Sunday, February 23, 2014

30. TWELVE REASONS HE BECAME A CATHOLIC


I was reading an article about Protestants who converted into Catholicism. I wanted to understand inspite of their years with their church why still they would leave and become a Catholic. I was trying to find out what made them realize Catholic is the right church for them. And here are some short stories I found that compelled me to share in this blog.

When as a Protestant I began to explore Catholicism, I Googled, "Why become Catholic?" What I was really searching for was a book like The Protestant's Dilemma. This book pokes, prods, and wrestles with Protestant beliefs, showing how they come up short and how the Catholic alternatives are true. If you struggle with the claims of Protestantism—or even if you feel satisfied with them!—The Protestant's Dilemma will open your eyes to the rich, logical, biblical claims of the Catholic Church.
—Brandon Vogt, Word on Fire Catholic Ministries

As a former Protestant pastor, I wish that I had read The Protestant's Dilemma years ago. Devin Rose serves as a theological tour guide, leading the Protestant from the parlor of Martin Luther to the high altar of St. Peter's Basilica. Along the way, he demonstrates that each and every step toward the Catholic Church conforms to Sacred Scripture and Church history. This is the guidebook to get you from the Reformation to Rome.
—Taylor Marshall, author of The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism & the Origins of Catholicism

The Protestant's Dilemma is different from other books written by Catholic converts. Devin Rose takes his reader on a dialectical journey, showing that the beliefs we share with our Protestant friends are only authoritative on ecclesiastical grounds that our Protestant friends reject. Working within the tradition of Socratic reasoning, Rose provides a compelling case for the Catholic Faith.
—Francis J. Beckwith, Professor of Philosophy & Church-State Studies, and Co-Director of the Program in Philosophical Studies of Religion, Baylor University

But this article written by Tim Cooper, formerly from Nazarene Church, was more compelling that I decided to post exactly the writer's transformation to Catholicism, the changes in his outlook and perception of the Catholic Church in 12 compelling reasons.

12 Reasons I Joined the Catholic Church
Triumph of Truth ^ | 7/29/2007 | Tim Cooper 

Posted on 7/29/2007 11:43:02 AM by CatholicTim

I have been a Catholic now for 4 years. I was raised in the Nazarene Church. I wouldn’t say our family was overtly anti-Catholic but I always heard comparisons between our Church and the Catholic Church and how Catholics were wrong.

My perception is that most people in the Nazarene Church would say there might be some Catholics who are also Christians. (Of course, if they were saved it would be in spite of their Catholic religion not because of it.)

We were taught that the “Catholic religion” added a bunch of extra man-made teachings and traditions (like “worshipping Mary” or “we are saved by our works”) that clearly contradicted scripture. Later I found out that most of these perceptions were false. It would take 22 years for me to discover I was given a false picture of the Church.

My long discovery started when I met my future wife in college. Before I married her I went to church with her and quickly realized that Catholics did not worship Mary. While their service (the mass) was alien, I didn't feel that uncomfortable going to church with her. In college, I had already moved away from the fundamentalist Nazarene faith and adopted more of a generic “mere” Christianity approach to faith (i.e. CS Lewis). Regardless, when I got married, I told her I would never become Catholic and my wife told me she would never become Protestant. We just agreed to disagree. (My wife proved to me that practicing Catholics were indeed Christians. Prior to meeting her most Catholics I knew didn't really live their faith.) We considered each other to be Christians and that was good enough. 


I agreed to get married in the Catholic Church. After we were married we went to the Catholic Church most of the time. In fact, I went with my wife for 22 years and never had any motivation to become Catholic. My wife never pushed me to join and from my perception most of the priests could care less whether I joined or not. My wife was trying to be respectful of my faith and we found it easier not to discuss divisive issues. Now that I have joined the Church I am sorry she didn't encourage me at least a little bit.

When my daughter received her first communion in 1999, I started to think about investigating the church. Protestants cannot receive communion and thought it would be good to receive communion as a family. Unfortunately my schedule made it impossible to research the church at that time. Later I heard Protestant Hank Hanegraaff (The Bible Answer Man) on the radio say that the Catholic Church was a true church but a church with “issues”. I decided that I would investigate what the Church taught and if the Church was a “true church” I would consider joining. I still held the Protestant notion that we can “customize” our faith to meet our own subjective standards. I thought I could become a Catholic and pick and choose which doctrines I wanted to embrace.

