Converts to Catholicsm -- Did you assent to anything you didn't fully believe in?

Background:
I am an evangelical protestant who is considering Catholicism after I stumbled onto a Catholic radio station on my way to and from work several months ago and have been listening to it ever since, which led me to CAF.

I’ve asked a number of questions on CAF which the Catholic faithful have patiently and charitably answered for me. I’ve called in to a few radio shows (local and national) and asked questions there too, which definitely took me out of my comfort zone because it is not like me to do that normally. However, they are honest and sincere questions asked out of respect.

After considerable contemplation, research, soul-searching and prayer, I have come to believe in many of the truths of Catholicism but there are still a few points of doctrine with which I still struggle
Question for Protestant converts to Catholicism:
In order to become Catholic, did you assent to at least one Catholic belief that you had issues with at the time of conversion only to later grow to believe in it or did you wait until you were able to believe in everything completely before converting?

If so, can you elaborate how you were able to overcome your obstacle and come to believe in the belief that had caused you to struggle earlier on?

Much obliged. :tiphat:

Hello! I am currently in RCIA and am planning on entering the church in this Easter. At first, I agreed with most Catholic doctrine, but was stuck on a few big issues. (Purgatory, Mortal/Venial sin, pope, etc.) However, I now fully agree with Catholic doctrine. For me, recognizing the Church’s authority was key in resolving my issues. “The Church is the pillar and foundation of truth” (I Timothy 3:15) and thus the Church has the authority to interpret scripture and set ordinances. I knew in my heart that the Church was right on so many issues, so if one or two doctrines bothered me, I simply trusted that the Church was right, even if I didn’t fully understand the doctrine.

Hope this helped!

Thanks, ctb95. Yes, it helps. I wish you the best in your faith journey and in your RCIA class.

No - I did not profess to anything that I did not believe in :thumbsup:

There are some great books out there from protestant pastors who have converted

Rome Sweet Home - Scott Hahn
Confessions of a Mega Church Pastor - Allan Hunt …

Lots of books by Mark Shea en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_P._Shea

And on television/cable - EWTN

Welcome to CAF and I’ll pray for you on your journey of faith

I think that is true for most converts, that there are some struggles with some things even after joining the Church. For me it was purgetory. It wasn’t even covered in my very poorly structured RCIA class and for a while I even thought the Catholic Church no longer taught it. This of cource was pre-internet, pre-Catholic radio days. I did come to a point where I realized that even if I didn’t understand fully something, I was going to explore it further and accept what the Catholic church taught. I know you are pretty serious about becoming Catholic so if there is something like purgatory or Marian teachings (another one for me), don’t let you struggles stop you. Just keep studying and reading and praying.

I am also preparing to come home this Easter. I don’t think there is any major dogma that I’m struggling with now (coming from a “Word of Faith” charismatic background, one of the biggest was probably the Church’s teachings on the value of suffering). As someone who was raised pretty conservative and eventually drifted toward a more Libertarian (meaning still pretty conservative on issues like immigration, economic policy etc, while thinking that what happens in the bedroom or what you smoke is your own private business) attitude after getting away from my faith, I would say that I sometimes have to check myself regarding some of my social attitudes - and remember that “Catholic” is not a political party - if I truly want to follow Christ in His Church.

I am a cradle Catholic and have a question for any of you in RICA who are willing to answer.

When you became Catholic or you are going to are you required to state that ‘I accept the Catholic teachings’ or ‘I believe the Catholic teachings’?

The key word is **accepted **or believes.

I personally know someone that is considering RICA, however would prefer to say accept and not believe.

Thank you.

good question…

Here is the Profession of Faith that validly baptized persons recite when they enter into full communion with the catholic Church [there is no option to change the profession of faith]

[size=]I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.[/size]

You may be splitting hairs. If I accept, I believe; and if I believe, I accept. Maybe others have a different opinion, however.

