Converted to catholicism/ former catholics


#1

for those of you who don’t know, i was raised a protestant and am one today. i came to this forum to learn about catholicism and i am also learning about the faith from some books as well. but i am curious as to why those of you who have swam the tiber decided to convert. what was it about the catholic faith that made you decide to become a catholic. i’m also wondering why those who have left the church decided to leae. what was it about the church or it’s teachings? please, if you can list scripture and or ccc as to the reasons for leaving / joining the church. oh, and please, no fighting over who’s right and who’s wrong. Santa doesn’t like it when we fight! and thanks to everyone who posts too!


#2

You ever listen to the Journey Home? The guests tell why they came to the Catholic Church. Several episodes archived here: bringyou.to/apologetics/audio.htm

Anyone know of a complete archive at EWTN? I couldn’t find one.


#3

There has been a problem in the Catholic Church in the last 40 or so years of the Church trying to be friendlier with belief systems that have left the Church. This trying to be friendlier has led to an extreme of barely teaching the faith.

Watering it down so that everyone can accept it has been very popular for the last 40 or so years. This has let many people grow up Catholic without knowing what it really is. They might even have gone to Catholic School, served as altar boys and even went to seminary and know really known what is Catholicism, then they leave.

It is easy to leave the Catholic Church, even though your conscience might struggle against it. It is harder to come back as it requires a lot of humility. These days we are all lacking humility, so becoming Catholic is difficult.

Compare the stories of former Catholics and those who have converted to Catholicism. This will shed light on many things.

In Christ
Scylla


#4

I converted to the Catholic Church from the Episcopal church 15 years ago.

I converted because the Catholic Church contains the Truth.

My conversion centered around the authority of the Church and Bishops-- and Acts 15 clearly showed me that the EC was wrong to break away from the CC. Instead, the Bishops meet in council, they teach authoritatively, and they have the final decision.

In the Anglican Communion, the bishops meet, they decide, and then the churches go off and do what they want to regardless of what was decided in council. I decided if the EC was wrong to do this within the AC, then the AC as a whole was wrong to break from Rome.

After that, it’s pretty much a straight shot into the Church. Scripture convinced me: unity is what Christ established and prayed for, and authority is what he bestowed upon the Bishops with Peter as the head.


#5

i’m a revert actually (i’m pretty sure that’s a neologism, but it saves time so i’ll use it). i drifted away from the church during my college years mostly out of apathy. i came back because of a spiritual awakening that had something to do with the birth of my son and something to do with a need i had to embrace a life-affirming creed in the aftermath of all the “man’s inhumanity to man” on display since 9/11 and the war in iraq. in a world that was going to hell i felt like i needed to take a stand for something and that is, that life is precious, nay sacred.

the more i studied what the church taught and how it derived its authority the more entranced i became that such a marvellous thing as catholicism could even exist, much less be open to me, a baptised catholic! it was (and still is) exhilirating to learn about catholicism from an adult’s perspective. since i’ve always been catholic i already understood a lot implicity, but there are many things i never thought much about as a child or didn’t know about at all. i’ve discovered in exploring the faith a seemingly inexhaustible source of mystery, wonder and love.

all in all it’s been a heck of a ride, with a few bumps here and there. but through it all i’ve come to the conclusion that i have always been disposed to be a believer, because i find nihilism repugnant and self-defeating. even when i was an agnostic i was an incipient believer but didn’t know it. i need to believe and to share my beliefs – life doesn’t make much sense otherwise.


#6

I would recommend the website staycatholic.com as well as the book By What Authority by Mark Shea. Two key things to realize are the fallacy of the “Sola-Scriptura” doctrine, and the fact that the PRIMARY SOURCE documents from the Early Church Fathers affirm beliefs that are specifically Catholic.(ie Confession to a priest, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the CONCEPT of purgatory, and the validity of the Deuterocanonical books(called the “apocrypha” by uninformed Protestants.)

