ENG 3402 OL80
3 May 2022
Research Project Proposal Draft
Proposal: How present is the concept of self help in religion, specifically within the Roman Catholic Church?
Growing up in a very catholic family I have seen these similar aspects of self help within my household. When we began to read the texts and discuss them in class I realized that it was very similar to the principals and morals of the Catholic faith. The difference would be that the texts we read and discussed explained the topic of the law of attraction, the faith of believing in the universe to continually reward us for the use of the law. This idea is very similar to the concept of the relationship with a person and God. I will pursue and continue to dig in to try and see how present this idea of self help is present within the church.
The big bold letters in the beginning of the website state “ Helping you overcome life’s pain, find healing, and grow in holiness”, which sounds very familiar to some of the other self help websites we have looked at throughout the semester. The website has created a platform to invite those who are struggling in life and looking for an answer. The website presents a practice which many saints have used within the church which is recalled as the “Healing of Memories”. It goes on to explain that memories hold a big role in how a person might be doing spiritually and mentally. “ Memories – both conscious and subconscious – can leave us emotionally and physically drained. The Healing of Memories helps you break these chains that hold you down and releases you from your suffering”. It goes on to quote some verses of the bible in order to show that Jesus or God persay invites everyone even the ones who are suffering in order to be relieved of this suffering by performing an act of self help in order to be relieved. The website provides some links to a book which can be received by giving any type of donation. On top of this it provides links on explaining the process of the Healing of Memories and also the links to begin this process for free with people of the Catholic faith. Although being a website it provides resources and opportunity to those in seek of another answer that can be described as not worldly They also provide a section where the users of the site can look up articles based on the Healing of Memories, most of the articles are based on the experiences of saints but also include titles like “Memories of Friendship” which recall the importance and impact friends have in ones life and how retaining memories of them can begin to help you with the process of the Healing of Memories. This website does provide a solid foundation in beginning to look into the church and beginning to scrutinize how present the concept of self help is within the religion.
Wansbrough, Henry. The New Jerusalem Bible. Doubleday, 1985.
Overall the use of the bible is unique for every user. I personally grew up in a catholic family and happen to read the bible on occasion. Though I never realized how many texts and phrases throughout the bible indicate this idea of self help, whether it is through prayer or an optimistic view of the world in the sense of believing that something much greater than us is in control and if we tap in into this greater being then we will be able to do anything. I chose to use the bible as a source because I could not think of a better way to investigate the presence of self help within the roman catholic church than the book in which every person of the catholic faith uses to help and scrutinize their life and everything going on around them. The bible is an essential part of the Roman Catholic Church and everyone who practices the faith has one and I think it is the best way to look into the aspect of self help being present in the religion. Not only is the bible an essential piece of literature for catholics but it is also very important for the history of the world. The bible is one the oldest religious texts and to this day is still the most sold book in the world. Anyhow, the bible contains many scriptures and stories which surround the idea of self help which I believe are in place to influence the lives of those who read them for one to better one’s relationship with God but also in order to be able to help yourself achieve whatever it is you put your mind too. As I was looking through stories and scriptures within the bible to see what I can use to really scrutinize how present self help is in religion. I came upon many texts that indicate the concept of self help. It can be noticed once reading the bible slowly and carefully that self help is very present in the bible, in the first letter to the Corinthians chapter 3 verse sixteen you’ll find the verse, “ Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in you?”. Indicating that humans should treat their bodies in terms of a temple, though it does have a different connotation because the purpose of treating the body as a temple does help every individual in for example killing your body with drugs..etc But it also represents that humans should treat their bodies like a temple because they are God’s creation and a portion of him lives within every humans. This is only a very small section in the bible of the many many texts in it.
Catholic Church. Catechism of the Catholic Church. 2nd ed., Our Sunday Visitor, 2000.
I chose to also use the Catechism of the Catholic church to grasp a better understanding of how the church perceives the idea of self help within the faith. Within the church self help can be referred to as faith, faith in God and everything he has done.
