For Catholic converts from Protestant denominations

Just a couple of questions for converts to Catholicism…

When did you first feel called to Catholicism/What happened?

How long from first considering/looking into Catholicism did you convert officially?

What was the deciding factor?

Thanks :slight_smile:

My wife, then girlfriend, was Catholic and I was determined to get her out. Driving home from work one day and I saw a Catholic radio bumper sticker. I was bored so I tuned in and it happened to be CAL. The first handful of callers all had questions that were close to or exactly what my questions and objections were. Patrick and Tim answered them quickly, easily, logically, and biblically. After that, I thought “uh oh. I’ve gotta look in to this.” Over the next 6 months or so, I was reading and researching for 6-8 hours/day, 6-7 days/week. I then signed up to the next RCIA class and 9 months later was received in to the Catholic Church.

I think the deciding factor was realizing that there was meant to be an authority from the beginning of the church, a voice on Earth for Jesus to say what was and was not true Christianity. And finally understanding what the church teaches on Mary.

For me, it was the gentle, humble, consistent witness of my ex mother-in-law that led me to the Church. She is a cradle Catholic and a better and more honest person you couldn’t find. When I first me her, she insisted that her son and I could not sleep in the same room in her home as we were not married yet. (I have a pretty scandalous past!) But, rather than making me feel rejected, she made me feel most welcome in her home even while upholding her Christian principles. Over the years, she helped me understand what being Catholic truly meant…She led me, mostly by quiet example, to accept the truths the Catholic Church teaches and she sponsored me when I finally committed to RCIA and converted. This process began in 1984 and I finally converted in 1992.

Her humble witness was the catalyst that opened my eyes and heart.

The more I learned, especially about the early Church and the Church Fathers, the more I felt drawn to the Catholic Church. Before that,I was a little afraid of learning too much. The most critical question I asked was, “what happened after Jesus ascended?”. Then, let the Holy Spirit lead me the rest of the way.

I was baptised and confirmed in the Church of England, but always felt drawn to the Catholic faith. In CofE services, I felt like an outsider. Sometimes I’d drop into Catholic churches, sometimes I’d actually sit through Mass. I wanted to be part of it, but a person I was with at the time was very strongly opposed.

Many years passed, my faith waned. Then I realised in my 50s that I needed to get things straight. No longer constrained, I first went to an Anglo-Catholic church for a few months. It was virtually empty and the priest was uninspiring, to say the least. So I emailed my nearest Catholic church and the priest said that RCIA started the very next evening! I went along, was made very welcome and that was it. :slight_smile:

You might be a interested in the Journey Home radio program archives. You can listen to people tell their story of their conversions. I am sure that your concerns were shared by some of these converts, and they address them head on. They are interesting listens. In the heading it tells what denomination the person is converting from. (Unfortunately, the early ones do not list the converts denomination.)

My catalyst was the belief in the Real Presence of the Eucharist. I don’t know how/why I believed it when as a Protestant, communion was always symbolic grape juice. After reading about the Desert Fathers and a particular book written by St. Catherine of Siena, it just dawned on me for some reason. If Protestants are wrong on this, then I could not continue with that tradition.

In Catholicism (and also Orthodoxy), the saintly lives were inspiring and were continual throughout history — Church didn’t stop with the Book of Revelation.

There was true meaning to suffering, what love is, the struggle for virtue, firm teachings on faith and morals, etc.

I will answer simply and then link you to my blog post on this for more details.

I first felt called to Catholicism in 2011 after attending a mass for a school field trip.

I officially entered RCIA IN February 2013 and became catholic at Easter 2014. Prior to entering RCIA I had been going to mass when I could alongside my evangelical church.

The ultimate deciding factor was probably the issue of authority. But there were several factors.

I loved the fact that mass was humble worship before God instead of seeking out the best speaker or band.

I also felt immense grace in the sacrament of reconciliation such as I’ve never felt before. Experiencing that convinced me of the truth of Catholicism without a single doubt.

Pope Francis is doing a wonderful job making Catholicism a big tent and much more tolerant - so conversions should be plentiful in the future

I don’t have time for a long post, but very briefly what happened is this. Over the course of High School I gradually transitioned from quite anti-Catholic to pro-Catholic and wanting to join the Catholic Church. It was a large combination of factors: moral conversion, exposure to good Catholic liturgy, debunking of anti-Catholic myths I’d heard, a growing knowledge and appreciation of history, a maturing appreciation of beauty, experience of the moral and doctrinal bankruptcy of mainstream Protestantism (or that portion of it I was being raised in), etc. I started RCIA my freshman year of college. I was extremely young of course, and didn’t fully understand everything. I now believe that aspects of my spirituality and of my understanding of certain theological issues remained more Protestant (along Wesleyan-Evangelical lines) than Catholic for several additional years.

