Manch Evangelikaler kommt nach langer Überlegung, viel Lesen, viel Beten, Bibelstudien, Treffen mit Katholiken usw. zu der Überzeugung, dass die Katholische Kirche die Kirche ist, die Jesus gegründet hat und konvertiert. Er wird Teil genau dieser Katholischen Kirche, was er sich vielleicht zuvor nie hätte vorstellen können.
Um Katholiken mal ein Bild davon zu geben, was er hinter sich lässt: Evangelikale Gemeinden sind zumeist sehr warmherzige und liebevolle Gemeinschaften, vergleichbar etwa mit Familien, wo einer den anderen hilft. Es gibt viele verschiedene Programme und Angebote dort, Bibelstunden, gemeinsame Freizeiten, Hilfe in seelischer und materieller Not, Hilfe bei der Erziehung der Kinder - und vor allem eine meist großartige Gemeinschaft, wo er sich wirklich wohl gefühlt hat. Wo die Menschen noch das Feuer des Glaubens in ihren Herzen trugen und andere damit anstecken wollten.
Wie auch immer - ihm wird klar, dass es nur eine Kirche geben kann und er tritt über.
Und nun kommt er vielleicht in eine dieser beinahe klinisch toten katholischen Großstadtgemeinden. Man geht - wenn überhaupt - alleine in die Messe und auch wieder alleine hinaus. So etwas wie Gemeinschaft scheint es gar nicht zu geben. Der Pfarrer ist mangels ehren- und hauptamtlicher Mitarbeiter und aufgrund wachsender Gemeindegrößen (zusammengelegte Pfarreien) hoffnungslos überfordert. Die angebotenen Veranstaltungen beschränken sich auf ein Minimum und stillen nicht einmal annähernd den Durst, denn der "Neue" hat. Er will brennen für den Herrn, er sucht die Gemeinschaft, die er kennt und er will mit im Weinstock Gottes arbeiten!
Aber da gibt es wenig zu tun, was ihn anspricht. Die sonntäglichen Predigten erscheinen ihm lauwarm und nichtssagend. Sakramente wie die Beichte scheinen kaum angeboten und noch viel weniger angenommen zu werden.
Er beginnt sich langsam zu fragen, ob diese Katholiken eigentlich wissen, was sie an ihrem Glauben haben.
Irgendjemand sagt ihm dann, wenigstens haben die Katholiken etwas, was Evangelikale nicht haben: die Eucharistie. Sie essen tatsächlich das Fleisch des Herrn und trinken Sein Blut!
Zweifellos. Ein unschlagbares Argument.
Er öffnet die Bibel:
"So aber ist es mit dem Brot, das vom Himmel herabkommt: Wenn jemand davon isst, wird er nicht sterben. Ich bin das lebendige Brot, das vom Himmel herabgekommen ist. Wer von diesem Brot isst, wird in Ewigkeit leben. Das Brot, das ich geben werde, ist mein Fleisch, (ich gebe es hin) für das Leben der Welt. Da stritten sich die Juden und sagten: Wie kann er uns sein Fleisch zu essen geben? Jesus sagte zu ihnen: Amen, amen, das sage ich euch: Wenn ihr das Fleisch des Menschensohnes nicht esst und sein Blut nicht trinkt, habt ihr das Leben nicht in euch. Wer mein Fleisch isst und mein Blut trinkt, hat das ewige Leben, und ich werde ihn auferwecken am Letzten Tag. Denn mein Fleisch ist wirklich eine Speise und mein Blut ist wirklich ein Trank. Wer mein Fleisch isst und mein Blut trinkt, der bleibt in mir und ich bleibe in ihm. Wie mich der lebendige Vater gesandt hat und wie ich durch den Vater lebe, so wird jeder, der mich isst, durch mich leben. Dies ist das Brot, das vom Himmel herabgekommen ist. Mit ihm ist es nicht wie mit dem Brot, das die Väter gegessen haben; sie sind gestorben. Wer aber dieses Brot isst, wird leben in Ewigkeit." (Jn 6,50-58 - Einheitsübersetzung).
Und er kommt nicht umhin, sich zu fragen, ob seinen neuen Geschwistern wirklich bewusst ist, dass sie hier Jesus selbst in sich aufnehmen! Er sieht, wie einige bereits nach der Kommunion noch während des Singesn die Kirche verlassen (Prof. Dr. Scott Hahn hat dies einmal den "Judas Shuffle" genannt). Ihm fällt die Geschichte ein, die er bei Fr. Ben Cameron von den "Fathers of Mercy" gehört hat: da hat es einen Priester auch gestört, dass seine Schäfchen immer so früh die Messe verlassen. Schließlich hat er an die Innenseite der Kirchentüre ein Schild angebracht, dass man beim Hinausgehen zwangsweise lesen musste: "Judas war der Erste, der die Messe zu früh verließ!".
Und trotzdem - nichts gleicht dieser katholischen Messe. Nichts ist wie die Eucharistie.
Kein Wunder, dass die Juden diese Worte Jesu so abstoßend empfanden: In Levitikus heißt es, dass man von seinem Volk und vom Alten Bund mit Gott abgetrennt wird, wenn man das Fleisch isst und das Blut trinkt.
Das aber ist genau das, was Gott uns damit sagen will:
Wir haben den Bund mit Gott immer wieder gebrochen. Selbst die Israeliten hatten nicht die Kraft, sich über die Sünde zu erheben. Durch Jesus haben wir einen Neuen Bund - aber dafür müssen wir mit dem Alten Bund brechen, indem wir Jesu' Fleisch essen und Sein Blut trinken!
Wir müssen sozusagen Vater und Mutter verlassen, um mit unserem nuen Bräutigam einen Neuen Bund einzugehen!
Unser altes Selbst muss sterben, damit wir in Jesus neu leben können!
Als die Jünger bei Jesu' Worten meinten, das wäre unerträglich - das kann doch niemand anhören, wie hat Jesus da reagiert? Hat Er gesagt: "Halt, kommt zurück - ich habe das doch nicht wörtlich gemeint! Ihr müsst das symbolisch verstehen! NEIN - im Gegenteil! Manche meinen nun, da Jesus ja daraufhin sagte, der Geist mache lebendig und das Fleisch sei zu nichts nutze, wäre die Eucharistie nur symbolisch zu verstehen. Das heißt aber, sie haben den ganzen Sinn dieses 6. Kapitels bei Johannes nicht verstanden. Die Jünger haben ihn sehr wohl verstanden und wussten, dass Jesus es genau so meinte, wie Er es gesagt hatte - und genau deshalb wandten sich so viele von Ihm ab!
In seiner alten evangelikalen Gemeinde gab es regelmäßig den "altar call", den "Ruf zum Altar", wo Menschen aufgefordert werden, nach vorne zu kommen, sich für Jesus als ihren persönlichen Herrn und Retter zu entscheiden, für sich beten oder sich segnen zu lassen, ihre Sorgen mitzuteilen usw. An sich eine gute Sache. Das Problem. Für einen "altar call" bruacht man überhaupt erst einen Altar! Und ein Altar ist da, um etwas zu opfern! So wie sich Jesus als lebendiges Ofper hingibt und in der Eucharistie dieses Opfer gegenwärtig (NICHT wiederholt!) wird, so geben wir uns selbst hin, wenn wir die Eucharistie empfangen!
All dies fällt ihm wieder ein, und es wird ihm klar, das es die richtige Entscheidung war, zur einen Kirche zurück zu kehren. Zu der Kirche, die getreu Jesu versprechen 2.000 Jahre allen Verleumdungen und Angriffen widerstanden hat und immer noch da steht. Zu der Kirche, die Jesus selbst gegründet hat und in der seitdem in apostolischer Nachfolge Seine Lehre weitergegeben wird, Sein Fleisch gegessen und Sein Blut getrunken wird.
Die Top Ten: Zehn Gruende, warum man zur Katholischen Kirche zurueck kommen sollte:
Eines sollte dir bewusst sein: egal, wie lange du weg warst du kannst immer nach Hause kommen. Leztendlich wird es aber deine Entscheidung sein. Gott zwingt niemanden, Er laedt vielmehr ein.
Hier zehn Gruende, die Menschen geholfen haben, zur Katholischen Kirche zurueck zu kehren:
1) Weil sie eine Sehnsucht nach der Eucharistie haben. Diese Sehnsucht zeigt sich vielleicht bei einer Beerdigung, oder einer Taufe oder einer Ersten Kommunion. Manchmal tritt diese Sehnsucht aber auch bei schwierigen Lebenssituationen auf. Ein grosser Hunger nach geistiger Nahrung, der nur durch den Leib und das Blut Jesu Christi gestillt werden kann. Dieser Hunger nach der Eucharistie fuehrt aber auch zur Erkenntnis Christi in anderen Sakramenten. Die Rueckkehr zur Katholischen Kirche ist fuer viele Menschen dann nicht so sehr ein Ereignis denn ein Prozess. Ein Prozess, der manchmal auch ein wenig Schmerz bedeutet, aber auch Freude, Nachdenken, Gebet, Erkennen und Loslassen. Was bekommt man dafuer? Die Kirche schenkt uns die Vereinigung mit Jesus Christus in der Heiligen Schrift, im Gebet, in der Gemeinschaft mit anderen, in der Eucharistie und den anderen Sakramenten. Geistige Nahrung und Unterstuetzung fuer alle Lebenssituationen. Goettliche Weisheit, die 2.000 Jahre alt ist. Sinn und Bedeutung in diesem Leben und das Versprechen des ewigen Lebens nach dem Tod. Und das Gefuehl tiefen inneren Friedens.
