Converted Catholic considering "unconverting"


#1

I have been married nine years to my DH and we have four children. When we go married I was protestant and told him conversion would probably not happen. I agreed that future children could be raised Catholic. My mother does not have much fondness for the Catholic Church and was upset that I relented to this in the beginning. After my first child was born and was going to be baptized, I could not stand that I was not a part of the religion that he was becoming a part of. So, I went through RCIA and converted. My mother was really against this. I have nothing against the Catholic Church, but there are some aspects that I really still have trouble accepting. So, fast forward seven years and when we moved back to my hometown and a parish that I do not enjoy. I started attending the Methodist Church and was accepted by the people of the church and feel very comfortable there. They have great programs and I feel so much closer to the Lord and my spiritual journey has improved. I had major health problems over the past year and this church was there for me in many ways. My DH loves this church as well, but he is cradle Catholic and is true to his religion, which I respect. I have been asked to join the Methodist Church and I am torn. I feel so much apart of this church and I love it for many reasons. However, my oldest son is in CCD and will be taking his first communion this year. I am feeling sad that once again he is going through a Catholic experience that I am not completely vested in. My DH has told me that it is my choice and that he will support me because he has seen how much I have grown in my faith since attending the Methodist Church, but he doesn't want me to keep going back and forth. He says if I joing this church, that I have to remember that I am not Catholic anymore. When I think about it that way, it really hurts, but I have not attended the Catholic Church regularly in two years anyway, so I am not sure it really matters. I am just wondering if I will regret it knowing that my kids will all be going through CCD and eventually I will be the odd man out. But, I wonder if it is worth it since I am not happy spiritually when attending the Catholic Church here. I also feel like I will be letting the Methodist Church down if I don't join since they have been so supportive of me. Also, my mother has been attending this same church with me after several years of not going to church. So, if I quit not only will she be upset about be once again choosing the Catholic Church, but she will no longer go to church. I don't know if I can live with that. I just don't know what to do. I feel lost attending the Catholic Church, but I don't want to cause family problems. Any insight?


#2

“I went through RCIA and converted.”

I’m a sponsor so I know the details involved in that process.


#3

Conversion is not just "Church shopping"- the Confirmation that you took was a Sacrament - it was also a set of promises made between you and the Lord. It left an indellible mark on your soul. As long as you are outside of communion with the Church by not making mass attendance, etc. you are in mortal sin. There is no way to undo a conversion - you are either in communion or out of communion. You made your choice and it was a mature decision - I hope now that it was made for the right reasons. Maybe you should spend time looking for a Catholic Church in your area that makes you happy and learning more about the "issues" that you have with the Church and why the teachings are the way they are.


#4

Hello,

I feel for your confusion and wish to be of any help I can. How long did you attend RCIA? In our parish, the RCIA journey is 18 months to 2 yrs so those people who wanted to become full members of the Catholic Church which Jesus established and is His Bride, were well catechized, and they were made to feel very welcome. I have been a sponsor in RCIA since 1997 and I love it.

I don’t know why you don’t feel welcome in this new parish? Have you joined any of the Catholic groups in the parish and/or volunteered? It is good ways to get to know your fellow parishoners.

One thing I wish to convey of utmost importance: We attend Mass ultimately to worship God and recall the great sacrifice Jesus did for us. It is the ONLY place where the REAL presence of Christ is to be found in the Eucharist: Body, Blood and Soul and Divinity. The Mass proclaims the Good News (gospel), Old Testament , New Testament, Psalms and Gospel EVERYDAY in a parish united under the successor of Peter!! It has never changed the Traditions (we’re not talking of “traditions” with a small “t” such as can be changed ie: garments, which way you face the congregation, etc.)

At Mass we are in communion with each other and the Lord and Mass is not a place that was established to entertain us and be a social gathering to have tea and bisquits. Other congregations gather but never to celebrate “Thanksgiving” (This is what Eucharist means: thanksgiving and it is what the ancient church called the Mass). The Mass is a beautiful expression of Faith and love of Christ and Christ’s love of us. If we apply ourselves fully to this Eucharist and really devote ourselves to WHAT Christ did for us, then how could anyone turn their back on the Sacrament of Communion? It is like Christ offering you a gift and then you turn your back on Him because “others” around you in the parish dont make you feel so welcome. Who will you stand before at the end of your life? Those people who make you feel warm and welcome but lead you astray from the true Church of Christ that He established, or will you stand before Christ?

