I am a Protestant who has been drawn to the Catholic Church for several years. I started RCIA classes a month ago to learn more about the Catholic faith and I’ve been attending Mass for about 6 months. At the same time I was attending ‘my’ Protestant church.
I have decided to leave my church. It has been a painful decision, but one I feel is right for me. I have questions that Protestantism cannot answer. I have felt like such a traitor for attending Mass and going to my regular church. Finally today I decided to leave. I’ve written my pastor a letter explaining that I’m leaving and the reasons have nothing to do with anyone in the church; I’m not angry or hurt, I am simply looking for answers that I can’t seem to find at my church.
Do any of you have similar stories to share? Do you think I am leaving in a gracious and decent way? I don’t want to simply slink out the back door and never come back, but I don’t really want to talk to my pastor right now. Any suggestions would be welcome, and so would your prayers.
P.S. I know the church I have been attending is not ‘my’ church. I’m just using that designation as a reference.
Welcome! I left my old Protestant church when I began to believe differently. I think it’s best to leave, to be honest, so it won’t get confusing. It is also honest… you have let your pastor know, - I think that is good, I was actually too afraid to really let anyone know. I don’t know if people from your old church would try to change your beliefs, - I have lost some acquiantances or even some friendships became more distant as a result of my conversion, unfortunately. But the Eucharist was worth everything. If someone, for example your pastor, tries to speak with you about this, don’t engage in debate… it might be too soon for that type of discussion. Just let them know that you’ve been - researching, praying, etc. - and that you feel God leading you somewhere else, but you appreciate the time you had at the church. Keep it friendly and simple.
I was and am in a similar situation. I started attending Mass the last Sunday in February and haven’t missed a Sunday yet. I attended my Presbyterian church for about six weeks and then announced to a friend and the Sunday School director I was looking for another church. I was immediately dropped by the woman who I thought was my friend. So I haven’t told anyone at my former church what church I am going to.
I returned to one Sunday in August and hardly anyone would talk to me. So I figured I would just announce to the Session that I was quitting the church without giving them information about what church I was going to.:shrug:
If I did mention I was trying to become Catholic I wouldn’t get a positive reaction.
It is a difficult decision. My husband and I left our non-denominational church when we started attending RCIA (August 2010) and it was so hard. To make it even harder, his dad is the administrative pastor there. He had known a lot of the people at that church since he was born, because it was started by the music pastor of the Baptist church they used to attend. When he started this church, a lot of the people from the Baptist church switched to this one. We were active members, my husband recorded the service on Sundays, we sometimes went to young couples Bible study, college bible study, we were married there, and knew so many people. We kind of just told his parents and then quit going. I feel kind of bad about that but I knew if I faced anyone there and they tried to talk to me about it or persuade me to stay I would get emotional and start crying (I am extremely emotional). A month or so ago, we went back to visit. That visit just reaffirmed my satisfaction with my choice. It seemed so vapid and empty. I’m not knocking the people who go there, most of them are awesome Christian people, but I am very glad I left.
Missing the people is a completely different issue than missing the theology of the church. Those who are true friends will always be true friends, or they were never your friend to begin with.
Friends don’t condemn you because you think different and have changed. If thats the case than the friendship wasn’t based on true love, but an aquaintance based on a common denominator. When that common denominator disappears so does the friendship? Thats not friendship, Heroin addicts and Alcoholics even do this.:shrug:
Much Love and Peace. See things for what the really are. I have True life long friends in the Protestant Church, and church is never an issue. Our friendship isn’t based on it, but on tribulation we all suffered through, and couldn’t have done so if we didn’t put our petty differences aside.
There’s no problem at all, and in fact, it seems you handled the matter responsibly.
While it’s good to encourage people to follow conversion, I also think it important to seriously consider the matter and wait at least a few months before doing so (if you choose to do it).
I always advise that people examine the community they’re joining AND the community they’re leaving, each from insider and critical perspectives. You also respect the community you’re leaving, a good thing IMO.
