About Catholic conversion zeal
#1
Hello to all. This is my first post here. I have an interesting question and would like your opinion. 

Years back when I became interested in Christianity and confronted the spiritual issues that all Christians face, I first went to some Evangelical meetings. They were highly enthusiastic. They took my number, called me, showed concern for my 'process', and kept after me.

Later, I showed the same interest in making a conversion to Catholicism and -- this genuinely surprised me -- got very cool responses. No one 'took my number', no one showed much interest, no one called, no one followed up. 

Do you-plural have insight into this? Is there something about conversion to Catholicism specifically that I am not understanding? 

I guess the question is: Should those who hear of a person's desire to convert act with dedication and zeal to bring them into the fold? Or, should they remain somewhat cool and aloof to be sure that the converting one is sincere and dedicated?

I will reveal more about my own situation as this thread proceeds. I am genuinely interested in your opinion.
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#2
It's been my experience that if someone truly has a desire to convert, they'll do what's needed, and not rely upon the enthusiasm of others. Far too many (and this is not exclusive to those converting to Catholicism, but just about any 'group' nowadays) have this feeling that everything should be a McDonald's drive through, where one just sits there, not even leaving one's car, and is handed their food after the exchange of money. It's a condition of our instant-gratification society. To be clear, I'm not suggesting that this directly applies to your situation. However, and again based upon my experience, one gets out of something what one puts into it, and when there is someone else always lighting the fire, it's just not the same.

On top of all of that, I also think that this process is quite different from parish to parish. What you may be experiencing now at one parish may be done totally different at another parish right down the road.
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#3
It's great to feel enthusiastic, but feelings are fleeting and easily manipulated. I think a lot of folks are looking for that exhilaration, the emotional aspect of it, and like an adrenaline junky move on to something else when the rush fades.
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#4
Thumbs Up 
I think Lyle Bright has a good point. Although I am not a convert, I know it can be a pretty traumatic experience for some. 

If the convert is moving from a different religion to Catholicism then it's a good possibility that their social structure is going to be messed up, and since a good social/support structure is something so important for our wellbeing, the loss of this can leave one very disoriented. Because of this, I think we need to be not necessarily enthusiastic/emotional over someone's conversion, but rather present, and this includes doing some of the things Lyle brought up, like exchanging numbers and just in general not leaving a potential convert alone in their transition (or after their conversion). 

I think this is the real issue that Lyle was talking about.
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#5
Interesting replies. I will give a bit more information to fill out what I experienced. First, I am a N American living outside the US in Colombia. My 'conversion process' has come about over a longish period of time. About 2 years back I came to the realization that I wanted to undergo a conversion. Concurrently I had been researching in considerable depth Catholic philosophy through wide reading. I became interested in traditional Catholicism. For example I like a great deal of what Fr Ripperger says and his Thomist orientation, especially Thomist psychology. 

But there is no traditional community here that I am aware of. There is in Bogotá however. I have to say that all Catholic ceremonial in my region is rather insipid. I do not wish to seem critical. But it is noisy, not meditative, and hardly inspiring. 

My first experience when I began to seek conversion was surreal. I made an appointment with a priest in Cali (though I live 4 hours away), sat down with him, explained my background (which includes having lives for a time in India with my parents who explored eastern modes of religion), and my present reasons for desiring to convert to traditional Catholicism. He listened attentively and to my surprise expressed the most interest in my 'exotic' past. Then he suggested that I read some of his writings which he sent by email. Essays on esoteric topics dealing on the 'oroboros' and all manner of strange, arcane matters, a little psycho-babbley. I have no idea what he was on about. 

There was no mention of anything particularly -- or remotely perhaps I should say -- Christian in all of this writing. Nor of salvation, the Sacraments, ethical life, nothing. It shocked me. It also seemed deeply ironic. He further explained that he was not just 'modernist' but ultra-modernist and that 'the church must change' (adapt). I asked if he knew any traditionalists and he said no, that when they met they tended to clash, using the gesture of two fists striking to make his point.

As I say it was surreal. I understood then what modernism meant (means) in the Church. The only recommendation he could make was to seek out Opus Dei . . .

The other encounter I had was by reaching out to La Fraternidad Sacerdotal San Pío X and speaking to a traditionalist priest. Certainly friendly and attentive, he asked a few questions and recommended reading a catechism. After one or two email, nothing more.