It is good that your spiritual life has improved and you feel better, but I have seen many new converts in RCIA whose spiritual life there has grown and remained faithful and strong in the Church. They actually became involved in the various programs the Church has, and volunteered as well, and they welcome others into the Church.

What exactly is not welcoming at the Church where you live?

I hope you do not turn your back on the Church Christ established for us here. It’s not others that died for you and redeemed you and gave you the Eucharist, but only Christ.

God bless you and peace of Christ.


#5

You became Catholic and made an Oath before God that you believed and accepted all the teachings of the Church. This Oath is more important than even your marriage vow, are you going to consider shopping around for another husband when you guys get in an argument or he does something you don’t like? Of course you won’t. So why are you church shopping after making a commitment before God in regards to His Church?

My guess is your RCIA process wasn’t as good as it should have been. Before you came into full Communion with the Church they should have asked multiple times in the process and you should have made statements in front of the parish to the belief that this is where God wanted you to be, where you were being called to during multiple Rites throughout the process…

As a life long Protestant and almost a Protestant minister I can tell you that Church shopping because of feeling accepted by the people in the Church is common. Methodist become Presbyterians, or Anglicans or go to a different Methodist Church all the time where they feel welcome, were they “click” with the other people in the Church.

When becoming Catholic though you should have learned it’s not about the people… it’s about God.

When we became Catholic my wife was very ill at ease in the beginning, a little bit regarding the theology she didn’t fully understand yet but more so in regards to the people. Our Parish is large and pretty much established the town we live in so many of the families are well rooted into the Church after 120 years or so… it wasn’t easy to “fit in.” We didn’t necessarily like the interm pastor, our old Presbyterian pastor was one of my mentors and best friends for many years, his sermons were fantastic, while the Homilies at the parish were dry and often uninteresting.

Yet as we got more involved during RCIA we found we were blessed in many ways we could have never imagined. Just before Easter we got a new Pastor, while some member of the Parish didn’t like is intellectual style we loved him. Confession became a teaching, learning and growing opportunity for us and the fear my wife initially had to the sacrament melted away. Since then we have continued to stay involved and increase that involvement when possible. We have made many friends and truly started to feel at home but it took time and work on our part as well. We recently lost our the Pastor we liked but he was replaced by multiple Priests, all of whom are fantastic with children. Our 2nd and Kindergartner (we have 4 boys total) already know and love our new Pastor and his homilies are quite moving as well…

And yet all that aside… all those things above that seem to mean a lot in a Protestant Church PALE in comparison to something you can never get at the Methodist Church… Our Lord, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist. Perhaps you never truly believed or thought about the true power of Grace in the Eucharist. The spiritual strength we gain when we receive Christ’s gift each week is worth being Catholic for even if you never spoke to anyone.

I’m sorry if this note sounds harsh, I don’t mean it to be, I’m not trying to chastise you but remind you of the commitments you made when joining the Church. My suggestion that you spend some time in prayer, study what the Bible says about the Eucharist then what the Church teaches and pray that God open your heart to the beauty of His Church that He lead you too, that you made a commitment to before Him and that your family needs you to be a part of for the development of your children.

It’s not about us, it’s about God. I believe if you truly open yourself to the beauty and Truth of our Catholic Faith, study what we truly believe (that you can also teach your mother about - I’ve almost got my 67 year old Baptist mother to convert) you will fill those gaps missed during RCIA and eventually have no desire to attend the Methodist church.

Prayerfully,
Joe


#6

Also, I would get a copy of the Catholic Catechism if you don’t have one. And if you have satellite tv or cable please watch the EWTN network, particularly the Coming Home program that is on Monday Night 8 EST. I think you would also benefit by the Coming Home Network on the internet. They have many people like you with questions and have been through this same Journey. Sometimes it is hard, but once you realize what the Catholic Church has (the Eucharist) you’ll have to make your own decision, but remember your soul is involved, not necessarily happy worshipers or a feel good church.


