Conversion


#1

Hello everyone. My name is Josiah. I have been raised in a protestant family. My grandfather is a pastor, my dad was going to be a pastor. I have always been firm in my beliefs. But for the last few years I have struggled tremendously with my on and off faith. My father and mother have lost their faith. The church I attend has seen many scandal, and has split into many different branches because of petty feuds. I have been raised against catholicism and have never given it a thought. But recently I have felt compelled to research the beliefs and practices of the church. I am starting to really think I should convert. But some red flags are still going off in my mind. I have heard that the pope has accepted evolution, and that goes against everything I have ever believed. Also I am a bit leary about confessing to a man instead of jesus. And I am very unclear on the whole mother mary situation. Other than these things, I think converting would be a great thing for me. Please help if you can. Thanks and God bless!


#2

Hi Josiah,

I will try and give reall brief answers to your questions but each is a sepearate topic in an of itself. You may be able to get better answers if you post each question individually and also search here … catholic.com/ for some more explanations.

However… Evolution… the church has not formually defined anything on it so you are free to believe in evolution or creationism if you want.

Confession… Jesus gave His Church the ability to bind and loose sins as they see fit. I order to do that they have to hear the sins (ie they can’t read your mind.) However, the priest is acting in persona Christi (meaning as the person of Christ) and has no ability on his own to forgive sins. Only God does that however God set up the sacraments as means to experience His grace in your life, through His priesthood

this might help get you started… catholic.com/tracts/confession
catholic.com/quickquestions/how-can-i-explain-to-protestant-friends-why-catholics-go-to-confession

Regarding to Mary… What do you find objectionable as this is also a huge topic?

Welcome to the Forums. I hope your exploration of Catholicism is a fruitful one.


#3

Welcome! First, know that you are following the lead of the Holy Spirit in your search for the truth. The Lord opens doors for an open heart. The first thing that I would advise is to read up on the faith. Have a look at Catholicism for Dummies. It is written by two very well educated and very holy Priests. It will answer many of your questions. I highly recommend it, as I learn something about the faith each time I open my copy.

Do you know anyone who is Catholic? I ask because, at some point, you will want to attend a mass, to see for yourself that it is 100% centered on Christ. It is usually far more comfortable for you to attend your first mass aloong with someone you know and trust. As to accepting Chruch teaching, it is completely normal to have some concerns. It is very rare if you do not. Yet, having an explanation for those beliefs will change your mind - especially since you are seeking the truth.

The Catholic Church is not terribly easy to join, and it is very easy to leave. In my mind, that is one sign of the truth. Some sects are very easy to join and difficult to leave. We know who they are, and also that they are false. So, read up, go to a mass, and ask questions here. The only hard part at the forums is that we are limited to a single topic per thread. But, just as a wall is built one brick at a time, a wall which separates is taken down one brick at a time.

Christ’s peace to you on your search.


#4

You certainly are in our prayers…and we are here to help you.

My suggestion is to call the catholic parish nearest you and inquire about RCIA. It is the process of which those wishing to explore Catholicism are taught…and later in the process…you may decide to pursue joining the CC.

As for your issues…I would suggest, as per forum rules, to break them down into individual threads…easy to manage your questions and issues. I would suggest start with the easiest…to the hardest.

But some red flags are still going off in my mind. I have heard that the pope has accepted evolution, and that goes against everything I have ever believed.

This website has an excellent search engine…use it to read tracts explaining such issues.

I am not familiar with the evolution issue, so I will leave that to others to reply.

Also I am a bit leary about confessing to a man instead of jesus.

To get you started…Read Job 42…7 After the Lord had said these things to Job , he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. 8 So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.” 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the Lord told them; and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer.

Here, God, instead of forgiving Eliphaz directly, tells them to go through Job to be forgiven. So it is in the Bible…it just have not been pointed out to you.


#5

Thank you for your replies djk and po18. po18, I don’t have a any catholic friends all I know are protestant. The thing I am uncertain about mary is from what I have always heard, catholics hold mary to the same level as God. I will pick up catholicism for dummies thank you for the suggestion. Also when you day that the church is not easy to get into, is it going to be hard for me to convert?


#6

Thank you for your reply pablope. I'm sorry about all the questions I wasn't
familiar with the rule on individual posts.


#7

Hi Josiah,

First, Catholics do not hold Mary as anywhere near the same plain as God. Catholics worship God and God alone. We do have a healthy respect for her as she is a human par excellance and is a model for us to try and emulate. We do ask for her to help bring our petitions to Jesus, but we do not “pray” to her in the Protestant sense of the word. (When Catholics say pray we often mean “to ask” as in I pray that you will help me. Our worship to God comes in the form of the Mass.)

When he says the Church is not easy to get into he means that there is a very long discernment process which can be upto 2 years. It takes a lot of dedication because the Church wants to be sure that all your questions have been answered and that you truly believe what the Church has to teach you. You can’t just sign up and become a member in a month or two. That is what I think he means. But everyone’s indvidual process is slightly different.


#8

Dear Josiah,

The others have given you good answers, and I just wanted to let you know that I’m praying for you and look forward to welcoming you into the Catholic Church.

A quick paragraph on Mary - Catholics don’t hold her on the same level as God - we don’t worshop her. However, we recognize the special role she had in bringing forth the Redeemer through her “yes.” As such, we honor and respect her and we ask her to pray for us because she has a special relationship with Jesus her His mother.