The Rite of Reception really doesn’t allow for options. The current profession of faith is:

“I believe and profess all the Holy Catholic Church teaches, believes and proclaims to be revealed by God.”

compare that to the profession of faith for converts according to the 1962 missal:

I, N.N., … years of age, born outside the Catholic Church, have held and believed errors contrary to her teaching. Now, enlightened by divine grace, I kneel before you, Reverend Father …, having before my eyes and touching with my hand the holy Gospels. And with firm faith I believe and profess each and all the articles contained in the Apostles’ Creed, that is: I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended into hell, the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father almighty, from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy Catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

I firmly admit and embrace the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and all the other constitutions and ordinances of the Church.

I admit the Sacred Scriptures in the sense which has been held and is still held by holy Mother Church, whose duty it is to judge the true sense and interpretation of Sacred Scripture, and I shall never accept or interpret them in a sense contrary to the unanimous consent of the fathers.

I profess that the sacraments of the New Law are truly and precisely seven in number, instituted for the salvation of mankind, though all are not necessary for each individual: baptism, confirmation, holy Eucharist, penance, anointing of the sick, holy orders, and matrimony. I profess that all confer grace, and that baptism, confirmation, and holy orders cannot be repeated without sacrilege. I also accept and admit the ritual of the Catholic Church in the solemn administration of all the aforementioned sacraments.

I accept and hold in each and every part all that has been defined and declared by the Sacred Council of Trent concerning original sin and justification. I profess that in the Mass there is offered to God a true, real, and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead; that in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ is really, truly, and substantially present, and that there takes place in the Mass what the Church calls transubstantiation, which is the change of all the substance of bread into the body of Christ and of all substance of wine into His blood. I confess also that in receiving under either of these species one receives Jesus Christ whole and entire.

I firmly hold that Purgatory exists and that the souls detained there can be helped by the prayers of the faithful.

Likewise I hold that the saints, who reign with Jesus Christ, should be venerated and invoked, that they offer prayers to God for us, and that their relics are to be venerated.
I firmly profess that the images of Jesus Christ and of the Mother of God, ever a Virgin, as well as of all the saints should be given due honor and veneration. I also affirm that Jesus Christ left to the Church the faculty to grant indulgences, and that their use is most salutary to the Christian people. I recognize the holy, Roman, Catholic, and apostolic Church as the mother and teacher of all the churches, and I promise and swear true obedience to the Roman Pontiff, successor of St. Peter, the prince of the apostles and vicar of Jesus Christ.

Moreover, without hesitation I accept and profess all that has been handed down, defined, and declared by the sacred canons and by the general councils, especially by the Sacred Council of Trent and by the Vatican General Council, and in special manner all that concerns the primacy and infallibility of the Roman Pontiff. At the same time I condemn and reprove all that the Church has condemned and reproved. This same Catholic faith, outside of which none can be saved, I now freely profess and I truly adhere to it. With the help of God, I promise and swear to maintain and profess this faith entirely, inviolately, and with firm constancy until the last breath of life. And I shall strive, as far as possible, that this same faith shall be held, taught, and publicly professed by all who depend on me and over whom I shall have charge.
So help me God and these holy Gospels.

Yes the current one is shorter, but it really covers what is contained in the older form.

It wasn’t so much as disagreeing as it was not fully understanding.

There were a number of doctrines that I did not understand. I decided in my mind that the Church had Her reasons and that in time I would understand.

That has been the case. The teachings on birth control was a big issue for me but after time and after reading about the life of Saint John Paul II and trying to study the “Theology of the Body” I have begun to realize that there is profound wisdom in this teaching. I still am grappling with this doctrine but I no longer question the reasoning behind the doctrine.

I think if we wait and are expected to know and understand all the teachings of the Catholic Church to be a Catholic, we would never be able to make that first wonderful step.

It is a journey and if this journey is taken with a heart open to learning the reasons behind these doctrines you will find so many doors of your mind opening to new and wonderful ideas.

As my hero Saint John Paul II said, “Be not afraid.”
Come to think of it he wasn’t the first to say that.

