The First Step Back
This post is the first of four posts detailing my reasons for returning to the Catholic Church. I wrote “Journey Home” to explain my decision and give people the chance to ask me sincere questions about this decision. I will make every effort to answer all sincere questions.
On a very cold Thursday morning, December 15, 2016, in St. Louis, I walked up the steps to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis to make my first confession in 29 years. A confirmed cradle Catholic, I left the church after my high school graduation in June 1987 with no intention of returning to the Catholic or any church. Yet almost thirty years later, I made my first tentative steps back to the faith of my childhood.
The journey began four years earlier in late 2012. The church I attended with my wife for almost 8 years adopted a program based on the church growth and purpose driven movements. By 2012, I was strongly involved in the leadership of this church. I watched over the next few years as many families left the church, while others stayed. We eventually decided to leave.
As I struggled with these changes, I researched many of the movements in the Christian Church. At first, I started following the teachings of the conservative Lutherans and Reformed Churches. I almost became a Lutheran but just didn’t feel God was leading me there.
The second blow to shake my faith was the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump and the embracing of his definitively un-Christian campaign tactics by so many Christian leaders. It was actually at a prayer service at the Baptist Church my son was attending before the 2016 Presidential Election that led me back to the church I believe was founded by Jesus and the Apostles.
I was discussing with another Christian about my daughter coming home during a tough patch in her life. I said it made me feel good that she wanted to come home. When she was younger, she would often push all my buttons but I felt I was paying penance then for what I had done to my stepdad, who raised me. He laughed and said, “Well, I don’t believe in that.”
I thought about for a second and thought, “What does it matter if we believe it or not, if it is true.” It hit me right then that what was missing in all the Protestant churches. Protestant churches have no real authority to decide sound doctrine and heresy. Protestants often spends hours engaged in arguments over doctrine but no one has the authority to proclaim what is true. After enough disagreement, the groups split and form their own churches or denominations.
I believe God ordained an authority, the Catholic Church, with the ultimate authority resting in the Holy Father as the occupant of the See of Peter. Without this authority, you can be blown by every wind of doctrine.
I went home, started listening to EWTN and researching my childhood faith. I was off a few days during a surgery in November, which allowed me more time to study. By mid-December, I was ready to return. To fully practice the faith, we need Scripture, Tradition and the Magesterium.
However, I felt so guilty, I almost chickened out. It took rereading some texts from my youngest sister to go through with it. Ten minutes later, I was back home. Thank God for leading me back to the faith of my fathers and mothers.
If you have questions, you can reach out to me in the comments below, on email or through social media. God Bless.
Read the second post here.