May Convert...but...A few questions first (Part 7) My Family is Protestant, what happens to them in my new point of view?


#1

Okay, here’s my deal. I want to convert to Catholicism, because I’m tired of attending Protestant churches week after week to only experience 3/4 of the sermon is music. I barely learn anything and it appears to be consistent. It is as though at this point no one goes to learn, rather to listen and have a great social hour. I gave up on my youth group, considering it only lead to who was dating who and why young Johnny broke up with young Susie.

Therefore, I would prefer to leave somewhere truly feeling as though I had just worshipped. It probably shouldn’t, but the visual appeal of the building of a typical Catholic church also fuels desire to convert. When I went to one for a funeral once, I literally felt as though I entered the house of God. The formality, tradition, sincerity, and ancient practices really got me interested in Catholicism.

Alright, now that you understand why I’m interested, I have a few problems.

Please understand that I’m not challenging you. I want these issues clarified. I want them to work. To be a part of the original church, the very church that Jesus himself commanded to be built is very comforting. I want to be a member of the church that can trace back to the very first followers of Jesus Christ. That is just so amazing to me. Just sit and think about it. All of you are already members of the very first church dating back 2,000 years ago. Please clear these issues up so I can be too.

Would I be accepted?
(Question 7)
EDIT: Excuse me, one more thing that I didn’t think about. Just the fact that my entire family is Protestant kind of discomforts me. In Catholic eyes, does an extremely obedient Protestant go to heaven? If I’m Catholic and they’re Protestant, what happens to them in my new point of view?


#2

Homerun, here is a link to the Catechism of the Catholic Church with regard to this issue. Hopefully this will help you in your response to them. In the end it comes down to the difference between having some of the truth, and the fullness of it. :slight_smile: And I believe that you have already begun to see that.


#3

My wife and I were in your situation several months ago. Both of our families are Protestant, nearly all of our friends are. We had much concern over how they would react, since several had shown an anti-Catholic bias I refer to as “Anything But Catholic.”

The first thing we did was realize that our spiritual journey was our own. We need not apologize for it, nor expect that others will be where we are at the same time we are. Just as we did not embark on our inquiry into Catholicism to hurt our family or friends, they should not seek to hurt us for doing so.

The second thing we did was our homework. We read a lot of books, including (most importantly) the Catechism of the Catholic Church, cover to cover. We formed questions, discussed with clergy, our RCIA team, etc. We attended Mass regularly. We enrolled in RCIA to learn about the Catholic faith. We prayed a lot.

It became clear that the claims the Catholic Church makes are true. Once that was clear, there was no alternative but to join the Church at Easter.

Throughout this process, we kept mum with family and most friends. We did this to avoid churn and to ensure we had the opportunity to fully evaluate Catholicism.

When it became clear we would join, we met with friends and family in small groups and announced our decision. We didn’t lose anyone, as we’d feared we might. Most were vocally supportive of our decision. Over time, most have been amenable to discussing our beliefs when religion is brought up as a topic, and do so quite respectfully.

Do not fear. That is the lesson I would pass on to you.

Since we’ve converted, we have been in such a state of spiritual peace as we have never experienced. We continue to learn, and are very active in our parish. It will be a long time before we are “good” Catholics—the bar is set extremely high, when one looks at the lives of the saints. That doesn’t dishearten us, though, for the journey is pleasant, and the company is wonderful.


#4

Most of my friends at Protestant and I had personally experienced God in some amazing ways in various Protestant churches, so I also wondered about this issue. I have found the Catholic response to be very positive and encouraging.

Other protestants are Christians. They are our separated brothers and sisters. We long for the day that we would all be one as Jesus prayed for. But for now, we also acknowledge that God is working in them even if we aren’t one.