I did not fully understand some things. But ultimately, I decided that though I did not fully understand something that the Church might teach to be true, I would have to just concede that The Catholic Church knows better than me. My logic was “If The Catholic Church has been teaching something for so long and I seem to think it is incorrect, who is more likely to be incorrect?” I would have to be pretty arrogant to assume I know better :slight_smile:

Thus, I came into The Catholic Church fully professing and believing everything she teaches. Though, I had already came to fully believe in some of the big differences in Catholicism and Protestantism like The true presence, Tradition being equal to scripture (and never contradicting each other when understood correctly) the communion of saints and so forth. I think the stuff I did not fully understand were more like why should we bother to pray to Mary or the saints if we can pray to Jesus directly? I did not understand these things fully but I had to concede that The Catholic Church is going to know better than me. Later on, with the correct information and a interest in actually investigating these things, I better understand why The Church teaches it is ok.

God bless you on your journey.

YADA and Usige,

Thank you for answering my question.

God Bless and Peace to all.

Without going into too much detail, my conversion was like a strike of lightning and wild fire that races across the plains. Before my conversion I had spent 2 years studying the faith in order to mock my wife when she converted. I went from an atheistic leaning agnostic to a professed Catholic in a matter of about 4 months.

I really didn’t make a distinction between assent and belief when I converted. I guess there are those that I might have assented to, but it was more assent to those things I was unaware of. I did believe all dogmatic and doctrinal statements.

For me, once I heard the call to return to the Church I simply turned it over to God. I often prayed the following:

“Lord, grant me the humility to place the teaching of your Church before my own poor understanding.”

Because I had turned my back on religion only to be overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit once I accepted that I might be wrong, I could only accept that the Holy Spirit had guided me to the Church and therefore it must be I and not She that was wrong.

I did not agree with the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist when I decided to convert. There were other issues, but they were minor compared to the Eucharist. I couldn’t believe that Catholics actually believe that Jesus is physically present in the Eucharidt. I went through RCIA, which did not in itself bring me closer to the belief that Christ is actually present. But, during RCIA (which lasted 18 months), I went to weekly Mass. And, through attending Mass, I began to feel Christ’s presence there. I began to understand that He is still a miracle worker–if God can appear to Moses as a burning bush then He can appear to us in the form of bread and wine. I also felt that He was calling me to trust in Him fully, and that the Eucharist was a test of my faith. Every Mass, I began to crave Him in the Eucharist. I slowly came to believe, but only through His grace. I look back on the entire experience and can see how He gave me more and more Grace, and that He patiently and deliberately led me. My first Holy Communion therefore was one of the most wonderful moments of my entire life, and I believed (without any reservation whatsoever) in Jesus’ presence. My relationship with Him seemed complete for the first time in my life–I felt His overpowering love.

You are on an amazing journey. I know that you trust in Him. Continue to trust in Him, give yourself fully over to Him, and He will lead you where you need to go. God bless you.

My husband and I are Evangelical Protestants who converted to Catholicism in 2004.

I know you will recognize the names of these people who we grew up with my childhood church: Evelyn Christenson, John Ortberg, Gary Smalley, Steve Douglass. I played piano for John! And Gary was a pastor in my church. And Evelyn was my pastor’s wife! We also had regular contact with people like Dr. Bill Bright, Erwin Lutzer, and other great Evangelicals.

So we came out of some of the most orthodox and respected Evangelical Protestant churches in the world.

We believed fully in the Catholic doctrines and dogma because we found them all to be completely consistent with the Bible, which we knew well.

However…

…we had and still have an extremely difficult time with the common practice of Catholic use of alcohol in social settings.

Intellectually we agree that it’s “OK” for Christians to drink alcohol. We do NOT accept drunkenness as an option for Christians under ANY circumstances, and believe that those Catholics who laugh this off are committing a sin.

But even though we accept alcohol use intellectually, it disgusts us. That’s the only word I can use. The very idea that Christians need to use anything to “make them cheerful” is so contrary to our thinking. We can’t wrap our minds or hearts around that.

What we find even more offensive is when the parishes actually offer alcohol at church social functions. This simply should not be done. Alcohol has so much tragedy and illness associated with it and we believe that Christians should steer clear of it for the sake of those who suffer from addiction to it or who have been hurt by it in some way. Again, we don’t NEED alcohol to be happy when we know Jesus!

But alcohol use is NOT a dogma or doctrine, and it’s not even a church teaching. It’s just a social practice that many Catholics still do. So it’s OK for us to disagree with it and still be Catholic.