Maybe you want to speak with your pastor face-to-face, before disappearing?
The Catholic Church was founded by Christ. The sacraments reveal and give us the divine grace ever present in Christ. The Church will help you grow ever more deeply to Christ, one day at a time.
Our liturgy is one of adoration and worship. Many of us carry heavy crosses, experience Christ’s presence and joy at Mass, but leave still reflecting on the Word of God through the Eucharist…and reflecting in the Holy Spirit how to live out our faith for the coming week.
We have coffee and donuts after Mass, and some ministries oftentimes have something for us to check out or sign up for an activity. Daily Mass is where I meet my friends, and it is a day by day thing where we grow closer to each other without speaking. I find it more facilitating when the priest will give a homily and then let us share our reflections, and he augmenting and finalizing the lesson for today.
But our worship is one involving the sanctuary, the holy priesthood, bringing us out of this world and into the transcendent.
No, honestly, I don’t really miss it at all. Maybe because, even though we were active, we didn’t have any really close friends there. Just casual friends. You speak of your former church’s members as being enthused and talented…well, ours really weren’t. I still love them and know they are good Christian people though.
I attended Mass at 8:00 a.m. and then traveled over to my evangelical church at 9:30 for “Sunday school” and then worship at 11:00. I did this for a little less than a year, as I recall (although the process of my conversion was much longer than that.) During this time, I didn’t participate in the communion at either church. It was a very difficult, painful time in my life…I didn’t tell anyone but my very closest friends that I was considering converting to the Catholic Church ( I was a teacher in the women’s Bible study program at my evangelical church.)
I love evangelical Christians–because they love Jesus Christ–but there really is nothing about “evangelicalism” that I miss. It is so good to be home. I love being Catholic. Grace upon grace upon grace upon grace…
You did well, I think writing a letter was just fine. If your Pastor were to call on you, your reason’s could be explined further in person, but you really owe him nothing more. You were polite with your exit letter, but you must follow the Holy Spirit who is leading you here. God bless and welcome home!
You are making the right decision, do not worry I recall to mind that God said you cannot serve God and mammon (money). So rightly so, it would be wrong to serve God in the Catholic Church AND in the Protestant Church which contradicts the teachings of Catholicism.
Here is a great video you can watch my brother, it is really wonderful and will show you what sacrifices an evangelical pastor made to join the Catholic Church.
I can’t speak from experience, as I have been a Catholic my whole life. But what I can say is that I respect your courage and honesty in pursuit of beauty and truth. In my opinion, you handled things in a very respectful way. Godspeed on your journey!
Ah, my friend. I know exactly how you feel. There is a certain amount of uncertainty in your decision. However, you feel the gentle tugging from the Holy Spirit drawing you towards the truth. It was hard for me to let go of a faith that I so much believed in, yet the more I learned the more I realized that I had to make the move, so much that I approached my wife and told her that I had to go home to the Catholic Church because I now know that’s where I belong. I told her I could not in good conscience try to pull her with me if she didn’t believe it to be true. I told her I knew that it might be the end of us [as a couple] but it was what I had to do. My greatest fear was letting go and I thought I was about to lose her, but I knew in my heart that I had to go home. The struggle actually goes on for some years, but eventually you “settle in” once you get your Catholic legs. Dealing with family and friends has been the most stressful, but we managed to pull through it. Now, we’re as active as any active Catholic family. It has been a wonderful experience. I envy you in your early conversion. There are dry times, but God is always there. It has been a truly joyous experience.