2) Weil sie anderen Menschen helfen wollen. Natuerlich gibt es auch in der saekularen Welt viele Moeglichkeiten zu helfen. Hier fehlt jedoch der spirituelle Ansatz, wie er in den vielen Einrichtungen der Katholischen Kirche zu finden ist. Hier geht es um mehr als einfach nur darum, sich gut zu fuehlen. Hier geht es um etwas, das Teil des grossen Auftrags ist (siehe Mk 12,28 ff.). Wir sollen Gott und unseren Naechsten lieben wie uns selbst. Wenn wir uns um Menschen in Not kuemmern, werden wir zum Instrument von Gottes Liebe. Und in der Katholischen Kirche finden sich viele Moeglichkeiten, uns in Liebe anderen Menschen zuzuwenden.
3) Weil sie Teil einer Glaubensgemeinschaft sein wollen. Viele Menschen wollen irgendwo dazugehoeren. Gemeinschaft bedeutet aber weit mehr als nur eine Ansammlung freundlicher Menschen, guter Predigten und ansprechender Aktivitaeten. In der katholischen Gemeinschaft sammeln sich die Menschen um die Person Jesu Christi, um Gott anzubeten und im Licht des Heiligen Geistes zu leben. Katholiken versammeln sich in der Messe, sie kommen fuer die Sakramente zusammen und in Aktivitaeten der Pfarrei. Sie beten zusammen, sie feieren zusammen, trauern zusammen, dienen einander, und geben sich gegenseitig Hilfe und Unterstuetzung. Eine katholische Pfarrei bietet all das und noch viel mehr fuer all die, die zusammen mit anderen zu einer vollkommenen Vereinigung mit Gott gelangen wollen.
4) Weil sie wollen, dass ihre Kinder eine Grundlage des Glaubens bekommen. Vielen wird klar, dass es eine Menge Unheil mit sich bringen kann, seine Kinder in einer weltlichen Umgebung aufzuziehen, in der jeder sein Ding durchzieht. Es ist unerlaesslich, den Kindern eine spirituelle Grundlage mitzugeben. Glaubensgrundsaetze und eine solide moralische Basis jenseits menschlicher Logik und Vernunft sind wesentlich bei der Erziehung der Kinder und erst recht im spaeteren Leben.
5) Weil die Katholische Kirche die Fuelle an Wahrheit und Gnade hat. Viele Menschen, die die Katholische Kirche verlassen, machen fuer eine gewisse Zeit Erfahrungen in anderen christlichen Gemeinden. Einige kommen dann aber zurueck, wenn ihnen klar wird, dass sie Jesus und damit Wahrheit und Gnade in der ganzen Fuelle nur in der Katholischen Kirche haben koennen. Die Katholische Kirche wurde naemlich nicht durch einen einzigen Reformer oder durch eine historische Bewegung gegruendet, sondern von Jesus und den Aposteln selbst. Sie splittert sich auch nicht anhand verschiedener Bibelinterpretationen auf. Und so gibt es heute tausende christlicher Gemeinden aber nur eine Katholische Kirche, die seit 2.000 Jahren vom Heiligen Geist gefuehrt und geleitet wird und in der die Priester und Bischoefe in ungebrochener Nachfolge seit Jesu Zeiten stehen. Keine andere Kirche kann diesen Anspruch erheben.
6) Weil sie geheilt werden wollen. Viele Menschen tragen spirituelle Wunden mit sich herum. Sie sind wuetend auf Gott, weil ihnen schlimme Dinge widerfahren sind weil sie krank sind, weil ihnen Gewalt angetan wurde, weil ihnen oder ihren Angehoerigen ein schlimmer Unfall zugestossen ist, weil sich Naturkatastrophen ereignet haben oder jemand, den sie geliebt haben, gestorben ist. Die Katholische Kirche kann nun zwar nichts an diesen Situationen aendern oder ihren Grund erklaeren, sie kann aber sehr wohl dabei helfen, spirituelle Heilung zu erfahren und mit dem eigenen Leben weiter zu machen.
7) Weil sie anderen vergeben muessen. Manchmal faellt es Menschen schwer, anderen zu vergeben, die sie tief verletzt haben. In unserer modernen Kultur wird Wut und Rache sogar noch ermutigt. Hass und Verbitterung zerstoeren uns aber sowohl spirituell wie emotional. In der Katholischen Kirche finden wir die Moeglichkeit, Gottes Hilfe bei der Vergebung von anderen zu suchen selbst wenn die andere Person nicht um Vergebung gefragt hat oder sie nicht verdient. Durch die Faehigkeit zur Vergebung aber oeffnen wir unser Herz fuer Gottes Liebe und Frieden.
8) Weil sie Fehler gemacht haben. Manche Menschen werden von der Last ihrer Suenden schier erdrueckt. Sie wollen diese Schuld, sich selbst oder anderen weh getan zu haben, los werden und fragen sich, ob Gott ihnen je vergeben wird und ob sie jemals die Chance fuer einen Neubeginn erhalten werden. Natuerlich kann man Gott immer sagen, dass einem etwas leid tut. Wenn man aber wirklich sicher sein will, dass Gott einem vergeben hat und die Moeglichkeit eines Neubeginns gibt, kann man als Katholik die Absolution im Busssakrament empfangen.
9) Weil Erinnerungen aus der Kindheit wieder hochkommen. Manche Menschen berichten davon, dass ihnen in ihrem spaeteren Leben Erinnerungen aus ihrer Kindheit wieder in den Kopf kommen, als sie eine besondere Verbindung zu Gott hatten. Sie fragen sich nun, ob es denn moeglich ist, diese Einfachheit des Glaubens wieder zu erlangen. Sie fragen sich, ob Gott immer noch auf sie achtet und auf sie wartet. In unserer modernen Gesellschaft wird der spirituelle Aspekt oft voellig ausgeklammert. Die Katholische Kirche schenkt uns sowohl religioese als auch mystische Erfahrungen, durch die unser Herz, unser Verstand, unser Koerper und unsere Seele genaehrt werden.
10) Weil sie ihrem Leben einen Sinn geben wollen. Im Stress unseres heutigen Lebens kommt es manchen Menschen ploetzlich in den Sinn, dass ihrem Leben etwas fehlt ein Gefuehl der Bedeutung, des Sinns und eines Plans. Sie fragen sich schliesslich, was der Sinn ihres Lebens ist und warum sie tun, was sie tun. In unserer heutigen Kultur gibt es eine grosse Verwirrung darueber, was moralisch richtig und was wahr ist. In der Katholischen Kirche finden wir Licht in der Dunkelheit. Ein Licht, das uns Sinn gibt und uns zum ewigen Leben fuehrt.
(Quelle: Our Sunday Visitor, www.osv.com)
Außerhalb der Kirche kein Heil"
846 Wie ist diese von den Kirchenvätern oft wiederholte Aussage zu verstehen? Positiv formuliert, besagt sie, daß alles Heil durch die Kirche, die sein Leib ist, von Christus dem Haupt herkommt:
Gestützt auf die Heilige Schrift und die Überlieferung lehrt [das Konzil], daß diese pilgernde Kirche zum Heile notwendig sei. Der eine Christus nämlich ist Mittler und Weg zum Heil, der in seinem Leib, der die Kirche ist, uns gegenwärtig wird; indem er aber selbst mit ausdrücklichen Worten die Notwendigkeit des Glaubens und der Taufe betont hat, hat er zugleich die Notwendigkeit der Kirche, in die Menschen durch die Taufe wie durch eine Tür eintreten, bekräftigt. Darum können jene Menschen nicht gerettet werden, die sehr wohl wissen, daß die katholische Kirche von Gott durch Jesus Christus als eine notwendige gegründet wurde, jedoch nicht in sie eintreten oder in ihr ausharren wollen" (LG 14).
847 Diese Feststellung bezieht sich nicht auf solche, die ohne ihre Schuld Christus und seine Kirche nicht kennen:
Wer nämlich das Evangelium Christi und seine Kirche ohne Schuld nicht kennt, Gott jedoch aufrichtigen Herzens sucht und seinen durch den Anruf des Gewissens erkannten Willen unter dem Einfluß der Gnade in den Taten zu erfüllen versucht, kann das ewige Heil erlangen" (LG 16) [Vgl. DS 3866-3872].
848 Wenngleich Gott Menschen, die das Evangelium ohne ihre Schuld nicht kennen, auf Wegen, die er weiß, zum Glauben führen kann, ohne den es unmöglich ist, ihm zu gefallen (Hebr 11,6), so liegt doch auf der Kirche die Notwendigkeit und zugleich das heilige Recht der Verkündigung der Frohbotschaft" (AG 7) an alle Menschen.
(Quelle: Katechismus der Katholischen Kirche - www.vatican.va)
The Micah Project
"Katholisch Leben!" unterstützt das "Micah Project" von Mike Cumbie (siehe http://www.mikecumbie.org/). Ich teile seinen Traum, die verschiedenen christlichen Denominationen eines Tages wieder zu einer Kirche zu vereinen.
I support Mike Cumbie's "Micah Project" (see http://www.mikecumbie.org/) and share his dream of reuniting the different Christian denominations to become one church again.
And so should you.
Coming Home II
Manchmal kommen Evangelikale aus einer lebendigen, großen und sehr aktiven Gemeinde, in der die Glieder, die Bibel und ihren christlichen Glauben lieben und wie eine große Familie zusammenhalten und auch sehr engagiert sind, in eine katholische Kirche - nachdem sie sich bereits ausführlich mit dem katholischen Glauben beschäftigt haben - und können kaum glauben, was sie da sehen.
