Consider Catholicism

thinker

Maybe you are considering Catholicism. Below my intro are some resources I found helpful in my “research”.

Some context: My journey to the Catholic Church took several years and a lot of investigating. I did a lot of reading, a lot of listening, and a lot of searching on the web. I figured I would share some of the important and influential media here. Needless to say, there is much, much more than this rather small list. My conversion was primarily a call, which I attribute to the Holy Spirit, and came about through a lot of prayer, but growing up with deep anti-Catholic prejudices I still needed to answer a laundry list of questions in order to feel comfortable. The resources below helped convince me that the Catholic Church is all about following Christ, that its doctrines are Biblically based, and that I can have confidence to put my trust in her as I follow Christ.

Much of what I list below provided both clear answers, as well as the realization that clear-headed, good thinking, Christ-loving Christians could indeed embrace the Catholic Church with great confidence. In fact, I came to the conclusion, after being a Protestant for decades, and then looking closely at other options, that the Catholic Church does, indeed, represent the fullness of the Christian faith and proclaims the truth of the Gospel. Finally, it all came down to the realization that if I wanted to follow Christ then I must become Catholic. The loves of my heart (love of Christ, love of Scripture, love of Truth, love of Faith) put there by Protestantism pushed me to Catholicism.

I realize that most all of the resources below are of men talking or writing. There have been a number of women who have influenced my journey as well, it’s just that the online and printed resources that have meant a lot to me tend to be from guys.

Books

Various books have been a big part of my journey to the Catholic Church. For anyone who has done a little searching, the list of books below will be nothing new. Most are well know and widely read. I will provide name and author, but no links, since they can change at any time. A simple search will easily find any of these.

This first group is personal stories of Protestants converting to Catholicism and why. These are thoughtful, insightful books aimed at tackling the kinds of reservations Protestants have about Catholicism. They tend to be both testimonial and apologetic. The second list is more topical; some are apologetical, some are more general, some take on specific aspects of Catholicism.

“Conversion” books

Evangelical is Not Enough: Worship of God in Liturgy and Sacrament by Thomas Howard, Ignatius Press, 1984

Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism by Scott and Kimberly Hahn, Ignatius Press, 1993

Born Fundamentalist Born Again Catholic by David Currie, Ignatius Press, 1996

By What Authority?: An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition by Mark Shea, Ignatius Press, 1996

Crossing the Tiber: Evangelical Protestants Discover the Historical Church by Steve Ray, Ignatius Press, 1997

Surprised by Truth, Surprised by Truth 2, and Surprised by Truth 3 edited by Patrick Madrid, Basilica Press 1994, and Sophia Institute Press 2000 & 2002

If Protestantism is True: The Reformation Meets Rome by Devin Rose, Unitatis Books, 2011

Other books:

Catholicism and Fundamentalism: The Attack on “Romanism” by “Bible Christians” by Karl Keating, Ignatius Press, 1988. This is a classic. Keating does two things, 1) he takes on the attackers of Catholicism, showing their history, tactics, and proclivity to telling falsehoods, and 2) goes down the laundry list of issues Protestants have with Catholicism one by one. A great book to get clarity, especially where Protestants and Catholics tend to talk past each other.

The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth by Scott Hahn, Doubleday, 1999. Dr. Hahn takes on the Mass, and especially the Eucharist, showing why a Catholic Mass is what it is, and why Catholics care so much about the Eucharist. A very good, and easy read.

Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God by Scott Hahn, Doubleday, 2001. My love for Mary began when I first considered Catholicism. I was drawn to her, and that surprised me, but I still didn’t understand why Catholics made such a big deal of her. I really didn’t see the importance of Mary or her role in salvation history until I read this book. Now I am beginning to realize how much was left out of my Christian life until now. If only Protestants knew.

The Lord by Romano Guardini, Gateway Editions, 1954/1982.

Introduction to Christianity by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), Ignatius Press, 1969/2004.

Anything by G. K. Chesterton, but especially The Everlasting Man and Orthodoxy

Catechism(s)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is THE key resource for understanding what the Catholic Church teaches on the range of Catholic doctrine and practice. There are different ways to approach it and use it. Some will be tempted to dive in a read it cover to cover. But it is a big and meaty book. Most will peruse it and look up various topics as needed. It is worth getting a printed version. I prefer the big green one, but there are smaller, almost pocket-sized versions as well. One can also find the catechism online for free here.

Other ways to approach the Catechism are: YouCat (or Youth Catechism) which is a popular, smaller, easier to approach version of the larger Catechism. I also like Life In Christ: A Catholic Catechism for Adults published by ACTA Publication, 1995. Two more good publications are United States Catholic Catechism for Adults and Compendium : Catechism of the Catholic Church, both aimed at those in the U.S. and published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Audio & Video: Conversion Stories

Dr. Scott Hahn’s personal testimony and conversion story is, perhaps, the modern classic. I’ve heard more people point to his story, in particular the audio tape he made years ago, as a key milestone in their own stories of conversion. This is audio only.

