Young Protestant seeking the truth about Catholicism

I am a young, eighteen-year-old English Christian, and I have gone to Anglican churches during the three years of my life as a Christian. For the majority of the time since I became a Christian, I have been feeling drawn to the Catholic Church. I’ve done a fair amount of research about it, and over my Christan life I have become progressively more Catholic and less evangelical (and a bit less liberal) in my outlook and intuition.
However, although my local Catholic parish priest advises me to “make haste slowly,” I feel like I have been sort of dragging this decision without actually doing any in-depth research. The only full-length books I’ve read are “Nothing in My Hand I Bring” by Ray Galea, written from a Protestant point of view, and “Why Catholics Are Right” by Michael Coren (who, as some of you will know, is no longer a Roman Catholic). I’m actually slightly bored of the theological differences between Protestantism and Catholicism, and I wish I could be fully a part of a particular church (although Paul says in Ephesians that there is only one church). For two and a half years I have not been able to take communion in Anglican churches as I feel strongly as if I shouldn’t, since I’m not sure whether I believe in Catholicism or not, although if I’m honest, part of the reason is that I feel a bit embarrassed having to take a blessing when everyone else takes communion – not something I should worry about, I know.
I am about to start studying philosophy and theology at university this autumn, and I will be learning church history in depth as part of that, so I think then will be a good time to start thinking really seriously about it and maybe finally make a decision at some point. However, I feel like I should still be thinking and reading about it. What would you suggest I should do during my summer break before I go to university? I’m going on vacation very soon (the day after tomorrow) and I feel like I should read something to do with the Catholic Church or general early church history, since I still haven’t this summer, though I’d rather read one of the other books I’ve already bought but haven’t read instead. Perhaps I could get a book by John Henry Newman on my Kindle.
Where do you think I should go from here, from now until I go to university after the summer vacation?

“Rome Sweet Home” by Dr. Scott Hahn is good enjoyable read. He set out to prove Catholicism was wrong and ended up converting. I also enjoyed “The Lamb’s Supper” by Dr, Hahn as it explains the Mass in relation to the book of Revelation.

Enjoy your summer

Dr. Brant Pitre has some great books

I like the priest’s advice, to make haste slowly. That speaks volumes of a good priest.
I have no advice for you, but I offer a prayer for your discernment.


Reading history is useful but may not present the entire picture you are looking for. When you say you’re “slightly bored” with the difference between churches, I wonder why is that? Do you not see the differences or do you not place any value on the differences? As a Catholic, I fully believe the Catholic church has the fullness of faith but that doesn’t mean other Christian churches are in error. I find the differences very interesting and seek to understand how they came about. You don’t seem to have that theological curiosity so I wonder why you feel drawn to Catholicism?:shrug:

I would study the Protestant Reformation and see how those specific theologies have effected your thoughts/opinions today. Specifically, I would focus on sola scriptura which is the one thing that Luther truly got “wrong” (ie out of communion) at a fundamental level. There were of course other Reformers, but they missed the boat so badly I wouldn’t even consider them. You could then dive more specifically into the history of your own church to see the divide between who has authority (the sola scriptura reference being helpful to determine some of the prevailing mentality at the time).

A good entry level book for Catholicism is The Faith Explained. Many people like the Catechism, which is obviously the first choice if you are able to make I through it. You can then join RCIA whenever you arrive at your new “home” church in college.

Are there any Catholic campus ministries or perhaps a Newman Center at the university you will be attending? Tremendous resources for you to take advantage of :slight_smile:

My Godmother gave me the book “Catholicism for Dummies” when I converted and it has been incredibly help. In fact my best friend is a former seminarian who studied under the two authors of the book, he loves the book.

I agree with “Catholicism for Dummies.” I sat through RCIA with my husband while he was converting, and it was one of the first books our Pastor recommended! It’s great - my husband loved it as a first step in learning more (next to going to Mass and RCIA)…

Be assured, Satan never tires of pulling people out of the Catholic Church and causing strife and division away from the only Church Jesus established. That’s what Satan does and he’s real good at it.

Here’s a potential question you can tuck away for the right time to ask it in class.

