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What to do When you Disagree with a Catholic Teaching

As a newbie to Catholicism or as someone exploring the faith, you will likely find one or more teachings that you just can’t get your head around — or flat out disagree with. Oftentimes, these are teachings like the saints, Mary, purgatory or contraception. Don’t worry about this; you are not alone! Most of us struggle with multiple teachings as we learn more about the faith.

Here are some suggestions to help you if you find yourself stuck in this situation:

1) Keep searching – Read, read and read some more. Listen to Catholic radio and watch EWTN. Look it up in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Find Bible verses about the issue. Ask your RCIA leader or another Catholic well educated in the faith. Keep reading different explanations and really delve deeply into the whys of the teaching, and I promise, you will find one an explanation eventually that makes sense to you. I found that every issue I did not understand I eventually came to terms with. Several issues for me included contraception and purgatory.

Gifts of the Visitation, Ave Maria Press, Denise Bossert2) Write a petition – I just finished reading “Gifts of the Visitation” by Denise Bossert (Ave Maria Press, 2015), a convert to Catholicism, who explores the Visitation (when Mary and Elizabeth meet and John the Baptist leaps in his mother’s womb) in detail and shares along the way her conversion to the faith. The daughter of a Protestant minister, she felt called to Catholicism after her father’s death, but especially struggled with the Church’s teaching on Mary’s Immaculate Conception. This teaching is that Mary was conceived in her mother’s womb free from original sin.

After many attempts to understand this teaching, her RCIA leader advised her to write a petition to Mary, asking her to show Denise the truth. What a wonderful idea! Here’s what she wrote:

Mary, if you are as the Catholic Church says, and if you love me, please answer this petition. I want someone to communicate with me by your inspiration. Mary, I want the message to come from you to the ears of one who could know no other way. Please choose someone who, for me, would represent the universal Catholic Church. Then I will know I am right where I am supposed to be and that the Church’s teachings are all correct, terra firma, especially the teachings about you. Please answer my petition before the end of the year–I know, that’s just two weeks.

Thinking it unlikely she would receive a response, she was surprised that the day after she wrote the petition, she received a letter from a woman she had written to after seeing her on EWTN’s The Journey Home. The letter, dated Dec. 8 had hand written beside it “The Feast of the Immaculate Conception.” That was her answer.

While God sends me these types of messages and reassurances quite often — now that I’m looking for them! — I too had a WOW moment after praying to my confirmation saint, St. Therese of Lisieux, for a specific intention. Known for sending roses as signs, as soon as I woke up the next morning and stumbled outside to pick up my paper, I opened it to find giant picture of a rose across the whole paper and a story about decorating your home with roses. Thanks St. Therese!

How did you come to terms with a Catholic teaching you were struggling with?


Do you Really Know Mary? Win a Copy of Meet Your Mother

Book on Mary giveawayIf you are new to the Catholic church or considering joining, Mary is definitely going to be a topic that will come up again and again. Catholics’ reverence of Mary differs greatly from Protestants, and so for many, it’s a long process of understanding why this is so. While this was never an issue for me (where purgatory and contraception were), I truly didn’t have the faintest idea WHY Catholics held Mary in such high regard, and only over time have I begun to grasp the surface of the vast depths of wisdom and grace that is Mary.

My affection for Mary began once I actually joined the Catholic Church. I began to desire to pray the Rosary and the Angelus, consecrated myself to Jesus through Mary and learned more about Our Lady and she has blessed me abundantly. The more I’ve read and researched, the more astounded I am at how amazing this woman truly is and how our reverence, while solidly grounded in the fact that she is the Mother of Jesus, goes much, much deeper.

Mark Miravalle in his book, Meet Your Mother (see how you can win 1 of 4 copies below), does the best job I’ve seen of presenting a thorough, yet easy-to-read look at Mary and all the issues surrounding her, such as her Immaculate Conception, maintaining her virginity, her Assumption into heaven and more. Most of the books I’ve read on this topic barely skimmed the surface and focused more on the virtues of Mary that we should imitate (of course, good information, too :)).

Virgin Mary

“Virgo det Josef Moroder” by Wolfgang Moroder – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Dr. Miravelle really takes an intellectual’s look at the role of Mary in salvation and overcomes any possible argument you could have to the contrary. If you love to read and learn and dive deeply into a topic, this is the book for you if you desire to know Our Blessed Mother more deeply.

But don’t be concerned that it’s too theological or challenging to read. It IS theological but it’s presented in a way anyone can understand.

I absolutely loved this book and I think it should be required reading for ANYONE joining the Catholic church. Not only should you understand Mary as a Catholic, but you are missing SO MUCH not to delve deeply into the mystery of Mary. I’ll telling you … Mary is a topic I could sit and ponder the rest of my life and still not get it all :).

Thanks to the folks at Catholic Word (for more information and their selection of books, visit and Marian Press, I have four copies of this awesome book to give away and help share the love and joy that comes from Mary whose greatest desire is to save souls for her Son. Enter to win below!

I’d also love to hear from you what questions you have about Mary. A big one for me is how it was determined she is the dispenser of all graces for Jesus. What questions do you have? And do you have a special moment to share about Mary? Please tell us!

In an upcoming post, I’m going to attempt to summarize some key teachings about Mary. I hope to do so in a way that does not diminish their greatness by my simplicity, but that gives a quick look at Our Blessed Mother so more souls may understand and be blessed by her.

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