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Charles Erisken wrote:

Hi, guys —

I'm currently attending a Catholic parish to become a Catholic. My questions are:

  • Do I have to believe in all of the traditions and in Purgatory to become a Catholic?
  • If I say I don't believe all of the traditions and other teachings does that mean I cannot become a Catholic?

Very sincerely,

Charles Erisken

  { Do I have to believe in all of the traditions and in Purgatory in order to become a Catholic? }

Mike replied:

Dear Charles,

Thanks for the question.

You said:
I'm currently attending a Catholic parish to become a Catholic. My questions are:

  • Do I have to believe in all of the traditions and in Purgatory to become a Catholic?

Before I address your questions, I would ask:

  • Why do you want to become a Catholic?
  • Is this your own decision or is someone forcing you to believe in a faith you don't believe in.

In the Church, there is no problem when people struggle to understand a certain teaching or have a hard time understanding a specific teaching. John Henry Newman has said:

Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt.

and the Church would agree. What would be expected is that, despite the difficulties you run into in regards to certain Teachings, you accept the teachings as true.

  • Why?

Because the Catholic Church is Jesus' only Church and Jesus, who is our incarnate God, and at the same time, brother can neither deceive, nor be deceived.

There are two types of traditions in the Church which can confuse those not familiar with Catholic teachings:

  1. There are traditions, with a small t. These are customs, cultural norms, and practices that can change over time.
    None of the faithful are bound to these.

  2. Then there are Traditions, with a big T. They are Oral Traditions that have been passed down orally by Jesus through the Apostles and their successors and they have to be believed because they are true.

    Examples: the Divinity of Jesus Christ, Purgatory, the Assumption, the Immaculate Conception, Infallibility of the Pope, the Seven Sacraments, etc.

We shouldn't belong to a faith because:

  • we feel good there
  • we are challenged, or
  • they have great ministries.

It's is certain our hope and expectation that any Catholic parish has these qualities, but we should belong to a Church parish because we believe is it a truth-telling Church on issues of faith and eternal salvation.

If there are specific teachings that you are having a hard time understanding, don't hesitate to ask us here:

http://www.AskACatholic.com/AskUs

To save time, I would encourage you to search our knowledge base of postings. We have answered over 3,500 questions.

http://www.AskACatholic.com/SiteSearch

There have been a lot of misperceptions about Purgatory. This posting should help clear up many:

You may also be interested my Scripture Passages page:

http://www.AskACatholic.com/ScripturePassages

You said:

  • If I say I don't believe all of the traditions and other teachings does that mean
    I cannot become a Catholic?

When a new member joins the Church, whether they are validly baptized or not, part of the entrance ceremony consists of publicly stating that you believe all the Catholic Church teaches. This posting may give you some insight:

I hope this helps,

Mike

Charles replied:

Dear Mike,

Thank you so much for all this good information. We will take it all in and process it.
We are also having a meeting with the Monsignor at our church.

God bless you Mike.

Again, I can't thank you enough for sending this great information.

Very Sincerely,

Charles

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