On Monday, April 14,
2006, after months of prayer and careful consideration, I decided to
join the Catholic Church. This decision was brought about after
considerable research of the scriptures, writings of the early
church fathers, and reflections on the beliefs of the Catholic
At first, I had considerable doubts regarding a few of the
sacraments of Catholicism; however, after listening to enlightened
explanations of the Catholic faith by Fr. John Corapi, Fr. Benedict
Groeschel, and Fr. Mitch Pacwa (all hosts of various EWTN shows), I
came to understand and accept the reasoning behind the sacraments.
The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) proved to be a wonderful
source of information as was their website.
My wife, Nora, who is Catholic, answered questions I had, but in
no way ever tried to convince me to give up my Southern Baptist
faith in favor of Catholicism. She encouraged me to attend and
rejoin a Southern Baptist Church and always attended Sunday services
with me. I also attended Saturday evening Mass with her.
There are some things I will miss in the Southern Baptist Church.
I find the music and praise and worship part of the service to be
very uplifting. I enjoyed the friendliness of the church I joined;
however the Catholic Church we attend is also very friendly.
I have always had a great amount of respect for the Catholic
Church and respect all mainstream Christian religions. Each has
their own form of worship and much can be gained and learned from
the various denominational differences. I still believe the Baptist
full-immersion baptism is biblically correct.
Certainly, the Catholic Church has its own share of problems. In
America, the recent problems with abusive priests, has caused
worldwide concern and shame for Catholics everywhere. Pope Benedict
XVI addressed this situation several times this week while visiting
the United States.
My studies, research, and journey have answered many questions I
had. I’ve discovered the reasons behind many of the Catholic
traditions which have shaped the church for the last two thousand
years. My first reaction to many things in the Catholic Church was
"that’s not in the bible." However, I came to learn and understand
that many of our Christian practices and traditions came from the
teachings of the Apostles and early church fathers. The bible states
in John 21:25 "And there are also many other things which Jesus did,
that which, if they should be written everyone, I suppose that even
the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.
Jesus taught the twelve Apostles many things that weren’t
recorded in the bible. The Apostles, in turn, shared the teachings
of Christ with many others. Some of them are who we refer to as the
‘early church fathers’. For some reason, I had never really thought
about that. I then began to read some of the teachings of the
apostles and the early church fathers, which cleared up several
I’ve always respected the Catholic Church for taking a
conservative view of the bible and adhering to its teachings. Unlike
many other religions who’ve caved into political correctness, or
changed their teachings over the years to appease man, the Catholic
Church has stood firm. While other churches have relaxed their
standards and turned to a ‘feel good’ style of preaching, I find the
Catholic Church has remained solid in their core beliefs.
Their outspoken stance on abortion and sanctity of life is
unerring. It has not changed because of modern man’s belief they
know more than God. Certainly, the Catholic Church has in recent
times, been plagued with the priestly sexual abuse scandal; however,
they’re working to correct that. While no church condones the
actions of the priests, some religions are openly ordaining open
homosexual ministers; even, to the point, of elevating them to
positions of high authority within their congregations. I trust Pope
Benedict, aided by his Cardinals and Bishops, will deal with the
problem head on and work towards healing.
Many, if not most, Christian religions ordain women. However, the
Catholic Church has taken a firm and unpopular stance, with its
refusal to bend the gospel teachings found in the New Testament. 1st
Corinthians 14:34 states, "Let your women keep silence in the
churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are
commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law." This is
supported by 1st Timothy 2:12 which states, "But I suffer
not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be
in silence." Like it or not, Jesus chose twelve men to be his
Disciples. After the death of Judas, the remaining eleven voted and
placed another man in that position. The Catholic Church followed
the example of Christ, Apostles, and early church fathers. They
remained true to Christ’s teachings, never bending in our
politically correct society. If you have a problem with that, take
it up with God and Jesus.
The church’s actions and reliance on women is well known and
heavily documented. Many women have been canonized to Sainthood.
Consider for a moment the wonderful works of Nuns throughout the
ages. Look at the works from the various women’s orders. No one
would ever deny Mother Theresa her role of helping the poor people
of India. Quite honestly, without the working of women in any church
or denomination, that church or denomination would fail. The women
are the backbone of the church and the family.
While all of the above were steps in my journey, one final item
cemented my path to the Catholic Church. I did not hear this on any
TV show, nor did I read this in any book. It was something that took
me back to when I was born again and read the bible from beginning
to end for the first time in 1981. I was always struck by Luke 22:19
which said, "And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and
gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you:
this do in remembrance of me."
In all the words and teaching of Christ, that was the only thing
he asked of us to honor him. He spoke of the Father, the Holy
Spirit, of prayer, and of the way we should live. He asked for
nothing more than honoring him through the breaking of the bread and
the drinking of the wine. Call it what you will - communion, the
Lord’s Supper, or the Eucharist - it was his only wish.
I wrestled with the fact that all religions, other than Catholic,
(or closely related to Catholic) only have communion once a month at
most. Some churches have it once a quarter, others only once or
twice a year. I’ve heard that some rarely have communion claiming
that attendance falls off when communion is served. A communion
worship service takes longer which displeases many people. How
Considering what Jesus did for us and sacrificed for us, it is a
pitiful response of ‘the faithful’ to turn their back on the one
thing that Jesus asked of us. Only the Catholic Church understood
the importance of the act. The Eucharist is to be offered at every
Mass. It was that tradition that led me on my journey to the