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The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church

Sunday, January 16, 2005
Because of the size of this posting you may click the read more link to view the full posting. I have provided links above and below this posting for further information. May Christ richly bless you and those in your life and may Our Lady keep you all beneath the protective mantle of her love and grace.
Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church, a 2000-Year History
by H.W. Crocker III
- published by Prima Communications, 2001
A Book Review by Father John McCloskey


In my pastoral experience working with converts, I have seen people touched by the Holy Spirit in many ways as they draw closer to the Church. Some are attracted by the coherence of the Church's teaching, others by the beauty of the art, music, and literatures that its culture has produced, and other's simply magnetized by the Sacraments--the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and Holy Communion, and Christ's overwhelming mercy in the sacrament of Penance. Many are won over by the example of the saints and loving friendship of Catholic friends. Often times, the clincher is the answer to the simple questions: Did Jesus Christ found a Church during his lifetime, or did he just leave some disciples behind to transmit his message with no authority to guarantee its authenticity? And if he founded a Church, which one is it? As Cardinal Newman put it," To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant."

Up to now, I have not been able to recommend a one-volume history of the Church that did not have some notable defect. Some, like the great works of Msgr. Philip Hughes, the great Church historian of the twentieth century, are by now incomplete or outdated (Hughes wrote a masterful popular history that condensed his scholarly three-volume history that is still in print.) Others are heterodox or cynical in their approach to the history of Church, seeing it as a human political institution with a long life span at best, a longer version of the Roman empire or Ming Dynasty, or as a corrupt, avaricious power hungry institution whose chief mission has seemed to foster conflict between nations and fight Progress with all its might.

H.W. Crocker III answers the simple question about the nature of the Church with verve and energy in his new one-volume history Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church, a 2000-year History (Prima Publishing, California). Crocker is a convert, a novelist, and an editor at a prominent publishing house in Washington DC. His book is masterful in that it is written with an "attitude." That attitude is the presumption that Catholic Church is a divine institution founded by Christ and destined to last in its earthly state until the Second Coming. As such he is able to acknowledge the many failings, institutional and personal, that come with any institution made up of human persons. John Paul II has done the same with the many apologies during his pontificate, above all, acts of sorrow expressed first to God and then to the nations, races, and other religions that perhaps objectively have felt wronged in the course of two thousand years. However, what makes this book so invigorating for readers fatigued by the endless bigoted carping, of authors such as James Carroll and Garry Wills is that Crocker feels free to celebrate the Church's victories, above all, the impact of saints not only in the Church but also on history. The existence of the saints, in all their particularity of personality and time, and diversity of place, is perhaps the best proof of the divinity of the Church, of Holy Spirit's dwelling with in it. Any institution should be judged ultimately by those who strive and succeed in living up to its ideals, not by those who only pay it lip service. After all, where would the Christian West be without Augustine, Patrick, Benedict, Francis and Dominic, Ignatius of Loyola, or for that matter, Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul II? Or what if the Christian West, virtually created by the members of the Catholic Church, had not nobly struggled against the militant forces of Islam for almost 800 years? The West might exist, but it would be unrecognizable to our eyes and we all might be speaking a different language.

Crocker has been recognized as our up and coming novelist by the Barnes and Nobles Discover Great Writer's Program. And he writes like one, with the happy addition of well-researched footnotes (although of secondary resources) and an ample bibliography for his strong statements. Here is a sample:

"Thus the Protestant revolt took power in what had been provinces beyond the gates of Rome, in countries with fewer centuries of high civilization and Christianity: the Nordic Countries, northern Germany, parts of old Helvetia (Switzerland), parts of what became the Netherlands. All the barbaric peoples who had gaped and mocked at the legions of Rome and later plundered Rome's empire now rose again in a new barbarian assault against Roman authority. Their objective was overturning the Roman power, not reconciling with it. If Charles V was the new Stilicho, a Roman of barbarian blood trying desperately to plug every hole in Rome's defense, the new Alaric was was an ill-tempered, unbalanced, and unhappy monk, Martin Luther, who himself said his monastery was just one mile from the barbarians."