I enrolled in the RCIA program at our church in the fall of 2002. This is the program for non-Catholics to learn the faith and eventually join if they liked what they heard. Unfortunately, the nun that ran our program was worthless as far as helping me with my issues. She was a radical feminist, yet a sweet lady but couldn't defend anything from scripture. Also, her theologically liberal orientation rubbed me the wrong way. She would say things like Catholics don’t believe all of the events in the Gospels really happened.


I wanted to get scriptural support for Catholic teachings on Mary and the Pope and instead I received a continuous stream of negative views on the papacy and how the church was unfair to women. Like many Catholics I have since met from her generation (she is in her 60s), she is actually a “Protestant” inside the Church. Today I tell people to read the Catechism and take what they hear in RCIA programs with a grain of salt. I started RCIA in September and by Christmas I was ready to quit.

Fortunately my wife gave me a book, ”Rome Sweet Home”, by Scott Hahn for Christmas. He was a Protestant minister that quit his ministry to become Catholic. It was from his research of doctrines, history and scripture he decided Catholics got it right. His autobiography, written with his wife, was easy to read and captivating. I read it in 2 days. He pointed out the two pillars of the Protestant reformation were “Sola Scriptura” (scripture alone) and “Sola Fide” (faith alone). It was those two primary theological points that caused Protestants to split from the Catholic Church. To my amazement Hahn proved that neither “pillar” had scriptural support. After I read it I was convinced Catholics got it right too. I bit my tongue in my class and joined the Church in Easter 2003. I have never regretted my decision. I am closer to Jesus than ever before. This letter is a summary of twelve reasons I joined the church.

Before I talk about the differences between Catholics and Protestants and why I joined the Church, I would like to cover what we have in common. To my pleasant surprise, I found that we have more in common than what I ever imagined. First, both Catholics and Protestants share the view that we are saved by grace alone. We do not earn our salvation. We are saved only because Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Second, both Catholics and Protestants teach that the Bible is inspired and inerrant. The Church teaches the Bible should be read as the authors intended it to be read. The Church teaches that the New Testament is historically accurate and that the miracles in the Bible really happened. Third, Catholics teach that all doctrines should never contradict scripture and public revelation ended with the death of the last apostle. (The Catholic Church says that it does not have any authority to create new revelation or even invent novel doctrines.) To my shock, I found that all Catholic beliefs have either implicit or explicit support in scripture. Both Catholics and Protestants believe in the power of prayer. Both believe Jesus is our Lord and Savior. Both Catholics and Protestants believe we will find true peace when we surrender our lives to Jesus.

Once I examined each unique Catholic doctrine, I discovered Catholics have the best interpretation of scripture among every church/denomination I have researched. However, my reasons for converting weren't limited to scripture, I also considered logic and history. I have identified these 12 reasons:


1. HISTORY. (2 Thess. 2:15) To be a Protestant you have to believe that the Apostles did a miserable job of teaching the faith to their own followers and successors (bishops). I found no evidence in the first 300 years of the church to support any distinctively Protestant (whether Nazarene, Baptist, Calvinist, Anabaptist, Non-Denominational or Lutheran etc) teachings. Instead, I found a very Catholic understanding of Ordination, Tradition, Authority, Communion of Saints, Liturgy (including the Sacrifice of the Mass), Baptism and Eucharist etc (and all of other distinctively Catholic teachings). Certainly they did not teach Sola Scriptura or Sola Fide! In fact I found plenty of evidence contradicting Sola Scriptura or Sola Fide! Instead, I found overwhelming evidence supporting apostolic succession, with a visible Church, with a visible leadership in the bishop of Rome. You were either belonged to a heretical sect or you belonged to the one true Catholic Church. For the first 1000 years of Christianity there was only ONE CHURCH, the Catholic Church. In the early centuries of the Church, those outside the Catholic Church were Gnostics or Montanists or other goofy sects that Protestants wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole today. I have collected about 30 pages of quotes showing how Catholic the early church truly was. A good book to read about the early church is by former Protestant, Rod Bennett called “Four Witnesses”. Let me share with you just 2 quotes:

“They [heretics] abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again... It is fitting, therefore, that ye should keep aloof from such persons, and not to speak of them either in private or in public… See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” Ignatius of Antioch [50-117 AD] Epistle to the Smyraeans

“…whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, [heretics] assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority -- that is, the faithful everywhere -- inasmuch as the Apostolic Tradition has been preserved…” Irenaeus of Lyons [120-180 AD] Adversus Haereses

