Charlie's Blog: A Catholic Stranger in a Protestant Land

7.28.2015

A Catholic Stranger in a Protestant Land


Whenever I’m asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one. To be able to recognize a freak, you have to have some conception of the whole man, and in the South the general conception of man is still, in the main, theological. That is a large statement, and it is dangerous to make it, for almost anything you say about Southern belief can be denied in the next breath with equal propriety. But approaching the subject from the standpoint of the writer, I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted.
FLANNERY O'CONNOR

My wife asked me to write this essay. I can only write it as a stream of consciousness because I don't really know what it is that I want to say in this essay. It's nice to have a thesis to hang your words on, but this post has no thesis. I begin these things wherever I am and hope I end up someplace good. So, where do I begin?

My experience with religion began at an early age when I was invited by my elementary schoolteacher to attend the humble Baptist church up the road from our home. My parents were not religious as they remain to this day. This was a strange thing, and it deserves comment because it colors my perspective on things to the present day. My parents are Baby Boomers and like almost all Boomers I encounter, they have little to no use for religion. I can only hope and pray this changes before they die and have to answer for their sins. I look to John Wayne as hope because he was a hard man who converted to Catholicism shortly before he died. Conversion is hard not because people can't admit that they are sinners but because they can't admit that they are going to die.

I've known that I was going to die from an early age. I had family members die in a terrible plane crash when I was six years old. I lost two cousins in that tragedy. I remember getting my cousin's bike, and my dad repainted it a different color as if that changed the fact that I rode a dead child's bike. It did not disturb me as I put a lot of time on that bike. But I never forgot that I rode a dead child's bike. And I could be dead at any moment as well. Everything I was to become in life goes back to that bike because it produced in me a depth and seriousness about things that really matter. My younger brother was too young to process the tragedy, so he went down the shallow path which he remains on to this day. I was always on the deep path. Knowing that you are going to die will do that to you.


Going to that humble Baptist church affected me because it touched on that deepness in my thoughts for the first time. It was the first time people told me that there was something beyond this world, and we needed to get ready. I read the Bible stories book we had at home and an old black leather King James Bible with the words of Christ in red. I was fascinated by those red words. They burned so hard--way harder than those black words. Then I told a lie to my old man, and he called me out on it. I was a sinner. I felt so ashamed, but there it was. I knew. In hindsight, I know this was Providence, and these things were my first brush with the Divine. I was not Christ-centered yet. But I was Christ-haunted.

My parents were not religious. They were fine with religion in its place if it made me a good little boy and kept me out of trouble. Parents always want their children to benefit from religion even if they crap all over it themselves. My parents crapped all over it. They were evil. I cannot say they were particularly worse than other parents. They were simply typical of their corrupt generation that rejected the values and religion of their parents. I would come to embrace that religion of my grandparents, and my parents did their best to beat it back out of me. They probably regretted letting me go to that little Baptist church, but it was too late. I had become the goad to their conscience, and I took the licks they wanted to lay on the Almighty. When you can't spit in God's face, just find a little kid and spit in his face instead. God will get the message.


I embraced the Baptist religion. I declared myself a born again Christian at age 13. I read the Bible, and I went to church. I would watch Billy Graham on the TV set, and I was glad that such a man like that existed. He was a good man. Billy Graham and Andy Griffith are awesome for forming the conscience of a child. My old man had abdicated the moral authority in our home because you can't be truly moral without God. God is everything. If I have any advice to fathers out there, it would be this. Go to church. Read the Bible. Pray. Whatever your failings maybe as a man, don't fail on this thing. If you love God even imperfectly, that love will cover a multitude of sins.

I took to the evangelical flavor of Protestantism because it was all I had. It was deficient, and I knew it. But the Baptist religion was all I knew and would know in those days. I believe God works in those churches. God works in many places. I am fond of that verse that says that he reaps where he did not sow. I don't know if I have it theologically correct, but I believe that God judges, rewards, and punishes relative to the knowledge that each person is given.


I would run with the Baptist thing until college when I began to read further on religion. When I was in high school, I had my first encounter with Flannery O'Connor when I read "Good Country People" for an English class. I found the story fascinating and disturbing. It was the best thing I had ever read in high school, and I never forgot that story. Then, in college, they had an entire class on her. I had to take the class, and I did. It was that class that taught me that Flannery was devoutly Catholic. This blew my mind because I had read that initial story with the impression that she was some nihilistic atheist. I read everything that O'Connor wrote that semester, and she became and remains my favorite writer of all. At the same time I was reading O'Connor, I had a friend who introduced me to the writings of John Calvin. Unfortunately for me, I listened to Calvin instead of O'Connor.

