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Testimony of a Former Roman Catholic

By

 CM

 

I'm a former Roman Catholic now for 17 years and can surely testify about the lies I was taught as a Roman Catholic, comfortable and appealing lies. Hard for those not raised Catholic to grasp how anybody with common sense can really place any faith in the traditions and rituals of Rome. The average Roman Catholic is downright ignorant about the roots of Catholicism and what it teaches in writing, not to mention Biblically ignorant! I say that charitably but honestly, it's just plain willful ignorance and laziness and refusal to move from that comfort zone.

My own family is still primarily Catholic, and I've shown them time and again factual secular writing (and catholic writing) and history about their beloved Catholic church that doesn't even faze them; they just refuse to believe the truth and sputter and get mad... Myth and tradition have a terrible hold on people, and God help you when you attempt to get through that to show someone the truth.

I should let you know I'm not perfect; I'm divorced for 10 years (my husband "didn't want to be married anymore") and have no children and have certainly had my ups and downs in the local church setting over the years since being saved, though I daily read from my King James Bible no matter what. 

I got saved shortly before we married. My husband had been raised Southern Baptist and was a good bit older than me and had been married before, but I'm sure now, had never taken God seriously (good husband material for a newly saved woman, right?) For a 28 year old woman, I should have been so much smarter than I was and more serious about my future and making the right choices, especially since I'd just gotten saved. He never shared my interest in the Bible and the things of God, though he would play along. I knew all this and married him anyway. I was very foolish and could only think about having children and just was not being honest about the whole situation and my part in it. Though I got saved in a small independent Baptist church, I left that and got married in a big Southern Baptist one, mostly to please others. To make a long story short, we had a very stormy marriage. 

I always worked outside the home (medical transcriber) and he never wanted me to quit work (I would have done so gladly) because he had a lifestyle he wanted to maintain and felt we needed to make as much money as possible. We grew further and further apart, and he spent longer times away from the home. We tried having children (he was never enthused about this), and I found I couldn't. He began to have severe health problems (heart surgery, etc.) which still did not work to turn him to God; he absolutely refused to consider giving up our big expensive home or his other "toys" we didn't need and that I never wanted. I was in church on Wednesdays and Sundays but living a lie to those around me and was miserable. We finally just agreed to call it quits, and when he asked for the divorce, I did not fight it. Our marriage lasted 6 years, and he moved on to wife #3 (!) and divorced her also within two years. 

I've never seriously considered remarriage to anyone. I called myself saved but see now that I was not in obedience by marrying someone I knew would not be the right kind of husband in the first place. As a matter of fact, of course I was in defiance, wasn't I? Yet once married and had my ex-husband been willing to listen to anyone around us (his family, friends, the preacher), I would have been more than willing to stay married (I hated the thought of divorce). We did have some counseling but he wanted out. What a mess, huh? I see now one blessing was we had no children together to be harmed by all this, and while this was hard for me to take at the time, now I accept it and can thank God for the lesson and feel no bitterness (just sadness that I pursued something that was not right in the first place). That was all 10 years ago. I'm still a medical transcriber but now work full time from my home (I have a small one) and live a quiet little life, not always happy with my church life but try to be a help when asked. I do pass out tracts and try to witness. My folks are getting older and live nearby, and I do for them. 

Thinking Back

I'd say I had a "normal" Catholic middle-class upbringing and family. I'm 45 now and the oldest of three, and we all attended parochial school. My folks were hardworking good people, not overly involved in church activities per se but in church on Sundays and holy days, and I was blessed with a happy comfortable childhood. I vividly remember my first communion and confirmation ceremonies, the May processions in honor of "our lady", my Girl Scout troupe (where we worked on our "Marian Award," a special project for catholic Girl Scouts - don't know if that still exists!), etc. I truly have nothing but good memories of my years all through grade school. Our parish was building a new church building, and we had a beautiful big pipe organ, and I loved being in the choir and like most other little Catholic girls went through a phase of wanting one day to be a nun. Back then I never questioned what we were taught and happily accepted what the younger nuns would tell us about this new pope John (this was back in the early 60's) and all the "new changes" he was bringing about in the catholic church. I remember what a big deal it was when the mass went from Latin to English and the priest began to face the people. In particular, I remember being so fond of a little nun who would tell us about "our lady's" childhood and read to us about her from a book (more about this later).