Crocker does not claim to be a credentialed academic historian and not a few of his more provocative conclusions would be open to challenge and disagreement, even by amateurs. Nevertheless, he provides us with the perfect one volume companion to the more scholarly magisterial four volumes (a work in progress) of the noted historian, Dr. Warren Carroll, founder of Christendom College. Crocker's Triumph makes the history of the Church come alive in the spirit of Hilaire Belloc. I can't think of a better way now to get acquainted with the glorious two-thousand year history of the Church as each one of us with our free will and God's grace cooperate in creating the history of the Church for the next two thousand years.

First appeared in National Catholic Register in the February 10, 2002, issue.

The Early Church Fathers
by Sebastian R. Fama

The Early Church Fathers were the leaders and teachers of the early Church. They lived and wrote during the first eight centuries of Church history. Some of their writings were composed to instruct and / or to encourage the faithful. Other writings were composed to explain or defend the faith when it was attacked or questioned. The writings of the Early Fathers are widely available and studied. They are accepted by Catholic and non Catholic scholars alike. Thus they provide common ground in establishing the beliefs and practices of the early Church.

The earliest of the fathers are known as the Apostolic Fathers. Their writings come to us from the first two centuries of Church History. They were the immediate successors of the Apostles. Three of them were disciples of one or more of the Apostles. Clement of Rome was a disciple of the apostles Peter and Paul. Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp of Smyrna were disciples of the Apostle John. Naturally we would expect that those who were taught directly by the Apostles would themselves believe and teach correctly.

Protestantism is based on the allegation that the Catholic Church became corrupt in the year 312. Consequently, it began inventing doctrines that would have been unknown to the first Christians. Obviously doctrines that were not part of the original deposit of faith would be false. We are told that through the guidance of the Holy Spirit the Reformers (beginning in 1517) jettisoned the false teachings of Catholicism and reverted back to the teachings of the early Christians. Hence, it is claimed that Protestantism is the restoration of the authentic Christian faith. But history tells a different story.

In reading the Early Fathers we see a Church with bishops in authority over priests and deacons. We see a church that baptized infants and believed in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. We see a Church that believed in the primacy of Rome, the intercession of the saints in heaven and the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Thus we are lead to the inescapable conclusion that the early Church was the Catholic Church. And that’s just what the Early Fathers called it. In his Letter to the Smyrnaeans, Ignatius of Antioch wrote the following: "Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" (8:2 A.D. 107).

As you can see, the writings of the Early Fathers are especially helpful in refuting the Protestant claim that many Catholic doctrines were invented in later years. Although they are wrong concerning the age of Catholic doctrines their reasoning is sound. If a teaching appears after the apostolic age without evidence of previous support it must be false. Curiously enough though, they abandon this line of reasoning when it comes to many of their own beliefs such as the doctrine of Scripture Alone (mid 1500’s), The Rapture (late 1800’s), the licitness of artificial contraception (1930) and many others.

It is important to note that some doctrines existed in a primitive form during the early years. These doctrines would develop over time. One example is the Doctrine of the Trinity. All of its elements were present at the beginning but it wasn’t clearly defined the way it is today. It wasn’t until later that it was fully understood. This would not make it a late teaching as all of the information was there from the beginning. Other doctrines were developed in this same way.

Also worthy of note is the fact that the Early Fathers occasionally disagreed on minor issues that were not yet settled by the Church. This does not present us with a problem as we do not claim that the Fathers were infallible. While they were not infallible they were unmistakably Catholic. They clearly illustrate the fact that the early Church had no resemblance to Protestantism.

