June 13, 2008

My Conversion, Part 3

Parts 1 and 2.

Part 3 starts with me deciding that maybe Christianity and this God guy aren't so bad, after all (and being utterly shocked when my husband shares that he feels the same). I went to the local Christian bookstore and bought a New Testament only bible. I also ordered a simple women's bible study, and started posting in the Christian threads of the message board I went to.

My husband was very firm in his desire to be Catholic. He stopped by a local Catholic Church after work a lot and talked with the priest, bringing home a lot of books the priest had given him. I was shocked but tried to be supportive. He wanted me to convert with him, but I was very resistant. As I said in my journal at that time- "I aboslutely believe someone or something was looking out for us wrt Riley...but I'm also a complete bleeding heart liberal and I don't know how I could rectify that with some of the more conservative aspects of catholicism (specifically homosexuality and abortion)." My friends on that journal were supportive and assured me I could convert and ignore the things I didn't like, pointing me towards groups like Catholics For Choice. The thought of converting but ignoring major parts of a religion's belief system didn't sit well with me, though. But, I was also still assuming at this time that the Church opposed abortion and homosexuality because she hated gays and women, which is the typical liberal rhetoric.

My husband went to Mass alone at first. I tried going to a Unitarian Universalist congregation for awhile. The people were nice enough, but it certainly felt empty. I found it hard to feel energized about the concept of doing "what felt right," since that's what I had been doing my whole life and it hadn't gotten me anywhere. So I agreed to start attending Mass as a family. In November of that year I agreed to enroll our oldest daughter in Catholic pre-school, but I still had no plans to convert myself and was still very adamantly pro-choice. I was also realizing around this time that while it would be easy to church shop and find someplace that would tell me what I wanted to hear, it was intellectually dishonest at best, and spiritual suicide at worst.

I can't really pinpoint where the change in my heart started. I'm sure going to Mass every week helped. I also started reading the books the priest had given my husband, including the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Catholicism and Reason. The more I read about the history of the Church and Scripture, the more I started to feel that maybe there was such a thing as absolute truth. I agreed to attend RCIA classes with my husband, knowing that it didn't mean I had to convert. So in March of 2006 we went through the Rite of Acceptance and officially became Catechumens. During this time I started reading the Church's actual stance on things like abortion and homosexuality, instead of the liberal interpretations of the Church's stance, which was a huge help (what? The Church DOESN'T hate women and homosexuals! Wow!)

That's really it, which seems anti-climatic, doesn't it? It was a gradual process that occurred over a couple of years as I read and studied Church history and doctrine. There was no big "moment." There were "moments" regarding other things, such as feminism (reading about Pope John Paul II's feminism was a HUGE "A-HA" moment for me- I realized that what I had been searching for in liberalism and 3rd wave feminism could only be found in the Catholic Church, but that's another post!) I also had a conversion from pro-choice to pro-life that contained some "moments" (thanks in large part to having a child with disabilities and taking Biology 101; again, another post). But overall, the Spirit worked in me, slowly, persistently, breaking down the walls I had built up and illuminating my soul as well as my mind. Catholics call it "coming home" and I certainly can't think of a better way to put.


allyouwhohope said...

I LOVE conversion stories. I think they show God truly at work and are so miraculous. Thank you for sharing yours!

By the way, I enjoyed your last post about taking your children to adoration. I know it was probably tough, but God was definitely smiling down on you for trying!

erin said...

katie, i love your blog, and have adored reading your conversion story. you tell it beautifully.
hope to read more soon about your little "moments". i'm gonna go ahead and request a post about your pro-choice to pro-life conversion. :)

i can't believe the babies are three months old already!

Steven said...

Don't forget about "fun with contraception!" Good old LJ...


This has been a fascinating read, and I'm glad that you have had the courage to accept the grace of humility to be able to get to this point. You're always in my prayers!

(Jana under Steve's email address because I'm too lazy to go sign into my own)

Katie said...

Ah yes! Actually I was just reading over all the posts you made to me about contraception the other night, you're so smart! And they're still very helpful. Whenever I do a post on contraception, is it okay if I quote you?

Anne Marie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anne Marie said...

Thanks for posting your conversion story. I really enjoy them too. That realization sudden or gradual that absolute truth exists in this world is so liberating. I was so grateful for being relived of the burden of having to be the arbiter of my own truth.

Your point about learning what the Church teaches vs. what the liberal agenda claim she teaches really rings with me too. Sometimes when I hear the Church attacked either by other Christians or by the liberal agenda I feel like scratching my head and wondering out loud, “how is it that you folks call black white and visa versa”? Then it occurs to me that they most likely are making assumptions without bothering to learn what the Church actually teaches.

Steve Ray loves to post conversion stories on his web site. If you are interested e-mail it to him and he will get it up there. Here's his web site.


(I had a little posting trouble on the last one)

catherine said...

I have really enjoyed reading your conversion story - esp. about going from pro-choice to pro-life. I can really relate - if anyone had told me when I was marching on Washington for a prochoice rally that one day I would be pro-life I would have thought they were crazy.

As a cradle Catholic, I am humbled when I hear about people choosing to be Catholic and I realize what a gift I have been given.

And those "a-ha!" moments - I've had a few of those myself!

Thanks for sharing your story!

Terry said...

The Fatima prayer strikes again!

You are right: It would be great if GW were to become Catholic. At the very least, it would temper him.

Good old Jesus Camp. I tried to find the clip where she says the GWB brings credibility to Christianity, but had to settle for the article. From my understanding, they don't consider Catholics to be Christian...or, at least, good Christians.

I might have to post my conversion story as well. Its not very interesting, though.

Warren said...

Thank you for posting your conversion story. I am always fascinated, moved, and brought closer to God by reading stories like this.

I particularly love the "athiest" conversions, because as a semi-intellectual type guy, I see a lot of similarities in my own story to that of ex-athiests. I was maybe somewhat of an agnostic in highschool.

My story is more Evangelical/Fundamentalist to Catholic, with a slight side trip to Agnostic, and a brief intelectual flirtation with Bahaii.