So You Want To Be a Catholic?

Although WordPress lets us know how many folks visit our blog each day, it doesn’t let us know anything about our readers.  As a consequence, I have no way of knowing if this post—whose aim is to help people who are investigating the claims of Catholicism and are thinking that maybe, just maybe, there might be something to them—will actually be read by anyone in my target audience.  I’ll take my chances, though, and offer this post in the hope that it will be of use to at least some readers out there who are standing on the opposite bank of the Tiber right now–and wondering what the swim is like.

If you are someone who has begun to think there’s at least a chance Catholicism is valid, it would be natural to do a fair amount of purely intellectual investigation into the teachings of the Catholic Church and the rationales given for those teachings.  To this end (if you’re like Nikki and me), you’ll spend plenty of time with the Catechism and books like Catholicism for Dummies (a great book, by the way), as well as on the multitudes of helpful websites out there (such as the Catholic Answers site) that set forth the Church’s teachings and the reasons for them.  This endeavor, of course, is utterly necessary because, in order to accept Catholicism, one must believe that it is true, and getting to that point entails (among other things) satisfying the mind that nothing in Catholicism is irreconcilable with Holy Scripture or with reason.[1] 

The intellectual investigation of Catholicism, while clearly of great significance, is only one part of the picture, however, and (in my opinion) is actually the easiest part of the whole business.  Learning about Catholicism is much like learning about anything else.  It takes a certain amount of work, but there is a lot of good material out there that clearly, and straightforwardly, presents what the Catholic Church teaches and why.  It’s only after a person has done a reasonable amount of this kind of investigation that the scary part of the conversion process begins to set in—the stage in which you start desperately trying to think of reasons not to become Catholic because the will is rebelling against the idea.  This is the stage I want to concentrate on here.

First, in this stage of the process, I think it is helpful to read the stories of other converts.  It helps you feel less alone.  I also think you’ll be struck, as I was struck, at how certain themes recur with uncanny regularity.  In this vein, I highly recommend picking up Blessed John Henry Newman’s Loss and Gain, which is a fictionalized account of Newman’s own conversion to Catholicism in mid-nineteenth century England.  I, at least, was blown away by how the issues confronting the potential Catholic convert in Newman’s day were virtually identical to those of our own.  Some of the conversations and situations recounted in the book could almost have been lifted from experiences Nikki and I had.  It’s also worth checking out books like The Catholic Church and Conversion by G.K. Chesterton, Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn, and any of the others we’ve listed on our resource page

These books, in addition to helping you feel less alone, will also help you feel less like you’re crazy.  This was something I really struggled with myself.  I kept asking myself, “Do I just have some kind of unhealthy need for certainty?  Bunches of people I know and love don’t seem to have any problem with not having great answers to what’s so special about going to worship services on Sunday, what the point of having a minister is, etc.  Maybe I’m just a nutjob.”  Reading all these conversion stories, however, and seeing people struggling (throughout time and space) with the very same issues that I struggled with helped to confirm what I knew deep within me anyway–that it wasn’t “unhealthy” or a weird “psychological tic” to want compelling, non-confusing answers to basic questions about my faith.

Second, I think it’s important to be attuned to what I’ll call the “intangible” signs pointing in the direction of Rome.  We’re not solely intellectual creatures, and I don’t believe that it’s possible to make it all the way to the Church on the basis of pure logic.  For me, as I got closer to the Church, I could look back over the course of my life and identify specific friendships, events, and other circumstances that I had great difficulty explaining as anything other than the workings of God’s grace, leading me Home.  I had a stark choice:  either all of those circumstances were the product of extreme coincidence or God was calling me to the Catholic Church.  And my belief in coincidence only goes so far.

As with the purely intellectual investigation of the Church’s claims, reading convert stories and looking for the working of the Spirit in the circumstances of your life will not make you Catholic.  The last step is one of the will–or what Kierkegaard would call a “leap of faith.”  That leap, like all leaps into the unknown, is scary.  You aren’t certain that anything will be there to catch you.  It’s at that moment, though, that you can rely on the promise of Scripture:  “When you look for me, you will find me.  Yes, when you seek me with all your heart.”  He’s there waiting for you, and He’s not just some nice idea you can carry around in your head.  Rather, He’s somewhere that (if you’ve been a Protestant your whole life) you’ve been told He can’t be–on the altar and in the tabernacle of every Catholic church–in the form of a tasteless wafer the size of a quarter.  That’s how far our good and loving Savior has gone to meet you.  He’s waiting–on the far shore of the Tiber.


