Can I become Catholic?
#1
Hello I am a 33yr old woman who has an unwavering urge to become Catholic. I have many hurdles in my path and want to know if they can be overcome. Here is the background. I was raised and baptized in a Protestant religion but not in the name of "Father, Son and Holy Spirit". I was married at 16 to a baptized man in a Protestant church. I have since divorced this man some time ago and have remarried but not in a church ( justice of the peace). I do not know everything it will take to make these indiscretions right in the eyes of the Holy Church. I long for the acceptance in the only religion that is unchanged and steadfast since it's inception. Can an unworthy woman such as myself become a Catholic and reap the rewards of devout following? Also is it wrong that I pray the rosary and cross myself even though in the eyes of the Lord I am not Catholic? Please any help would be much appreciated. 
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#2
Welcome lostandwanting!

Yes, you can (and should, it seems) become a Catholic.

The dogma has not changed, however, you'll see that since a certain thing happened, people have deviated often, but hopefully you'll find a traditional church, or at least a pious NO church (Novus Ordo, basically, a Mass said in English, but some people have changed a lot).

It is never wrong to pray, and praying the rosary is a great way to gain the knowledge and grace to do right. As St. Louis de Montfort mentions in his book (the Secret of the Rosary), even in mortal sin can the rosary be prayed, if you have the intention to right your life (and we are all imperfect).

Paul became a Church father, and I doubt you (or anyone here) has done anything as extreme as he before he converted, so don't despair (which is a trick of the devil, making you think you aren't able to amend).

I do not know how to become a Catholic, but contacting any priest would set you on the right track.

This chapter would help you on your efforts, I think: http://www.drbo.org/cgi-bin/d?b=drb&bk=47&ch=18&l=13&f=s#x

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#3
Go for it, lostandwanting!!  It is our Lord Jesus Christ who plants in your heart that longing.    Persevere in the daily rosary.  One of the promises of our Lady for those who pray her rosary, is that they will not die without the sacraments. 

There is no obstacle that can not be over come if you sincerely want to come "home."

I will keep you in my prayers.


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#4
To answer your question, YES! Your first marriage will probably be annulled very easily, and then you'll need to get your second marriage convalidated (recognized by the Church, basically paperwork, with a small ceremony).  But I don't think it will keep you from joining the Church (at least, that's my understanding.) It will prevent you from receiving Communion until the Convalidation.  But you're not "living in sin" or anything.  To actually become Catholic, you'll attend RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults).  You'll have to be baptized in the Church if you weren't baptized with the Trinitarian Formula (in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost). It's not really a "rebaptism," but a conditional baptism.  As someone joining the Church myself, I understand having so much to learn and relearn!

EDIT:
I didn't see the above two posts when I wrote this.
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#5
Mozartboy Wrote:EDIT:
I didn't see the above two posts when I wrote this.

That is a sign of a good and helpful forum, when people help as soon as they can. :)
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#6
Hear, Hear!
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#7
You're going to be fine.


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#8
Cross the Tiber, my friend!  
And until you do, keep "crossing yourself" and praying the rosary. Mary is the mother of all of us. Let me share a brief story about St. Martin of Tours, a soldier and martyr who lived in the 4th century. One winter day, before St. Martin had been baptized a Catholic, he saw a naked beggar at the city gate, shivering in the cold. St. Martin immediately took his sword and cut his cloak in two, giving half to the beggar. Later that night, Jesus appeared, wearing the half cloak, saying, "Martin, though a catechumen, has clothed me. Let no one prevent his baptism."
 
Also, re: "reaping the rewards of devout following"...Remember the parable of the laborers in the vineyard. Men were hired at varying times of the day: 6am, noon, 3pm, dusk.. yet the Master gave each of them a whole day's wage. They each received the same reward. Likewise, those who arrive at the door of conversion at the final hour, even their deathbeds, are as rich in God's grace, generosity and mercy, as those who have been practicing their religion all their lives..
 
Your heart is longing for Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist because He has been calling you and now He will not deny you.

- Lisa

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#9
As far as your first marriage goes, that's impossible for any of us to answer with any competency.  There are SOOO many factors to consider.  But I'll tell you this: a lot of protestant marriages are declared invalid in the eyes of Church law (In your case, that is a good thing). It would depend on your details-- and we're not the ones who get to decide that stuff anyway.

As far as your second marriage goes, if the first one is declared null (meaning, you are granted an annulment), then you'll have to go through the process of getting your current marriage recognized by the Catholic Church-- which is probably easier than you think.

Don't let me give you any false confidence though!  While annulments are way more common than they were 50 years ago, Catholics still take the process seriously and judiciously.  But you're not the first person to be in this boat-- your story is remarkably familiar.  :)

The first step for you would be to contact a local Catholic church and tell them what you've told us.  They'll be able to point you in the right direction.

The Diocese of Lexington has a number of good parishes.  Their website is at http://www.cdlex.org/.  You might also check out MassTimes.org to help you locate a parish closest to you.  http://masstimes.org/dotnet/showchurches.aspx?type=CITYSTATERADIUS&q=&country=United+States+of+America&city=Lexington&countrycode=US&statecode=KY
There are also a number of people from an hour away in Cincinnati on this board, so they might know Lexington and be able to give you some pointers.

The people on this messageboard are "Traditional Catholics", which (oversimplification alert!) means that we go to an old form of Catholic Mass said in Latin.  We're also kind of partial to an older way of thinking about Theological matters. :)

There is at least one such Mass in Lexington:
[Image: ppuce.gif]St. Peter's Church (diocese: Lexington)
153 Barr St.
Lexington KY
Masses: Sun. 4.00 p.m. / Mon. to Sat. 7.00 a.m.

They will probably have some good insight for you there too.

God Bless!
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#10
Welcome, Lostandwanting. I really can't add to the great advice you've already gotten, but I didn't want to neglect welcoming you anyway.

And, Lisa--[Image: bawl.gif] That's the sweetest post ever... makes me want to run out and find an RCIA myself [Image: smile.gif]
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