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Author Topic: Another Religious Crisis  (Read 3124 times)

Demophon

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Re: Another Religious Crisis
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2018, 10:22:05 pm »
I just wondered if you have taken a look at druidry? There are some Christian druids and some druid orders have both pagan and Christian members...maybe reading about it can give you some interesting ideas?

Thanks, that's interesting, although I've never felt a strong connection to Celtic culture.

I am in the process of collapsing my parallel path back into my Anglo-Catholicism like it started as following two paths in parallel has been taxing, and I found out I was unknowingly reinventing theology that already exists in Catholic orthodoxy in somewhat altered forms anyway!

Though I do not follow specific folk practices I take inspiration from them and discover/invent my own folk saints.

You might be able to explore folk Catholicism as a source of inspiration to "paganize" your Christianity, as you may find that Christianity has seeped into your blood too deeply to really leave it entirely.

You might also explore traces of polytheism that still survive in the psalms and other scriptures.  I am confronted with this daily in my recitation of the Office, and other tensions and contradictions in the scriptures, too.

Anglo-Catholicism is a nice tradition, I often miss it. Aside from it's beauty, I also felt much less guilty and conflicted than I do now, both about paganism and other things. Being around all these conservative traditionalists has made me feel bad about receiving the Eucharist without regular confession, so sometimes I go to confession almost weekly, even though it's embarrassing.

You can probably work out a theology that is inclusive of other gods on this basis.  A Catholic friend of mine acknowledges based on such scriptures that the Greek gods for instance may be angels.

There really is a lot you can do with Christian theology if you really want to, and it helps to consider tradition as broadly as possible -- orthodox, gnostic, ancient, modern, folk tradition, liberal, etc.

Despite the magisterium's insistence on certain issues, there are lots of theologies under the Catholic umbrella that are tolerated even in priests and monastics who teach and write publically.  Some of the writings I come across are heretical, and yet they're tolerated.

Yes, the Dominican community I know is almost Anglican in their approach, being accepting of LGBTQ people, encouraging female participation, and allowing non-Catholic Christians to receive the Eucharist. Their liturgies are pretty "low church", and while liturgy isn't everything, I like bells and smells once in a while.

I tend to keep my paganism and Christian practice separate, but it's not too hard for me to reconcile them. I'm a universalist and I think all religions are manifestations of the same divine presence experienced in different ways. The traditionalists I now spend Sundays with, including my partner, all hate Vatican II, but I think the Church has opened up a lot and lost its hostility towards other religions since the Council. About non-Christian religions, Nostra Aetate states: "The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men."


As to the community you're in, all I can say is you don't need to reveal everything to everyone.  I get along fine in my conservative Anglican community (which admittedly may still be more tolerant than many in Latin mass circles).

I keep a diversity of friends in the community and share different aspects of my spirituality with different people depending what we have in common, and that works for me since in some ways I am liberal, in other ways -- especially liturgically -- I am a traditionalist.

I know a number of gays who similarly get along well in traditionalist Latin mass communities.

You're right, they don't need to know all of my business. I do like many of them, despite their sometimes homophobic and sexist remarks, but it can get pretty difficult when my partner won't acknowledge our relationship to people who seem to be a big part of his life. I think that's the worst part of it for me, I just feel like I'm his dirty secret and as long as this relationship continues it will be a secret from most of his friends. He has seen my bookshelves, as well as my statues and paraphernalia, but I haven't explicitly explained the paganism thing to him. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't be too happy about it. I have just been dealing with things as they come, and so far we care enough about each other to reconcile our differences, but if things continue indefinitely as they are now, with me just being a "church friend" to his family and religious friends, I don't know if I will be all that willing to put up with it.

[Fixing quote-code trackbacks - SP]
« Last Edit: April 03, 2018, 05:34:37 pm by SunflowerP »

Darkhawk

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Re: Another Religious Crisis
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2018, 10:26:03 pm »
Thanks, that's interesting, although I've never felt a strong connection to Celtic culture.

