One of the most difficult things for me to gauge is how in accord I am with Catholic teaching. I was not raised Catholic, and I have to admit that my entry to the Catholic Church was accompanied by so many reservations, it's amazing I got through at all. I still had very primitive notions about this Catholic "Marian" bent. I did not believe in Papal infallibility, and I thought the Church wrong on birth control, most likely wrong on abortion, and wrong on homosexuality. Nevertheless, I entered with a willingness to believe if God would lead me there. I don't think I assented in mind, but I wanted to be Catholic and I prayed God every night that I should grow in my Catholicism.
Now, this tends to make one defensive and nervous about one's Catholicism. However, this morning TSO gave me a wonderful gift. I have no idea whether or not I read the passage he posted from the Vatican II documents in the comments section of the Respect post below; however, I discovered that all I have done is parroted what the Church teaches definitively. Whether I came to the conclusions in the post on my own or they were merely the surfacing of material read long ago, I stand by what was written and believe it with all my heart. What that says to me is that I have stumbled into Catholicism by being willing to do so. I am now "thinking more like a Catholic" if you will.
I believe that this is entirely a gift from God; however, it is a gift that had some strings attached. That is, to receive the gift I had to be willing to listen and willing to be led. I had to give assent of will to Catholic teaching, even if what I thought I was doing was praying for the grace to believe. Perhaps they are one in the same.
What I can say is that it is a source of great joy to see how closely my own thought parallels that of the Church. It suggests that the Church's magisterium is informing me in ways that I could not even begin to imagine.
I still have difficulties. I am troubled by some Church teachings, uncertain what to think about ordination of women, and the whole issue of homosexuality. But, I refuse to follow my own lead on this. I am far too often wrong--seriously wrong--on issues of great import. So I will remain in a state of discomfort for now knowing that as I pray to be part of Christ's Church on Earth, the Holy Spirit will guide me as He has always done. I can trust Him completely--more completely than I can trust my own faulty reasoning and prejudice.
In her prudential judgments the Church may err, but in all matters central to the faith she is absolutely trustworthy. Sometimes I don't know where that line is, but my fellow Catholics, my reading, and over all, the Holy Spirit all help me to find my way through my own confusion.
My thanks for this gift to TSO, who posted the passage from Vatican II, and to Talmida, whose patient, thoughtful, and courteous discourse was one of the inspirations for the original post. You guys and gals in St. Blog's are just spectacular--thank you for your persistent help on the journey. Traveling companions make the trip less burdensome.