I suppose the central factor was a loss of all interest in the Protestant paradigm of religion while at the same time evolving an ever deeper longing for real doctrinal truth and real, not presumptuous, forgiveness of sins.

I won’t get into what Pope Francis is doing or not doing, but if you look at the “big tent,” “much more tolerant” Protestant denominations, do you see a lot of conversions to them? In today’s secular, individualistic society, who has time for a church that just reflects the world instead of confronting and challenging it (in ways that it does not want to be confronted and challenged, I should clarify).

For me it all started with Mary and the Rosary. A Catholic friend gave me a Rosary which I started to use and pray with, and it was almost a foregone conclusion after that!

I began to study the Church and its history at first. Then an understanding (and acceptance) of apostolic succession and teaching authority soon followed. And finally my desire for the Eucharist (the *real *thing; not some goldfish crackers and grape juice!). These were the intellectual side of it. I had a very moving emotional experience at a Church retreat last March that really set things right in my heart. That did more for me than the intellectual side of it.

I have my first Catechumenal Rite this Sunday (Rite of Acceptance). I am *so *looking forward to it. After all the study and reading before entering RCIA, and then all the study and prep during RCIA, this first Rite will finally make it all feel much more “real” to me. Finally! I will soon become (officially) a Catechumen!

:slight_smile: :signofcross:

I was born into a Protestant family. I never enjoyed the services as a child and I still think they are extremely dry, so I was an Atheist for many years until I went to University.

A friend of mine from the Republic of Ireland took me to mass one Sunday and I was hooked, it felt like an awakening and I’m now going through the RCIA and praying to God.

Catholicism is the true church of Christ IMO.

To make a long story short, I accidentally ended up at a Mass, and I was blown away by how perfect it was as a form of worship. I realized at that moment that I needed to become Catholic. I was young and naive, and I had no idea what kinds of obstacles would jump into my way, including my family’s disapproval, and my own doubts about so many teachings of the Church. It took me three years to get my head around the Rosary, for example.

How long from first considering/looking into Catholicism did you convert officially?

I first encountered the Mass in August of 1983. I started attending Mass every Sunday evening beginning in January of 1984. I started attending RCIA in September of 1985. I did that twice in a row without becoming Catholic, so I was attending RCIA every Wednesday that it was offered from September 1985 until some time in the spring or early summer of 1987. I attended Mass on Sunday evenings on a weekly basis from January 1984 until January 2001, which was when I stopped attending my Protestant church and switched to Sunday morning Masses.

I rejoined the RCIA in January 2001, and was received into the Church on April 11th, 2001.

What was the deciding factor?

“I believe in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.”

Do I?

YES. I do.

So I became Catholic.

Thanks :slight_smile:

You’re most welcome. :slight_smile:

It was so gradual as to be almost imperceptible. There were things that started to bother me about “What we (Lutherans) believe” and I became less and less active. My wife (Catholic) wasn’t particularly active either. We’d been together for 16 years (married 10) before I officially converted, but again, a very slow process.

It also sounds silly, but quietly contemplating / praying in some of the beautiful Cathedrals in France didn’t hurt, either.

I was 14 or 15 years old when I felt the pull to Catholicism. My Dad was Irish Catholic, but only his sister and her husband practiced the faith. They talked a lot about Catholics and the faith. I have my grandmother’s rosary. My mom was Lutheran, also non practicing and my sister and I were raised in the Episcopal church.
I dropped out of church at 18 and did not return until I was 45 or 46. I didn’t convert to Catholicism for another 10 years.

I rebelled against God for many years. I decided to start going back to church (I was a unbaptized non-denominational that did not believe baptism was necessary for salvation)
When I did go back to Church it happened to be a Lutheran church. I got interested in Martin Luther and that got me interested in The reformation and The Catholic Church. Then I got interested in learning about The Early Church, and ill be darned if it did not seem like The Early Church was either Catholic or Orthodox, but definitely not protestant.

I cant pin down the exact moment I felt the call. I had probably started feeling the call around the time I began to agree that a lot of what The Catholics believed was more in line with what The early Christians believed than protestants.