Aus Sicht dieser Christen scheinen viele katholische Gemeinden klinisch tot und das Feuer des Heiligen Geistes in den Herzen der Gläubigen dort fast erloschen. Sie finden leider oft ein lauwarmes bis kalt gewordenes Christentum vor, bei dem es schon die Regel ist, nur ab und zu mal in der Messe vorbeizuschauen, vorzeitig zu gehen - vom Bibellesen oder dem praktischen Leben des christlichen Glaubens ganz zu schweigen.
Und leider kennen viele Katholiken auch weder die Bibel noch ihren eigenen Glauben. Sie setzen eigene Erfahrungen, Gefühle, Stimmungen, Ansichten und Vorlieben an Stelle dessen, was sie als "katholisch" halten.
Aber es ist nicht überall und nicht bei jedem so. Jesus hat uns versprochen, den Heiligen Geist bei Seiner Kirche zu lassen und Er hat ebenso gesagt, diese Kirche würde niemals untergehen.
Und so finden sich immer wieder positive Gegenbeispiele. Auch sollten wir daran denken, dass wir alle Kirche sind und wir alle als Gläubige aufgerufen sind, nicht nur zu jammern über den Zustand der Kirche, sondern die Ärmel hochzukrempeln und unseren Teil dazu beizutragen, dass sich hier etwas ändert und Katholiken wieder "brennen" vor Liebe zu Jesus und es kaum erwarten können, mit diesem Feuer die ganze Welt anzustecken!
Auch sollte uns dabei einiges bewusst sein: eine Veränderung, ein "Anzünden" und die Rettung als solche der ganzen Welt wird nicht an theologischen Hochschulen (so wichtig diese auch sein mögen) und auch nicht in Parlamenten oder sonstwo geschehen.
Das Feuer der Veränderung kann nur vom Altar her kommen, wo es seit jeher gekommen ist. Am Altar wird sich unser Schicksal entscheiden und im heiligsten Sakrament der Eucharistie empfangen wir den, der uns ewiges Leben geben kann!
Why be Catholic?
This article assumes that you already are a Christian, a Messianic Jew, or believer in Yeshua (Jesus), however you wish to call yourself. See the last page of this article for links to articles that may be more relevant to you if you do not believe in Jesus.
Why Be Catholic?
Perhaps you think that the idea of becoming Catholic is the most absurd idea you have ever heard.
Perhaps you think that the Bible alone is sufficient for you to know God's will for your life.
Perhaps you think that God is not interested in 'religion' or institutions but merely wishes to have a personal relationship with you.
Perhaps you think that the only thing really necessary to be saved is to receive Jesus into your heart as Lord and Savior.
Perhaps you are Jewish and think that to become Catholic would amount to a betrayal of your Jewish faith and heritage.
Perhaps you even hold anti-Catholic views and think that Catholicism is a pagan corruption of the pure biblical faith.
Yet perhaps you feel that there is "something missing" to your faith.
Perhaps you feel that God has "something more" for you, but you haven't quite figured out yet what this is.
Looking back through history, from the first to the twenty-first century, from the ancient Mediterranean world to modern America, countless people have thought like you - either mildly curious, indifferent, distrusting or even despising the Catholic Church... until one day they decided to seriously investigate the Church's claims. Again and again, an inquiry which began out of curiosity or even animosity toward the Church ended as a wondrous love story: the story of a God so passionately in love with us that He offered His only Son to die for us in order that we may have eternal life, and formed his human family, the Catholic (universal) Church for the purpose of sharing with His children His own divine life, most especially in the sacrament of the Eucharist.
In this article, as well as through the other resources available on this website, you can discover how:
God has never said that the Bible alone is enough to know His will, but rather has set up, both in the Old and New Testaments, a visible, hierarchical institution and endowed it with His own divine authority to guide us and lead us into His way of salvation.
God is indeed very interested in 'religion' today, just as He was interested in it when He set up the Tabernacle and Temple worship in ancient Israel. A genuine, honest, humble and well-informed personal relationship with the Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit should logically and eventually lead you to seek full communion with His Body, the Catholic Church.
To "receive Jesus as Lord and Savior" by faith alone is not enough to be saved; for Jesus imparts his grace, his power, and his life to us chiefly through the Church, her teachings, her liturgy and sacraments, and her communion of saints.
The Catholic faith is the perfect and complete fulfillment of Judaism - yet this does not abolish the particular calling of the people of Israel nor the special vocation of Jews who enter the Church. As Rosalind Moss, who is Jewish-Catholic, has said, "you can't be more Jewish than to be Catholic!"
The Catholic faith is the most biblical form of Christianity, whereas other denominations have generally compromised important gifts that Jesus has given us.
What does it mean to be "Catholic"?
Perhaps you, like many other Christians, consider yourself to be "catholic" with a small "c", in the sense that you are a member of the universal (catholic), invisible community of followers of Christ, but not "Catholic" with a capital "C", in the sense of being a formal member of the Roman Catholic Church.
In a sense, it is true that if you are a baptized believer in Jesus, you are already a member of the Body of Christ, and the Holy Spirit certainly can work through you and your community in furthering the work of the Gospel. As the Church teaches:
"All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church." (CCC 818)
"Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements. Christ's Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him, and are in themselves calls to 'Catholic unity.'" (CCC 819)
However, the One Church that Christ has founded truly is the Catholic Church, united and governed by the successor of Peter, the pope. In it alone can be found "the fullness of the means of salvation":
"The sole Church of Christ [is that] which our Savior, after his Resurrection, entrusted to Peter's pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it. . . . This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him... For it is through Christ's Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the People of God." (CCC 816)
As we will see below, by remaining outside of the Catholic Church you therefore remain only in partial and imperfect communion with the Messiah's Church, and you are missing out on many of the great blessings that God wishes to give you:
"The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter. Those who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church." (CCC 838)
Let us now examine some of these blessings that God wishes to give you.
Ten good reasons for becoming Catholic
Jesus has founded one Church* (not a collection of denominations), and it is His will that all would be part of His one Church.
Jesus founded a visible Church* with visible leaders, not an invisible body with no real authority.
Through apostolic succession and apostolic tradition*, the Church hands down the authentic teachings of Christ and his apostles.
Jesus gave to His Church a charism of infallibility* which gives us certainty in important matters of faith and morals and enables us to know with confidence what to believe and how to live.
In the Catholic Church alone can be found the fullness of the means of salvation* and all of the means to grow in holiness and in virtue*.
The Church's Sacred Liturgy* inserts us into the Paschal Mystery and joins us with the heavenly worship of the angels and saints.
The Church mediates to us Christ's sacraments*: the channels of God's grace, God's life and God's love poured out into us.
In the Church you can receive the Eucharist*, the Body and Blood of the Lord and the source and summit of the Christian life.
In the Catholic Church you become fully united with our earthly and heavenly family: the communion of saints*.
Jesus has given us His mother Miriam* (Mary) as mother of the Church and as our own mother who loves us and watches over us.
1. Jesus founded One Church*, not a collection of denominations
We know from the Gospel of John how serious was Jesus' desire that his followers be united. He prayed that all believers "may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me" (Jn 17:20-21). When we read the New Testament, we see that Jesus founded only one Church, united under the leadership of Peter and the apostles. He never established a loose collection of denominations as they exist today, each one differing and disagreeing with the other on important doctrines and moral issues. The Eastern Orthodox Churches broke away from unity with the pope in 1054. The protestant denominations further damaged the unity of Christianity when they began to break away from the Catholic Church in the sixteenth century, and they continue to fragment themselves to our own day. Even the newer "non-denominational" churches, although they avoid labeling themselves under a particular denominational name, really are another form of evangelical denomination. And the Messianic Jewish movement, while pursuing the noble goal of rediscovering the Jewish roots of Christianity, is plagued by the same lack of unity as the Protestant communities.
The one, universal Church which Jesus has founded and which has preserved its unity now for 2,000 years, all while spreading to all times and places, is the Catholic Church.
By remaining outside of the Catholic Church you are therefore contributing, even if unconsciously and through no fault of your own, to the disunity of the body of Christ. By joining the Catholic Church you join the original Church that Jesus the Messiah founded, and you contribute to the unity of the Church for which He prayed!
2. Jesus founded a visible Church* with visible leaders
Why is there such a lack of unity among Protestant / Evangelical / Messianic communities? Because of the absence of legitimately ordained authority. Often it is said that the church is simply the invisible union of all believers, led by the Holy Spirit and whose head is Christ, but left without any ultimate human authority here on earth. This theory, however, is not biblical and does not work in practice. In fact, it has caused tremendous confusion and division in the Body of Christ.
When one looks at the Bible one finds a completely different picture: At the time of the Exodus, God's people were united under the leadership of Moses and seventy elders, who transmitted the Word of God to the people, interpreted it, and settled disputes (Exo 18:13-26, Num 11:16-25). This continued at the time of the Davidic Kingdom, when the nation was united under the king's authority, subject to the words of the Prophets.
The picture is similar in the New Testament: Jesus gave to His Church a real human leader in the person of Peter. Jesus said that Peter would be the rock on his He would build his Church. He gave him the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Mat 16:17-19), appointed him as chief shepherd of the Church (Jn 21:15-17), and commissioned him to strengthen the other apostles in their faith (Lk 22:31-32). In addition, Jesus also gave his own authority to the other apostles, telling them "he who hears you, hears me" (Lk 10:16) and empowering them to forgive sins (Jn 20:23). You can read in the book of Acts how Peter and the apostles led the Church in proclaiming the gospel and in making important decisions (Acts 2:1-41, 15:7-12).
