Tag: Catholic

7 Misconceptions I Held About The Catholic Church Before Becoming Catholic 

7 Misconceptions I Held About The Catholic Church Before Becoming Catholic 


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 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.

Default 1) The Catholic Church is in error.

Questions that challenged my default view

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?

Default 2) The Catholic Bible has books that are not canonical

Questions: Why does the Protestant church 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?

Default 3) 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 Truth’s of Scripture are known accurately by Christians, or is it? 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?

Default 4) 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?

Default 5) Sola Scriptura, Bible Alone

Questions: Where is the evidence for sola scriptura in scripture? It 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?

Default 6) 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?

Default 7) 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 teachings 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.

Lorelei Savaryn

Lorelei Savaryn

Lorelei is a passionate Catholic Convert, mom to three, and wife to one. She loves writing, singing (mostly in church, sometimes at karaoke), reading, fair trade chocolate, and spending time with her family. Lorelei currently blogs at This Catholic Family, and is a columnist at Catholic Stand

Catholic Priest Murdered In Berlin Germany 

Catholic Priest Murdered In Berlin Germany 

Padre Alain-Florent Gandoulou (center)

Berliners mourn death of African priest Alain-Florent Gandoulou.

A popular Francophone African Catholic priest killed in his Berlin bureau, Alain-Florent Gandoulou, has been mourned at a Church Mass. German media say the suspected assailant was from Cameroon.

Deutschland Berlin - Charlottenburg: Pfarrer tot im Büro gefunden (picture-alliance/dpa/P. Zinken)

Berlin’s French-speaking Catholic community held funeral rites for Padre Gandoulou on Sunday February 26, in the city’s St. Thomas Aquinas church, still shocked by the 54-year-old’s violent death on Thursday night.

The Berlin police discovered a lifeless body shortly before midnight, after a phone call from a witness on Thursday night reporting a violent dispute between two men speaking in French inside the Catholic pastoral office. This happened shortly after choir practice according to the eyewitness.

 

The investigation is ongoing and a motive had not yet been established, according to a police spokeswoman quoted by the Protestant church news agency EPD.

Father Gandoulou had been beaten on the head with office objects and was then stabbed in the head with the tip of an umbrella, Germany’s tabloid newspaper Bild reported.

In his home country, Brazzanews described his death as a possible assassination, in connection with a long-standing insurgency in Congo’s Pool region.

Father Gandoulou, a graduate of Bonn University, had been named as a possible future bishop in Congo, it added.

Screenshot der Seite Brazzanews.fr zum Tod von Alain Florent Gandoulou (Brazzanews.fr )

In Berlin, Gandoulou’s pastoral work included counselling refugees.

Suspect in psychiatric detention

A suspect, a 26-year-old man from Cameroon, was found on Friday in the attic of an apartment house in another Berlin district, Reinickendorf, and was taken to a psychiatric institution, according to police. 

The priest’s remains was found inside this building

Gandoulou's body was found inside this Charlottenburg-Berlin building

The Berliner Zeitung (BZ) quoted community member Joachim Moche: “Our priest was always there for us. He brought with him the power to believe and conveyed it to the community. He baptised my son. I am so sad.”

The Francophone pastorate is part of Berlin’s Catholic bishopric and caters for 10,000 French nationals and many thousands of Francophone residents from around the world, according to the Catholic news agency KNA.

‘Very sad moment’

At Sunday’s Mass, the Berlin bishopric’s Vicar General Father Manfred Kolling described Gandoulou’s sudden death as a “very sad moment” and extended condolences from all Berlin Catholics.

Already on Friday, numerous mourners of African origin had gathered outside the church to mourn their highly popular priest public Berlin-Brandenburg broadcasting (RBB) had reported.

Popular in Berlin

Gandoulou was born in Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo in 1963. He was ordained as a priest in 1991 and was awarded his doctorate at Bonn University’s theological faculty in 2008.