John Henry Newman was one of the more famous converts to Catholicism. After studying the Early Fathers he wrote: "The Christianity of history is not Protestantism. If ever there were a safe truth it is this, and Protestantism has ever felt it so; to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant" (An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine).

Christianity was started by Christ 2000 years ago and it has existed for 2000 years. It didn’t go away for 1200 years and come back. Indeed that would have rendered Jesus’ words impotent. In Matthew 16:18 as He was establishing His Church Jesus gave us a guarantee. He said: "I will build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." If the Protestant hypothesis is correct, the gates of hell did some serious prevailing and Jesus Christ is a liar. But of course such is not the case.
My Conversion Story
How I went from being an Atheist, to a Baptist, to a Catholic
by Gary Hoge

When I was a child, my Father taught me the basics about God, and he read to me and my brother from a child’s narrative version of the Bible. I loved listening to those stories, and looking at the beautiful illustrations, but somehow, I never really developed much faith in God. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that I thought going to church was incredibly boring, or perhaps it had to do with the influence of my mother, who was an agnostic. Although she never overtly discouraged me from believing in God, thanks to her I learned very early in life that some people didn’t. And it seemed to me as I got older that it was usually the smartest people who didn’t believe in God.

I don’t know at what age I finally lost what little faith I had, but by the time I was in high school, I considered myself an atheist. I suppose it would probably be more accurate to say I was an agnostic, because if you pushed me I probably would have admitted that I couldn’t be absolutely certain that God didn’t exist, but I really believed that He didn’t. I thought that religion was for emotional weaklings who couldn’t handle reality. As far as I was concerned, man had created God in his own image many centuries ago in order to explain how the universe worked. But then we developed science, and we started to understand the natural processes that govern the universe. As time progressed, and we made advances in such fields as astronomy, physics, and biology, it seemed to me that we had less and less need to appeal to some “God” to explain things. I could forsee the day when we finally understood enough of the mechanics of the material world to do without God entirely. I longed for that day, because I thought the world would be a much better place without religion. Better for me, anyway. I wanted to do what I wanted to do, and I didn’t like being told I was a sinner and that some of the things I was doing were wrong. What right did these people have to judge me?

But my attitude began to change during the dismal and dreary Winter of 1986. I was a college student at that time, attending Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, Virginia. For the first time, I began to realize that there was a dark side to my atheist philosophy, and that in some very real ways it was a double-edged sword. I thought it had served me well in the past by freeing me from the constraints of religion so I could live as I pleased, but now I was beginning to feel that living as I pleased wasn’t really all that pleasing. In fact, it seemed kind of empty and pointless. For some reason that I couldn’t explain, I began to grow restless and dissatisfied. I wanted something more, but I didn’t know what. I guess I wanted some meaning in my life. After all, I believed that humans were just biological accidents, the result of millions of random forces coming together just right to spontaneously create life. We live, we grow, we die, and then we simply cease to exist. In the end, what’s the point? In the past I hadn’t noticed these things, probably because I was too busy seeking my own pleasure. But it seemed as if there were some sort of inexorable law of nature at work. I found that the more I had, the more I wanted; and the more I got, the less satisfying it was. It was like a cruel joke, and I found myself sinking into despair. Outwardly, I had everything; inwardly, I had nothing. I began to wonder if I would ever be happy again.

Then one day I found myself sitting in a fast-food restaurant eating a bowl of chili. Suddenly, a single thought flashed through my mind: “What about God?” I had no idea where that thought came from, but I pondered it seriously for the first time in my life. There was a glimmer of hope in that thought, the first hope I had seen in a long time, and it flashed through my mind like a beacon. It occurred to me that many people found meaning in their lives from a relationship with God, and I was just desperate enough to consider the possibility. Of course, I didn’t want to embrace the idea of God just to cheer myself up, but I wondered, what if there’s really something to it? What if it’s real? I decided right then and there to find out. My roommate was a Christian who attended a small Baptist church just outside of town, and I decided to go with him to church the following Sunday. I imagine that my sudden desire to go to church must have been quite a surprise to him, but he did his best not to show it. He probably didn’t want to scare me off.

