I made some good friends outside my church and found out that they were all Catholics. Now, I did not know much about Catholicism at the time. By the way, the Mass did seem somewhat mysterious to me externally. In fact, what little I had heard from other church members was all negative. There was a Mrs. J at my church, who had just retired from her missionary post in China. She was such a kind and endearing soul to all. One day she got back from visiting someone at a hospital and looked extremely sad and disturbed. It turned out that when she got to the hospital room, she saw that a Catholic priest was already there with the patient. Now the question was if the patient would ever get to heaven.
Nevertheless, my Catholic friends all looked quite normal and happy. Then could the Catholic Church, the largest church in the the world, be in error? It so happened that at that time I was also beginning to question my Protestant faith. The fact that there were numerous different denominations around the world bothered me. Also, as a Protestant, whether you're a minister or lay person, you are free to marry and divorce any number of times. It's hard to see that Jesus would be happy with these two facts. Since I am the kind of person who always likes to find the answer to any question that's important, I decided to look into Catholicism.
I made up my mind not to talk to anyone about my investigation. I was single then and had a lot of free time to myself. The local public library housed an excellent collection of books on Catholicism, so I started borrowing books on the subject. I read every weekend, even taking notes as I read. The went on for over a year. I read all those books that viciously attack the Catholic Church too, but somehow they did not affect me much because I sensed that these attacks could not have been prompted by the Holy Spirit. The books that really helped me were the ones on early Church history. I could see that the continuity was there and the beliefs and practices of the early Church had been preserved to this day in the Catholic Church. The only conclusion I could come to was that the Catholic Church was indeed the church Jesus had come and established. Like Christ himself, the Church, being his body, must be accepted (or rejected) totally, with no middle ground.
Here's some advice for those who seek the truth. Your chances of success will greatly improve if, first, you start out with a completely open mind and secondly, go to the source(s) directly to get the facts. Many who misunderstand the Catholic Church today have already made up their mind that the Church is wrong, thus never bothering to pick up a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to find out what the Church really teaches. This is being close-minded.
thanks for the inspiration my dear brother in the Catholic FaithReplyDelete
So much of what you have written resonates with the journey I am on myself. I came from a family of Catholic Mother and Presbytarian Father, we were raised with a lot of Catholic beliefs, but not quite. I am about to be baptised Catholic after a journey od quite some time to get here. Thanks for your inspiration to go on.ReplyDelete
I am so happy that you are coming into the Body of Christ. I am feeling the same joy that heaven is feeling. May God shower you with his great love all the days of your life.ReplyDelete
“Many who misunderstand the Catholic Church today have already made up their mind that the Church is wrong, thus never bothering to pick up a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to find out what the Church really teaches. This is being close-minded. “ReplyDelete
I left 6 years after i became born again, and having sought to serve the Lord in Rome (CCD teacher, Lector), as a faithful weekly (or more) practicing Catholic (and raised as such, with 2 uncles who were priests), but had i know what i know now i think i would have left sooner.
But which i did after a clear answer to sincere prayer, and without ill motive, and like most who become evangelical , it was not primarily doctrine (though i saw some discordance with Scripture), much less desire for liberal renderings, but mostly it was because of the deadness in Rome (the charismatic meetings were an improvement, but among other weights, the hierarchy joined them to Marxist social justice nuns, in trying to validate us i suppose), versus the manifest faith of evangelicalism, though this was quite sparse in my heavily Catholic area (thank God for radio).
As for continuity of faith being a reason, not only does this require some selective reading, but it makes Scripture a secondary source, rather than being the standard it is shown to be.
He would not have found in the N.T. church of Scripture a separate class of ordained men called priests (or basically restricted to those who have the gift of celibacy)
or infant baptism being commanded,
or prayers for or to the departed,
or indulgences to gain deliverance for souls in Rome’s purgatory,
or exhortations focused on submitting to a supreme magistrate demigod in Rome,
nor one that infallibly defined itself to have assured, perpetual, formulaic infallibility,
or the church led by grossly immoral men, with a high percentage of homosexual clergy,
or largely characterized by perfunctory professions and confidence in ritual, and immoral views, and little interest in personal Scripture reading,
or one that restricted reading of the Scriptures,
nor ruling over those without by force, or waging war against theological dissenters with the sword of men,
Yet this did not exclude that enough truth was preserved that souls could be saved by looking to Christ past the accumulate trappings of institutionalized religion, which exists within Protestantism as well.
Thanks for the comment. It seems that you are now where I was before. If we focus upon human errors, sins, or just things done that don’t seem right to us within the Church, then we’ll never be able to reconcile with the Church. All the questions you have raised have valid answers to them. If you do a search by typing in a word such as “Bible” on my blog, you may read postings that are helpful. In Karl Keating’s book Catholicism and Fundamentalism, you’ll probably find all your answers. His website www.catholic.com should be helpful too. Read books such as Surprised by Truth to see how others came back home to the Catholic Church. The website www.whyimcatholic.com tells many good conversion stories. Please read Rosalind Moss’ story here:Delete
http://chnetwork.org/2011/05/sr-rosalind-moss-a-journey-home/. You can hear her on YouTube too. Then there’s Scott Hahn’s story ~ have you read his Rome Sweet Home yet? You can catch him on YouTube too.
To know how God wants to lead you, question less and listen more. To know the Church, focus upon Christ and not so much on his people, who are all sinners like us, in the Church. I pray that you will find the true path and peace in your heart. God bless you.