Converts: Your No. 1 stumbling block to conversion?


#1

I’d like to know what was the hardest obstacle or teaching of the Catholic Church for converts to the faith, and how people got beyond that particular thing.


#2

My biggest obstacles were the Assumption of Mary and the concept of her as Queen of Heaven. Next on the list was the idea of temporal punishment of sins; to me, it didn’t seem right for a sin to be forgiven, but for punishment to still be meted out for it.

DaveBj


#3

For me it was Mary and communion of the saints. Especially Mary though. I came from an independant fundamentalst Baptist backgroud so accepting this took some time. I remember the first time I prayed for Mary’s intercession I prayed to God first and said something like, “Please don’t be offended that I am praying to Mary. I in no way think she is a diety.” When I did finally ask for Mary’s intercession, though, I was in tears…partly because I was afraid of offending God but partly because I realized that I wasn’t offending God at all and for all those years I had thought some terrible things about his mother. Now I love Mary. :smiley:


#4

My biggest concern before entering the Church was papal infalliblity, was concerned about papal abuses.

And Mary was often misunderstood by protestants when they see Catholics bow down to Mary and kneel to pray… makes it look like worship.

Last thing was an example of Catholics all over the media were bad and alike John Kerry, Madonna, Senator Daschle, including priests’ scandals. It makes stereotype for all Catholics. There are some bad and good Catholics. I believe that some Catholics could go to hell, not none!

But now I know the truth!


#5

For many evangelical Protestant converts, Mary is the final obstacle to scale before coming home. It’s hard, I think, for lifelong Catholics to appreciate just how deeply ingrained in Protestants is the idea that it is “Jesus alone.” Giving veneration to any created being is seen as an act of consummate blasphemy. Protestants for the most part don’t make fine distinctions between “veneration” and “worship.”

If you think about it, you can perhaps see why. For us the act of worship consisted of singing hymns, giving “testimonies,” praying, and hearing a sermon. When we see someone singing a hymn to Mary and praying to her, this just instinctively registers as “worship.” It takes a lot of work to clear that prejudice away.

I was helped a whole lot by the writings of John Henry Cardinal Newman. In fact, it was his writing that finally cleared away my objections to the Immaculate Conception.

Another thing–Even after fully accepting the dogmas of Mary (I wouldn’t have entered the Church until I did), it took a while before I could emotionally accept her as “mother” in a real sense. I think for a number of us, the emotions lag behind the intellect.


#6

[quote=bonica]For me it was Mary and communion of the saints. Especially Mary though. I came from an independant fundamentalst Baptist backgroud so accepting this took some time. I remember the first time I prayed for Mary’s intercession I prayed to God first and said something like, “Please don’t be offended that I am praying to Mary. I in no way think she is a diety.” When I did finally ask for Mary’s intercession, though, I was in tears…partly because I was afraid of offending God but partly because I realized that I wasn’t offending God at all and for all those years I had thought some terrible things about his mother. Now I love Mary. :smiley:
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How beautiful…and how I envy you (envy in a Christian way, of course! ;)) I wish I could love Mary!

It’s not that I have a ‘problem’ with her, such as converts have to overcome…I just don’t seem to be able to ‘know’ her and to be able to say that I ‘love’ her like so many do. How I wish I could!

My mother consecrated me to the care of the Blessed Virgin when I was born, and looking back, I am so sure that she truly did protect me from myself and from all sorts of ugliness. I know that she has especially watched over me. She’s there… Why can’t I know her and love her like other people?

Once I was sitting in a church dedicated to Mary and all of a sudden I was in tears and all I could think was, ‘Pray the rosary, pray the rosary!’ At that point, I didn’t even know HOW to pray the rosary completely. I did what I could and bought a booklet on how to pray the rosary. Another time I was having a real problem with someone in my life and for three days the only answer to my prayer was ‘Turn love and pain into a prayer.’ I was saying the rosary daily in those days… On the third day, I got that same answer, ‘Turn love and pain into a prayer’ and during the rosary I ‘saw’ what to pray for for the troublesome person in my life. It was a moment of pure joy and I’ve prayed the rosary for about 8 years, almost daily, for that intention.

I know she’s there, so close, so active in my life…but I can’t know her, I’ve never ‘experienced’ her in a way that allows me to say ‘I love her.’

How do you come to know Mary? How do you come to love her? Is it just a gift? It’s actually quite painful not to ‘know’ and ‘love’ Mary the way other people seem to do!

What’s the secret?


