The Default of The Catholic Church Being Wrong
In my Protestant life, I held a lot of default positions that I had never given much thought. One of my main default positions was that the Catholic Church was, at least in some very important ways, wrong.
I had this default because of growing up where I did, and how I did. I didn’t even think about it. I didn’t even know the reasons I rejected Catholic teaching, I just believed they were wrong based on things people said to me over the years. It was the view I was taught. But I realized, as I found myself restless in my faith, that just because I grew up with something was not enough of a justification for me to assume it as correct.
It was an important step for me to acknowledge the default position I learned, but it was also important not to assume that default position is I held was necessarily the right one.
Below are some of my Protestant default positions, and then the questions I started asking to allow myself to be more fair and balanced in determining from what viewpoint I was going to approach my faith.
I believed that if there was Truth out there, my taking an honest and fair evaluation of my default positions would lead me closer to it. Truth need not fear an inquiring and honest heart.
The Catholic Church is in error.
Questions: What valid justification do I have to not give the Catholic Church a fair and objective examination? Is it possible my lack of knowledge about what the Catholic Church teaches is impacting my opinion of it? What gaps do I have in my own understanding of the development of my Christian faith that has informed this belief?
The Catholic Bible has books that are not canonical.
Questions: Why does the Protestant Bible have 7 less books than the Catholic Bible? Where in history did that happen? Which books were removed, and for what reason? Did those who made those changes have the authority to do so?
We all pretty much believe the same thing- the differences aren’t important.
Questions: God gave us an infallible book- wouldn’t he have given us a means to interpret it correctly? Is it fair to assume that it isn’t important to God if the Truths of Scripture are known accurately by Christians. Or is it important? And if it is, who has a claim to interpretive authority that can be backed by the history of the Christian faith as well as the scriptures?
Praying to Saints is wrong
Questions: What do Catholics mean when they use the word prayer in this context? Do they mean the same thing I mean when I use the word ‘pray?’ Are those in heaven aware of those of us on earth? And if they are aware, why don’t I ask those who have gone before me and are now in heaven to pray for me?
Sola Scripture– Bible Alone
Questions: Where is the evidence for Sola Scriptura in scripture? The Bible is an authority but is there anywhere in Scripture that claims it to be the final and ultimate authority? What did the earliest Christians do before the New Testament was written and before the canon was confirmed? What does the Bible have to say about the role of the Church and Tradition?
Worship should be relevant to the culture.
Questions: What role does church history and traditional Christian practices have in the church today? What value could be found in practicing our faith in a manner similar to the earliest Christians? And what have we lost in the name of cultural relevance?
Catholics focus too much on Mary
Questions: What did the early Christians attribute to Mary and why? How can I justify the differences in my view of Mary and the view of Mary of the historical church- including certain views held by Luther and Calvin? Is my discomfort with these teachings due to their falsehood or due to the fact that I am too far separated from the beliefs of the historical Christian Church?
A Default of Ignorance
I found, in my exploration, that I was so entirely ignorant of Catholic teaching because of these original default positions. But I was also ignorant of the history of our faith and what the earliest Christians professed to be true.
Once I opened myself up to the possibility of a different position than the default I had grown up with, I was both surprised and not surprised. Each and every default I had against the Catholic Church turned out to be a misconception. Something I misunderstood or understood incompletely. And once I opened a small crack in the door to the idea to give that which I thought was so wrong a fair shot, I was overwhelmed with depth and truth. Logic and consistency. The beauty of a combination of the thoughts of many, many Christian souls who had gone before me. And I found myself on my way to living a life of gratitude and peace within the Catholic Church.
8 thoughts on “7 Misconceptions I Held About The Catholic Church Before Becoming Catholic”
I loved this! I grew up catholic (and probably will die like that) but fell in love with a Christian boy. He always made me question everything… I always trusted what I learned and believed. And he did too. After 5 years we broke up because I was never enough for him because of my beliefs. I’ve been single ever since. I just love this because you found love, are married and have children. Thank you for your words.
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Hi Amanda! Thank you so much for sharing!
I am so impressed that you stayed firm in your faith. Your trust in what you believe even when it meant a difficult outcome is a huge encouragement to me. I faced some different struggles when entering the church, including the loss of some friends who didn’t understand. And my husband and I had a very rocky start to our early marriage because our faiths weren’t unified, and then until we had been married 9 years (and together longer than that) before we actually were unified together in the Catholic faith. It was a huge answer to prayer for us and there were many challenges along the way. I’ll actually be talking about our marriage and our own journeys (my conversion and my husband’s reversion) on EWTN’s the Journey Home on December 18th. It has been an honor to have the chance to share our full stories in that format.
Thank you so much for reading and for the encouragement as well. God bless!
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Please explain your view on purgatory because Purgatory is not mentioned in the Bible.
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Hi Denise! That’s such a great question. I wrote an article on that topic earlier this year, and I hope that helps explain the Catholic view on Purgatory. https://thiscatholicfamily.com/2017/04/18/why-i-believe-in-purgatory/
Thank you, Lorelei, for sharing your journey. You demonstrate how important it is for a believer to ask himself why he believes what he does. Questions require responses and sometimes we are afraid of the answers we will obtain. Nevertheless, asking questions is an important task for learning and growing in our faith. When we ask doctrinal questions under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and research the correct responses to them, we will not be surprised to discover that many of these questions have already been addressed decades and centuries ago. Our quest for truth ought to involve the various inquiries that often arise within our soul, although there are times that we are challenged to believe even if we do not understand and once we gain understanding our faith deepens. God bless you!! – Alvin, Catholicism FELT
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Yes, I think the willingness to ask those questions made all the difference for me. It has been such comfort to know that I don’t bear the burden of figuring everything out on my own. That was often how I felt as a Protestant. There are many times I think when certain ‘movements’ sweep through the Protestant realm that are really just reinventions of the wheel from Church History that Catholicism has always professed as true. I think that whole ‘believing without fully understanding’ is also such a normal part of anyone’s Christian faith. How much can we truly understand many of the mysteries of our faith? That’s why they are mysteries. With how big God is, it isn’t surprising that there are things we are asked to trust without full understanding. But the mysteries are part of the beauty, too. 🙂
Happy New Year and blessings to you as well!