Returning to Rome

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I thought I would write a short post about why I chose this name for my blog. In my experiences since my recent decision to become Catholic, people have shown sorrow that I’m returning to Rome. They have even called it heart breaking. They see Rome as the center of “evil” that is the papacy. They see Rome as some city full of heretics.

But I find comfort in the phrase “returning to Rome.” It’s the city that played a large role in the early church. I feel like by returning to Rome, I’m finally coming home. Maybe the rhyme between home and Rome has something to do with my comfort in it. Who knows. All I know is that no matter what feelings others are trying to invoke when they talk about how sad they are that I’m returning to Rome, I take joy and comfort in the fact that I am.

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4 thoughts on “Returning to Rome

  1. Vivien,

    I’ve pondered the wisdom of talking to you about your journey. Trying to speak into the life of someone you don’t know very well is often less than beneficial. However, as it seem’s I’ve helped inspire the name of your blog, I might as well share.

    In another post, you referred to the fact that pleasing God is to be our aim, not pleasing men, no matter what the cost. I agree entirely. What I’m having trouble understanding (so please help me) is why you believe “returning to Rome” is the way to do this. I honestly want to understand your thinking on this, so please don’t feel that I am simply looking for ways to attack you. The reason I used the word “heartbreaking” was for no other reason than to express the pain and bewilderment that wells up in me, not that you are no longer “protestant,” but that this “return” requires a change in your understanding of the gospel of Jesus. I’m sure Norm will continue to encourage this change (the discussion he and I had after Charlie was baptized revealed that we hold to mutually exclusive understandings of what the good news about Jesus is), but I trust that you are constantly considering Jesus and His gospel in light of Scripture, not ecclesiastical traditions.
    If it’s okay, I have a couple of questions:

    *What are the specific things that draw you to Rome?
    *What are the things in evangelical churches that left you disenchanted?
    *Would you say returning to Rome is more comforting than being in Christ? Or do you equate the two?
    *What is the Gospel?

    Again, this is an honest inquiry, intended for my benefit and yours to the glory of God. If you have time to think through these things and help me understand, I’d really appreciate it. However, I realize life is busy, especially with a nursing degree in the works. Either way, I’ll be praying that God grants you all wisdom and discernment as you seek to follow Christ.

    By His Grace, For His Glory,

    Erik J.

    • Erik
      I appreciate your desire to understand how I came to be where I am. I will do my best, when I get a chance, to explain. I will likely do so via an email or facebook message as it will probably be rather lengthy for a comment here.
      In Christ,
      Vivien

  2. I think that my input here may or may not be appreciated but I feel compelled to only because I was specifically mentioned in the responses here.

    Of course I will continue to encourage this change because Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. If Jesus is truth we need to find the truth to find him. It is absolutely necessary to change one’s understanding of the Gospel if one’s understanding of the Gospel is false.

    Vivien is not exchanging a Scriptural view of the Gospel for an ecclesiastical view, rather she is exchanging one ecclesiastical interpretation of Scripture for another ecclesiastical interpretation of Scripture. I don’t want to get defensive, but I feel that there is an implication that the anabaptist tradition which you are a part of is pure Scripture while the Catholic tradition is not. I’m sure that’s not what you meant, though.

    I can’t speak for Vivien, but I’d like to take a whack at your questions as a papist who was once of the evangelical tradition. My answers are probably very similar to any convert that you will ask.

    1. What draws me to Rome? Because Scripture was so important to me as an evangelical, my realization the Catholics don’t hate the Bible really shook my world. When I discovered that 90% of the Catholic Mass was composed of Scripture, when I found out that “blasphemous” things like the Rosary were actually made up of Scripture, when I found out that the Catholics had canonized seven books in the fourth century that Martin Luther removed I was astonished. When I also took my blinders off and started reading verses of Scripture that I had never been shown as an evangelical or had skimmed over, I began to see the Bible as uncomfortably Catholic. I began to see the Sacraments in the Bible.

    And the fact that the Roman faith is many many many centuries older than my evangelical faith was another thing. When I started reading things that weren’t written in the past century by Bill Bright or John Piper, I saw that the ancient Christians believed what the Catholic Church believes today. The Real Presence, Baptismal regeneration, apostolic succession, confirmation, the ministerial priesthood, Marian dogmas, etc. I began to ask myself, if the men who were taught by the handpicked apostles were ignorant of the Gospel, how in the world were people in the 15th and 16th centuries more enlightened?

    2. What disenchanted me about evangelical churches? To be quite honest, it was a lot. Besides the inability of me to find any uniquely evangelical doctrines in the history of the early church, there seemed to be quite a lot of relativism and little care for what was actually true. Everyone has a “as long as you love Jesus” mentality that basically means orthodoxy doesn’t matter. When I see a hypocritical cult of personality, where people who hate the idea of infallible leaders follow their leaders as if they were infallible. Or the fact that if you want to you can just start up a new church, a new denomination. Overall, though it is the discontinuity from history. There simply was no evidence of evangelical interpretations of Scripture in the annals of history, but there was plenty of evidence of the Catholic interpretation evidenced to the very beginning of the Christian religion.

    3. Is returning to Rome more comforting than being in Christ? Or do you equate the two? Well it sure seems as if you probably believe the two are mutually exclusive. There is comfort in returning to Rome because returning to Rome is returning to Christ. It is saying, “I trust your plan Jesus.” It is trusting that Jesus knew what he was doing when he established the Church. It is trusting that I don’t have to interpret the Bible on my own because God gave us someone to interpret it and teach us. It is comforting most of all because there we find every aspect of Jesus, not just his Soul, but his Body too in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. We find his mercy in the Sacraments of Confession and Baptism. It is comforting because we receive the Holy Spirit in Confirmation. Returning to the Way that Jesus left is nothing but comforting to the heart.

    4. The Gospel is the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ. Everything he taught is good news. His Passion and death is good news. His Resurrection is wonderfully good news. The last things that he left for us after the resurrection are good news. The gospel isn’t defined in a sentence or in a single moment in Christ’s life. Jesus IS the Gospel. Everything he did, said, taught, prayed, healed, left for us is the Gospel. To live in the Gospel is to take our Cross and follow him in HIS Way, HIS Truth, HIS Life. Praise be to Jesus that Vivien is doing that now rather than later.

  3. Pingback: Calling All Catholic Converts and Reverts! | Deus Nobiscum

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