What I Wish I’d Known About Catholics (And Why I’m Becoming One Now That I Do)

Photo Credit: Michael Caven.
Photo Credit: Michael Caven.

This Easter I become a Catholic.

It’s been a strange, unexpected journey. Something I often think about, and reflect on, is what I would’ve thought of myself, today, if I’d met me ten years ago. What if, by some miracle of space and time, the twenty year old me was able to visit the thirty year old me, today. What would the younger me think?

Becoming a Catholic is something I never could’ve imagined or envisioned.

I became a Christian at the age of about fifteen. I found an incredible local Pentecostal church, and incredible youth group, and was welcomed into a group of fantastic, devout young Christians. It’s hard to imagine all the grace I received through the friends I found and the experiences I had.

Then, at a time when so many Christians lose their faith and their identity, by the grace of God I was plugged into an incredible campus ministry in my university years. There I met lifelong friends, and my beautiful wife.

I fellowshipped, alongside my wife and our best friends, at a non-denominational church for many years. We still attend. It’s been an incredible place of growth, grace, and meeting God.

But the trajectory of my faith life—which impacts, of course, the whole of my life—changed one day when a Protestant pastor asked me what’s more important, the Bible or tradition. I didn’t have an answer, and that stumped me. And when I dug for answers, I was even more stumped, and unsatisfied. This began a long journey of searching, prayer, and unexpected discoveries.

A journey which will culminate at Easter, and continue for the rest of my life, in an entirely new direction.

What I know now, I didn’t know then. I’m becoming Catholic because of what I’ve learned—and I’ve learned it, I believe, by the grace of God.

St. Francis de Sales is a favourite saint of mine. In the 16th century, as the Reformation split apart the Christian Church in Europe he wrote, preached, and worked tirelessly to explain the Catholic faith, and bring Protestants back into the fold. He was incredibly successful and something in his mission of cordially explaining his faith resonates deeply with me.

To paraphrase St. Francis de Sales to the early Protestants: If you’d known what the Catholic Church really taught you’d never have left.

In my case, if I’d known what the Catholic Church really taught, I’d have become Catholic much sooner.

 

Catholics Don’t Worship Mary

The Catholic Church doesn’t teach the worship of Mary. Worship (and adoration) are for God alone.

As a Protestant I thought, for a long time, that Catholics worshipped Mary alongside her son, Jesus. There are plenty of churches named in her honoured, Catholics seemed obsessed with statues of the Virgin, and the Rosary, of all things, seemed to be nothing more than vain repetition of praise for Jesus’s mother.

The reality, I’ve learned, is much different. Catholics don’t worship Mary but, because of her special role in salvation history, she is venerated. How is that different? In Catholic theology, which, remember, was the theology of the whole Christian Church for 1,500 years, we ask Mary to pray for us.

Like Mary’s request to Jesus at the wedding at Cana, Catholics believe that Mary has the ear of Jesus in a special way. This is also reflected in biblical typology—the same kind of exegesis that Jesus used to explain His role in salvation to the apostles on the road to Emmaus. In the same way I can ask my best friend—a living, breathing Christian—to pray for my intentions, the Catholic Church teaches that Mary can be asked for prayer in the same way. When Catholics say they pray, “to Mary,” they don’t mean that Mary will answer our prayers. When we “pray to” Mary, we ask for her to pray for us, to Christ.

Jesus answers all prayers. We ask Mary to pray on our behalf.

 

Catholics Don’t Worship the Saints

In the same way, the Catholic Church believes that holy men and women (more women than men, for the record) are, presently, in the presence of God. We call these people saints and, like the Virgin Mary, we can ask for their prayers.

As pictured in Revelation, the prayers of the saints gathered around the altar float up like incense before God. That’s why, since the very beginning of the Christian Church, there has been a strong belief in ability of the dead to pray for us—and the practice of us asking them for their prayers. This is why the earliest Christian Churches were built on sites where holy men and women were killed.

The beautiful theology of the Catholic Church says that the Church, as a body of believers, is made up of all past, present, and future Christians. We’re all one and the same and just because I pass away doesn’t mean I cease to be a part of that active body. The saints, as Christians, continue their role in the body, only now in the presence of God.

 

Jesus is Present in the Eucharist

For all the different Protestant branches and denominations I’ve learned that no one in Protestantism takes Jesus’s words more literally than the Catholic Church.

When Jesus said, “This is my body; this is my blood,” the Catholic Church—and the whole of Christianity for 1,500 years—takes Him at His word.

Incredibly, the Catholic theology of transubstantiation says that when the priest consecrates the elements (the bread and the wine) they become the actual body and blood of Jesus through a mysterious, miraculous process. The fact that we can’t see, touch, or taste these elements are real flesh and blood is part of the miracle.

This bold claim is backed up not only by a thousand and a half years of Church history but by solid exegesis of the gospels.

Jesus, from Bethlehem (which means “the house of bread”), who was laid into a manger (which is a feeding trough) when He was born is the actual manna from Heaven.

If I had known that I can actually receive Jesus in the Eucharist, I would’ve stormed the doors of my local Catholic Church a decade ago.

 

There’s Only One Mass

What strikes me as even more incredible is the Catholic theology of the act of the Eucharist itself: There’s only one.

Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross was once and for all, final, and this is something that all Protestants can get behind. The brilliant, beauty of the Mass and the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharistic elements is that it links us up with all of Christian history—past, present, and future.

Jesus only died once. When the priest prayers the Eucharistic Prayers and says, “This is my body; this is my blood,” we are, as a church community, reliving the Last Supper and Jesus’s death on the cross. We are linking up, together, with all of the other Christians who have ever, and will ever, celebrate the Eucharist. And we’re linking up with the saints, angels, the Virgin Mary, and God Himself in Heaven as we see this same celebration taking place in Revelation.

As a Catholic, then, when I go to Mass I am experiencing something universal: Jesus’s death re-presented before my eyes.

 

The Priest Acts as Jesus

In a similar way, I never understood the importance of the priest in Catholic theology. As a young Protestant the priest, like Mary and the saints, stood in the way of my personal relationship with Jesus. But I had it all wrong.

The priest, as understood by Catholic theology, acts as Christ. The priest is a stand-in, if you will.

In the Mass, the priests acts in the place of Jesus, as he consecrates the bread and the wine. In the blessing of people, in Baptism, in prayer, and in the healing of the sick the priest, based on the authority that Jesus gives His apostles in the New Testament, is acting in His place. Where Jesus is not tangibly, physically with us, the priest is here in His place.

In confession, the priest, based on the direct charge from Jesus, “whoever’s sins you forgive they are forgiven,” represents Christ in forgiving our sins for us.

We don’t have to imagine God among us: there He is.

 

God Gave Us a Real, Tangible Church

Perhaps the greatest, most incredible thing I’ve learned, and wish that I knew a long, long time ago, is that Jesus left us with a real, tangible Church.

As a Protestant, I thought of the Church as a non-physical, spiritual union of Christians all over the world. But this isn’t how Jesus meant it, I’m convinced. Because this isn’t the Church as conceived by the apostles, the fathers of the Church (who were taught by the apostles), and all Christians for more than fifteen hundred years.

As I become Catholic perhaps the greatest gift I’m to receive is union with a real, tangible Church founded by Christ.

A Church with bishops and priests who can trace their authority, historically, all the way back to the apostles. Authority that we see manifest in the New Testament as the ability to forgive sins, drive out demons, and define an understanding of doctrine. These authoritative charges, according to the Catholic Church, remain with today’s bishops and priests through Apostolic Succession.

That’s why when the priest says, “You’re forgiven,” he means it. Because Christ said he’d have that power.

Rather than having to “feel” or “know” it on our own, God gave us the beauty and the blessing of a physical, tangible Church to be His hands and feet on earth. I don’t need to pray and ask for God to give me a sense of His grace, although I certainly could, and do. But in the Eucharist, in confession, and in the knowledge that God gave us the Church, we can be certain of His grace. This, in my experience, has been the most powerful aspect of the Catholic Church—and something I wish I knew years ago.

The most beautiful gift that Jesus gave us, beyond His sacrificial offering, was the establishment of a Church to proclaim, celebrate, and safeguard truth.

There’s a lot—a lot!—I wish I’d known about the Catholic Church a long time ago. I would’ve become a Catholic. And, of course, now that I know I can’t help but do anything else. At Easter I’ll turn in a new direction, take a new path, but I suppose, really, it’s the path I’ve always been on: A slow road to Rome. But I’m finally getting there. My new orientation, then, will be continue to explain and champion this incredible faith I’ve found. And to be a cordial Catholic.

Update (December 2015): Wow! This article, originally written in March 2015, has seen an incredible resurgence over the past few days. Good news, I’m Catholic! I joined the Church at the Easter Vigil 2015. You can read more about Why I Became Catholic and more about my journey in How I Got Here: From Evangelical to Catholic.

Thanks to everyone who has recently stumbled across this article and to all of those who are liking it and sharing it with their friends and family. I invite you to join my mailing list and follow me on Facebook for more of this same stuff. Merry Christmas! Dei Gratias!

