Hypothetical conversion process

Hypothetically speaking, if I were to convert from Protestantism to Catholicism, what would be required? Also, does my baptism count?

You would go through RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults). Furthermore, a large number of baptisms do count as long as they are based on the triune formula. You would need a copy of your certificate or witnesses to your baptism to verify it.

First of all, your baptism counts if you were baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” with with water, either by immersion, pouring or sprinkling. If this is done, it is assumed by the Church that the correct intention was in place; to do what the Church does.

You would be required to go through one to two years of study. This process is called the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). There are various stages of this process and no strings attatched. The purpose is to make sure that the one accepting the Catholic faith understands the Catholic faith.

In the end, however, to be Catholic you would be required to believe everything the Church teaches concerning faith and morals.

Becoming Catholic is like a marriage.

Rcia is like dating. It provides an opportunity for the church to get to know you and you get to know the church. When you are ready to commit to a permanent union, you will go through a public ceremony of annointing called confirmation, where your soul is sealed by the Holy Spirit in apostolic succession going back to the apostles.

If you were correctly baptized (as others have described) then you would be a candidate and would most probably go the RCIA route because most parishes don’t have the personnel to have two processes for those who are, like you, candidates and those who were not baptized, who are called catechumens. Since you have been baptized, you could contact the priest at your local parish to see how far along you are in being reconciled to the Church. He would most probably suggest you go through RCIA, but depending on your progress, he may instruct you himself or find another avenue for you to be confirmed. Please don’t be confused. Simply contact your local parish and ask for the person in charge of those wishing to enter the Church or contact the priest.

If I believe I have already been sealed by the Holy Spirit (not through a public ceremony but through a supernatural experience), do I have to believe it was inauthentic and that only through confirmation will I be sealed by the Holy Spirit?

No spiritual experience is inauthentic, but you may be mislabeling what you experienced. :slight_smile: We often have what the Church calls “spiritual awakenings”–times when we are particularly in tune with God. However, confirmation is a charism given by Christ to the Church, so it does what it is supposed to do without any further need to wonder about it. God can work outside of the sacraments, but if we know about them and what they are meant for, then we are obliged to do as God wishes and subject ourselves to them. I hope that helps.

I know the Catholic Church isn’t big on speaking in tongues (in fact, some may not believe that the gifts are in existence today), but that was my experience. Though I do not have the gift of interpretation, I’m in full control of my mind and body — I am not convulsing on the floor or shouting.

I don’t oppose a public declaration of my faith in the Triune God and the Catholic Church, but to say that only after this declaration will I receive the Holy Spirit is something I don’t think I can go along with.

There is a large charismatic movement within the Church that is fully approved, so that’s just fine with us. :slight_smile:

I don’t oppose a public declaration of my faith in the Triune God and the Catholic Church, but to say that only after this declaration will I receive the Holy Spirit is something I don’t think I can go along with.

Being sealed with the Holy Spirit is not the same thing as being filled with the Holy Spirit. Being sealed confers a particular kind of grace upon us (the definition escapes me at the moment, but it’s all in the Catechism). For example, St. Francis of Assisi was filled with the Holy Spirit but it didn’t take the place of confirmation for him nor of the conferring of holy orders upon him, either (he was a deacon).

Not sure of the type of grace, but Confirmation leaves an indelible mark on our souls :shrug:

I see — there’s so much to learn in Catholicism!

My interest in Catholicism is only recent. My grandmother converted to Catholicism (from Buddhism) near the end of her physical life, and because that piqued my interest, I’ve been to a couple Masses – once with someone in college (2007) and once about 2 years ago. But that was about it. I got confused by all the kneeling and recited prayers.

I was kicked out of graduate school housing this past summer (in my sixth year :frowning: ), so I had to find a place quickly and pretty much take whatever I can get. The house I share is about a block from a Catholic church, and I can hear the churchbells in the morning and what seems to be at random hours at different days. There’s a small painting of a Saint on the wall (don’t know who it is) – I wonder if my landlady is Catholic.

About two months ago when Hurricane Sandy hit and I had no power, I got out a book about Dorothy Day and her advocacy for social justice. Then I picked up a short book about Hildegard of Bingen at the local bookstore (after a Protestant church service). Her letters and the way the hierarchy of the Church runs were quite interesting. Then I saw a documentary on Netflix about a leper colony run by nuns – I was quite moved by their dedication to people that were deemed diseased and unwanted.

Is God moving my heart to join the Catholic Church? :confused: :eek:

In history class, we were taught that the Catholic Church was full of corruption (e.g., indulgences), fallible (e.g., the whole Galileo incident), and greedy (e.g., property acquisition, Pope wearing Prada). Perhaps I was biased because of the way Church history is taught.

I’m still interested in the Catholic Church, but the Protestant Church is all I’ve known. Is one authentic and the other not? Are they both?

Gah, I wish I knew the answer.


The Catholic Church is filled with corruption. You were taught correctly.

The Catholic Church is also filled with Holiness. Jesus told us this…as follows…

The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
—Matthew 13:24-30

The Body of Christ is people and with people there are always those that say they follow Christ and unfortunately they follow their reason…

The Church teaches Morality

Some differ and follow their reason…in spite of what the Church teaches…there is lots to learn…and the important thing is that you have found some Saints and those people model Christ…and that is what you should know…take hold of the Catechism…of the USA…it is divided into 4 parts…

We Believe
We live Sacramentally
We strive to be Holy because our God is Holy and we Model Christ
We pray and ask for help…

Start with the section of We Believe…look at what we strive for and then cruise the Catechism wherever it leads you and know that the USA Catechism is filled with stories of Saints and you can delight in that.:thumbsup:

:smiley: I found my conversion to be a learning experience. I kept discovering things. So I started out thinking like a conservative Protestant and slowly evolved into thinking pretty much like a Catholic. It took me about 4 years to get to the point where I entered RCIA.

I guess I should have done it quicker.:sad_yes: You may find, as I did, that there is more to it than just doctrine. I found I really need the visual aspect of worship, that I care about what I look at. Contrast the appearance of the typical Catholic Church at Christmas versus a Protestant Church in a school cafeteria. That by itself isn’t a reason to convert but it helps.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation lifted an enormous burden off of me and that isn’t something you can find in a Protestant church. (I guess Orthodox and Anglican churches have it too but I am not sure about it.) I could go on.:wink:

But one thing I did want to mention. You can’t understand or know everything the Church teaches. You should be willing to assume that the Church is correct though before you join. We have enough Cafeteria Catholics as it is.

You would go through the RCIA process. Depending on your parish, this can take anywhere from six months to two years. I’d recommend a longer process for someone who hasn’t been going to Mass regularly. A shorter process would be appropriate for someone who’s been coming to Mass regularly on Sundays for a year or longer.

You can also go to RCIA to ask questions and try it out, without making any commitment to become Catholic at the end of it. Even if you don’t plan to become Catholic, go to the RCIA classes with an open mind, and be prepared to try out ideas that maybe never occurred to you before. :slight_smile:


Have you read the catechism in it’s entirety?

I have not and it wasn’t encouraged in RCIA.:blush:

I am sure that you have received the HS in other ways. However, confirmation, in terms of joining Jesus’ church, simply completes baptism. Best place to look:


I highly recommend it. It answered a lot of my questions during my conversion process…it is still helpful…

I continue to refer to it frequently, and I converted more than a decade ago. It’s one of the most useful references I own. :slight_smile:

I agree. :thumbsup:

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