By joining the Catholic Church you become a part of the Church modeled after God's people in the Bible and you place yourself under the authority which Jesus himself appointed.
3. Jesus established an apostolic succession and apostolic tradition* which hands down His authentic teachings and those of the apostles
But, you may ask, has this divinely appointed authority been preserved in the Church until our own day? Yes it has, through apostolic succession and apostolic tradition. After Judas died, Peter and the apostles immediately chose a successor to replace him (Acts 1:15-26). We also see in the New Testament the apostles ordaining presbyters (Acts 14:23, Tit 1:5), and handing down their own authority to their successors: "what you heard from me entrust to faithful teachers who will be able to teach others also" (2 Tim 2:2). We also read of a triple structure of authority in the New Testament which includes bishops, presbyters (priests) and deacons (1 Tim 3:1,8, 5:17). From the earliest times, bishops have been considered to be the successors of the apostles, with the bishop of Rome being the successor of Peter, who died in Rome. And so the unity of the Church is safeguarded through the passing down of Christ's teachings by the apostolic succession of the bishop of Rome, the pope, in union with all the other bishops, the successors of the other apostles.
The first and most natural reaction to this claim is often: "why should I submit myself to the authority of these men? History has shown how people can abuse their authority and make errors of judgment!" It is true than whenever people exercise positions of authority there is a danger of abuse of authority. Yet we are never totally free of human authority in spiritual matters. The moment we attend a church, we begin to submit to the pastor's authority and teachings - which can also stray from truth and charity. And if we entirely reject authority and accountability, then we become our own authority, with our own fallibility, limitations and blind spots. In other words, we must chose the authority under which we submit: either it will be the authority that Christ himself appointed, under which he promised that "the Spirit of truth will guide you into all truth" (Jn 16:13) and against which "the gates of Hades will not prevail" (Mat 16:18), or it will be the fallible authority of someone else. Rejecting the authority of the pope means that every pastor, or even every individual becomes his own 'pope'. This is not a recipe for unity but for anarchy. Much better is to accept the authority which Christ has appointed and which faithfully guards Christ's teachings, as He has promised!
By joining the Catholic Church you get to tap into the authentic teachings of Jesus and the apostles as passed down through apostolic tradition!
4. The infallibility* of the Church gives us certainty in what to believe and in how to live
The best reason for submitting to the authority of the Catholic Church is because Jesus has endowed it with a special charism of infallibility which safeguards doctrinal unity and guarantees certainty in her teachings. If you have been a Protestant, Evangelical Christian or Messianic Jew for a while, you will probably have heard hundreds of different sermons and teachings interpreting the Bible in different ways that sometimes seriously contradict each other. Perhaps you count yourself among the many believers who feel more confused and less certain about your faith now than a few years ago because of all the different and contradictory teachings, theories, and interpretations of the Bible that you have heard.
Jesus never intended for it to be that way. Nowhere in the Bible do we see every believer consulting his/her Bible and deciding for himself/herself what to believe without appealing to a higher authority. Believers in the first four centuries of the Church did not even have a New Testament they could consult (the NT canon was only closed in 393-397 AD). Their ultimate authority in matters of faith and morals was the authority of the apostles and their successors. We have just seen how Jesus promised to the apostles that "the gates of Hades will not prevail" against the Church, and that the Holy Spirit would lead them into all truth and "will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you" (Jn 14:26). Indeed, the Church is called in the New Testament the "pillar and foundation of truth" (1 Tim 3:15).
Though our post-modern society exalts skepticism and uncertainty, it is impossible to build one's life without a solid foundation. Bible believers do have a foundation in Christ and in the Word of God, but this foundation is often undermined by all the conflicting interpretations of Scripture. By contrast, it is a wonderful thing to be certain about what to believe and how to live. The Holy Spirit has faithfully guided the Church for two thousand years so that we can know with confidence how the apostles and the first believers understood and interpreted the Scriptures. Read for yourself the Catechism of the Catholic Church (or its shorter Compendium) to gain clarity on what the Scriptures really say in light of the Church's tradition about important matters such as God's revelation, creation, the nature of man, the Trinity, the divinity of the Messiah, his expected second coming, the Holy Spirit, the nature of the Church, Mary the mother of Jesus, life after death, the effects of baptism, the Lord's Supper, how we are saved, and much more.
Equally as important is the question of how we are to live, or important moral issues. Though the Bible is clear on certain moral issues, on others it is not. Which commandments were preconditioned by time and culture, and which ones are absolute and unchanging? For example, the Bible forbids the shaving of the corners of one's beard, the printing of tattoos, and the eating of shrimp, and it commands women to cover their heads when praying; yet it has nothing to say against abortion, slavery, artificial insemination or human cloning. How are we to interpret the Ten Commandments today? Without authoritative tradition, believers remain at the whim of their pastor's interpretation of the Scriptures; or they must rely on their own private judgment, easily prone to error, and they will find it very difficult to clearly know what is right or wrong. The result can fluctuate between individualistic moral anarchy, where one falls into many sins out of ignorance, and slavish moral legalism, where one abstains from many good things through the fear that they may be sinful. Much better is to draw from the well of the Church's timeless wisdom, guided by the Holy Spirit, in order to really know what is right and wrong and thus find joyful freedom in living out a holy life.
Of course, the infallibility of the Church does not mean that its leaders will always lead an impeccable life. The pope, bishops and priests are sinners too, and they are not immune against moral failure, as this has often happened and, sadly, will happen again. Yet this is another testimony of God's faithfulness and greatness, that He infallibly guides in matters of faith and morals a Church made of fallible sinners like you and me.
By joining the Catholic Church you can know for sure what to believe and how to live regarding the most important matters of life!
5. The Church conveys to us the fullness of the means of salvation* and of the means to grow in holiness and in virtue*
If you believe in Christ and have been baptized, then you are already on the road to salvation. However, accepting Christ by faith as Lord and Savior is not enough to be saved, according to the Bible. Jesus himself said that "not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven" (Mt 7:21), and that only "he who endures to the end shall be saved" (Mt 24:13). Paul, the great apostle, warned believers to remain in God's goodness, "otherwise you also will be cut off" (Rom 11:22). He exhorts us to "work out your salvation in fear and trembling" (Phil 2:12) and speaks of disciplining his own body and bringing it under subjection "lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified" (1 Cor 9:27). Our works also play an important role towards our salvation, since "God will repay each one according to his works" (Rom 2:5-8, 2 Cor 5:10, 1 Pet 1:17, Rev 20:12-13).
We are saved entirely by God's grace, with no initial merit on our part (Eph 2:8). However, we must also work out our salvation in fear and trembling, and "must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). As a believer in Jesus, you already have many of the "tools" that help you to work out your salvation in cooperation with God's grace: through faith in Christ and baptism you have had your former sins washed away and received His forgiveness; by reading the Word of God you learn His will to some degree and follow His guidance; through prayer you receive God's help and strength; through praise He touches you with His joy; through works of charity you grow in his likeness and in His selflessness.
However, by remaining outside of the Church, you are missing out on many of the "tools" that Jesus has given us to advance our salvation and that of the world, and to help us grow in holiness. You are continuing on the road to salvation with only "partial equipment" to reach the goal, and thus this goal will be much more difficult to reach. We have already discussed the importance of authority: detached from the Church's authoritative tradition you are exposed to false teachings which may slow you down and even stop you on your way to salvation. You are missing out on the Eucharist, Christ's own body and blood and the most intimate union between the Bridegroom and His bride (see below). You are also deprived of most of the other sacraments which the Lord has given us and which convey to us his power and his grace in a very real way. You do not fully benefit of the protection and intercession of our mother Mary and of the full communion of the saints in heaven and on earth, since possibly you do not even believe in them - and much more!
By joining the Catholic Church you get to tap into the fullness of the blessings that the Lord has given us for our salvation and sanctification!
6. The Church's Sacred Liturgy* inserts us into the Paschal Mystery and joins us with the heavenly worship of the angels and saints
If you have been going to an Evangelical church or Messianic congregation for a while, you have no doubt gotten accustomed to loosely structured meetings, perhaps charismatic, with much emphasis on lively praise and worship, and extensive preaching from the Bible. Though there is nothing wrong with this format, it does bear the problem that it is heavily dependant upon the quality of the ministers. If the worship team is lousy and the preacher boring or irrelevant, there is hardly any point in showing up there. It may well be more beneficial to stay at home and pray alone or with a few friends. Many believers who have been exposed to evangelical/messianic worship for a while begin to feel a need for worship which is less centered upon man and more centered upon God, with less talking, less activities and programs, less novelty, less hype, but rather more depth, more reverence, more mystery and more awe before our Maker. In other words, they long for liturgy.
Often, when we pray to God in our own words we run out of things to say. This is quite normal, for everyone feels at times spiritually weak, tired, uninspired, or dry. In this case, you may have picked up a Bible and prayed the psalms out loud, and felt how the inspired words of Scripture, turned into your own prayer, lifted your soul and expressed things that you could not have come up with on your own. This is the power of the liturgy: the lofty words of prayer uttered by the inspired biblical authors or the spiritual masters and saints, drawn from the rich spiritual treasures of the Church, become your own words. These words unite your mind and heart with the great spiritual figures that preceded us and draw you into the Church's timeless liturgy, united with the heavenly liturgy which transcends time and space.