Also, I realize that although the majority of Evangelical Protestant churches are filled with people who never drink under any circumstances, it’s changing. We are always shocked when we see Evangelical Protestants drinking, but apparently it’s now accepted practice in many Evangelical Protestant churches. Many Catholics will say that Evangelical Protestants have always been “closet drinkers,” but this is insulting and wrong. We lived among Evangelical Protestants for 47 years, and we testify that in all those years, we only saw a few people (about 3) who took a drink of alcohol other than Nyquil. I’m sure there were alcoholics who hid their disease from all of us. But we never observed alcohol use or saw alcohol in the homes of all the thousands of Evangelical Protestants that we knew. And our families never used it. It wasn’t needed.

Thanks to all for your advice and for sharing your experiences with me.
Just FYI… this is where I am at more specifically in my spiritual journey:

Catholic beliefs I’ve always been in agreement with:
– Beliefs stated in Apostles’ Creed
– Pro Life
– Traditional marriage
– Sinful nature of man – we need a redeemer in Jesus Christ.
– Anointing of the sick
– Miracles
– Spiritual gifts, like speaking in tongues
– Exorcism
– Anti-divorce

Catholic beliefs I have come to believe in during last several months:
– Catholic Church has ties to earliest church fathers and apostles. Pope Francis is the latest in the line of succession to Peter.

– Pope is leader of the faithful and the Magisterium is the body who defends what is proper scriptural teaching and understanding of Christian truth.

– Confession/Reconciliation and penance. I believe we can and should confess our sins directly to God, but confessing our sins to a priest is necessary to keep us in right relationship with God and man, and provides built-in accountability.

– The Eucharist truly becoming body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ.

– Weekly obligation. I struggled with this for awhile but accept it now. I have always gone to church because I want to grow in Christ, not because I have to go. My nature is to rebel when I am forced to do something, so it took some effort to assent to this one. In the end, I attend 99% of the time anyway so I would only need to add 1% more. No big deal.

– Purgatory. This one still bothers me a little, but I assent to it. Just so long as the final destination is heaven, I can live with a slight detour to be purified as needed to enter heaven.

Continued Areas of Struggle:
– Marian dogmas: To me, Catholics run the risk of ascribing Mary divine qualities through titles like "Queen of Heaven’ and “Mother of God”. I believe she is a special and blessed woman for giving birth to Christ, but I can never venerate her to the point where I adore her like she is on a par with God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. I would have to learn where to draw the line better before I could feel comfortable praying to Mary.

– **Praying to saints and Mary **(I still go directly to God thru Christ although I have nothing against BVM or the saints. I realize they are in heaven praying for us. I find it unnecessary to pray to them in the same way I find it unnecessary to take a flight from LA to NYC and purposely choose to go through Denver and Chicago when there is a direct non-stop flight available from LA to NYC.

– When does salvation occur/Infant baptism?
My understanding is that Catholics believe in baptizing babies and believe the act of baptism removes the sins of the person/brings salvation.

I believe salvation comes from true faith and repentance in Jesus Christ and a profound spiritual awakening in which a person’s spirit is “born again”, which precedes baptism.

My view infers that the person must be of appropriate age and reason to be able to make this decision freely on their own. In other words, I can’t drag someone else into heaven who doesn’t want to go. Baptizing an infant who obviously doesn’t know what is taking place does not fit what I believe salvation is. I consider it more of a dedication of the parents to raise their child in the Christian faith.

For example, I work with a guy who was born into a Catholic family and was baptized as an infant. He is an atheist now. He doesn’t believe in God at all and thinks Christianity is a fairy tale. Does Catholic doctrine still consider him to be saved? If so, on what basis, since he has obviously forsaken the Christian faith.

That, in a nutshell is where I am at currently. I realize that my views aren’t necessarily always right, because I’ve come to realize there is a God and I’m not Him. So please help me with my struggles if you feel led to do so.

Hi Cat,
My wife and I are evangelicals and we have a glass of wine approximately every other night as part of the perceived benefits to the brain and heart from doing so. Plus, we like the taste of moscato wine. We don’t drink to get drunk, though, and limit it to a glass per night with our meal.

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