Unsure....

Hey. I’m 17 years old and have been a Baptist my entire life. But for the past couple months I’ve really been questioning that. And especially now I’ve been thinking heavily about converting to Catholicism. I’ve been researching this, but I’ve been raised in such a heavily anti-Catholic environment, I have many hesitations. My first and most lingering question is, where does the idea of Mary’s sinlessness, and ever virginity come from? Also, where does the Pope come from? And what is the scriptual basis for Purgatory? I’m comfortable with the Pope and Purgatory, but Mary’s sinlessness really makes me uncomfortable, considering I’ve been raised in the environment I have been. But I really feel this calling to Catholic Church. I love the idea of confession, and communion ever week. If you could answer these quesitons it’d be much appreciated.

What has to be understood concerning the teachings about Mary is that primarily they are there to help us understand more about Christ. So, what does Mary’s sinlessness tell us about Christ? That he was not an ordinary child–which you already accept. It teaches us that Christ’s death for our redemption was for all men, those before he was born, while he lived, and after he returned to heaven, for everyone who is saved is saved in Christ. So, the OT saints were saved by Christ just as we are and just as Mary was. Her sinlessness was the prefigurement of the fact that all who are saved are saved through Christ.

There are two ways a person can be saved. They can be saved, as most of us are, after we have committed sins. But, there is another way people can be saved–and that is to keep them from sin in the first place. In Mary’s case, because she was to be the mother of the Son of God, she was preserved free from the stain of original sin and from any desire to sin, which is why she remained sinless.

This is such a deep and complex issue that we could never do it justice on a message board. You should read about Mary in the Catechism and talk face to face to a priest or other reliable Catholic about these things. I think it would be a great help to you.

I’m glad to see you are searching for truth!

Catholic answers is a great place to bring and ask questions like yours. The ones that you ask are very common, and the Catholic Answers staff have been very nice to write compiled tracts for easy reference. Read all about what the Catholic church teaches at www.catholic.com

On the papacy:
catholic.com/library/church_papacy.asp

On mary:
catholic.com/library/mary_saints.asp

Purgatory:
catholic.com/library/Purgatory.asp

If you have any more questions, come right back!

Josh

[quote=Aequitas]Hey. I’m 17 years old and have been a Baptist my entire life. But for the past couple months I’ve really been questioning that. And especially now I’ve been thinking heavily about converting to Catholicism. I’ve been researching this, but I’ve been raised in such a heavily anti-Catholic environment, I have many hesitations. My first and most lingering question is, where does the idea of Mary’s sinlessness, and ever virginity come from? Also, where does the Pope come from? And what is the scriptual basis for Purgatory? I’m comfortable with the Pope and Purgatory, but Mary’s sinlessness really makes me uncomfortable, considering I’ve been raised in the environment I have been. But I really feel this calling to Catholic Church. I love the idea of confession, and communion ever week. If you could answer these quesitons it’d be much appreciated.
[/quote]

Aequitas,

There are others on this forum who are more knowledgeable & eloquent than I, so I’ll let them answer your questions. I do want to say that I will pray for you.

Thanks everyone for your help, it’s been a lot of help. I’m really thinking deeply about a conversion to Catholicism. That article on Mary was really great, and cleared up some questions.

[quote=Aequitas]Thanks everyone for your help, it’s been a lot of help. I’m really thinking deeply about a conversion to Catholicism. That article on Mary was really great, and cleared up some questions.
[/quote]

I like this little explanation of her sinlessness:

In Gen. 3:15 (woohoo!) God puts the same enmity between Jesus (the seed) and evil and between Mary(the woman)and evil. Since we know Jesus never sinned, we can say that it’s total and perfect enmity. Since Mary has this same perfect enmity between herself and evil, it follows that she also did not sin. :thumbsup:

Aequitas, as a former Baptist, I wish to welcome you to these forums. I too will pray for you. There is much that you will find that denies what you have been taught about Catholicism. Your family, too, will have struggles accepting your change. However, the road home the Catholic Church is wel worth the journey.

This link is for a searchable version of the Catechism. It is wonderful gift that teaches our belief and faith.

This link has scborromeo.org/ccc.htm

This link is for Marcus Grodi’s site The coming Home network. While his ministry is primarily for the pastors who convert to Catholicism, his site has much to help anyone considering converting.
chnetwork.org/

It has been about 20 years since I converted, but I don’t regret it – my real decision maker was the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. I couldn’t deny His request to come to His Banquet.

May you have all the help you need on your quest.

I’ll start off with saying that i don’t agree with everything the Catholic church teaches. But you didn’t ask for people to argue against the Catholics, so i’ll leave it at that.
I will say on their behalf, that there are many very dedicated Catholics. I will say that you can definitely find God within their faith.
Where are you now, though? Are you at a point in your faith where you feel like you can ask God about this decision? I think if you are looking for intellectual certainty, both Catholics and Protestants can present such a good case that you would never make a decision.
I’d really like to talk one on one, if you want to PM me.

Those are some great links others have posted. They answer your questions far better than I can, but I do want to add one very simple point about Mary.

[quote=Aequitas]My first and most lingering question is, where does the idea of Mary’s sinlessness… but Mary’s sinlessness really makes me uncomfortable…
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I like to explain Catholic understanding of Mary based on Jesus and the Ten Commandments. The Bible tells us that Jesus fulfilled the Law perfectly; that would obviously include the commandment “Honor your father and mother.” Now Jesus, Who is God, was in the unique position of creating His own mother. Would He create a sinful mother when Jesus has the power to save His mother from her sins? No. He made His mother as perfect a human being as He could create because He honored His mother perfectly.

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