Liturgical prayer, of course, has been the traditional and historical way of common prayer in both Judaism and Christianity since the origins of the two faiths. While it is important to always nurture a personal, spontaneous dialogue with the Lord in one's private prayer life, the public prayer of God's people has always been primarily liturgical.
By joining the Catholic Church you become a part of the rich Sacred Tradition of the Church and an active participant in her Sacred Liturgy, the very heart of Christ's Paschal Mystery celebrated in union with all the angels and saints in heaven and on earth!
7. The Church mediates to us Christ's sacraments*: the channels of God's grace, God's life and God's love poured out into us
The greatest and most powerful gifts that the Lord has given us, and the most amazing testimony of His love are the seven sacraments which He instituted. Through the seven sacraments the Messiah endows us with His very life and love. One could say that they are like "channels" connecting heaven and earth by which God pours out His grace onto His children. They fill us with the Holy Spirit; they heal us, cleanse us, feed us, and strengthen us. Since they impart to us God's life, they are the most effective means by which we are made holy; they are also the most powerful weapons by which we wage spiritual warfare. The sacraments are not just symbols but signs that actually convey God's grace and love. The seven sacraments are:
Baptism*: the new birth that washes away our sins (Tit 3:5), gives us the Holy Spirit, and baptizes us into Christ's death and resurrection (Rom 6:3-7).
Confirmation*: the fullness of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which strengthens us and inserts us fully into the Church's mission (Acts 8:14-17).
The Eucharist*: the greatest of sacraments where the Messiah feeds us with His own Body and Blood, soul and divinity (Mark 14:22-24, Jn 6:53).
Reconciliation (Confession)*: the way to receive forgiveness for sins committed after baptism, entrusted by Jesus to the apostles (Jn 20:22-23).
Anointing of the Sick*: grants us help to endure illness and sometimes heals us, cleanses our soul, and helps us to prepare to meet God (Js 5:14-15).
Matrimony*: In marriage, husband and wife become a living sign of the faithful relationship between Christ and the Church (Eph 5:21-33)
Holy Orders*: Jesus called certain men to a special priestly ministry, in addition to our own role as 'kingdom of priests' (Rom 15:15-16).
Tragically, at the time of the Protestant reformation, large numbers of Christians lost five of these seven sacraments, and this sad situation remains to our own day. These sacraments were lost partly because the reformers lost faith in them, and partly because they rejected the priesthood (Holy Orders) upon which they are dependent, for the sacraments of confirmation, the Eucharist, reconciliation, and the anointing of the sick require a validly ordained priesthood (and apostolic succession) to be validly administered. Only the sacraments of baptism and matrimony remain among those believers who have not retained apostolic succession. Even worse, an increasing number of Messianic groups who baptize only in the name of Jesus rather than in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, do not even have a valid baptism. The Orthodox churches, by contrast, though they are not in union with the papacy, have retained valid apostolic succession and Holy Orders, and therefore still have seven valid sacraments.
By joining the Catholic Church you get to receive the fullness of Christ's power and love that he gives us through the seven sacraments!
8. In the Church you can receive the great gift of the Eucharist*: the Body and Blood of the Lord and the source and summit of the Christian life.
The Eucharist is called "the sacraments of sacraments" and is "the source and summit of the Christian life." It is such a great gift that it is a reason in itself - indeed perhaps the greatest reason - for joining the Catholic Church. At the Last Supper - a Passover Seder - Jesus said to his disciples after he blessed the bread and the wine: "Take and eat; this is my body... this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Mt 26:26-28). He then commanded them: "Do this in memory of me" (Luke 22:19). At the first Passover, which initiated the Exodus out of Egypt, God commanded the Israelites to sacrifice a lamb and sprinkle its blood on the doorposts as protection against the angel of death. Then they ate the lamb as a sign of their covenant with God. At the Last Supper Jesus revealed himself as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, seals a new covenant with us and protects us from eternal death.
Now we also must eat the lamb - the body and blood of the new Paschal sacrifice which becomes present before us at every Mass. Jesus himself had previously said: "unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life... For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink" (Jn 6:53-55). This was a shocking statement, and as a result many of his disciples left him (Jn 6:66). Sadly, this is similar to what happened at the Reformation, when many Christians decided they could no longer accept the words of the Savior. Since then, a large part of Christianity has tragically been deprived of the Eucharist, God's greatest gift to us, either because they don't have faith in the Real Presence or because they have no valid priesthood, necessary to consecrate the bread and wine so that they become the body and blood of the Lord. And so they remain with a communion service which, though it may remember the Lord's Passion in a beautiful way, merely consists of bread and wine rather than the Lord's true and substantial presence given to them. As a result, since non-Catholic believers do not accept the full teachings of the Catholic Church, they are not permitted to occasionally go to a Catholic church and receive the Eucharist. This is because the sacrament is a sign of full communion and full unity between believers (CCC 1400), and sharing the Eucharist together with those who do not fully accept the authority and teachings of the Church would falsely give the impression that there exists a full unity between us, while in reality we have not yet attained this full unity of faith. This is not a rejection of our non-Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ, but rather an invitation to them to learn more about the Catholic faith so that they too may come to full unity with the Church and partake of the Lambs banquet!
The loss of the Eucharist to so many believers is particularly sad because the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist was uncontested for the first millennium of Christian history. Paul himself wrote that "whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord" (1 Cor 11:27). About 50 years later (107 AD), bishop Ignatius of Antioch wrote that "heretics abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ" (Letter to Smyrnaeans 6,2,2). Many other Church Fathers used equally strong language testifying of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
By joining the Catholic Church you get to partake of the marriage supper of the Lamb and eat at the Lord's Table at every Mass. You get to receive God's greatest gift, the Eucharist - the body and blood, soul and divinity of the Lord who loved you and gave himself for you. This is the most possible intimate union on earth between God and man, a kiss between heaven and earth which nothing else can replace. When you receive the Eucharist, you receive God's very life of love which supercharges you with His power and His grace. Is this really something that you want to do without?
9. In the Catholic Church you become fully united with our earthly and heavenly family: the communion of saints*.
God does not only save us as individuals. He saves us "in bunches" - as a family, a community, a people, a kingdom. Many believers have a rather individualistic view of salvation, seeing it as primarily "me and Jesus." They do ask others here on earth to pray for them, but deny that any help from the saints in heaven is possible or desirable. They see such mediation as a form of spiritism condemned in Deut 18, or a violation of 1 Tim 2:5 which states that there is "one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus." Jesus is of course our one mediator before God, but this does not mean that we can't participate in this mediation. Every time you pray for someone, you are actually mediating for him/her before God. God in fact encourages this type of intercessory mediation (1 Tim 2:1), and we can see in the New Testament that it also continues after death, where the saints who have gone to be with the Lord continue to be with us and help us along the way towards our final goal. They are a "great cloud of witnesses" (Heb 12:1) that surrounds us, the "spirits of just men made perfect" to whom we come in the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb 12:22-23). Even the rich man who suffers in Hades intercedes for his brothers still alive and asks Abraham to send Lazarus to his father's house to warn them (Luke 16:19-31). The rich man plays here - in purgatory? - an intercessory role, and Abraham acts as mediator between him, God, and his brothers. In the book of Revelation we also see elders and angels bringing to God bowls of incense, which are the prayers of the saints on earth (Rev 5:8, 8:3), and the souls of martyrs supplicating God: "how long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" (Rev 6:9)
God is interested in the personal salvation of each one of us, but He is just as interested in the communion of love between us, a communion which cannot be broken by death (Rom 8:35-39). God's family includes all members of His Church, whether on earth, in heaven, or those still being purified in purgatory (1 Cor 3:12-15). The saints who have preceded us are our examples in holiness; there in heaven their love has become complete, and they are in an even better position to help us with their prayers than when they were on earth. They pray for us from above, we can ask for their help from here below, and we are also called to pray for those who suffer in purgatory. If you have ever had a loved one pass away, is it not one of the most natural and human reactions to pray for him/her or to ask for his or her help from heaven?
By joining the Catholic Church you take a full part in the eternal, loving communion of saints in heaven, on earth and in purgatory.
10. Jesus has given us His mother Miriam* (Mary) as our own mother who loves us and watches over us
God has given us a mother. When Jesus, a few moments before his death, saw His mother Mary and his disciple John at the foot of the cross, he said to Mary "behold your Son" and to John "behold your mother" (Jn 19:26). In His hour of agony, Jesus was doing more than a private family arrangement. He was making Mary the mother of all humanity.
When the eternal Son of God became man, he dwelt in the womb of this young Jewish virgin for nine months. Just as the Ark of the Covenant had previously been a holy vessel containing the true presence of God in the Tabernacle and Temple, God chose Mary to be His holy "Ark of the New Covenant" containing His very presence. In order to prepare her for such a noble task, he gave her the fullness of His grace and saved her from all sin. This is why the angel greeted her with the words: "Hail, full of grace" (Luk 1:28).
God's 'business' throughout Scripture is to humble the proud and to exalt the lowly, as Mary herself said: "He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly" (Luke 1:51-52). God chose to enter humanity through this most humble young woman. In the Gospels her role is modest and self-effaced. Her greatness is not revealed through great words or actions, but rather through her quiet faith and obedience to God's Word, and her faithfulness in raising Jesus and in giving herself entirely to His person and work. Yet with prophetic foresight she also saw that God would give her an exalted place in the story of salvation when she said: "all generations will call me blessed" (Luke 1:48).
