Considering reverting back to Catholicism

I was born and raised Catholic, but was not properly catechized, and as a result left the Roman Catholic Church for evangelicalism. Now, I have become aware of my error and am considering reverting back to Catholicism. However, I am still caught up on a few doctrines that I wish I could overcome:

Papal supremacy -> It seems to me that the Orthodox have the historically accurate doctrine on this one, that is “primacy of honor” rather than “primacy of authority”. And even if primacy of authority was true, is papal infallibility really a logical extension of that?

Purgatory -> I get that nothing unclean will enter Heaven, but doesn’t Christ grant us forgiveness in this life?

Salvation outside of the Church -> What will happen to the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian Church, Anglicans? And what about evangelicals?

The atonement -> is the Catholic view of the atonement purely Anselmian? Is the Christus Victor/ransom theory also there?

I think you would benefit from going through RCIA. You can probably even call a priest and talk with him, or ask who is in charge of the RCIA. Either person could answer your question best. You might find yourself with more questions after talking with them, or if anyone else here joins in. I find it easier to ask questions in person.

That’s not what the Scriptures show us. Read Is 22 and compare to Mt 16. Peter, and Peter alone was given the keys to the Kingdom. Find out what that signified. Peter and Peter alone was given the commission to lead his brothers back to faith just before Christ was hadned over. Peter, and Peter alone was commissioned to shepherd Christ’s flock on earth at the end of John’s Gospel.

And even if primacy of authority was true, is papal infallibility really a logical extension of that?

Who says it is an extension of ONLY that? Jn 16:13, Jn 14:26, Lk 10:16, Acts 15:28, etc… The CHURCH is infallible because Christ made it so. Peter is the obvious Vicar on earth, because Christ made him so.

Purgatory -> I get that nothing unclean will enter Heaven, but doesn’t Christ grant us forgiveness in this life?

Yes, Christ grants forgiveness. But "there is also 2Samuel 12:13-14, where David is punished for his sin AFTER he has been forgiven. And in Heb 12:22-23, Paul tells us that there is a place or process by which the spirits of just men are made perfect. We also see in 1Cor 3:13-15 that there is a place where a saved man, after he has died, can suffer loss as through fire, and we know that nothing unclean shall enter into Heaven (Rev 21:27).

Straight from the Bible, then, we see the Catholic principles for Purgatory: 1) Scripture shows us, explicitly, that a man can be punished for his sin AFTER he had been forgiven (2Sam 12:13-18, 2) Scripture tells us, explicitly, that there is a place where a man, after he has died, and is saved, can suffer loss as through fire (1Cor 3:13-15). 3) There is a place, or process, where the SPIRITS of just men are made perfect (Heb 12:22-23). 4) Nothing unclean can enter Heaven."

Salvation outside of the Church -> What will happen to the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian Church, Anglicans? And what about evangelicals?

All who are saved are saved through Christ’s Church…whether they realize it or not.

The atonement -> is the Catholic view of the atonement purely Anselmian? Is the Christus Victor/ransom theory also there?

I don’t know what “Anselmian” or “Christus Victor/ransom theory” entail, so I’ll let someone else chime in.

A few ideas to think about:

Forgiveness: God forgives us, but part of the equation is that we have to ask for it. That’s part of the reason why confession is such a valuable tool in the “Catholic toolbox”.

Also, do we really want forgiveness and to repent or do we just want to say a fickle, “I’m sorry” and you keep on doing the same thing? I think intent is really important here.

The Pope: I like the Pope can be directly be traced back to Peter and the original church. Some of this other stuff, I put it in the “mystery of faith” box and close it.

Salvation outside of the Church - Again, “Mystery of Faith” box.

Jesus tells us that he is the way, the truth and the life and nobody gets to the Father, but through him.

I have a hard time believing that God would punish people because they aren’t Catholics. Billions of non-Catholic Christians have died, faithfully trying to worship God in the way that they best understood Him. God is merciful.

Atonement “theory”: I didn’t know there was one (or two), seriously. Sorry. Maybe someone else can help you. :confused:

Look, I’m a convert. There were questions that I needed answered before I could join the church, so I get where you are coming from, even though I didn’t have the same issues I was struggling with.

I just got to the point where I knew that to be Catholic, I’d have to accept some ideas that were just odd to a former Baptist girl - even if I didn’t know the “why” as to why the Catholic church had it right. So, I put a lot of these things in the “mystery of faith” box and haven’t looked back. A lot of the stuff that we are argue about and question aren’t going to matter when we are face to face with Jesus.

Also, I learned a lot more from CAF than I ever did in my RCIA class. (Just putting it out there.)

Would I need to go through RCIA to be readmitted? :confused:

I thought I just had to go to confession

This is all true, but the Pope being infallible doesn’t seem to extend from that

I don’t see what you’re referring to in Hebrews 12, but otherwise yea that makes sense

I know that, my question was: will they be?

