What attracts new Catholics?

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4 thoughts on “What attracts new Catholics?”

  1. First, from personal experience, what drew me to the Church was community, the beauty of the liturgy, the emphasis on Jesus Christ, and the realization that this Church was smart enough to evaluate itself and re-tool for engagement with the modern world after Vatican II. What I was hesitant about as someone who was raised more or less Protestant: Mary, the Pope and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

    In the years I worked directly with parish RCIA, I found that for most people, the main draw was other people who were already Catholic – that the people who wanted to join us (whether as catechumens or candidates for full commuion) were doing so because of the influence relatives and friends – in other words, admiration for Catholics they knew, a longing to be part of the community of faith, along with a growing sense of connection with Jesus Christ as the process of formation took place. What took more explanation and catechesis, actually were exactly the three things the Cardinal named.

  2. When you consider what makes Catholicism different from other forms of Christianity, the three things Cardinal Dolan mentioned are pretty high on the list. The only items I would add are the Eucharist and marriage (including divorce and contraception). Those things plus Dolan’s three are definitely the ones that require the most sensitivity and clarity in catechesis, but they’re perhaps the most distinctly Catholic of all the issues of Christianity.

    So, in a sense, Dolan could be right in saying that people who come to Catholicism do so because they believe in those three things. If you find answers to your questions about those issues, how could you not become Catholic? If they didn’t think the sacraments (especially Reconciliation), the pope, and devotion to Mary were important, they might become another kind of Christian—but to get those, you have to be Catholic.

  3. My husband and I both became Catholic in 1998. We were married in 1994, in a Lutheran church. We had our first child early in our marriage, and our second son was born 23 months after the first. In that time, we agreed we’d both felt we’d missed *something* as we were growing up, and that something was God and Church. I’d gone to church (Lutheran) with friends much of my life, off and on. Hubby was “supposed to be” Catholic, but his mother refused to sign the papers agreeing she’d raise her children Catholic & his father… never went to church once they were married.

    So, in 1997, we began our search for a church. We sat down and came up with a list of things we believed in — God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit… that God created everything, that Jesus was his son as well as God himself, that the Holy Spirit is real as well… we were/are pro-life… So naturally our “search” led us to the Catholic Church (that, and hubby “should have been” Catholic from birth, technically).

    Joining our church and going through RCIA, meeting many wonderful and caring friends and mentors, my participation in a 4-year FAMILIA program at the turn of the century, his (and our whole family’s) involvement with the Knights of Columbus, and other stewardship involvement has strengthened and deepened our faith. I LOVE Communion, I LOVE Mary, but they weren’t what initially brought us to the Catholic faith. They are still a very important addition to our choice.

  4. The three things you mentioned..Mary, the confessing to a priest were the three things I had problems with when I began RCIA. I came to the Catholic church because my boyfriend was Catholic and I wanted both of us attending the same church. I was Episcopalian and no longer believed in my church anymore..the women priest, gay marriages. Once ibegan RCIA classes the more I went the more I have found home. My problems with Mary, the Pope and the confession was answered. I feel I have finally found home

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