We can catch a glimpse of Mary's exalted role in the book of Revelation. In a heavenly vision, John sees the Ark of the Covenant appear in the heavenly temple (Rev 11:19). Immediately afterward, he sees "a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars," who "being with child... cried out in labor and in pain to give birth" to "a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron" (Rev 12:1-2,5). This child is the Messiah Jesus, and his mother, the woman, is Mary, daughter of Israel and mother of the Church. She is also the woman whose seed would bruise the head of the serpent, as God promised after the Fall of Adam and Eve (Gen 3:15). Mary plays a key role in spiritual warfare against the devil: "And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Rev 12:17). Who are "the rest of the woman's offspring"? We are. Mary is our loving mother, our model, and our advocate. She prays for us and helps us along the way to heaven. She does not take Jesus' place but rather leads us to Him. By following her example of humility, obedience, faithfulness, holiness and love, we will grow in her likeness and in the likeness of Jesus.
By joining the Catholic Church you come into full communion with God's human family whose mother and model is Mary: daughter of Israel, mother of the Messiah, and mother of the Church.
An Eleventh Reason: "Outside the Church there is no Salvation"
Having reviewed ten reasons for entering the Catholic Church, it is worth examining an eleventh reason which logically derives from the first ten: the Church is necessary for salvation (though this statement needs to be understood correctly). Some of the Church Fathers expressed this in rather blunt statements. Cyprian of Carthage, for example, wrote in the third century:
"On him [Peter] [the Lord] builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep he founded a single chair, and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. . . . If someone [today] does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (St. Cyprian of Carthage, De unit. 4; [A.D. 251])
"He cannot have God for his father, who has not the Church for his mother." (St. Cyprian, De unit. 6: PL 4, 519)
Does this mean that anyone who is not formally Catholic, including believing Christians, cannot be saved? No. As we have seen above, if you are a baptized Christian in good faith, you are already in partial communion with the Catholic Church, and you are tapping into Jesus' saving power which He entrusted to the Church.
Objectively, the one Catholic Church which Jesus founded and to which He has given the fullness of truth and of grace is necessary for salvation: "Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it" (CCC 846). In other words, if someone feels genuinely convicted by the Holy Spirit of the truth of the Catholic Church, but willfully and stubbornly resists the Lord's leading and guidance to enter it, then he may indeed be endangering his own salvation.
Subjectively, however, the Lord is merciful and will not condemn those who are not aware, through no fault of their own, of the salvific nature of Christ's Church - and this includes most non-Catholic believers (already in partial, imperfect communion with the Church) who are not fully aware or do not adequately understand the Catholic Church's claims:
"Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation." (CCC 847)
Ultimately, it is Jesus who saves. The main question here is how does he save us? Is faith in Him enough? There is ample scriptural evidence* indicating that faith alone is not enough and that we will also be judged according to our works. Jesus also emphasized the importance of being baptized (Mark 16:16), of "eating his flesh and drinking his blood" (Jn 6:53-54), and of submitting to the authority of his apostles (Mat 16:19, 18:18, Lk 10:16, Jn 20:23) to receive his forgiveness and eternal life. This means that the fullness of Jesus' gifts has been entrusted to his Catholic Church. This does not mean, however, that Catholics are automatically in better standing with God than non-Catholic believers. On the contrary, Catholics who have received the fullness of truth and grace have a greater responsibility to bring forth fruits for the Kingdom: "to whom much is given, much will be required." On the other hand, there are many non-Catholic believers who live remarkable lives of faith, hope and love. God will surely not fail to reward them, provided they "persevere until the end" in seeking the truth, even if, through no fault of their own, they do not formally find their way into the Catholic Church.
God wants everyone to be Catholic?
What conclusion can we draw from all this? That God wants everyone to be Catholic so that they can have access to the fullness of His blessings and grace! As the Church teaches:
"To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son's Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is "the world reconciled." She is that bark which "in the full sail of the Lord's cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world." According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah's ark, which alone saves from the flood." (CCC 845)
Such as statement is not likely to be popular in our societies dictated by religious relativism and political correctness. In addition, you may think that the world would be a very boring place if everyone were Catholic. But this is not true: the fact that God is interested in everyone coming to the fullness of truth and salvation does not mean that He enjoys monotony. On the contrary, the unity of the Church leaves full room for the great diversity of peoples, cultures, customs and traditions of the world. "The great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church's unity" (CCC 814). Likewise, "the Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in [other] religions" (NA 2). And so there is ample room for Evangelical, charismatic and even Jewish spirituality and prayer within the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
So... What's the Catch?
At this point you may be wondering: "If the Catholic Church has so much to offer, then... what's the catch? It seems too good to be true." You may have some common objections:
I have read some Church history and know that Catholics have done horrible things in the past...
This is true. No one denies that the Church is made of sinners, some of which have been a terrible scandal to the Christian faith. Pope John Paul II himself has invited the Church to become more fully conscious of the sinfulness of her children. She acknowledges as her own her sinful sons and daughters and encourages them to purify themselves, through repentance, of past errors and instances of infidelity, inconsistency and slowness to act (Memory and Reconciliation: The Church and the Faults of the Past 1.3). Yet the Church has also produced countless extraordinary saints throughout the ages - those who have faithfully lived the Church's life and teachings. They are the true children of the Church who best reflect the Church's nature to be the sacrament of Christ in the world. Despite the faults and weaknesses of Catholics, the Church remains no less the fount and source of Christ's life and love which He wishes to give you.
The Catholic Church just wants to control peoples' lives...
Quite honestly, 99.9999% percent of Catholics, including the clergy, will never know that you entered the Church. The pope does not get lists of names of the Church's latest "catches." The Church is not interested in controlling anyone; rather she is interested in the world's salvation, in obedience to the command of her founder to "go and make disciples of all nations," so that people may "share in the communion between the Father and the Son in their Spirit of love" (CCC 850) and turn from sin and death to joy and hope of eternal life.
I know many Catholics who are lukewarm or not even believers. I find much more life and faith in my Evangelical church...
It is true that many non-Catholic believers seem to have a more vibrant faith than many Catholics. These believers deserve praise for their living faith, hope and charity. Equally true is the fact that many Catholics are in dire need of being evangelized and converted back to God. Yet this does not change the fact that by remaining outside of the Church you are missing out on some of Christ's most important gifts which He gave to us, as we have seen above.
I have been to some Catholic churches where the priest is boring. I am not being spiritually fed by his sermons, and I sometimes wonder if he even has any faith at all...
Sadly, it is true that there are priests who are ineffective preachers, who have lost their own personal faith or even actively dissent from the Church's teachings. This is indeed a tragedy, and we must pray for these priests and even evangelize them if necessary. It is also tragic that there are some who are ineffective in teaching and preaching the Word of God. Sometimes it is possible to find another Catholic church in the area with a better priest. If this is not possible, even though such a situation is indeed a serious problem, it is important to know that even a "bad priest" remains empowered by the Church to validly administer the sacraments. And so it is not quite accurate to say that you are not "spiritually fed", since even a "boring priest" has the power to give you absolution from your sins in confession and to give you the Body and Blood of the Lord at Mass. As for teaching and preaching, the important thing is to be well versed in Scripture and in the teachings of the Church as summarized in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (and its Compendium). There are also countless books, and resources available on the internet, such as Catholics for Israel's Online Course, though which you can learn more about Scripture and the Catholic faith
I am Jewish. I will never betray my Jewish faith and heritage.
"You can't be more Jewish than to be Catholic!" Explore this website to find answers as to why the Catholic faith fulfills Judaism without abolishing it and how you can be fully Catholic and still live as a faithful Jew.
If you do begin to consider entering the Catholic Church, what obstacles and difficulties are you liable to encounter on your way "home"?
Becoming Catholic has a cost. You will need much humility, an open mind, possibly the willingness to let go of old prejudices, and a deep and prayerful desire to receive the fullness of what God has for you. You will need to pray much and study diligently. You will need courage, patience and perseverance, both before and after your baptism and/or formal reception into the Church, to "endure until the end." You may encounter a lack of understanding and possibly rejection and persecution from your family, friends, and current faith community. Or, you may be faced with a lack of encouragement and even apathy coming from Catholics who don't understand your journey of faith and the price that it has cost you.
The journey to God is paved with difficulties, but it is also surrounded by God's infinite grace and all-encompassing love for you. He is calling you to a life of self-giving love. He is calling you to Himself. Will you answer the call?
What should I do now?
If you feel that God may be calling you into the Catholic Church:
Build your relationship with God. Pray daily - speak with Him and ask Him to lead you and guide you into His truth and light.
Study the Catholic faith, either with Catholics for Israel, or through other Catholic resources (see links).
Find a Catholic Church in the area and begin to attend Mass and to learn about Catholic prayer and liturgy.
Get together with faithful Catholics who know and love their faith so that they can help you progress on your journey to God.
Speak with a priest about your desire to become Catholic. Pay close attention to what he says, and make sure he is faithful to the Church. If you find that he dissents from any of the Church's teachings as taught in the Catechism, or tells you that you don't really need to become Catholic, leave and find another priest.
May the Lord bless you and keep you on your journey to God!
(Quelle: Catholics for Israel: http://www.israelcatholic.com/)
Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
Becoming a Catholic
On Holy Saturday, April 11, the Catholic Church in the United States will receive thousands of men and women into the church. Parishes welcome these new members through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) and at a ceremony bringing men and women into full communion with the Catholic Church. Listed below are some questions and answers about RCIA.
What is the RCIA?