[1]               I understand that my statement that, in order to accept Catholicism as true, one must determine that it is consistent with both Holy Scripture and reason, may be somewhat controversial, as some might say that there is no need to test the truth of a religious system against reason.  That assertion can’t be right, however.  If it were correct, then there would be no use in discussing religious issues at all with people who don’t already share one’s own convictions.  Religious dialogue assumes that reason forms a common ground for the discussion of competing truth claims.

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65 Responses to So You Want To Be a Catholic?

  1. Thomas says:

    Go to Mass! Unlike visiting evangelical congregations, with their once a week Sunday services, in most urban places there are daily Masses one can attend, just to see what it’s like.

    • Jason says:

      So true! Thanks, Thomas!!

    • LRoy says:

      Daily Mass is not an option at this time. I have to find a job, I have to maintain my house-I live alone and there is no one else to do it. I go on Saturday night and that’s it. I try to get to at least half hour adoration when I can but not always possible. I watch EWTN when the Pope’s on even during the day.

  2. Sue says:

    Yes, I still love reading any conversion story I can get my hands on! I also have to agree with Thomas above. While I pretty much read my way into the Church – and was really Catholic in heart before we ever went to Mass – my husband’s journey was very different. He was not reading a lot, was not really on board with my desire to investigate Catholicism further at first at all… but then we went to Mass, and there was no turning back. We have different cultural backgrounds (he is Japanese, and grew up near Nagasaki), and thus had different baggage about Catholicism to sort through. His experience was much more “intuitive” than mine, I think.

    I definitely recommend going to Mass!

  3. Thomas says:

    Sue,
    have you and your husband read: a song for nagasaki by paul glynn?

  4. Tim V says:

    I’m one of those people who has been investigating the claims of the Church for the last several years all the while going to Mass. A few cradle Catholics or converts have actually been trying to persuade me that I’m already convinced of enough of the Church’s teachings that I should just make the swim. Although I know I can’t go back to Protestantism, I also can’t seem to resolve some doctrinal issues either. My frustration of late has been that I feel like there are a few questions that no one seems to have any reasonable answer for. But then I’m told by people that the Church defined the doctrine, therefore it must be true. “Even though we don’t have a persuasive answer, it must be true because the Church only teaches truth.” That sounds like circular reasoning to me. My understanding is that if I knowingly think the Church hasn’t got a good case for a particular doctrine, then I can’t with a clear conscience give assent to all that the Church teaches until I resolve it. If perchance the Church had gotten one thing wrong, then I’m concluding they would also be wrong about the indefectibility of the Church and papal infallibility. So now I have issues with at least 3 doctrines. I feel like I’m stuck in a feed-back loop in my thought processes. Anyway, I do appreciate your blog and like many others who have swum the Tiber, I started with reading conversion stories and from there progressed to reading some of the church fathers, then apologetics and now some Aquinas.

    • Jason says:

      Thanks for the comment, Tim. You’re in my prayers. I don’t know if this helps or not, but, for me, I eventually got to the point where I felt like there was no reasonable explanation for the Church getting so much right, other than that she was what she claimed to be. That helped me trust her on those issues I hadn’t dug as deeply into before coming into the Church. But exactly how much digging, researching, and praying you have to do–and how many theological issues you have to sort through–are highly personal questions, I think.

      Blessings to you.

      • Tim V says:

        Thanks everyone for the encouragement. I have interacted with Joe a bit. Unfortunately, he didn’t really have an answer for what I’m stuck on right now – the fact that there was over 500 years of patristic silence regarding the Assumption of Mary. I understand the arguments for the Assumption from ‘fittingness,’ theological deduction based on the immaculate conception, etc. And I also know no one claimed to have first-class relics of Mary, and that there’s no recorded kerfuffle when the Transitus literature appeared on the scene in the 500′s. However, no one seems to have any plausible explanation for why none of the church fathers mentioned the Assumption of Mary for the first 500 years. Even when they were writing about others such as Enoch and Elijah being transported bodily to heaven, they don’t mention Mary. In the end, every everyone seems to resort to the argument that ‘once you accept that the Church teaches infallibly, you then won’t need to have any explanation as to why no church father mentioned it for 500 years.” But just standing on the outside and trying to make sense of the historical data of 5 centuries of silence, the most reasonable explanation is that the Assumption wasn’t believed in the earliest centuries. I’ve just been stunned that I’ve come this far on a journey to the place where no one, so far, seems to have any plausible answer for this glaring historical discrepancy.

