Help! Explaining why be Catholic - to Catholics!


#1

I am in the process of converting from Protestant to Catholic, and I have encountered a number of Catholics now who seem to think that the decision is a neutral one (if not bad in that it’s divisive from my former denomination :frowning: ). IE, it doesn’t matter whether one is Protestant or Catholic, because we are all Christian and will all go to heaven anyway. In some sense, I agree that God will hold people accountable for the Truth that He shows them, and if they had no way of knowing, then God will show them mercy (ie. invincible ignorance).

However, I do not agree that “it’s all the same.” This is precisely why I’m converting - there are so many doctrinal differences that I see as essential or contrary to our faith. For example, Church authority, Sola Scriptura, Mary and the Saints, confession, baptism, abortion, artificial contraception, homosexuality, etc. I’m sure the list goes on. Since accepting the Catholic faith, I also gained a better understanding of the seriousness of sin, in that it separates me from God. I believe that the Catholic Church is the original Christian Church, but how can I explain this to cradle Catholics who seem to think that their Church is just another denomination among many?

I guess I am seeking brainstorming of ideas about how to approach cradle Catholics on this. What is the best way to explain the concept? Thanks and God bless!


#2

People like that are the reason God is sending people like you into the Church.

Converts have a reputation for being overzealous. OK. So be mild in your responses, but be firm as well. You are on exactly track with what you have said here about responding to the truth when it smacks you in the head.


#3

I guess I am seeking brainstorming of ideas about how to approach cradle Catholics on this.

If you figure it out, let us know. I think each person requires an approach tailored to their situation.

Bottomline: Indifferentism is a heresy condemened by the Catholic Church, and they seem completely oblivious that they are promoting such a heresy.


#4

I guess I am seeking brainstorming of ideas about how to approach cradle Catholics on this. What is the best way to explain the concept? Thanks and God bless!

Learn the faith, live the faith, and then get in the mix. Volunteer for things like RCIA and Religious Ed. I truly believe most parish priests will be elated to get a hold of someone willing to teach the faith accurately as opposed to the (sadly) usual method of catechesis which is little better than the teacher holding up an ink splotch on paper and asking the students how they feel about it.

Two notes of caution:

Always turn your charity knob to MAX. It is sorely tempting to whomp a poorly formed Catholic with doctrine and a in-your-face attitude. Remember that most of them are only in material error, not *formal * error. Patience, patience, patience.

Beware the dark side that is radical traditionalism. Once you start down the dead path of fallible ecumenical councils, apostate popes, hair-brained conspiracy theories involving apparation-secret-possing nuns being hidden away, forever will it dominate your destiny.

Sorry about that Yoda part at the end. Couldn’t resist. :smiley:

Scott


#5

[quote=lily628]I am in the process of converting from Protestant to Catholic, and I have encountered a number of Catholics now who seem to think that the decision is a neutral one (if not bad in that it’s divisive from my former denomination :frowning: ). IE, it doesn’t matter whether one is Protestant or Catholic, because we are all Christian and will all go to heaven anyway. In some sense, I agree that God will hold people accountable for the Truth that He shows them, and if they had no way of knowing, then God will show them mercy (ie. invincible ignorance).

However, I do not agree that “it’s all the same.” This is precisely why I’m converting - there are so many doctrinal differences that I see as essential or contrary to our faith. For example, Church authority, Sola Scriptura, Mary and the Saints, confession, baptism, abortion, artificial contraception, homosexuality, etc. I’m sure the list goes on. Since accepting the Catholic faith, I also gained a better understanding of the seriousness of sin, in that it separates me from God. I believe that the Catholic Church is the original Christian Church, but how can I explain this to cradle Catholics who seem to think that their Church is just another denomination among many?

I guess I am seeking brainstorming of ideas about how to approach cradle Catholics on this. What is the best way to explain the concept? Thanks and God bless!
[/quote]

Congratulations on your discovery of the faith. Most Catholics do not know there faith and do not follow it. As you said, if God shows us the truth and we reject it, how can we expect to be saved. Although there will be protestants in Heaven, you can not say that the protestant churches are the same as the Catholic Church. The biggest diference in my opinion is the Eucharist. I think the Eucharist is the greatest reason to join the Catholic Church. Jesus gave us his body and blood, yet some think nothing of it.