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Ony

    Awesome truth! I feel so blessed by your write up.

    -Holyspirit, we thank you for leading us to all truth…

    Please do enjoy every bit of your intimate relationship with him as he continues to enlighten the ‘eyes of your mind’.You are welcome to the Catholic faith come this Easter Sunday!

    Do keep up the good work in sharing your revelations about the Catholic church and in so doing you are drawing souls to Christ through this media.

    One God, One Faith, One Baptism…

    Remain blessed

    • http://www.facebook.com/1786100811 Mary Ybarra-Sorola

      The thing about the Catholic church that turns ppl away to search for something else, is, the changes they make. For example: Do not eat meat on Fridays. All of a sudden, we can eat meat on Fridays. I can take the body and blood of Christ once a month at a Baptist church, if I repent of my sins and ask God to cleanse me. I cannot take the host in a Catholic church because I am no longer w/my husband and not divorced. I really need someone to explain.

      • Sadie

        If you are not now with another man, you may receive communion if you are Catholic.

      • Tony

        1. There is nothing inherently sinful about eating meat on a Friday. However, there is something inherently sinful about refusing to accept the authority that Christ gave the Church when he said “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven.” It is within that authority to establish rules for fasting and abstinence, and also to change those rules as the Bishops see fit in any given time and place.

        2. You can’t receive the Body and Blood of Christ at a Baptist church, because it’s not there. They rejected the priesthood, so all they have is a symbolic meal. The Eucharist is only present in those churches that have preserved Apostolic succession.

        3. Whoever told you that you are banned from Communion because you are separated from your husband does not understand Church teaching and shouldn’t be advising you. Those who are divorced and then enter a subsequent civil marriage without a decree of nullity from the Church may not receive Communion because they are living in a state of public and continuous adultery. But unless that is the case, Catholics who are separated or even divorced may receive Communion under the same conditions as any other Catholic.

        • https://plus.google.com/116202419664969243512 Luisito Sheng

          The importance of the sacrament of Penance in receiving Communion also needs to be explained.

      • Donna

        Any Protestant community you go to will not have the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ but only juice and crackers. Only a Priest can Consecrate the Body and Blood of Jesus as Jesus instructed at the last Supper which is THE FIRST HOLY MASS ..JOHN 6:52-59 … You must get an Annulment as the Church does not recognize the marriage ..For the salvation of your soul the Bible teaches you do not remarry after divorce so if you ate not married in the Catholic Church to your husband now .It us not a marriage you are living together. .It is biblical..Go visit a priest he will be glad to go over all of this with you. You can still go to Mass and get a blessing when you go up to the priest at Holy Communion until your ANNULMENT COME THRU. .YOU WILL RECEIVE GREAT GRACES…DONT LIVE OUT SIDE OF GOD’S CHURCH….IT IS FALSE TEACHINGS

      • http://Yahoo Ellen

        Dear Mary, It’s wonderful that you are aware of some aspects of the Catholic Church, But, I wonder from whom you get your information. Please, please please go visit with a Catholic Priest. IN the meantime I want to begin to explain a bit about the issues you raise.

        1. Not eating meat on Fridays. The Church believes that sacrifice is important for discipline and effective for all sorts of things. Primarily our salvation. Even though eating meat on Friday is now allowed, we are bound by Church law to perform a “sacrifice” of some of sort on Fridays. It harkens back to the day of the week when Jesus died for us. It is a call for an active participation and remembrance in His sacrifice. The sacrifice doesn’t always be “giving up.” something; nor must it be the same thing every Friday. It might be: a visit to a nursing home for a few hours or working in a soup kitchen. Anything that heightens your awareness of what Jesus did satisfies the requirement.

        2.The liturgical meal offered at the Baptist church is a symbolic remembering of Jesus’ last supper. In the Catholic Church, the partaker of the Eucharist is eating and drinking the REAL BODY and REAL BLOOD of Jesus. (Also His soul and divinity.) It IS NOT symbolic. We are then, physically present at the ONCE for many sacrifice of Jesus just before he died: just as the apostles present were told by Him that they should, “take and eat.” Early in my conversion, a priest once described the Mass as a “window in time, opening for us…so that we are present at that First Eucharistic Feast.” Additionally, this “opening of a window in time” is not only a Catholic concept. The Jewish people understand the same when on Passover, the meal they eat is actually a joining with all Jews throughout the ages, eating. AMAZING !!!!

        3. Yes. You may repent of your sins but I ask you: how do you know for sure that God actually forgives them? When a Catholic Priest hears your sins and witnesses your sorrow, he may pronounce in words (as a stand in for Christ,) “Your sins are forgiven you.” You may be POSITIVE!

        4. Now for being separated from your husband without a civil divorce. According to God’s Word, your sacramental marriage to your husband is a covenant between the 3 of you. Yes. Three. Your husband, you and God. God will NEVER break a covenant, As long as one remains chaste (with or without a spouse) one MAY legitimately receive Holy Communion. (Yes. A sacramental marriage requires chastity too – exclusivity – between partners.) So, if you separate from your husband and do not form a sexual relationship with anyone else, you may still receive communion. If you “slip” you must confess that sin before receiving Holy Communion. Some think an annulment is a “catholic divorce.” It is not. An annulment declared by the Church is a declaration saying that the marriage, FROM THE VERY BEGINNING, was not, for various reasons, a sacramental union.

        I am sorry for the length of this reply but, again I urge you to visit with a Catholic Priest about these and other issues you may have. Bless you.

      • Nana

        About eating fish on Fridays is a discipline like the celibate in priesthood. Disciplined can change. But Catholic teachings on doctrines and morals do not change. You can only take the body and blood of Christ in the Catholic Church. If you are just separated from your husband and are not leaving or have a relationship with another man, then you can receive communion.

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  • http://gravatar.com/deltaflute deltaflute

    Early congrads! You live in Waterloo. I live in London. Small world.

  • Jayne

    I entered the Church at the Easter Vigil in 1993, when I was 37 years old. Within a few years, everything in my life had changed, and all for the better. Congratulations, and welcome home. God bless you!

  • dani

    Welcome home! Thank you for already being a great testimony of our faith

  • Carol

    Beautiful article and welcome to the Church!

  • http://google Anne Steele

    I am so happy for you <3

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  • Michele

    Wonderful piece. You *get* it better than many cradle Catholics do. I’ll pray for you during the rest of Lent and especially on the Easter Vigil.

  • Paige Chiaro

    Prayers for you in your spiritual journey as we move closer to Easter and your full communion with the Church.

  • http://www.facebook.com/651781976 Jennie Fraser

    And I live in Niagara Falls, and I am also being received into the Church this Easter (along with my adult son) after being an evangelical Protestant for 35 years, and for all the same reasons as you are! It comes as quite a shock to me. I still can see the dents on the hardwood where my jaw hit the floor while I was reading the earliest of the Church Fathers. Lol.

    • Carolyn

      Jeannie Frasier you just told my story. I am becoming Catholic this Easter along with my adult son. What a journey. I am so happy!

  • http://www.beautifulgoodtrue.com Anita

    Congrats and welcome home ! I became Catholic last year after a journey as well and I am so thankful that God allowed me to come home. I too wish i had known so many things and I’m so thankful for a God that pursued us both to learn more about Him. Keep sharing your story friend and you will be amazed how many come to Him just for you being patient enough to share what the church really teaches. If I can help you or answer any questions let me know :) You can read my story here: http://www.beautifulgoodtrue.com/2014/03/the-last-thing-i-ever-wanted-to-be.html

  • http://emailreceivedfromSPSE Ines

    Your journey is beautifully written and nourishing to the soul. (I am a cradle Catholic and absolutely love my faith) The ‘discoveries’ you made along the way to The Christ have showered you with gifts of faith. Use up those gifts; there is plenty more where it came from. I wish you well on your Easter ‘induction’ to the most beautiful faith that lasst a lifetime, if you so will it. God Bless.

  • Jewel

    I became a Catholic at the Easter Vigil of 2013. I relive your joy at becoming a Catholic. We have many of the same paths that led us here. One of my favorite saints is also Frances de Sales.

  • http://South Jennifer

    Beautifully said. My family and I are entering the church this Easter after not only a lifetime of Protestantism, but 5 years at a southern Baptist theological seminary!

  • ColdStanding

    The article linked here was written in the middle 1800’s by a man of letters and a famous convert to the Holy Roman Catholic faith. I speak of Orestes Brownson. It is worthy of a very careful read. In it he does that most Catholic of things, namely makes careful distinctions based upon the actual, as opposed the commonly assumed, meaning of the words. I cordially invite you to actually read the whole thing.

    You say you want to learn… time to start testing your stomach.

    https://archive.org/stream/worksorestesabr07browgoog#page/n70/mode/2up

  • Father Michael Monshau, O.P.

    This is one of the best, short set of answers to these questions that I’ve seen. It deserves to be passed around. Father Michael, O.P.

  • Mic Galvin

    Albert, as an aside, I’m an aspiring writer & I have to tell you, your writing was extremely well written! I don’t mind playing “Devil’s Advocate” in response to your spiritual opinions… I love the fact that you are very happy because I’m here to tell you almost the exact opposite tale… not as articulate & certainly not filled w/ so many factual statements… my response is more from the heart.