Deciding factor…I resisted wanting to convert a little at the beginning. I was looking for any excuse to remain protestant. But The Catholic apologetics I read were solid as a rock. I tried to find refutations from protestant sources but their explanations why they were right and Catholics were wrong seems like it took a lot of mental gymnastics and stretches for their arguments to seems right. None could compare to The History recorded and apologetics by Catholics. After much prayer, I came to accept That God gave authority to The Catholic Church, not any other man made denomination. And that I should probably trust The Church that was actually around when The New Testament was written to more correctly interpret it :stuck_out_tongue:

It took about 2 to 2 1/2 years of being interested in The Catholic Church until I converted. And best believe I read up and did research almost every single day of that time.

I first felt the call when I had children and began to realize that I could accept not being able to figure out how to reconcile evolutionary biology and evangelical fundamentalist leaning protestantism, but I couldn’t figure out how to explain this problem to my daughter. Then I remembered an old conversation I had had years ago with a Catholic friend who said basically that the Church never understood the Genesis account so literalistically. So I began to look into that. Then, I had a crisis of faith I guess you could say and wondered if God was there at all. I started reading into the early church and first Century Chistianity. I discovered it was not all all what I had been taught growing up as a baptist, but rather looked really catholic. I started reading St. Ignatius, Clement I, and others, I then had John 6 start to really make sense for the first time in my life when I thought: what if Jesus really did mean this as literally as he sounds?

Suddenly questions I’d shelved since I was about 9 years old started to come up about Acts and the council of Jerusalem, John 6, Matthew 16:18, and others, and then I saw 1 Timothy 3:16 for the first time and realized Catholics might have something really right here, the Pillar of Truth is in the Church, not the Bible!!!

So then I basically realized that everything that didn’t make sense before in the NT started to make sense suddenly with the Catholic reading of passages about priests, passages about the Eucharist, passages about authority being in THE Church, etc.

Then I basically walked into the nearest Catholic Church, St. James in Novi, MI which I had driven by for five years or more on Sundays on my way to the Non-denominational mega-church and naively said to the priest after a Sunday Mass while trembling a little from nervousness, “I think I want to be Catholic, can I join?” And I’ll never forget Father George saying to me so HAPPILY “Wow, You’ve made my Sunday! Talk to the Deacon here!” and then realizing I had some more work to do (RCIA, lol!) and that it wouldn’t be quite so quick and done. I’ve never looked back since, not even for a moment!!!

  1. Considered for about 10 years (on/off), then went to RCIA in fall 2012.

  2. For me, it was a process. I first became interested in 2001/02 when I met my now husband. It was also when the sex abuse scandal really hit, so I wanted to see how the church and the Catholic community responded to it. I also wanted to see if my “Catholic” friends actually lived the life, or if they were all talk/no action.

  3. In the end, I took RCIA knowing that I didn’t have to commit. I wanted a church home for my family and was tired of church shopping in the protestant world. I really didn’t want to go Lutheran and then decide I wanted to go Catholic. I also wanted my husband to fully participate in church again.

I figured if I couldn’t go Catholic, then there were still options.

Let’s just put it down to the Holy Spirit worked on my issues one at a time until I realized I was at home in the Catholic church. I may have started the process for practical reasons, but it’s for spiritual reasons why I stay.

Unlike others, I’m not in love with the Mass. (It is what it is) My heart’s still used to the emotionalism that you get in Protestant services and I can’t help but agree w/my son that Catholic masses are kind of boring.

(Please don’t start a debate on whether mass is boring or not because all of us are allowed our own opinions and I just won’t engage in the conversation. I’ve accepted that this is just another area where I’m a work in progress).

However, I love how the Eucharistic part of Mass makes me feel humble and grateful for God’s grace in my life and the world. I like knowing that I’m being told the whole truth about God in the Catholic church. It feeds me intellectually and spiritually in ways that Protestant churches never did. My faith is more alive and real since becoming a Catholic. I feel connected to the ancient church and the church worldwide in ways I never did as a Protestant. It’s really been an intellectual journey in a lot of ways.

I was raised in the United Methodist Church and grew up with Catholic neighbors. We were taken to the local Catholic Church as part of my confirmation to learn about other Christians and working with them. I think that kind of “tolerance” was my basis. Later I realized abortion was murder and the Catholic church was the only consistant voice growing up against abortion. Likewise, in 8th grade in a “values clarification class”, a Catholic boy (I had a crush on) argued rather emphatically that abortion even in rape and incest was wrong. I was also drawn to the authority of the Church since I didn’t see any “authority” in any church growing up and in subsequent involvement in different independent Charismatic churches. So authority, stability, defined truths that were not abandoned were big draws for me.

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