I do not want to make it sound as though I judge him for not showing more 'follow-through' yet it did occur to me that -- and this could be a Latin American thing -- there was little indication of encouragement and no follow up.

True, I should have pressed forward, but I have to confess that I am a little bit disheartened. I have been thinking it might be better to approach a priest in the States where, I am relatively certain, I would receive more overt help.

This is why I thought I would ask if in Catholicism there is a sort of rule not to encourage conversion but to wait until the one desiring conversion really demonstrates they won't take no for an answer (to put it dramatically).

I have not taken decisive action because -- if you'll permit me to say it like this -- I have not received what I consider to be proper responses. I am not sure if I make sense here. Sometimes a path does not open up and there are reasons.
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#6
(08-23-2019, 11:38 AM)Bonaventure Wrote: It's been my experience that if someone truly has a desire to convert, they'll do what's needed, and not rely upon the enthusiasm of others. Far too many (and this is not exclusive to those converting to Catholicism, but just about any 'group' nowadays) have this feeling that everything should be a McDonald's drive through, where one just sits there, not even leaving one's car, and is handed their food after the exchange of money. It's a condition of our instant-gratification society. To be clear, I'm not suggesting that this directly applies to your situation. However, and again based upon my experience, one gets out of something what one puts into it, and when there is someone else always lighting the fire, it's just not the same.

On top of all of that, I also think that this process is quite different from parish to parish. What you may be experiencing now at one parish may be done totally different at another parish right down the road.

I agree strongly with what you say. I have a strong will and so when I make a choice I will act on it. But I am uncertain if conversion should be an event of one's will. This is sort of what I am getting at. I used the word 'enthusiasm' which has an unfortunate connotation. Allow me to change to encouragement or welcoming.

As to the fast-food analogy: I was more hoping to be given arduous tasks!
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#7
Ok, I see what you mean now. I've met priests like the ultra-modernist you mentioned. Sorry you had that encounter.

From what I've seen, even welcoming parishes take it slow. I returned to the Church a few years ago and went through months of catechism classes before I received my Confirmation, I was already baptized and received first communion. Folks starting fresh attend even more classes to ensure they know what they're getting into.

Considering my parish only offers one RCIA class a year, it's not quick and easy to receive the Sacraments. They're friendly and helpful, but not overly so.

I think the slow approach, one that doesn't pressure you, is a smart one. Perhaps the traditional priest didn't want to come off too pushy.
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#8
(08-23-2019, 01:32 PM)Lyle Bright Wrote: As I say it was surreal. I understood then what modernism meant (means) in the Church. The only recommendation he could make was to seek out Opus Dei . . .

Do not walk, but run away from that priest.

(08-23-2019, 01:32 PM)Lyle Bright Wrote: The other encounter I had was by reaching out to La Fraternidad Sacerdotal San Pío X and speaking to a traditionalist priest. Certainly friendly and attentive, he asked a few questions and recommended reading a catechism. After one or two email, nothing more.

After reading through the suggested catechism, I would contact that priest again, and tell him in no uncertain terms that you understand the undertaking (assuming you actually do) and that you are ready and willing to begin the process of conversion.

P.S.: Buena suerte!
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#9
Here are some FSSP locations in Columbia.  I have no idea how proximate they are to you.

http://www.fssp.org/en/find-us/where-are-we/

They have a location in Anolaima, Cundinamarca - Colombia

   
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#10
(08-26-2019, 09:36 PM)MiserereMeiDeus Wrote: Here are some FSSP locations in Columbia.  I have no idea how proximate they are to you.

http://www.fssp.org/en/find-us/where-are-we/

They have a location in Anolaima, Cundinamarca - Colombia

I'd also add that the SSPX has three chapels in Columbia :

Priorato San Ezequiel Moreno Díaz
Carrera 18 nº 35-33, Barrio Teusaquillo
Santa Fé de Bogotá
Tel.: +57 (1) 245-4804

Capilla San José
Calle 20 nº 25-35, Barrio San Francisco, Bucaramanga
Tel.: +57 (7) 645-6169

Oratorio Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro
Carrera 46 #66-72 Simon Bolivar, Itagüi
Medellín

Depending on how far you can travel, these might give you added options.

If you're not close enough to any of these, perhaps either the SSPX or FSSP could recommend a good priest in your area.
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