I was raised presbyterian (Church of Scotland) and when I came back to Christianity aged 17 it was in this presbyterian and other evangelical protestant forms. All the same, I was always interested in early Church Fathers and the more mystical/contemplative theology of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
I am in the process of converting to Catholicism, having finally taken that step with confidence. All the same, I can’t help having doubts that were drummed into me through years of Pope-bashing presbyterianism.
Firstly, I am concerned about one of the main catalysts for my conversion. My fiancee, who was a Pagan/Wiccan when we first met, has decided to become Catholic. She began re-reading the Bible after meeting me, but decided to become Catholic instead of going back to her own Lutheran roots. One of the reasons she has given for her conversion is the significance of Mary in the Catholic faith, which seems to make Catholicism seem less male-dominated than many protestant churches. I am so glad that she has accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior. All the same, there is this little voice at the back of my head that says, maybe Satan couldn’t tempt me with something so blatantly demonic as Wicca, so he’s leading me into a compromised form of Christianity so that I can fall away later.
Also, I have found my tinnitus, which I was largely healed of after praying with some of the members of my old Anglican church, has come back. This is probably more due to having flown to America recently to visit my fiancee, and logically I know that, but again that little voice tells me the Lord is withholding His blessing until I come back to Him. I also notice that the Catholic Church seems to pray for temporal suffering to help us to attain a heavenly reward, rather than praying for the healing of the sick. As I have known the healing power of the Lord in the past, it worries me that maybe this is an excuse made up by Catholics to explain why the Lord doesn’t work healing miracles within their Church.
Finally, my dad raised the whole history of paedophile priests and cruel nuns in the magdalene houses with me the other day. He is a non-practicing member of the C of S. I tried to explain that the Church is a perfect guide even though the people in it don’t always follow its guidance, and that things have changed now. I can’t help wondering, when one looks back at the catalogue of disasters in Church history, massacres of heretics, compromise with Constantine, riots over the elections of early Popes, the inquisition, the crusades, the wars of religion, etc. etc. whether a Church that so consistently seems to be filled with such awful people can really be such a good guide after all? In my mind, I relate it back to the Calvinist idea of the Elect, the Church’s teaching makes some to be saints, but others just can’t take the teaching and turn into complete devils, it’s a polarising teaching, whoever is not for us is against us. All the same, it seems odd that the Church doesn’t seem to get any better at preventing these problems.
Nothing in the Catechism, or the Decree on Justification from Trent, or in any of the theology or doctrine that I’ve read actually makes me think that the Catholic Church is wrong. In fact, all of it is basically what I believed before. The ‘sola scriptura’ approach of my evangelical Christian brothers is in fact quite a twisted reading of the scriptures in my experience, while the Catholic Church represents the more obvious meaning of the words and teachings of Jesus and His disciples. I have no real reason to doubt. All the same, I have this nagging voice telling me that Catholics are not among the Elect (which I know is nonsense). How do I silence it?