RCC difficult to join

I would like to vent a bit of my frustration at the difficulty in joining the RCC, and a couple of other things.

I came to know Jesus through the RCC (I boarded with preists for 5 years undergoing Catechesis), and the AOG church (my wife’s church) at the same time. The AOG church went off on the prosperity tangent, and I thought, well the RCC still teaches the truth. I know “all” the teachings and accept them so let’s go there.

I expected having gone through years of Catechesis to simply be received into the RCC, but was told I had to do the RCIA. What has happened is that things I used to accept as fact (Apostolic Succession, Infallibility of the Pope, the Churche’s concern for the poor) have all come into question since doing the RCIA. I have looked into history, since my sponsor is a history buff, and found things to be not so clear-cut as I once though. She also insists that all other Churches are false since the RCC is the “One True Church.”

We also strongly dislike being called converts. We are already believers. If we were changing from Islam or Judaism, fair enough, but is Catholicism a different religion altogether to the AOG?

Another thing we dislike is being called protestants, since we have never had any ill-feeling towards the RCC, and were not involved in the Reformation. We didn’t know anything about it really (but do now).

So my other concern is this:
With my history, if I still have to jump through a million hoops to be received (despite my preist mentor saying I was ready 5 years ago), how are we expected to gain any new members for the RCC?

One more thing:
We are told to go to Mass, but cannot receive the Eucharist, despite believing in the Real Prescence, and that hurts. I also wish to make a good cofession and cannot do that either until just before being received into the Church. Even that has been put off until after Easter now because our whole group backed out!
I am told that as long as I am willing to make a good confession ASAP, then that counts. SO why do we confess to a preist at all? Why won’t they just hear my confession so I can have peace?

Hi David!

I know that a lot of people here will give you advice. I however will suggest that you email Father Vincent Serpa, one of the Apologists on these boards, and explain your situation to him. He is vvery orthodox and dependable in matters such as these, much more so then the ordinary layman (or, as it turns out, RCIA director). I assure you that he will be able to help you understand the actual teachings of the Church in these matters (which despite what some have told you, is very clear-cut).

Oh, and a word about being a convert- everyone is a convert when they deepen their faith in God. A “conversion” merely means to “turn towards” God (as my Spiritual Director taught me). Everytime we decide to take our faith to a new level we are experiencing a conversion. Congratulations on your conversion, and I wish you a very happy, blessed and grace-filled Easter,



although your feelings might be hurt the church only seeks your good…being a convert and being called so will only help you bring others to the church who might need to be converted. I’m a revert and so it helps me in talking to people, fallen away catholics who are like I was in thinking I knew enough, like about things such as history and doctrine, etc. You may not reaalize it but in all charity your pride is causing you confusion, Do what you have to do, stay close to prayer and forge ahead…it’s a stormy world out there.


Well put :tiphat:

My local parish priest invited me to begin celebrating the sacrament of reconciliation almost 9 months before I was received into the Church through confirmation. I attended another parish for my RCIA (being away at college), and the priest there also continued to allow me to celebrate the sacrament. I probably made confession once a month during that period.

For a more in-depth discussion of this issue, click the following link, and scroll down to the third question:


This being said, I would never have assumed I could celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation as early as I did had not my local parish priest so encouraged me. I trusted his spiritual guidance. Since I had been attending his church for a year, and had recently decided I would pursue reception into the Church earlier, he told me there was no need to postpone the sacrament.

Perhaps this really is a question of local pastoral practice?

Still, I must politely express some skepticism concerning your receiving the sacrament just yet, 5 years of catechesis notwithstanding. You seem to have outstanding doubts concerning certain theological points and laws of the Catholic Church (if I am wrong on this point, please forgive me). This observation emerges from the following statement in your post:

What has happened is that things I used to accept as fact (Apostolic Succession, Infallibility of the Pope, the Churche’s concern for the poor) have all come into question since doing the RCIA. I have looked into history, since my sponsor is a history buff, and found things to be not so clear-cut as I once though. She also insists that all other Churches are false since the RCC is the “One True Church.”

Your intellect and heart should be totally surrendered to the theology of the Catholic Church before you can expect to receive a Catholic sacrament. In some ways, the very emergence of these doubts may be evidence that you were not as ready to enter the Church as your priest mentor thought five years ago. In that case, praise God for the delay (however frustrating); He is guaranteeing that your faith will be completely secure once you are received, and, I believe God is also teaching you humility in the process.