      • Jason says:

        I’m no expert on the Assumption, but my quick look indicates the earliest possible reference to it is in A.D. 377 by St. Epiphanius. See here. I’m not sure that helps much, but I thought I’d throw it out there. New Advent also says that the Feast of the Assumption was celebrated before A.D. 500. See here.

        I understand the issue you present, but (for me at least) it does come down to the question of whether the Church has demonstrated itself to be a “truth-telling thing” as Chesterton would say. On this, I can only speak for myself. And, on issue after issue (from artificial contraception to the Incarnation to the Trinity to the Papacy to the Eucharist to the other sacraments to abortion, etc.), the Church demonstrated to me that it tells the Truth. I have no explanation for that, other than that it is what it proclaims to be–the Church Christ Himself founded while He was on earth. Without the Church, I got to the point I didn’t see how I could be a Christian at all. It was an all-or-nothing proposition for me. And I know as surely as I know that I exist that Christ is the Son of God and that He died and rose again for me. So He’s not just a myth, and He’s not a liar. And I can’t believe He’d leave us without a visible Church to be our Mother here while we wait His return. So, do you identify a real question regarding why the early Church Fathers don’t mention the Assumption? Yes, absolutely. And the only explanation I personally can give you (and, again, I’m no expert) is that it is something that, for whatever reason, wasn’t something they felt they needed to address or was something that was generally accepted–how else would we explain that the Feast of the Assumption was already being celebrated before A.D. 500? But, even putting that aside, the doctrine we’re talking about is not contradicted by anything in Scripture or anything in reason. So we’re left with the mere fact of a potentially unexplained silence. And, for me at least, that’s not enough to overcome the mountain of evidence supporting the Church’s claim to be the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.

    • Allie says:

      I’d like to expand a little on what Jason said. For me, the lynchpin was the Eucharist. If I believed in transubstantiation as being true, then I was left with few options: either a) Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy must be right, since you must become a professing member to take part in communion, b) God has placed the source and summit of our lives on Earth, and there’s no way to take part in it without becoming a heretic or a liar, or c) we (for whatever reason) have never been able to or no longer can validly find the Eucharist in our lives. Both b and c essentially assume that God has given us His greatest sacrament – His very Son – and no one to take care of it or administer it. And if you believe that Eucharist is that important, then doesn’t that seem odd?

      Obviously there are other doctrinal issues to deal with, but I found that my answers for some kept coming back to this line of thinking. If you accept some of the Church’s more difficult teachings (like the Eucharist), others will fall into place. It’s a mixed blessing, but Catholicism is a religion that requires an intimate understanding of the entire framework in order to look at each individual part properly in context.

      • Jason says:

        Thanks for the comment, Allie! Your point that Catholicism is an “entire framework” and not just this or that doctrine calls to my mind another thought that helped me along my way into the Church. As I was investigating Catholicism, I spent a fair amount of time puzzling over the “cafeteria Catholic” problem–the fact that there are lots of Catholics who seem to pick and choose which Church doctrines they accept. At this point, I’m not sure why I thought that was such a big problem with determining whether the Church was really true or not, but I did. Anyway, it occurred to me one day that, as a Protestant, I was already a “cafeteria Catholic”–I picked and chose which Catholic doctrines I accepted (like the Trinity and the Incarnation) and which ones I rejected (like the Marian doctrines and praying to the Saints).

        Ultimately, at least for me, the whole decision on converting came down to whether I wanted to retain control of which Catholic doctrines I believed were “necessary” for the Christian or whether I was willing to sacrifice that control to Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church.

    • RJO says:

      Tim,
      I’ll pray for you. Ask the help of St. Pio. Also, don’t let papal Infallibility distort your beliefs, it’s only when the Pope speaks “ex cathedra” concerning a Spiritual matter f(rom “the throne,”) which has (hope I’m correct), only been 2x in history.