God bless,
Bryan


#9

I’ll let others answer as I’m not quite as clear in my explanation. Though I have read the arguments and answers and am convinced of the Church’s teaching, I’m not as articulate as many people here. What I can say is that I had more objections than that and now I’m Catholic. Its simpy a matter of reading what the Church says for herself rather than what her opponents say about her teachings. Get ready for a fun ride! You’ll be in my prayers.

Derek


#10

The church is not too hard to get into you just have to go through rcia. Which is basically “religion class” with your background you will be fine and many of your questions will be answered there. I did it no problem. As for Mary, she is very highly respected by catholics. As she is by Jesus. I am not the best one to explain all that but I did look into it when I converted and it’s not as wild as some protestants make it sound.

Good luck you have MANY catholic freinds right here.


#11

Thank you everyone you have been very helpful. I think protestants blow things way out of proportion regarding catholic beliefs. I am going to read some literature about it, and of course keep praying, and eventually I will come to a decision. I think God is calling me to th e church.


#12

In addition to the literature you are going to read, make sure to pick yourself up a Catechism of the Catholic Church. Everything else is really just commentary and explanation of those pages.


#13

[quote="Josiah599, post:5, topic:284784"]
Thank you for your replies djk and po18. po18, I don't have a any catholic friends all I know are protestant. The thing I am uncertain about mary is from what I have always heard, catholics hold mary to the same level as God. I will pick up catholicism for dummies thank you for the suggestion. Also when you day that the church is not easy to get into, is it going to be hard for me to convert?

[/quote]

Mary is 100% human, and 100% a creation. She is not to be worshipped, but rather, to be respected (venerated) for her role in bringing Christ to flesh. God could have created Jesus' human flesh from stones, right? Yet, He chose a humble woman as the path for Christ to come to us. God first conceived of Mary as Jesus' mother in His divine intellect, then gave her flesh so that she could, in turn, give flesh to His Son. She declared to the angel Gabriel that she was the "hand maid" or "bond slave" of the Lord. This is important, as it excludes all of her personal and human needs and focuses entirely on the Lord and His needs. She and Christ were together from virgin womb to virgin tomb. Like the bible, there is a huge back story to Mary.

I do not want to imply that it is a strenuous task to join the Church. It just takes some time and personal commitment to be properly taught her beliefs. As with all journeys toward the truth, it will take some time and effort. It is much more than a meet and greet session. Reading the Dummies book will be a great preparation for the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, (RCIA), as the process is known.

As a point of interest, Francis Beckwith, who was president of the Evangelical Theological Society, re-joined the Catholic Church in 2007 after being away for some years. Although it was controversial among his evangelical peers, his story might just give you the hope and encouragement that you need. It was a leap of faith for him.


#14

I will add only that Catholicism for Dummies has both the nihil obstat and the Imprimatur, and so may be used, within its limitations, as a catechism.

Here is a link to what seems to be the most popular online catechism. USCCB also has an online catechism, although their site is in transition.


#15

Thank you for your reply pablope. I’m sorry about all the questions I wasn’t
familiar with the rule on individual posts.


#16

Just know that the Church which Christ founded will be forever incomplete without you as a member. If we can be of any assistance whatsoever, we will.


#17

No worries, Josiah.

Regarding Mary…Christ said on the cross…Behold your mother…here is a short homily regarding these words of Christ by John Paul II…and you will get some perspective on why we love and respect Mary…as our heavenly mother…ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/jp2bvm49.htm

  1. After recalling the presence of Mary and the other women at the Lord’s cross, St John relates: “When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’. Then he said to the disciple, 'Behold, your mother!’” (Jn 19:26-27).

These particularly moving words are a “revelation scene”: they reveal the deep sentiments of the dying Christ and contain a great wealth of meaning for Christian faith and spirituality. At the end of his earthly life, as he addressed his Mother and the disciple he loved, the crucified Messiah establishes a new relationship of love between Mary and Christians.

Interpreted at times as no more than an expression of Jesus’ filial piety towards his Mother whom he entrusts for the future to his beloved disciple, these words go far beyond the contingent need to solve a family problem. In fact, attentive consideration of the text, confirmed by the interpretation of many Fathers and by common ecclesial opinion, presents us, in Jesus’ twofold entrustment, with one of the most important events for understanding the Virgin’s role in the economy of salvation.


#18

Thank you po18 :slight_smile:


#19

Hi Josiah,

You may find this sight on Mary very helpful.
www.davidmacd.com/catholic/mary_in_the_bible.htm

And this one explains different ideas on Mary.
philvaz.com/apologetics/apolog.htm#MARY

And some topics on this may be of interest to you.
philvaz.com/apologetics/apolog.htm

Everyone is wellcome to attend Sunday Mass, so you may come anytime you wish.
Any other time the church is open you are also welcome to come and sit in quiet.
This is a good time to just have a heart to heart with Jesus.

May the sweet Jesus embrace you.


#20

Hello Josiah and welcome,

There is no official Catholic teaching on the origin of life and the universe. It is a mystery still being investigated.

Catholics are free to believe the Bible depiction or theistic evolutionary theory.

If a Catholic chooses to believe evolutionary theory there is one condition imposed, he/she must believe it is theistic evolution, guided by the Hand of God and not random as Darwin espouses.

I believe the theistic evolutionary model, my best friend believes in creationism from the Bible. We are both Catholic and it doesn’t conflict with our faiths at all.

The other important distinction is that belief in either is not salvific. For Catholics believing in creationism or theistic evolution does not determine whether we go to heaven or hell.


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