making the decision to leave a church is very difficult. for me, i was raised in the Episcopal church, but i felt drawn to the Catholic church from a young age. unfortunately,
i went away to college and began to be attracted to the secular life and didn’t attend any church for about 20 years. i did return to the Episcopal church in my 40’s, but the Holy Spirit was really speaking to me and i began to contact Catholic churches and decided to learn more about what it was to be Catholic as opposed to being Episcopalian. i have to be honest and say that there were times in my life i didn’t think so highly of the Pope and didn’t see what purpose he actually served. however, things began happening in the Episcopal church that made me realize how important it is to have a leader that holds the church together because the Episcopal church did not have that and it became a church where you could pretty much believe whatever you wanted. i studied for many years and finally converted 3 1/2 years ago. i wish that i had converted earlier. the first year or two after converting, were difficult. i wondered if i had made the right decision, if i would ever really feel like a Catholic. however, now after 3 1/2 years, i am so thankful and could never see returning to a protestant faith. i do feel that the Catholic church is the Church founded by Jesus. i do believe in the apostolic succession and the communion of saints.
my faith has really deepened since i became Catholic. before, i was a skeptic. now i feel like i really believe what i believe. it makes sense now. i love Adoration. i recommend taking your time and doing as much reading about Catholicism as you can. i can’t wait until it is 5 years since my conversion because i can only imagine how much more i will grow in the Catholic faith in the next year and a half and how much deeper a relationship i will have in Jesus. good luck in your journey. also, if you have access to EWTN on your cable service or satellite service, try to watch that because it will give you more of an idea of what it is to be Catholic.
I haven’t decided to convert to Catholicism, or Orthodoxy, or anything as of yet. However, about two years ago I began making the same faith journey that you are on right now (and seem to be concluding). That Christmas, my church did not have its usual Christmas Eve service, which would be some praise and worship, along with Communion. So my friend invited me to her Lutheran church. I really knew nothing about Lutheranism at that point, but I assumed since they were Protestant, their service would be the same as my Evangelical services. When I realized that they were very “Catholic-like” I was stunned. So I decided I would begin researching the different churches and try to discern the truth.
Afterward I began getting really into Orthodox Christianity, and began attending the Divine Liturgy regularly. That’s when I finally left my church. I realized I was no longer happy in my old church so I stopped attending. My parents weren’t very happy (still aren’t).
I had a crisis at home so I stopped attending church entirely for a long while, but eventually I began trying to study ancient Christianity again. Now I feel stuck between Catholicism and Orthodoxy, so I don’t have a church at the moment. Limbo, essentially.
I don’t think you should feel bad about leaving the way you did. You acted responsibly and correctly.
My story is very similar to others here–I too had to move from the denomination I thought I’d be spending the rest of my life in to be reconciled with the Catholic Church. I had been the DRE at our church, so it was pretty hard for me to tell the leadership I was leaving for the RCC. I sent the pastor a brief letter to which I got a rather churlish reply. That had no bearing on my leaving since I had already decided to go, and I realize even ministers can be all too human, but it certainly did nothing to urge me to stay where I was, either. LOL!
As to where to land, I had been brought up in a liturgical church and left for a pentecostal one in my teens (my mom took us with her into it when my dad died). I spent 20 years in the pentecostal sect before returning to the liturgical church of my youth. But, I wasn’t satisfied there. Like a lot of mainstream Protestant churches it had become modernistic and one could believe whatever one wanted and still be a member, etc. I wanted the truth and I wanted to be sure to be in the Church that had the authority to teach the truth in Christ’s name. The only Church that fit that bill was the Catholic Church with the Chair of Peter and apostolic succession intact.
There was no real problem with my leaving to be Catholic, though. Only one person from my old church questioned me and was left speechless when I simply stated I had come to believe what the Catholic Church teaches, which is why I had left to become Catholic. I don’t think the poor woman had ever thought about what any church teaches, but had simply accepted that one went to a church because one was brought up to do so. I had an encounter with some people from my old pentecostal sect around that time, too (it seems God wanted me to truly have the opportunity to choose wisely). I got mixed reactions from them. One man treated me like I had caught some communicable disease and a gal I’d gone to Bible college with was geniunely surprised when I told her that Jesus was the heart and soul of the Catholic Church. As for my family, they didn’t care one way or the other. My mom had died by then and my brothers and sister attended church if they felt like it anywhere they felt like it. I guess for me it was an easy transition when it came to having to explain my decision to others.