There is one thing I learned from my Baptist/Evangelical/Protestant world. The Roman Catholic Church was bad. I was taught that the Church of Rome was the Whore of Babylon. Popes, bishops, and priests were in league with the Devil. They all conspired to delude the faithful, and they would have won except for the heroic defiance of Martin Luther and the other Protestant reformers. Now, I was no fan of John Calvin because I knew he taught about the doctrine of predestination which evangelicals reject. But my Calvinist friend "cured" me of my aversion to this doctrine that I thought made God out to be a really bad guy. What my friend taught me was what he still teaches today. You are worse than you think you are. In other words, you and all human beings are so utterly wicked and loathsome that we are unable to even make a choice to do even one good thing which is to believe in God. I knew I was a sinner, and I could not be saved apart from God's grace. What I learned from Calvin was that I was so sinful as to not even have free will. This is a heresy, but I swallowed the bait and the hook. I would become a rabid Calvinist.


Calvinism is not fun. It produces in you a profound self-hatred and a general misanthropy. If it has any virtue, it tends to not care to evangelize since God will save who He will and damn the rest. But it does offer one comfort. It lets you relax a bit on the holiness pursuit. This was one of my chief frustrations with being a Christian. I wanted to do better, but I couldn't. I tried really hard, but I did not have the ability to make progress towards anything like sanctity. Calvinism let me quit that project. I didn't have to try so hard because I was always going to be a failure. There are no Protestant saints. There are definitely no Calvinist saints.

Becoming Calvinist gave me something else I lacked as a Baptist and an evangelical. I finally had a sense of history. Evangelicals tend to live in a strange world where the gap between the first century and today is a void. Somehow, God fumbled the ball for 1500 years before ol' Marty Luther got hit with an epiphany about faith alone. Even then, not much is said about the Reformation as we fast forward to Billy Graham and Campus Crusade for Christ. The sad fact is that the only reason I knew about Martin Luther was because of my high school history class. Luther was never mentioned in my Baptist church. In fact, I couldn't even tell you where the Baptist church came from. When I became a Calvinist, a huge gap was filled in my knowledge. I learned church history and theology. It was the wrong information and terribly slanted, but it had two effects on me. The first is that it gave me a firmer foundation to stand on. The second was that it gave me a reason to hate the Catholic Church.

To be a Calvinist is to be intensely anti-Catholic. Even atheists don't hate the Catholic Church as much as Calvinists. Today, Catholics find all sorts of ecumenical efforts among Anglicans and Lutherans yielding fruit. But Calvinism is a desert. Luther merely left the church, but Calvin sought to sanitize it of the last speck of Roman corruption. Much of the Protestant hatred of Catholicism and the mythmaking against the Catholic Church comes from Calvin.

I would take the Calvinist trip into the Presbyterian Church and all the way to seminary as I studied to become a minister. Then, after a year, the Calvinist trip ended in tragedy as my world was rocked when my friend and housemate at seminary committed suicide. I found his body. It was a shock to me since any other tragedy would have been mere adversity to overcome. But when a fellow believer kills himself, it makes you question those beliefs. His reasons for killing himself will remain a secret that I will keep except to say that he was filled with immense self-hatred reinforced and amplified by Calvinism. The lesson I took away from that incident is that religion can kill. I withdrew from seminary and lost myself in a dark world of disbelief and atheism.

I have wondered many times why God allowed me to go through that, and I don't know why any of that happened except that it rescued me from being a heretic and leading others down that same path. Becoming an atheist felt like fresh air after being a Calvinist because I could stop hating other people and also stop hating myself. I don't recommend atheism, but that move felt refreshing in the same way that stepping out of a 110 degree car into 95 degree weather feels like stepping into an air conditioned room.

Atheism had a flattening effect on my soul. It's like drinking Coke that has lost the fizz. Life is the same, but you lose the joy. This is because atheism teaches that you came from nothing, and you will return to nothing. All there is in life are a few momentary pleasures that never satisfy. Sartre referred to it as "nausea," but it feels more like numbness. This lead to me being more radical and provocative because the conflict I created would give a little jolt to the numbness. This was also when I declared that the opposite of happiness was not depression but boredom. I would not say that today. The opposite of happiness is despair.


I would spend over a decade as an atheist. Atheists who knew me declared that I was never really an atheist, but the truth is that I was more unbelieving than they were. Many of them were rebelling against a Christian upbringing, but I had been far down the path by my own choice. Once you know a road leads to a dead end, you don't take it again. Protestants would try and convert me not realizing that I knew their faith better than they did. And when I became Catholic, I think they preferred that I had remained an atheist. And this, Gentle Reader, is but the prologue to what I was getting at.

