    I wanted to chime in with a little more information on NFP.  I, too, have gynecological issues including multiple (small) ovarian cysts.  The great majority of physicians prescribe hormonal treatment for these, but after a lot of research, I learned that this is more of a "patch" or "Band-aid" rather than addressing the root problem.  I was not comfortable with this as a solution, not only for faith reasons.  Most of the medical community, including doctors practicing out of my local Catholic hospital, are not properly educated about how NFP actually works and the benefits it offers, so there is a lot of misinformation out there.  When you start reading about NFP, you'll learn that there are some different techniques.  This confused me at first.  They all have the same root philiosophy of using the God-given indications in a woman's body of times of fertility and infertility and differ in which indications are preferred and how they assess them.

    TheKnot lists you as in Milwaukee, so here's a link to the office of the Archdiocese of Milwakee's office that provides education on NFP and a list of area physicians trained in it (as well as a host of other services to support marriages and families, including the marraige prep process you are undergoing): http://www.johnpaul2center.org/NazarethProject.htm.

    I don't know how far away it would be from your actual location (TheKnot lists me as 2+ hours away from where I live), but I also noticed a frequent introductory "NFP 101" one-session class offered in Madison that should gve you and FI the opportunity to explore this further and ask questions: http://www.madisondiocese.org/Ministry/MarriageandFamily/NaturalFamilyPlanning/tabid/145/Default.aspx

    Also, returning to Reconciliation can be nerve-wrascking, especially if your last experience was as a child.  I did not frequently access this life-giving Sacrament for years and found such emotional cleansing when I did!  That aspect is of course secondary to the spiritual cleansing, but we humans are not always aware/in tune to ourselves as spiritual beings but tend to feel those emotions pretty acutely.  For me, the refreshment I feel is a sign of the work God is doing in my soul.  I encourage you to make an appointment with a priest to discuss this (when he'll have the opportunity to give you more time and attention than the usual Reconciliation hours posted at your parish).  They are very accustomed to people not remembering what they're supposed to say when and should be gentle in guiding you through.  It's also fine to bring a guide sheet with you, and your parish even likely has some available to help you consider beforehand what you need to confess to bring you closer to our Lord.  Since your FI was also initially raised in the Church and you'r e marrying in the Church, Reconciliation is something you should both avail yourselves of before your wedding.  You can really consider it part of the prep process so you're spiritually pure when entering into the marraige sacrament, though it's advisable to do this sooner rather than later.

    Has your son been baptized (in any Christian denomination, as the Church recognizes baptism in other churches)?  With the new school year starting, enrolling him in CCD/religious education classes at your parish and discussing his lessons together would be a good way to introduce him to the faith.

    Please continue searching and asking questions here, if you're comfortable.  As I hope you've seen from this thread, most of the ladies are quite hospitable.  I believe that in spiritual matters, God speaks to our hearts and directs our seeking ultimately toward Him if we're open.  I encourage you to pray for His divine guidance.  (You don't need to use any special words.)  I'm sure the other ladies will join me in praying for you and your soon-to-be family, too.
    "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!" (Isaiah 43:1)
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    I have nothing to add but all I wanted to say was Welcome Back OP!
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    Thank you everyone :)
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