Skip to comments.Why Be Catholic?
Posted on 12/07/2012 9:52:23 AM PST by NKP_Vet
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I was raised a Lutheran,but my daughter is the Director of Admissions at Lowell Catholic High School.
Usually because you’re born into it, like me. I never figured on what basis you’d pick one as an adult. Seems rather arbitrary, failing a road to Damascus moment.
well I know a few people who have converted from other christian faiths when they married someone who is catholic
I find that the converts are sometimes better at making it to mass than the cradle catholics
A common theme I have heard from converts is that the Universality of the Church is what attracted them. If something was wrong for one person it was wrong for all, regardless of status, wealth or position on the globe.
Wrong for the Pope in Rome, wrong for Joe Ditchdigger in Des Moines.
Conversely in many Protestant denominations, the worst sins tended to vary from town to town, church to church, and pastor to pastor (often influenced by the beliefs of the wealthiest families who were supporting that church)
In recent years I am afraid we have blown this, due to the inconsistent response of the various Bishops on issues like their response to the Obamacare Mandate. Or on serving Communion to Catholic politicians who are pro-abortion.
We came into the Catholic Church in 2005, after 20 years in solid Evangelical churches. The Lord nudged me, hard! I came in kicking and screaming, but we have never looked back. We are also so tremendously appreciative of our Protestant background; we are so solidly versed in the Bible and in knowing the Lord.
Every single Catholic bishop in the US condemned the Obamacare mandate, every single one.
There are some other issues where the bishops might not be as strong as they should be, but I must say, having all 200 or so bishops opposed to Obamacare due to the HHS contraception mandate is a pretty good score on that issue.
To me it was that the Catholic Church does NOT decide ‘theology by committee,’ I call it; what it stands for does not change, regardless of community pressure or whims of the current age.
Marriage conversion is a practical measure. That answers nothing as to how one spiritually, philosophically, or however you want to phrase it, chooses.
As for converts versus those born into it, converts are by definition people who want to be there, or at some point choose to be there. Others, even the ones who end up liking it, are initially forced.
certainly conversion as a result of marriage is practical but that does not mean it is not a spiritual or philosophical decision as well..after all conversion because of marriage is not required to have a marriage sanctioned by the catholic church
my father is episcopalian and never converted to my mother’s catholicism and for him not to was just as spiritual as it was practical. I just don’t think that you can remove the spiritual nature of the choice just because it may also be a practical one...especially if one considers that perhaps the convert started dating the catholic for spiritual reasons
Sure, the Bishops condemned it but talk is cheap.
The Church has done nothing, NOTHING, to hold anyone accountable.
When you lay down with dogs you get fles.
My father-in-law, raised a Protestant, was brought to Catholic faith through my mother-in-law. She told him she wouldn’t marry him if he didn’t enter the Church. He took a year to think about it, traveling the country, reading, praying, exploring. He came to truly believe in the truth of Catholic faith. And then married my mother-in-law. And had my wife!
But he was a man of deep, to-the-bone integrity, and only came into the Church because he became unalterably convinced of its truth.
He was a very, very devout Catholic.
There is no question that God can draw people to His Church through many means, including through romantic love.
Sorry, I can’t come home. I reserve my prayer for God alone, so I’m not welcome back.
“that does not mean it is not a spiritual or philosophical decision as well’
No, it doesn’t. But that leaves what the non-practical basis was undisclosed, which makes it useless for my purposes.
“I just don’t think that you can remove the spiritual nature of the choice just because it may also be a practical one”
Your going off in the wrong direction. I brought up the fact that conversions seem to me arbitrary, by which I meant spiritually arbitrary. Failing a revelation, that is. Then someone brought up marriage, which may or may not have a spiritual element but is definitely practical. My point wad that it leaves the part important to religion, the how do you know it’s the Truth part, mysterious. I said nothing about there being no spiritual element to marriage conversion.
“He came to truly believe in the truth of Catholic faith...he became unalterably convinced of its truth”
Okay, but what I want to know is how. I’m not naturally inclined toward religion, so maybe it’s just me. I never knew how that worked.