There is only one true and complete religion, and this is the religion of Jesus Christ. There is only one true church that remains faithful to this religion, and this is the Roman Catholic Church. All other churches are but copies of this One True Faith. Protestantism is a cruel joke played upon the faithful that was cooked up by that heretic Martin Luther. Luther simply kicked open the door and a parade of heresies and bad ideas marched out such that he almost certainly regretted what he had done by the end of his life. My life was merely a microcosm and a miniature replay of Western Civilization ending in nihilistic atheism which is where we find ourselves today. I suspect that God allowed me to experience these errors so that I would know them inside and out when I converted. The world is being crushed under these errors.

My knowledge of Catholicism was scant, and the only time I ever contemplated becoming Catholic was all the way back when I was reading Flannery. So, why didn't I become Catholic then? The answer is simple. I didn't know any better. To be Protestant is to be lied to. You are told that Catholics are a superstitious lot given to worshipping statues and the Virgin Mary. My vision of the Catholic Church was of a ship encrusted with the barnacles of heresy such that it was no longer recognizable as the church that Jesus founded.


For me, Flannery O'Connor and Catholics like her had a personal relationship with Jesus but had the misfortune of being in the wrong church. I believed in the invisible church of Christ which is the belief of a church within a church. This is stupid nonsense, but it was a way for me to explain how some hypocritical Catholics weren't so hypocritical and sincerely loved Jesus. Their faith was authentic in spite of their church. Since we are saved by "faith alone," I figured God would be merciful to these poor ignorant folk. I never contemplated that I was the one who was poor and ignorant.

It was easier for me to convert from atheism to Catholicism than it was from Protestantism to Catholicism. After ten years as an atheist, I was beyond caring about whether or not Catholicism or Protestantism was the authentic Christian faith. So, when I was introduced to Catholicism through my wife, I concluded while I was an atheist that Peter and Paul and all those apostles were totally Catholic. When you don't have to look at the Bible through the scratched lens of Protestantism, it is pretty plain to see that those early Christians were totally Catholic.


The reality that Catholicism was true Christianity was a moot point for me. I was an atheist. It was like finding out an old girlfriend had been cheating on you during the relationship ten years after you broke up with her and had moved on. It was an interesting fact but of no consequence to someone who considered Christianity to be a fraud and a sham regardless of what flavor that Christianity might be. But I envied the faith of my wife. I was also a know-it-all, yet I had to admit that her viewpoint on things made way more sense than my own. This is because her worldview was essentially Catholic. My wife had the same spirit I had discovered in Flannery O'Connor two decades ago. So, how did I move from atheism to Catholicism? I moved exactly one inch. God did all the rest.

I never wanted to be an atheist. Had my friend not committed suicide or had died in some other manner, I would have continued on my Calvinist path. But the tragedy painted in my mind a picture of God that I found horrifying. I saw God not as loving Creator and Redeemer but as some sadistic child pulling the wings off of flies for his own amusement, and human beings were the flies. This was a byproduct of Calvinism. We would debate at seminary the difference between supralapsarianism and infralapsarianism. These are ten dollar words to describe two answers to one question. Did God elect people to Hell before or after the fall of humanity? For those disgusted by predestination, such an argument amounts to whether male or female flesh is tastier to the cannibal. Yet, it wasn't enough to be Calvinist. If you were a supralapsarian Calvinist, this meant you were bona fide while the infralapsarians were seen as kinda wishy washy.

To be Calvinist is to delight in God's hatred and in the damnation of sinners. Here is Calvin's doctrine:
God preordained, for his own glory and the display of His attributes of mercy and justice, a part of the human race, without any merit of their own, to eternal salvation, and another part, in just punishment of their sin, to eternal damnation.
In a nutshell, a supralapsarian Calvinist believes that God created certain people from the very beginning to be fuel for the fires of Hell. Now, to be Calvinist at the beginning is to be utterly grateful for God's grace and mercy for having picked the sinner to receive the promises of salvation and heaven when knowing that he deserves Hell. It is a sweet doctrine when you accept it, but it corrodes the soul as it goes down and is digested. This is what heresy does. It is a sugar coated pill of poison. The gratitude turns to self-loathing, despising others for their sins, and fearing God as He becomes a sort of monster actively desiring the damnation of humanity. When my friend killed himself, the debate at my seminary was whether he had gone to Heaven or Hell. Believing in the perseverance of the saints doctrine and justification by faith alone, it did not matter. He was in Heaven. But he killed himself which indicates he had not persevered meaning that he did not actually have faith. No Catholic would ever engage in such presumption, but it is commonplace among Calvinists. I do not presume on his fate, and I pray for his soul often.