His topic was “the Battle for Truth and Justice,” focused on the Congolese priest and journalist, Louis Badila, between 1962 and 1990.

In 2009 Gandoulou was assigned to lead the pastoral mission of Berlin’s Paroisse Catholique Francophone, established in 1945.

Brazzanews said he was a keen exponent of music and the arts.

Eternal rest grant unto Padre Alain-Florent Gandoulou oh Lord, and let your perpetual light shine upon him, may his Soul rest in peace. Amen. 

Legend Of The Veiled Christ: The Miracle Of The Transparent Marble 

Legend Of The Veiled Christ: The Miracle Of The Transparent Marble 

Giuseppe Sanmartino, 1753.

Raimondo di Sangro’s fame as an alchemist and daring experimentalist has spawned various legends about him. One of these regards the veil of Sanmartino’s Christ. For over two-hundred-and-fifty years, in fact, travellers, tourists and even a number of academics, incredulous at the transparency of the shroud, have mistakenly thought it the result of some alchemical process of “marblisation” worked by the Prince of Sansevero.

In reality, the Veiled Christ is entirely hewn in marble from a single block of stone, as scrupulous study and documents dating from the time of the statue show. 


The Cristo Velato (that is, the Veiled Christ) is a sculpture completed in 1753, originally (mis)attributed to Antonio Corradini and considered one of the world’s most remarkable pieces of art. In fact, the great neoclassical maestro Antonio Canova, who tried to buy the work, said he would gladly give up ten years of his life to produce such masterpiece.

Although Corradini was in fact commissioned with the job in the first place, he died having only produced a clay model for what would later be a definitive piece sculpted in marble. It was Giuseppe Sammartino, then, who ended up producing the astonishing sculpture of a dead Jesus, covered by a transparent shroud carved out of the very same marble block shared with the rest of the statue. Sammartino’s mastery – the veil covering the figure of Jesus being in fact “transparent” — didn’t only gain him a well-deserved place in the history of Western art, but also turned his artwork into the stuff of legend.


Some stories claim Sammartino covered his sculpture with a linen veil he managed to transform into marble by means of complex chemical-alchemical processes. Those very same legends would also claim that Raimondo di Sangro, the commissioner of the sculpture, was himself an alchemist who taught Sammartino the mysteries of his pseudo-science. Of course, these are but legends.

The statue is today preserved in the Capella Sansevero, in Naples, Italy.

My Journey From Islam, To Atheism, To Protestantism—And Finally Home To The Catholic Church

My Journey From Islam, To Atheism, To Protestantism—And Finally Home To The Catholic Church

I Grew Up as a Muslim—But Then Rome Called.

My journey from Islam, to atheism, to Protestantism—and finally home to the Catholic Church

“Now, recite Ayet-ul Kursi,” my religious education teacher bellowed.

His bushy mustache twitched as I straightened my back and flawlessly recited the Arabic words. The color of his cheeks changed from pink to red, because he had no other option but to give me full marks. I answered every question and recited every prayer. As far as the Turkish public school was concerned, my knowledge of Islam was impeccable.

He dismissed me from the oral exam. I walked back to my desk at the back of the classroom under the watchful eyes of all sixty of my classmates and said: “You know, there is no God.”

The teacher slammed the table with his ruler and said: “Get out of my classroom!”

As a full-blown atheist in eighth grade, I left with a smirk on my face. Thus began my time wandering in the desert, searching for truth, and a place for my heart to call home.

When my parents’ broken marriage ended, the Muslim faith I clung to for so long did not give me any comfort. As my prayers went unanswered, a question of doubt persisted: Was there anyone listening? I started to doubt anything my parents taught me.

For the first time in my life, the servile fear that was engrained in me from early childhood gave in and I decided to read about Muhammed and Islam for myself. What I found out about Muhammed’s life was unbelievable.

