Before moving to New York City, I met very few Protestants who were interested in becoming Roman Catholic . But I've met quite a few here in NYC. It's got me thinking. Becoming a Catholic is a very serious business and ought not to be treated lightly. I think that the Catholics themselves would say that. And I would agree, but for entirely different reasons.
I can't imagine doing it, and I'm troubled by it. There is too much extra stuff there that I couldn't bring into my heart -- there is too much theological, soteriological, ecclesiological, pastoral, and political stuff. But I won't go into that now. Instead, I have been trying to work out what the appeal is.
What would make you do it?
Now this is all a bit of fun (so please don't take this too seriously), but I reckon that there are at least six kinds of Protestants interested in the Roman Church:
1. Rebellious Protestants – who kind of reject their Spartan evangelical upbringing and enjoy telling their parents during summer vacation that they are now going to mass!
2. Mystery Protestants – who kind of reject the hype and loudness and 'certainty' of their Protestant church, and seek to simply sit in quiet mystery for a moment.
3. Unity Protestants – who are confused about the 100,000 different options and splits that the Protestants are famous for! 'If you don't like it, then start another church' stuff! And these Protestants find some assurance in the fact that Rome at least has the appearance of unity – even if he has to live in Rome.
4. Historical Protestants – who simply admire that the denomination is older than their pastor! :)
5. Political Protestants – who find the stand of Rome against some things inspiring: like abortion and euthanasia and ordaining women as priests.
6. Admiring Protestants – who admire one or more particular Roman Catholics (Like Richard Neuhaus, or Henri Nouwen or some friends maybe) and seek to find out what 'they have that I don't have'.
Have I missed anyone in my list?