At least some neodruidic organizations are organized around Indo-European cultures as a general point rather than Celtic ones.  There are, for example, ADF groves with Hellenic hearth culture.
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Waldhexe

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Re: Another Religious Crisis
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2018, 12:50:08 am »
Just for the record, those last two paragraphs are not from me, something must have gone wrong with the quoting...  ???

Quote
You can probably work out a theology that is inclusive of other gods on this basis.  A Catholic friend of mine acknowledges based on such scriptures that the Greek gods for instance may be angels.

There really is a lot you can do with Christian theology if you really want to, and it helps to consider tradition as broadly as possible -- orthodox, gnostic, ancient, modern, folk tradition, liberal, etc.

Despite the magisterium's insistence on certain issues, there are lots of theologies under the Catholic umbrella that are tolerated even in priests and monastics who teach and write publically.  Some of the writings I come across are heretical, and yet they're tolerated.

Quote
As to the community you're in, all I can say is you don't need to reveal everything to everyone.  I get along fine in my conservative Anglican community (which admittedly may still be more tolerant than many in Latin mass circles).

I keep a diversity of friends in the community and share different aspects of my spirituality with different people depending what we have in common, and that works for me since in some ways I am liberal, in other ways -- especially liturgically -- I am a traditionalist.

I know a number of gays who similarly get along well in traditionalist Latin mass communities.

Demophon

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Re: Another Religious Crisis
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2018, 01:46:37 pm »
Just for the record, those last two paragraphs are not from me, something must have gone wrong with the quoting...  ???

Oops, my fault. I must have copied and pasted the wrong code.

SunflowerP

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Re: Another Religious Crisis
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2018, 05:39:40 pm »
Oops, my fault. I must have copied and pasted the wrong code.

Yep. They were all from the same post of EclecticWheel's that you'd already quoted properly, and I've repaired the quote codes accordingly.

This is an excellent instance of why we prefer that people make separate replies to each post they're responding to - in this case, you'd have had one reply to, and quoting, Waldhexe, and one reply to EclecticWheel in which the trackback would have been in the first quote, and thereafter would not have needed trackbacks for the remaining quoted portions because it was all to one post, even though you were interspersing quotes from it with your responses to the quoted bit. Much harder to mess up!

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Waldhexe

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Re: Another Religious Crisis
« Reply #20 on: April 04, 2018, 01:35:42 am »
Yep. They were all from the same post of EclecticWheel's that you'd already quoted properly, and I've repaired the quote codes accordingly.
Thanks!

Demophon

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Re: Another Religious Crisis
« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2018, 11:01:29 am »
Yep. They were all from the same post of EclecticWheel's that you'd already quoted properly, and I've repaired the quote codes accordingly.

This is an excellent instance of why we prefer that people make separate replies to each post they're responding to - in this case, you'd have had one reply to, and quoting, Waldhexe, and one reply to EclecticWheel in which the trackback would have been in the first quote, and thereafter would not have needed trackbacks for the remaining quoted portions because it was all to one post, even though you were interspersing quotes from it with your responses to the quoted bit. Much harder to mess up!

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Thank you! I will reply in separate posts from now on.

Demophon

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Re: Another Religious Crisis
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2018, 11:14:46 am »
I just feel like I'm his dirty secret and as long as this relationship continues it will be a secret from most of his friends. He has seen my bookshelves, as well as my statues and paraphernalia, but I haven't explicitly explained the paganism thing to him. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't be too happy about it. I have just been dealing with things as they come, and so far we care enough about each other to reconcile our differences, but if things continue indefinitely as they are now, with me just being a "church friend" to his family and religious friends, I don't know if I will be all that willing to put up with it.