Mary and the saints is another big thing. We look at it as being a great benifit to pray to Mary and the saints yet the protestants do not. They are missing out on chances to become closer to God.

If you explain this stuff to a Catholic they should see the reason why you want to convert.


#6

As a convert, I haven’t seen that bit. But I have come across other problems. I’ll use the last bible study I was in as an example. I ended up not completing it due to friction from the cradle catholics there. And the ignorance of the study leader.

First, there was a problem about the Eucharist. The older ladies there (at 41 I was the youngest by far) started talking about it one day. They said it bothered them to see people chewing on the host. They had a major problem with it, because they had been taught that the Host wasn’t suppose to touch the teeth. I later asked our priest about it, and he reminded me that Jesus had said we were to EAT His body. That would require chewing on it.

Gee, I lost my train of thought. I forgot what else I was going to bring up. Needless to say, I had a miserable time in that study. Actually, my church offers nothing but the Little Rock scripture study. I find that inadequate. It’s kind of like reading a manual on how to fix cars, but not getting hands-on experience, and then saying you can fix any problem in any car. Totally inadequate.

Oh, the man who led the study? Well, if you ever heard of a dumb blonde, he was even dumber. Once after class I needed to go to the social security office. He offered to drive me over. Anyway, we get to where we had to turn. I showed him a truck that was in the left turn lane with his turn signal on. And I told him to follow that truck. Once the light changed, and we and the truck turned, he asked me, “How’d you know that truck was going to turn left?” Duh!!! He was like that just about all the time. And he decided to lead bible studies? Give me a break. I haven’t been in any other studies. I just couldn’t take all the dumb attitudes and his stupidity.


#7

Lily628,
There is a terrible lack of catechesis in the Church today, and has been for the last 35 or 40 years.
Those Catholics who said this to you don’t understand their own faith and need some serious catechesis. What they said about all being Christian and will go to heaven stems from an overemphasis on ecumenism. There was a lot of that going around twenty years ago, and it lingers.
Don’t misunderstrand me; ecumenism is good – to a point. That point being losing the identity of Catholicism, which these people seem to have done. (Of course, I don’t know them, so I cant say for sure, but that’s what it sounds like.)
A much more serious flaw in this thinking is the “we’ll all go to heaven,” part. This is presumption and is very dangerous thinking.
My advice: Pray, avoid these people and find some Catholics who welcome you home enthusiastically.
Welcome home!!
God bless

Heart of Jesus, formed by the HolySpirit in the womb of the Virgin Mother, have mercy on us


#8

I have found one of the most powerful forms of witness to be a simple “I disagree”. When others say things like “it doesn’t matter whether one is Protestant or Catholic, because we are all Christian and will all go to heaven anyway” I just say. I disagree. A simple “I disagree”, lets the other person know where I stand. If they wish to pursue a conversation, they will say what do you mean. If they were just spouting off hoping you would rubber stamp their sentiments, they go away. Either way, I stand as a witness to the Truth.


#9

[quote=lily628]I am in the process of converting from Protestant to Catholic, and I have encountered a number of Catholics now who seem to think that the decision is a neutral one (if not bad in that it’s divisive from my former denomination :frowning: ). IE, it doesn’t matter whether one is Protestant or Catholic, because we are all Christian and will all go to heaven anyway. In some sense, I agree that God will hold people accountable for the Truth that He shows them, and if they had no way of knowing, then God will show them mercy (ie. invincible ignorance).

However, I do not agree that “it’s all the same.” This is precisely why I’m converting - there are so many doctrinal differences that I see as essential or contrary to our faith. For example, Church authority, Sola Scriptura, Mary and the Saints, confession, baptism, abortion, artificial contraception, homosexuality, etc. I’m sure the list goes on. Since accepting the Catholic faith, I also gained a better understanding of the seriousness of sin, in that it separates me from God. I believe that the Catholic Church is the original Christian Church, but how can I explain this to cradle Catholics who seem to think that their Church is just another denomination among many?

