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After reflecting on the time I spent learning about Catholicism before ultimately deciding to join the Church, I’ve come up with a list of the most critical questions and assumptions I had. These were based on the knowledge I had — or thought I had — at the time, based mostly on my upbringing as a Baptist. If the Church couldn’t answer these questions to my satisfaction, there was no way I was going through with Confirmation and all that jazz.

Here’s the list, in almost no particular order:

  1. The Eucharist, known to me as Communion: “It’s just a symbol, it’s not real blood or flesh.”
  2. The Pope: “He’s not God, he’s just a man. What’s the big deal?”
  3. Confession of sins: “The only person I need to confess my sins to is God.”
  4. Baptism for salvation:  I was taught that, once you were “saved,” nothing could keep you out of Heaven. You could rape, pillage, and burn to your black heart’s content, and you’d still go to Heaven. An extreme example:  if Adolph Hitler had been “saved” as a young boy, he’d be in Heaven today. I’ll readily admit that I had a problem with that… no surprise there!
  5. Mary: “It’s a sin to worship anyone other than God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.”
  6. Purgatory: “The Bible tells us about Heaven and Hell. There’s nothing in there about Purgatory.”
  7. Celibacy of priests: “That’s probably one of the reasons so many priests become sex offenders.”
  8. The Bible must be taken literally!

There’s so much wrong with #7 that I was tempted to remove it. But, it had been a concern of mine in the past, so it stays on the list.

These are the subjects I will try to explore in greater detail in future articles. As I do so, I’ll update this post with links as appropriate.

It’s important to articulate why I hold with the Catholic Church’s teachings in these areas. If someone were to ask me today, I could defend each one of these our beliefs. This is known as the discipline of apologetics (a Greek word which means “speaking in defense”).

Perhaps you’re exploring the differences between your faith and that of the Catholic Church. Or maybe you’re already a Catholic, but would like a deeper understanding of the various aspects of our faith. You may even be a Baptist or other Protestant looking to debunk Catholic beliefs. You are all welcome! I encourage healthy discussions and debates, so please comment here or on other articles.

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