I know now I lived in a closed world, really, in a basically catholic town and suburban neighborhood where everybody we knew and associated with believed the same way so that I never had much exposure to different ways of living or thinking (and certainly never once heard a single testimony from a real Christian in all those years!)

This began to change for me when it came time to go to high school. My folks had both gone to a business/trade high school and had instilled in us kids the desire to "get ahead" by working hard and getting more of a practical education, so unlike most of my grade school classmates who went to the suburban catholic high school, I attended the aforementioned high school where my folks went. I still went to mass on Sundays and holy days and to the CCD classes once a week (for catholic teens not attending catholic high school). I began to meet kids who had had different upbringings and for the first time found out that not everybody was Catholic (but strangely enough also had "good morals"!) I should say I was never afraid to think for myself (despite the fact that I knew the catholic church would prefer we Catholics not read those books not having the Catholic "imprimatur") and was a voracious reader and liked to write and keep a journal,

I started to get antsy at mass on Sundays, wondering why in the world the different priests I would listen to never seemed to have much of a lesson to teach in their sermons, and it seemed strange to me that most priests I ever heard would not even teach much about catholic doctrine but would tell football stories or make jokes (I was always more on the serious side, and this really bothered me).

Once I learned to drive, I began to visit different catholic churches on Sunday, hoping to find a priest who had more of a message, one who would stick to one topic and teach me something as I was sure not getting much from the rest of the mass and could not seem to "feel" the way I used to as a kid. 

My high school years passed this way as did my early 20's - I'd find a mass nearly every Sunday or holy day and attempt to "feel holy" during the service, pray the rosary and long litanies to "our lady" and other saints, give money to the church, do volunteer activities but was always hungry for something more substantial and that made sense, some straight answers. I'd talked to a nice older priest I admired, but he seemed embarrassed when I'd asked him questions about hell or other topics and would more or less pat me on the head and tell me not to be so serious, that I was a good person and just to continue doing what I was doing.

One Sunday (16 years ago now) I got brave and walked into a little independent Baptist church. By this time, on my own, I had collected some different bibles but had not truly read much from them. I had enough sense to walk into that church with one of these Bibles (don't remember if it was my King James version I had that day) and for the first time, I heard a man in a pulpit who spoke with authority and who had a book open in front of him. I was so impressed with this, the fact that everybody in the church had the same book and could follow along as he read and expounded on the verses, and I thought this was wonderful. It made so much sense to me. When he asked if there was anyone there who had never really asked Jesus to be their personal Saviour, I had no trouble walking down that aisle, I just knew I was hearing what I'd been hoping to hear for years and that I was in the right place.

I began to get more even more serious about what I read and couldn't get enough of my King James Bible. I remember feeling such joy as I read Romans 10:17 for the first time. "So then faith cometh by HEARING, and hearing by the word of God"  How can you get saved if you never get to hear the word, and how can you grow? Another one that affected me this same way was Romans 10:14 - "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him OF WHOM THEY HAVE NOT HEARD? and how shall they hear without a preacher?"

One of the first things I remember doing was trying to find that story about "our lady's" childhood and being puzzled about why there wasn't much in my bible about Mary. I remember being shocked that Jesus had half-brothers and sisters and that there was nothing in my bible about Mary ascending into heaven! I was given some of Matthew Henry's commentaries and also began to read more secular and factual history, what an eye opener. I got hold of Hislop's "Two Babylons," and that one really changed my way of thinking about Roman Catholicism and its origins, especially regarding the mother and child depictions, sheer paganism! Oh, and I also found a little book that I believe my favorite nun had read from concerning "our lady's" childhood in the public library one day a few years ago (sorry, can't remember the name of this one, but it was obviously not Bible!)