This is true

So can the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchs

Dismissing certain doctrines as a mystery rather than approaching and evaluating them seems like a dishonest way of searching for theological truth.

But what is the official Catholic teaching?

There are 10+ different atonement models.

I find it very strange that someone could choose Catholicism over Eastern Orthodoxy without even discerning the differences and evaluating them for accuracy.

Hi Peace4Him,

Firstly, thanks be to God for guiding you towards Him and His Church.

May I gently suggest you’re really over-thinking the whole affair? Wanting to know and understand the Faith is highly commendable - an attribute of holiness, even - but what is more important is believing it and living it. By this I don’t mean “blind faith” or “willful ignorance” but rather an attitude of detachment and trust.

While the questions you pose are of huge importance, they seem to me absolutely trivial compared to the question I think you should be asking yourself. Was the Church founded by Christ? Did He found Her upon the rock of Peter? If yes, knowing how the Pope works is of less importance than being in communion with him.

Come home to the Church, to the Bride of Our Lord. Come home first. Make a good confession - tell the priest you want to make a general confession, he’ll help you through it - and receive Our Blessed Lord in Holy Communion. That’s it, that’s all you have to do. Then, you’ll have the rest of your life to learn and understand the mysteries of the Divine.

If you want a more “official” reversion, why not ask the priest who hears your confession whether he would witness you renewing your baptismal promises? You could even recite a creed (such as the Athanasian) as a prelude to the renewal of your promises.

If you trust and believe Christ, trust and believe His Church.

Again, I get wanting to understand all, but isn’t that a little controlling? (I mean this in the gentlest possible fashion) It’s like you’re saying: “What I decide is true is the Truth”. Why not trust that what you don’t understand now about the Faith will be revealed to you as and when Divine Providence wills it. It’s all up to Him (and His mother, obviously :wink: ).

If you don’t mind, I’ll be praying for you, that the Holy Spirit grant you the wisdom and the courage to follow whatever His will be for your life.

Ad Iesum Per Mariam

The four concerns are really four separate threads to fully discuss. A search will show many discussions on the issues. I agree with confusion of so many issues that RCIA would be of great benefit to the OP.

You are correct. You only have to go to confession. The poster suggested RCIA as a forum to discussion your questions face to face.

I pray that you return and I will answer your questions shortly.

Papal supremacy -> It seems to me that the Orthodox have the historically accurate doctrine on this one, that is “primacy of honor” rather than “primacy of authority”. And even if primacy of authority was true, is papal infallibility really a logical extension of that?

** * The Orthodox believe that the Church is infallible, just like Catholics do. They also believe that the councils are infallible, just like Catholics. A Council can only be opened by the Chair of St. Peter. Which is why the Orthodox have not had a council since the Great Schism. Also, other Schism orthodox/catholic churches have not had Councils either since the Chair of Peter is required to have a Council. The Chair of St. Peter can also “veto” a Council. If Councils are infallible, yet if the Pope can “veto” or reject a Council, then a council is not infallible on it’s own. It must have the Pope. Furthermore, if the Church is infallible, someone has to have the final word when it comes to a disagreement among the Bishops or Particharchs. As in the Book of Acts, this final word comes from the Chair of Peter. If the Church is infallible, then the Pope must too be infallible (in regards to teaching Faith and Morals) based on simple logic. ***

Purgatory -> I get that nothing unclean will enter Heaven, but doesn’t Christ grant us forgiveness in this life?

*** we are forgiven when we go to confession and are contrite. However, sinning damages our souls, and that damage must be clensed. Think of it like this: Let’s assume that you kids are playing baseball in the backyard and then the ball breaks a window. Assuming that your child(ren) show remorse, you will forgive them. But there is still glass everywhere and a window to repair. That’s purgatory.

Salvation outside of the Church -> What will happen to the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian Church, Anglicans? And what about evangelicals?

*** All Christians who enters Heaven, enters via the Catholic Church. Even if they were never Catholic. There is only One Church, the Cathoic Church. Everyone who is Baptised in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is part of the mystical body of Christ and in imperfectly union with Christ’s Church. Any non-christians who are granted access to Heaven do so through Christ’s mercy.***

I will let others answer the attonment question, as I do not want to butcher it. :smiley:

(oh, and please forgive any misspellings) :blush:

I hope this helps. God Bless.

I was only making the suggestion for a way to get your questions answered. You don’t need it to be readmitted, just thought it would give you a way to answer your questions and reaffirm your faith. I’m sorry if this came off all wrong. I seem to be doing a lot of that lately. :blush: :shrug:

Correct. You just have to go to confession. I would make an appointment with a priest, with the understanding it might take some time. It would also give you an opportunity, (after confession) to discuss with the priest some of your questions.