When the appointed day arrived, I found myself sitting in Gateway Baptist Church, listening to a man by the name of Dewey Weaver, who was the living embodiment of every stereotype I ever had of a Southern Baptist preacher. His accent, his hairstyle, and the way he waved his Bible in the air were the very things I used to make fun of. I felt like an idiot for being there. What was I thinking? I just hoped that my friends wouldn’t find out. But there must have been something attractive in what Pastor Weaver said, because the next week, there I was again. In fact I kept coming back week after week. After a while I no longer noticed Pastor Weaver’s style, and I liked his sense of humor, but more importantly, the message he preached showed me exactly why I was in despair: It was because I was a sinner in desperate need of a savior. I’d heard that before, of course, and dismissed it as bunch of foolish theobabble, but this time it was beginning to register. Jesus wasn’t just a misunderstood itinerant preacher from Galilee mouthing a bunch of fluffy platitudes about being nice, nor was he some sort of nationalistic Jewish rabble-rouser who ran afoul of the Roman oppressors. No, according to Pastor Weaver, He was God in the flesh, who loved me so much that he laid down His life to make atonement for my sins, so that I could be forgiven.

I was thinking about this gospel message one night as I was going to sleep, and for the first time in my life it all made sense. I was struck by the logic of it, and by how well it explained the human condition, especially my own. And I realized that somehow I had crossed the line from unbelief to belief. I didn’t know exactly when it had happened, but I knew that I believed. I truly believed that strange, foolish message that I had once wondered how anyone in his right mind could believe. And now, looking back, it all seemed so obvious, and I wondered how I could have been so blind.

That night I asked Jesus to forgive me for my sins, and I asked Him to come into my heart, just as Pastor Weaver had explained. I pledged to follow the Lord from that day forward, as best I could.

A few days later I descended on the local Christian bookstore, to get some materials to help me understand this new faith. I liked the idea of Jesus very much, but I still didn’t care much for the concept of organized religion. So naturally, the book How to Be a Christian without Being Religious, by Fritz Ridenour, jumped out at me and I snatched it right up. I also bought D. James Kennedy’s books, Why I Believe, and Truths that Transform. These, and some others, formed the foundation for my new Christian theology, which naturally enough, resembled the Calvinistic and Evangelical theology of Kennedy, Ridenour, and others whose books I read. I also read many apologetics books, like Josh McDowell’s Evidence that Demands a Verdict and Paul Little’s Know Why You Believe, books that explained the rational basis for the truth of Christianity. It was important to me to know why I believed what I did, both for my own benefit, and also because I wanted to be able to defend myself against people who would assume, as I once did, that if I were a Christian I must be a dim-wit.

I managed to graduate from college, and about a year later God blessed me with the best wife a man could ask for. Several years later He blessed me again with a wonderful son. I read the Bible, and even learned a little Greek so I could read the New Testament in its original language. But one thing I never could do was find a church with which I was entirely comfortable. By my count, my wife and I visited twelve different churches in the Northern Virginia area. Some were Baptist, some Assemblies of God, some Presbyterian, one was even Messianic Jewish, but most were simply “non-denominational,” which generally means quasi-Baptist. I found good things in each of these churches, and good people, but I noticed that every time I went to a new church, I heard a new theology. And sooner or later I would discover something in that theology that conflicted with my own. Perhaps they had what I considered a strange view of the end-times, or they refused to accept the possibility of charismatic gifts (I was not charismatic myself, but I thought it was wrong to reject the idea, since it is so clearly taught in the Bible). We attended a semi-charismatic Episcopal church that we enjoyed very much, until I discovered that they baptized infants. We finally settled on a small “Bible” church. We weren’t entirely happy with it, but we were really tired of “church shopping.”