(P.S. I also had to wait to be received at Easter Vigil, which is contrary to the recommendations of the US bishops. Still, without another option available, I had to learn to humbly endure that flaw in my parish’s RCIA program. Christ gives us the strength, and remember, He desires our speedy reunion to the Church even more desperately than we do. Unite yourself to Him, and be consoled by His love.)

After decades of Protestantism I was Chrismated and became Orthodox after 2 meetings with the priest. Since I was active in Church leadership and prison/teaching ministries, it seemed to the priest that I “got the drill” so he received me immediately. No problem. That was 12 years ago.

We decided it was time to become Catholic (for reasons not germaine to this thread) and were told that the process is a lengthy one involving RCIA. I was a little miffed because I felt that I understood what I was doing and couldn’t understand why I had to do this.

I was so wrong. The relatively long process of RCIA was really a gestational period that was necessary to do it properly. It made all the difference. Being received last night was THE most meaningful faith experience I have ever had. This would not have been possible without the long process of RCIA.

A year ago I thought RCIA would be annoying, extraneous and redundant. Now I view it as absolutely critical to the process and would not trade it for the world.

May God bless you on your journey.

Thanks for your replies:

To the person who said my pride is causing my confusion, FullofZeal, I don’t believe that. Am I not allowed to have certainty in my convictions? I just know that some people are born into the Church and have all the Blessings of the Sacraments they want. And yet I who grew up unchurched put in a lot of study at the Presbytery and over the years. I had to seek and work hard. rI have been at the stage of understanding and believing “more than most Catholics.” BTW, that was said of me by a priest, not my words. And yet, all I want is to participate in Christ’s Church. My point was that things I had accepted with a childlike faith have been questioned greatly since doing the RCIA. I have had clever people: ex-Catholics, venomous atheists (some ex-ministers), non-Catholics really put my Catholic beliefs through the ringer. If was just accepted immediatley, I would have been too busy learning about the Councils, liturgy, rosary, Hierachy to question such things. If you like I can give you some examples of the curlies that have been thrown my way. For instance, name one eye-witness secular historian who recorded Jesus’ life for themself (must be a primary source).


I have not made myself clear. It is not that I don’t believe these things, it is just that I accepted them in a childlike fashion before (the equivalent of accepting Christianity based on Pascal’s Wager), whereas now my faith in the RCC has been tested. I still believe them, but my faith has been shaken. People say that those who study Church history become Catholic. And having had questions raised by very clever people, that is what I have to do now to have the same level of faith I once had. I don’t see how it is fair that I should have to read the Early Fathers (I’ve read Augustine), things like St Ignatius, St Clement of Rome, Thomas Aquinas, just because I have had people pose tough questions and I have found that the history is not as conclusive as I thought once. What, do I have to study Theology, Ecclesiology and History just to be a lay member of the Church with no authority?

A priest friend who has perfect timing rang me tonight and did say that my particular parish is extremely traditional and that maybe we should seek a more progressive parish. Man I needed that man’s words of encouragement.

Finally, as for Christ, I could quite happily receive Him in the Eucharist today without guilt. Before you call me a heretic remember I am on fire for God, read the Bible and pray daily, have repented of a lifetime of sins and he who is forgiven much loves much. Just between me and Jesus, He would have me in the Church today, I am sure of that, and certainly would allow me to have the peace that comes from a good confession.

A Priori,

I am very happy for you for what you are feeling right now. I certainly wish to feel as you do. Our situations are not the same however, as I already underwent 5 years of Catholic Catechesis, and now have to do the RCIA. The priest who initially Catechised me got quite upset that I didn’t join then (back in 1999), but my now wife was an AOG Pastor’s daughter and I loved her so much that I tended to go to her AOG church with her. Unique situation- future father in law AOG pastor.

The main problem was getting my wife to be even open minded about the Catholic church. She used to call praying to the Saints for intercession “praying to dead people”, things like that.

It is the one-size fits all thing that upsets me. In fact, I am about ready to just give up. I mean I am not asking to be a deacon or anything, just a rank and file member of Christ’s Church. I feel like just going,“Well, I know when I am not wanted.”:shrug:

Someone who has undergone 5 years of Catechesis would understand the necessity of RCIA.

However you must keep in mind I am a Cradle Catholic and outside of the fact that I jump for Joy that you are coming into full communion with the ONE holy Catholic and apostolic church I am a little miffed too. My Catechisis like most Cradle Catholics Lasted at least 10 years and in my case it lasted 12 years…So in reality you only have about Half as much Catechesis as the “average” Catholic.