#7

As a convert from atheism via agnosticism:

(1) wondering whether or not my faith was something permanent;

(2) believing that the Bible was conveying something more than myths and stories;

(3) the communal aspect of worship … kind of goes against my anti-social introverted tendencies. :wink:


#8

I did a lot of reading on my own and and pretty much accepted everything but the one thing that held me back was over zealous Catholics who reminded me of the Bible Fundamentalists I had left behind. If you weren’t doing things THEIR way you were wrong…no questions, no discussions. Those people scared me to be honest…

I went to RICA class and met some very humble Catholics and I’m glad I did. The gentle quiet ones did more to pave the way for me than did the ones who were trying to yell their particular convictions at me… :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue:

dream wanderer


#9

[quote=Nel]How beautiful…and how I envy you (envy in a Christian way, of course! ;)) I wish I could love Mary!

It’s not that I have a ‘problem’ with her, such as converts have to overcome…I just don’t seem to be able to ‘know’ her and to be able to say that I ‘love’ her like so many do. How I wish I could!

My mother consecrated me to the care of the Blessed Virgin when I was born, and looking back, I am so sure that she truly did protect me from myself and from all sorts of ugliness. I know that she has especially watched over me. She’s there… Why can’t I know her and love her like other people?

Once I was sitting in a church dedicated to Mary and all of a sudden I was in tears and all I could think was, ‘Pray the rosary, pray the rosary!’ At that point, I didn’t even know HOW to pray the rosary completely. I did what I could and bought a booklet on how to pray the rosary. Another time I was having a real problem with someone in my life and for three days the only answer to my prayer was ‘Turn love and pain into a prayer.’ I was saying the rosary daily in those days… On the third day, I got that same answer, ‘Turn love and pain into a prayer’ and during the rosary I ‘saw’ what to pray for for the troublesome person in my life. It was a moment of pure joy and I’ve prayed the rosary for about 8 years, almost daily, for that intention.

I know she’s there, so close, so active in my life…but I can’t know her, I’ve never ‘experienced’ her in a way that allows me to say ‘I love her.’

How do you come to know Mary? How do you come to love her? Is it just a gift? It’s actually quite painful not to ‘know’ and ‘love’ Mary the way other people seem to do!

What’s the secret?
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It sounds to me like you are on your way. You see her active in your life, you know she’s there.

I don’t know if it’s a gift. I suppose in a way it is. I can see that she loves me, so I love her. Much the same as we love God because he first loved us.

Personally I did not have a very loving mother, so I think I appreciate Mary all the more because I realized while growing up when my mother didn’t seem to care, Mary did.

Try praying a prayer that Mother Teresa of Calcutta prayed: “Mary, Mother of Jesus, be a mother to me now.” That prayer has been especially helpful for me.

Hope that helps you. :slight_smile: [font=Arial]

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#10

[quote=Nel]How beautiful…and how I envy you (envy in a Christian way, of course! ;)) I wish I could love Mary!

It’s not that I have a ‘problem’ with her, such as converts have to overcome…I just don’t seem to be able to ‘know’ her and to be able to say that I ‘love’ her like so many do. How I wish I could!

My mother consecrated me to the care of the Blessed Virgin when I was born, and looking back, I am so sure that she truly did protect me from myself and from all sorts of ugliness. I know that she has especially watched over me. She’s there… Why can’t I know her and love her like other people?

Once I was sitting in a church dedicated to Mary and all of a sudden I was in tears and all I could think was, ‘Pray the rosary, pray the rosary!’ At that point, I didn’t even know HOW to pray the rosary completely. I did what I could and bought a booklet on how to pray the rosary. Another time I was having a real problem with someone in my life and for three days the only answer to my prayer was ‘Turn love and pain into a prayer.’ I was saying the rosary daily in those days… On the third day, I got that same answer, ‘Turn love and pain into a prayer’ and during the rosary I ‘saw’ what to pray for for the troublesome person in my life. It was a moment of pure joy and I’ve prayed the rosary for about 8 years, almost daily, for that intention.

I know she’s there, so close, so active in my life…but I can’t know her, I’ve never ‘experienced’ her in a way that allows me to say ‘I love her.’

How do you come to know Mary? How do you come to love her? Is it just a gift? It’s actually quite painful not to ‘know’ and ‘love’ Mary the way other people seem to do!

What’s the secret?
[/quote]

Buy the book by Saint louis De Montfort " the seceret of Mary " :thumbsup:


#11

The number one thing that I couldn’t accept before becoming Catholic was the Church’s teaching re: birth control. Once I got my mind wrapped around the idea that it was obedience, not necessarily understanding, everything else fell into place. (Of course, I also now understand it, but it was quite a wrench from my Protestant upbringing in which birth control = responsible adult.)


