Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Pride and Prejudice: Impediments to Catholic Conversion

Despite the growing number of converts we are seeing coming into the Catholic faith, including some high-profile evangelical leaders and theologians, I still puzzle over why many people won't even give the Catholic faith a moment's consideration.  I was asking my wife this tonight and she looked at me and said: "Well, what was it that kept you from considering it when I was wishing to become Catholic for at least 5 years?"  Hmmm. I thought for a moment and quickly realized two things about myself. I was exceedingly prideful, unwilling to admit that I could possibly be wrong regarding my personal choice of what the Church should be. I chose churches based on what I thought a church should look and feel like based on my personal understanding of scripture and how that church "felt" to me.  I was unwilling to even consider the possibility that I was wrong about the Church I thumbed my nose at as a 14 year old kid! Saint Augustine defined pride as "the love of one's own excellence."  I was filled with my own sense of  excellence in choosing how I should pursue God in my life and even worse,(I am ashamed to admit), I didn't want to even consider that my wife could be correct!  Now I thank her on a regular basis for being open to God's leading because our conversion was the best thing that ever happened to us and our marriage.
  The second vice that keeps many away from considering the Catholic faith is prejudice. The definition of prejudice is "an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason."  I admit that my initial reaction towards Catholicism when my wife was considering returning to the Church was visceral, immediate and not very gentlemanly. I had an extremely unfavorable view of the Catholic faith based on a very poor understanding of it based on being a nominal Catholic growing up without much catechesis (teaching) or positive role-models.  I believe that this is very often a reason why people won't consider the Church. They have a very visceral emotional feeling that forms their opinion but it is very often not based on knowledge, significant thought or reason. Just looking at the many comments in my com box over the years proves this point fairly easily. 
     Archbishop Fulton Sheen once wrote; "There are certain psychological and spiritual conditions which are essential for the discovery of truth, and the most important of these is the virtue of humility. Humility is not a want of moral force; rather humility is a recognition of the truth about ourselves. To explore the Truth in all its complexity there must come moments when we confess ignorance, when we frankly admit that we were mistaken or bigoted or prejudiced."

These are the two things that prevent many Christians from considering the possibility that Catholicism is true. In my own case, I had significant amounts of both these vices running through me.  Would any of my non-Catholic readers be willing to consider that they too may be laboring under their own "Pride and Prejudice." Pray about it.


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