Irenaeus goes on and lists every pope from Peter to his own time. Can we rely on these early bishops of the Church? While their writings aren’t inspired, they are useful. Bishops Polycarp and Ignatius of Antioch were friends and pen-pals, both martyred by Roman authorities and both learned their faith directly at the feet of the Apostle John. Irenaeus of Lyons learned his faith at the feet of Polycarp. Bishop Clement of Rome learned his faith directly from the apostles and was baptized by Peter. We have over 400 writings from dozens of bishops, historians and other defenders of the faith that have survived from the early centuries of the Church. The Protestant notion of a remnant of “true believers” outside the Catholic Church simply has no basis in fact. The Protestant notion that Constantine corrupted the Church is also false since the Church’s principle teachings were already present long before Constantine. Does it make sense to believe that the Church fell off the rails immediately? Didn’t Jesus say that the gates of hell (Matt. 16:18) would not prevail against His Church? Didn’t Jesus say that the Holy Spirit would lead His Church into truth (John 16:13)? It was hard to admit but at one point I had to honestly agree to the claim that the Catholic Church is the visible Church Jesus founded.

2. UNITY. (John 17:20-21 "I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.”

If the Bible alone is our sole authority that would imply the truths in the Bible are self-evident. Let me give you two examples that prove this principle is false. United Pentecostals, Lutherans and Church of Christ teach Sola Scriptura (the Bible alone is our sole authority). These denominations all proclaim that the Bible teaches we are “born again” in our water baptism. Yet Baptists, Non-denominationals and most other Protestants say that teaching is false and contradicts scripture! Calvinists teach we cannot lose our salvation yet Methodists/Wesleyans, Anabaptists and Church of Christ contend this teaching is contradicted in scripture! Lutherans say the Eucharist really is the body of Christ, however, most evangelicals say it is only a symbol. I can give you pages and pages of doctrines that Protestant Churches hold to but contradict each other. Truth cannot contradict truth. If the truths of the Bible are self-evident why are there thousands of Protestant denominations that contradict each other?

It is clear from prayer of Jesus in John 17 that he desired all of his followers to be one. The importance of this unity is stressed throughout the New Testament (Philip 2:2, Titus 3:9-10 among others). How is Christian unity possible without a single, binding teaching office? How is Christian unity possible if our authority is based only on (subjective) personal interpretation of scripture? You can prove anything you want with the Bible. Scott Hahn made me realize as a Protestant I was the final arbiter of what is true. My idea of truth was based only on my personal interpretation of scripture. In practice the Protestant enterprise is built on subjective truth through subjective interpretation of scripture, not objective truth. I love objective truth. Unity is not possible without objective truth to bind all believers. Unity can never be achieved without a binding teaching authority given to the apostles and their successors, the bishops in unity with the bishop of Rome, the seat of Peter (Matthew 16:19).

3. EUCHARIST. (Matt 26:26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." 56 "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?) If Jesus words in John 6 are only to be taken symbolically and not literally, why didn't Jesus clarify his “difficult” teaching to the followers who abandoned him (John 6:66-67)?

Only Lutherans and Anglicans recognize the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. However, even they will tell you that it is only contingent on the (subjective) beliefs of those receiving. On the other hand, Catholics and Orthodox believe that through the Holy Spirit the bread and wine objectively becomes the body and blood of Christ. All Christians believed the Eucharist was REALLY the body of Jesus for 1200 years. Is it logical that God allowed a major heresy in His Church for all that time? There are more Eastern Orthodox in the world today than all Protestants combined. Even today Christian sects who believe the Eucharist is only a symbol are only a small minority of all Christians. It was reading the entire chapter of John 6 that I realized I was wrong about the Eucharist. Over and over again I discovered that Catholics took the Bible more literally than I did. The Eucharist is just one example.

It isn't cannibalism because His flesh is in the form of bread and wine. It is a deep mystery and I can’t explain it but the Eucharist has fundamentally changed how I worship God. I have received Holy Communion from many Protestant churches in my lifetime and I can say the difference is night and day between Protestant and Catholic communion. Protestants are great at preaching from the Bible and I applaud them for that. However, while Protestants have been studying the menu, Catholics have been getting the meal.

