[quote=arieh0310]The objection that I get the most, and I am afraid I agree to a certain degree, is that the Catholic Church is on paper only. Not only do many Catholic laity openly oppose the teachings of the Church, but sadly so do many priests and bishops.
Do you know much of Church history? If you do then you know the Church has always had dissenters within it. The Church of “Going My Way” and other such films and stories is a fantasy. We are in a war of good against evil, within and without, and have been since day one.
In Protestant churches you get a highly concentrated set of christians that all believe the same thing. If a pastor teaches anything contrary to denominational beliefs he is fired. Yet in many diocese you see egregious errors and heresy perpetuated yet the leadership seems to do nothing.
This too is a fantasy, really. Scratch the surface of such churches and you will find that not everyone is in lock-step with their leadership and there are many private sins being committed that will never come to light or be resolved because they must look holy even if they aren’t. Catholics believe in honesty–with ourselves and with others, which is why we have confessionals.
Maybe my impression is wrong (have had a heck of a time finding an orthodox parish) but is sure seems like the Church is in disarray.
And yet, the restoration of true Catholic belief and practice is on the rise. The Church has gone through several stages of progress and reversals in the orthodoxy of its members, clergy and laity alike. G. K. Chesterton saw the Church as reeling its way through history, always seeming about to totter and fall, but always righting itself and carrying on. It’s an odd institution, something like a centaur–half human and half divine. The human half is always trying to take over the divine, but the divine always wins the battle–eventually, and will continue to do so until it wins the ultimate war for the souls of men.
As to what people said to me when I converted, my family was basically indifferent–none of them, not even the Catholic ones, attended my reception into the Church, Easter Vigil, 1989. But at a family gathering shortly after my brother sidled up to me and informed me that he wasn’t going to become a Catholic–this from a nominal Lutheran who only became a Lutheran because his wife was one–who had really instigated his bold attempt at keeping himself from the clutches of the Catholic Church. :rolleyes: I looked him directly in the eyes and told him, “I don’t expect you to.” That set him back on his heels, the silly man, and his wife, too!