Upon further reflection, maybe this isn't so much a religious crisis as a personal relationship crisis. I'm not really in search of another spiritual tradition, as it usually works for me to continue my pagan devotion while retaining the parts of Christianity that actually represent the spirit of the Gospel. In particular, keeping the covenant with God by caring for one's neighbour, and maintaining that love of God (or the divine presence however perceived) through following the example of love and justice shown in the incarnation of God in Christ. In my understanding, "idolatry" has less to do with actually honouring other gods than it does getting caught up in things that lead to vanity and selfishness. Sexual sins I don't really see as a big deal, unless they involve actually harming another person. Unfortunately, my significant other and his traditional Catholic community are not really on the same page as me about these things, even if we happen to share many liturgical preferences.

To paraphrase Ghandi, Christianity would be nice if it weren't for the Christians. How I reconcile my views with my relationship to my significant other and his faith community, I don't know.

Castus

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Re: Another Religious Crisis
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2018, 12:46:45 pm »
To paraphrase Ghandi, Christianity would be nice if it weren't for the Christians. How I reconcile my views with my relationship to my significant other and his faith community, I don't know.

Demophon, my fellow spiritual schizophrenic, I just gotta ask... how is the other Mr Demophon handling being a good little Catholic boy and being a presumably practicing gay man? The two are very much mutually exclusive as I'm sure he knows, and I don't see where he gets the chutzpah of being such a stickler to you religiously but also sleeping in the same bed. Unless of course you're living as brother and sister (to use the Church's language), in which case you should probably cut that fish loose. And join an indy Catholic church. As I've repeatedly mentioned :p

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Re: Another Religious Crisis
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2018, 11:57:29 pm »
Demophon, my fellow spiritual schizophrenic, I just gotta ask... how is the other Mr Demophon handling being a good little Catholic boy and being a presumably practicing gay man? The two are very much mutually exclusive as I'm sure he knows, and I don't see where he gets the chutzpah of being such a stickler to you religiously but also sleeping in the same bed. Unless of course you're living as brother and sister (to use the Church's language), in which case you should probably cut that fish loose. And join an indy Catholic church. As I've repeatedly mentioned :p

Haha good question. Sometimes I wonder if he really believes everything he claims to when it comes to traditional, Pius X-loving Catholicism, otherwise I expect he would really hate himself. It might be more the case that he feels an affinity to the liturgical and musical traditions of the Catholic Church between Trent and Vatican II, and tries to assimilate into the communities that want to preserve that kind of Catholicism. Right now he leads a double life where he isn't out to his family (most of whom are in a different country anyway) or his church friends. We don't live together, but when we actively practice our homosexuality (lol), he won't receive communion until he has first gone to confession. I don't think the sacrament of confession is really supposed to be used just to wipe the slate clean so you can receive the Eucharist until you go back to sinning. Unfortunately I think it's starting to rub off on me where I feel like I have to go to confession regularly in order to play by the Church's rules, even though intellectually I don't really agree with that kind of sacramental theology. Now that I don't have to be involved with school liturgies anymore, I might just stop receiving the Eucharist for the time being.

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Re: Another Religious Crisis
« Reply #25 on: April 06, 2018, 12:19:32 am »
Haha good question. Sometimes I wonder if he really believes everything he claims to when it comes to traditional, Pius X-loving Catholicism, otherwise I expect he would really hate himself. It might be more the case that he feels an affinity to the liturgical and musical traditions of the Catholic Church between Trent and Vatican II, and tries to assimilate into the communities that want to preserve that kind of Catholicism. Right now he leads a double life where he isn't out to his family (most of whom are in a different country anyway) or his church friends. We don't live together, but when we actively practice our homosexuality (lol), he won't receive communion until he has first gone to confession. I don't think the sacrament of confession is really supposed to be used just to wipe the slate clean so you can receive the Eucharist until you go back to sinning. Unfortunately I think it's starting to rub off on me where I feel like I have to go to confession regularly in order to play by the Church's rules, even though intellectually I don't really agree with that kind of sacramental theology. Now that I don't have to be involved with school liturgies anymore, I might just stop receiving the Eucharist for the time being.

