Converting to Catholicism and other Questions

Good evening everyone,

I apologize in advance, as I have many questions about my converting to the Catholic Church, and I would appreciate your guidance. I would also like to apologize if I am posting in the wrong forum, as this looked like a place where my questions would “fit in”.Thank you.

Firstly, I was raised as a Baptist, so there are many things that are different and I am still trying to understand the things I have been learning. I have told my famity and friends I would like to convert to Catholicism, and they are not exactly accepting of my choice, and some even treat it as if I were converting out of Christianity. There is only one Catholic Church in my county, and I doubt I will be able to attend it until I get my own driver’s license (this July at the earliest). And even then I might not be able to attend. What should I do until I am able to attend church regularly? What type of Bible should I buy to use? I only have a few King James versions and a New Living Translation , and I don’t think those are accepted by the Church.

Secondly, I have been saved, I believe, as well as baptized, I still sin, however, and do wrong. The pastors in the Baptist churches I have been to say that if you have doubts about your salvation or do wrong as you have before you were saved you are not truly saved and can’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I have prayed numerous times about my salvation and I still occasionally have doubts and do wrong. This greatly troubles me. What should I do?

Thirdly, what should I do once I have converted? Can I convert outside of a church? How can I learn more about the faith, such as learning about Purgatory, what I should be doing as a new Catholic, how I should study my Bible, et cetera.

Fourthly and finally, could someone explain the things I would be doing as a Catholic? Mass, Liturgy, confessions, the cross symbol, et cetera?

Again, I apologize for all the questions and if I’ve posted in the wrong forum. I’d like to thank you all for the help and guidance you provide.

God Bless.

Hi, of course you have questions. I take it you are of high school age from your comment abut a driver’s license. What is the priest at the local parish like? Or maybe you haven’t been around him to know that. You can learn a lot by looking around on Catholic Answers. I expect others have better comments, but this is a good start.

Thank you for your response,
I haven’t spoken with the priest as of yet, and yes I am in High-School. I’m 16. I will be looking around to start the learning process.

Thank you again!

Ex-Baptist here! It sounds as if you are still a minor, so you may not be able to convert until after you are 18, unless your parents agree.

To become Catholic, you will have to talk with a priest. He will be the best person to explain what you need to do to become Catholic.

Keep reading the Bible - the version doesn’t matter that much - and read reliable Catholic books. The parish may have a library that you could borrow from. Be careful about what you read on-line - not everyone’s opinions are orthodox, and some so-called Catholic websites are poison.

Don’t worry about doubts - they just mean you’re human. :slight_smile:

Catholics have a different idea of salvation than Protestants. One statement I read years ago & have found helpful is: “I have been saved; I am being saved; and I will be saved.” It’s an on-going process.

Best wishes on your journey!

Many priests won’t allow you to convert till you’re at least eighteen. But that doesn’t prevent you from membership here or reading books about Catholicism, etc. You might start with a Catholic Study Bible. If you can get to Mass and bible study, you’d be most welcome.

Best to talk to a priest in your parish and see what he advises. Just call the church office for an appointment.

Hi, I am also a convert (from Anglicanism). I also had some hostility from my mother about converting, but she backed down when she saw that Catholicism was having a positive effect on me. Be patient, try to avoid confrontations over your faith when you can, but at the same time, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t practice your faith.

As far as what Bible to use, the Church does not regulate what Bibles can be used for private study or devotion. I use the King James Bible myself, but I would recommend buying the separate “Apocrypha” volume that goes with it to give you the “extra” Catholic books. If you really want a Catholic Bible, the Revised standard Version - Catholic Edition isn’t a bad translation. As a King James reader, you clearly like traditional language, so I would not recommend the likes of the Jerusalem Bible or the New American Bible. To be honest, I’d stick with what you’ve got.

The crucial thing is to make contact with a Catholic priest and say you are interested in converting. If its a fair way to your nearest Catholic church that will obviously be a factor in whether you can realistically convert now, as you will need to be able to get to Mass every Sunday. I’d start trying to get to Mass when you can, or failing that at least watch one online (try EWTN). Also, I’d start reading up on some key Catholic doctrines - transsubstantiation is a good place to start, do an internet search for that. :wink:

Hi. Welcome. You’re on the right path. Relax and let the Holy Spirit lead you. You do not have to be doing and being all the Catholic stuff yet. Get to now some catholic people if you can. Respect your parents. We Catholics have no doubts that Baptists are Christian. Ask your questions. Get specific. For example, what’s a good book about prayers? Or " I don’t have transportation or money, what’s free online about…sin after being saved…or whatever you wonder about. If there’s one specific thing we do that you want to try, ask how you might begin to work that into your life. If you worry about something, ask about that. The more you can let people know, the closer what you’ll hear will be to what you need to hear.

