Considering joining the Catholic Church



First post here. I have recently come across the Catholic Church and it’s teaching and am trying to learn more. A protestant all my life (simply because I knew nothing else). I know the Catholic Church claims to be the one True Church started by Jesus Christ. I would like to learn more on this issue. (ie…How am I to know that this is the one true church and not another?) My protestant friends all tell me the typical response of “the church is just anyone that follows Christ” when I talk about joining the Catholic church. They don’t see the need to be part of an institution. I can blow holes in the argument, but I would like more knowledge as to how the Catholic Church formed and developed over time.

Thank you in advance.


Hi Jim—glad to see you’re considering taking a dip in the Tiber. Having swum it myself this Easter, I can assure you the water’s fine!

If I could, I’d like to recommend a book to you:

The link is through Amazon, but it is widely available and has been favorably remarked upon here.

Have you attended Mass yet? I’m sure your local parish would love to have you visit. My wife and I met our deacon first, then attended Mass. We read “The How-To Book of the Mass” afterward and really got a lot out of it.


Hi Jim, and welcome.

Maybe one of the first places you should visit is the Catholic Answers library

There are pleny of other sources for information, which I’m sure others will post. Are you familiar with the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

And be assured that you are not alone. Many Protestants come here to honestly seek information about the Church, and many end up converting (you’ll be hearing from them soon :))

Oh, as to how one knows this is the true Church and not any other? The very condensed answer is, it is the Church in union with the Bishop of Rome (aka the Pope).


Howdy Jim, Come on in, the waters fine. I agree, try the home page of CA, which stands for Catholic Answers. God Bless.


Start here:

Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth


Welcome JimRyan!

There is a great little book called Why is that in Tradition, by Patrick Madrid that will answer alot of questions you may have about Church authority, doctrines, sacraments, customs and practices.

There are others works by the same auther which you might also check out. One is entitled Where is that in the Bible

Here are some verses which point to Christ’s establishment of a particular church;

Matthew 16:18-19 “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.”

Matthew 18:15-18 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you haved gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you , that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Hope this helps to get you started.


Welcome!! Many of us here are converts as I am and there are many reverts as well. You have come to a great place - there are so many people here who are filled with knowledge about our faith and would love to help you and support you in your search for the True Church that Jesus founded.

I see that Mike has already given you a link to the library, which is a great place to start. Here is one of their articles:

Origins of Peter as Pope

Here is another one: Peter and the Papacy

I have heard rave reviews about the book The Four Witnesses. I want it so bad. All I know is it’s about the beginings of the Church. I’m sure someone can fill you in on it.

Also check out for some great info.

A couple of books that helped me cross the Tiber were: Why Do Catholics Do That by Kevin Orlin Johnson and also Surprised By Truth by Patrick Madrid.

Feel fre to PM me with any questions you might have. No question is too dumb.



Hello Jim

Like VociMike said…

I am going to begin RCIA this fall, the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. It is the first step to being received into the church. You have received some great answers so far.

I would recommend reading Rome Sweet Home and The Marriage Supper by Scott Hahn, if you are looking for reading.

Feel free to Private Message me, if you are looking to converse with someone who has been in your shoes.


Another good idea is to contact a local Catholic parish, or look one up online and consider joining an RCIA class. Although RCIA is oriented towards folks who have decided to join the Church, it’s also for people who are curious and want to learn more about the Faith. Contact the person in charge of the local RCIA program and I’m sure he or she will be able to help you! God bless you on your journey!


Here is a site of the Franciscans (in America)

It might prove useful as well.

I converted as well, after many years of internal debate over the matter. I can say that it is well worth it.

I’ll humbly advise a few actions to take. Others may provide far better advice.

The first thing you should do is pray. You’ll know it is right when you are calm and praying to God for guidance.

Secondly, make sure you read about anything that is seriously bothering you about the Church. There are so many myths and misconceptions out there. I know, I come from a partly anti-Catholic family.

Third, go to Mass and talk with the priest, assistant priest, deacon, or a sister about Catholicism. They will help you and offer advice. Also, they should be able to tell you about RCIA which should be starting in September. That will be the classes to go to to really learn and ask questions about the Church - and if you choose - to ultimately convert.

Meanwhile, If you like the intellectual side of the faith, then read some of the early Church fathers, Saint Augustine, or Saint Thomas Aquinas.

If you like the spiritual side of the faith read some Thomas a Kempis, or read about Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Clare, or Blessed Mother Theresa.

If you like the piety or devotional aspect of the faith, then look to Padre Pio, Pope John Paul II, The Way of the Cross, and the Rosary.

God Bless,



I would get a Catechism and read it.

Start with the Compendium and then get the Full Copy.


I actually just got a copy of the Catechism in the mail…a bit overwhelming, should I just start from the beginning?

I understand what your saying about the Church in union with the Bishop of Rome, but I want to know why how the papacy developed and have a defense for why things are the way they are.



Thanks, I have not attended a mass yet. I was thinking that I should have all the basics down before doing so. Do you think I should got before I have a better understanding?


Thanks Marci, that was helpful. One of my friends is always talking about how I’m too worried about the “institution” and that our relationship with Christ has nothing to do with it. Will these same resources address that?


Are all of Hahns books basically addressing the same issues? I’ve been recommended quite a few and I’m not sure where to start. Thanks!


I like that idea, I will look into it. Thanks!


Each book addresses a different aspect of the Catholic faith

I would start with Rome Sweet Home, its his story of how he came into the Catholic Church. The Marriage Supper (I believe that is what it is called, if not its something similar) is a book about the Mass.


I started at the beginning and read right through. The Catechism is laid out very logically, I found.


Hi Jim,
Did you see these articles yet?

This might help you understand it some better before you go. You can always print that out and follow it along. The Daily scripture readings for every day’s Mass is right here. Since I don’t have a daily Missal (yet) I usually will print them out and take them with me. It should help you as well. :thumbsup:

That’s silly…:smiley: My return to the Catholic faith has greatly deepened my relationship with Our Lord. Here’s my testimony. :slight_smile:

Another excellent source you might consider is the Catholic Home Study Service Courses. They are free of charge (though donations are welcomed!) and having completed all but the newest one, (Hey, I’m working on it now! :rolleyes: ) I think they are some of the best courses anyone can find.

Please feel free to PM or e-mail me if you have anything you’d like more help with. It will be my honor and privilege.:bible1: :irish1:


I would definitely recommend going to a Mass as soon as you can. There’s a lot to absorb in the Catechism and other literature, but in the Mass you’re in the presence of the Lord. Don’t worry about the liturgy; you can open a hymnal or a missal in the pew and find the Order of the Mass. “The How-To Book of the Mass” can fill in a lot of the background as to why the Mass is as it is.

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