Catholic here, convert from non-denom/baptist/Prot/evangelicalism.
One big stumbling block for me on the journey home was the issue of justification.
And what I discovered is that most people are ignorant about what the Church actually teaches.
“Faith alone” is only wrong if “faith” is isolated (or opposed to) love.
But faith, if it be united with love (if it be in the heart of man), does have the power of justification.
And in this sense, there is a certain “kind” of faith - namely, a faith united with love - that does indeed qualify for “justification by faith alone.”
And James is not saying that “faith united with love” does not justify. Rather, James is saying that faith alone (faith without love, or “head knowledge/mental assent” as our Prot brethren would say) does not justify by itself, but is brought to completion by works of love.
And works of love (including the reception of the Sacraments) help to preserve and increase our justice. But “faith alone” -if understood as a faith in the heart, that is united with love - does indeed produce initial justification.