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How to Answer Protestants Forum: How to overcome guilt at conversion

by Catherine Frakas 27 Jul 2002

How to overcome guilt at conversion QUESTION from Eve on October 19, 2002 I was brought up in an area where Catholics and Protestants are very divided and much hostility exists. However, after 20 years in the Baptist Church, I have grown tired of the aggressive evangelism, and happy clappiness. I am attending sessions in an RC church, but how do I overcome years of conditioning and a feeling of guilt, akin to that of cheating on one's spouse? I feel drawn to all things Catholic, but how do I know this is not just a rebellion against years of prejudice? and how do I tell my family....
ANSWER by Mr. Troy Martz on November 18, 2002 Dear Eve:
Thank you for the courage of your question and for having the courage to investigate Catholicism with an open heart and mind. I know from personal experience that this can be a VERY trying time.
Your feelings of guilt are the normal reaction to this process -- it is often hard to reject the teachings of one's past without feeling like you are rejecting the teachers (your parents, ministers, Sunday school teachers, etc) who taught these things to you. You should always be thankful for everyone who taught you, even if you have moved beyond their teachings they were an important part of your journey. Remember also that they have given you the best they have and have done this to serve Christ.
The best way to be certain that you are not just rebelling by becoming Catholic is to truly learn the Faith. Be sure that your conversion is based on clear understanding of the Church's teachings and Her authority to teach in Christ's Name. What may have started as rebellion can become true conversion if it is well grounded in doctrine.
As for dealing with the other emotional aspects, I suggest that you spend plenty of time studying the lives of the Saints. Discuss your difficulties with the priest or director of the Catechism classes and ask them to recommend a few saints for you to learn about with similar difficulties. Often, reading how others have survived similar ordeals is the most heartening during the difficult times.
As for how to tell your family -- gently. This goes back to the first point, they may not understand that you are not rejecting them by embracing a new faith. Be sure that you stress that you are not rejecting Christianity, only moving to a fuller level of living the Gospel.
And be sure to be prepared to withstand the assaults that may come. Someone who was once a loving family member or friend may seem to suddenly turn maliciously anti-Catholic. Truthfully, they always carried this bigotry but now have you for a target. Try to bear with these assaults with patience and prayer. Again, the lives of the saints will be helpful here.
My prayers go out to you and everyone else making that painful choice to seek the Truth. Remember, the man who sought the Pearl of Great Price sold EVERYTHING he had to buy it.
Pax Christi, Troy
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