For me, one of the saddest things the Catholic Church has done and still does is to make Mary something she is not and to take the focus off our Saviour. Two verses that cut me to the quick when I first read them and that made me know instinctively that there was something not right about Catholicism - if I were being honest:

Jeremiah 7:18 - "The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the QUEEN OF HEAVEN, and to pour out their drink -offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger." One of the litanies I used to pray to Mary immediately sprang to my mind, and I also thought of the nuns in convents who support themselves by making communion hosts. This one really made the hair on the back of my neck stand up when I first read it; how could any honest catholic NOT see the roman catholic church here?

Or Matthew 6:7, where Jesus speaks of prayer - "But when you pray, USE NOT VAIN REPETITIONS, AS THE HEATHEN DO: for they think they shall be heard for their much speaking"  Again, I thought of the litanies and all the hail Mary's that make up the rosaries I used to say! 

Hebrews 7:27: "Who needeth NOT daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did ONCE, when he offered up himself." The first time I saw this one, of course I had to ask myself: Then why do Catholics do this over and over again when Jesus did it once for all - why make it as though Jesus' sacrifice wasn't good enough? That's how I saw it. 

I recently tried once again to witness to an old friend of mine, a very devout elderly Catholic who has a special devotion to "our lady." She also remembers the stories we were told as kids about Mary's supposed childhood and got furious with me when I told here those stories were nowhere in the Bible. So you see where a great deal of difficulty lies, that people would rather hang on to their happy childhood stories and memories and traditions than to hear, read and understand the plain literal truth of the Holy Bible, and how hard it is to tear people away from their love of entertainment and passivity.

My prayer is that those of us who have been saved by His grace out of the whore of Babylon can learn to witness effectively to those still caught up in the old stories and myths of Catholicism.

Now, about the "Christian" discussion and talk groups. Being a former Catholic, I was naturally curious about former-catholic websites at first. I found that when I would post to these groups (to be specific, the Roman Catholic Observer) I would get a lot of email from both sides, devout Catholics and those saved out of Catholicism. The eye-opener/snare for me about websites like this one was discovering that those saved (supposedly) out of Catholicism almost always turn out to be charismatic (they really do tend to conceal that). I noticed recently that this site (Roman Catholic Observer) seems to have been taken over by what I'd consider catholic sympathizers (but then again, maybe this site always was just that.) 

The lesson I've learned is that most folks are not narrow way Christians (surprise, surprise!), and woe be unto you if you get serious about earnestly contending for the faith once delivered in the standard
"Christian" discussion groups, in fact, you invite a lot of nastiness from people who claim to be Christian and obviously never crack open their Bibles. So it is confusing at first, then you get discernment - you just learn not to fool with sites that are obviously not narrow way, which is most of them. I realize there are groups strictly for fundamentalists/KJV only but found these tend to be kind of exclusive and local and mostly male, naturally. And even there, I ran into a Baptist lady who home schools her kids and claims she "instant messages" as many as 200 people she considers "friends" every single day (I found that odd). The internet itself actually is worse than the TV, when you come right down to it, if you're not using it for the right reasons. 

I dealt with one former Catholic lady my age recently, supposedly King James only, who still refers me to questionable sites (Hebrew roots/patriotic stuff) even after I found out she was speaking in tongues and had pointed out to her (among other things) that Catholics have been speaking in tongues for years and that in itself should have given her a clue that something HAD to be wrong about it (turns out she's also "teaching Revelations" at her church). Actually, she's one of the more friendly and well-meaning people I've corresponded with, but even with our having had a common upbringing, I can make no headway with her in regard to pointing out the strange connections that exist between some people and groups, and she claims to be KJV only. 

The Scripture that comes to mind when I really doubt myself  - II Timothy 1:7, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" - I like the "sound mind" part in particular.  

By depending on Christ and looking to God's Word for the answers to my many questions,  the Scriptures really did help make me see how lost I was as a Catholic in my "comfortable" rituals. The "word of God IS quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" - Hebrews 4:12. 

It's taken me years to get more narrow and obedient, and I still have a long way to go in my daily Christian walk. I don't know how much other women could truly identify with a lot of what I have to say with my being divorced and having no kids. But I guess if we're truly Christians, we're a peculiar people anyway in this world.

Copyright . All articles are the sole property of SeekGod.ca and Vicky Dillen. All Scripture King James Version unless otherwise stated.

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