I think I want to 'convert' but will anybody here help?

Earlier this year I joined the catholic answers to post my questions about church teaching with the hope that catholics here would help me sort through my questions.

I explained that I was baptized catholic but raised bible christian. When my grandfather passed away he left me his religious books and articles at which point I began to study them.

I looked through my questions from last year and I have a few more. I was really confused about how my questions were answered here and one of my questions was closed by the forum. I still don’t have a concrete answer to that question. So I stopped using the forum and asked catholics I know at work. I also asked priests to try to clear up my confusion. I’ve been in at least 5 bible based churches in my life and none of them seemed as hard to join as the catholic church.

Also since then I have found several on line catholic catechisms in addition to my grandpa’s catholic catechism book.

May I please kindly ask, if my questions about converting will be answered on this forum?

We’ll do our best to answer your questions, but you need to understand that this is a public forum not the voice of the Catholic Church. :wink:

Also, you don’t need to understand everything before being received into the Church. You only need to understand enough to become Catholic with reasonable certainty. There are classes for interested people called RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) that most parishes have, although classes usually begin around September and end at Easter Vigil when those who wish to enter the Church are baptized and/or confirmed. But, you can receive private instruction from a priest.

So, with this understanding, please ask away and we’ll do our best to answer. :smiley:

Hi!
God bless you on your journey into the Church!

You can ask all the questions you want, and many, if not most, will try to answer your questions to the best of their abilities. However, even then, all answers should be verified by more than one source, and your priest is the best one to ask for that, or your RCIA director. There are priests, apologists, brothers, sisters, nuns, regular laypeople here; however there are also, yes, people who will pretend that they are Catholic but are here to dissuade you from making such a ‘mistake’. :wink:

Welcome!

I like to keep in mind that false religions and those which lack the fulness of truth are easy to join and difficult to leave. The true faith is difficult to join and easy to leave.

As to struggling to become Catholic, here is one woman’s story of perseverance: catholic.com/magazine/articles/i-had-to-claw-my-way-in

I promise to do much better this time. Fire away.

It really isn’t that difficult to join. Also on a side note, I think I know what you mean by “bible church” but let’s not forget that it was the Catholic Church who brought the bible together, maintains and protects it and uses it to fortify our Apostolic Traditions. So in all, and maybe just my opinion, but it seems that the Catholic Church is the “bible church” more so than others because it not only adheres to its teachings but also attempts to protect it from those who wish to mangle it for personal preference.

That being said, good luck with your journey and welcome home! I hope it works out!

I’m not sure what happened with the thread, why it was closed. We do have a list of rules at the top of your screen under “help”. If anyone violated any one of those, they close the thread down. It doesn’t even have to be you that breaks a rule. We find it necessary to have moderators and rules for us to have civilized conversations, with numerous religions, about faith and other things. Without these rules, there would be chaos.

Sorry the church has been so difficult to join.

There is Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA). That seems like the place to go, as already mentioned. It is for converts to the Catholic Church but also for people who haven’t decided, still have questions.

You would go to the Church office and tell them you’d like information on RCIA. I, also, wanted to wish you luck in your journey.

In the meantime, though, what was your question(s)?

Assuming you want educated, thoughtful, straightforward answers, I would discourage you from looking for them here. Find an RCIA group in your area and/or a priest who can help you navigate the faith.

^^^^Case in point^^^^^

There are plenty of people on this forum that will offer you help on your journey, many of whom are well educated in the faith, thoughtful, and most of the time straightforward. :slight_smile:

I’d be glad to help.

You might want to take a look at this site:

catholicscomehome.org/im-not-catholic/

Peace,
Ed

With due respect to the learned members on this site, your best bet is to keep things simple.
Take some time and go to any Catholic Rectory, that is the Parish office attendant to a Catholic Church. It is usually in a building next door to, or across the street from a Catholic Church. It is also the address listed in the phone book when you look up the name of the Church.
When you get to the Rectory, ask to see a Priest. Do not be discouraged if one is not available because due to a shortage of priests, most priests are very busy. So, if one is not immediately available, make an appointment.
When you see the priest, simply outline your situation, just as you have here. You will find him welcoming and warm and not judgemental.
Welcome home!

