I’ve been talking to my old youth Pastor lately about my decision to look into, and now join , the Roman Catholic Church (and therefore resign my membership from his congregation). I asked him what his specific objections are thinking maybe he could provide me with something new that my Protestant friends had not already tried to address. But this turned out not to be the case. He has all the same objections, which are mostly just misconceptions, as they all did.
My frustration has come in as we discussed some of these more in depth. I feel a little like he expects me to convince him that the Church teaches the truth before he’ll accept my decision. Whether or not this is true, I’m not sure, but it’s how I feel when talking to him. This is frustrating because he has much much more experience than I do at defending his positions and can readily pull out the typical biblical “proofs” that most Protestants use. I have come to understand the Bible how the Roman Catholic Church teaches and trust her guidance, however, because I am new to it, I can’t as readily defend this faith or refute objections, at least not with the Bible, yet. I know it can be done, I’ve seen it, but I’m better at the tradition and logic point of defense. But if it is not a Biblical defense then it holds little to no weight when talking to a Protestant. So I feel a little cornered. Of course, I am responsible for all of this as I initiated the discussion, but still, I just want to move forward with my transition into the Roman Catholic Church and until I am officially no longer a member of my old congregation, I feel stuck.
And there’s one argument that I have heard from every single person who objects to my decision that irks me. That’s that the Church teaches Mary worship. They often lump this together with praying to the Saints, thinking we worship them as well. I get frustrated having to try to straighten out this misconception time and time again (although I suppose it’s better to straighten it out than to leave it be. Maybe straightening it out with the people I encounter will prevent it from spreading). I feel like if they looked at what we say when we pray to the Saints or pray the rosary they would see that it is not worship of Mary or the Saints at all. We pray that the Saints will pray for us. That is not worshiping them, but just asking for their help as a friend. They would see that the words of the rosary point to Christ and the Father and also contains more requests of Saintly prayer. “Blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus.” The “Hail Mary”s are followed by, “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be. World without end.” which is followed by the Lord’s prayer. More of the rosary focuses on the Father and Christ than on Mary. While we are praying, we are supposed to reflect on various mysteries of our salvation and Christ’s life. But I feel like Protestants, in general, don’t take time to look into what the prayer actually is and therefore make an assumption that because it starts out with Hail Mary (which is how Gabriel addressed Mary when he came to her) that we are worshiping her.
This little rant makes me sound like I hold a grudge against my friends, my old church and Protestantism in general, but this is not the case. This is my background. I owe the Protestant church my faith. Without them I might not have ever come to know about Christ and the purpose of His death on the cross. I likely would not have ever come to the fullness of the faith if I had not first to come to faith at all. I was baptized into the body of Christ through the Protestant church. It was there that I learned about the communion supper, though not in it’s full glory of the mass. It’s where I learned about repenting from my sins, though not through the sacrament of reconciliation. The Protestant church taught me some important things, and I have now found them in their fullest, as Christ intended, in the sacraments and the Church He founded. I have no hard feelings toward the church I am leaving, in fact, I have a soft fondness. It has not been easy to decide to leave the comfort of my home church, but it is time for me to move on and pray that all those who remain in the Protestant church will open their minds to the possibility that Catholic Church has the fullness of the faith, just the possibility. That’s all I ask.