#7

I understand the problem for the OP. My situation is in reverse, it is I who am the Catholic and my wife, who coverted to Catholicism who has chosen to go to another church. So I thought I’d offer a slightly different perspective:

I have to admit that the new church she’s going to has great programs, they get everyone involved, they’re very accepting, warm, and energetic. It is alluring, no doubt, so I can comprehend where you’re coming from. And I understand how my wife contrasts that to the solemn atmosphere of the Catholic church/es we’ve been to. And I do honestly wish we had that kind of fellowship in our Catholic churches.

So now she goes her way on Sunday and I and our kids go to mass. As the husband and supposed leader in the home I was hurt and angry for a while, but now I’ve accepted it I guess, like it sounds like your husband has. While it is not a marriage ending change (because divorce is not an option in our way of thinking), it still causes a large gap in our marriage, wherein we are not comfortable discussing what is the very most imprtant thing in a Christian’s life…God.

Now to the point: The question I have had to ask myself, and the question I’ve not dared ask my wife yet, is this: Will you trade fellowship for truth? Hard as it is on the family for us to be separated in this way, I simply HAVE to remain Catholic and to raise my children Catholic because it is the truth. I sometimes feel like I sacrifice things, when I see the friendships and activities my wife is experiencing thru her new found church (she’s on to church #3 now BTW).

But I have such a treasure in my Catholic faith, it is such a rock in my life, and I receive so many blessings and such consolation from it, that I wouldn’t trade it for anything. And it is what Jesus established on Earth for us. In God’s wisdom, He knows it is better for us to have the sacraments and the security of faith preserved thru the Church, than any fellowship man can contrive. So while it may seem to you like another church may offer a better atmosphere for growth, the fact is, it isn’t what God designed…and God knows what is good for us better than we know what is good for us.

He is the Way the Truth and the Life. The Bible tells us we can have no life in us without Him. And He describes Himself as Truth. Can we really hope to have an authentic spiritual life without Truth (Him)?

My hope for you is that you will focus less on what your Mom, or friends, or even what you feel, and devote yourself to discerning what is Truth, for that is where you will find Jesus…and therefore peace and happiness.

Peace,
Chris


#8

If you leave the Church, you leave Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Why do that?


#9

But he that shall deny me before men, shall be denied before the angels of God. (Luke12:9)


#10

I wanted to add something to my post also:

No matter where I go in the world, which cities, towns, etc, I always know that there is a Catholic Church I can attend, and the Mass and prayers are the same, for God does not change nor does His Sacrament. It doesn't matter that I may not know a soul there: I know God and feel at home no matter the parish I visit. (And I have gone alone when visiting different places). Some songs may differ - but this is not a concert I go to attend :) , and some parishes may say the "Apostles Creed" or the "Nicene Creed", but the proclamation of Faith remains the same (just a most expounded version in the Nicene Creed).

You cannot find that in any Protestant congregation, nor can you find the Eucharist there either.

blessings,:blessyou:


#11

I would make an appointment with a priest ASAP. I don't think you've actually given a parish in your area a real chance. If you truly think that you are being called back to the Methodist Church, you at least owe it to yourself and your children to put in the energy and the participation in a good Catholic parish, the same way you have been doing in the Methodist Church for the past year or so. Its very easy to say the Methodist church you have been attending is oh so much better, if you have nothing to really compare it to. You've been giving all your energy and time to finding God in a protestant church and you should be giving just as much to explore your relationship with God in a Catholic Church, at adoration, in the confessional, with a spiritual director and/or priest.


#12

Bottom line: There is one thing that Methodist church cannot ever offer you and that is The Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity or Our Lord in the Eucharist. Ever. Ever.

Don't walk away from the Sacraments. It will be the biggest mistake you will ever make in your life.

Go sit in front of Jesus in the tabernacle and pray hard about this. He will guide you.


#13

Two things that jumped out to me...

In the opening of your post, you mentioned your mother - twice. When we marry, we leave our parent and cling to our spouse. It seems you have/had not let go of your parents.

Once a Catholic, you are always a Catholic - unless you are excommunicated. You husband cannot excommunicate you.

Many Catholics wander away from 'home' - especially when something ugly is going on. This Advent the Church will be launching a program called Catholics Come Home. There will be TV commercials showing why people leave the Church but more importantly the lovely things they are missing.