That’s nice that all 200 Bishops agreed to oppose the mandate.
If you were a not particularly politically aware Catholic attending my Church you might never have known that. We were told for 2 weeks before the election that “you can go to the Parish website to access a link to a video produced by the Conference of Catholic Bishops regarding their position on issues surrounding the election”.
I doubt even 1/2 of 1% of those present bothered to do so.
Pretty much the same story at surrounding Churches as well. Sounds to me like somebody got to our Bishop and convinced him not to antagonize the Union members in his pews or the local Democrat politicians.
it seems that rather than pose a question and see where the answer leads you, you feel the need to control the direction of the conversation.
sometimes when we let things go a bit differently than we intended we open our minds a bit
1) catholic marriages always have a spiritual component :) 2. it just may be that sometimes what attracts someone to someone else might just be their catholic faith. so romantic love and hence marriage is a valid answer to your question of spiritual conversion and the drawing together of two people in catholic marriage is indeed a beautiful and spiritually mysterious thing:)
“I never figured on what basis youd pick one as an adult.”
1. Apostolic Succession. The Church has been in existence since Christ walked the earth, and the Bishop of Rome is in unbroken succesion with St. Peter.
2. Universality. The same principles, the same mass, worldwide is very attractive.
3. The stance of the Church on the primary issues of the day, abortion, gay marriage, contraception, male priests.
4. The Church heirarchy. Not voting on doctrine. Having an acknowledged head of world wide church. Authority of the magisterium.
5. Focus is on Christ in the mass, not the priest or the pastor. You don’t go to church to hear a wonderful sermon, you go to receive Christ.
I was talking to my SIL just yesterday and she told me that my brother has been attending an RCIA class and is going to become Catholic. You could have knocked me over with a feather!
I am a Catholic convert and his Son-in-law is a cradle Catholic, he and his wife have always attended the Methodist church. I don’t think my SIL is happy about it but I told her when God calls it is hard to ignore Him.
I didn’t wake up one day and go “Gee, I’d like to be a Catholic.” It was a long process and I didn’t see all the miracles and interventions until I looked back.
Man has failed the Catholic Church but God hasn’t. The Truth still hasn’t changed as much as they have tried to change it for their convenience.
2) “Universality” - I will agree with you on this
3) “The stance of the Church on the primary issues of the day, abortion, gay marriage, contraception, male priests.” Unfortunately, most parishioners don't take the teachings seriously, but just go through the ritual motions. My evidence would be the fact that Catholics are a huge voting bloc for the Democratic party.
4) “The Church heirarchy. Not voting on doctrine. Having an acknowledged head of world wide church. Authority of the magisterium.” - no point in debating this as I know it's strongly believed by Catholics that Peter was the first Pope. The Greek Orthodox, who also claim to be the people who were the first church, claim that the concept of the “Pope” was not introduced until centuries later. Of course, you will disagree with them and they will disagree with you and both will state their own evidence.
5) As a non-Catholic who has attending Mass, I see much less focus on Christ in these services than I do in evangelical services. Attention seems to be shared with the Holy Mother, the Saints, and some other things that I don't understand.
Thank you for that tribute to your father-in-law. I am not Catholic, but I appreciate how your f-i-l worked to find his faith. As I grow older I am coming to believe/understand that faith is not a simple choice from a religious menu. In fact, I don’t true faith can be simply chosen. It takes prayer, study and perhaps most important, “listening” for direction from God. I have to question the faith of those who have not gone through the searching process to find their faith.
The issue is summed up nicely for me in Ephesians 2:8— “By grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” My almost daily prayer is that God continue to give me faith and grace to believe and follow Him more closely.
People have been generally unresponsive, and now you’re lecturing me on being open to wherever answers lead me when I haven’t really got an answer, so nevermind. I’m outran the conversation.
Those are all good enough reasons. But how does one jump from general rational agreement to it being the Truth. I never was able to drum up religious feeling from mere rationalization, and certainly not exclusively for one creed. I don’t even like always to be a conservative, let alone pin my eternal fate, if I have one, to one religion.