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  6. Stella Gump says:

    Just now found this blog via pulp.it.com. I’ve been studying Catholicism for several years. I sincerely wish that I could go back to my protestant thinking. I’ve tried to do that, in fact, but it appears that ‘comfort zone’ no longer exists for me. One of the things that keeps me looking to the Church is the simple fact that the world hates Her so much. That’s a red flag that She must be doing something right. At the same time, I wish I could just turn my back on Catholicism. Frankly, I’m tired and my head is spinning. I want to scream in frustration at how complicated this all is! I suppose all I can do is just keep plugging along and hope some day I ‘arrive.’ Anyway, I’m glad I saw your blog, and I’ll be exploring it in the future.

    • Jason says:

      Not too long ago, Nikki and I both were where you are right now so we understand completely the frustration you’re feeling. I desperately did not want to become a Catholic and tried to think of any way possible out of it. It’s one of the things that, ultimately, for me indicated there was something more at work in all this than my own mind and will.

      I’ll be praying for you. God bless you.

    • Nikki says:

      Stella,
      I agree that it is an exhausting process which is made harder once you hit the point of “no return.” When we were still outside the Church someone from our old church made the comment to me about the fact that everyone would be there for us when we came back (the suggestion being that we’d return to our right minds and the right church at some point, I suppose.) I almost laughed; despite the fact that I was so tired of fighting it out, I could not imagine returning to a place in my faith where I was so totally restless and unconvinced. It is a hard and tiring journey, but I think that’s just part of living a life of faith- it requires us to be awake and on our toes. It makes sense to me now that Paul talked about fighting the fight, beating his body, and running the race, etc. Those words never made sense to me before as a Protestant when I thought the only thing that mattered was that I just “believed” the right thing. Prayers for you!

  7. Georg Laing says:

    I still think I’m crazy for wanting the certainty that the Catholic Church provides, haha.

    Surprisingly, arguments from reason seem to be an obstacle to many of my evangelical friends and family members. They would simply quote 1 Corinthians 2:4+5 whenever I try to point out how illogical sola scriptura and some other Protestant doctrines are, as if logic is somehow the enemy of faith.

    Another “accusation” that people have made is that Catholicism is too intellectual, cannot be easily grasped by the masses and therefore cannot be God’s revealed religion.

    And sometimes I wonder…it did take me two years to begin to understand the faith. Is it not perhaps too hard?

    • Jason says:

      Thanks for the comment, Georg! I’ve wondered the same thing myself–whether Catholicism is “too hard.” I’ve got to say, though, that (at least in retrospect) I think Protestantism is harder to understand. It appears “simpler,” but I don’t think it is. If you scratch the surface at all, everything becomes confusing, murky, and ambiguous.

      As to the effort involved in learning about and understanding Catholicism, I think that anything worth doing is going to involve hard work. For me at least, I got to the point that I asked myself: “Why should my faith be intellectually easy for me? Law school wasn’t easy–and isn’t my faith more important than that?”

      Blessings to you!! Keep hanging in there with your friends and family!!!

  8. Bill says:

    Tim,
    I also recommend the blog Shameless Popery. Joe Heschmeyer is a Catholic Apologist. You can access many of his excellent explanations of Catholic doctrine. Bill

  9. Sue says:

    Tim and Stella, I will be praying for you! At certain points in my journey it all felt impossibly hard and complicated, but in the end God made the way easier than I had ever imagined. While each journey is a little different, and some more difficult than others, with His peace and the gift of faith the load can feel amazingly light. I pray those things for both of you.

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  11. Matt Shewell says:

    Thanks for the post Jason! I came into the church myself two years ago, but my story was a bit different. I was coming from an atheist/agnostic belief and I began to investigate the Catholic Church at the urging of my wife. Piece of cake, I thought. I “knew” that Catholic teaching was wrong on so many issues (contraception, abortion, the papacy) that all I had to do was a little research, prove one of these teachings wrong, and Voila! I wouldn’t have to hear about the Church from my wife any more. Only one problem, I was unable to disprove any of them. In fact I believed them all to be true. That is, true if you believed in God. I wasn’t quite there yet, but now I wanted to be. I wanted to be in this world that the Church spoke of, only one problem – I was pretty sure that I had to actually believe in Christ and God to become a Catholic. To a person coming from this background I would recommend a couple of what I found to be fairly easy reads – “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis and both “The Case for a Creator” and “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel. They are not too intimidating and “theological” while still making very strong cases for the Christian beliefs.