But, don’t stop there on your journey. Not growing in faith and learning about your faith might have been the thing that helped you stray in the first place.

I’d listen to a ton of Catholic Answers radio shows. There’s a whole archive of ten years to look at, everything from “Papal Authority” to abortion, to everything that you might question. It’s great and very helpful.

And hang around here. Welcome home, and in the words of JPII, “Don’t be afraid”


Hello, Peace4Him,

The most essential thing about coming back in to the practice of the Catholic Faith is your belief in the Sacraments of Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation.

The questions you are asking are excellent, but they are like blades of grass compared to a giant Redwood Tree in importance.

[FONT=Calibri]Luke 22: 19-20 [/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman]Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman]John 20: 19-23 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. [Jesus] said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial][size=2]If you accept the Truth of the Real Presence of Christ in Holy Communion and the Truth that your sins are indeed truly forgiven in Reconciliation, then, in good conscience, you must practice your Catholic Faith.

As for Papal Supremacy:

There are many places in the Gospels and New Testament that state Peter’s responsibility and authority far beyond just the first place of honor. But also note that Peter is guided by the Holy Spirit and discussions are held before Peter makes a decision which is then communicated and followed. Here are some sources that should be sufficient:

[FONT=Calibri]**Matthew 16: 15-19 **[/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman]He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church,***** and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.***** Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”[/FONT]

[FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Arial]ACTS 15: 6 The apostles and the presbyters met together to see about this matter. 7 After much debate had taken place, Peter got up and said to them, “My brothers, you are well aware that from early days God made his choice among you that through my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. . . . [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Arial]24 Since we have heard that some of our number [who went out] without any mandate from us have upset you with their teachings and disturbed your peace of mind, 25 we have with one accord decided to choose representatives and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 So we are sending Judas and Silas who will also convey this same message by word of mouth: 28 ‘It is the decision of the holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities, . . .[/FONT][/FONT]

[FONT=Calibri][FONT=Arial]**JOHN 14: *16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, 17 the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. . . .26 The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that * told you.

Given that you accept that Jesus Christ is indeed the Living Son of God, and, being God, Christ cannot lie, then what Christ said and did and how the Apostles went about in compliance with Christ’s commands gives us a very clear and strong foundation to believe in the Catholic Church. While we have questions, those questions should never cause us to leave the practice of our Faith.

Given that 1) Christ gave Peter the power to bind and loose and 2) that the Holy Spirit - the Spirit of Truth - was sent from the God the Father, and 3) that the Apostles would meet to discuss and accept Peter’s decisions, it seems pretty clear that on such matters, Peter’s successor - the Pope - is still guided by the Holy Spirit. It is important to distinguished that the Pope’s Infallibility applies to matters of Faith and Morals and not to everything else he may state.

There is still today the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith at the Vatican that thoroughly researches Faith questions and then the results are presented to the Pope for His decision. Because the Pope is guided by the Hoy Spirit, he alone is responsible for decisions and has the power the accept, modify or change the research. When the Pope does issue a decision, he provides his reasoning with many references to the Bible and past Papal decisions.

Keep in mind that the Holy Spirit is guiding him and he is Christ’s Vicar on Earth. There is no better authority to rely on. History is replete with those who disagree, but disagreement is not a proper basis to overcome the Words of Christ who cannot lie.


First off, praise be to God that you are answering this call from the Lord. Many people in this day and age do not want to put in the legwork and intellectual effort like you are doing.

I would recommend you peruse this website:

James Likoudis’ Page

Scroll down to “Catholic – Eastern Orthodox Issues

The owner of the page is a convert from Eastern Orthodoxy to Catholicism, and he wrestled with many of the theological issues that divide EO from Catholicism. You may find some things helpful, others you may not. But why seek half-baked answers from people that may not know as much as Mr. Likoudis.

I’m a thinker :slight_smile:


Eh, honestly I’m not sure whether it’s that or Peter’s confession of faith.

Yea, perhaps that’s a good idea. I just don’t want to make another mistake like I did when going to evangelicalism, so this time I want to be absolutely sure. I hope you understand.

That’s not a bad idea

I’m not sure why you’re throwing this out there as I have hopefully made it clear that I’m not entirely set on the idea that the RCC is the Church.

Well I don’t want to make another mistake.

But couldn’t an Orthodox say the same thing, and just say, "Just become Orthodox, your questions will be answered as you go? From your perspective, it seems sensible to tell me this, but from my perspective, you might as well be Orthodox and telling me this.

That’s another thing I still struggle with with Orthodoxy and Catholicism, they both put too much emphasis on her, but that’s not a deal breaker for me obviously as I’m really only considering Orthodoxy and Catholicism.

Thank you very much :slight_smile:


I guess so?

That makes more sense

Is this official Catholic teaching?

No problem, that was my fault

Thanks for the advice

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