Maybe I am so constructing the argument that the only answer is the “leap of faith.”
the focus on Christ in the mass is the eucharist as catholics believe that the eucharist is the actually body and blood of Jesus.
the eucharist is the reason for the mass...not the homily or the music or the prayers to the saints....it’s hard to imagine how you can be more Christ focused than that.
if you are honestly looking for an answer on how to find God in a spiritual sense
perhaps you could pray.. an honest and earnest prayer to God to help you find Him....and I don’t mean a prayer that needs to be memorized...just a conversation from the heart.
perhaps easier than answering why be catholic the question is why believe in God? why not try talking to him and see what happens...if nothing then you have lost nothing
I also happen to think that perhaps in addition to the rational answers you have received many people have come to the catholic church through much prayer.
Sorry if you have taken offense... none was meant
Which is why they are in schism. You might ask them why Constantinople is now called Istanbul.
5) As a non-Catholic who has attending Mass, I see much less focus on Christ in these services than I do in evangelical services. Attention seems to be shared with the Holy Mother, the Saints, and some other things that I don't understand.(sic)
Obviously you aren't paying attention, particularly during the Gloria, the Creed, the Liturgy of the Eucharist, et al. However, admitting that you don't understand is the first step on the journey to achieving understanding.
I would suggest that you look more deeply than what you hear at a Mass. It is a liturgy and has many aspects but the central focus comes down to the "sacrifice" of the Mass, i.e. Jesus gave his body and blood for our redemption. A gift from God the Father. Christ is the single focus of the Sacrifice of the Mass. Look into it.
Have a good day --- I pray you.
I’ve been asking myself that a lot over the last few years. Raised a Methodist, I married a Catholic, been going to mass regularly for 20 years. About five years ago I decided to convert for most of the usual reasons: the universality, history and authority of the Church, plus we are raising our kids Catholic and I want to be a good example.
I’ve found it impossible to assimilate the core doctrines of the Church, primarily the nature of the Eucharist, the reverence for Mary and the saints, and the status of women. One good thing that came of it is that it gave me an interest in reading the Bible.
I don’t think I’m the one to tell you that but....
I was raised Methodist, so I always had religion in my life but I can tell you that my family has a fanatical Baptist, a hot and cold, social-type Christian, very liberal who believes what she wants to according to her mood, a very liberal athiest, a so-so Methodist who is just now converting to Catholicism and myself who converted in 2000.
I quit going to church in my 20s because all I could see was the “Methodist Social Club”. I still wanted to know the truth and I studied the Bible like crazy but (I didn’t realize this until later) I was using it like Protestants use it, almost as a measure of my feelings at any given time. Passages meant what I thought they meant.
My first step towards Catholicism was a lie and mean and spiteful. My husband’s aunt was a left wing Methodist and it seemed like her religion was all political, what I know as social justice now. Just to shut her up I told her I was thinking about becoming a Catholic. I laugh now because I’m sure God already knew. I was ashamed at myself for lying to her and told my husband who just laughed at me.
Long story short several years after that horrid, snotty lie I started asking questions of Catholics, like “Why do you worship Mary?” Real original, I know. I was amazed and sometimes disgusted when they couldn’t answer my questions but I had one friend who got so sick of me asking and her not knowing that she went to a priest for the answers.
I spent years reading and researching after that. My heart wasn’t in it but my intellect was. So much of my ignorance was dispelled and it actually started making sense, at last.
So what I would say, but coming from a foundation of Protestantism and converting to Catholicism, is the Truth is there. The Catholic Church knows it and when you find it you can’t turn away.
As a Catholic, in the times when I don’t have that euphoric feeling, or I’m down or even high, I understand that it isn’t all about me and my feelings because I know the Foundation of Christ and of the Church. It can be known by human reason. Yes, faith is a must but doing God’s will isn’t always rewarding at the time you are presented with the choice but always you see that hard choice got you where you are.