    Thanks again for your writing, I’ll make sure to check back often

  12. Maggie the Hesitant says:

    Newbie here but I am really struck by how the experiences related in the comments resonate. I can’t be the longest hold out on record but I am surely among the top 25. I went to mass every Sunday for 12 years (!) before I took the plunge. I was in that twilight zone of knowing that I could not go back to my Protestant ways but had trouble resolving certain of the usual doctrinal stumbling blocks. Actually, I was greatly helped in that by Mark Shea’s book, By What Authority?” In any case I was received nearly 3 years ago and have wondered, in retrospect, what took me so darned long.

    • Jason says:

      Thanks for the comment, Maggie! Totally understand what you’re saying. The Shea book was helpful to Nikki and me as well. God bless!!

  13. Walt J says:

    My road to the Church was easier in one respect, I did not have any built in protestant resistance to becoming Catholic. However, it was more difficult in another way, I did not believe in God!
    I, and several of my acquintenances were convicted that religious belief in whatever form was pure superstition and those who held those beliefs were persons whom, because of their personal insecurities, needed a ‘crutch’ in order to deal with the ‘Who am I?’ and Why am I’? questiopns. I always saw a value in religion in that it provided maral tenets for the governance of human relationships, but we felt that to be unnecessary for those of us who were capable of understanding reality. Oh, such human pride!

    In my late tenties, I married a cradle Catholic. I took instruction and entered the Church, but in reality I was still on the outside looking in. I was the ultimate cafeteria Catholic. Many years go by until my youngest son was in the army. He was considering the possibility of entering the seminary after getting out. He experienced a number of things during that time that defyed rational explanation. I even said to him at one point “If God were talking to me as clearly as he talking to you, you couldn’t keep me out of the Church with a shotgun!”

    His experiences started me in the exploration that you all are going/have gone through. Catholic Answers, Scott Hahn, Marcus Grodi, Etc. I read! I browsed! I studied! I listened! And finally I prayed.

    I live in a rural area in northern Michigan. Resources are a bit sparse i.e. spiritual directors, Catholic bible study etc. So, I started a bible study in our local parish. We meet weekly, and share. Seven years now, and I have learned and come to understand. I am now fully Catholic.
    The key things that I would point to are that Jesus established one church. In his instuctions to the disciples in ‘The great commission’ he did not tell them to go out and start other churchs based on their personal beliefs. He told them to teach all that he had commanded them and that he would be with them forever. He then prayed that those he sent and those who believed because of their teachings were to be one with him and the father. Not at all equivical!

    I want(ed) to be part of the Church he established! Not some later pale imitation. I am on board for the whole thing.

    It is quite comfortable on the barque of Peter. There continually things that come up that I (we) do not comprehend. Nor can we! We only accept them. Understandin will come when HE knows wwe are ready for it.

  14. Noshi says:

    Please keep me in your prayers too. I can identify with so much that’s been written here, including ‘reason’ leading me steadily towards the Catholic Church for the past 2 years – much to my own surprise. Also, the workings of God’s grace that I can’t dismiss as coincidences, when I did start seriously considering the Catholic Church. Another thing, attending Mass there was the first time I felt at ease while in a church, whereas my visits to all other churches left me restless inside….BUT still, there is this big fear inside me that if it is wrong, then it is terribly wrong. I can’t think anymore, and I can’t solve this by just thinking. I’ll need some very clear guidance or push from God…

    • Jason says:

      You are in our prayers, Noshi, and Nikki and I both totally understand what you’re going through. God is with you, and He won’t desert you.

      Blessings to you.

  15. John says:

    Greetings to all on this post. I have accepted almost all of the teachings of the Church and believe that this is probably the location for the “fullness of faith” that many of my devoted family and friends speak of, yet I am often put off by the general loopiness of many of the Novus Ordo parishes I have attended (I am very comfortable with the Latin Rite, but this is a hard sell for my wife and children). By “loopiness” I mean the embracing of “social justice” (and the political overtones associated with it), a lack of reverence for the Eucharist, and an apparent disregard from many in the congregation (and some priests) for the teachings of the Church on cohabitation, abortion, marriage, women priests, homosexuality, etc.

