If you are a consistent reader of my blog, you may know a little of my background. I grew up Roman Catholic. Long story short … I left the church a year after I started college. I joined a Southern Baptist Church and soon after left a path that was going to lead me to medical school to become a psychiatrist (granted that is if I got into med school). I became a Southern Baptist minister, lay at first and eventually ordained. Computers have made my memory poor, but I believe I remained in SBC churches for 6 or 7 years.
I returned to Roman Catholicism back in 2006 for a variety of reasons. I sometimes get questions as to what the main thing that lead me back was, and my typical answer is that is never just one thing. Some of my reasons were ones that I would consider to be intellectual; however, some issues were more mixed with emotion. This is not really my point here. It is just that when I returned to the Roman Catholic Church I expected that it would be problematic for many people.
Over the last 3 or 4 years I have found that people don’t really care all that much or at least not enough to ask me about my decision. I have seen a number of members of churches where I once ministered, three within the last half a week or so to be exact. And, the fact that I am now Catholic doesn’t really seem to make any difference whatsoever to them. For all of the talk in the churches where I ministered about Catholics believing that salvation is through works and thus are set to perish for all eternity (at least by some very vocal people), most people really don’t seem to care all that much.
I think that there are probably two things going on. For the most part, I simply don’t think that most people that were in the churches where I ministered buy into the idea that Catholics believe salvation is by works and are thus set to perish for all eternity. And, this is for very good reason since that is a caricature of what Catholics actually believe. The second thing that I think is at work is that many people in the congregations that I was in are comfortable talking about Roman Catholicism, just not with a Roman Catholic (especially one that was trained at a Southern Baptist seminary and probably knows a lot more about their own beliefs than they themselves do).
In the 3 or 4 years since I have left evangelical Protestant life, I’ve probably only had conversations with two or three people (tops) that have in any way taken issue with my decision. Not that I’m complaining. It’s somewhat heartening to find that people do not feel you’re in league with the devil. It’s just not what I expected.