    I was born an Irish Roman Catholic. Baptized shortly after arrival & confirmed @ 10 years old. I went to parochial school the first 5 years (1-5th grade) & then again, I went to an all boys Catholic High School. My family, Irish/Italian were pretty strict Catholics; meaning they went to Mass weekly. I was in the habit of going to confession on Saturdays so I could “receive” on Sundays. That stopped when I made it to Junior Year in High School… I don’t think I’ve been to confession since.

    I NEVER experienced any of the pedophilia that has been reported over the past several years, but I can certainly see how the Priests & Brothers, not to mention the Sisters could become very frustrated by the abstinence in their lives… it’s quite unnatural & places undue stress on the individual. Let’s be honest, have you never masturbated? Have you never fantasized about a man or woman… thinking of the needs of the body & heart above the spiritual needs sometimes… come on, be honest! How can someone subjected to that lifestyle NOT have a deviate side??? How can they instruct us as to how we should live our lives…???

    Off that podium!

    I started going to a local non-denominational Christian Church about 5+ years ago, here in Texas. There’s NOTHING about the church I would change! The music is the best I’ve heard in church, ever! The pastor is the greatest influence on my choice to attend that church! I don’t look @ him as a representation of The Lord, but rather an excellent, dedicated, educated & very passionate individual that I can try to model my life after… I found that trying to follow Jesus Christ’s footpath was a bit of an arduous task! So I KISS! keep it simple… & guess what? I sleep @ night & I know that I’m going to heaven! Honest!

    In closing, I love the fact that you’re embracing religion so passionately! I can sense it in your writing… just don’t be surprised when you get over the infatuation of the new church, if you see things differently… I hope not! For your spiritual sake! My wife believes she’s atheist!!! After years of Christianity & Jehovah Witness… which is another whole saga on it’s own… I cry often because my wife & I of 30 years can’t find spiritual happiness together, regardless of the “category”!!! I love God! I believe in God! I hope I’m worthy of living in God’s Grace for Eternity! Call me what you want! Catholic, Christian, Roman Catholic, Irish Catholic, just remember to smile when you see me in church!

    love & peace brother,

    /Mic

    • Joshua

      Please don’t tell me you picked a Church based solely on the quality of its music and the personal integrity of the local pastor.

    • Father Charles Ukwe

      Mic Galvin. May the peace of the Lord Jesus be with you. I appreciate your sharing your faith away from the Catholic Church. The fact was that you never knew the truth of your Catholic faith. When people seek the truth and find it, whether scientific truth or spiritual truth, they embrace it. That’s why our separated brothers and sisters (Protestants) when they seek the Truth and they find it in the Catholic Church, they joyfully embrace it. You need to sincerely seek the Truth once again. The Truth of our faith is not based on good music or a friendly pastor. It’s more than that. It’s Jesus Christ.

    • Bart

      Mr> Devils advocate

      Who said salvation is easy–seems to me you took the easy way out by finding a “church that you were comfortable with”. Unfortunately that is the route that too many are taking, just because the music is good and the pastor tells you what you want to hear is he or she preaching God’s word? Instead of finding fault with the Catholic faith which does date back to when Christ was on earth and died for our sins. Try to look past the human weakness which all of us have including the Catholics and look at what the faith has to offer. Jesus Christ was divine and human we are not. Our faith was given by Jesus so that we could share eternal life with him–don’t discount the Catholic faith by comparing that to the weakness of mankind, that has been going on since Martin Luther.

    • Tina

      I’m sorry about your wife! When I had a friend who couldn’t decide which “religion” she wanted to be, I (a Catholic) had to tell her “It’s no necessarily about which denomination you are, we all believe in the same thing….God” Sometimes religious people get the laws of God and the laws of man are two different thing. ALL religions have both and that’s why there are so many of them. People are turned off from certain religions because of the people they interact with. A priest may have been ugly to them, or they weren’t clear on a theological answer. My friend said she didn’t like on religion because they didn’t have Children’s services at that church!. We have to remember that we are all human and therefore have our own set of problems, opinions and issues. Tell you wife to first find God’s peace, she doesn’t need “church” per se she needs God Himself. Tell her I wish her good luck on her journey to seek the Lord and I will keep her in my prayers!

      • http://gravatar.com/lynnashburn Lynn

        Beautifully said!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/704152595 Mila Solanet

      It is a lie to accuse the Catholic Church of hiding the bible. As you know the printing press was invented just before the reformation. The bible prior to that was in scrolls and parchments. Monks and priests tirelessly copied from those, but they were not the printing press. Materials and ink were too expensive.

      It was also discovered that prior to the printing press the bible was translated into 20 different dialects. It was also monks and priests who were teaching people how to read.

      That accusation is false and does not stand with historical fact.

      I too left the Catholic Church. I came back and loved it. I can’t believe I let the devil take me away from receiving the Eucharist. That same sacrifice that was done by the priests from the OT is done today in our Mass.

      As to morality goes. Well we see clearly that Jesus prohibited divorce in all synoptic gospels. Why is it that some churches claim more authority than Christ and have changed their doctrines to allow divorce. The same goes with every other moral aspect. The Church is not the mail editor but the mail carrier.

      Go with Jesus Christ and ask Him about the Eucharist.One night I dreamed that Jesus Christ was standing in front of me and offered me a piece of His body. I knew immediately that I had to come back home.

      I thank God for the grace He gave me that took the veil of confusion off of me.

      • Rob Murphy

        Praise the Lord for your return to three one true Universal Catholic Church.

        Feed My lambs.

        Feed My sheep…always

      • Tony

        No, the sacrifices of the OT were nothing compared to the Mass. The Mass is the one Sacrifice of the New Covenant, the self-sacrifice of Christ Himself at the altar of the Cross.

  • Ash

    Welcome to the family. We couldn’t be more happy to have you.

  • Rica

    Welcome home to the mother church, the true church.

    • http://Facebook L. Marie

      Rica, your response that the Catholic church is the”true church” is distressing. Just because my faith isn’t your faith, doesn’t mean I am not a Christian & that my church is not worthy. Your attitude is one of the reasons so many people dislike Catholics, because you think of yourselves as superior to others because you go to the”true church”.

      I used to attend mass on occasion with a Catholic friend, what I got from it was not that God is loving & forgiving (as my faith teaches), but that He is angry & punishing. In the Catholic church everyone is a sinner, you need to confess your sins, the priest doles out your”punishment”, you then say your”hail Mary’s or our Father’s”, & go off believing you are the better Christian for doing so.

      We all supposedly pray to the same God, read & learn from the same Bible, are baptized & confirmed, & take communion. So why is it that the Catholic’s interpretation of God, faith,& Christianity is that they are the “best”religion? If a person believes in Jesus, reads the Bible,& tries their best to follow a Christian way of life, then why should they feel belittled by others who say they are not worthy, just because they’re not Catholic?

      • http://gravatar.com/deltaflute deltaflute

        “Rica, your response that the Catholic church is the”true church” is distressing. Just because my faith isn’t your faith, doesn’t mean I am not a Christian & that my church is not worthy.”

        Hi! I can’t speak exactly what Rica meant but the phrase is a common one so if you’ll permit me I can guess. Catholics believe that all religious groups have some parts of the Truth or Fullness of God. For other Christians, Catholics consider them to be our separated brethren. The Fullness of Truth or the True Church is only the Catholic Church because Jesus founded our church and left us with administering the sacraments.

        “Your attitude is one of the reasons so many people dislike Catholics, because you think of yourselves as superior to others because you go to the”true church”.”

        I’m sorry if you’ve run into people dealing with the sin of pride. It is a most distressing thing. On the whole, Catholics don’t think of themselves as superior…more like blessed. We love our Church and wish to share that same joy with our separated brothers and sisters.

        “I used to attend mass on occasion with a Catholic friend, what I got from it was not that God is loving & forgiving (as my faith teaches), but that He is angry & punishing.”

        I’m sorry that you received that impression. Catholics believe that God is loving, merciful, and just.

        “Catholic church everyone is a sinner, you need to confess your sins, the priest doles out your”punishment”, you then say your”hail Mary’s or our Father’s”, & go off believing you are the better Christian for doing so.”

        Yes, many churches profess that their believers are sinners also. Confession is Biblical John 20:21-23 is one passage, but there are many others. Confession is something a lot of Christians do, but perhaps not call it so. Altar calls are very common among evangelicals and have the same principal behind them as a confessional. Anglicans and Lutherans also have a type of confession.

        “We all supposedly pray to the same God, read & learn from the same Bible, are baptized & confirmed, & take communion. So why is it that the Catholic’s interpretation of God, faith,& Christianity is that they are the “best”religion?”

        Well as I said, Jesus handed over the Keys of the Church (which he founded) to St. Peter. It’s not a matter of interpretation; it’s really a matter of succession. Those who separated from the Church, Protestants, were not given that authority.

        “If a person believes in Jesus, reads the Bible,& tries their best to follow a Christian way of life, then why should they feel belittled by others who say they are not worthy, just because they’re not Catholic?”