    I see many positive trends that indicate more of a return to orthodoxy, especially under B16 (who I have tremendous admiration for), and I realize that church is better described as a “hospital for sinners, rather than a country club for saints” (as a very dear priest used to say), but the situation still presents a stumbling block to me.

    • Jason says:

      Thanks for writing, John. We’ll be praying for you. I understand the issue you raise, and I agree with you 100% that there are some very encouraging trends right now in the American church. I plan to write more explicitly about the “bad Catholic” issue (that’s what I call it, at least) at some point and what a stumbling block it presents for folks considering entering the Church. For me, I had to admit eventually that “bad Protestants” hadn’t kept me out of Protestant churches so I couldn’t use that as a reason not to be Catholic.

      Blessings to you and your family.

  16. Rob B. says:

    For those who like to read classic literature, check out St. Augustine’s *Confessions*. It took him over thirty years to come to the Church (even though his mom was a devout Christian) and his story is beautiful.

  17. russ says:

    Great blog post and comments. Regarding the idea of Catholicism being “too difficult or hard to understand”, I have to disagree. After haggling with Calvinists for the past 7 years I realize Calvinism and the TULIP is the most difficult set of suppositions one could ever assent to.They even claim if you ultimately can’t understand the claims, you are not elect! (the hypercalvinists that is) But getting back to our faith, I always say it truly is the universal Church because one size fits all different intellects. The Thomas Aquinas and the town fool can both walk up to the altar with simple faith and receive the God of the universe on their tongues. The “Aquinist” will have spent years contemplating the mystery and possibility, the fool will have said, yes God I believe and both experience the grace in the same measure!!! That’s why it must be the Truth faith, you don’t need full intellectual assent and faculties intact. Instead, you come as a child and with trust with the faith of a child and you’re blessed. See my blog post here:

    http://crossed-the-tiber.blogspot.com/2008/01/great-christian-minds.html

    • Nikki says:

      Amen to that, Russ. What I could never get is people who call themselves 3 point or 4 point (or whatever point) Calvinists. Um, how does that work?

  18. russ says:

    Just one more thought on the universality of the Catholic faith that reinforces for me that it is the True Church.http://crossed-the-tiber.blogspot.com/2010/04/universality-of-catholicism_23.html
    sorry for clogging the combox!

  19. Carrie says:

    I don’t usually comment, but I just wanted to chime in and say thank you for writing this today!
    I was raised nominally Catholic, walked away after confirmation. Started going to my husband’s protestant church after we married, and really “met God” at a non-denom church at 22, the same day as my husband, but in a different service (13 years ago).
    I had totally written off Catholicism as empty and dead until a year or two ago. I have been studying and reading and can’t get enough. I am almost convinced to go back to it, but still have some doubts, and if it is wrong, it is very wrong!
    Also, my husband and five kids (5-16) have no interest whatsoever in Catholicism. And literally everyone I know is protestant. How can I think that I am right and everyone else I know and love is wrong? Our church is more than just friends….they are like a family to us.
    The thought of leaving everyone I know, and most likely going without the rest of my family, is terrifying.
    What would you do?

    • Nikki says:

      I completely understand where you’re coming from, as I bet a lot of commenters and readers here can. It was extremely painful to leave our old church. That *was* our family, as we don’t live near blood relatives. It was extremely difficult to feel like we were leaving (and potentially disappointing and angering) all these people who loved us and our kids. It is definitely a terrifying prospect. In the end, we felt like we had to follow the Truth. The people that were really our friends are still our friends, and despite the fact that we don’t see them as often, we have survived, and are even making new friends. The one thing you can do now is pray. Pray that God will smooth the way with your family and friends. Ask for others to pray for you (I’ll pray for you!) Pray for the intercession of the Saints. God will give you the grace to make the journey if you keep seeking the truth.

    • Sue says:

      Dear Carrie, I will be praying for you!! I was where you are not long ago. I have been totally inside the Evangelical missionary community here in Japan where I live for years, and didn’t even know one single Catholic over here when I started the journey. My husband was also definitely not on board, and my kids were not either at first.

