How to convert from Protestantism to Catholicism

In April 2012, some 200 Anglican worshippers and 20 clergy a week were converting to Catholicism, according to the The Telegraph. Converting to Catholicism from Protestantism is a relatively simple process. However, it can take some time, involve much introspection, demand a fair amount of study and requires full commitment. Therefore, it is important to spend as much time as possible exploring what it means to become a Catholic before taking the plunge.

Visit your local Catholic church, or one you feel comfortable with. Attend a service to get a feel for the difference between Protestantism and Catholicism.

Speak to a priest; tell him you're thinking of converting. Address him as “Father.” He will be typically be sensitive and encouraging -- he will know that some people may be in crisis or turmoil about their faith, so don't worry about approaching him. He will offer an appointment so you can discuss the initial stages of conversion. As a Protestant, you are already a Christian and have been baptised, therefore the process of conversion, known as the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, will be tailored to you as an individual, and will be very different to a person coming to Christianity for the first time.

Begin your program of instruction. A lot will depend upon your previous immersion into Christianity. Someone who is, or was, very in-tune with their faith will probably need less instruction than another, who has had little connection with his or her church.

Make your first confession. You will need to do this prior to receiving the sacrament of reconciliation. This first confession is meant to cover all your mortal sins since birth but it would be very difficult to remember everything, so your priest will help you decide what to confess. You will be given absolution; it is understood that this is for all sins, not just the ones you can remember.

Receive the sacrament of reconciliation. This will take place before your reception into the Catholic church. Your priest will arrange a special mass, known as the Rite of Reception. This will be carefully designed to suit you, and it is common to invite friends and family to attend. Occasionally the Rite of Reception is performed separately from Mass. In that case, the convert's first Mass should take place soon after initiation in order to partake of Communion.

Profess your faith at the Rite of Communion, by stating, “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.” Your priest or, bishop will welcome and receive you into the faith by responding, "(Your name), the Lord receive you into the Catholic Church. His loving kindness has led you here, so that in the unity of the Holy Spirit you may have full communion with us in the faith that you have professed in the presence of his family." It will be unnecessary to undergo baptism, as the Catholic church acknowledges that Protestant baptism is equally as valid as its own.

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About the Author

Beverley Gee began her freelance writing career in 1982. She earned a National Diploma in information technology and business studies at Coleg Glan Hafren, Cardiff, U.K. She has written for several U.K. publications including the "South Wales Echo" and her local newspaper, "The Diary." She is also a qualified reflexologist.