I must first preface this by saying that I know others have had better experiences with Roman Catholicism, but for me and many others it was just a heavy burden of scrupulosity, guilt, shame, and constant admonitions of obedience.

I also received psychological abuse in the confessional from a priest I think was gay.

Much of what you say about your experience mirrors my own.  I went back to Anglicanism with all of its problems and the guilt and burden immediately evaporated.

As to your significant other, if he is hiding you away and you suspect going to confession to be absolved of his relations with you, then he may view the whole relationship as sinful.

There are some traditionalist gay Catholics who find ways to reconcile their sexuality and conscience, but do you think he has really done that?  Have you talked to him about it?

This is just me, but I dumped the guy that wanted to keep me a secret.  No thanks.
My personal moral code:

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Demophon

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Re: Another Religious Crisis
« Reply #26 on: April 06, 2018, 01:40:14 pm »
I must first preface this by saying that I know others have had better experiences with Roman Catholicism, but for me and many others it was just a heavy burden of scrupulosity, guilt, shame, and constant admonitions of obedience.

I also received psychological abuse in the confessional from a priest I think was gay.

Much of what you say about your experience mirrors my own.  I went back to Anglicanism with all of its problems and the guilt and burden immediately evaporated.

As to your significant other, if he is hiding you away and you suspect going to confession to be absolved of his relations with you, then he may view the whole relationship as sinful.

There are some traditionalist gay Catholics who find ways to reconcile their sexuality and conscience, but do you think he has really done that?  Have you talked to him about it?

This is just me, but I dumped the guy that wanted to keep me a secret.  No thanks.

Yeah, I feel like going back to Anglicanism might be a good option, if I want to continue with Christianity any further at all. Now that I'm wrapping up my studies at a Roman Catholic theology school, I will soon have a bit more freedom to do my own thing. I converted at such a weird time, mid-way through a theology degree, and transferred from an Anglican school to a Catholic one, which was a lot of change all at once, and it seemed like a good idea at the time, but now I feel like it was done too hastily.

He absolutely does go to confession to be absolved from his fornication and sodomy, but it all seems very mechanical to follow church rules, not because of genuine guilt. He is cradle Catholic, but has only become involved in the Traditional Latin Mass community in the past few years, so I'm hoping his enthusiasm drops off a bit after a while and he's less militant about it. Apparently after he discovered TLM, he decided he was no long a homosexual, just SSA (same-sex attracted), and was going to live a celibate life. It seems like he had plenty of Grindr hookups between then and meeting me, so I wonder how genuinely he believes in those teachings deep down, or if he is just trying to assimilate into what he thinks is traditional Church teaching because he likes the prestige of being a traditionalist.

He's not that into conscience, it's too liberal and post-Vatican II for him. He has a very black and white way of thinking and prefers the letter-of-the-law Church teaching. It's frustrating, especially as there are plenty of Roman Catholic churches that would not have a problem on the ground with people in same-sex couples, despite the teaching. The church I go to now with him is, naturally, one of the most right-wing parishes in the archdiocese, so that's a hoot and a half.

The closeted nature of our relationship is a problem, for sure. Once I met up with him after having a few drinks at the Dominican priory where I know a bunch of the friars and they are all super cool and inclusive, and basically told my partner I wasn't sure I saw a future with him if things go on this way. He got a bit sullen and didn't like that I was thinking that way, but still said that this was his community in Toronto and he wasn't going to come out to them, so the only way we will be out of this situation is if we move. Especially now that I'm typing this it seems rather bleak, maybe there isn't much of a future here. He is the only person I've dated who seems to have long-term potential despite the various obstacles, so I'm not sure how to go forward. Now that I'm wrapping up school there are a lot of things I will have to reconsider and see how things fit with my future plans.

Sorry I go on and on about all this, but it's really nice to be able to talk about it.