Prayers & blessings,


#14

Thanks for all the replies. Each of you have given me things to think about. I will try to respond to all of your concerns, I hope I don't leave anything out.

First off, I went through a year long RCIA program that was very good. I cannot put the blame on them. They did all of the things that you are questioning. I did like this parish and the priest and felt very comfortable there. My DH is from a different parish that I also love. It is an old Catholic Church with lots of history and almost all of his family has grown up there and been baptized/married in this church. I feel very close to this church as well and have had wonderful experiences there.

I guess the main problem is the church in the town where we live. It is a small town and the only Catholic Church in town. My DH and I are very involved in our community and believe it is very important that we worship in our own town and not travel to another city. After attending Mass I just feel blank. I am not moved at all and I do not feel I have worshiped the Lord like I am called to. The priest is from another county and I cannot understand a word he says. Even when my kids are not distracting me. I have tried hard to focus on his homilies, to no avail. There is no love of believers in this church. I know you all are saying we are there to worship God, but God also calls us to love his children, and this is not happening at this parish. It is sad. Other than CCD, there are no activities for my children They do not have a zeal for church going. This is hard on my DH, because he sees how much they love coming with me and leave church having learned something. He recognizes that this parish his missing out on the kids and he supports them attending activities with me because they are learning Bible stories and other worship skills with me.

Now onto my vow to God. The only vow I have made to God his to love Him unconditionally and to love his people. I do not break that vow if I choose to love and worship him in another church. As far as the truth. I feel like I still have the truth at the Methodist Church as well. He is the Truth! That does not change between denominations.

As for my mother. It is more of an issue then it should be, I admit that. But, she was a single mother that made sacrifices for me that I will always be grateful for. She gives to our family in many ways and even my DH loves my mother endlessly. So, there is no way on this earth that I can just leave my mother. Family is important to me, and that means the family that raised me as well.

This leaves me with the main crutches of the problem. My kids. I feel like I probably converted for the wrong reason. I did for my kids, hoping it would grow on me. I'm afraid it never grew on me. I am sad about that. Here I am in the same situation again and thinking about not joining the church I feel called to because of my kids. So, maybe I have just answered my question on what I should do. I just don't want to have any regrets. This leaves me with the eucharist. I'm torn. I respect it, I love it, but I don't feel this is what gives me my love of the Lord or a relationship with him.

Chris W, thank you so much for your insight. I wish I could discuss this more with your and your wife. If you think you could help me I would appreciate anything you could do. I am so upset about all of this. My in-laws are wonderful life-long Catholics, and I feel like they are going to be so disappointed if this happens and that I will be loved less. I will be the only SIL that will not be Catholic and I am just so afraid of hurting them. I also have three Goddaughters to think about. Two of them are my nieces, and I hope this doesn't mean I have failed them. I still want to bring them up as children of God and I want them to be raised Catholic. As I wish I had been, then all of this would not be happening.


#15

One other comment that I do want to make is that I agree with those of you that mention about all Masses in any community being the same. I do love and appreciate that. I have noticed that as well. Whenever I travel, with or without my DH, I will find the Catholic Church in that town to attend for the very reasons that you all mentioned. I like knowing that it will be the same and I will know what to expect. It is when I visit other Catholic Masses that I remember how much I love being a Catholic. I am just missing that zeal now.


#16

[quote="dconklin, post:13, topic:216853"]
Two things that jumped out to me...

In the opening of your post, you mentioned your mother - twice. When we marry, we leave our parent and cling to our spouse. It seems you have/had not let go of your parents.
...

[/quote]

I noticed this too. There is a lot going on here, but part of it seems to be undue influence of the mother.

This all seems like such a bad path to take, even if your husband supports you. Things will never be the same.


#17

[quote="dconklin, post:13, topic:216853"]
In the opening of your post, you mentioned your mother - twice. When we marry, we leave our parent and cling to our spouse. It seems you have/had not let go of your parents.

[/quote]

Agreed.

It can be hard to accept, but you are not responsible for the spiritual well-being of your parents. True, they were responsible for yours while you were a child, but that task does not reverse. My parents are also away from any established church right now. It hurts me dearly to see them away like that. But I cannot do anything more than share my faith and concern.

shanrae26, you chose to become Catholic for family unity (that is, with your husband and children). While this was your start, it need not be the end of your Catholic walk. There are several movements and ministries that may help you deepen your Catholic relationship with God. See if there is a Cursillo or charismatic group in your area.