      As far as friends go, I have had much the same experience as Nikki. My close friends have stuck by my side, even though they don’t really understand, and I have started to make new friends at our Catholic parish (and online!). I prayed like crazy, and totally against my original plans entered the Church without my husband (I had been determined to wait for him, and had been praying that God would show me that becoming Catholic was His will by changing my husband’s heart).

      But, my husband, even though he had not been studying the Church much at all, was drawn in through the Mass. He fell in love with the Mass, and ended up entering the Church just four months after me. It was truly a miracle. That’s not to say that God works things the same way for everyone,of course, but He does make the way smooth for us in various ways when we are seeking His will and striving to obey Him. Keep praying and seeking the Lord’s will. I’ll be praying along side you!

  20. russ says:

    At Nikki:
    Cafeteria Calvinists: Pick and choose which doctrines of TULIP they hold to ;)

  21. russ says:

    At Carrie
    My wife wanted to return to the Catholic faith while her thickheaded husband (me) said “Jesus would never be the head of a Church of pedophiles!” Well , Doesnt God work in straNGE ways! I have now been Catholic for 7 years and blogging for 6 and facebooking, blogging, playing music about the faith. Just keep praying!!!!
    God bless will pray for you, check out my conversion story here

    http://crossed-the-tiber.blogspot.com/2006/10/my-personal-conversion-story.html

  22. Bonnie Hoseth says:

    My husband and I converted to the Catholic Church six years ago after 68 years in the Protestant Church. We so enjoy reading the periodicals The Catholic Family News and The Remnant and have learned so much about the Catholic Faith from those publications. It is interesting to read the various stories and steps people encounter in their search for the truth as written in the blogs above. We will continue to pray for all of you..

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  24. damarisreads says:

    Reblogged this on damarisreads and commented:
    This blogger points out a truth my experience as a Catholic convert emphasizes. I became a Catholic long after my baptism and confirmation. On Easter Vigil of this year, I will commemorate my 17th anniversary of being received into the Church. I often feel I didn’t become a Catholic until I was 49–fully 11 years after my baptism.

  25. Maria says:

    I’m not a convert per se, but the life of faith requires continuous conversion, so there are some similarities. Is it possible to look at the uncertainties and difficult concepts from a different angle, as a never to be solved, but always challenging and delightful puzzle? At some point there has to be a commitment, obviously, but it is not necessary to understand it all when we commit, anymore than it is necessary to completely understand one’s spouse when we marry. God bless you all in the struggle.

  26. Jeffrey Job says:

    I am a revert and dearly love reading the conversion and reversion stories as they reassure me God is still at work in this world.

    What surprised me was the comments here of the “almost but not quite” conversions. I have been back so long I forgot how painful, frightening, frustrating ( if you’re being intellectually honest) and exhausting the whole ” birthing” process was for me also.

    I had been raised Catholic but never really had a personal encounter with Christ. I lived the typical sinful life till the Hound of Heaven quite abruptly “encountered” me one day. I started reading the Bible, misunderstanding it and found myself a Bible Alone Christian and left the Church.

    Then a friend of mine sent me a Catechism and the book,”Surprised By Truth” and I got introduced to the Fathers of the Church and came to see the Church has always been Catholic.
    I was intellectually almost convinced as I too was in the terrifying no man’s land of seeing the logical, historical and pastoral chaos of Protestantism but not completely sold on Catholicism either.

    You guys who posted that if this Church is wrong it is VERY wrong really do get it.
    Just look at the claims. Fullness of Truth. Infallible in teaching faith and Morals. Divine Authority. What appears to be Bread and Wine the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. The Mass is literally Calvary made present to us and Heavenly worship.

    The Church is the Body of Christ as Scripture attests so it’s logical that one thing is true of both of them. Their claims are either 100% true or they are blasphemous and outrageous in the extreme.

    I mean really! A Jewish carpenter claims to be God in the Flesh? No one comes to the Father but by Me? I will raise you up on the last day? I will be with you till the end of the age?