The Calvinist heresy had severely distorted my view of God such that I was left with two roads to take. I could believe in God the Monster. Or, I could stop believing in God. I took the better path. I rejected Calvinism and embraced atheism. I could not believe then or now that God would ever desire the damnation of anyone. This is what the Council of Trent has to say about predestination:
If anyone says that the grace of justification is shared by those only who are predestined to life, but that all others who are called are called indeed but receive not grace, as if they are by divine power predestined to evil, let him be anathema.
As a Calvinist, I used to think the Council of Trent was the worst thing ever and as something cruel and evil. Now, I read those declarations and see the charity in them. God does not desire that anyone be damned nor does He force anyone to love Him. This begs the question. Is God sovereign? Does man have free will? The answer to both questions is yes. One does not negate the other. Do I understand it? Of course not. Like the Trinity or the dual natures of Christ, my brain cannot grasp the coexistence of God's providence and humanity's free will. But what I can grasp is this. God wants everyone in Heaven, and no one is in Hell that did not choose to be there.

I wish I had known these things before I became a Calvinist and then an atheist. But I did know these things because they are what evangelical Christians believe. I think my real wish is that my Calvinist friend had not lead me into the error of this heresy. When I met him last, I could not help but notice the corrosive effects on his own soul of these damnable doctrines. I can only hope and pray that he escapes these errors. I forgive him as I ask God to forgive me for leading people down the wrong path.


Atheism saved me from Calvinism in the same way that being thrown through the windshield of the car will save you from the flames that engulf the vehicle. I was busted up, but I would live. I debate whether it is worse to be an atheist or a heretic, and I have come to the conclusion that it is worse to be a heretic. The atheist is in error, but he or she is not beyond reason. The heretic is beyond reason. The atheist is the patient who refuses treatment. The heretic is someone who refuses treatment because he believes the arsenic he is consuming will cure him. Though I may not like admitting it, I had to stop drinking the Calvinist poison before I could ever take the Catholic cure.

Atheists will cite many reasons for being atheist. Some will use scientific arguments while others will either admit or deny that atheism allows them an unhindered sex life. But when you cut through all of the arguments, the one most common among is atheists is the problem of evil. Why does a good God allow evil to exist? This was where my atheism came from. I could not understand how God could allow my suicidal friend to be tormented and kill himself. My two conclusions were that God was either evil or non-existent. I know from the arguments of Aquinas that nothing comes from nothing, so God has to exist. And I know from the life and death of Christ that God is not evil. But these are arguments after the fact. The simple fact is that God was good to me. He came into my life through my wife and her prayers for me, and I could not believe. But I wanted to believe, and that was enough. That was the one inch that moved me in God's direction. That small movement was like turning on a light switch and watching an entire room light up. God moved mightily in my heart and soul. People have expressed amazement at how quickly I converted, but they do not realize the 40 years of preparation that preceded it. Conversion is a process, and this process goes on even after you become a Catholic.

I am in my third year as a Catholic convert. The difference between being atheist and being Catholic is very simple. Life has become interesting again. I no longer feel the numbness and flatness of existence that I felt as an atheist. It has calmed me down considerably because my over the top behavior was done just to feel something in the emptiness. I am reminded of the James Dickey poem about the blind eye beaters who would smash their dead eyes to send an impulse of color to their optic nerves in order to see something in the darkness.


The difference between being Catholic and Protestant is more profound to me. Thanks to the sacraments and God's grace, I make progress where I experienced frustration as a Protestant. Protestants only have baptism which gives them faith, but they remain in that state like a kid repeating first grade over and over. As a Protestant, I would struggle with sins and never get anywhere. As a Catholic, I actually get somewhere. This did not happen until I actually went to confession and began taking the eucharist. It is a weird experience to sit in the confessional and only have a handful of venial sins to confess. This is far superior to the frustrations I felt as a Baptist Evangelical or the self-loathing I felt as a Calvinist. I am still a sinner, but I believe that it is possible to become a saint now. God's grace works, and you need the sacraments. I believe Protestantism is Satan's trick to deny those sacraments to God's children.

Not everyone shares the joy of my becoming Catholic. This is what it feels like to be a Catholic stranger in a Protestant land. Catholics do not hate Protestants, but Protestants hate Catholics. When I was an atheist, Protestants would try to reach me believing my atheism was a phase. They were half-right. Now, that I am Catholic, they are torn between either still trying to reach me or believing that I am now eternally damned and beyond hope. The digs and slights are constant, and I know the wicked things they say behind my back. This is because I used to be Protestant.