        I’m sorry if you feel belittled. We would love for you to join our Church. I think it’s great that you believe in Jesus, read the Bible, and try to order your life around Christ. The next step would to receive the fullness of God’s grace, and you can only get that through the Church. I encourage you to look into an RCIA program. It doesn’t require you to become Catholic, but it should help clarify some of the Church’s teachings that I could only briefly touch on. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment box (doesn’t matter the posting) on my blog deltaflute.blogspot.com I’ll be happy to answer them.

        • http://rebeccajgomez.com Becky

          As a Christian, I know and love a lot of Catholics who quite obviously have a sincere faith in Jesus Christ. And I’ve known a lot who don’t. The same goes for Protestants. Some are sincere in their faith, others are not.

          I am a Christian. I am a follower of Christ. I am part of the family of believers that is made up of people of all backgrounds and denominations. I have already received the “fullness of his grace” because I have faith in Jesus and his resurrection.

          God’s word tells us:

          “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith…”

          “That if you believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord and confess with your mouth that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

          God’s grace, if not full, is not grace at all. It isn’t something he measures and rations out based on one’s church membership.

          If a person comes to a sincere faith in Jesus Christ as a Protestant, you should rejoice that they have found salvation, not fret that they aren’t Catholic.

          • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1603481413253487/ Ihope More

            If you want to be Christian you really need to be Catholic, period. There’s no way around it. If you are not Catholic then you are pretty much going against Jesus’ teaching. “whoever hears you hears me”, “power to bind and loose”, “power to forgive” …Jesus established a Church and the gates of hell won’t prevail against it… You say, “For it is by grace…through faith..”, that is correct. But how do you receive grace? By his Church and Sacraments that Jesus established. Even the first reformers recognize this! You say, “That if you believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord…you will be saved”. But how can you say you believe Him if you don’t even recognize the Church he established. If you love him, Jesus said to keep his commandments. Protestants and all it’s forms is contrary to Jesus’ teaching whether you like it or not. If you are not Catholic then you are not following Christ. You are following your own feeling and your own definition of Christian.

        • Pat

          Very well said, in truth and love.

      • Strider

        Well, technically, we don’t exactly read the same Bible, because Protestants took out several books at the Reformation. The Bible y’all have is fine, it has most of the good stuff in it, but it’s not the fullness of Scripture. Just like the other Christian communities in the world are good, and have most of the good stuff in them, but they don’t contain the fullness of faith. It’s never that what other Christians have isn’t good, or good enough. It’s just not complete.

  • Carole S

    Thank you so much for your article. I, too, am a convert and have tried repeatedly to put into words what you have so eloquently done in this article. I’m printing it to use whenever someone askes mee why I became a Catholic and why I will be one forever.

  • Margaret Joyce

    What a WONDERFUL POST. The GREATEST I have ever read, but makes me wonder WHY some who have been born & BRED Catholic, are turning away. Just BEYOND my COMPREHENSION.

  • donna.leckenby

    I was morman for twenty-five years and now I’m a Catholic and not sorry I did

  • Kerri McCann

    I am coming into the Catholic church this easter after 21 years as a protestant. The words you expressed were so spot on with my experience this past year, that I feel like I could have written this article about my own journey. My protestant years took me from a Baptist church to an worshipping at an independent charismatic church while I earned my Master of Divinity at an interdenominational seminary. Thank you for sharing.

  • Ronk

    “the Catholic Church believes that holy men and women (more women than men, for the record) are, presently, in the presence of God. ”

    Really? Where has the Church taught this?

    My PERSONAL OPINION, like yours, is that theer are more women than men in Heaven, but this is not Catholic doctrine as far as I know. It’s certainly not mentioned in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    • Lilibutt

      Whoa. Chillax, Ronk. Let’s not harp on a side point… But, yes, I’m quite curious myself where this info comes from. Maybe someone just counted up all the canonized saints, though that would be quite the task.

    • http://Yahoo Ellen

      Take a look at Hebrews 12.1 “A cloud of witnesses surround us…” Just who are those witnesses and where is this “cloud.” As for “more women than men in heaven” That statement refers to the souls officially canonized, (recognized by the Church) as Saints.” EVERYONE who is in heaven is a saint. But the Church has singled out many whose lives are worthy of being followed. The lives of these people, after much investigation by the Church (and a devil’s advocate thrown in there for unbiased measure) have been pronounced offically as “Saints,” And to date, there are more Canonized women Saints than Canonized men Saints.”

  • Barbara

    Welcome home. It was a journey well taken, and you were blessed in your previous churches to learn Christ and His love for us. Bring that home with you, and share it with your family and friends, if they are willing. God has blessed you and will continue to in so many ways. Get involved in the many ministries we have, it’s the best way to make new friends, and serve Christ in His church. Say “hello” to those around you at Mass. Some people are literally dying for another persons’ touch. Let them know Christ’s love and how He has brought you home.

  • Phil

    Overall, very well written. I am attending a Catholic University where I will be obtaining a minor in theology and I am curious as to the author’s answer to the question of which is more important scripture or tradition. (maybe I just missed the point.) Is the author’s answer that the two are the same? I am currently busy with homework, so I will not have a chance to respond, but I will be looking forward to a reply.

    • Mar

      Actually scripture is part of our tradition. There was Church long before there was a written New Testament. The Jewish people had many books in what we call the Old Testament but the official books were not settled until. 77 or so. Asking which is more important is like asking which is better strawberries or bananas. It takes both to make fruit cocktail

  • http://www.facebook.com/1458947752 Mollyann Hesser

    Welcome home!

  • Sarah Thomason

    Yay! I’m thrilled for your coming into the Church and for finding the fullness of the Faith! I, too, am a convert who became a Christian at 15 in a Protestant Church. I came into the Church when I was 25 after extensive reading and research and have never looked back. I especially enjoyed your post as it addresses most issues that Protestants have with the Catholic Church. I faced those same issues on my journey and in a way, I came in kicking and screaming!!

    I do have two minor suggestions for your wonderful post: the grammar is a little off in places and could use some editing. The second thing I would encourage you to do is add the actual Scripture references to the places you reference them. This could be really helpful for Protestants who read your post.

    Anyway, God bless you on your journey! We will remember you in prayer, especially at Easter!

    • http://www.facebook.com/1121229259 William Blasdel

      “The second thing I would encourage you to do is add the actual Scripture references to the places you reference them”

      And you are critical of his grammar?

  • Rose Mary

    Thank you for sharing your journey into the Catholic church. As a cradle catholic I enjoy and find your story and others who have made a sincere quest for Catholic teaching very uplifting and interesting. The complexity of researching for answers to the many questions one has about faith and then discovering in one’s heart that home is Mother Church is truly a gift from God. Blessings to you and your wife this Easter Vigil.

  • http://johnspizziri.wordpress.com john spizziri

    welcome home!

  • Lindsay

    Welcome home!!! I think I read in one of the comments that you live in Waterloo. Have you checked out the Latin Mass in Kitchener every Sunday at St. Anne’s at 3pm? We have a vibrant community there with a new men’s group forming and Baltimore Catechism lessons prior to Mass at 1pm. If you come, look for my husband and I and our four young kids and introduce yourself. Thank you for writing this wonderful post. God Bless +

    • Albert Little

      Lindsay, I was there yesterday!

      I probably sat directly in front of you if you were there, because the only family with kids sat in the pew directly behind me!

      • Lindsay

        We were there! Three of our four kids fell asleep for most of it as they were running in the basement since the catechism class at 1pm. I am the admin of the Una Voce Hamilton- Traditonal Latin Mass facebook page. Message me on there so we can connect (if you’d like). My husband and some great men are meeting for beers and theological debates on the first Friday of every month and I’m sure they’d love to have you and I am forming a women’s group that your wife is more than welcome to attend. You can also find me on the facebook page Four Crowns Catholic Homeschooling. So exciting that you were at our Mass yesterday!!!

  • http://nickfrancedesign.com Nick France

    Welcome home, Albert. Well said, my brother.

  • Pingback: What I Wish I’d Known About the Catholic Church | An American Point of View()

  • denise key

    i was a catholic for most of my life. i never knew Jesus the way I know him today. I gave my life to Jesus on oct 25 of 1992. I read ythe bible every day. Jesus filled my heart with love and has ever since. I believe any one whom who love Jesus more than anything and has the holy spirit will have that still voice inside them. I live to listen and follow that voice , i do believe Jesus is in the host and he has the power to change himself and become the body and blood. I am not a catholic. but i do not believe our denomination really matters it is where our hearts are

  • Sheila

    This is so true, God will not look to see what church you came from, but he will look into our hearts. The most important is that we are Christians…not a certain denomination!

  • slazo

    I truly wish my boyfriend could understand this, he absolutely refuses to be catholic. We want to become engaged soon, but have no idea where we would get married. He is a strong christian, but has been taught against Catholic values. Either way we are going to be together because we know we are meant to be, we just wish we could share a common church. Has anybody ever gone through this or has any advise to offer? Please help. Thank you

    • Katie

      For all the other readers of this thread – I apologize for the length of this reply, but I know when I was in Slazo’s position, I was desperate for advice, help, and support.