Castus

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Re: Another Religious Crisis
« Reply #27 on: April 07, 2018, 12:55:36 pm »
We don't live together, but when we actively practice our homosexuality (lol), he won't receive communion until he has first gone to confession. I don't think the sacrament of confession is really supposed to be used just to wipe the slate clean so you can receive the Eucharist until you go back to sinning. Unfortunately I think it's starting to rub off on me where I feel like I have to go to confession regularly in order to play by the Church's rules, even though intellectually I don't really agree with that kind of sacramental theology.

I'm a big fan of both St Pius X (although I'm well aware that the feeling is not/would not be mutual) and the Roman Catholic understanding of the sacraments, so I'm no help there. But luckily being familiar with Augustinian sacramental theology I can certainly lend you a helping hand in re: confession. I must admit at this point that I am tending toward a deep dislike for Mr Demophon, as I'm not a huge fan of religious hypocrisy. It's not necessarily something I'm immune to -- upon returning from Shabbat services this morning I lit incense and prayed to the Force and to Plato -- but being honest about where and how one differs from their professed creed, or at least owning up to shortcomings in that area, is essential.

As far as Confession/the Sacrament of Conciliation goes, both of you are making 'bad confessions'; and in doing so continue to cut yourselves off from the sacramental life of the Church irrespective of how many times you visit the confessional. Neither of you ought to be receiving the Eucharist and you should remind him that, at this point, he is so hopelessly mired in mortal sin that if he were hit by a bus tomorrow he would go to Hell. Both the Catechism and the Code of Canon Law discuss the Sacrament of Reconciliation in detail and include the point that the penitent must *actually repent* of his sins in order for it to be valid. As Can. 987 explains: "[t]o receive the salvific remedy of the sacrament of penance, a member of the Christian faithful must be disposed in such a way that, rejecting sins committed and having a purpose of amendment, the person is turned back to God."

As far as I can tell, Mr Demophon does not truly reject the sin of sodomy and he most certainly does not have a purpose of amendment. As these things are necessary to receive the salvific remedy and are in his case absent, the Sacrament of Reconciliation would not have any efficacious sacramental effect. The Catechism reinforces this by saying that Confession "entails sorrow for and abhorrence of sins committed, and the firm purpose of sinning no more in the future" (CCC 1490) and that a valid Confession requires repentance on the part of the penitent (CCC 1451, 1491). So for the purposes of the Church he is essentially not going to Confession.

Having established that, and the subsequent fact that he continues to receive the Eucharist, he is actually committing more sins than if you all just bang and stay home on Sundays. This is because receiving the Eucharist in a state of sin is of itself a mortal sin and is completely prohibited by the Church; like so: "[a] person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or receive the body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess" (Can. 916). The Catechism, again, also explicitly prohibits doing so: "[a]nyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace. Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance" (CCC 1415). My next point is where it gets a little more unclear -- as I can't peer into the soul of Mr. Demophon and tell whether I'm correct -- but one who repeatedly sins, Confession or no, out of the conviction that God will continuously forgive him is additionally guilty of committing the sin of presumption. In the Summa the Angelic Doctor defines this neatly as such:

"As to the hope whereby a man relies on the power of God, there may be presumption through immoderation, in the fact that a man tends to some good as though it were possible by the power and mercy of God, whereas it is not possible, for instance, if a man hope to obtain pardon without repenting, or glory without merits. This presumption is, properly, the sin against the Holy Ghost, because, to wit, by presuming thus a man removes or despises the assistance of the Holy Spirit, whereby he is withdrawn from sin" (II-II, Q. 21, art. 1).

I'm not entirely sure whether presumption is a mortal sin or a venial one (given how Aquinas discusses the sin of despair, which he closely links to that of presumption, I would guess the former but am not confident enough to say with certainty) but regardless it is a sin. A sin incurred through engaging in a different sin, which *itself* stems from failing to repent of an initial sin. Oh and by the way, it goes without saying that both of you are excommunicated laetae sententiae -- in your case for heresy and in his case for schism (see Can. 751) -- as per Can. 1364 and are therefore also prohibited from partaking of the Eucharist by dint of Can. 915.