Thanks to everyone who responded to this.

I’m going to ask one question at a time to ‘keep it simple’ as was suggested by one of the members.

This blog says:

“By reason of our priestly consecration, we are called to be perfect imitators of Christ; we are called to be priests and victims in the manner of Jesus who is the Priest and Victim.”

Padre Pio had the wounds of Jesus appear on his body and this site says of Padre Pio

Padre Pio dedicated His most intense acts of piety, and obtained from the Father perfect conformity to the crucified Lord. So, close was this conformity that he lived it out even outside of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, through the immolation of the service of the confessional, dedicating long hours to the reconciliation of sinners, through a ministry of intense sufferings offered on behalf of others, through enduring the assaults of the devil that his spiritual children might not,

The apostles were martyrs for following Jesus and preaching the gospel. I’ve also read in many places that the catholic priesthood is given by Jesus at the last supper.

**Comment and Question **

Jesus gave his life to save sinners and told the apostles to pick up the cross and follow him. Based on the life of the apostles it seems pretty obvious that they had to sacrifice their life to follow Jesus and be his disciple and save sinners by preaching the good news.

Question:

Is the priestly vow of catholic priests the same vow of Jesus and taken by the apostles of the early church, that is, to sacrifice themselves for love of God and the salvation of others, even unto the cross?

Actually, that’s what’s asked of all members of the Church - bishops, priests, deacons, religious, and the laity. It’s pretty much what we’re agreeing to by getting baptized. By our baptism, we are adopted as sons and daughters of God the Father (as opposed to Jesus, who is the only begotten Son), we are sanctified by Jesus’s blood on the cross, and we are also made disciples of Jesus. Jesus stated that “Anyone who wishes to be my disciple must take up his cross and follow me” (in Luke, it actually says, “…take up his cross DAILY…”. Jesus also mentioned in other places that following Him must be the most important job of any disciple.

However, by virtue of Confirmation (again open to all baptized Catholics in good standing) and then Holy Orders (given to only a select few men), priests and especially bishops are called to shepherd the flock. Priests take vows of obedience and chastity when they are ordained as transitional deacons (all deacons actually take vows of obedience - married deacons are not allowed to remarry should their wives die and single deacons are required to be celibate just as priests are). Priests in some religious orders take additional vows depending on their order. However, because of the shepherd ideal of the priest and the bishop, they are generally expected to look to Jesus’s ideal of the good shepherd (to lay themselves down for their flock) - in other words, they must guide the flock (through the homily and other teaching), feed the flock (through passing out the Eucharist) and, most of all, protect the flock (by putting the well-being of the flock above their own).

Yes…pretty much.

Being ordained a priest is a lifelong vocation. They give their lives as a shepherd of their flock where they are assigned.

As for martyrs…there are many of them…especially those missionaries who went to the far flung places of the world to spread Christianity to the world.

Here is the life of one you may find very compelling: St. Damien of Molokai

catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=2817

He volunteered to serve in a leper colony…and contacted the disease himself.

Since priests act in persona Christi, and as an alter Christus, I believe the answer is yes, but this would be excellent to post in the “Ask an Apologist” forum. From another forum:

"In general, the priest is an alter Christus, another Christ, defined very beautifully by the Holy Father at the start of this Year of the Priest:

“As an alter Christus, the priest is profoundly united to the Word of the Father who, in becoming incarnate took the form of a servant, he became a servant (Phil 2: 5-11). The priest is a servant of Christ, in the sense that his existence, configured to Christ ontologically, acquires an essentially relational character: he is in Christ, for Christ and with Christ, at the service of humankind. Because he belongs to Christ, the priest is radically at the service of all people: he is the minister of their salvation, their happiness and their authentic liberation, developing, in this gradual assumption of Christ’s will, in prayer, in “being heart to heart” with him. Therefore this is the indispensable condition for every proclamation, which entails participation in the sacramental offering of the Eucharist and docile obedience to the Church.” - Pope Benedict XVI 24 June 2009
However, during the celebration of the Mass, he serves in persona Christi, that is, in the very person of Christ, who is truly present."