      To the author of this blog – I am so sorry that I am “hijacking” your post and your thread. I don’t mean to take anything at all away from your beautiful testimony. Please forgive me.

      For Slazo – Yes. I have been through this. My fiance and I started dating about 2.5 years ago, but we’d known each other since we were freshmen in high school. My Catholic faith is basically the grounding and guiding principle of my life, but when we began dating, he doubted God’s very existence. He grew up without faith and did not attend church until he was 16 and could drive himself. These are things I didn’t know about him, somehow. However, he was and still is the best man I know, with integrity and sincerity and is generally much different from most other men I have met and dated throughout my adult life. I remember feeling this overwhelming serenity when he told me that he didn’t know if he believed in God. Normally, as a person who struggles with anxiety (family history of it, actually), I would have FREAKED OUT, so I know the serenity was not self-manufactured. I felt that God could bring my then-boyfriend around, because God is bigger than he is. So I continued in the relationship.

      I will be honest, the following months and years were arduous. I am dedicated to my faith and I refused to budge on certain things. When I asked him what our life would be like as a family, he suggested we find a church that taught our values and take our family there. I told him this would not satisfy me spiritually, as I need the Eucharist to live. There were many times we almost broke up because our needs and desires and goals seemed so at odds. However, we both continued to pray, to stay chaste, follow God in our hearts and our actions, and asked Him to either help us agree or help us separate.

      My fiance entered the Church this past Thanksgiving. He attended RCIA for 2 years before he finally decided he wanted to be Catholic. If I could tell past me what present me knows, I would tell her not to worry, for God had His plan. Even if my fiance had chosen not to be Catholic, God would not have let our time together go to waste, regardless of whether or not we married. Shortly after his Baptism, Confirmation, and First Holy Communion, he asked me to marry him and I agreed.

      Some helpful resources for your boyfriend would be RCIA at your local Catholic Church, Catholic.com (the Catholic Answers website which has the answers to just about ANY question, plus a forum where he can anonymously ask any question he’d like), and a handful of authors, specifically Scott Hahn, Steve Ray, Jimmy Aiken, Tim Staples, and my favorite, Trent Horn. Also blog like this one!

      The takeaways are these – keep the faith, keep PRACTICING the faith, go to Mass every Sunday whether or not he goes with you, pray always, continue to put time and effort into your relationship with God, regularly sacrifice your relationship to God to do with whatever He chooses for His own glory, ask Mary our Blessed Mother to guide you as a woman and follower of Jesus Christ, and STAY CHASTE. I know this is hard in our day and age, but it will give you the detachment and purity of spirit you will need to follow God’s will in this matter. If you and your boyfriend are not currently abstaining, I would highly recommend that you go to Confession and start abstaining. I don’t mean to assume that you are or are not, I just don’t know your situation and want to be as helpful as possible.

      God bless you, Slazo. As Jesus said, your faith will save you. Keep the faith. Fight the good fight. I will be praying for you and for your boyfriend.

      -Katie

    • http://gravatar.com/deltaflute deltaflute

      “but have no idea where we would get married.” I’m sorry to tell you this…. If you are a Catholic, you obligated to go through the pre-Cana process with your priest. He’ll direct you about getting married in the church. In order to remain a Catholic in good standing, a Catholic has be married through the Church otherwise the marriage is invalid. It’s different for those who are baptized non-Catholics, but are converting. Their marriages are seen as valid. This is something you may want to mention to your boyfriend.

    • Sull

      Dear Slazo, Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you. Marriage is one of the most if not the most important decision in your life. Decisions of the heart are never easy. Talking to your priest would be very helpful. The marriage preparation my husband and I received from our church was tremendous.

      The RCIA program is totally awesome to help your boyfriend and you learn more about Catholicism. After RCIA you would both feel much more comfortable about your decision to get married because of the understanding and knowledge you would have armed yourselves with. The decision to marry requires being as informed as you can be. As a sponsor I actually felt guilty because it did so much for me and I thought I was suppose to be helping someone else. Watching the Holy Spirit working in people’s lives during that time was surprising and tremendous. Keep praying, marriage in the Catholic Church is a tremendous sacrament. The depth and meaning brought with this sacrament is much more than many people realize. As a spouse, it is our role to help each other get to heaven. Life changes tremendously over the years, faith and a deep understanding of that commitment, sacrament, and how God is there holding things together is what gets you through.

      Many people who question or condemn the Catholic Church do it because they have not taken the time to really learn about it. Oh, they can talk a good game many times, but when you learn the depth and quality of research that has gone into the development of the Catholic doctrine their arguments fail every time.

      I can’t imagine having a spouse against values that guide my life. Spiritual support from my spouse is important to me and has been such a blessing in our marriage. It has gotten me through many tough times, like the death of my mother and three sisters, or the things kids come up with over the years. I pray your potential spouse can learn to respect you and your beliefs as well.

      God bless you and keep God involved in your discernment.

      Walk with the Spirit.

  • http://jonathanreformed.wordpress.com jonathantpd139

    My friend, I am a Calvinist Southern Baptist. May I speak with you through private email?

    jonathantpd139@gmail.com

    • Sull

      Intentions?

  • Tina

    My earlier comment was meant for the man attending a non-denominational church and his wife who was starting to believe she was was an atheist.

  • Tim Franz

    It all starts with u choosing Tradition instead of the Bible. Read it, study it, then ask yourself who is it that acts for God on your behalf( nobody) then ask yourself if Tradition will get u to heaven. Grace is from God alone not man. Why do u think the Catholics were not to read & interpret the bible for thousands of years ( the priests were afraid the people would see through them) I have been to Mass & visited with Friends who r Catholic . They cannot answer these & other questions with the Bible in their hands. We r all sinners & I will pray for u. I need daily prayer also

    • http://gravatar.com/deltaflute deltaflute

      “Why do u think the Catholics were not to read & interpret the bible for thousands of years ( the priests were afraid the people would see through them)”

      Patently false. Catholics have always been allowed to read the Bible and have been encouraged to do so. I could site several popes etc. That said the reason people did not read the Bible for thousands of years is because 1) most people could not read and 2) prior to copy machines Bibles were copied by hand. It was an expensive process therefore monasteries had them or the incredibly wealthy. The Church also discouraged people from reading poor translations of the Bible as well. It’s also a common misconception that Martin Luther first translated the Bible into the vernacular. Actually Martin Luther was not even the first person to translate the Bible into German much less the first in the vernacular. Catholics had been doing that earlier.

      • http://gravatar.com/pwwatson2013 Patrick Watson

        Well said. The fact that few people could read until the last two centuries or so explains many Protestant misconceptions about the Catholic Church.

        For instance, they often think the elaborate art in old churches is extravagance. Not at all. The paintings and statues were (and still are) teaching aids. They were the church’s attempt to teach the faith in a way common people could understand.

        I’m a convert, too, after growing up Southern Baptist. The final straw for me was John 20:23. Our Resurrected Lord clearly gave the Apostles power to forgive sins AND the power to *not* forgive sins.

        I read every Protestant commentary I could find, trying to wiggle out of this passage’s plain meaning. Most skim right over that part. To this day I have never heard even a remotely coherent non-Catholic interpretation of it. They just pretend it isn’t there.

        Catholic teaching doesn’t demand (or require) proof texts, but John 20:23 is about as close as it gets.

      • http://www.facebook.com/1121229259 William Blasdel

        Well, remember, Martin Luther was a very devout priest before the “church” kicked him out. However, in 1997, the Catholic church decided that he (Luther) was right in his postings on the cathedral door. So, maybe he was translating the Bible into the vernacular before he was excommunicated…..I must research this.

      • Alfred Moy

        I attended catholic school from 1949 to 1962. Never in those years did I see a bible presented in school. The brothers definitely never taught from it. They used the catechism and other books as text, but never the bible. I questioned them on this and was ostracized. And in all those years, it seemed they were more intent on converting you into a Catholic rather than a Christian. For Catholics, is it still a mortal sin today, to miss mass in any given week, or to attend a non-Catholic church service? I have been attending a Pentecostal church for most of my life and still do, and have witnessed several Catholic priests come and preach in our church. I have seen nuns in their habits, attending our church services. According to Catholic doctrine, were they guilty of wrong doing?

