Can someone please help me? "Conversion" questions

Hello,

i am fairly young, and a lot of my friends are not into religion, but recently ive been showing interest into becoming Catholic.

Most of my family are Baptist, or some form of non-denominational christian, and they always get “mad” at me when i express my interest in converting to Catholicism. i read up on it, and i found out that Catholics believe in pretty much the exact same things that my family does; so why would they get mad at me?

what things should i need to know if i am to convert?

also, what i dont understand is the different variations of the catholic faith.

ive heard of Roman Catholic, Eastern/Western Catholic, Latin Catholic (i think)
what are the differences between those forms?

Thank you for taking the time to read this and hopefull answering my questions,

BradyC

p.s. im not sure if this post is in the right section or not. if not, my apologies.

Well, thank you anyway…

Welcome to our forum! It sounds like the Holy Spirit is calling you to Catholicism. You can start by attend a Mass at a Catholic Church in your area. It will seem very strange at first, but don’t give up! Try a few different churches at different times and you will soon find one that “fits” you. When you are comfortable at a particular parish, call them and ask about their RCIA program. That is a series of meetings of people just like you who want to learn more about the Catholic Church. Your family has a set of preconceived notions of what the Catholic Church is about, and none of them will be true. Just be patient with them, and hopefully they will not be so negative as you progress through your journey. The true Catholic Church is one where all the members subject themselves to the authority of the Pope. There are different manifestations and cultural practices through out the world, but only one church.

I can not real expand on what Catholic1954 has stated. I to am new to the Catholic faith. All I can say is pray and pray and pray. I also have family that are baptist and other denoms. It can be dishartening not geting support from them at times but keep praying and studing. I will pray for you also . God bless.

Well, there are some substantial differences between Catholics and Protestants. Certainly there would be with Baptists and non-denominational Christians. Among the major differences would be that Protestants rely on the Bible alone for authority, where Catholics (and the Orthodox) use the Bible AND Sacred Tradition. Catholics have seven sacraments, most Protestants have only two. Catholics believe in intercessionary prayer (praying to saints), where Protestants reject this. Catholics, of course, have a pope to lead them. No Protestant denomination has a similar position. Catholics believe that the bread and wine during communion actually PHYSICALLY transform into the LITERAL Body and Blood of Christ Himself. Most Protestants view it only as a symbol (and sometimes accuse us of re-sacrificing Jesus). Catholics believe that salvation can be lost, or that one can spend time in Purgatory, in addition to Heaven or Hell. Many Protestants believe in “once saved, always saved”, and flatly reject any notion of Purgatory. Catholics believe in confession to a priest, while Protestants believe that one need only confess to God. Catholics have seven more books included in the Old Testament which Protestants reject as inspired (although they may believe that they are interesting readings from the time, but not the Word of God). These are some of the major differences you may run into.

what things should i need to know if i am to convert?

Normally, those that want to convert go through a year-long process known as RCIA, the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. Generally, you start in the fall, around August or September, entering what is known as the “Inquiry” period. Here you will take weekly classes that teach you the basics of the faith. You will also be assigned a “Sponsor”, someone who will be like an adult Godparent, to help you one-on-one, be your guide, and personally answer any questions you may have about the faith. If you have been baptized in the past using the Trinitarian formula (“I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”), then your Christian baptism will be recognized by the Catholic Church. If you are unbaptized, and you wish to continue with the program, you next become a “Catechumen”. If you are baptized, then you are a “Candidate”. (By the way… you may enroll in RCIA even if you have no intention of converting, and just want to learn more about Catholicism. You will never be pressured to join the Church, and you are under no obligations whatsoever.) This change of status to Catechumen and Candidates will take place at the “Rite of Acceptance”. After this occurs (often just before the end of the year), you will enter a more intensive period of prayer and study, and the classes will continue. This is the period of “Catechesis”. You may be asked to participate in a religious retreat of some kind, but not always. If, at the end of this period, you decide that you are ready to convert, you will undergo the “Rite of Election”, where your name will be entered into a book of those desiring to convert, often at your region’s Cathedral. You will then enter the final stage as one of the “Elect”. In these last few weeks, you will spend most of your time preparing to receive the sacraments of initiation, which include Baptism (if necessary), Holy Communion, and Confirmation. All of them will be done at once, with all of the others at your local church that are wishing to convert, at the Easter Vigil Mass (the night before Easter). Often, the bishop will perform the ceremony, but it can be done by the parish priest as well.