I guess I am seeking brainstorming of ideas about how to approach cradle Catholics on this. What is the best way to explain the concept? Thanks and God bless!
[/quote]

I think (and pray) that they are just being accepting so that you will feel welcome and at home…


#10

Thank you for the great responses so far. I forgot to add this. Another thing I worry about is that if this attitude is prevalent, people with such doctrinal ideas may see no problem with leaving the Church in the future, whether it be for marriage reasons, disillusionment, a bad experience with someone, or difficulty obeying the Church’s moral teachings.

For the purposes of context, many of these people are college students with me. Some I met at the Newman center on campus. It might be a generational thing, but I’ve also had this reaction from some Catholics who are middle-aged. Interestingly, elderly Catholics tend to think that my conversion is wonderful. Granted, these are generalizations, and many different age groups of people have been enthusiastic about my decision to convert. But these are the patterns that I’ve seen.


#11

Hi Lily:

I am a convert and I have found very faithful Catholics who are an inspiration to me and others who have not yet discovered the treasures of the Church.

In any case, my wife and I started an adult spiritual formation program at our parish with the support of our priest. Here is the article that describes what we did:

catholicexchange.com/vm/index.asp?art_id=22753

Perhaps you could do something like this in your parish.

Jeff S.


#12

[quote=lily628]Thank you for the great responses so far. I forgot to add this. Another thing I worry about is that if this attitude is prevalent, people with such doctrinal ideas may see no problem with leaving the Church in the future, whether it be for marriage reasons, disillusionment, a bad experience with someone, or difficulty obeying the Church’s moral teachings.

For the purposes of context, many of these people are college students with me. Some I met at the Newman center on campus. It might be a generational thing, but I’ve also had this reaction from some Catholics who are middle-aged. Interestingly, elderly Catholics tend to think that my conversion is wonderful. Granted, these are generalizations, and many different age groups of people have been enthusiastic about my decision to convert. But these are the patterns that I’ve seen.
[/quote]

Most peole don’t take there faith serious. They do not know it either.

I am also a college student. I go to Penn State. What school do you go to?


#13

[quote=lily628] I forgot to add this. Another thing I worry about is that if this attitude is prevalent, people with such doctrinal ideas may see no problem with leaving the Church in the future, whether it be for marriage reasons, disillusionment, a bad experience with someone, or difficulty obeying the Church’s moral teachings.
[/quote]

Lily,
Your fears are not unfounded, but you’re fairly new - again, welcome! - and fairly young.
Here’s some perspective from an older cradle Catholic (57) who was away from the Sacraments for many years because of the many and serious abuses of the teachings of Vatican II. It’s a long, sad story many of us endured or escaped from. There has been widespread confusion after every Church council, so it’s nothing new.
The attituede you’ve encountered is a remnant of those abuses.
We’re finally (I fervently hope) comoing out the other end of the abuses. Good, orthodox Catholics are not going to just sit back and accept the abuse that remains.
The advice from those who said to get involved is good. Learn what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches and pass it on. Start a peer group or one for high schoolers.
There is one secret to all of this, and that is finding a good, orthodox priest. If you do that, all the rest is easy.
God bless

Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mother, have mercy on us


#14

[quote=mercygate]People like that are the reason God is sending people like you into the Church.
[/quote]

I couldn’t have said it better! :clapping:

I think many people (Catholics and Non-Catholics) are complacent and/or ignorant of the teachings of their faith.

Don’t fall into that trap. Keep your zeal.

Be courteous in responding to those who see no difference between the different religions, but be honest about sharing your understanding of the faith too. The Catholic Church really does have the fullness of Christ’s teaching. I believe that too. Good luck.


#15

[quote=lily628]I
However, I do not agree that “it’s all the same.”
[/quote]

You’re right! This claim that it’s all the same can be a symptom of lack of knowledge about one’s own faith and the desire to avoid defending it.

I went through a similar “phase” because my faith was being challenged. It’s like smiling and nodding in agreement just to get someone to shut up.


#16

I am a revert to the faith. I have been evangelising ever since, with charity.

