I think we need to remember it takes time for a person to sort through all the “apologetics” and arguments and debates and testimonies and Scriptures.
The Holy Spirit is at work in everyone who comes to this Forum, Catholic and non-Catholic. There are many more fun computer sites to visit (e.g., my favorite actor’s sites!), but we all keep coming back here. I don’t think that’s an accident.
When I first starting looking into Catholicism, I didn’t have any blatent prejudices against the Church. I believed they were Christians, just “different.”
I was totally convinced that Protestantism was correct.
It took me getting kicked out of my evangelical Protestant church to get to a point where I was willing to accept that Protestantism is NOT correct. That event forced me to look at the beliefs that I had always held as “correct.” I came to see that a lot of what I believed was not “Scriptural” at all, but merely the practice of men. Because I trusted these men over the years, I believed what they said. But when they proved themselves untrustworthy, I stopped believing what they said and started thinking for myself.
It was extremely hard to give up something that I had held onto all my life. It was essentially leaving life as I had always known it.
It took a LONG time to read through the Catholic Bible and study the Catechism to make sure I wasn’t getting caught up in a “cult.” (I didn’t even start reading the Bible for a year after getting kicked out of the Protestant church.)
Hopefully many of the Protestants on this Board will not have to get kicked out of their church! That’s doing it the tough way, believe me. But on the other hand, it made it easier to walk away from the Protestant church. It would have been horrible, heart-breaking, if I had become convinced of the truth of the Catholic Church, and been forced to leave people that I loved. I didn’t especially love the ones who treated me cruelly, so it was easy to “shake the dust off my shoes.”
I think a lot of Protestants can accept intellectually the apolgetics in favor of Catholicism, but they can’t get past the personal implications. It feels “funny” to genuflect, to cross yourself, to bless yourself with Holy Water, to kneel in church–yes, to kneel before the Lord! (Most Protestant churches don’t have kneelers in the pews). It feels strange to say “Hail Mary” or to pick up a Rosary or to watch an infant baptism.
Even if you know it’s all true in your mind, it still feels strange for a long time. My older daughter asked me to pray with her yesterday, and it felt strange to say “In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” (She’s converting to Catholicism.)
And then, of course, are all the personal logistics. Many Protestants are heavily involved in ministries in their churches. How will they walk away from these ministries? Who will lead the Children’s Choir? Who will replace me as Sunday School Superintendent? Who will take charge of the missionary convention?
You feel like a traitor.
And then there are the family difficulties, which are often the hardest of all. Our younger daughter and her fiance are going through this right now. They both know in their heads that they should become Catholic, but they are afraid that it will literally kill his devout Baptist grandmother. I can only pray that Blessed Virgin will plead with her Son to have mercy on them, as they are acting according to the dictates of their conscience, out of kindness and compassion to the grandmother, not out of stubborn waywardness.
So I think we all need to keep in mind that most people will take their time about spiritual things. I think we all need to keep talking and sharing the faith and allow the Holy Spirit to do the harvesting.