The RCIA, which stands for Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, is a process through which non-baptized men and women enter the Catholic Church. It includes several stages marked by study, prayer and rites at Mass. Participants in the RCIA are known as catechumens. They undergo a process of conversion as they study the Gospel, profess faith in Jesus and the Catholic Church, and receive the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and Holy Eucharist. The RCIA process follows the ancient practice of the church and was restored by the Second Vatican Council as the normal way adults prepare for baptism. In 1974, the Rite for Christian Initiation for Adults was formally approved for use in the United States.
What are the steps of RCIA?
Prior to beginning the RCIA process, an individual comes to some knowledge of Jesus Christ, considers his or her relationship with Jesus Christ and is usually attracted in some way to the Catholic Church. This period is known as the Period of Evangelization and Precatechumenate. For some, this process involves a long period of searching; for others, a shorter time. Often, contact with people of faith and a personal faith experience lead people to inquire about membership in the Catholic Church. After conversation with an advisor or spiritual guide, the person, known as an inquirer, may decide to seek acceptance into the Order of Catechumens. The inquirer stands amidst the parish community and states that he or she wants to become a baptized member of the Catholic Church. The parish assembly affirms this desire and the inquirer becomes a catechumen.
The period of the catechumenate can last for as long as several years or for a shorter time. It depends on how the person is growing in faith, what questions they encounter along the way, and how God leads them on this journey. During this time the catechumens consider what God is saying to them in the scriptures, what changes in their life they want to make to respond to Gods inspiration, and what membership in the Catholic Church involves. When a catechumen and the parish team working with him or her believes the person is ready to make a faith commitment to Jesus in the Catholic Church, the next step is the request for baptism and the celebration of the Rite of Election.
"I baptize you
in the name
of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit."
This rite includes the enrollment of names of all those seeking baptism at the coming Easter Vigil. On the first Sunday of Lent, the catechumens and their sponsors gather at the cathedral church and the catechumens publicly request baptism. Their names are recorded in a book and they are called the elect.
The days of Lent are the final period of purification and enlightenment leading up to the celebration of initiation at the Easter Vigil. Lent is a period of preparation marked by prayer, study, and spiritual direction for the elect, and prayers for them by the parish communities. The third step is the Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation, which takes place during the Easter Vigil Liturgy on Holy Saturday when the catechumen receives the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and Holy Eucharist. Now the person is a fully initiated member of the Catholic Church.
After the person is initiated, formation and education continue in the period of the postbaptismal catechesis, which is called mystagogy. This period continues at least until Pentecost. During the period the newly baptized members reflect on their experiences at the Easter Vigil and continue to learn more about the scriptures, the sacraments, and the teachings of the Catholic Church. In addition they reflect on how they will serve Christ and help in the churchs mission and outreach activities.
What is meant when people refer to men and women
coming into "full communion with the Church"?
Coming into full communion with the Catholic Church describes the process for entrance into the Catholic Church for men and women who are baptized Christians but not Roman Catholics. These individuals make a profession of faith but are not baptized again. To prepare for this reception, the people, who are called candidates, usually participate in a program to help them understand and experience the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church. Some preparation may be with catechumens preparing for baptism, but the preparation for candidates is different since they have already been baptized and committed to Jesus Christ, and many have also been active members of other Christian communities.
What is the Holy Saturday rite like?
The Holy Saturday Liturgy begins with the Service of Light, which includes the blessing of the new fire and the Paschal candle which symbolizes Jesus, the light of the World. The second part consists of the Liturgy of the Word with a number of scripture readings. After the Liturgy of the Word, the candidates are presented to the community, who pray for them and join in the Litany of the Saints. Next, the presider blesses the water, placing the Easter or Paschal candle into the baptismal water. Those seeking baptism then renounce sin and profess their faith after which they are immersed into the baptismal water three times with the words, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
In some situations the water may be poured over the head of each candidate. After the baptism the newly baptized are dressed in white garments and presented with a candle lighted from the Paschal Candle. They are then confirmed by the priest or bishop who imposes hands on their heads, and invokes the gift of the Holy Spirit. He then anoints them with the oil called Sacred Chrism. The Mass continues with the newly baptized participating in the general intercessions and in bringing gifts to the altar. At Communion, the newly baptized receives the Eucharist, Christs body and blood, for the first time.
What does the white robe symbolize?
The newly baptized are dressed in a white garment after baptism to symbolize that they are washed clean of sin and continue to walk in this newness of life.
What does the candle symbolize?
A small candle is lit from the Easter candle and given to the newly baptized as a reminder to them always to walk as children of the Light.
What does the Sacred Chrism symbolize?
The Sacred Chrism, or oil, is a sign of the gift of the Holy Spirit being given to the newly baptized. It is also a sign of the close link between the mission of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Who comes to the recipient with the Father in baptism.
Why was this ancient rite restored?
It was restored in the church to highlight the fact that the newly baptized are received into a community of faith, which is challenged to realize that they too have become different because of this new life in the community.
Is there a ceremony or preparation for baptized Catholics
who never or seldom have practiced the faith?
For Catholics who have been baptized, confirmed and made First Communion but then drifted from the faith, the way they return is through the Sacrament of Penance. Catholics who were baptized but never received confirmation and Eucharist can return to the church through a process called continuing conversion that is completed with the reception of the sacraments of confirmation and Holy Communion at the Easter Vigil or during the Easter Season.
What is the role of a godparent for an adult being baptized?
Godparents accompany the candidates through the RCIA process. They are called to show the candidates good example of the Christian life, sustain the candidates in moments of hesitancy and anxiety, bear witness, and guide the candidate's progress in the baptismal life.
ANGLICANS ENTERING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
With the preparation of an Apostolic Constitution, the Catholic Church is responding to the many requests that have been submitted to the Holy See from groups of Anglican clergy and faithful in different parts of the world who wish to enter into full visible communion.
In this Apostolic Constitution the Holy Father has introduced a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony. Under the terms of the Apostolic Constitution, pastoral oversight and guidance will be provided for groups of former Anglicans through a Personal Ordinariate, whose Ordinary will usually be appointed from among former Anglican clergy.
The forthcoming Apostolic Constitution provides a reasonable and even necessary response to a world-wide phenomenon, by offering a single canonical model for the universal Church which is adaptable to various local situations and equitable to former Anglicans in its universal application. It provides for the ordination as Catholic priests of married former Anglican clergy. Historical and ecumenical reasons preclude the ordination of married men as bishops in both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. The Constitution therefore stipulates that the Ordinary can be either a priest or an unmarried bishop. The seminarians in the Ordinariate are to be prepared alongside other Catholic seminarians, though the Ordinariate may establish a house of formation to address the particular needs of formation in the Anglican patrimony. In this way, the Apostolic Constitution seeks to balance on the one hand the concern to preserve the worthy Anglican liturgical and spiritual patrimony and, on the other hand, the concern that these groups and their clergy will be integrated into the Catholic Church.
Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which has prepared this provision, said: "We have been trying to meet the requests for full communion that have come to us from Anglicans in different parts of the world in recent years in a uniform and equitable way. With this proposal the Church wants to respond to the legitimate aspirations of these Anglican groups for full and visible unity with the Bishop of Rome, successor of St. Peter."
These Personal Ordinariates will be formed, as needed, in consultation with local Conferences of Bishops, and their structure will be similar in some ways to that of the Military Ordinariates which have been established in most countries to provide pastoral care for the members of the armed forces and their dependents throughout the world. "Those Anglicans who have approached the Holy See have made clear their desire for full, visible unity in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. At the same time, they have told us of the importance of their Anglican traditions of spirituality and worship for their faith journey," Cardinal Levada said.
The provision of this new structure is consistent with the commitment to ecumenical dialogue, which continues to be a priority for the Catholic Church, particularly through the efforts of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. "The initiative has come from a number of different groups of Anglicans," Cardinal Levada went on to say: "They have declared that they share the common Catholic faith as it is expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and accept the Petrine ministry as something Christ willed for the Church. For them, the time has come to express this implicit unity in the visible form of full communion."
According to Levada: "It is the hope of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, that the Anglican clergy and faithful who desire union with the Catholic Church will find in this canonical structure the opportunity to preserve those Anglican traditions precious to them and consistent with the Catholic faith. Insofar as these traditions express in a distinctive way the faith that is held in common, they are a gift to be shared in the wider Church. The unity of the Church does not require a uniformity that ignores cultural diversity, as the history of Christianity shows. Moreover, the many diverse traditions present in the Catholic Church today are all rooted in the principle articulated by St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians: There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism (4:5). Our communion is therefore strengthened by such legitimate diversity, and so we are happy that these men and women bring with them their particular contributions to our common life of faith."
Since the sixteenth century, when King Henry VIII declared the Church in England independent of Papal Authority, the Church of England has created its own doctrinal confessions, liturgical books, and pastoral practices, often incorporating ideas from the Reformation on the European continent. The expansion of the British Empire, together with Anglican missionary work, eventually gave rise to a world-wide Anglican Communion.
Throughout the more than 450 years of its history the question of the reunification of Anglicans and Catholics has never been far from mind. In the mid-nineteenth century the Oxford Movement (in England) saw a rekindling of interest in the Catholic aspects of Anglicanism. In the early twentieth century Cardinal Mercier of Belgium entered into well publicized conversations with Anglicans to explore the possibility of union with the Catholic Church under the banner of an Anglicanism "reunited but not absorbed".
At the Second Vatican Council hope for union was further nourished when the Decree on Ecumenism (n. 13), referring to communions separated from the Catholic Church at the time of the Reformation, stated that: "Among those in which Catholic traditions and institutions in part continue to exist, the Anglican Communion occupies a special place."