Catholics require such an extensive period of preparation and study because we want those who convert to the faith to truly understand their new faith. Too often, people change religions, only to change later on, not realizing some point of doctrine that they don’t agree with.

More to follow…

also, what i dont understand is the different variations of the catholic faith.

ive heard of Roman Catholic, Eastern/Western Catholic, Latin Catholic (i think)
what are the differences between those forms?

Most people are not aware that the “Catholic Church” is actually comprised of twenty-three independent Catholic Churches, all in union with the pope. The Western, or Latin Catholic Church, is so large, however, that many people, even Catholics, are completely unaware of the other twenty-two churches, which make up the Eastern Branch. (Some have from only a few thousand members to a few million.)

Originally, there was only one denomination… the Catholic Church (the word Catholic meaning “universal”). However, there were five cities that were singled out as being important centers of Christianity. They were Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople, and of course, Rome. Each developed its own unique traditions and liturgy, but ALL shared a common theology and were in communion with each other and the Bishop of Rome, known as the Pope. However, about 1000 years ago, due to a variety of unfortunate problems, the other four cities, allied with the Byzantine Empire, mutually broke off from Rome, forming the various Eastern Orthodox Churches. Although doctrinally, they are virtually identical to Catholics, they refuse to acknowledge that the pope is more than a “first among equals”. (A couple groups broke of much earlier in the 400s AD also, to form what are known as the Oriental Orthodox Churches).

What has happened is that over time, some portions of each of the various Orthodox groups have decided to reconcile with the Catholic Church and come back into communion with Rome. When they do, they are allowed to keep all of their traditions and much of their independence, although they acknowledge the authority of the Pope. They become truly Catholic, in that anyone from ANY branch of the Catholic Church can participate in the liturgy and ceremonies of any OTHER branch of the Catholic Church. The only two Eastern groups that never fell out of communion with the Catholic Church were the Maronite Catholic Church, and the Italo-Albanian Catholic Church. So… for every branch of the Orthodox Churches that are NOT in communion with Rome, there is a corresponding and virtually identical branch of the Eastern Catholic Church that IS in communion with Rome. Since their customs and liturgies date from before the Council of Trent, they are allowed to remain. In other words, these Eastern Churches have ceremonies, liturgies, traditions, and ways of expressing theology that are different, but still united, with the Latin branch of the Catholic Church.

The following liturgies are used by the Eastern Catholic Churches:

  • The Liturgy of St. Basil
  • The Chaldean Mass
  • The Order of the Divine and Holy Liturgy of Our Father Among the Saints Gregory the Theologian (or Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts)
  • The Liturgy of St. James
  • The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom
  • The Liturgy of St. Mark
  • The Holy Qorbono

The Latin branch of the Catholic Church generally uses just the “Ordinary Form of the Mass”, although it has some variants, (some of which are substantially different, like the Extraordinary Form). The different versions are listed under the Latin tradition in the post below. Note that these are really considered different forms of the SAME Mass.

continued…

Here is a listing that includes EACH of the twenty-three Catholic Churches in union with the Pope. Do not confuse “churches” with “rites”. A rite is a series of traditions, that includes different customs and liturgies. Several different churches may use the exact same rite. A Church has its own rules and separate line of authority to the Pope. It may also have a figure in charge, like a Metropolitan or a Patriarch (like an Archbishop), since these churches are generally very small and work very hard to preserve their unique traditions. The major rites are the Latin, Alexandrian, Antiochian, Armenian, Chaldean, and Byzantine.

The Western (Latin) Catholic Church

Latin liturgical tradition

  1. Ordinary Form
  2. Extraordinary Form
  3. Ambrosian Rite (Only permitted in the Archdiocese of Milan)
  4. Mozarabic Rite (Only permitted in the Cathedral of Toledo, Spain and a few surrounding churches of the diocese)
  5. Bragan Rite (Only permitted in the Archdiocese of Braga, Portugal)
  6. Anglican-Use Mass (This form is permitted in the extremely rare circumstance in which an Anglican priest converts to Catholicism and brings his entire parish with him. In that event, a parish may continue to use the Anglican liturgy, with corrections to make it conform with Catholic teachings This is currently meant as a transitional liturgy, and upon the death of the pastor, the church reverts to the Ordinary Form.)