In all those years, one church I never even remotely considered was the Catholic Church. I didn’t believe that the pope was the anti-Christ, or anything like that, but I did think that Catholicism was chock-full of unbiblical teachings. I suppose I would have conceded that it was a Christian Church, but just barely (and only because I did meet one Catholic who actually had an interest in God). Generally, I thought that anybody who read and believed the Bible would steer clear of Catholicism. I assumed that the millions of people who are Catholic were probably born into it, and were obviously biblically illiterate. I felt sorry for them, and I hoped they would one day sit down and read the Bible for themselves, without the pope’s help. If they did, I believed they would quickly become former Catholics.

Unfortunately, though, most of the Catholics I knew were completely disinterested in the Bible, or in Jesus, or in God. They were thoroughly secular in every way, completely indistinguishable to me from non-Christians, except that they managed to go to church from time to time, which they seemed to regard as a burden. (One of my friends told me that his goal every Sunday was to get in, “put in his hour,” and get out). A church that would produce such spiritual lifelessness was not a church I wanted to be any part of.

But one day a Christian friend of mine at work showed up at my office with a book in his hand. He said that one of his Catholic friends had given it to him. It was called Catholicism and Fundamentalism, by Karl Keating. It purported to defend Catholicism against the attacks of certain anti-Catholic Fundamentalists, and at the same time to show that the Catholic faith offers a better, more coherent explanation of the biblical and historical data than does Protestant Fundamentalism. Frankly, I was amused that someone had the guts to even try to defend Catholicism on biblical grounds. I figured it should be easy to refute Mr. Keating’s arguments, since I knew that Catholic theology was blatantly unbiblical.

So I read the book, and I was glad to find that Mr. Keating was a good writer who had a sense of humor. At first, I read it as if I were a prosecuting attorney, looking for weaknesses. But to my surprise, this guy was rational and articulate, and what he was saying was making sense. I didn’t know what to make of that, but I began to read more sympathetically, and I really tried to understand what Mr. Keating was saying. As I learned first-hand about Catholic theology, it became clear that I had not understood it before. I was surprised to learn that the Catholic Church did not actually teach the unbiblical things I thought it did, and that the things it did teach actually had a pretty good biblical basis. I realized that somewhere along the line I had absorbed many misconceptions about Catholicism. The problem, I suppose, was that almost everything I knew about it came from Protestant sources (which is like learning about Israel from only Palestinian sources). To my surprise, I also discovered that once I did understand the basics of Catholicism, I could not refute it. I wasn’t necessarily convinced that it was right, but I couldn’t prove that it was wrong either, and that rankled me. If there’s one thing I want to be certain of, it’s my faith. I want to know what I believe and why I believe it. But now, after reading this book, I got the uneasy feeling deep down that the Catholic interpretation of the Bible actually made more sense than mine did.

As I said, I wasn’t convinced right away that Catholicism was right, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to rest until I settled the question one way or the other. So I started reading everything I could get my hands on. I sought out the best Catholic apologetics I could find, and also the best Protestant apologetics. I read Akin, Armstrong, Hahn, and Shea, among others, on the Catholic side, and Geisler, Kennedy, Ridenour, and Stott, among others, on the Protestant side. Generally, my impression was that the Protestant authors didn’t understand Catholic theology very well, because they kept criticizing it for things it didn’t really teach. The Catholic arguments seemed pretty good to me, and I kept hoping that one of the Protestants would engage them, but they never did. As I began to better understand Catholic theology, I found that I could easily counter the Protestant arguments against it, but I could not counter the Catholic arguments against Protestant theology. Indeed, they seemed to me to be unanswerable.

