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First steps for a protestant looking to convert to catholicism?

Discussion in 'Looking for a Church' started by brudspirea, Aug 1, 2020.

  1. brudspirea

    brudspirea New Member

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    Hey, all. I'm a life long protestant, grew up mostly ignorant of catholic teachings. The only times it was mentioned it was in a disparaging manner, typically to do with the veneration of Mary or the "worship" of statues.
    It's only the past year I've begun doing my own research on Catholicism. I've begun finding protestantism a bit wanting, and I suspect the catholic church might have some answers to that.
    That said, I'm pretty sure I've only scratched the surface, and I'm a bit overwhelmed. I'm not convinced that catholicism is right for me yet, but if I do end up rejecting it I want to know that I at least did my best to understand it.

    So, where the heck do I start? Any first steps, books to read, etc? How long could I expect this entire process to take?
     
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  2. All4Christ

    All4Christ ✙ The Handmaid of God Laura ✙ CF Senior Ambassador Supporter

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    First - welcome to Christian Forums :)

    I think I understand where you are - I went through a similar process before I became Orthodox. :) I recommend posting in the One Bread, One Body forum (the Catholic forum here) to get more information on how to explore it more. Also, feel free to stop by the Orthodox forum as well (The Ancient Way) if you are interested in exploring that as well.


    I hope you enjoy your time here!
     
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  3. “Paisios”

    “Paisios” Sinner Supporter

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    I am a convert to Eastern Orthodoxy rather than Roman Catholicism, but I found meeting with a priest and attending an Orthodox service very helpful to introduce me to the Orthodox Church. I would imagine the same would hold true for Catholicism, and I have found that Catholic priests are quite approachable and willing to answer questions from those outside the faith.

    I have had some Roman Catholics recommend taking the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) classes even if I didn’t plan on converting as it provides a good basic understanding of Roman Catholic teaching.
     
  4. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Hello! Because you said "I'm not convinced that catholicism is right for me yet, but if I do end up rejecting it I want to know that I at least did my best to understand it" I'd recommend some more study of the denominations generally before reducing it to "Catholic or not." I'd think it's too early for speaking to a Catholic priest about possibly converting.

    The suggestions I'd have for a person like yourself who is leaning--but still wanting and needing more information--is to do this:

    1) consult library books. There are plenty that compare the denominations, summarize the differences, etc. And there is much online.

    This is not the same as going straight to any written work that you know at the beginning is going to "make the case" for the Catholic Church or any other church.

    And 2) visit the worship services of a range of churches after you've narrowed your list somewhat. It might be, and hopefully will be, a short list.

    There is much that can be learned by being there, which scholarly works don't come to grips with. And yet, it's not insignificant data. Different churches have different tempos, styles, biases, attitudes, as well as different doctrines.

    Having done these things, you should be set for a face-to-face meeting with a representative of the one or several churches that seem likely. Of course, there is no commitment at that point and you can always change your mind, but you won't be taking that step without knowing better what to ask and of whom. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020
  5. Lost4words

    Lost4words Jesus I Trust In You Supporter

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    I recommend this thread gets moved to the One Bread, One Body section of the forums
     
  6. “Paisios”

    “Paisios” Sinner Supporter

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    If that was referring to my comment about meeting with a priest - I did not mean about converting, but just for general information. I met with an Orthodox priest to ask specific questions about prayer, with no intention or even thought of seeking out a new church, but he was still very helpful (and after a few years of reading, discussion, seeking counsel and attending Orthodox services, I decided to convert). I have had many discussions with Catholic priests and even a bishop to seek out knowledge with the understanding on both our parts that I had no interest in joining the Roman Catholic Church.
     
  7. Lost4words

    Lost4words Jesus I Trust In You Supporter

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    Some good resources for you my friend

    Catholic Answers

    https://m.youtube.com/user/catholiccom/videos
     
  8. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    No, that wasn't my perspective. My first thought was the same as yours, but then, when I read the post again, it appeared that he was not as far along in his examination of the various denominations as I'd initially thought. IMO, he wanted to make that point to us as we are considering how to reply.
     
  9. Gracia Singh

    Gracia Singh Newbie Supporter

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    Hey, friend.

    Talk to a priest. Something that has helped me a lot is venturing into praying as a Catholic Christian. Learning the prayers, asking lots of questions, learning about Marian veneration. It’s been a slow journey, but worth it.

    EWTN has been wonderful, too. They’re a Catholic television station, and are great for beginners, and everyone.

    God bless you on your journey, friend.
     
  10. Gracia Singh

    Gracia Singh Newbie Supporter

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    Also, definitely, definitely stop by the Catholic Subforum. Ask away. There are no dumb questions.

    One Bread, One Body - Catholic

    Let Jesus help you out along the way. Take it slow. Just ask.
     
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  11. brudspirea

    brudspirea New Member

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    Thanks so much for your support, friends. I'll admit I've been feeling a little pressure to understand catholicism as fast as possible, out of fear that I'll be staying in the "incorrect" denomination or church for too long. Naturally, it doesn't work that way, and I know God is patient and sees that I'm trying to find my way.
    I'll take my time and look around. Thanks again.
     
  12. Bob Crowley

    Bob Crowley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'd merely echo the responses of the other posters.

    1. Talk to a priest. Even if you're unsure about converting, he should be able to answer most of your questions.

    2. Do the RCIA course ("Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults"). You'll need to contact a local church to do that - you could probably ask the priest while you're talking to him. You don't have to join, but it gives you a chance to discuss questions with other Catholics.

    3. Continue to do your own research.

    4. If you do join, then gradually work through your remaining doubts. We've been given brains, and God expects us to use them, as well as relying on Him and His Word.

    On your comment - "Naturally, it doesn't work that way, and I know God is patient and sees that I'm trying to find my way" - God looks at the heart, and even in the very, very unlikely event that you kicked the bucket now (if you'll pardon my being blunt), He'd know what you were trying to do. He looks at your intentions, as well as your literal acts.
     
  13. JohnT

    JohnT Regular Member

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    Why on earth would you want to be a part of a church with which you express having significant difficulties before you begin the process of exploration? Seems to be an exercise in futility, and the first steps on the road to atheism. Yeah, that is startling, but ask yourself what steps you would take if you found the RCC lacking in several areas? The "logical path" is a walk down the Road of disillusionment and despair. It ends in a decrepit hamlet called "Atheism" and it is not a pleasant place; all the people there are lonely and alone, having no source of hope.

    What exactly do you mean by saying "I've begun finding protestantism a bit wanting... "? what exactly do you mean by that? It could be that you are limiting your search to one type of church, such as mainline and liberal.

    But that does not mean that there are not problems with some fundamental churches, also. There are some who come close to worshiping the King James Bible, and others who are into "prophecy conferences" where they scare you into thinking the Rapture is 20 minutes away, and they can prove it. (exaggeration used there for emphasis)

    Other problems include mandatory Saturday meeting, and long dresses for women, and white shirts with ties for men. All of these have lost sight of Jesus Christ. They give lip service to loving and serving Jesus, but it is obscured by many non-essential things. Stay away from such churches.

    How do you find good churches? FIRST, you have to ask them questions, SECOND, you visit.

    When you ask the questions, ask for the pastor and let him know that you are seeking a new church, and that someone here suggested these questions.

    A. Ask if he believes that the Bible in the original languages is without error. and the only rule for the faith and practice.

    B. Ask if the Bible teaches the existence of the Trinity

    C. Ask if he believes that the second coming of Jesus will be visible, eminent and personal

    The answer to those should be "yes". If they are then you found a church that is sound in doctrine, and more important, not a cult. So go there and see if there is a "good fit" between you and them. Just remember that there is no perfect church because redeemed sinners go to church, and sometimes we can be quirky. :p

    If there is not a "good fit, ask the same of another pastor of another church the same questions
     
  14. Bob Crowley

    Bob Crowley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The previous poster has expressed concerns with the RCC, but then lists problems specifically dealing with the protestant churches including mainline, liberal, some fundamental churches, long skirts for women, white shirts with ties for men, mandatory Saturday worship for some, KJV fundamentalism, rapture theories which they can prove will happen in the next 20 minutes, and the Bible must be in the original languages, despite the fact Christ and the Apostles probably spoke Aramaic, and the New Testament appears to have been first written in Greek.

    For quite a long time, the Septuagint was used as the Biblical authority for the Old Testament, and it was written in Greek. It was written for post-exilic Jews who no longer spoke or read Hebrew, since they'd been "exiled" for so long.

    Or as my old Presbyterian pastor put it, way back when I was still Protestant, "When it comes to theology, Protestants couldn't agree how far to spit".

    I'd suggest you keep investigating the RCC, which at least has a certain consistency to it's teachings as defined in the Catechism.

    Incidentally you might find the Catechism useful, as it states precisely what Catholics believe, and not what some Protestants and other opponents think we believe.

    There's a simplified version to be found here. You can search it for relevant topics you might be interested in.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church, Simplified
     
  15. JohnT

    JohnT Regular Member

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    Actually, I was attempting to be even handed. That is because there is no such thing as a perfect church.

    While the oral language of the 1st century in what was to become Israel was Aramaic, the written communication was mostly Greek We can see that in Luke/Acts and in the writing of Paul, who was fluent in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek. That is is due to the fact that Greek was a more common language in the Roman Empire.

    I am trying to stick to the OP, and not go off on a discussion of Protestant theology vs RCC theology.

    Hey Mods, is there a proper forum for that here?
     
  16. All4Christ

    All4Christ ✙ The Handmaid of God Laura ✙ CF Senior Ambassador Supporter

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    If you want to discuss theology differences between the RCC and Protestant Churches, Denominational theology under General Theology may be appropriate. On the other hand, this would be appropriate for the OP to ask questions about churches or ask for assistance in finding a church home, as was done in the opening post.

    For reference purposes (for everyone), this is the scope of this forum from the Statement of Purpose:

     
  17. Bob Crowley

    Bob Crowley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I must have missed something about your even handedness.

    The reason there are no perfect churches, including the RCC, Orthodox and Protestant churches is because there are no perfect people.

    As my old Presbyterian pastor used to say (him again), "One bunch of sinners is pretty much the same as the next" and "The human spirit ranges from poor to terrible" and "If you find a perfect church, I'll join and fix that."

    Since there's no such thing as a perfect church, the OP may as well go Catholic. If he goes Protestant, he's only going to run into the same old bunch of sinners anyway, with a divided house to boot.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2020
  18. chevyontheriver

    chevyontheriver Well-Known Member Supporter

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    And you ended up being somewhat evenhanded when you wrote this:
    This encourages the OP to actually pursue his questioning and go visit a Catholic Church. I mean, how else does he figure it out? So - good advise.

    And then your three questions, a Catholic pastor should be able to affirm all three if he's a good Catholic pastor.
     
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