God bless you in your journey! I will go through your questions list-wise and say more later.

  1. The New American Bible (NAB) will be your best bet.

  2. About salvation–in the Catholic faith we acknowledge that salvation is not a one time thing. Salvation was made available to all of us through Christ’s suffering and death; He is the good doctor that heals each of us, the sick. We live our lives striving for this salvation by both having and living faith out (what we believe, and how we conduct ourselves accordingly). All of us are sinners. We fall down, we get back up. Christ knew this is how we will live our lives, because he gave the disciples the ability to go out and forgive sins. He is prepared for us to fall. He is prepared for us to be the sheep that wanders off down the hill and needs to be pulled back. Being “saved” is something that happens over and over and over and over again because we are constantly in need of saving. Our final salvation–that is, blissful eternity with the Father through the Son–is after death.

  3. Conversion to the Catholic Faith will likely be done through an RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults). This is a class that will teach you and prepare you for the reception of the Sacraments. There are seven sacraments in the Catholic faith: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Matrimony, Holy Orders and Penance. In your RCIA journey, you would be preparing to receive your first Penance, your first Eucharist and your Confirmation (as you have already been baptized). This is done through the diocese, likely at the parish. Classes generally start in the fall, and conclude at the Easter Vigil. And what to do afterward? Continue learning and growing. It should never stop. It should never end. Pray without ceasing, attend the Mass at least once a week, read the word of God daily, meditate on the Word, and strive to get always closer to Jesus.

  4. The Mass: this is the highest form of prayer. Attendance to the Mass is an “obligation” by definition, but it is really truly an honor. We believe that the Eucharist is not a symbol of Jesus, but that it actually physically becomes the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. He didn’t hold up the bread and say “This represents my body…” No, he said “This IS my body”. Christ spoke every word in His ministry with great purpose and intention. He did not make a mistake or misspeak at the last supper when he said “This is my body” and “This is my blood”. Even when we are unable to receive communion, there is no denying the grace of being in His very presence. (for example, you could attend the Mass at any time if you would like, but you simply can not yet receive communion)

The Sign of the Cross: This is said with a simple prayer, “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen”. It is an outward symbol calling upon the Holy Trinity.

I wish I could answer more of your questions but my mama duties are kicking in here and my 10 minute break is up. :stuck_out_tongue:

Remember, you are young. Take the time to learn. Ask lots of questions, and research answers that you receive. Not everything on the internet is true. :wink: A great resource is www.usccb.org and www.ewtn.com

Many blessings to you!

The New American Bible or the New Jerusalem Bible are good translations. You could start by reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it is online for free if you google it. If the previous poster is correct in the assumption of you being of HS age I think the YouCat (its a book) would be a good source since the Catechism is pretty dense.

I think we can never be sure of our salvation, which is why we must work everyday to get closer and closer to God, so that we may see Him at the end of our lives.

When you do start officially converting you will be taught a lot in the RCIA program of the parish you attend. If you are a younger teen (under 18) they may place you in CCD classes instead of RCIA.

If you cant drive try to see if there is any public transportation that goes near the closest parish to you. Think about it, is a 45 min -1 hour walk worth the trade off of being in the presence of the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist? Im sure you already know the answer to that question ;).

Also, check your local programing and see if you get the tv channel EWTN. They have a program called The Journey Home, I think you’d enjoy it. Its about converts and reverts to Catholicism.

God Bless you on your journey!

You could begin reading books on the Catholic faith. Do not take offense, but one book which is always recommended is Catholicism for Dummies. They have a series on many topics and I have heard the book on Catholicism is very thorough. Since you are coming from a Baptist background there will be a lot to learn. Do you have any Catholic acquaintances? I would possibly try to contact the Catholic church nearest you and tell them of your interest. The RCIA program usually begins in the fall and you are received into the church the following Easter. So if you get your driver’s license in the summer you could drive to RCIA. I would recommend going to your public library and finding books on Catholicism or even books on the saints or books on Mary. I am also a convert and it doesn’t all come together at once. A lot of new vocabulary to learn and doctrines. You might want to learn to pray the Rosary and look for a pamphlet or book that teaches you how to do it and also look for a book of Catholic prayers. If you have any other questions please ask.

Thank you all for your responses, I can’t explain how much this helps me. I will try to put the current and any future replies to use and read all I can about the Catholic faith.

Again, thank you all!