  • Mary

    1st. Mary can’t intercede for you. Nowhere in Scripture does it say Mary has Jesus’ ear. She can’t hear you, and she can’t pray for you. Jesus never taught us to pray to His mother. And when you say.. “Hail Mary” you ARE worshipping her. 2nd Jesus said at the last supper..”Do this in remembrance of me” No one at the last supper thought Jesus was serving blood and flesh. He clearly served wine and bread. This is the literal truth. Also, Jesus is NOT continually dying over and over. On the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished”… He died ONCE! It is not the ACTUAL body and blood of Christ…. That was accomplished on the cross. And let’s get literal here… so if this is truth, why are you not actually drinking blood and eating flesh when you take communion? If it literally IS transformed into Jesus’ blood and body, it should look transformed and be transformed… It is not…and to say that you just “magically” can’t see it and taste it that way is false. When you receive a miracle… you KNOW you have received a miracle…. it doesn’t have to be explained away to believe, as it is here. This is NOT supported in the gospels… if it is, please show me where. Also, faith comes by hearing, not by eating the eucharist. 3rd show me in scripture where Jesus gives the catholic priest any power described here. Where in Scripture is the “direct” charge of confession? Jesus lives IN us… 4th If Peter(married) was the first Pope, then why wasn’t Peter central to ALL the gospels? The church IS the people of God… the visible church AND the invisible church. Where is Apostolic succession in scripture? There is no such thing as Apostolic succession in Scripture. There are no more Apostles, they are gone. Where do you find in Scripture, that it says Christ gave the power to forgive to a Priest? Christ accomplished forgiveness on the cross. Catholic Priests did not die on the cross for you, Christ did, and only Christ has the power to forgive. It doesn’t matter if the priest “really means it”…. That leaves forgiveness in the hands of an earthly Catholic Priest, rather than in the hands of Christ. Do you really think you can’t go directly to Jesus? I have one intercessor, and that is Jesus. 5th You can only be certain of Jesus’ Grace because Jesus died and rose again in payment for your sin, and you believe that! Grace is not dispersed through the eucharist, or the priest, the church or the authorities… faith comes from hearing, repenting and believing! You have to compare everything you believe to the Word of God, and if it doesn’t match up, it isn’t the Truth.

    • http://gravatar.com/pwwatson2013 Patrick Watson

      So, what was Jesus talking about in John 20:23?

    • http://gravatar.com/deltaflute deltaflute

      I again beg pardon of the blog author. If you want me to stop, please tell me to do so…

      “1st. Mary can’t intercede for you. Nowhere in Scripture does it say Mary has Jesus’ ear. She can’t hear you, and she can’t pray for you. Jesus never taught us to pray to His mother.”

      Try Revelations 8:4

      “And when you say.. “Hail Mary” you ARE worshipping her.” Try the Gospel of Luke. The Angel Gabriel says specifically in Luke 1:28 Greetings favored one aka Hail Mary.

      About Jesus flesh and blood- Try John 6:50-61. You aren’t the only one who had trouble believing that Jesus intended people to eat his flesh and blood.

      Yes, Christ died once on the Cross, but he died for all. Not just those present but those to come yes? So his sacrifice is continually yes? It wasn’t just a one time event that was for those who were alive yes? It was a one time event that is still saving people yes? That’s what we present to ourselves at every Mass: Christ’s unending sacrifice.

      I think confession has been covered elsewhere.

      Matthew 16:19 has Jesus handing the Keys of the Kingdom over to Peter. This is seen also in the New Testament were Kings would give keys to the stewards who would also help run the kingdom.

      There are married priests in Catholicism. There are also unmarried. Peter was married. Paul was not.

      So am I to believe that Baptism in your purview is unnecessary? It doesn’t do anything?

    • Sull

      You are misguided and inaccurate. Don’t let anger be your guiding light.

      • Sull

        My comment was for Mary.

    • https://plus.google.com/100625099231180130632 Sally Wilkins

      One accusation at a time. “1st. Mary can’t intercede for you. Nowhere in Scripture does it say Mary has Jesus’ ear. She can’t hear you, and she can’t pray for you. Jesus never taught us to pray to His mother. And when you say.. “Hail Mary” you ARE worshipping her.”

      1 b) Was the angel Gabriel guilty of worshiping her? Because “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you” is an exact quote from Luke 1:28.

      1 a) Are you denying the value of intercessory prayer? Which we are told often we should offer (Romans 15:30, 2 Thess. 3:1, Eph. 6:18-19 just for a few.) Or are you denying that those who have gone before us are alive? Jesus Himself corrected the Sadducees on this point (Mark 12:26-27), and John saw the souls of the martyrs in Heaven petitioning for vindication (Rev. 6:9-11). Or are you denying that the saints are aware of us who are still living in time? What then of Hebrews 11:1-12:3? Death does not separate any of us from Christ (Romans 8:38-39). We are all still members of His Body and commanded to bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2).

    • Strider

      The Word of God isn’t the Bible, it’s Jesus Christ. The written and recorded revelation of God in Holy Scripture is a product of 2000 years of Judaism and about 350 years of Catholic Christianity–the Bible as such did not exist until the Catholic Church compiled it, discerning what was in accordance with the Jewish tradition that birthed Our Lord and the Revelation of God in Jesus Christ. And even your last sentence, “You have to compare everything you believe to the Word of God, and if it doesn’t match up, it isn’t the Truth,” is not Scriptural, because you interpret the Word of God as the abridged Protestant Bible, and not the Second Person of the Trinity. Only Jesus Christ is the Word of God. And even the Bible doesn’t say that only the Bible is authoritative or that it’s the exclusive source of guidance or doctrine for believers. It only says that it’s profitable.

      You are parroting arguments someone handed down to you, but are based on false information and misunderstanding of both Holy scripture, Tradition, and the teachings of Catholic Christianity. You have never investigated these arguments for yourself; you have never tried to understand The Faith as its practitioners understand it, so you set up a straw man (your false understanding of Catholic Christianity) and try to knock it down. You’re not even doing that very well, but you haven’t come anywhere near arguing against actual Catholic Christianity.

      In certain Protestant sects, preachers spend a lot of time warning their congregants away from Catholic Christianity, but they don’t always know what they’re talking about. It must be hard to carry the burden of their misguided disdain. It helps to know something about what the group you’re attacking actually teaches. Please consider going to Mass at least twice before you consider passing judgment on your inaccurate version of what Catholic Christianity teaches. It’s the only way you can ever really understand what you’re arguing against.

  • Mary

    In John 20:23 Jesus was talking to the apostles. “Christ directed the apostles to declare the only method by which sin would be forgiven. This power did not exist at all in the apostles as a power to give judgement, but only as a power to declare the character of those whom God would accept or reject in the day of judgement.” Matthew Henry Commentary

    • http://gravatar.com/pwwatson2013 Patrick Watson

      Matthew Henry ignores the plain meaning of the passage, then. Here it is from the NIV (a Protestant translation).

      “If YOU forgive anyone his sins, they ARE forgiven; if YOU DO NOT forgive them, they ARE NOT forgiven.”

      It has nothing to do with declaring and everything to do with action BY the Apostles themselves.

      We also have James 5:15, in which the presbyters (not Apostles) can anoint a sick one with oil and “if he has sinned, he will be forgiven.”

      We should note, however, that Catholic doctrine does not rule out confessing sins directly to Jesus. You might get forgiveness that way. But it is in the sacrament, when we confess to another Christian (James 5:16) that we can have assurance we are forgiven by Christ through His church.

  • Elizabeth

    Jesus himself commands us in Matthew 23:8.. to call no man father. Start there.. let the Holy Spirit teach you. God is way bigger than any denomination.

    • http://gravatar.com/deltaflute deltaflute

      Apologies to the blog author…I hope you don’t mind if I post this link as it thoroughly explains the misconceptions behind calling a priest father. http://catholicdefense.blogspot.ca/2011/11/why-do-catholics-call-priests-father.html

      I will mention here one tid bit. St. Paul in his first letter to Corinthians he refers to himself as being a father. Likewise there are several passages that refer to Abraham as Father Abraham. With all due respect, there’s nothing wrong with calling someone Father so long as it’s not to set that elevate a person in opposition to Christ (like calling Satan Father although he’s often referred to as the Father of Lies). Father is an honorific title.

      • Albert Little

        You beat me to it, thanks! :)

  • http://gravatar.com/ssipstab ssipstab

    Re: What I Wish I’d Known About Catholics (And Why I’m Becoming One Now That I Do), Topic: The Real Presence; You might enjoy this link: http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/engl_mir.htm

    I saw the exposition at my church about 10 years ago. I’ve referred to it many times since.

  • Mary

    Actually James 5:15 is in reference to calling the elders of the church to pray for the “sick”… and if the prayers are in true faith… the sick will be healed. This action is NOT the elders of the church healing, but God healing, through faith. That is a very serious mistake to make. You do not give credit to man, where credit is due to God, and God alone. No man can forgive sin against God. Jesus is the only one that can and did forgive sin, on the cross, through his death and resurrection, once and for all. Man can only forgive grievances against him/herself. To think that man can forgive sins against God, is completely discrediting Jesus, especially with Jesus’ own statement in John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

    • http://gravatar.com/pwwatson2013 Patrick Watson

      If men can never forgive sin, why did Jesus tell a specific group of men, “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven” ? That is very clear. He did not tell them to declare anything. He said to do something specific, i.e. forgive (or not).

      The Apostles WERE the church at that point. The Lord was giving them instructions for the universal church they would soon start building. As the New Testament unfolds we see it transmitted to their successor apostles like Timothy, and to presbyters and deacons.

  • Mary

    Also, please show me exact scripture where it states we are forgiven by Christ “through His church”. We are solely forgiven by Christ through His actions on the cross, and subsequent resurrection… NOT the church.

