“Confession of a Roman Catholic”
by Paul Whitcomb
Tan Books and Publishers, Inc.
This book is not
about the Catholic Sacrament of Penance; in fact, it is the author’s story of his journey from Protestantism to Catholicism: the questions he had, the research he conducted, and the answers he found--all leading to his conclusion that the Catholic Church is the
one true church of Jesus Christ on Earth, and his decision to become Catholic.
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The author starts out by describing his upbringing as a Protestant and the fact that he was a conscientious student of the Bible. However, he came to the realization that there were voids in his religious fabric. He also desired to constantly enlarge upon his knowledge of Scripture exegesis (correct interpretation). He did not just want to quote Scripture; he also wanted to be able to explain
it. He then began a study of comparative religion--and the more he studied, the more he realized the Catholic faith was the one with the most answers and the most consistent with Scripture.
He confirms his many conclusions with passages directly from the Bible. For example, to confirm the unity of the Church, he quotes Jesus from the following passage (John 17: 20 - 23):
“I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory which you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
Quoting now from “Confession of a Roman Catholic”:
“ . . . Christ’s true faithful constitute a single unified body--unified in every respect: in organization, in belief, and in worship. That was the way Christ’s Mystical Body on earth was originally constituted, and in order for it to live on as His Mystical Body on earth that is the way it had to stay constituted.”
He then contrasts that with the multitude of Christian--but not Catholic--denominations and their variety of beliefs and practices. After much research, he found the unity he was seeking--in the Roman Catholic Church.
He also came to the realization that Christ’s true church is not a learning church, but a teaching church. He again quotes Scripture (Matt. 28: 18 - 20) : “. . . teach ye all nations. . . Teaching them . . . “. He also highlights the fact that the teaching would come from the Holy Spirit of God, through
the authority of the Church; it not fallible human beings that are doing the teaching. He contrasts this aspect of the Catholic Church with “ . . . one of the most basic and fundamental tenets of Protestantism: the tenet that the Bible is the only divinely authorized dispenser and guarantor of Christian truth.”
The author came to the realization that the Bible is a catalog of truths that God wants taught, but God wants them taught so that everyone can understand them. And that is the role of the Church:
“My study of the doctrines and practices of the various Christian churches revealed most clearly that only one, the Catholic Church, exercises the same kind of teaching authority that was exercised by the church of the Apostles and primitive Church Fathers. Only the Catholic Church functions for her members as an unerring interpreter of God’s revealed truth.”
He then goes on to address some criticisms of the Catholic Church, for example, the claim that the Catholic Church suppresses and bypasses the Bible for some articles of faith. In fact, the Catholic Church holds the Bible in the highest esteem. Scripture plays an important role in every Mass, not the least of which are the three readings included in every Mass. Furthermore, Catholics are advised to read the Bible regularly.
In addition, some articles of faith adhered to by the Catholic Church are based on tradition, as is right to do. Jesus, himself, was a devout Jew and adhered to many traditions that were passed down through the years, but not necessarily repeated in the Bible:
“. . . the Bible does actually state that some of Christ’s teachings were committed to tradition; that is to say, they were handed down by word of mouth rather than by letter.”
For example, from the Bible (2 Thess. 2:14): “Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word or by our epistle.” This passage would indicate that the Apostle Paul emphasizes the importance of both written and unwritten
truths that were given to the Church. And as John wrote, there were many other things that Jesus said and did but were not written down. The author also points out that, after examining some of the other ancient and semi-ancient churches, he discovered that they have consistently held to the same tradition-based doctrines as the Catholic Church--“proving that acceptance of them was universal prior to the advent of Protestantism in 1517.”
Mr. Whitcomb then goes on to examine the sacraments of the Catholic Church--and confirms that they are all thoroughly grounded in Scripture, and they all impart grace to the soul.
The book concludes by describing the author’s decision to become a Catholic and the transition from Protestantism (which he states was much easier than he expected). In fact, his family made the conversion afterwards too, to enjoy being united with Christ in the fullness of His Gospel, Sacraments, and Grace.