Once that crippling fear was gone, the Ideal Man stood in front me as his true self: a man who was hungry for wealth, power and lust. This was a man who consummated his marriage to a 9-year-old; ordered the murder of his critics; justified the slaughter of his defeated enemies; sold women and girls to slavery; lusted after the wife of his adopted son; legitimized concubinage; and acquired enormous wealth through his conquests. Any time there was a need, a new Quranic verse came down to give Muhammed his desire. I was young, but I had the eyes to see that Islam would not withstand scrutiny.

This was not a man I wanted to follow. From then on, it was a short jump to atheism, because the only god I ever knew was the irrational, capricious and unloving Allah. Instead of religion, I dove into the sciences for answers and thought I had found freedom by the rejection of every moral edict, which led to a life of drunkenness and debauchery.

Yet, I was honest enough to realize that my chosen path went nowhere. It was all futile, but I had nowhere else to go, because god’s existence was not compatible with science, or so I thought.

Years passed as my heart hardened. I had no fear other than not achieving my worldly goals, like entering a good university. My family ties weakened by the year, and the short encounters with my father assured me that marriage or family were nothing but social constructs. I loved no one but me.

The Lord knew that I needed someone as determined and critical as I was, so He sent a Protestant missionary in a city of five million where churches are extremely hard to find. Since I had already figured out the secrets of the universe by age 19, I wanted to liberate this woman from the servile chains of a false god. She, on the other hand, saw a broken and sinful young woman, who was wronged by her parents. Despite my rebellious and callous demeanor towards any belief system, she knew that I was in desperate need of grace.

For three years, we butted heads. Many nights, I spent hours looking for rebuttals. But, in the end, I had to give in that science could not provide all the answers, and there might be a god. The possibility that god could exist was overwhelming to me. But how could I follow an all-powerful being who let so much evil happen?

I did not understand sin or free will until I read a chapter by Dostoevsky that dealt with Christ’s temptations in the desert. Then, I knew that every evil in the world is committed by humans. To be truly free, not a slave, we have to have free will, which means we can sin, which means there will be victims. For the first time, I caught a glimpse of a God who wanted us to love him, not simply fear him.

With a simple vision of the childishness of rejecting His eternal gift, the Holy Spirit knocked some sense into me, and at the age of 22, I became a Christian.

My true father had pursued me in the middle of the desert that was my life, and showed me what true fatherhood meant. Now, I was the daughter of the everlasting King who loved me unconditionally. This time, the fear I felt was filial, where a child fears to disappoint his parent. The creator of cosmos had died for my many sins so that I could be His daughter. My life changed eternally.

I was baptized at a Protestant church and learned more about this God who became man, who was nothing like the prophet I grew up with, who was loving and kind, and who would answer and guide me.

But I still had lingering questions that Protestantism could not answer. My heart was still searching for home.

How was it that Bible was the only authority, if there was not a Bible for centuries? How was it that we could not lose our salvation? Did God take away our free will once we became Christians? How was it that Jesus who died on the cross ascended without leaving anyone to guide His followers? Would my belief system come tumbling down if the Theory of Evolution was proved beyond doubt?

These questions brewed in the back of my mind, until a good friend became Catholic. Such betrayal!

In my quest to prove him that the Catholic Church had strayed away from Christ’s path, I stumbled upon all the answers to those brewing questions. Yes, Christ had left an authority to guide us. No, we were not saved by faith alone. Yes, the Holy Spirit was able to protect Christ’s teachings. No, the book of Genesis was not a scientific narrative. The Catholic Church, much to my own surprise, was able to reconcile faith and science.

Rome was calling me home and I answered. My journey from Islam to Catholicism was a road less traveled in my country. Yet Christ, in His great mercy and love, opened my heart and placed His servants in my path, guiding me, ultimately, to the very Church that He founded.

I was home at last.

 

Derya Little has a Ph.D. in politics from Durham University in England. Her articles on foreign affairs have appeared in academic journals and Catholic World Report. Little is the author of the new book, From Islam to Christ.

 

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