AHA! I am really beginning to understand I hope! To be a priest means to make the ultimate sacrifice just like the apostles even if it means persecution or martyrdom.

To be a priest means to be like Jesus and make this sacrifice even for the most wretched and fallen souls. Someone could only make such a sacrifice through Jesus’ love, through really knowing the heart of Jesus.

Oh my! The priesthood is holy and a serious commitment to Christ the Lord!

Being a bible based christian, the argument against catholics is often that everyone has a priestly ministry so you don’t need holy orders.

If the priest is a victim taking the vow to sacrifice his life for the flock, then he’s like Christ who sacrificed everything for us. The priest is joined to Jesus’ sacrifice because he listened to Jesus and did what the apostles did, that is, sacrificed their lives to deliver the good news to miserable sinners.

The early christians got fed by the priestly servants of God in the breaking of the bread.

When that gathered together in the breaking of the bread, they too risked their lives and offered themselves with the priest on the altar.

This is amazing really. I am just amazed that you on this forum are affirming what I’m realizing. I’ve been struggling with this catechism for a while but somehow now it seems so perfect.

  1. What is the Mass?
    The Mass is the sacrifice of the New Covenant in which Christ, through the ministry of the priest, offers Himself for us as a victim to his heavenly Father.
  1. Is the Mass the same sacrifice as that of the Cross?
    The Mass is the same sacrifice as that of the Cross, though offered in a different manner.
  1. How is the Mass the same sacrifice as that of the Cross?
    The Mass is the same sacrifice as that of the Cross, because the same Christ who offered Himself a bleeding victim on the Cross, offers Himself in an unbloody manner by the hands of his priests, in the Mass.
  1. What are the purposes for which Mass is offered?
    The purposes for which Mass is offered are: to adore God, to thank Him for his benefits, to make satisfaction for our sins, and to obtain from Him other graces and blessings.
  1. What is the best manner of assisting at Mass?
    The best manner of assisting at Mass is to offer it to God with the priest for the purposes for which it is said, to meditate on Christ’s sufferings, and to receive Holy Communion.

We offer our lives to God on the altar with the priest!!!

Oh my gosh! I’m studying more about ‘persona Christi’. The catholic priest is as described in John 15 (I am the vine, you are the branch) ! The Mass sacrifice has to be the same as Jesus because Jesus is the source, the way, the truth, the life.

The holy sacrifice of the mass seems to be taking me back in time to the time of the martyrs. The mass is the way of the cross! You had to be willing to be a martyr to be a christian in the early church. To give everything for Jesus just like he gave to us. You have to be pure and blameless to put your heart with Jesus as an offering to the father. You have to be ready to be a martyr for Jesus. You go and confess because so you can be a clean offering, because God can take us at any second.

I think my grandfather’s catholic missal I have is now finally making sense.
http://s21.postimg.org/lqwv7qvav/Priest.jpg

With all the insights you’ve been granted, we should be asking you questions instead of you asking us. :smiley:

Oh wow! Thank you! I hope so. Being a sinner is about all I can lay claim to but its amazing to try to come in contact with the ancient church through the Catholic teachings.
I just can’t seem to get enough of it!

As a convert myself, I know how you feel. I went through that first flush of love for the ancient Church when I was in the process of converting. It’s lovely to be reminded of those heady times. It’s like a honeymoon period, so enjoy it while you can. Still, the “marriage” is so wonderful that you really won’t miss your enthusiasm of discovery after being in the Church for a while. Your love for God and his Church will only deepen as you go along. :yup:

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