Some key scriptures to ponder would include

Matthew 16:17-19 (establishing authority of Peter, first Pope)

Acts 15:1-12 (Peter using that authority)

1 Timothy 3:15 (The Bible affirming the Church, as opposed to merely the Bible, as “the pillar and bulwark of truth”)

2 Peter 3:16 (showing an extreme danger of Sola-Scriptura mentality)

Proverbs 3:5 (Sola-Scriptura violates this verse)

I hope this helps


#7

Here’s my story, briefly stated:

**I was raised as a Methodist, spent my late teens and half of my twenties as a Pentecostal/Charismatic, and was a convinced, committed Presbyterian during all of my thirties. And, although I experienced great spiritual benefits in each of these faith traditions, there always seemed to be some portion of each group’s belief-system that I just couldn’t fully embrace. They each possessed various parts of the picture, but no single denomination or group appeared to have the portrait of the Christian faith in its fullness.

One Sunday morning in 1997, my Presbyterian pastor approached me following my adult Bible class (I was then on staff as an instructor of Scripture and doctrine) to see if I’d be interested in writing a booklet for our congregation that would refute the teachings of the Catholic Church. I eagerly accepted the project, and immediately went to work. Right away, however, I realized that the only books on Catholicism that I owned were written by Protestant critics. This may be a place to start my research, I thought, but, in order to be as fair and objective as possible in my analysis, I knew I needed to study first-hand works that were actually written by Catholic authors. I wanted to encounter and evaluate Catholic claims “from the horse’s mouth,” so to speak. My local Protestant bookstore had a small section of Catholic books, but there wasn’t much there, so I visited a Catholic bookstore to pick up a few texts on Catholic doctrine, history, and ethics. I bought about half-a-dozen books on various subjects, and headed home to begin researching the booklet I was going to write.

Well, that booklet has yet to be written. The more I read about the Catholic faith, the stronger became my realization that many things that I, as a life-long Protestant, had believed concerning Catholic thought were simply not true. Most of my assumptions about Catholic belief and behavior turned out to consist of misconceptions, misrepresentations, and even outright falsehoods that I had been taught as gospel truth all of my life. One by one, as I studied, prayed, and poured over my Bible and this new Catholic material (along with a thorough re-reading of my Protestant critiques), these false assumptions fell away until I could no longer justify remaining a Protestant. To shorten a long story, after more than three years of intense study, prayer, and discussion with both Protestant and Catholic believers, I entered the Catholic Church at Easter of 2001.

One of the strongest lines of evidence in favor of the Catholic faith was, for me, the fact that the early Church seemed so very “Catholic” in its doctrine and worship. As part of my study, I read the writings of the early Church Fathers, those Christian writers and scholars who lived from the first through the fifth centuries. Several of them were actually disciples (students) of the apostles themselves, and some were taught by those who had known the apostles. As I read their descriptions of early Church life and faith, I couldn’t help noticing how “Catholic” the early Church seemed, and how unlike Protestantism it appeared. The writings of these early Christians are filled with “Catholic” ideas and practices, which had been taught to them by the apostles. This, I saw, is the Ancient Faith. This is the faith that many of these early Christians were martyred for. This is the Church established and sustained by Christ himself, over which the gates of hell will never prevail (Matt.16:18). I’m glad and grateful to be a part of Christ’s Church, where the Christian faith resides in its fullness.**

God bless,

Don
+T+


#8

There is no objective way to say which Protestant is right. Calvin and Luther and Wesley and Dr X and Dr Y and Dr Z all know their Hebrew and Greek and Latin equally well. They have all memorized the Bible equally well. They are all equally equal, but yet, they can’t agree on what a verse means. Why?!?! :eek:

Take baptism as an example. On the surface it’s just something you do because Jesus said so, and it doesn’t really matter to your salvation in the end. You’ll get to heaven regardless. Beneath the surface we’re talking about how sins are forgiven! Hello, it’s about the forgiveness of sins! I think that matters, dude! :eek:

Either (1) God set it up for confusion and purposely HID the right answer from us so we’ll never know if we got it, or (2) someone does have the right answer and we can know what it is.