Steve Ray’s conversion story is also a classic. He was a former anti-Catholic Baptist apologist. Here he is on The Journey Home, a popular Catholic interview show featuring individuals who have either converted to Catholicism, or who have come back to the Church after being away. Marcus Grodi, a convert himself, is the host.

Mark Shea is a popular author and blogger who, like Dr. Hahn and Mr. Ray, came into the Catholic Church in the 1980’s Here are two talks, one in 1997 and the other in 2003. They are, in a sense, two parts of a whole.

Many non-Catholics are familiar with Dr. Peter Kreeft. His is one of the great Christian minds today. His gift is his ability to take on most any theological or philosophical topic or question and explore it in such a way as to make it wonderfully clear. He is the author of many popular books ranging from St. Thomas Aquinas to C. S. Lewis, from Christian apologetics to suffering.

Jason Stellman is recent convert from a Presbyterian Calvinist ministry. His story going from staunch Calvinist to Catholic rocked some corners of the Protestant world.

Audio & Video: Catholic Theology and Related Topics (like those weird things Catholics do)

The Mass Explained by Michael Cumbie (this is only Part 1):

The Archdiocese of Chicago created a straightforward and clear video that “walks” one through the different part of the Mass and their meaning:

 

An excellent explanation of the Eucharist:

Four by Steve Ray. The first is only audio.



For those who are more scientifically and mathematically minded, and are perhaps more immersed in the Christian/Athiest debates, here is part one of an interview/discussion between Michael Nugent, chair of Atheist Ireland, and Leah Libresco, a former atheist and recent convert to Catholicism:

…and parts TWO and THREE

Web Sites

Word on Fire – Fr. Barron’s site with a wealth of great videos on many topics from theology to popular culture. Check out the “WOF TV” tab. And here are his videos organized for easy reference.

Catholic Answers Live – a daily, two-hour radio show that focuses on the many questions Catholics and non-Catholics have about all things Catholic. Some shows are dedicated to certain topics, others are for answering challenges to Catholicism. This is a classic Catholic apologetics show. I would suggest getting their podcast in iTunes.

Faith & Reason – a number of interesting videos/lectures.

Called to Communion – a site of both conversion stories and in-depth discussion of theological topics. This site can be fair heady, but it has a lot of great articles and audio.

Convert Journal – a collection of conversion stories.

Catholic Biblical Apologetics – an apologetics resources site.

About Catholics – explanations of what Catholics believe and why they do what they do.

Why I’m Catholic – more conversion stories.

Real Life Catholic – great videos and other stuff from Chris Stefanick

Christ the King Catholic Church: Catechist Training – these are good, in-depth talks, mostly by Professor Barbara Morgan. You can also find these in iTunes.

Exploring YouCat – this is a series of talks from The Newman Connection that “walk through” the Youth Catechism (YouCat)

Catholic Beliefs and Catholic Teachings – at About Catholics website

Fr Smith’s Mass in Slow Motion Sermon Series – a series of homilies that walk through the various aspects and meanings of the Mass.

Fr Smith’s Creed in Slow motion – a series of homilies that walk through the Creed, “unpacking” each element in turn.

Harry Potter and the Catholic Faith – a series of videos digging into the meaning(s) of the Harry Potter series in light of Catholic teaching. Perhaps a more fun way to dive into Catholic theology.

Other resources

Apps: Laudate is, perhaps, the most popular Catholic app (works on iPhone/iPad, Kindle, and Android). With this app you will have access to innumerable Catholic resources, like daily readings, prayers, rosaries, Scripture, Vatican documents, and more.

EWTN (the popular Catholic television network) has an app with numerous resources. Personally I find EWTN aimed at an aging Catholic audience, but the app is good.

The Pope App is another great app, brought to you by the Vatican. it is available for iPhone/iPad and Android, but not yet Kindle.

Relevant Radio has an app for iPhone/iPad and Android that lets one listen to their live stream.

iBreviary is a portable breviary, making it rather easy to pray the Liturgy of the Hours.

Mass Times is a handy tool for finding, you guessed it, Mass times in your area, where ever you may be.

5 responses to “Consider Catholicism

  1. Pingback: Considering Catholicism? New Resources page | SatelliteSaint

  2. Cam

    May I also recommend Christian Smith’s “The Bible Made Impossible” and “How to Go from Being a Good Evangelical to a Committed Catholic in Ninety-Five Difficult Steps.” The first is not a “how to become Catholic” but rather a knockdown argument (and I don’t bandy that phrase about lightly) against what he calls “biblicism” but which also applies to Sola Scriptura. It really is a prelude to the second book which, as you will have ascertained from the title, is definitely a “how to become Catholic” book. By the way, I’m still a Protestant, but the first book alone has really shaken my foundations.

    • Cam

      Also, Francis Beckwith has published his conversion (or reversion) story in a book titled, “Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic.” I haven’t peeked into this one so I couldn’t vouch for it, but Beckwith is a pretty solid philosopher (and his controversial conversion involved his stepping down as president of the ETS [Evangelical Theological Society]) so this memoir is probably worth a read.

  3. Pingback: Suggestions for teaching RCIA from a nascent Catholic | SatelliteSaint

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