KEY - AUTHORITY
4. AUTHORITY. (Matt 16:19) Why did Jesus give Peter the “keys”? What does binding and loosing mean? Why did Paul say the church was the “pillar and foundation of truth?” (1 Tim 3:15) In John 1:42 and Matt 16:18, Jesus gives Simon a new name. Jesus tells his disciple "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church." Jesus continues in Matt 16:19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” I studied the Greek and found out that the “you” in this passage is singular. Jesus was talking to Peter alone when he gives him this authority. Check out the tracks on the papacy from www.catholic.com. Here are some extracts:

Jesus quotes almost verbatim from this passage in Isaiah, and so it is clear what he has in mind. He is raising Peter up as a father figure to the household of faith (Isaiah 22:21), to lead them and guide the flock (John 21:15-17).

The “keys” indicate “Apostolic Succession”. The “keys” clearly indicate an “office” was established, not just an authority that was to end when Peter died. This authority of the prime minister (Is. 22:21), under the king was passed on from one man to another down through the ages by the giving of the keys, which were worn on the shoulder as a sign of authority. Likewise, the authority of Peter has been passed down for 2000 years by means of the papacy. All subsequent bishops were replaced to maintain the offices established by the apostles and their apostles and so forth. Peter headed the meeting that elected Matthias to replace Judas (Acts 1:13-26) demonstrating the first example of apostolic succession in the Bible.

To make sure that the apostles’ teachings would be passed down after the deaths of the apostles, Paul told Timothy, "What you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Tim. 2:2). In this passage he refers to the first three generations of apostolic succession—his own generation, Timothy’s generation, and the generation Timothy will teach.

When I started studying the role of Peter in the early church I was stunned by the leadership presented in the New Testament. After Jesus, Peter is mentioned more than any other person in the Bible. Again from catholic.com -- Whenever the apostles were named, Peter headed the list (Matt. 10:1-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:14-16, Luke 9:32, Acts 1:13). Peter was the one who generally spoke for the apostles (Matt. 18:21, Mark 8:29, Luke 12:41, John 6:68-69), and he figured in many of the most dramatic scenes (Matt. 14:28-32, Matt. 17:24-27, Mark 10:23-28). On Pentecost it was Peter who first preached to the crowds (Acts 2:14-40), and he worked the first healing in the Church age (Acts 3:6-7). It is Peter’s faith that will strengthen his brethren (Luke 22:32). An angel was sent to announce the resurrection to Peter (Mark 16:7), and the risen Christ first appeared to Peter (Luke 24:34). He headed the meeting that elected Matthias to replace Judas (Acts 1:13-26), and he received the first converts (Acts 2:41). He inflicted the first punishment (Acts 5:1-11), and excommunicated the first heretic (Acts 8:18-23). He led the first council in Jerusalem (Acts 15), and announced the first dogmatic decision (Acts 15:7-11). It was to Peter that the revelation came that Gentiles were to be baptized and accepted as Christians (Acts 10:46-48). We know from historical documents outside the Bible that Peter ended his ministry in Rome and that Linus was the first bishop in Rome to succeed Peter. Since Linus we have a very well documented line of bishops to this day. Linus was a real person. He was succeeded by Cletus and then Clement. I mentioned Clement earlier. We have a letter written by Clement from the first century to the Corinthians that has survived to today. In it he demonstrates his unique authority, especially given the fact that Corinth was not in his local jurisdiction. The best book to read on this issue is Steve Ray’s (another former Protestant evangelical now Catholic) “Upon This Rock”.


5. CANON. (2 Tim 3:16) Catholics and (most) Protestants teach Bible is the inspired and inerrant word of God. But where did the Bible come from? Who decided which books belonged in the New Testament Canon? If we honestly research this question we will discover that it was through (Catholic) Apostolic Tradition and the Catholic Magisterium (both denied by Protestants) that the determination was made which books were inspired and belonged in the New Testament canon. It was only because of the hard work of Catholic monks that the New Testament scriptures survived to today. Prior to the printing press there were only a relatively small number of bibles and even then most Christians were illiterate. Why would God establish the Bible as our sole authority when it was impractical means of communication to most individual believers for 1500 years? As a Protestant I realized that it was only because of the Catholic Church that we have the Bible.

There is also the question of why Protestants threw out 7 books of the Old Testament? Christians were quoting from those books from the beginning. It was Luther that first threw them out. Luther didn't like Maccabees because it mentioned praying for the dead (implying purgatory). Even the original King James had the books included.

Prior to the printing press there were only a relatively small number of bibles and even then most Christians were illiterate. Why would God establish the Bible as our sole authority when it was impractical means of communication to most individual believers for 1500 years? As a Protestant I realized that it was only because of the authority of the Catholic Church that we even know the Bible is inerrant and inspired. The best book on this is by Mark Shae (another former Protestant evangelical who became Catholic) “By What Authority”.