For a long time I went with #1, that we can never know for sure the right answer, but not anymore. Not anymore. The more I learn about church history the more I believe in #2, that there is a right answer and we can know it, and that leads me to the Roman Catholic Church.

i’m also wondering why those who have left the church decided to leae. what was it about the church or it’s teachings?

I’ve made a friend going the other way – out of the Catholic Church into a Calvary Chapel. His reason for leaving is that the Catholics don’t “feed the flock.” The homilies are disgustingly short in duration and mostly void of any “meat.” Easily one-third of the congregation departs mass the moment they consume their eucharistic wafers. Mass is still going but, boom, they’re out the door. You NEVER see that in a Protestant church. :eek: Few Catholics are interested in Bible study. Between two parishes there are some 12 thousand registered families, and easily 10 thousand adults total come to mass over a given weekend. Between those same parishes there are but a few dozen people total showing up for Bible study in any given week. Thousands down to dozens.

So who loves God more, eh? It looks like the Calvary Chapel people. That’s why he left. I can’t criticize him for doing it.


#9

thanks guys. i’ll be checking out the links too. anyone else got a story?


#10

A friend told me one day, as I was discussing my beliefs, that I sounded Catholic (She was Catholic). So I looked into it, and found that I agreed with a lot of the teachings. So I dug deeper and found a lot of answers to questions I didn’t think I’d ever find an answer for (Specifically ‘why do all these churches teach differently? What’s the difference in them and why is there a difference?’) I found a lot of logic for those teachings I’d never heard of, and a deeper and truer (IMO) spirituality. The teachings on why there is evil in the world, the role of suffering, etc, all rang really true, and the correct place of Scripture was finally explained (It had always felt…off, to me before, I wasn’t sure why. I didn’t know any church taught anything else, so I’d buried this question because I thought that I’d never find an answer)

In short, the wealth of logical answers for everything I guess really drove me to The Church. One thing my now-protestant parents had raised me to believe was 'If God wants you to do something, DO IT" and it was obvious that this was the True path.


#11

I suspect that My Testimony will give you the info that you need.


#12

Great story!


#13

I was raised in the Presbyterian church and “got saved” via a Calvary Chapel type ministry during the Jesus Movement when I was 14. I had some struggles with faith, but landed firmly in the “belief” camp when I was 21. Unfortunately, a couple years later, the Evangelicals decided to tailor the Gospel to fit a political agenda rather than abandon ideology in order to follow Christ. The end result was that they lopped off huge amounts of Christian teaching in order to turn Christianity into a partisan political force. The end result was a radically distorted Christianity.

The Catholic Church, on the other hand, was not aligned with any type of political orthodoxy. It transcended worldly perspectives, such as conservative and liberal. And that, to me, made it more aligned with Truth. In addition, I had always believed in the real presence in the eucharist, even though this was frowned on by the Protestants.

So I started studying Catholicism, and I became Catholic in 1981. I was so stunned by the amazing riches of Catholic spirituality and the fruits it was bearing in my life that I sabatoged it all by becoming a super-obnoxious, condescending and angry anti-Protestant apologist. Not good. Eventually, I was just angry and bitter and spiritually ravaged rather than renewed. Around 1994, I started listening again to some of the Protestants and realized that I really didn’t believe in the Immaculate Conception. Since it was a dogma, I had no real alternative but to try to find a way to believe it or leave the Church. I left the Church… but did not do what the Protestants wanted me to do. Instead, I went into the other church with valid sacraments - the Orthodox church. I only lasted 4 years in Orthodoxy. It helped me understand the whys of a lot of things in Catholicism, but it also had some, ahem, drawbacks that I won’t go into here.

When I left Orthodoxy, I still had difficulty with the Immaculate Conception, so I didn’t consider Catholicism an option. So I did the counter-intuitive thing. I went back to the Evangelicals. And it “worked” for awhile. But eventually, it just seemed like they were making things up as they went along. So I tried an Anglican Church - something between Catholic and Evangelical. And quite frankly, the liturgical element was never real to me.

