Tonight's subject is Catholicism vs. Protestantism. The speakers, which include myself, are all converts and we will explain why we were drawn to the faith. As my buddy the youth minister put it, the others will give testimony to their personal, loving encounter with Christ whereas I will explain the hard logic of it as I'm a well known stone cold bastard. He jests, but there is some truth to it. When I first considered joining the Catholic Church, I found discussing the matter with Catholics to be unedifying. I wasn't asking technical questions about soteriology or anything. It was basic stuff: "How come you guys pray to Mary?"
"Uhh, I don't know. I don't pray to her."
"Thanks for nothing."
My conversion was very much an intellectual matter. The awesome (in the Shakespearean sense of the word) thing about Catholicism is how quickly it snowballs into firm conviction once you accept even one of its premises. For me, it was the Eucharist. Once you accept the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist, everything else follows. Likewise, if you lose faith in the Real Presence, then you quickly lose the Catholic faith in its entirety. I briefly considered Orthodoxy. Ten years later, I still sometimes gaze longingly upon its consistently beautiful liturgy after coming home from a particularly silly Catholic Mass. For several reasons I decided I couldn't become Orthodox in good faith, so to speak.
The goal of tonight's program is to explain why we should remain Catholic and why Protestants ought to convert. I'll let Pope Pius XI explain why:
“There is no need to insist how foreign it is to the virtue of charity, which embraces both God and men, for the members of Christ’s Church not to think of those unfortunate souls who live in error outside the Fold. Surely the obligation of charity, which binds us to God, demands not only that we strive to increase by every means within our power the number of those who adore Him ‘in spirit and in truth’ but also that we try to bring under the rule of the gentle Christ as many other men as possible in order that ‘the profit of his blood’ may be the more and more fruitful and that we may make ourselves the more acceptable to Him to Whom nothing can possibly be more pleasing than that ‘men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.'”