6. GRACE. (Rom 5:5) The Catholic Church teaches we are saved by grace alone. Both Protestants and Catholics believe grace is a free, unmerited gift from God. However, Protestants generally view grace as only God’s favor to us sinners. Catholics have a much deeper understanding of grace. Grace is God’s active change agent in our lives. It is through God’s grace that we are moved to have faith in Christ and it is through God’s grace that our lives are transformed in Christ (making us sanctified/justified).

Catholics call this “infused” grace. This matches the description of grace in the New Testament beautifully. Infused grace is how God "pours" grace by the power of the Holy Spirit into our souls or, to put it another way, "fills" us with His grace. Some good passages to read relating to infused grace include Psalm 45:2, Isaiah 32:14-15, Acts 2:17-18, Acts 6:8, Acts 4:31, Acts 10:45, Acts 11:23-24, Romans 5:5, Eph 5:18 and Titus 3:5-7) Catholics call sanctifying grace.

This is the source of inner conversion to Christ. It is by the Holy Spirit that we can become a “new man”. The Holy Spirit is the source of our transformation in Christ. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ infuses us with His righteousness. This righteousness is not earned. It is all grace. Many Protestants acknowledge the process of sanctification yet would deny the notion of “infused” righteousness. They would only accept “imputed” righteousness. I have found the notion of “imputed” righteousness rather limiting. In my mind it is like putting God in a box saying he lacks the power to transform us from the inside out.

Likewise Protestants talk about “ordinances”, while Catholics talk about “sacraments”. There is a huge difference. Ordinances are things we do for God. Sacraments are things God does for us. Baptism, Confession, Communion etc. are all things that God uses to transmit His free gift of grace to us.

7. FREE WILL. (2 Tim 2:11) Protestants are all over the map on this issue. Catholics say that God didn't create robots. God wants us to freely choose His gift of salvation. However, our choice isn't just a single decision (to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior). Our free will applies to cooperating with God’s grace every day of our lives. Every day we say “yes” to Jesus and His will for our lives. We say “yes” or “no” to Jesus in every decision we make. Every time we act in faith we cooperate with God’s free gift of grace. Every time we say “yes” we are aligning our will with God’s will, meriting His grace, increasing our sanctification. When Catholics use the word “merit” it does not mean “earn”. It means receiving God’s reward (a free gift) for our faithfulness.

8. JUSTIFICATION. (James 2:24 “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.”) Catholics do not separate “having faith” from “acting in faith”. You cannot have one without the other. The Catholic notion of being justified by “faith working through love” (Gal. 5:6) rather than being justified by “faith alone” (sola fide) best harmonizes all of the seemingly contradictory passages on justification in scripture. In every place that Paul disparages “good works” in his epistles, he is referring to “circumcision” and obedience to the Mosaic Law that no longer apply with the new Covenant, not the “good works” associated with Christian faithfulness and charity. Also, since our “good works” are only possible by the grace of God, Catholics do not believe our justification is through “human” works but by God’s grace working through us (grace alone). Catholics and Protestants can agree that good works are the natural fruits of our faith (formed in charity). However, Catholics would say that these “fruits” are necessary, not optional. Catholics do not separate justification from sanctification as most Protestants do. Likewise, acts of penance contribute to our sanctification. Penance is a form of sacrifice and sacrifice is a measure of love. There are references to the importance of penance (i.e. fasting) all through scripture. Purgatory is the process of refinement/purification (1 Cor 3:15) that completes our sanctification to make us holy (Heb 12:14) so we can enter into heaven. Former 5 Point Calvinist, now Catholic apologist, Jimmy Akin has written the best book on justification called “The Salvation Controversy”. All Catholics and Protestants should read this book. He covers all of the controversial issues including the temporal consequences of sin, penance, indulgences, purgatory etc. by only referencing scripture.


9. MERCY. (1 Tim 2:4) Many Protestants believe we will be sent to Hell for simply being wrong. Catholics teach that only those who knowingly reject God’s grace (i.e. salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of sins) will be damned. However, we all receive grace in different means and measures. Catholics teach will be judged on the state of our hearts and how we have responded to the graces we have received, not on whether we got some “doctrine” (i.e. “sola fide”) right or wrong. Ironically, Protestants are wrong about “sola fide” any way. It is clearly contradicted in scripture (see #8). Despite the fact that Protestants are wrong about a number of doctrines, Catholics expect to see them in heaven because they are following Jesus the best way they know how. Even non-Christians might be saved if they are responding to the graces they've received the best way they know. We call this “invincible ignorance”. Still, the easiest way to heaven is through the Church Jesus founded and the graces available only in that Church.