Also, there is nothing wrong with attending a parish in another town. I pass through the geographic areas of at least 3 parishes before reaching the one I attend (though it is only a 20 minute drive). If it bothers you not being involved at all in the local parish, you can remain registered where you are and attend there twice per month.

Someone mentioned EWTN. If you don't have it on cable or satellite, you can tune in to their website for a live stream


#18

[quote="shanrae26, post:1, topic:216853"]
He says if I joing this church, that I have to remember that I am not Catholic anymore.

[/quote]

He is incorrect in this statement. You would be a Catholic unable to receive the Sacraments as long as you persisted in your defection.

You made your profession of faith and were incorporated fully into the Catholic Church. If you leave, this is grave matter-- and if done with full knowledge and free will a mortal sin. But, you will still be Catholic and could return to the Sacraments via Reconciliation.

[quote="shanrae26, post:1, topic:216853"]
When I think about it that way, it really hurts, but I have not attended the Catholic Church regularly in two years anyway, so I am not sure it really matters. I am just wondering if I will regret it knowing that my kids will all be going through CCD and eventually I will be the odd man out. But, I wonder if it is worth it since I am not happy spiritually when attending the Catholic Church here.

[/quote]

So, why did you become Catholic in the first place? Do you believe that Christ founded the Church and the Sacraments for our salvation? If you do-- how could you ever leave?

[quote="shanrae26, post:1, topic:216853"]
I also feel like I will be letting the Methodist Church down if I don't join since they have been so supportive of me.

[/quote]

That's not a very good reason to pick a religion. As you have already noticed, your subjective emotional response waxes and wanes. Who is to say your current pull towards the Methodist church may also ebb over time?

[quote="shanrae26, post:1, topic:216853"]
Also, my mother has been attending this same church with me after several years of not going to church. So, if I quit not only will she be upset about be once again choosing the Catholic Church, but she will no longer go to church. I don't know if I can live with that. I just don't know what to do. I feel lost attending the Catholic Church, but I don't want to cause family problems. Any insight?

[/quote]

Personally, I think your mom is at the heart of all this.

You are a grown woman. You are married and have children. It seems you are much too concerned about what your mother thinks. Your loyalty upon entering the Sacrament of Marriage is to your husband and your children.

She seems rather manipulative. She won't go to church if you don't? Oh, puleez!


#19

Now onto my vow to God. The only vow I have made to God his to love Him unconditionally and to love his people. I do not break that vow if I choose to love and worship him in another church. As far as the truth. I feel like I still have the truth at the Methodist Church as well. He is the Truth! That does not change between denominations.

You are incorrect in this and it shows that you either were not properly prepared for the Sacrament you received or you took the Sacrament without fully understanding it. This is the vow you took straight from the CCC:

1316 Confirmation perfects Baptismal grace; it is the sacrament which gives the Holy Spirit in order to root us more deeply in the divine filiation, incorporate us more firmly into Christ, strengthen our bond with the Church, associate us more closely with her mission, and help us bear witness to the Christian faith in words accompanied by deeds.

1317 Confirmation, like Baptism, imprints a spiritual mark or indelible character on the Christian's soul; for this reason one can receive this sacrament only once in one's life.

1318 In the East this sacrament is administered immediately after Baptism and is followed by participation in the Eucharist; this tradition highlights the unity of the three sacraments of Christian initiation. In the Latin Church this sacrament is administered when the age of reason has been reached, and its celebration is ordinarily reserved to the bishop, thus signifying that this sacrament strengthens the ecclesial bond.

1319 A candidate for Confirmation who has attained the age of reason must profess the faith, be in the state of grace, have the intention of receiving the sacrament, and be prepared to assume the role of disciple and witness to Christ, both within the ecclesial community and in temporal affair

You will see that all of these mention the Church not just Christ.


#20

The Eucharist in the Catholic Church is Jesus. It’s not just a symbolic action that is supposed to make you feel something - it is the Marriage Supper of the Lamb - you are taking Jesus’ body, blood soul and divinity into your body, and becoming united with Him in a way that is impossible in any Methodist or other Protestant church.


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