I know that it probably sounds a lot like I’m “feeling” my way here. Orthodoxy never “felt” right. The Anglican liturgy and sacraments never “felt” real. But the intimations of the Holy Spirit are just as valid as intellectual processes. Since I’m an off-the-scale intuitive, a lot of my intellectual process takes place beneath the surface. I’m a frequent recipient in my normal life of the “blink” phenomenon that Malcolm Gladwell talks about. So for me, the nudging of the Holy Spirit often takes the form of an intuitive knowing.

So it was in my return to the Catholic Church. I had been observing the increasing slide into dualistic heresy of not only the Evangelical churches but the entire American culture. And I had started to wonder if Catholicism was the only refuge from this insanity. Still, on the day that I actually walked into Mass again, the thought of actually returning to Catholicism was not really on my radar. I thought I was there just so I could grab a quick worship service before getting to the Apple Store for an absolutely essential office tool (a new iPod after my old one died).

By the offertory, though, I had gotten hijacked - my whole life (mind, soul, body), all my agendas, ideas, wishes, hopes and dreams. I was back in my native land, speaking my native language of the spirit. My Catholic self slipped onto me so easily and seamlessly that it was breathtaking. But this was not just about where I “felt” at home. Regardless of MY original motivation for going to Mass that day, it was absolutely clear that God had made the arrangements for me to be exactly here, on exactly this day, at exactly this Mass. This was a homecoming - and I was the last to know! For the first time in a long time I felt fully human - fully the true self that God wanted me to be. I was willing to make whatever changes were necessary in order to return. Obviously, if God had gone to all that trouble to arrange my homecoming, then there had to be something to this Catholic business after all.

What was shocking was the speed of my coming home. It took me about a day of intense study and discussion with a permanent deacon friend to come to terms with the Immaculate Conception. Guess what? I had MISUNDERSTOOD THE DOGMA!!! I left my home over a misunderstanding! A couple days later, I made it to confession. A few days later, the priest asked me to make a profession of faith using the Nicene Creed. And I was back.

It has had immediate fruits.


#14

For me, the journey has had both and emotional part and a more “head” theological part. I had been reading lots of books (ok, that is normal, I’m always reading ;)) and many of them talked about adopting some of the traditions in liturgical worship. This got me curious, so one Saturday I finally decided to visit a Catholic Church to see what this was all about. I totally fell in love with Mass! It just seemed to reverent and focused on God.

So that sent me reading some more. I wanted more of this type of worship and it seemed the Catholic Church and the Episcopal church were the places to find it. I thought about the Episcopal church for awhile, I could worship like this, but most of my beliefs wouldn’t really change, especially since I was United Methodist which came from the Episcopal church anyway. But the more I thought about it, there just seemed to be too many problems there.

So that left the Catholic Church. It seemed (and still does many days! :D) totally crazy, but I kept reading. I read a lot of history and that has been one of the biggest deciding factors. The Catholic Church has been around since the beginning, and while things had developed and evolved over time, it is still essentially the same Church. Also the fact that is has gone through its own fair share of hard times, but has made it through seems to say something about the Church.

The other big issue was the Pope. I figured if the Pope really was established by Jesus through Peter, then that is where I should be and I need to align my own doctrine with his. And if the Pope didn’t come from Jesus, then if doesn’t really matter what else Catholics believe because I couldn’t profess to follow the Pope. And well, since I’m becoming Catholic, I guess you can figure out what I decided. :wink: :smiley:

So that is the basic story. If you want the more detailed one, I posted on my blog here. And funny, I remember starting a thread rather similar to this one six months ago when I was first starting to sort through all of this! :wink: :thumbsup:


#15

I am a former Episcopalian and my wife is a former Pentecostal.

Before joining the Catholic Church this past Easter, we spent over 2 years church-jumping.

The long and the short of it:

  1. The Pentecostal community to which we belonged was hopelessly corrupt. Lots of money flowing in, expensive cars, suits, and houses for the pastor, not a lot of charity going out and no open books. Moreover, plenty of Bible Bingo and loooong sermons one week on how none of us were saved and the next week how all of us were. No pastoral care whatsoever; couldn’t even see the pastor upon appointment, as his sister who doubled as the receptionist (his entire family was the staff—congregation 5,000 + members) wouldn’t book one for you.

