Why be Catholic when I’ve been baptized?

Why be Catholic when I’ve been baptized? September 3, 2014

A reader writes:

I have a friend who is an Evangelical. Over the years she has gone from verbally attacking the Church, to being more silent on the subject, to being somewhat accepting of our existence. Now, she asks me the question—“If I believe in Jesus and who he says he is, and I have already been baptized in the name of the father, son and holy spirit, why should I convert to Catholicism? I have an answer but am not sure it is the correct one. What would you say if you found yourself in similar circumstances?

If I have a picture of the woman I love and several of her letters, why should I marry her and live happily ever after?

The faith is the fullness of what Jesus wants to give us. Why settle for less?

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Imrahil

    you are asking me “why should I”, so apparently you are guessing, as I believe and as is the Truth, that Christ founded a Church upon the Rock of Peter and that this Church is, when all is said and done, the Catholic Church as we see it here. Then why, pardon my French, why the *heck* would you *want* to remain out of it?

    And besides, I wouldn’t want to miss our Lord’s Sacraments, especially the Eucharist where He is present himself. For we know the address of God: we now the street, we know the number, we know the postal code, and its [insert address of the local parish church].

    • My guess is that the reader [EDIT: I mean, the reader’s friend] assumes an individual notion of salvation and of relationship with God. The Church only makes sense if you already understand that Jesus became human to unite himself to us all together, as a people, not merely as individuals. He wants us to be members with one another of his Body, as St. Paul describes it in I Corinthians. He wants us to be united to one another in love, as he is united with his Father, as St. John reports it in his Gospel. He attributes our actions toward one another as done toward him, as St. Matthew reports it in his Gospel, because he calls all of us to be fully united with him and in him.

      But if one is coming from a Protestant perspective, sharing roots with the Enlightenment notion of the individual and the Renaissance notion of the complete man, then all of this being bound together with other people feels like a tremendous loss of freedom and control and ability to act; it seems like a loss of what makes one to be a person. It really is a death to self. At least, this was the obstacle that I had to overcome (and am still struggling to overcome) to recognize the necessity of the Church. I offer it in case it is similar to the obstacle that the reader[‘s friend] struggles with.

      • Marthe Lépine

        “sharing roots with the Enlightenment notion of the individual and the
        Renaissance notion of the complete man, then all of this being bound
        together with other people feels like a tremendous loss of freedom and
        control and ability to act.” This a very good explanation. Thank you. I am a cradle Catholic, but I come from a French-speaking background where I did not learn much about the Enlightenment. Your comment helps me to understand where my Protestant friends, as well as a lot of people whose opinions I can read in blogs, including atheists, are coming from.

        • Yes, atheists tend to follow the Enlightenment and/or Renaissance path rather than the Protestant path, but the root of considering a person as naturally isolated from community and from relationship is one of the major shared features of the 15th-17th century cultural changes – and one that goes largely unquestioned to this day.

          (Those who do question it today generally take it to the opposite extreme, as Marx and his followers did: they consider the person as nothing but an interchangeable unit in the machinery of the State or the Economy or whatever superstructure they put in place of family and friendship.)

  • MarylandBill

    I agree with Imrahil, the sacraments are the ordinary agents of God’s grace. Yes, God can save us by extraordinary means, but regularly receiving the Eucharist and making a good confession are the most sure methods of obtaining God’s grace.

    • Marthe Lépine

      And don’t forget that the sacrament of marriage itself brings its own special graces to help the couple in their daily lives.

      • Mariana Baca

        Baptized Christians tend to have sacramental marriages, just like they have valid baptisms.

  • Purgatory! Nothing like it exists in Protestantism!

  • “If I have a picture of the woman I love and several of her letters, why should I marry her and live happily ever after?”

    I may have to quote you.

    Drusilla Barron (http://lovedasif.com)

  • Mike Blackadder

    Well done. I think that Mark has answered this question before.

  • phillip

    I always comment to the Evangelical family & friends I have, “Imagine how much better the world would be if Christians would unite against the evils of our day instead of squabbling amongst themselves like a bunch of petulant children.” Gets a nod in agreement every time (thus far).

  • Dan13

    Pope Francis talked about the importance of the church for Christians in a recent, on-point address:

    http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1403657.htm

    (I got the link from reading Deacon Kandra’s blog.)

  • Illu Sion

    Avoid illusions. Religion often sells lies. Eternal life does not exists – live your life while your brain can. Invisible all-powerful man does not exist – problem solve intelligently with behaviors based on reality. Stop giving money and tax- exemptions to religious organizations and see what will happen. Religion feeds on ignorance and fear to get money and power.

    • AquinasMan

      LOL! wut?

    • Joseph

      “… live your life while your brain can.”
      .
      Deep. This one is obviously using his head. This is one of those quotes that will become a perennial maxim… repeated forever.