TL;DR neither of you can validly receive Catholic sacraments or the efficacious effects thereof unless and until you make resolute decisions to adopt a position of celibacy; and he should firmly be made aware of that.

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Re: Another Religious Crisis
« Reply #28 on: April 07, 2018, 09:55:27 pm »
He absolutely does go to confession to be absolved from his fornication and sodomy, but it all seems very mechanical to follow church rules, not because of genuine guilt. He is cradle Catholic, but has only become involved in the Traditional Latin Mass community in the past few years, so I'm hoping his enthusiasm drops off a bit after a while and he's less militant about it. Apparently after he discovered TLM, he decided he was no long a homosexual, just SSA (same-sex attracted), and was going to live a celibate life. It seems like he had plenty of Grindr hookups between then and meeting me, so I wonder how genuinely he believes in those teachings deep down, or if he is just trying to assimilate into what he thinks is traditional Church teaching because he likes the prestige of being a traditionalist.

This, particularly the sentence I bolded, set off alarm bells for me. It sounds like maybe your BF's interest in traditionalism is at least partly spurred by internalized homophobia, and he's hoping that, if he's as strictly and properly Catholic as possible, God will make the gay go away - and that as long as he still experiences SSA, that means God hasn't held up his end of this bad bargain, so he continues to 'sin' to get back at God for it. The self-discipline of celibacy isn't enough, and isn't even something he can be bothered with; what he wants is to not have to practice self-discipline.

In that scenario, you're not really his partner; you're not even primarily his dirty little secret - you're just a means by which he can punish God. And if God were to respond to that punishment by giving your BF what he wants, there'd be no relationship to hide or be out about.

In getting ready to post this, I reread the earlier parts of the thread, from last December, and came across a bit that set off even more alarm bells:

He is aware that I'm a bit unsettled in Catholicism. I think he would ultimately accept whatever decision I make, but there would be tension. He doesn't even like it when I threaten to go back to my old Novus Ordo parish.

There are other bits you've said that are similarly disturbing, but not as explicitly problematic. That's pretty straightforward passive-aggressive controlling BS. Seriously - if he's not prepared to be out as partnered with you, in the traditionalist spaces you both share but that you're not comfortable in, he has no business being sullen about you wanting to worship somewhere more congenial to you.

I've gathered that you're anxious about being alone/not being able to find another BF/not being able to find a BF who shares enough of your spiritual interests. But being partnered with someone who tries to control how you express those interests, but OTOH doesn't actually want the relationship to exist (or anyway doesn't want the basis on which the relationship is built to exist, which is basically the same thing) and is keeping it a secret, is gonna wear you down, screw up your self-esteem (and indeed, already is, I think). At the very best, he's got a metric fuckton of baggage about gayness and religion, and he's basically making you carry it for him. You don't need this shit, you definitely don't deserve this shit, and you can do better than this. DTMFA.

Now, you're there, and know him; I'm not and don't - I might well have made inaccurate surmises about those alarm bells. But I'm pretty confident I haven't misidentified them; they are red flags. At the very least, please do think long and hard about their red-flag-ness, Demo, and decide if this is truly the kind of relationship you want.

Sunflower
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Demophon

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Re: Another Religious Crisis
« Reply #29 on: April 09, 2018, 05:26:50 pm »
TL;DR neither of you can validly receive Catholic sacraments or the efficacious effects thereof unless and until you make resolute decisions to adopt a position of celibacy; and he should firmly be made aware of that.

Yeah, I don't disagree with you, and the hypocrisy he's showing is the most irritating part of it. He is very rigid about being Catholic, and doesn't acknowledge the validity of any other Church besides the Roman Church and those in communion with her, but at the same time, his life in the Church and his life with me aren't really reconcilable. I was single and contemplating ordination or monastic religious life when I converted to Rome, but now in this situation, being Catholic doesn't make much sense.

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