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.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Reason # 737 To Be Catholic: Gas Prices!

I happened upon a Protestant blogger recently who was concerned about the distance he had to drive his family to worship  in a church that met the muster of his doctrinal preferences. From reading his other blog posts, it was clear that he was in a sect of Protestantism that many local "bible -believing" churches weren't able to meet his criteria for doctrinal orthodoxy. So this gentleman and family drove two hours each way to have fellowship and worship each Sunday.

"The major problem with the decision I had made was that the church was literally over 2 hours away. With the price of gas, this has made going to church on a regular and consistent basis a major hardship. Another difficulty is that I have always believed that if it possible, one ought to attend a church in one’s community." *  

I feel for this gent as I myself traveled with my family twice a week for over 20 miles each way to church for many years, despite passing literally dozens of protestant evangelical churches within a short distance from my home.(Not to mention at least 10 Catholic Churches) However, none met my doctrinal criteria or "worship style." The fact that I and many others would drive excessive distances to find "the right church" should have been a red flag that perhaps this isn't what Jesus had intended when he established his Church on Peter.

So Reason #737 to be Catholic is you will save a whole lot of money on gas! Wouldn't it make sense since Jesus started His Church and intended it to be universal for all peoples of all times, he would make this Church accessible as possible for the majority of the worldIn all likelihood, if you live in the United States as most of my readers do, you will find a local Catholic Church to worship in that is closer than 2 hours! The beliefs will be the same, the liturgy will be identical everywhere, and most importantly Christ the Lord will be made present on the altar under the appearances of bread and wine and you will receive Him. Then, take the money you save on gas and donate it to the Coming Home Network or Catholics Come Home to help others see the beauty and many reasons to be Catholic, even beyond gas prices.

*(I just checked and there are 11 Catholic Churches within a short driving distance of this protestant blogger's hometown!)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes! I understand this if one believes that you cannot go to heaven unless you worship with a specific kind of church. But if the church next door gets people to heaven just as well as the one 30 miles away, WHY would you drive so far? It suggests that many Protestants don't actually think all the other kinds of Protestants are OK, despite what they say.


April 14, 2012 4:36 PM  
Blogger kkollwitz said...

Any day now Catholics will start attending the church in whose parochial boundaries they live.

April 14, 2012 8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. I too once drove 2 hours one way to a Protestant church in another state. (There were six hundred in the city we lived in, but they weren't our 'brand'.) Now, I walk out the door and down six blocks to my local RC parish. I've come home!!


April 14, 2012 11:15 PM  
Blogger Baron Korf said...

Unless you attend the the Anglican Ordinariate mother church (~20 miles).

Or unless you move and your old parish (~30 miles) still 'needs' you to teach High School Confirmation.

I wonder if God lets me deduct mileage from my tithes? IRS rate is what, $0.51/mi? ;)

April 18, 2012 5:25 PM  
Blogger Authentic Bioethics said...

Well... Being inclined to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and disinclined to liturgical oddities, we drive some 45 minutes each way to get to Mass on Sundays (plus choir practice, youth groups, and other activities), passing dozens of Catholic churches along the way.

I'm totally behind your Reasons To Be Catholic, but honestly, #737 is probably not one of them.

April 18, 2012 6:31 PM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

Well, perhaps my perspective is colored by 31 years outside of the Church in Protestant ecclesial assemblies that lacked the sacraments, were focused on the personalities of the pastors, and were blown about by every wind of "new spiritual outpourings." So for me, pretty much any Catholic Church around me is going to be Ok. Yeah Fr, so and so sometimes doesn't hold the Eucharist as reverently as I would like, or the singing group's choice of songs is horrendous, but you know what? Jesus becomes present on the altar whether the liturgy is in Latin or English, prayed reverently or mechanically.

April 18, 2012 9:47 PM  
Blogger Gail Finke said...

I do'nt particularly like my parish. It doesn't have the kind of music I like, I find the folksy feel of it grating, and the homilies are nothing to write home about. But it's two minutes from my house and, because of some family issues, that's about the best we can do. The more I know my faith the less satisfied I am, and several people I know have left for different parishes after becoming more devout. But though I've gotten fed up a few times, I've done a lot of prayer and I think this is where God wants me to be. And I firmly believe that one reason is to teach me that my preferences about secondary things (music choice, etc.) are not trivial --but neither are they all that important. The mass is the mass. Some day I may driver further for a more beautiful liturgy with more reverent music and a more "high church" feel. But for now, those things are not as important as just being able to get to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. And I'm okay with that.

April 19, 2012 7:49 AM  
Blogger S. Ellis said...

I would argue that the comments tend to undermine the "insight" of the article. It turns out that there is as much variety within Catholic parishes - and the preferences of Catholic parishioners - to induce a Protestant-esque church "market" in which one will be willing to drive long distances to obtain the preferred goods.

April 19, 2012 9:22 AM  
Blogger Bethany said...

While that's true, Ellis, that there is a lot of variety and nuance when it comes to different parishes; however, I take the point of the post to be that despite the variety that occurs amongst parishes, the inherent doctrines, magisterial teaching, basic liturgy, and validity of the sacraments is the same in EVERY Catholic Church, world wide. So, yes, some Catholics, many in fact, do choose to drive farther than necessary to attend parishes that have different music, or even a Catholic School associated with that parish. But it's not out of doctrinal difference - that is to say, it's not because they believe in something different than what their boundary parish is teaching or believing. The Real Presence is present in every Catholic Church in the World, and THAT is what is truly important.

April 19, 2012 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


April 19, 2012 10:37 AM  
Anonymous Jeanne G. said...

We don't attend the church in whose parochial boundaries we live, but we didn't know any better when we enrolled-- we live equidistant from the two churches, but the one whose parish boundaries we live in is on the other side of train tracks from our home. We like the parish we are enrolled in and wouldn't change unless forced.

April 19, 2012 1:34 PM  
Blogger Oldonariel said...

I completely sympathize with this post. My family drive at least 1 hour each Sunday to go to their church, meaning they gone from 930am to about 430pm while I'm gone for about an hour and half for Mass.

April 19, 2012 10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bethany "Gets It": "The Real Presence is present in every Catholic Church in the World, and THAT is what is truly important."

I wonder if those who are critical of their local parishes spent just one year in some of the protestant churches I have belonged over the years.... after a year without the sacraments, they'd be begging to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, even at a "Barney Mass". (Yes in my protestant life, I received crackers and grape juice from someone dressed as a clown, and have lived to tell the tale.)
The worse "liturgical abuse" IMHO, is being in schism with the Church Jesus started, warts and all.

April 20, 2012 8:30 AM  
Blogger lajmh said...

My parish is approximately five minutes from home. However during Lenten soup/Stations it took me almost 20 minutes because of the traffic congestion.
If and when I move, it will be as close to ANY Catholic parish as feasible.

April 21, 2012 8:07 AM  

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