  2. United Methodist - very, very money focused. We had one very good pastor and nearly joined for that reason alone, what really opened our eyes was that when one joins this particular congregation one must first fill out a tithing envelope and place it upon the altar at the membership induction during worship service. That plus the fact that they had brand-new facilities and “ministries” like aerobics class “ministry”, combined with using sermon time to push liberal politics (radical environmentalism in particular) and ask for still more money indicated God had left the building. We did too.

  3. Episcopalian - We briefly considered returning to the faith of my youth. My wife called the pastor to inquire diplomatically into which side of the current schism his congregation was on by asking an open-ended question as to what his take on the ordaining of homosexual bishops was; he told her, “When you pay my salary I’ll believe what you want” and hung up on her. My wife, Southern belle that she is, was stunned.

  4. Presbyterian - We attended a number of Presbyterian services in our area; every single one was very, very light. Apparently they’ve been having trouble getting people to attend and have fallen into the “praise band and flipflops” trap. No reverence or mystery whatsoever, no theology, precious little Scripture.

And then we gave up and attended Mass, whereupon we found in one place the best of all the other places we had been. Reverence, awe, mystery, Scripture, and most of all, our wonderful deacons, priests, and bishops for whom pastoral care is the primary concern, not how much money is in the kitty, not how Saville Row is their suit, not how many butts are in seats.

Moreover, we found 1,500 years of history which had previously been denied us, coherent theology, and the full complement of sacraments for our growth as Christians.

We’d found home.

And, thanks to Father Gary applying one of these sacraments — anointing of the sick — to my wife, we are now just a few months away from our first child, who will be a cradle Catholic.


#16

Here are the complete audio archives of The Journey Home, about 450 shows:

ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/SeriesSearchprog.asp?SeriesID=-6892289&NewLis%20t=&T1=journey


#17

I was baptized catholic and confirmed. Catholic grammar school.
Left the church in my twenties after a priest said to me "the catholic faith is like a club with a set of rules. If you don’t follow the rules you are not in the club."
I also had major issues with the many hypocrites that surrounded me in Catholicism. They would be on their high horse because ‘they made their Easter duty’ but then in their daily life they were not living Christlike at all.
Just the other day, I had dinner with a family friend who is also a priest for some fifty years, his statement to me was "Priests and nuns are the worst people he has ever met."
So a big part of the reason I left the faith was the so called catholics in my life.
After being away for a while, I gave my life to God and became born again. I started to read the bible. Then all kinds of questions were raised about things I was formerly taught. This only solidified my leaving the RCC.
The more biblical truth that was revealed to me, the more I saw that many things I was taught as a catholic had no biblical foundation at all.
Just last night, I was talking to my friend’s son who goes to a catholic high school in NYC. The young man told me that his religion teacher is teaching him that the story of Jonah is fictional.
This brought back memories of my own education where I was taught that many of the stories in Genesis and other parts of the OT were fiction. It is disturbing to hear that a catholic school is teaching that the bible is fictional.
Since leaving the RCC over twenty years ago, my faith has grown exponetially. My mom and family are still devout catholics and all I do is encourage them to study their bible.
I am not looking for a heated debate about this post.
This is my story and it is true.
Please don’t attack.


#18

Hi guardian1,

It’s a long story, so I will use an abbreviated style.

Raised in a non-religions home. “Born again” in a non-denom church at age 10 - radical life change (I was a very foul-mouthed, nasty kid). Best friend who brought me to church died at age 11, so I was ticked off at God for a while - studied some philosophy (esp. Sartre and Hume) and Tibetan Buddhism. Reaquainted myself with God at age 13 at a Presbyterian Church, was Baptized and Confirmed. In the last couple of years of High School, I became very atheist and then softened to agnostic.

Married my “cradle Catholic” wife with a Presbyterian minister (without dispensation…later found out). Remained semi-agnostic Christian until 1990, when two things happened. 1) My wife and I were in a multi-level/network marketing business with a ton of evangelical, born-again Christians. They got me thinking about God again, even though their hypocritical nature really bugged me. 2) Our first child was born.