#12

The idea of baptism as a sacrament.

As an evangelical Christian, I had always believed that baptism was merely a symbol of our willingness to follow Jesus. (But of course, it had to be immersion. The symbol could not be done “symbolically” by sprinkling, pouring, or signing on the forehead!)

And I railed against (and still have problems with) infant baptism. I understand and accept it all intellectually, and agree with the teachings of the Church, and believe they are the true Biblical teaching regarding baptism.

But I still have a hard time accepting it.

The idea that baptism actually DOES something was very strange to me, and still is. For several years in college, I attended a Christian Church, which, IMO, is the closest evangelical Protestant Church to a Catholic Church (the Christian Church celebrates communion at every meeting). The Christian Church taught that baptism was required for salvation, and I argued against it then, as I considered baptism a “work.”


#13

Mine would be the moral teachings, birthcontrol, swearing, pre-marital sex, modest dressing etc. It’s not that I do al those things, it’s just the question why. I ask too many question and I’m usually not satisfied with the answer, it’s my insatiable curiousity. I guess it’s just the daily life part, this is how you live your life. I’ve basically grown up on my own, my parents were there, but they weren’t, it’s hard to explain, but basically i raised myself. So I’ve learned to do things my way, and now it’s like, you must not do this and that, it’s hard to get used to.


#14

My biggest stumbling block right now is the lack of out-reach from Catholics in my area. Catholics seem to not be evangelistic minded like they are in Protestant churches. If it had not been for discussion forums I would not have ever been thinking about convertin to the Catholic Church.


#15

Mine was an irrational fear of matter which is amazing since I have always believed the Eucharist to be the actual Body of Christ.

As an extension of that, the things that bugged me the most were

  1. Relics and Incorrupt Saints
  2. Veneration of Images, Statues
  3. Holy water and other sacramentals and the concept that God can actually use them

A quick review of the history of heresies showed me a glaring common thread with many of them. They all perceived matter to be evil in some form or another. That fact was very much eye opening and it is something I prayed God would work on with me. I did not want to deny His creation was good.

God created matter and matter is good. It took me several months to REALLY believe that.


#16

[quote=hawkeye]Buy the book by Saint louis De Montfort " the seceret of Mary " :thumbsup:
[/quote]

You know Hawkeye (I feel like we should be in an olive drab tent sitting on cots…), I read that book - two de Montfort books, in fact, because I was searching for Mary so hard. And I thought, ‘My mother consecrated me to the Blessed Virgin, now it’s time for me to make an adult consecration of myself to her.’ I really wanted to do it…but I think my extremely wise and insightful and holy confessor either saw that I was trying too hard or was prompted by the Holy Spirit, because he asked me some questions and made some observations…and the whole thing just deflated. He didn’t tell me what to do or not to do, just said, ‘Go to the Blessed Sacrament and ask Christ if this consecration to the Blessed Virgin is what He wants you to do.’ And all I can say is…it wasn’t.

Hard, hard, hard.

Bonica, my situation is a little similar…I often think that the best thing my mother did for me was that consecration. It’s not that she was ‘bad’ or abusive or anything… She was just tired (I was the last of 6, born when she was in her 40’s) and she had her own problems and just didn’t have either the temperament or the energy to do more than the bare minumum mothering for me. I know Mary took care of me ‘in the breach’ so to speak, and continues to do so now that my mother is gone…

It’s just such a mystery to me that as much as I know she’s there, I still feel sort of shut out from knowing her or feeling love and affection for her.

God has His reasons… There’s always the hope of mutual recognition one day in heaven.

Thanks for your kind responses!


#17

Darn good poll! Definitely authority was the key issue for me. Mary took me a lot longer to understand, but by then I was willing to accept the Church’s teaching on her by faith.


#18

My lack of understanding Trinity hindered me in believing in Jesus Christ and being a Christian.

No other stumblingblocks :nope: .

I still don’t understand Trinity, but I have come to the conclusion that I don’t need to understand in order to believe.


#19

I’m still looking into Catholicism, and this board and my Catholic friends have been helpful. I clicked on “Papal Infallibility/Magisterium” as one that I’m having difficulty with (with a corrolary being the idea that Tradition and Scripture are equal).

I have no problem with the idea of a “pope”, but I’m still unsure about the infallibility thing. Also I have no problem with Tradition being a guide but I can’t still shake my view that Scripture is above it. I’m not trying to get into an argument or anything here, as I am studying these things on my own, so I don’t need a bunch of links. :thumbsup: God will have me where He wants me.


#20

I’m down wit’ primacy but I gotz issues wit’ infallibility.

-C


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