Member since 2003 more or less; Fresh start; New account for 2011; Self studied myself back into Roman Catholicism(Revert:2001) from Bible Christianity/Bible Answer Man/Dr.Walter Martin(1980's).
What I mean by self-study is that I went on the interwebs and compared what the Protestant criticisms against Catholicism were versus what the Catholic Church had to say in its defense. This was a first for me, as I had only previously heard the Protestant criticisms of Catholicism and the Bible verses that supported their arguments. Getting information from one side,is not a fair or accurate way of finding truth however.
This first stage was one of getting information directly from the respective parties, and comparing Bible quotes/verses. Using "Bible alone" ,I found that overwhelmingly, the Catholic Church was hitting the ball out of the park consistently. I was being fair-minded and I was surprised. Although to be fair to Protestantism, the issue of purgatory is not well defined or well supported in the bible as well as "Bible Alone" does not explain the study of Mariology. But, besides that Catholicism was winning some 98% of the contentious issues. Who had more truth?
In the second stage, I looked at Church History, which is more accurately termed the writings of the "Early Church Fathers". These were the writings of prominent early Christians, some of whom were Bishops, some of the earliest Bishops who knew one or more of the apostles, or were even tutored by them. These earliest writings of the Church indicate that the earliest church was Catholic and is almost indistinguishable from our Catholic Church today with some caveats. The caveat being that the Catholic Church developed from an acorn into an oak tree. Some would say, perhaps not with a fair mind, that the young seedling tree does not resemble the might Oak and consequently they are not the same. But most certainly, the development of the church and its doctrines are to be accepted. The Trinity and which books go in the New Testament/Old Testament and more, these are things that came to us over time. Consequently, the development of doctrine is an accepted fact of Protestantism and Catholicism. Some would even venture to say, that within Protestantism, the Rapture theory is a Protestant development of doctrine from the 19th century. Further, that "Sola Scriptura" and "Sola Fide" are also Protestant developments of doctrine defined in the 16th century.
More to the point, issues of purgatory and Mary are elucidated on by the Early Church Fathers. For Mary, prominent Early Church Fathers would be: St. Irenaeus of Lyons (circa 140202),St. Ambrose of Milan (339397), St. Augustine of Hippo(354430),Patriarch Cyril of Alexandria (412444). These things were part of the belief and faith, what was passed on (Tradition) from Christ and/or his apostles. The early church and its bishops did due diligence in passing on verbally their knowledge to their flock and their successors. There is no comprehensive catechism from that time, even the New Testament was in bits and pieces in various churches being read on Sunday. It had not all been collected, the authentic seperated from the spurious, and officially approved until after great persecution(1.A.D. -325A.D.) had subsided and a peaceful period had allowed gatherings of Church officials for this kind of task.Even so an official canon of the Bible did not occur until the 5th century.
The third stage and final stage was reading the "Development of Doctrine" by John Henry Newman which explained how doctrine develops over time,not by stark change or introducing novelty, but by becoming clearer, more insightful, more in depth with truth. Which explains why the early church was not fully formed, but growing into its present form. Well I didnt actually read the book, but looked over its main points on the internet. By this time I was sold, but I did want to to overcome the proposition that some Protestants make that if a church is not exactly like the "Early Church', like theirs is(cough, cough), then its not authentic and man has imposed changes.
This journey took me 2-3 months, basically consuming my weekend time by being on the interwebs. At the end of it, I knew I had to go to confession and re-enter the faith in the Catholic Church.
Raised by wolves, disciplined and educated by nuns, and kneeling at the feet of Mary.
My current Christian/Catholic library at home is nearly some 300 books, maybe half of them read. With a greater part of those read, reviewed up on Amazon. Currently have formally read/studied the Bible(OT/NT)front to back 4 times on my 5th with all kinds of repeated extras and trimmings thrown in. Became a “Conservative” through Rush in his early days on national radio/TVearly 90s. Happened when I noticed that conservative/republican ideals aligned with my personal values and religious upbringing.
Education -- raised by wolves, disciplined & educated by nuns. -Two University degrees :: only rarely interested in communication,debate or a back and forth with others on this venue, but occasionally express myself in these forums although usually not directly to others. i.e. I rarely include or ping others with my comments.
In other words its important enough to me that I say it at times, but its not important that you read it, or that it gets delivered to you personally. Everything I say does not need a recipient. Unlike others(the Boxtrolls), I am not looking for an internet soapbox to trumpet my purported wisdom, enlightenment, opinion, corrections, insults or just plain wrong-headedness to complete strangers, some 10-20+ times a day, delivered directly to their ping/box. A mere etiquette, not being full of myself, which seems to be lacking in many these days especially on this forum. In a nutshell, I try to practice my Christianity instead of just walloping others over the head about it or over various other sundry subjects.
Other than the above, where dull cacophony drowns out intelligent conversation, FR is a great news resource. One that I havent’ found to be out-topped.
(St. Thomas More to Peter Gilles, 1516)
To tell you the truth, I still havent made up my mind whether I shall publish it all. Tastes differ so widely, and some people are so humourless, so uncharitable, and so absurdly wrong-headed, that one would probably do far better to relax and enjoy life than worry oneself to death trying to instruct or entertain a public which will only despise ones efforts, or at least feel no gratitude for them. Most readers know nothing about literature many regard it with contempt. Lowbrows find everything heavy going that isnt completely lowbrow. Highbrows reject everything as vulgar that isnt a mass of archaisms. Some only like the classics, others only their own works. Some are so grimly serious that they disapprove of all humour, others so half-witted that they cant stand wit. Some are so literal minded that the slightest hint of irony affects them as water affects a sufferer from hydrophobia. Others come to different conclusions every time they stand up or sit down. Then theres the alcoholic school of critics, who sit in public houses, pronouncing ex cathedra verdicts of condemnation, just as they think fit. They seize upon your publications, as a wrestler seizes upon his opponents hair, and use them to drag you down, while they themselves remain quite invulnerable, because their barren pates are completely bald so theres nothing for you to get hold of.
Installed 10/16/2013 Free Counter
Sept 10, 2014: finished 4th time reading Bible
Sept 10, 2014: started 5th