My wife and I started looking at Churches together. I told her I would go to a Catholic Church with her. Although she wasn’t particularly devout, she did not feel comfortable in a non-Catholic Church (probably the guiding of the Holy Spirit). My acceptance of Catholicism was basic, at first. In a way, I am fortunate that the parish I went through RCIA at was very liberal (cafeteria-style). One of the main things that attracted me was that Church teaching is actually less judgmental than most non-Catholics. We don’t believe in telling people they are going to Hell, because that is for God to judge. We love the sinner, but hate the sin. Most of the real hateful Christians I have met are “born-agains” who hate my Church, tell homoexuals they are going to hell, etc.

Since converting, my wife and I have deepened our faith and understanding, and we would consider ourselves “orthodox” Catholics. Still growing.

Pax,
Robert


#19

Lets see if I can answer the perception question…

Why is it that some evangelicals such as Calvary Chapel seem to have such friendly, enthusiastic, belief in Christ, whereas you see a lackluster not-fed type of belief in Christ at some Catholic Churches…

The reason is this…
Most people who go to Calvary Chapel (for instance) have been converted to Christ, so they are enthusiastic. An encouter with God leaves someone wanting more and more of a relationship with God. Most of these people have had a conversion experience.
Not only that, we would go to church to be fed, to get into the word and get some good teaching. It is a very lively expressive type faith and you would really look to each other to affirm that.

On the other hand you would see Catholicism which in it’s worship service is quite different. We focus our worship on the Holy Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. We cannot do anything ourselves so we focus directly on the offering up of Jesus to God as the focus of our salvation. Church isn’t a place to study or fellowship, we are there to worship God, and Catholics do it differently. So it is a more interior type faith so you do not see very much external. If you read Matthew Chapter 6 it is a good synopsis of this. Combined with Catholics being around for a couple thousand years you will see more people who have grown up Catholic and many who have never had a conversion experience.

But our faith should not be primarily based upon enthusiasm or what feels good but on submission to God and truth. Just because I know of some Jehovah’s Witnesses that are fervent, it doesn’t make them correct. What matters is truth and our own interior faithfulness to God.

In Christ
Scylla


#20

First off, Miss Lollipops, you should never be treated with anything but the utmost love and respect. I respect your decision and I’m glad your here.

I was born and raised nominally Catholic and in my teens my parents had a powerful conversion experience. Which quickly led my father into the first class of the deaconate in the 70’s. They attended daily mass and went to prayer meetings every Tuesday night. I hated it. I had an experience in my bedroom when I was 17 where Jesus stood at the foot of my bed and simply asked me, “Will you let me love you?” I said, “Yes” and the peace, love, and Joy that followed was so intense that I could only sob.

When I was 19 I went to Mexico to serve the poor with a Jesuit priest, and found the Joy, and faith amongst the absolutely destitute (people living in cardboard shacks) far surpassed anything I had experienced in the U.S.

I left the Church for a short period and joined a four square church.
It didn’t take me long to realize that (No disrespect intended) the services were simply music with a Bible study. Don’t get me wrong the Bible is extremely important, and a part of my daily life.
What I was missing were the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist which is central for a Catholic, and reconciliation. I just couldn’t stay in that church, but I have friends from there to this day. I love those people. I will say that I found a fire and passion in my four square friends for Jesus and His Word that can be difficult to find in the Catholic Church, But the Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus. It is real food and it’s how I’m fed every day. It’s how I have His life in me. It is that life of Jesus in me through the Eucharist that I’m able to be truly illuminated by Holy Scripture. The 2 go hand in hand. It’s the Eucharist that sustains me in my sufferings and trials, It’s what let’s me see Jesus in the most broken, and disturbed people, (I work on a psych unit). It lets me love and pray for them. The Eucharist is my love and my life. My hope and my joy, it IS my God… who unites Himself to me completely in the extremely humble form of bread and wine. I would never, ever give up the Eucharist for anything. It is my all. It is Jesus. That is why I’m Catholic!

God Bless you on your journey, and may the Spirit lead you to all truth.


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