Philip Schaff was an Anglican scholar. He translated various ECF’s.

As an example

He translated a work by Irenaeus, a 2nd century Catholic bishop. Irenaeus was originally from Smyrna, (today Izmir, Turkey) and was made bishop of Lyon, (present day a city in France). Irenaeus work was “Against Heresies”. Some added history, one of Irenaeus teachers was Polycarp, a Catholic bishop from Smyrna as well. Polycarp was a martyr, and disciple of St John the apostle. Which makes Irenaeus one man away from an apostle.

Schaff translated a particular passage from Irenaeus “Against Heresies” as follows. What’s interesting is the footnote he places after the passage.

Schaff a Protestant admits trying to find a less damaging way to translate Irenaeus. Instead he inserts a long footnote discounting the phrase. So as a Catholic, I’m thinking, where else in his translations did he insert footnotes to try and inject bias?.

Yes. Read Newman

I think, coming from an Anglican background, that the OP might have an advantage in that many Anglicans (from the High Church or Anglo-Catholic churchmanship) do not depend on a sola scriptura doctrine and quite often reject it completely. Dr Scott Hahn is an excellent author, and any of his collections are recommendable along with “Catholicism for Dummies” by Fr John Trigilio, an excellent apologist featured on EWTN oftentimes and if I’m not mistaken, on which he hosts a show of his own. As stupid as it sounds, a flip through the Missal might be of help because it explains in the liturgical context the essence of Christian theology in the sacrificial motion of the Mass, and can be excellent when compared with the Gospel account of the Crucifixion at Calvary.

He is no doubt already “ahead of the curve” on sola scriptura. Unfortunately, sola scriptura has grown to be an all encompassing term. The primary problem with most Anglicians is that they say “Tradition flows from scripture” while the historical and logical evidence suggests that “scripture flows from Tradition and the Magesterium”.

Do they have RCIA in Envland? Here in the US, they generally start up in Septembee, and those who want to be baptised/received into the Church generally do so at Easter Vigil. So you can look into that in the area of your college :slight_smile: Joining up does not imply a commitment to join the Church–in fact, sometimes people are there simply to learn because someone they are close to is in or joining the Church, or Catholics who want a refresher course :slight_smile:

What about learning more about the Mass and Catholic prayer and the liturgical year? IOW, learn how Catholics express their faith. You can start attending Mass, and learning about the parts of the Mass. If you have been sort of High-Church, then a lot of this will be familiar to you, tho.

And perhaps learning more about the saints would be more interesting than learning Church history, which can be a bit dry.

Oh, learn about Eucharistic miracles :slight_smile:

Hi JD,

Seek and ye shall find!

Five suggestions from a convert:

  1. Pray a lot.

  2. Get a rosary, have it blessed by a priest, learn how to use it.

  3. At university you will likely encounter bias against the Church (whether subtle or otherwise). Supplement your studies with solid Catholic literature. A few titles to start off…

Roman Catechism (1566)
Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992)
The History of Christendom by Warren H. Carroll (6 volumes)
An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine by Cardinal Newman
Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales

And if you’re theologically minded, the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas (or faithful abridgment by Pegues). It actually presupposes having studied philosophy, but most of it is quite readable even if you haven’t.

Oh, and get a Catholic Bible. Personally, I use the Challoner DRV and the RSV-CE, but others will suggest others.

  1. You may already know that Cranmer’s communion service is in large part based on a form of the old Latin Mass. Some of the most beautiful prayers in it are direct translations of Latin Catholic prayers! At least acquaint yourself with the traditional Roman rite–not just on paper but in person (but make sure it’s a parish in good standing with the pope, such as a parish of the FSSP).

  2. Acquaint yourself with the lives of the saints. You may want to start with English saints, such as St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More. (If you’re into movies, the 1966 film A Man for All Seasons is excellent.)

You mention reading and thinking but don’t mention prayer. I think you should learn to pray. If you want to read then read these…

Time for God by Fr. Jacques Phillipe

Into the Silent Land by Fr. Martin S. Laird OSA


Hey dude, very cool you’ve opened yourself up to Catholicism.