I began to seriously question the foundational doctrines of Protestantism: sola fide and sola Scriptura. The Catholics made an excellent case that neither of these is taught in the Bible, and that they are both actually refuted by the Bible. Not only that, but neither of them were believed by essentially anyone before the Reformation. I found the Protestant argument in favor of these doctrines unconvincing. They appeared to be taking the Bible out of context, and sidestepping verses that weighed against their interpretation. Sometimes they would quote from some ancient Christian who seemed to support their position, but they ignored other things the same ancient Christian wrote that made it clear that he didn’t support their position. Because Protestants were the ones who broke away from the Church, alleging that it had become corrupted, I knew that the burden of proof was on them, and frankly, I didn’t think they had made a very good case.

The more I understood Catholic theology, the more I felt that it was actually more biblical than my own theology. This was very disconcerting, because I had a high regard for the Bible. I was very proud to be an Evangelical Protestant, because we had the reputation of being biblical literalists, and we were often called “Bible Christians.” God said it, I believe it, that settles it. But as I learned the Catholic interpretation of the Bible, I felt that it was more true to the plain meaning of the text than my own was. I saw that it was true what Mr. Keating wrote in his book:

Fundamentalists use the Bible to protect beliefs that are, in fact, antecedent to the Bible, which is interpreted so it justifies what they already hold, although most fundamentalists think what they believe comes straight out of the sacred text and that they are merely acknowledging its plain meaning. . . . They do not hesitate to read between the lines if such reading is needed to preserve their position – a position that precedes their scriptural interpretation.1

I discovered that in most cases where Catholics and Protestants disagree over biblical interpretation, it was, ironically, the Catholics who interpreted the Bible literally, where we Protestants gave it a figurative, allegorical interpretation. A few examples should illustrate this:

* When Jesus says, “You must be born of water and the Spirit,” Catholics interpret this literally: “Water” equals “water,” i.e., baptism. But some Protestants say that the water refers to something else, perhaps the preaching of the gospel, or even the amniotic fluid of natural child-birth.

* When Paul says that Jesus cleanses his church by “the washing with water,” Catholics interpret this literally. “Washing with water” equals “washing with water”; another reference to baptism. But some Protestants say it refers to something else, perhaps the Scriptures.

* When Jesus says, “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven,” Catholics, again, interpret this literally and believe that Jesus gave his apostles the authority to forgive sins in His name. But some Protestants say that this is just a reference to the apostles’ authority to preach the gospel.

* Again, when Jesus says, “This is my body,” and “whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life,” Catholics interpret this literally. The Eucharist is His body; it is truly His flesh and blood, though it does not appear to be. But most Protestants say that it remains only bread and wine (or grape juice) and that, once again, we should not take Jesus’s words literally..

* When James says, “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone,” Catholics interpret this literally. “Not by faith alone” equals “not by faith alone.” But Protestants insist that “not by faith alone” really means that we are justified by faith alone. This is actually one of the core doctrines of Protestantism, sola fide.

Talk about irony! It seemed to me that Catholic theology usually allowed the Bible to simply mean what it says, without the complicated exegesis and linguistic gyrations that were sometimes necessary to make it support my beliefs. I got the uncomfortable feeling that many of the “problem” passages in the Bible were only a problem because I was trying to pound a square Protestant peg into a round Biblical hole. The round Catholic peg seemed to fit much more easily.

In my research, I also read some of the writings of the earliest Christians, men who learned the gospel from the apostles themselves, or from their immediate successors. As a Protestant I had never heard of these men. I had never heard of John’s disciples Ignatius and Polycarp. I had never heard of Irenaeus or Justin Martyr either. I had no idea that these men, and others, left behind writings that might shed some light on the faith of the early Church. In my twelve years as a Protestant no one had ever told me that the apostles’ own disciples left us writings witnessing to the true apostolic faith. Isn’t that strange? Here we had, essentially, a second-century Bible commentary, written, in some cases, by men who knew the Bible’s human authors personally. Why would we ignore such an incredible resource? We Protestants believed that the Holy Spirit spoke to us, so wouldn’t it be worth seeing what He said to the apostles’ own disciples, many of whom laid down their lives rather than compromise the faith?