Rites of Religious Orders (These are not technically rites per se, but rather small variants of the Roman liturgy. The Ambrosian, Mozarabic, and Bragan Rites fall into this category too.):

  1. Dominican Rite
  2. Carthusian Rite
  3. Carmelite Rite
  4. Cisternian Rite

The Eastern Catholic Churches

1. Alexandrian liturgical tradition

  1. Coptic Catholic Church (patriarchate): Egypt (1741)
  2. Ethiopian Catholic Church (metropolia): Ethiopia, Eritrea (1846)
    2. Antiochian (Antiochene or West-Syrian) liturgical tradition
  3. Maronite Church (patriarchate): Lebanon, Cyprus, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Argentina, Brazil, United States, Australia, Canada, Mexico (union re-affirmed 1182)
  4. Syriac Catholic Church (patriarchate): Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Palestine, Egypt, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, United States and Canada, Venezuela (1781)
  5. Syro-Malankara Catholic Church (major archiepiscopate): India, United States (1930)
    3. Armenian liturgical tradition:
  6. Armenian Catholic Church (patriarchate): Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Palestine, Ukraine, France, Greece, Latin America, Argentina, Romania, United States, Canada, Eastern Europe (1742)
    4. Chaldean or East Syrian liturgical tradition:
  7. Chaldean Catholic Church (patriarchate): Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, United States (1692)
  8. Syro-Malabar Church (major archiepiscopate): India, Middle East, Europe and America.
    5. Byzantine (Constantinopolitan) liturgical tradition:
  9. Albanian Greek Catholic Church (apostolic administration): Albania (1628)
  10. Belarusian Greek Catholic Church (no established hierarchy at present): Belarus (1596)
  11. Bulgarian Greek Catholic Church (apostolic exarchate): Bulgaria (1861)
  12. Byzantine Church of the Eparchy of Križevci (an eparchy and an apostolic exarchate): Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro (1611)
  13. Greek Byzantine Catholic Church (two apostolic exarchates): Greece, Turkey (1829)
  14. Hungarian Greek Catholic Church (an eparchy and an apostolic exarchate): Hungary (1646)
  15. Italo-Albanian Catholic Church (two eparchies and a territorial abbacy): Italy (Never separated)
  16. Macedonian Greek Catholic Church (an apostolic exarchate): Republic of Macedonia (1918)
  17. Melkite Greek Catholic Church (patriarchate): Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Jerusalem, Brazil, United States, Canada, Mexico, Iraq, Egypt and Sudan, Kuwait, Australia, Venezuela, Argentina (1726)
  18. Romanian Church United with Rome, Greek-Catholic (major archiepiscopate): Romania, United States (1697)
  19. Russian Catholic Church: (two apostolic exarchates, at present with no published hierarchs): Russia, China (1905); currently about 20 parishes and communities scattered around the world, including five in Russia itself, answering to bishops of other jurisdictions
  20. Ruthenian Catholic Church (a sui juris metropolia, an eparchy, and an apostolic exarchate): United States, Ukraine, Czech Republic (1646)
  21. Slovak Greek Catholic Church (metropolia): Slovak Republic, Canada (1646)
  22. Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (major archiepiscopate): Ukraine, Poland, United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Germany and Scandinavia, France, Brazil, Argentina (1595)

Thank you for taking the time to read this and hopefull answering my questions,

You are very welcome!

Welcome…it seems you have enough info with which to get started. I am a convert from the Baptist denomination. Start going to Mass, get acquainted with what goes on and find an RCIA program. :wink:

Good luck and keep us posted.

:angel1:

Wow, thank you every one. you all REALLY helped a lot! :smiley:

So far, there is only one Catholic church in my town (that i know of) i live in a pretty small town, so that might be my only option, but one of my friends goes there, so it might be my best option as well.

ill keep everyone posted (as requested) or you can email me at Bradyc32@gmail.com if you wish to know anything, :thumbsup:

I have just joined the forum and was so blessed to be lead to open
this thread.

Even though I did not ask a question- I received an answer.
Thank you so very much for your insight!

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