Catholics should remain Catholic because the faith is

  1. Objectively True
  2. Plausible
  3. Knowable
  4. An answer to understand the meaning of suffering
  5. An act of obedience to Christ.
  6. Steeped in the blood of the martyrs.
  7. Witnessed by many great miracles (Guadalupe, Lourdes, Fatima, Lanciano, Incorrupt Saints).
  8. The ordinary means of salvation (Where else do you get the full 7 sacraments especially confession/eucharist
  9. A journey if properly followed that leads to eternal life.
  10. A journey which if abandoned could be serious spiritual suicide i.e. lead to perdition.

#17

:(Where else do you get the full 7 sacraments especially confession/eucharist:

At least four places:
Orthodoxy
The Oriental Orthodox
The Church of the East
The Old Catholics

That’s just by the admission of the Catholic Church. We Anglicans would also claim to have all seven sacraments, but of course you don’t agree.

Edwin


#18

[quote=Contarini]:(Where else do you get the full 7 sacraments especially confession/eucharist:

At least four places:
Orthodoxy
The Oriental Orthodox
The Church of the East
The Old Catholics

That’s just by the admission of the Catholic Church. We Anglicans would also claim to have all seven sacraments, but of course you don’t agree.

Edwin
[/quote]

Some Anglican’s would claim to have 7 sacraments. The Anglo Catholic Church I was baptised in would. Typical C of E would offer baptism, confirmation eucharist, (the priest would have) holy orders and matrimony. The sacrament of reconcilliation and Anointing of the sick would be difficult or impossible to get in these parishes. Low or evangelical parish - some ministers would be uncomfortable with being described as having ‘Holy Orders’, wouldn’t believe in reconcilliation or anointing of the sick. In fact, if you asked them they would state there are two sacraments - baptism and eucharist only.

In terms of eucharist you have every belief from transubstantiation, real presence (loosely defined), real presence ( heavenly and spiritual manner) through to no presence (memorial symbolism only).

I experienced all of the above as an Episcopalian.

So I fully agree with your assertion that the sacraments are avaliable in other Churches. For the above reasons, and the whole apostolic order issue (some Anglican priests have valid orders due to Old Catholic / Orthodox lineage), the presence of the Sacraments in Anglicanism is a complicated business…


#19

Where else do you get the full 7 sacraments especially confession/eucharist:

At least four places:
Orthodoxy
The Oriental Orthodox
The Church of the East
The Old Catholics

That’s just by the admission of the Catholic Church. We Anglicans would also claim to have all seven sacraments, but of course you don’t agree.

Edwin

Edwin,

I know it’s sad that the Catholic Church doesn’t recognize your celebration of the Sacrament of the Eucharist and also the Sacrament of Penance. I don’t know about the other 5 sacraments.

However, there is a valid reason why the two Sacraments I mentioned above cannot be considered valid by the Catholic Church. It’s simply for the reason of knowing and understanding it’s reality:

  1. Eucharist–Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. I believe this Tradition and truth of Doctrine has been lost and disbelieved by the Episcopalians/Anglicans. It’s because they were influenced by the doctrines of Protestantism.

  2. Apostolic Succession. This is another important consideration–the valid consecration of priests and bishops in the Anglican Church. I understood that the Anglican clergy didn’t keep the Tradition of the Church in the later years of its separation from Rome. During the early years of Anglicanism, the Apostolic succession was kept, but then the Church of England was penetrated by Protestant Reformers who were anti-Catholics. The result was total disregard of the observance of the Tradition in these two important Sacraments.

3)Since there is no valid Apostolic Succession–therefore there can be no valid Sacraments, especially the Eucharist. God cannot accept an offerring of a valid Eucharist if there is no valid priests and bishops in the first place.

I guess if the Anglicans is to bring back the Traditions and acknowledge that they err on this very important matters, the Catholic Church may bring them back to the Truth and beauty of the Church of England–who once by the way been faithful to the Catholic Church before king Henry VIII ruled.

God bless,

Pio


#20

What I have found is this Treasure. The Catholic Church is not built on the fall of anothers faith, and this is refreshing.This is what sets it apart.

The Church is built on the fall of “us” it is here because we are fallen and know it. This is our faith, our hope is in Christ.

www.catholic-rcia.com


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