10. COMMUNITY. (Heb 12:1) Many Protestants limit their faith “community” to their local circle of Christians. (Some Protestants don’t even belong to a community, they have a “me and Jesus” mentality.) Catholics have a much deeper meaning of community than Protestants. Community includes those in heaven. Death does not separate those belonging to the one body of Christ. The body of Christ is one. Hebrews 12:1 says “A great cloud of witnesses surrounds us.” Rev. 5:8 talks about the prayers of the saints in heaven offering the prayers of saints on earth as incense being lifted up to God. Intercessory prayers of the saints are powerful and I am grateful to have the saints praying for me. We don’t “pray to” the saints (like Mary) as deities but rather “ask” the saints to pray with us and for us.

Mary, the greatest saint was made holy to be the ark of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ. The Church teaches Mary is a human being (not divine) but made full of grace (Luke 1:28) in order to bear God incarnate in her womb. Eastern Orthodox and Catholics are the only churches that have truly embraced Luke 1:48 where Mary, inspired by the Holy Spirit, proclaims “all generations will call me blessed”. There is no person closer to Jesus than His mother. Her prayers are powerful. I ask Mary to pray for me and my loved ones every day. The Rosary is not a prayer of vain repetitions but rather a meditation on the mysteries of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus through His mother’s eyes. The Rosary is not Mary-centered but Christ-centered. Mary’s soul glorifies the Lord. Mary always points us to her son, Jesus Christ. It was Mary’s fiat (her “YES” to God) that brought Jesus (our one mediator) into the world. Once you understand Mary’s role identified in scripture as Ark of the New Covenant, the New Eve and our Queen Mother the Church’s teachings on the unique graces she received from God make complete sense. Scott Hahn’s book on Mary, Hail Holy Queen helped me to see how the Catholic’s view of Mary is rooted in scripture.


11. PRO-LIFE. (Psalm 139:13) The depth of Catholic teaching on “life” is amazing. I was clueless what it meant to be “pro-life”, though I considered myself to be “pro-life” while I was still a Protestant. Because a human soul lives forever, one human soul means more to God than all other creation. God uses our cooperation to create new human life. The Church has very deep teachings on the relationship between men, women, marriage and children. It is too deep and profound to discuss here. I would read Humane Vitae, Casti Cannubi and Theology of the Body to get a complete understanding. The Catholic view of the sanctity of life is the most powerful indicator that the Church has been protected by the Holy Spirit in it’s teachings while the teachings of all other faith communities have been corrupted by the popular culture. Not just in the area of life, most Protestant and Orthodox Churches no longer teach the permanence of marriage either… another indication that the Catholic Church has been protected from teaching heresy.

12. CONFESSION. (John 20:23) What an amazing sacrament! First, the Church gives us the proper interpretation of scripture so we can objectively know what is sin! (Protestants cannot agree on what constitutes a sin is in the first place.) Second, when we “hear” the words of absolution we can know for certain that our sins are forgiven. Many Protestants have the unscriptural notion that when we accept Jesus as our savior, all future sins are forgiven. There are many of passages in scripture that contradict this heresy. Confession provides amazing spiritual healing. Third, regular confession means continuous introspection and evaluation. Continuous examination of conscience has made a difference in my life. There is a practical issue of not wanting to confess the same sins repeatedly. My confessor is the best accountability partner I have. The humility it takes to publicly confess my sins is exactly the kind of humility that I know God expects from me. I have seen my life change though this sacrament. The proof is in the pudding. It works. Every Catholic I have talked to that left the Church did not properly embrace this gift. They either refused to properly form their consciences or they refused to regularly examine their consciences. Either way the sanctification made possible through confession only works if you go regularly (at least once a month) and properly form and examine your conscience. To steal a line from GK Chesterton, confession has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.

I could add one more reason… JOY. There is true joy when you discover the truths of the Catholic Church. There is true joy in receiving the sacraments (especially the Eucharist). There is true joy when you realize you are home where you belong. My experience has been that a lot of Catholics don’t know what they have and a lot of Protestants don’t know what they are missing. For further reading check out David Currie's "Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic".