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Dustin wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have recently felt drawn to the Catholic faith. I was raised Baptist but later lost my faith during my high school years. I have recently returned to God and asked for forgiveness. I have been struggling with the notions of:

  • do I need a church, and
  • can I worship God without one.

I honestly feel I do not need a church to worship. I pray on the subject almost every night and ask for direction. In the last few months I have felt something in my heart telling me the Catholic Church is where I need to be. Part of me initially dismissed this because I have always felt Catholicism to be very harmful to society.

I kept having this feeling that I need to seek the faith out. I've gone to my local church and talked to them and when I'm there, I feel at peace. I've just always had a problem with the Pope.
I thought having a person saying he was infallible was very wicked. I've done some research, and
I believe, what he was trying to say was the Bible is infallible and can't sway to modern times and the papacy is just there to make sure that the teachings don't become corrupted to modern ideals.

In addition, coming from a Baptist point of view, I initially saw the Virgin Mary as idol worship.
If I understand Catholic teaching correctly it's not that she's worshiped but . . . let's say, if Jesus is the Father of the Church, she is the grandmother and, like your normal grandmother, she is there to pray with us and comfort us when we need her. It's not that she takes away from God. She is just one of God's instruments.

  • Am I correct in these idea's?

I feel I understand it, or at least am starting to. I would just like some advice on the matter.
Ever since I started this journey I have found so much hostility toward my quest and anti-Catholic rationale from my family. That said, I understand where they are coming from. Before I started researching, I had a very different mentality. Then I started reading about the history of:

and started to see this theology I thought I knew, wasn't what I thought I knew.

Any advice would be very helpful,

Thank you!

Dustin

  { As a Baptist being drawn to the Catholic faith, can you address these difficulties I'm having? }

Eric replied:

Dustin,

You have made amazing progress. The Holy Spirit must be working in your life. Your notions are mostly correct. The role of the pope is to guard the deposit of faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3, cf. 1 Timothy 6:20), not to invent new doctrines or change the Apostolic faith.

Just to clarify: Infallibility means that when the pope speaks definitively on matters of faith and morals, he cannot err. This happens relatively rarely. The whole body of bishops in communion with the pope also have this gift. Infallibility does not mean the pope is sinless or that he will always speak up for the truth; it just means that when he teaches all the Christian faithful in a matter of faith or morals, he cannot err. This protects the Church from endless dissension and disunity. See John 21:15-17 and Matthew 16:18.

As for Mary, you are on track, but I'd make one correction: She is our Mother, not our grandmother (Revelation 12:17). We are brothers of Jesus, after all. She is indeed there to comfort us and pray with us. Her role exclusively is to point us to her Son, Jesus. Do whatever he tells you. (John 2:5) she tells us. She is also a symbol of the Church (Galatians 4:26), who gives birth to us in Baptism.

Let me recommend a few books to you. These are conversion stories and I think they will speak to you.

The first is:

He is a convert from the Baptist faith so this book may speak to you most powerfully.

The second is Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic by David Currie.

Those two books are book-length conversion stories. There is a series of brief conversion stories called:

They are also excellent but the stories, being briefer, are more experiential and don't go through the scriptural arguments as much.

Don't feel you have to get all five. Start with the first one and if you're hungry enough, get the next one, and if you're still hungry get more.

Let us know what happens!

Eric

 

Mike replied:

Hi Dustin,

I use to run a free program that sent Catechisms to seeking Protestants and non-Christians but no longer have the financial or operational means to do this anymore.

In addition to the good books Eric has suggested, I would encourage you to consider buying a cheap copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to learn everything we believe as Catholics.

If there are any questions the Catechism doesn't answer just ask us; that's what we are here for.

One of my other web sites on the Early Church Fathers may also interest you as well:

Mike

Dustin replied:

Hey guys,

Thank you very much for your quick replies.

I meet with the priest at my local church today, and he gave me some books and DVDs. There are still a lot of questions and uncertainties I have about the Church, but I think I am on the right path.

Again thank y'all, for all of the advice and information.

Dustin

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