    The crisis for me occurred as I sat in a Church begging Him to show me the Truth and that I would follow. My attention was drawn to the Tabernacle and 3 things occurred to me. If that is Jesus present and I don’t worship Him that can’t be good. If that’s NOT Jesus and I DO worship what is only bread THAT can’t be good. Without Divinely ordained Authority infallibly teaching me what the truth is I can’t possibly know with certainty WHAT to believe as there are as many interpretations of Scripture as their are readers of Scripture.

    At no point did I find “proof” in the classical sense. What I found were so many “evidences” that if Catholicism is true every question has a satisfying answer and if Protestantism is true then there is never a settled defined answer. God always leaves the door slightly open so we can go either in or out. Ultimately faith is a gift. Reason can remove obstacles and misunderstandings but it still requires an act of the will and a decision.

    If you pray for His grace to help you find the Truth He will answer but in His time, not yours. Then when you do receive the gift you will never falsely assume you became Catholic because you are so clever and smart.

  27. Pingback: The Dislike of Catholicism: Understanding the Holy in the Catholic Tradition « Earthpages.org

  28. Pingback: The Dislike of Catholicism: Understanding the Holy in the Catholic Tradition, 6 – Philosophical and Historical reasons / Conclusion « Earthpages.org

  29. Bob says:

    Great posts! I have been Protestant for 20 years,but after the recent attacks on the Catholic Church,I asked myself why them primarily? After studying the Church,I am now anxious to convert to what I consider the one true Church! I pray and study the Catholic prayers daily,as well as listen and watch EWTN tv. I can’t get enough! Do you think I am already Catholic?

    • Jason says:

      Thanks for the comment, Bob! I’ll be praying you find a great parish and RCIA. Blessings to you!!

      • Bob says:

        Thank you! This matter has been on my heart for a couple of months now,and I was relieved to find a site with others who had the same concerns.I will try to attend my first Mass tommorow morning. :)

  30. Bob says:

    Attended Mass yesterday for the first time. I felt that I had actually worshipped Jesus Christ for the first time in a long time. I am ready to go back again soon!

    • Jason says:

      That’s fantastic, Bob! I think you’ll find that Mass never gets old. It really is a foretaste of Heaven. Blessings to you!!

    • MJC says:

      Bob, how wonderful that you have an open heart and mind. Your curiosity regarding the persecution on the Catholic Church will be something that you also have to prepare for personally especially in this indifferent and debased world we live in. Catholics have always kept the bar high and not changed for the sake of progress because the Truth is real. Understanding the Mass is so important! Something I only came to realise the beauty of recently. A Biblical Walk Through the Mass by Edward Sri is a very good book and easy to read. God bless you and all who seek Him.

      • Bob says:

        I will look for the book.Thank you. I try to study the faith daily by visiting various Catholic websites. What I have learned is truly amazing! So many misconceptions anduntrue teachings I have to unlearn from my protestant life!

  31. Patty says:

    I am having a deep personal struggle converting to Catholicism – why is there this intense pain? I am tired of the struggle and don’t understand it. I have read most of the books mentioned and have watched numerous DVDs, attended seminars and I am stuck in the middle of my former protestant life and Catholicism. I have relentlessly prayed and prayed the stations of the cross, sat in front of the blessed sacrament in deep grieving and prayer – what now, as I am so tired of this all! I attend weekly mass, on and on and on the struggle seems to go. My husband converted to Catholicism 6 years ago and has been on the most amazing peaceful journey and I have done nothing but frustrated him and also caused some hurt feelings!

    • Jason says:

      Patty,

      I apologize that it’s taken me awhile to get back to you. I just want to let you know that I’m praying for you and that we understand the pain you’re feeling. We spent a long time “stuck in the middle” between our old Protestant life and Catholicism as well, and it felt like it was killing us. For about a year, we were attending Mass but also were still involved at our old Protestant congregation. That was really hard. I’m not sure if you’re in a similar situation or not.

      For myself, I can only say from where I am now that I feel like the pain was akin to the “grief process.” I was mourning the life I knew would have to “die” by converting. And, in the middle of it, I found comfort in the fact that it took G.K. Chesterton 14 years, after he was intellectually convinced of the truth of Catholicism, to finally come into the Church.

      Hang in there, Patty. The struggle, as hard as it is, is worth it, and God has promised that those who seek–as you are doing–will find.

      God bless you.

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