  • Mary

    Deltaflute:

    Revelations 8:4 ????? Nothing in there about “Hail Mary”

    Luke 1:28-29 And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. There is nothing in this Scripture when the Angel appeared to Mary, giving US a direct command to do as the Angel did here.

    Re: John 6:50-61 Obviously this is symbolic of the Cross. At the last supper, Jesus did not slit His wrists, and bleed into a cup and cut off His own flesh.. He stated, while drinking WINE and eating BREAD….”Do this in remembrance of me”…. It’s evidentiary.

    Matthew 16:19 does not explain why ALL the gospels were not centered around Peter

    Jesus was Baptized…. are you telling me the Son of God NEEDED to be Baptized? Are you also insinuating that Baptism renders salvation? If so, Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t needed. If there were anything that I could do to pay the fine I owe, and save myself, Christ’s sacrifice would be rendered useless, but there isn’t anything I can do, hence the necessity of the cross. Amazing Grace!!!

    • Albert Little

      Hi Mary — I appreciate your contributions to this discussion here.

      If you keep reading the passage from Luke that you cited you’ll see, in fact, that Mary does say “all generations” will call her blessed. I’d call that a direct command. I’ve also written extensively about the literal interpretation of Jesus’s Bread and Wine Discourse, I encourage you to read it. And, in terms of the gospels centering around Peter. Of course they don’t, but Peter is mentioned something like 120 times in the gospels where as the next most mentioned apostles are mentioned less than 30 times. This tells me something important. As does the fact that Jesus always speaks first to Peter — it’s always, “Peter and the other apostles.”

      Again, thanks for your contributions. I encourage you to keep reading.

    • http://gravatar.com/deltaflute deltaflute

      Mary- Revelations 8:4 talks about the prayers of the saints being sent to God. Saints are persons who are in heaven which would include Mary, the Mother of God. You specified that Mary could not pray for us when clearly this is contrary to scripture.

      Nothing in scripture says that you must quote scripture. Nothing in scripture says that you can’t quote scripture either. Much of what St. Paul or Jesus says is quoted scripture. If a Protestant can take a portion of scripture and weave it into a prayer or worship music, why cannot a Catholic do the same? The entire Mass is based on weaving scripture into prayers likewise the Hail Mary is much the same way. I’m perplexed as to why you are upset about the scriptures being quoted in prayer form.

      John 6: 52- “Then the Jews argued amongst themselves ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?'”

      Then Jesus says twice that it is indeed his flesh John 5:55 “For my flesh is real food and my blood real drink.” Later he says “the one who feeds on me will live because of me”

      Rather than explaining that this is symbolic or a metaphor much like Jesus does when discussing parables, he tells them that he does indeed mean his very flesh and blood. But this doesn’t end here…

      When his disciples hear it that say “It is a hard teaching. Who can accept that?” Jesus again doesn’t say “Oh, I’m being symbolic.” Instead he says “Does this offend you?” That’s because in Jewish law drinking blood is bad. And eating the flesh and blood of person is worse still.

      Not sure how any clearer it can get.

      The portion of “do this in remembrance” is a problematic translation. The Greek word is anamnesis which means something like re-experience. It doesn’t mean a commemoration like we think of in the modern sense.

      The Gospels were not centered around Peter, because as Mr. Little explained, they are meant to be centered around Jesus and his teachings.

      About the sacraments- you are looking at them from an either/or stand point. You are arguing that it’s either God or man. But Catholics don’t hold that position. We hold that man cannot confer anything without God. God acts through man. It was Jesus’ decision to do so. In John 3:5 Jesus says that no man can enter the kingdom of God unless he is reborn of water and Spirit. This was his directive to us, his disciples. Baptism only holds that power because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Does this make sense?

    • Shelby

      The Greek in Luke 1:28 is “Chaire, Kecharitome” which literally is translated as “Hail, Full of Grace”—not “Greetings, Favored One.” The word “Chaire” is used in the Bible to address people of high rank and is, many times, followed by a specific title. (E.g. “Hail, Caesar”) The greeting used towards the Blessed Virgin Mary was extremely honoring and respectful, and carries much weight considering the language used.

      http://www.ewtn.com/vexperts/showmessage.asp?number=288189&Pg=Forum7&Pgnu=2&recnu=38

  • Mary

    Patrick. It is God forgiving sin, not man… If man had the power to forgive sin, Jesus would not have had to die.

    • Albert Little

      Hi Mary — I wrote about this here.

    • http://gravatar.com/pwwatson2013 Patrick Watson

      Mary, again, that is not what the Scripture clearly says. You are imposing traditions of men on the Word of God. This is not complicated. Jesus meant exactly what He said.

      “Whose sins YOU (the Apostles) forgive are forgiven.”

      This was not idle conversation. It was the very first appearance of the Lord to his Apostles after the Resurrection. He walked through a locked door to reach them. Kind of a tremendous occasion, yes? So it’s hard to believe the Gospel writer would not record it clearly.

      If you are a Bible-believing Christian, why not just accept the passage for what it obviously says?

  • Mary

    Albert…. appreciate the link, but would appreciate back up of your stance with Scripture. Patrick… First, I am not imposing any “tradition”, however, I would dare to say that is very much imposing the tradition of the Catholic church… Taken in context, as you stated above… this Scripture was Jesus speaking to His Apostles.. They received, directly,(directly! can you imagine that?) at this point through Jesus breathing on them, the Holy Spirit. And then Jesus made that statement. and I realize that the Apostles were sent “As the Father has sent me, I also send you”(again, Jesus speaking to His apostles). This is not scripture confirming the catholic perspective of priest’s power and role in a Biblical perspective. The apostles are gone. There are no more apostles. I do accept it for what it obviously says, within context!… so the question becomes, how has Catholic tradition, doctrine, and perspective changed it to mean something that it does not? How does this become a redirected power from Jesus, to the head of the church?(a priest?) Doesn’t that bother you, that you are being told, Christ’s blood isn’t sufficient, unless you go through a priest? That just doesn’t make sense to me, and I certainly find it disconcerting that any man, or woman for that fact would tell me that they have the attributes of the One and only Holy One, other than an apostle himself! Do you accept this because you believe priests are apostles? My understanding is that there were only 12.

    • http://gravatar.com/deltaflute deltaflute

      I know this comment was for Patrick, but I thought it might help Mary…

      1 Timothy 4:12- “Do not neglect the gift you have, which was conferred on you through prophetic word with the imposition of hands from the presbyteriat.”

      This passage speaks about the conference of the priesthood. In Greek the word is presbuteros which means elder. This is where we get the word “priest” or presbyter.

      So from the very start having a priesthood given authority by the apostles (and indirectly Jesus) was and is the norm.

    • http://gravatar.com/pwwatson2013 Patrick Watson

      Once again: By any grammar you wish, in John 20:23 the speaker (Jesus) is clearly stating that the listeners (Apostles) are able to forgive the sins of third parties (“Whose”). Where did they acquire this ability? Through Christ, obviously.

      For the sake of discussion only, let’s grant that there are no more Apostles. The Scripture is still very clear that one particular group of Apostles, at one time, had a God-given ability to forgive sins. So we have established the principle that at least for that time, men could forgive sins. This means interpreting other Scriptures to say men can never, ever forgive sins must be wrong.

      No one is saying Christ’s blood is insufficient. God works through doctors to preserve our bodies. He can work through Apostles to save souls. In either case, it is Christ whose sacrifice made salvation possible.

      BTW, none of the Twelve Apostles were among the people James wrote to in his epistle, yet they were doing things that led to forgiveness. That indicates this gift somehow found its way beyond the original Apostles.

      For that matter, Matthias wasn’t in the room in John 20:23, either. Yet we learn later in Acts that he is deemed one of the Twelve. We see no mention that being a mere replacement Apostle limited his apostolic gifts. We’re told they all worked many miracles.

  • Mary

    Delta flute:

    1 Timothy 4:12 “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conduct {conversation}, in love {charity}, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” King James version

    and NIV: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

    I am not sure where you are getting your scripture, but yours doesn’t match up at all. Do you have the verse wrong?

    • http://gravatar.com/deltaflute deltaflute

      My apologies. That’s a typo. It should be 1 timothy 4:14. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • Scott

    Mary –

    As stated early in the article, the point that started the author to begin his journey was the question about the bible and tradition. If the early church fathers and early church history are not known or understood, the place where the church is today, can be difficult to understand. During the reformation, the term “Sola Scriptura” or Scripture Alone became the basis of the Protestant faith, with the exclusion of tradition. The early church fathers writings coincide with Catholic doctrine.

  • Mary

    1 Timothy 4: 13 -16 “Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. 14Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. 15Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. 16Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.” In its entirety, it is discussing the reading of the scripture… not the forgiveness of sin… but by hearing, repenting and believing… not an act given through the actions of a priest.

    • http://gravatar.com/deltaflute deltaflute

      Mary- I can see where my train of thought got lost. Patrick was explaining how Jesus conferred power and authority to the apostles. You argued that it was to the apostles only. I was establishing that spiritual gifts or powers were also bestowed on prebyters or priests. This was given to them through the apostles. In other words, the priests having power is scriptural. Sorry if that was unclear.

