I have decided, after a long time of searching and studying, to join the Roman Catholic Church.
Because after studying its teachings, I found I believe them, basically.
However, it’s not simply an intellectual decision, as that’s not enough for life. We must be right mind, heart, soul and strength. Therefore I checked out Catholic life myself by attending a mass, which is the centre of the Church’s life, and found it felt remarkably honest and sacred.
I’ve found almost all other Churches I’ve visited either quite lifeless or shallow, but the Catholic Church had humble and profound life to it. I always found Church wasn’t satisfying enough, but I assumed that was because it was too centralised around the minister/reverend/pastor/priest. But then I found that those more group based were perhaps more shallow in their teaching. But the Catholic mass is satisfying.
I was aware that they believed we were in the presence of God, even though I wasn’t yet sure (of the real presence in the Eucharist).
The complete story of this decision is long, and the arguments and thoughts leading to the decision are many. I can’t share them now.
Becoming a Catholic is frightening to me, because it means change, and because it means having an authority over me (and on many matters an infallible one). Change is always scary, but that’s ok. Authority scares me, because I fear either I’ll disagree on something, and have to submit my intellectual independence, or worse, that I’ll disagree on something and be a heretic, either privately or publicly, and so be separated from the Church. Having so many definitive answers is a great attraction because I love to learn, but also a drawback for my love of intellectual independence (and perhaps pride). On the other hand, having the responsibility to build my own religion was terrifying, because I don’t want to ever be wrong, or be led to start my own Church.
But I believe I will be able to accept the Church’s teaching if a conflict ever arises, because I trust it will be right, and will wait to find a correction for whatever convincing theory I may have found. It is not intellectually dishonest to not accept certain findings if they contradict others, and seeking corrections is good method.
Speaking of authority, I’m not entirely sure how this will influence my beliefs regarding anarchism, however, I expect any development to be positive, and the Catholic anarchists Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day (and the Catholic Worker movement they began) were a major inspiration for me to look into Catholicism.
It is very strange to no longer be the head of my own religion, believing I’m right everywhere I’ve made up my mind. And it’s very odd to me, to no longer be an expert on such things, but just another person believing a long explained truth. I have so much more to learn, and so much less to figure out on my own. I now have nearly two thousand years of thought to look to.
I really look forward to being baptised and entering the Catholic Church, and with the Church increasing to Christ in all things.
Thank you for reading and may God bless you thoroughly.