Since the Council, Anglican-Roman Catholic relations have created a much improved climate of mutual understanding and cooperation. The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) produced a series of doctrinal statements over the years in the hope of creating the basis for full and visible unity. For many in both communions, the ARCIC statements provided a vehicle in which a common expression of faith could be recognized. It is in this framework that this new provision should be seen.
In the years since the Council, some Anglicans have abandoned the tradition of conferring Holy Orders only on men by calling women to the priesthood and the episcopacy. More recently, some segments of the Anglican Communion have departed from the common biblical teaching on human sexualityalready clearly stated in the ARCIC document "Life in Christ"by the ordination of openly homosexual clergy and the blessing of homosexual partnerships. At the same time, as the Anglican Communion faces these new and difficult challenges, the Catholic Church remains fully committed to continuing ecumenical engagement with the Anglican Communion, particularly through the efforts of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.
In the meantime, many individual Anglicans have entered into full communion with the Catholic Church. Sometimes there have been groups of Anglicans who have entered while preserving some "corporate" structure. Examples of this include, the Anglican diocese of Amritsar in India, and some individual parishes in the United States which maintained an Anglican identity when entering the Catholic Church under a "pastoral provision" adopted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and approved by Pope John Paul II in 1982. In these cases, the Catholic Church has frequently dispensed from the requirement of celibacy to allow those married Anglican clergy who desire to continue ministerial service as Catholic priests to be ordained in the Catholic Church.
In the light of these developments, the Personal Ordinariates established by the Apostolic Constitution can be seen as another step toward the realization the aspiration for full, visible union in the Church of Christ, one of the principal goals of the ecumenical movement.
JOINT STATEMENT BY THE ARCHBISHOP OF WESTMINSTER AND THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY , 20.10.2009
Todays announcement of the Apostolic Constitution is a response by Pope Benedict XVI to a number of requests over the past few years to the Holy See from groups of Anglicans who wish to enter into full visible communion with the Roman Catholic Church, and are willing to declare that they share a common Catholic faith and accept the Petrine ministry as willed by Christ for his Church.
Pope Benedict XVI has approved, within the Apostolic Constitution, a canonical structure that provides for Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of distinctive Anglican spiritual patrimony.
The announcement of this Apostolic Constitution brings to an end a period of uncertainty for such groups who have nurtured hopes of new ways of embracing unity with the Catholic Church. It will now be up to those who have made requests to the Holy See to respond to the Apostolic Constitution.
The Apostolic Constitution is further recognition of the substantial overlap in faith, doctrine and spirituality between the Catholic Church and the Anglican tradition. Without the dialogues of the past forty years, this recognition would not have been possible, nor would hopes for full visible unity have been nurtured. In this sense, this Apostolic Constitution is one consequence of ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.
The on-going official dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion provides the basis for our continuing cooperation. The Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) and International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) agreements make clear the path we will follow together.
With Gods grace and prayer we are determined that our on-going mutual commitment and consultation on these and other matters should continue to be strengthened. Locally, in the spirit of IARCCUM, we look forward to building on the pattern of shared meetings between the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales and the Church of Englands House of Bishops with a focus on our common mission. Joint days of reflection and prayer were begun in Leeds in 2006 and continued in Lambeth in 2008, and further meetings are in preparation. This close cooperation will continue as we grow together in unity and mission, in witness to the Gospel in our country, and in the Church at large.
London, 20 October 2009
+ Vincent Gerard Nichols
+ Rowan Williams
[01518-02.01] [Original text: English]
Stephen K. Ray
Gabriele Kuby: http://www.gabriele-kuby.de/
Glaubenslust: Die Diözesen in Deutschland
Kath.net: Rome Sweet Home
Kath.net: Rückkehr nach Rom
Bistum Regensburg: Wege (zurück) zum Glauben
Bistum Regensburg: Informationen zur Kindertaufe
Bistum Regensburg: Informationen zur Erwachsenentaufe
Bistum Regensburg: Konversion
Bistum Regensburg: Wiedereintritt
Bistum Regensburg: Erwachsenenfirmung
Bistum Regensburg: Wege zum Glauben
Bistum Regensburg: Erwachsenenkatechese
München: Glaubensorientierung in St. Michael
kath.net: Newt Gingrich wird katholisch!
Dave Armstrong: Conversion and Converts
The Saint Barnabas Society (Great Britain and Ireland)
Fr. Dwight Longenecker (USA)
For Youth: Quo Vadis - Where Are You Going?
Original Catholic Encyclopedia: Conversion
Stephen Ray: Why I'm Catholic
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Catholic Reconciliation
Steve Ray's Blog: Conversions
Terry Barber and Victor R. Claveau: "Welcome Home! Stories of Fallen-Away Catholics Who Came Back" - Ignatius Press
Church of Christ to Catholic - A Support Group for Former Members of the Churches of Christ Who Have Become Catholic!
John Lee / Frank Bompas: Coming Home to the Catholic Church
CatholicLinks.org: Returning Home
CatholicsComeHome.org: I used to be Catholic - Why Should I Come Home?
CatholicsComeHome.org: I am not Catholic - I Have Questions About Your Faith
CatholicsComeHome.org: I'm Catholic - I'd Like to Help
G.K. Chesterton: The Catholic Church and Conversion
Steven M. Clifford: Mormon Finds New Home in Catholic Church
LoveToBeCatholic.com: Divine Mercy (Song)
LoveToBeCatholic.com: Welcome Home (Video)
Catholic Answers: Are Catholics Coming Home?
Convert-Support Organizations & Resources (Link-list)
OneNewsNow.com: Gingrich tight-lipped on Catholic conversion
WHY I'M CATHOLIC: Evangelical Convert: Russel Stutler
WHY I'M CATHOLIC: Lutheran Convert Ron Doub
Convert Journal: http://www.convertjournal.com/
Becoming a Catholic (UK)
APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION ANGLICANORUM COETIBUS - ENGLISH LANGUAGE
California Catholic Daily: You can always come home. Sacramento diocese launches TV ad campaign aimed at fallen away Catholics
Zenit: US Anglicans to Request Catholic Ordinariate. 5,200 Expected to Enter Communion With Church
kath.net: Kanadische Anglikaner suchen Gemeinschaft mit Rom
Resources - Links
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Christ in His Fullness: A Protestant Minister Discovers the Fullness of Christ in the Catholic Church (Taschenbuch)
von Bruce Sullivan (Autor)
Taschenbuch: 222 Seiten
Verlag: C H Resources (5. März 2007)
Bruce Sullivan was raised a Southern Baptist and served as a Church of Christ minister for seven years before entering the Catholic Church in 1995. He is a graduate of Auburn University and the Sunset School of Preaching.
This book I very much recommend especially to all Church of Christ members (but also to members of other churches) to read with an open heart - and mind. Bruce does not put anyone down. However, you will get to see points of view on your church beliefs that you might not have seen before that way - from someone who knows what he is talking about.
We're Just Searching for Truth: Journeys of Faith from the Church of Christ to the Catholic Church: Journeys of Faith from The Church of Christ to the Catholic Church (Taschenbuch)
von Gracia Paul Gracia (Autor), Paul Gracia (Autor)
Taschenbuch: 348 Seiten
Verlag: Publishamerica (31. Mai 2005)
In We're Just Searching for Truth, former members of the Church of Christ have come together to share what caused them to make the journey of faith to the Catholic Church. This is no small feat since Church of Christ members don't even consider Catholics to be Christians, and see the Catholic Church as an ungodly institution. The first section of the book contains conversion stories, where each contributor explains what caused him to make the unusual journey to the Catholic Church. The second section discusses in great detail the theological differences between the two churches. Finally, the third section provides the reader with resources for further study.
Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic (Taschenbuch)
von Francis J. Beckwith (Autor)
Verlag: Brazos Pr (1. Februar 2009)
The Path to Rome (Taschenbuch)
von Dwight Longenecker (Herausgeber)
Taschenbuch: 260 Seiten
Verlag: Gracewing (1. Mai 1999)
Search and Rescue: How to Bring Your Family and Friends Into or Back Into the Catholic Church [Taschenbuch]
Taschenbuch: 288 Seiten
Verlag: Sophia Inst Pr (Juni 2001)
Prof. Dr. Scott & Kimberly Hahn: "Unser Weg nach Rom" (Christiana-Verlag)
Marcellino D'Ambrosio: Why Be Catholic?
The Crossroads Initiative: RCIA
Ignatius Press: Led by the Light of Truth (DVDs)
Stephen Ray: Finding the Fullness of Faith (DVD)
"Christ in His Fullness: A Protestant Minister Discovers the Fullness" von Bruce Sullivan
Prof. Dr. Scott & Kimberly Hahn: Rome, Sweet Home (CD's)
Alan Schreck: Christ und Katholik (im Original: Catholic & Christian)
Fr. Donald Calloway: Former Drug Dealer to Catholic Priest (CD)
Bob Fishman: From Jerusalem to Rome (DVD)
United States Catholic Catechism for Adults (Taschenbuch)
von United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (Herausgeber)
Taschenbuch: 664 Seiten
Verlag: Usccb Pub (August 2006)
Lorene Hanley Duquin: Top 10 Reasons to Come Back to the Catholic Church (Pamphlet)
Joseph Pope: Why I Became Catholic (Ignatius Press)
Niniveh's Crossing: Why Be Catholic? (DVD)Chats with Converts - A Complete Explanation and Proof of Catholic Belief by Fr. M.D. Forrest. Read by Edwin Hale III
St. Pauls: Coming Home - Union With God (CDs)