questions-and-answers-signWorking in the Bible Belt we Catholics often come across Protestants who are being led to the Catholic Church.

However, their path seems to be littered with land mines. There seem to be so many obstacles and one of the things which a Catholic finds curious is how the enquiring Protestant usually doesn’t have a sense of proportion about his objections.

It can be bewildering.

So he might say, “Is it really true that you have to pin dollar bills onto the robes of the Virgin Mary to be saved?” or “The scarlet and purples robes of the antiChrist are the robes of the Catholic cardinals and bishops right?” or “Why do you guys say prayers to bless bells?” On the other hand he might mix this up with very good questions about the Immaculate Conception or papal authority.

So here are ten commandments for converts.

1. The Catholic Church is not just another denomination. It’s very different from all the Protestant churches you have ever attended. Behave as if you’re visiting a foreign country. In other words, be polite and assume that you’re on an adventure of discovery. Don’t complain if things aren’t what you’re used to.

2. Be curious, not critical.

3. You’re right. There are plenty of hypocritical, heretical and lukewarm Catholics. There are a fair few Protestants like that too aren’t there? You know the old story: the guy says, “I don’t come to your church Father. There are too many hypocrites.” Priest says, “Why not come along anyway? We can always make room for one more.”

4. Remember, the Catholic Church is huge. Don’t compare it to your Protestant sect. Compare it to all Protestants of every kind in every non Catholic organization everywhere. Did you find some loony, left wing Catholics? Remember the Episcopalians. If we have to answer for radical theologians and loony leftie nuns you have to answer for Kitty Schori, Mary Glasspool,  the Jesus Seminar and Matthew Fox.  Have you discovered some scary ultra traditionalist Catholics? You’ve got Westboro Baptist and hyper fundamentalists don’t you. Take a deep breath. We all have to bear with our crazy relatives. Continue Reading