Just a quick word on me, I was raised Lutheran, the son of a Lutheran Minister, and am in the midst of becoming Catholic. I’ve given my first 3 confessions, and still can’t take the body and blood.

Anyways, I, like seemingly you, know the differences as far as Protestantism and Catholicism. However, there was one frustration that I couldn’t quite put my finger on when I was “church shopping” in my Protestant faith. Then, I read a paper that hit the nail on the head.

It basically spelled out my frustration: I was sick and tired of deciding for myself what was correct and incorrect about not only scripture, but the interpretation and institution of scripture (aka Tradition). What I was seeking was authority, and no Protestant church can truly offer that. There are 30,000 sects of Protestantism, so basically if someone disagrees, they just break off and start their own church.

That just didn’t seem right to me. It didn’t seem like submission.

Also, Who am I to come along, not even reading the bible much at all, and telling the greatest Bishops, Popes, and brilliant minds such as Aquinas, along with 2000 years of interpretation of the languages in their own language at their own time, that they’re all wrong.

Words themselves in the bible are so deep, and don’t always mean back then what they mean today. While they aren’t allowed to be rewritten to better clarify the meaning, we must depend on the context of the word, and “Tradition” in the Catholic church offers that. The most loyal and acredited Catholics already scrutinized these topics in a scientific fashion, and came to bold, sensical conclusions based on the scriptures. The Catholic church keeps this knowledge, and still applies it today.

Meanwhile, the “Sola Scriptora” claim by Luther is what causes all of this disarray. Scripture AND Tradition make up the Faith. What good is scripture if you’re butchering the contextual meaning?

I have found new confidence and felt the grace of God and a power in my faith by turning the Catholicism. I can’t wait to take the body and blood as a Catholic.

While it appears you’ve done your homework, if you have any questions or further thoughts, by all means…

Here, I’ll link you to 4 good sources that should help.

*]Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
*]Bible Christian Society
*]Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth
*] Radio Replies | Catholic Apologetics Online | Rumble & Carthy
Oh, and one book!
The Protestant’s Dilemma

Whilst reading Theology and Church History is all very well, the Pope will tell you that real Catholicism is in the midst of the poor. Perhaps you could find a Catholic charity deep in corporal works for the poor. This, with constant prayer to the Holy Spirit should assist you in understanding Christ’s church. May God bless you in your search.

Doctrine and dogma? Are books all there is to our faith?

Petaro is 100% correct. Forget about books. Learn to pray and go serve instead.


You can find a copy here!

The Truth of Catholicism, by George Weigel.

I say it somewhat in jest/TIC, as a play on the title, but it really is a fantastic book–well worth the read, and very much on point.


God Bless!

Well, if you aren’t receiving communion in Anglican churches, what on earth are you waiting for?

Don’t starve yourself of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Yes, I know that our RC brothers and sisters will be quick to say that Anglican Eucharist isn’t the Body and Blood, and that’s presumably why you haven’t been receiving it.

For me the shoe is on the other foot–I have been drawn strongly to Catholicism for at least 20 years, and one of the reasons I have trouble “closing the deal” is that I can’t see my way clear to stop receiving communion in Anglican and other Protestant churches.

So that’s my point–if you think Anglican Eucharist isn’t the Body and Blood, you need to get yourself to a place where you can receive the Body and Blood. And you need to do it as soon as possible.

If you think it is the Body and Blood, then why on earth aren’t you receiving it? By your actions you have already decided.

Now it does seem to me that you haven’t given Anglo-Catholicism much of a look. It sounds as if the Anglicanism you are experiencing is low-church Evangelical. And unsurprisingly–from what I hear they are the ones growing these days in the C of E, and Anglo-Catholicism is on the decline.

But frankly, Anglo-Catholicism can be quite a muddle and often has some very dubious history and theology bound up with it. (By which I mean that instead of just saying “we want to make the C of E more Catholic,” they painted themselves into the corner of saying that it really always had been Catholic all along, and thus essentially unchurching many other Anglicans, let alone other Protestants. I am Anglo-Catholic in many respects, but have never really bought the full-blown package, which seemed rather pointless–if I wanted not to be Protestant at all, I would be RC or Orthodox.)


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