You may hear that the Catholic Church says that there is no salvation outside the Church. This sounds a bit scary at first, but if you read more, it makes sense. The Church does NOT say you have to be visibly part of the Catholic Church to be saved. It was pretty much how I had already thought of salvation in the wider sense anyway. I know that salvation is through Christ alone, but I also allowed for the fact that there may be people who are saved through Christ, and at this point not realize that is what it is.

Also, like Teflon, I worried what people would think of all of this. I had read some stories of friends having strong reactions and people loosing out on those friendships because of their conversion. I didn’t think my friends would react that way, but still…

But my friends have been wonderful! They were pretty surprised, I didn’t really say anything until I was pretty sure I was going to convert, so I can’t blame them. But they all pretty much just said, go where God is leading you. they have been supportive of the whole process and a couple even came to my Confirmation/First Communion to support me. It is weird not seeing them in church every week any more, but I still talk to the ones I’m closest to often. :smiley:


#5

I’m so happy to have you here and pray for your continued conversion to Christ’s One True Faith! :thumbsup:

Think of yourself as being an Ambassador for Christ to your family. You will be part of the the Original and Only Church that Christ instituted! You can then take what you have learned to your family in a loving and prayerful way - something that has probably never been done for them before.

Is it possible for a protestant to go to heaven? Sure. Is it possible for a Catholic to not go to heaven? Sure. We don’t know the disposition of someone’s soul at the time of death - that’s God’s place to know that. But do we have a better chance (as Catholics) of getting to heaven because of the grace we receive through the Sacraments? Yes we do. So while it’s not impossible for your protestant family members to make it to heaven - you now have a wonderful opportunity to help lead them on the path to the Fullness of Truth, and a life filled with grace, that leads to heaven.

Please take a look at the link in my signature. There are tons of podcasts there about all different topics of the Catholic Faith that would probably be very interesting to you and help you with talking to your family.

May God Bless you in your journey home!

~Liza


#6

I can really sympathize with you because right now I’m going through the process of formally becoming Catholic. I’ll be welcomed into the Church this Easter and I really can’t wait.

Most of my family and friends are not Catholic, but the Catholic Church in no way teaches that those outside the VISIBLE Church are not saved; in fact, you can be excommunicated for saying that non-Catholics or non-Christians are going to hell (which is something many Protestants say about non-Christians).

The reasoning is along these lines; Catholics believe that Jesus Christ is more than a Jewish carpenter who lived in ancient Palestine. They also believe that He is the Eternal Word of God - the Light that shines upon the mind of anyone who discovers Truth (because He IS the Truth, as he says in John’s Gospel). Therefore, people can have encounters with Christ without knowing the man Jesus or without thinking they are following him. But the Church cannot judge who knows Christ in this way, so she abstains from judgment, as she should.

A really great answer about this is actually found in the last couple chapters of the last of the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis. If you’re a fan of the series, I suggest that you go back and look at that - he gives a wonderful literary depiction of how people who aren’t Christians are saved by Christ (or Aslan as He is called in the books).


#7

Reminds me of Rev. Leonard Feeney. He went wayyyy to far.
This is what Vatican 2 said: " Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved." (LG 14) But… " Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience." (LG 16). Also check (CCC 851).


#8

Yeah, that’s the man I was thinking of as I wrote that! His life proves that God has a great sense of comedic irony.

For those who don’t know, back in the 1940’s (I believe) a priest named Father Feeney went around essentially saying that all those who weren’t in the Catholic Church were damned. The Vatican came down on him and told him to cease making such comments, but he didn’t listen. So the Vatican eventually excommunicated him. The man who found himself preaching that those outside the Catholic Church are damned found himself outside of the Catholic Church!

Is that divine comedy or what?


#9

haha!!! yes, God works in mysterious ways!!


#10

What will happen to them NOW is what would happen to them BEFORE if nothing changes but YOU.

But, perhaps you will lead them home as well!? We can only hope! :slight_smile:

Please read the Catechism relating to “Who belongs to the Catholic Church”:

838 “The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter." Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church.” With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound “that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord’s Eucharist.”


#11

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