- “from the intimate sense of spiritual realities which [believers] experience”,59 The sacred Scriptures “grow with the one who reads them.”60
- “from the preaching of those who have received, along with their right of succession in the episcopate, the sure charism of truth”.61
These two citations from the catechism show how within the scripture of the church which also includes the bible. This section of the catechism is labeled as The Interpretation of the Heritage of Faith. I want to go into the depths of the church to see how they interpret and instill the idea of self help within the church and also how it is projected onto its followers. The catechism of the Catholic church really goes into the depths of how the religion is formatted and explains the church’s backbone of its purpose in perpetuating faith into its followers. It goes on to explain every concept and religious idea within the church and how it should be portrayed. Not only does it explain the backbone of the church but also creates very specific laws that every catholic follower should follow. This goes into the canon law of the church which is a whole different ball game and won’t be talked about in this research project. Though this term of “faith” can be found in most self help texts. Though it is very different then in religion. For Catholics it is faith in God and for people who don’t believe in God it is the universe. The idea of believing that there is something so much greater than us and having the ability to tap into this greater being will allow us to achieve almost anything, are very similar to each other.
Gobry, Pascal-Emmanuel. “Pope Francis Just Unveiled a Veritable Self-Help Book for Catholics. That’s a Good Thing.” The Week, The Week, 8 Apr. 2016, theweek.com/articles/617322/pope-francis-just-unveiled-veritable-selfhelp-book-catholics-thats-good-thing.
This article is based on a self help book published by Pope Fransis himself. The Pope is the head of the worldwide catholic church and represents the church. It lightly touches on some of the things Pope Franscis spoke about in the book. It really highlights the personal opinion of the author on the church and how he perceives the religion. The author obviously supports the religion and the faith within the church. He goes on to state “The church’s job is not just to tell us what the goal should be, but to help us reach it. The church doesn’t just set the rules, but helps us learn how to weave them into our lives” which allows readers to clearly see where the author stands about the purpose of the church. Explaining that the church is a guide for everyone, not just its followers. This correlates with this idea of self help in helping people find themselves and using certain tools, the church is one, in order to live through life.
Zauzmer, Julie. “The Key Points You Should Read in Pope Francis’s Major New Document on Family Issues.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 27 Oct. 2021, www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/04/08/the-key-points-you-should-read-in-pope-franciss-major-new-document-on-family-issues/.
This article is rather a critique of the book which was published by the Pope and to help people understand the purpose of the book before reading it or if people just want a small gist of the book. The article goes one to break down some main concepts or specific concepts which it wanted to highlight into six small sections which talked about the book. It spoke on how the Pope’s purpose of the book was in order to help and try to give advice to those who wanted it or needed it. He touched on concepts of marriage and remarriage, divorce, raising children, sex education, and also morals and princplas in which he will stand by (not supporting gay marriage). Overall the concept of breaking down the purpose of the book can allow one to really see whether the idea of self help is present within the Church. The book published by Pope Francis in 2016 is indeed a self help book since it offers advice and concepts on how to live one’s life.
Duggan, Lawrence G.. “indulgence”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 25 Nov. 2015, https://www.britannica.com/topic/indulgence. Accessed 28 April 2022.
This article is as close to a critique against the idea of self help within the church that I could find. It mainly speaks on the concepts that are found within the church like indulgences which are in a way punishment for one’s sins. It goes on to speak about people who did not support these ideals like Martin Luther back in the 14th century and begins to create this image of the church which looks more controlling and abusive of its power rather than advocating itself as a tool for the benefit of the people. It explains to a good extent how this concept of repenting for someone’s sins may contradict the idea of self help within the church.
Overall I think that I am in a good place for my research project, though I do have a lot of reading and research to do based on my proposal alone. However, since we began the research project I have been able to deep dive through certain texts and sources to really be able to have an understanding and view of whether self help can be found within religion more specifically the catholic church. At the moment I am still unpacking the sources I have and also really trying to understand some like the bible and its texts and their meaning/purpose. Alongside this the overall understanding of whether self help can be found within the church or not has become more clear through the research that has been conducted since we began the project.
At this moment in this period of the project I find myself with a particular predicament. I cannot find a specific article or source which critiques the idea of finding self help within the catholic church. I believe that the next step in trying to find a source which critiques this idea would be to reach out to certain parishes and ask whether they know of any specific texts that do this. It really has been a struggle to find an article or even video that critiques the concept of finding self help within the church. Overall. I believe that I have found some very credible and reliable sources that will allow me to continue and finish this research project.