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From Now On a Catholic, Always a Protestant

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series From Now On a Catholic, Always a Protestant

I’m not the Pope’s favorite Catholic.

That’s been a secret, creeping thought of mine since my conversion to Catholicism.

I love my faith. I love the Catholic Church. Yet, even though I claim this faith tradition as mine, I’ve sometimes felt like I’m doing it wrong or at least not right enough.

Why? I’ve asked myself. Why do I sometimes feel like I’m not quite Catholic enough?

Some outside the Catholic faith might suspect that the cause of my insecurity is due to a “works based” faith. Cradle Catholics might wonder if I’ve strayed too far from the teachings of the catechism or if I need to go to confession more often. Then, there are the converts that know exactly what I’m talking about, like Mary Karr.

Over the summer I listened to a talk given by author and speaker, Mary Karr. Throughout the forty-five minutes, she shared about her life, the journey to faith in Jesus, and ultimately her conversion to Catholicism. Do you know how she opened up her session?

“I’m not the Pope’s favorite Catholic.”

I clutched my steering wheel with excitement and relief when she said that. I actually went back and listened to the intro several times, within a matter of days, only to hear her smile as she said that phrase, and as I listened to her I owned the working out of my faith a little bit more.

You see, it isn’t that I think Pope Francis literally wouldn’t love me. In fact, the more I read and witness from the Holy Father, I actually think he’d adore me (and Mary Karr!). However, as a convert from a Protestant background, I bring ideas and knowledge to my Catholic faith that I’m not always sure what to do with; not all things can be severed or erased, even if I wish them to be so, and there are precious elements from my past that I desire to remain a part of me.

The truth is that from now on I’m a Catholic, but I’ll always be a Protestant too.

I have Protestant roots that dig down deep. I understand evangelical culture because I lived evangelical culture. I know the celebrity pastors, the Christian music, and the controversy bread in the variety of churches that Protestants have to offer. And I care. Perhaps, sometimes I care too much.

Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew, “Let those who have ears to hear, let him hear” (11:15).

I listen everywhere I can because I want to hear Jesus.

I happen to hear Jesus best, and experience Him fully in the Catholic Church. Yet, the sounding board, if you will, for my belief in the Church and in whom I understand Jesus to be, was all from a Protestant background.

Throughout the next couple months, I’ll share about how I’ve transitioned into Catholic beliefs and practices, as well as which ones are still difficult for me. I think it’ll be interesting to explore how things such as, praying to Mary and the saints, confession, icons, the Eucharist, etc. were filtered through my Protestant scope and eventually accepted to be good, true, and right.

The posts will be filled under the series title, “From Now On a Catholic, Always a Protestant”, and I hope you’ll join me in exploring the complexities and layers of faith together. My mom will even be joining me here for a guest post about being raised as a Catholic, leaving the Church during the “Jesus Movement”, and eventually returning to it thirty years later. If you have a question/topic you’re curious about, let me know in the comments.

{Have you ever felt out of place or maybe not quite in sync when it comes to church or faith? Thanks for reading!}