You may convert at any age.
Your parents will certainly be spoken to out of respect for their concerns.
Speak frankly with your parents they should to know what you’re thinking.
Tell them you have this desire to learn about Catholicism.
Tell them you will speak to a priest about it, and expect that the priest will have questions for you and your parents. In the meantime, read all you can from reliable sites and good Catholic authors. You can ask here for recommendations. You can borrow books from your nearby parish. You can have someone at the parish mentor and sponsor you.
Be assured of our prayers.
Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. Pray and study.
I hope you find the peace and spirituality you seek.
God bless.

Oh and do you have a local public library? Its entirely possible you may find some Catholic books there in the religion or spirituality section.

Edit: Here’s a site you may find useful. It has a daily video with the Mass readings for that day.

Well stated.

Greetings!

You say there is only one Catholic church in your county? Try “googling” *Roman Catholic churches in name of city], NC. *There might be more Catholic churches thank you think. The church might not be on the main road or even at times look like a Catholic church. I did that search for one city that came up and even got the office hours. Hope you find a church close enough to you. Please do not give your address or stuff like that on the Internet for your own safety…

God bless you and keep you.

Good information here, too. I’ve always been Catholic, but I know my pastor doesn’t allow anyone under 18 to go through RCIA unless they are over eighteen or unless his or her parents request it. Your pastor may be different, though I doubt it. Just ask! They will certainly welcome you at Mass, though you can’t take communion till you convert, but Bible Study and some other activities are open to you.

I recommended a Catholic Study Bible because it explains things from a Catholic point of view. Like 7 Sorrows, I think Catholicism for Dummies is good for those who know lirrle about Catholicism. It’s not really “for dummies,” just for those who are beginning their study of the Catholic faith.

  1. Get your hands on the Catechism of the Catholic Church(CCC). Ask the local priest or order online.

  2. Talk to the local Priest.

  3. When you turn 17 enrol in RCIA so you are 18 before the following Easter when you get Confirmed in the Catholic faith and make your first confession…that’s if you still want to proceed. The Church accepts Baptist baptisms afaik.

As a beginner, everything you need to know is in the CCC. I also bought a Douay Rheims Catholic Bible as it matched the CCC perfectly. That’s what I had before my RCIA classes started at the suggestion of my priest.

From my experience I visited CAF too early. I was overwhelmed with information and a lot of it was “opinion” not doctrine or what I was seeking. It wasn’t deliberate on the part of posters here it was just too much for a non-catholic who hadn’t been exposed to the faith to take in. I left for a year and returned after I completed RCIA and got my head around the basics.

I just wanted to say Hi and Welcome! Glad you are here! It’s a great place to ask questions. God bless you on your journey.

masstimes.org is very good for finding a parish close to you.

First off welcome to the forums.

As others have said, Catholicism for Dummies, is actually a good book for getting some of those quick questions answered. I was actually part of what helped me understand the errors in my up bringing about the Catholic faith.

Another online resource you can start with is the Baltimore Catechism. This was the standard teaching tool for kids in the US for 80 years until the late 1960s. It was last revised in the 1940s so there are a few things that are out of date, but still fairly good for getting the basics of the faith.

While the King James will serve for now, don’t be fooled that the KJV is just a Catholic Bible that is missing some books. Protestant Bibles are translated in ways that support protestant theology so you need to be careful when looking up biblical references from Catholic sources that are at odds with protestant teachings. A protestant version will often use words and phrases that downplay anything that might go too far towards a catholic understanding. You can always read passages from the New American Bible: Revised Edition (aka NABRE) on the US Bishops website at wwwmigrate.usccb.org/bible/. I am more a fan of the New Jerusalem Bible or the Knox Bible, but the predecessor to the NABRE, The New American Bible (NAB), is what is used in the Mass for scripture readings. You can also find the daily readings there as well as other resources from the US Catholic bishops. For instance you can find the outline for the Order of Mass and general information about RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). Some places will have special version of RCIA called RCIT (Rite of Christian Initiation of Teens), but from the Church’s standpoint anyone over the age of 7 is considered an adult, so RCIA covers everyone even if there are special adaptations for teaching purposes.

Another resource is EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network). This was another resource I used before I decided to convert. You might be able to find it on cable and some of it is broadcast over the web. One area you can start with is their “Faith Library”. It can answer some of those basic questions on things that are more unique to Catholicism.

Finally feel free to ask specific questions here. Most of the posters on this forum represent orthodox Catholic teaching. It’s not perfect, but much better than many other places I’ve seen. Don’t let some of the infighting scare you off. Some of us get a little passionate about certain aspects of the faith. :wink:

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