Faith comes from God but it never hurts to open the door and invite Him to show you the Truth. You can always reject it.
Could you give me some examples of how the Mass is not focused on Christ?
I was a baptist for 58 years. A devout baptist. I went to church regularly and the services usually consistently of some character ranting and raving and beating his fist on the Bible for a couple of hours, and saying you were going to hell if you didn’t change your ways. He sounded exactly like the used car salesmen in town. Then the collection basket would come around. End of service. I always knew that Christianity had to be more than some man hollering at you for two hours.
Then I found the truth of the Christian faith. The Catholic Church. The sacraments, the liturgy, it was what I had been loooking for my entire life. I just wish I had found the Church when was I younger. What a revelation it has been for me. I was also told it was not easy being a Catholic. Things would be required of me. I was told I would be put down by other faiths, but not to worry, because Jesus said if he was persecuted then we would also be persecuted. If someone hated me, then they had hated Him before me. All of this is true. To be a Catholic is to be persecuted. I feel sorry for protestants. Mainly for not having the Eucharist. God meant for there to be one Church, not the Catholic Church, and 40,000 protestant “churches”. I often wonder what they are still protesting.
Part of my conversion was a challenge to God. I was feeling guilty one day and I literally yelled out, “God, if you want me in church you are going to have make me.”
I didn’t want to “waste” all that time in church, I didn’t really want to associate with all those hypocrites either. God has His ways.
1) "Apostolic Succession" - having worshipped with Russian and Antiochian Orthodox for 10 years (while still being Catholic) I think it's fairer to say that you'll get a range of opinion about that amongst the Orthodox. Most that I've read, agree that the Catholic apostolic succession is unbroken and valid, bu would disagree about what a legitimate "Petrine ministry" would actually consist of. It's a church governance question, a structural one and not one of theological doctrine.
3) "The stance of the Church on the primary issues of the day... abortion, gay marriage, contraception, male priests." Here's were we ARE talking about doctrine, and the doctrine is unchanging. Whether "most parishioners" take it seriously or not, those who deviate from these doctrines deviate from Catholicism: they can't be taken to "represent" Catholicism if they don't adhere to it. That would be like saying "most" of the Apostles and His many disciples deserted Our Lord on Good Friday, therefore Christ's Church was a failure. No. It was just marred (as always) by the failings of sinful men.
As for the "huge Democratic voting bloc": Catholics --- and this is shameful --- on the whole voted for Obama in almost exactly the same percentages as all American voters, taken as a whole. That is, they went for Obama by a couple of percentage points. If you break that down, you see that regular Mass-goers went for Romney, non-Mass-goers went for Obama, and a number nearly equal to both didn't vote at all. Just like the millions f eligible Americans who did not vote. Very sad, in fact crushingly disappointing, but not a distinctively Catholic phenomenon.
5)"As a non-Catholic who has attending Mass, I see much less focus on Christ in these services than I do in evangelical services. Attention seems to be shared with the Holy Mother, the Saints, and some other things that I don't understand."
This is actually an inaccurate understanding, but perhaps I can clarify some of it for you.
(1) The whole Mass has just 2 basic parts, the Liturgy of the Word (the readings at the lectern) and the Liturgy of the Eucharist (what happens at the altar).
(2) The WHOLE Liturgy of the Word is about Christ,since the whole Bible is about Christ (as Jesus Christi Himself explained to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, (Luke 24:27)
(3) They WHOLE Liturgy of the Eucharist is about Christ, since it is the action of Christ Himself. Christ is the High Priest whose central saving action is the offering of Himself as a sacrifice to His Father. This is what the Liturgy is, and nothing else. Its action is HIS action.
(4) Mary is mentioned only one time in most Masses, and that is only if the "I confess to Almighty God" is recited, in which it says
"Therefore I ask Blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the angels and saints,
my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me
to the Lord our God."
In other words, her name is mentioned ONCE, and only because she, the angels and saints, and YOU, are being asked to pray TO GOD for all sinners.
Does this make a bit more sense?
