Is a Protestant conversion really a "conversion"?


#1

I have employed, as have others, the term “conversion” when a Protestant joins the Roman Catholic Church. The CCC defines conversion as:
“A radical reorientation of the whole life away from sin and evil, and toward God. This change of heart or conversion is a central element of Christ’s preaching, of the Church’s ministry of evangelization, and of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation.”

As a Protestant, if I were to join the Roman Catholic Church, this definition of “conversion” would seem, at least to me, to be incongruent. Is there a more appropriate term? Or, am I splitting the proverbial hair?


#2

Dear Savone,

The dictionary defines the verb “convert” as: " 1. to change into something of different form or properties. 2. to cause to adopt a different religion, belief, political doctrine, course, etc." The noun "convert’ refers to someone who has converted.

To the degree that a Christian from one of the denominations takes on a new belief system in the Catholic Church, that person is converting and is a convert. Just accepting the authority of the Catholic Church is a conversion–one that would be unthinkable for many Christians!

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.


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