I’m a convert myself and all I can say is, don’t give up yet! It’s difficult but so worth it when you receive the sacraments!

I see your point in terms of length of time. If it takes so long to learn (and this is anger talking now, sorry), maybe it is more complicated than Jesus intended it to be. Traditionally, Catholicism has been transmitted intergenerationally by large families such as in Ireland, and so one is brought up in the faith as you were.

I notice too that you capitalised the word ONE. That kind of elitist attitude repels potential converts. What’s more it ignores the fact that all trinitarian baptised are your brethren in Christ (straight from the CCC). It is a matter of fact that the church is one, but also that all others are therefore ordered in relation to it. So like it or not, the Calvinist down the road who is anti-Catholic is Catholic so far as he believes what the Church teaches. He will not believe in some doctrines/dogmas and so lacks the fullness of Truth, but his church is not* false*, for it has some truth (say the Nicene creed), but lacks the fullness and beauty of the Lord’s real prescence in the Eucharist.

Respectfully disagree. Some people are born into the church and wait 7 or 8 or 10 or 14 years for the sacraments.


I understand that our situations are not the same. We are not all stamped out with a cookie cutter. I’m only suggesting that I had a pride problem and it affected my approach to those things asked of me. Your mileage may vary.

May God bless your journey.

I’m a little unclear … Are you saying that you have gone through RCIA, expected to join the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil, and then were told “No” because the rest of your RCIA group decided they weren’t ready? :confused:

If that is the case, then you should go to your priest immediately and tell him that you should not be penalized because of others’ unreadiness. It would have been best if this had been done before Easter, but if you have gone through RCIA and accept the teachings of the Church then there seems to be no legitimate reason as to why you aren’t being welcomed into full communion.

Did you fill out the application form correctly?

No, the RCC teaches infant Baptism, and Baptism is a sacrament.

Also, those years are childhood years. It is understandable that one needs instruction in the faith, and then one is Confirmed at the age of understanding, if they wish to grow in the grace that was started at Baptism. You are not talking about an adult who’s life has been changed by Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit, and them denying them membership to Christ’s Church. See the subtle insults I get? I am compared now to a child who is learning the very basics of Christianity. Whereas, I know the Bible and Catechism both pretty well. I am not saying I know all, but why not be allowed to participate and enjoy reading more about the Councils, etc later on? It seems I am expected to have a degree just to join!

Although I am sure you are being sarcastic (text is not good sometimes), yes I remember filling out a form at some stage, with our details, etc. It was said to me at that stage that I may not have to do the RCIA, but was told to turn up to the first meeting and be interviewed by the preist. That never happened, and I enjoyed the meeting and was happy to go at first. Then, because there was such a variety from some who didn’t know Jesus at all, or much of the Bible but were seeking,… to say myself, who already was quite familiar with the Bible and Catholic doctrines, my sponsor wanted to split the group so that we didn’t have to go over such basic things as “Does God exist?”, the Divinity of Christ, the Trinity, and things like that that were (in my sponsor’s words) “too basic for us.”

So my sponsor (who is a 70 yo treasury of knowledge) and the Catechist come to our house now, so my wife can be instructed, since we have babies. I want to learn more. If you knew me you’d see I am constantly thristy for knowledge and Catholicism suits me to a T in that respect. But I want to be able to participate in the Sacramants WHILE I learn more. I don’t want the RCIA to end (ever, really), but I have waited plenty of time for the Sacraments. Too long, really.

We didn’t want to be the only two people to be received into the Church at Easter Vigil. When we started the RCIA there was a group of us. Have you done/heard of the Alpha course? Well, we expected it to be like that:- that you’d be joining with a group of people who had become your friends over the months. We are the sort of people who shun attention and my wife is unfamiliar with the liturgy of the Mass anyway, so we asked for another maybe normal Sunday Mass, where there wouldn’t be a full-house. It was explained to us that joining at Easter Vigil would be a “big deal” and my wife and I didn’t want all that attention.

I will call the priest and see what he says, but I am sure that they will make us wait until June, when the one other candidate (still joining but deferred) is expected to join. They seem in no hurry, despite my pleas. They were willing to baptise our children though, so that’s something.

I was being humorous, not ‘sarcastic’. When I joined I didn’t fill any forms, because my new step-dad joined me for me. I was baptised when I was 7 so I remember it too.

As I said, text can be no good for conveying emotion. If you were being funny, maybe add an emoticon (just click on one), eg:) or :wink: would have done nicely.


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