  • al milligan

    I consider that I have always been a Catholic, just as I have always considered I am a Jew. The Roman Catholic Church, however, has a closed communion. When I go to the local church the priest will not give me communion. Jesus set up no such barriers as membership to receive this grace. There would be a lot more of us Proclaiming Catholics in the Roman Church if just this one practice was initiated.

    • http://gravatar.com/deltaflute deltaflute

      “I consider that I have always been a Catholic, just as I have always considered I am a Jew.”

      Do you mean that you consider yourself to be culturally Catholic or do you mean that you share beliefs with Catholics? I’m a little confused by the statement.

      “When I go to the local church the priest will not give me communion.”

      Why? Is this because you are not Catholic or because you are not in the state to receive (ie mortal sin)?

      “Jesus set up no such barriers as membership to receive this grace. There would be a lot more of us Proclaiming Catholics in the Roman Church if just this one practice was initiated.”

      There’s a lot of misconceptions about reception. If you are Orthodox, for example, you are allowed to receive. There’s a list of those who are allowed to receive and those who are not (including anyone in a state of mortal sin) that is usually found at the back of a missal.

      Not being allowed to receive is Biblical. See 1 Cor 11: 27-31 The practice is set up this way to protect those who are unworthy of reception from incurring harm to their soul. It’s not meant to place a barrier upon grace. One can learn about the practices of the Catholic faith ie what it the Holy Eucharist means and to go to confession to put ones soul in a state for reception.

      I’m not sure what you mean by the phrase proclaiming Catholics. Does this mean you consider yourself to be a Catholic by your own declaration? Please explain.

  • Ruthann McCloskey

    I do not agree with everything in this article. However, I had been “baptized” in nine churches before converting to Catholicism when I became 19 years old (I’m 72 now). I traveled all over the world and always went to church (whatever was near). My family never went to church. I was seeking something in my life when I found the Catholic Church. It’s still there and always is. I haven’t gone to Mass for years. I have had my time in and out of the Church. However, I will always be Catholic. I love my Church. I don’t agree with some of the people. The Church is perfect. However, people are not. I do not judge my Church on the people within it. Happy Easter! There is only one God. And, God is God forever and ever. He is the creator and the answer. My way to heaven is through Jesus Christ His son. It isn’t everyone’s way. It is mine

  • Melanie

    Off topic A little her ..havent read all comment to say the truth… though I felt prpelled as a Catholic to Also mention that when the bible speaks of the Church or Temple ..Living Temple.. Once all Sacrements are performed you are gifted by The Holy Spirit therefore Lives within You us All.. So then We are the Church A Holy Temple for His now Embodied Soul see… That is why we must carry ourselves as to much possible as holy.. for He Lives Within :) … When we mistreat our bodies thru sin or not in accordance to the Word or Commandements our Soul n Spirit is at Dis- Ease.. bcz contradicts our core values and its a sign that we must change our behaviour or thoughts n ways… to be as ..just as possible for Kingdom come.. Hope this expands your thoughts and view a little more :) Welcome …Any doubts ask n Pray He will guide you :)

  • Mario

    Minor scruple. When you say “there has been a strong belief in ability of the **dead**”, it gives me pause because the Saints are truly alive in Heaven.

    When we say that we pray to the dead (which we don’t) we open ourselves up to the charge that we pray to the dead!, which some people will be quick to point out is proscribed against in the Old Testament.

    JMJ

  • https://plus.google.com/100625099231180130632 Sally Wilkins

    Okay, I posted a response to Mary before reading the whole thread. I apologize. . . .

  • Vivian Rodrigues

    Quote – When Catholics say they pray, “to Mary,” they don’t mean that Mary will answer our prayers. When we “pray to” Mary, we ask for her to pray for us, to Christ. Unquote.

    The Memorare ends with – “…..in your mercy hear and answer me.”

    Please clarify!

  • fay Maps

    Welcome welcome. Thus wonderful wish some pple would read this. Jas to add on that pple say we have our own bible its a lie therez only one bible and what we use at mass is called a Missal with verses from the Bible and anyone is free to read and carry your bible to church even during Mass. Thank u once again your story is moving.

  • Peter

    Very good! I wish you nothing but happiness! I have left the Catholic Church and become an Anglican. I was born and raised Catholic, I was an Altar Boy, attended Mass and loved the Church. After a lifetime of being told again and again that the Church would be there for me when I needed it, I hit a low point and asked the Church for spiritual support. I was denied it. The doors were locked. One time in a lifetime and the door was locked. I hope that never happens to anyone.

    But God got me through it all and I am happy now. I forgive the Catholic Church but I will never forget.

    • Strider

      It sounds like one person or group let you down…I am so sorry that happened to you. I’m also sorry it made your heart so hard you had to abandon your Christian Community when it made a mistake. Communities sometimes do.

  • http://gravatar.com/montjoie1095 Tom

    Congratulations! I became Catholic this Easter also, after 20 years teaching confirmation at a Protestant church.

  • Christy V

    LOVE THIS BLOG POST!!! (from a fellow convert) John 6 was such a big part of my conversion!! Heard the best homily on the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist — if you have time check it out. You will not be disappointed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjrvYCba90Y

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/albertlittle K. Albert Little

      Thank you, Christy.

      I took the time to watch this video tonight and you’re right: it did not disappoint. Father Mike is a dynamic guy with a genuine heart. Such a good video, and certainly one of the best I’ve seen on John 6!

      Thanks for sharing!

  • http://danmarksee.wordpress.com Truth Seeker

    Sorry I didn’t understand the early part: “…what’s more important, the Bible or tradition?”

    Isn’t the Bible Word of God? And tradition made only by mere men? So shouldn’t it be a given that the Word of God is more important than the traditions of men?

    Can someone enlighten me on this matter. Thanks!

    • http://www.facebook.com/704152595 Mila Solanet

      It’s not traditions of men we are talking about TruthSeeker. Jesus Christ founded a Church. Mt 16 and not a book to be misinterpreted by fallible human beings. He promised that not even the gates of hell would prevail against it and that His spirit will guide the Church in truth.

      The Church, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, told you what was the inspired word of God, i.e. the NT bible.

      The same bible tells you that the bulwark and pillar of Truth is the Church.

      The same bible tells you to hold fast to oral and written tradition. 2 Thess 2:15

      The Church is the foundation and from the Church you got the inspired canon of the bible. Not the other way around.

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  • Matt

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyy!!!! *hugs!* Welcome!! *dances around foolishly* (Excuse my excitement, I recently reverted, so it’s a joy to see others come through the doors too.)

  • Matt

    Mr. Galvan (The Devil’s Advocate):

    Thanks for sharing. I just have one thing to clarify. Regarding your comment:

    “How can someone subjected to that lifestyle NOT have a deviate side???”

    I am a recently returned lay-Catholic, and in my reversion process it occurred to me that I’d have to give up satisfying the desires of my body unless I wanted to end up sitting in the confessional every week. Ha ha, I thought this would be nearly impossible, and was extremely worried about it being an issue… I mean, here I am, a single guy, with “needs,” yknow? And indeed, a LOT of single Catholics struggle with remaining chaste and celibate, but I have discovered that it is FREEING! 😀 😀 😀

    Yes, it is a discipline, and yes, the body fights against the spirit. Relatively regularly I feel “the urge,” let’s call it, to one degree or another. Mostly it isn’t a problem, I can just dismiss it and find something else to focus on. But once in awhile, “the urge” is very strong! In those moments, the more I lean on Jesus, and pray that my temptation be taken away, the more I am not only facing God in those moments, but loving Him! 😀 😀 It is such a joy to not have to pretend to hide from God (read Psalm 139! 😀 ), but instead to turn to Him for help, and the spiritual rewards are amazing! :) I feel closer and closer to God because of it.

    So, I’m celibate, have been for some time, and it’s such a wonderful feeling. I am not objectifying women, I am not thinking about sex (much anyway), I’m not consumed daily with intense sexual desires. And in practicing celibacy, I am also removing things with sexual imagery, such as some movies, TV shows and things from my life and my mind. In not supporting (by watching, buying, etc.) the morally questionable (at best) promotions of sexual disintegration in society, I also feel this incredible relief – I no longer feel guilty for participating in the culture of sex itself. So outside of even “not satisfying the body’s urges,” there is all this other peripheral stuff that’s going away too! :)

    And this ate up my conscience for years before coming back to the Church. By doing one seemingly innocuous thing, and allowing all this associated stuff into my life, I was tacitly participating in a culture of sin that is completely at odds with Christianity… and even as a non-Christian (though baptized Catholic), I could still feel that guilt. The guilt of self-obsession, of sexualizing other people, and participating in a culture of free sexuality has been placed on a pedestal far above that of the true nature of love.

    It’s amazing! :) And when you think about all the priests and nuns and brothers who practice celibacy, keep in mind that 1) people are fallible, and 2) most of them keep their vows and truly live holy lives without having any kind of deviant side at all.

    In fact, I feel far less “deviant” than I ever felt before. It’s well worth it if you approach it as a discipline that helps one connect more fully to God and to love others in as pure and spiritual a way as possible. It’s totally possible, and it’s not unhealthy.

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