Well, I for one wanted to see what they had to say. These guys knew the apostles, lived in their culture, spoke their language, and in all likelihood, read the original copies of the New Testament books (in their own native language, no less). If anybody knew the correct Bible interpretation, I figured it would be them! So I read all of the epistles of Ignatius and Polycarp, both of whom were disciples of John. I read some of Irenaeus, who was a disciple of Polycarp. I read the epistle to the Corinthians that was written by Clement. I also read portions of Justin Martyr’s letter to the Roman emperor, Antonius Pius, written within living memory of the apostles, and which attempted to explain the Christian faith to an outsider.

It was uncomfortably obvious to me that the second-century Church was much closer in its beliefs to the Catholic Church than it was to my “Bible” church. John’s disciple Ignatius even referred to the Church as the “Catholic Church.” They had bishops, and priests, and deacons; they thought they could lose their salvation; they believed that baptism regenerates; they thought that the Eucharist was a sacrifice, and that it really was the Body and Blood of Christ; and they believed that the succession of bishops in the Church was the standard of orthodoxy. This blew my preconceived ideas about the early Church right out of the water. I had always assumed that the early Church was essentially Protestant in its doctrines and that the distinctively Catholic doctrines were later corruptions that infected the faith sometime around the fifth century. Not so. In fact, I couldn’t find any evidence that the distinctively Protestant doctrines like sola Scriptura and sola fide existed at all in the early Church. This was overwhelming to me, and it reminded me of what that famous Anglican convert, John Henry Newman, said: “To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant.”

This was all very unsettling, to put it mildly, but at this point I tried to look at the situation objectively. I think I have an advantage here, because I came to the faith as an adult. Since I didn’t grow up in a Baptist-type faith, it was not inconceivable to me that it could be wrong. After all, someone had to be wrong here, and it just might be me! So I stepped out of the fishbowl, as it where, and tried to look at my own denomination and my own theology as objectively as possible. I was surprised to learn that my evangelical theology was mainly an American phenomenon that didn’t go back more than a hundred and fifty years, much less back to the time of the apostles. Having read the writings of the early Christians, I knew for a fact that they would have rejected my theology as “another gospel” (see Gal. 1:6-8).

Given all that I had learned, I had to admit that the Catholic explanation of Scripture and history was much more likely to be correct than my denomination’s explanation, and I realized that if I wanted to go on being a “Bible-believing Christian,” I would have to become Catholic. As far as I could tell, the Catholic explanation of Christianity was consistent with the plain meaning of the Bible, and it was consistent with what Christians believed from the apostolic era right up to the Reformation.

Protestantism, on the other hand, was mainly based on two doctrines that I didn’t think were very well supported in Scripture, and which were entirely absent from Christian history before the Reformation. I didn’t see how Protestantism could be a return to the purity of the early Church, as I had been taught, because the early Church was Catholic. Therefore, I concluded, somewhat sadly, that Protestantism was not a “reformation” of the faith at all, but a corruption of it. And yet, even though the shattering of the visible Church has been a tragic thing, God has brought good out of it. Today, Evangelical Protestants are some of the best, most devoted Christians in the world. It’s hard to find fault with that! And that’s why I created this website, to help these good people, my brothers and sisters in Christ, to understand what the Catholic Church is really all about.

End Notes
1 Karl Keating, Catholicism and Fundamentalism, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1988), 26.

LINK to EWTN a wonderful resource for discovering the joy and wonder of the faith
LINK to the HOLY SEE website which you can read the documents of the faith including the Catachism the Holy Scripture and all the encyclicals and documents of the Church
LINK to Carl Olson's wonderful website
LINK to Catholic Apologetics Information website
There are many more links that you can see the writings of the Early Church fathers and the Doctors of the Church in the sidebar which contains some of my favorite links.
Omnia Pro Jesu Per Mariam!
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