I think I told you how. Reading, prayer, travel.
I converted so that we could be remarried in the Roman Catholic Church,(I was ELCA).
And as someone posted, I want to be there and have to nudge my wife, “not to be late..”!
No reason to insult me. I was paying attention because I want to understand. But, unfortunately, any time I say that I don’t understand what is happening at Mass, Catholics insult me. “You’re not paying attention” is just one example. I’ve also heard “I’m only going to explain this once, so please try to listen”, “Maybe when you’re older and a bit more wiser you’ll get it”. Always insults. I think that’s what turns me off the most about most Catholics. Jesus wouldn’t insult me.
Yes. I thank you for your kind response.
I'm at the point where I love the Sunday Mass, especially if I'm singing. But I love the very quiet, short ones, the "low" Masses on weekdays, too. No singing, but there'a a lot to think about.
“pin my eternal fate, if I have one, to one religion.”
You’re quite right. That question has to come first before any other. I believe that Christ himself built his Church and that he called for unity between himself and his Church and that his followers were called to be one with each other in a visible fashion. Ergo, the questio isn’t ‘pinning your eternal faith on one religion’, but the question is “which one is the closest to the truth”.
“1) Apostolic Succession - The Church has been in existence since Christ walked the earth, and the Bishop of Rome is in unbroken succession with St. Peter. - the Greek Orthodox church would disagree with you.”
Then the orthodox must show where the succession is broken. The Catholic church believes that both the Catholic church and the Orthodox church both have valid consecrations and that their present bishops are a part of Apostolic Succession. The division between us and the Orthodox is one of schism, not heresy.
“3) The stance of the Church on the primary issues of the day, abortion, gay marriage, contraception, male priests.”
“Unfortunately, most parishioners don’t take the teachings seriously, but just go through the ritual motions. My evidence would be the fact that Catholics are a huge voting bloc for the Democratic party.”
Catholics vote about 50/50 for the Republican and the Democrat parties. If one were to exclude California, Catholics vote more Republican than not. I agree that we do have dissenters, but that does not change the fact that the Catholic church does teach that contraception is sinful, that abortion is sinful, that gay marriage is sinful and that the priesthood is to be restricted to men only.
What are your thoughts on contraception?
“4) The Church heirarchy. Not voting on doctrine. Having an acknowledged head of world wide church. Authority of the magisterium. - no point in debating this as I know it’s strongly believed by Catholics that Peter was the first Pope. The Greek Orthodox, who also claim to be the people who were the first church, claim that the concept of the Pope was not introduced until centuries later. Of course, you will disagree with them and they will disagree with you and both will state their own evidence.”
The foremost Greek patriarchy wasn’t founded until Constantine. Only Antiochene and Alexandrine patriarchs have any claim to similar status with Rome.
“Attention seems to be shared with the Holy Mother, the Saints, and some other things that I don’t understand.”
Are you looking at the actions of the parishioners or at the liturgy itself? I’ll be happy to walk you through any questions you may have. It’s not very clear what is going on to someone who doesn’t have much experience in the Catholic church or in the Liturgy.
Most that leave the Catholic Church were never really in the church and would have a hard time telling you anything about it. They get hoodwinked by a fast talking Jimmy Swaggart type and end up “getting saved”. Protestants and others that leave that faith and became Catholic only do it after careful study of the Church and it’s history and doctrines. It is a thought out decision. You go through the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults). The leader of the group has to believe you’re ready to become a Catholic or you are told you not ready. Finally no one joins the Catholic Church, they are accepted in the Church, and like I said it’s not an automatic acceptance. It takes a dedicated person to be a Catholic. It’s not for sissies.
Great response! Yes!
Alfred Hitchcock came home too. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323401904578159573738040636.html
I did RCIA for two years. :) Joined Easter of 2005, just before Pope John Paul passed on.
What did Chief Seattle, Sitting Bull, and Buffalo Bill Cody have in common with John Wayne? They were all Catholic converts. And there’s a rumor out there that George Washington might have converted to Catholicism on his death bed.
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