I’ve always wondered…
Are the converted more likely to convert away again in the future than someone who was raised in that religion from birth?
I’ve always wondered…
Those who stand with both feet on the ground, regardless if they are converts or Catholics from early childhood, will remain Catholics in my opinion. Having an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ is very important.
Regarding converts, I would say that those who got a solid preparation leading up to being received into full communion with the Catholic Church are much more likely to remain Catholics than those who converted because they “felt like I should be Catholic”. Continue with teaching and/or seeing the priest or deacon for individual meetings are also important. Being part of the parish family is crucial.
I spent about a year reading about the Catholic church before deciding that it was time to start RCIA classes. For various reasons, last year I only managed to get to one class and at that class there were about 30 people.
This year I have made sure that I can get to all but two of the classes.
My background is that I am Anglican (Church of England) and been involved in various bible study classes over the years. Some were more formal with exams and others more just for fun. Often at these well meaning people would make comments like “Of course the Roman Catholic church is wrong” etc. Most of these people knew nothing about what the church actually taught.
I suspect that a number of new converts will leave the church, but a lot will stay. What I have found is that often cradle catholics know way less about what the church actually reaches than new converts. And personally I found that a bit scary.
It mostly depends on the reason they converted in the 1st place. In our RCIA sessions we highlight and try to discourage those who are coming into the church based on emotional or relational connections to others such as, “because my girlfriend is Catholic”. This in itself is not a bad reason for converson but could mask a true conversion.
How do you do this?
Do you tell them not to convert for the wrong reason?
Yes. We explain that conversion from the heart could be much different than conversion from emotion. People are known to convert because their spouse or future spouse wanted them to. This could, but not necessarly, be a conversion for the wrong reason. But in the end it is up to them.
Do you see people who took your advice and didn’t convert?
Thats hard to say. There are those who choose not to join the church and their reason may not be communicated. We dont ask for reasons when not freely given.
In all the reasons the author listed on why people convert to Catholicism, none mentioned that the person wanted to grow closer to Jesus Christ. In fact the reasons given are poor reasons for converting, especially for the aesthetics. They’re probably the converts I’ve encountered who argue against the Novus Ordo and Hymns, which aren’t Catholic enough for them.
In fact, the author only mentions it as his own opinion at the bottom ;
These are just a few of the converts you can meet in America.
While it’s true that the Catholic faith has plenty of challenges in the United States, the power and persuasiveness of Jesus Christ and his Church have not died away. Far from it.
The only reason why a person should convert to Catholicism, is to grow closer to Jesus Christ. The other reasons listed are poor reasons and such people often get bored or discouraged with the Catholic Church and end up leaving.
Christ should be the reason, yes, but God works through many things… if intellectualism, or aesthetics, marriage, or whatever else opens the door for the Holy Spirit to work, who are we to complain?
Speaking as a recent convert, there are definitely people who convert to Catholicism because they see the church as “the religion of the right.” That’s how you wind up with Catholics who genuinely believe that unfettered capitalism is compatible with scripture.
God works through the heart of the person, not their ego driven attraction to dogmas and aesthetics.
Even St Augustine wrote, " there are individuals who find themselves Catholic. Being attracted to the doctrines and rituals, they remain so. However, they’ve yet to become Christians and probably never will.
On the other hand, there are those who become Christian and Christ leads them into the Catholic Church. They are the Saints of the Church " I’m paraphrasing here.
Whilst I agree with the first part of this, the second part seems to be far too pessimistic and underestimates the power of sacramental grace from God etc.
Grace requires faith
Without faith, the person is merely following religion
I’m not disputing this.
Then I misunderstood your last statement in your response to my post.
Conversion is a process. Salvation is a process. That’s the Catholic teaching. We are not protestants.
Hence it is far too pessimistic to assume that if a person converts for the “wrong” reason that he she probably remains so. Anyone can change with the help of God. If God wants a stepwise change in a person, who are we to complain?
If your parish does not have an RCIA program, you can go to one that does. I went through 20 years ago with 18 others, the largest class ever in my parish. I am an intellectual convert. I had to be, as I was Southern Baptist raised, baptized, educated, and ordained. If I wasn’t convinced in the authority of the Catholic Church intellectually, I would not have joined.
Yes, this is me and my parents, as well (but not the Southern Baptist part).
I would guess most Protestant converts, especially the conservative/fundamental/ evangelicals need to be thoroughly convinced that the CC is the true Church before they would convert.
The beauty and liturgy of the Church was part of that process for me, part and parcel of why I chose to convert.
In my RCIA class we had some adult cradle Catholics who needed the Sacraments, myself and a few others who were more intellectual/ aesthetic converts, and a few who were converting more for marriage sake, though they did believe in the Church on their own.
Unfortunately, the cradle Catholics did seem to be very unfamiliar with most of the theology of the faith.
Convert here. I converted because I was studying to be a minister in the protestant church. I was dating a Roman Catholic at the time and was informed by my church that I couldn’t be ordained if I were married to or dating a Roman Catholic since my church didn’t recognize the RCC as a legitimate fold of Christianity. I had to take a semester of Church History as part of my ordination, so I took two semesters and focused on converting him. I went to Mass with him to whisper criticisms in his ear, scoff openly, and fight afterwards. I started getting him to go to Protestant services with me…but to no avail.
I guess I’d be an intellectual convert. As I took more and more theology for my ordination, as well as Bible and Church History, I couldn’t refute many of the claims made by the priest who was eventually called in to help because my boyfriend (now husband) was losing the fight because he didn’t know jack about his faith but he felt strongly he couldn’t leave. I prayed about dumping him because he had dug his heels in. The Holy Spirit only whispered back “wait”.
I spent a year in pain, racked with not knowing what to do. The more I learned the scarier and scarier things got. I eventually had to make a decision to follow the truth or follow my heart (I loved the highly-emotional worship of Pentecostalism) and I eventually capitulated to truth.
I entered the Catholic church and married my husband a few months later. I’d lost friends, family, and my career to do so. For 10 years I went through an incredibly dark time, spiritually. It ended about 10 months ago and I now see what God was doing…he was clearing out all the junk and emptying me to receive the fullness of truth in the Eucharist…I’m beyond words now. I also found the Charismatic Catholic Renewal, and am starting a modern worship group at my church and have a lot of people interested who are also converts. The power of God and the power of the Pentecostal worship in the light of the truth of RCC is…nothing I could ever dream at attempting to put into words. Having the emotional worship for people like me, on top of the logic, order, and reverence of the Mass…it’s the best of both worlds. You see a more complete picture of God…and…sometimes I actually feel scared because as infinitely deeper as everything has become…the Holy Spirit smiles in my soul and almost brags about how much more he has to show me…It’s amazing.