Protestants are an ignorant bunch of people, and I do not say this to be insulting. It is simply a statement of fact. They hate what they do not know or understand. Their errors are so numerous that I hardly know where to begin in addressing them. In talking with them, I can win one argument which only makes them pivot to another argument. It's like trying to prune a bush by cutting each leaf with a pair of scissors. They don't outsmart you. They outdumb you. This is because it is easier to manfacture errors than defend the truth. Eventually, you tire of trying to talk sense to someone who prefers nonsense. Prior to Luther, heresies would pop up and then die in singular fashion. The insidiousness of Protestantism is that it is a factory of heresies pumping them out one after another. With thousands of denominations and tens of thousands of preachers and millions of believers acting as the captains of their souls, arguing with them is like trying to kill fire ants with a sledgehammer.

There is one thing that all Protestants have in common. They despise the Catholic Church. They may differ with each other on all sorts of doctrines and split over the most trivial of things. But they all agree almost monolithically that the Roman Catholic Church is bad. But this is actually a good thing because it makes the job easier. You can waste a lot of time trying to prove that all these Protestants are wrong on a hundred different doctrines and issues. But you will lose on this. The better way to go is to prove the Protestants are wrong on the one thing they all agree on. To defeat Protestantism, you merely have to show that the Roman Catholic Church is good. This is best done through good works and becoming a saint.

Protestants know that their churches are defective. This is why they hop from church to church and start new ones all the time. They are always looking for the next exciting preacher and megachurch desperate to be fed. As long as they can always be turned back into this maze of madness, they will not escape. As a Protestant, I spent considerable time in this maze. I have attended services at just about any kind of church you can imagine from a hardcore Church of Christ cult church to a biker church to a charismatic church to an Episcoplian church to a Lutheran church and on and on. This endless array of options may seem daunting to the Catholic until you consider that we have been here before. Paganism was a many headed beast, too. Yet, those people managed to find the real thing out of that madness.


I do not pretend to think anymore that I can debate someone out of Protestantism and into the One True Faith. By the end of my RCIA classes, I had already capitulated to that reality. I think there is value in apologetics and evangelism, but I think they are most helpful to people who have already made the move to Catholicism but have lingering doubts. But you can give a book or a CD or a video to your Protestant friend that will totally answer their questions and show their errors, and they will simply tell you later that they never bothered reading, watching, or listening to anything you gave them. This begs another question. Why do people persist in such willful ignorance?

People will persist in any error that they perceive is working for them. For instance, if someone believes in the Prosperity Gospel, and they end up in a mansion and a Mercedes, you will find it virtually impossible to convince them to give that up to live in a trailer and drive an old Ford pickup. If you read or listen to any story of conversion, you find that the convert went down a few dead end roads before getting on the right road. A roadmap would help, but no one looks at the map until they realize they are lost.

To show the world that it is in the dark, you have to turn on the light. That means being the light. I have been very frustrated in my attempts at evangelism, but I keep coming back to this elemental truth. Evangelism is 90% show and 10% tell. If you are living it, you don't have to say much. If you aren't living it, then it would be a good idea to shut up. True evangelism is when you show the world the difference your faith makes in your life and in other people's lives.


It is hard living among heretics who think you are a heretic. Not a day goes by that I don't encounter some Protestant indulging in some error. One presumes upon God's grace and claims to be saved all while living in a way that is clearly not saved. Another clarifies that it is the LOVE of money that is the root of all evil, and then deny their love of this money as they point a diamond encrusted finger at you. Every day for them is a blessed day as they ride by some homeless person with the attitude that that person deserves to be homeless for whatever sins they committed with drugs and alcohol. Then, they say something stupid like, "Do Catholics even read the Bible? You know between worshipping those statues and eating fish." Plus, to be Catholic in the Protestant South is to automatically be grouped in with the other two groups the KKK has despised for over a century--blacks and Jews. And that is probably the weirdest thing of all is how Christian people can also be racist. The most segregated time of the week here in the South is Sunday morning. All of this a holdover from the pre-Civil War days when Christians in the South would defend slavery and commit atrocious acts on their slaves like rape, murder, mutilation, and busting up families. If you push a bit on some Baptists here, they will still defend slavery. It boggles the mind.


This bizarro world of Christianity and atrocity is the world Flannery O'Connor lived in. The whole thing about Protestantism from the beginning with Martin Luther all the way to our present day is that you have an entire people who want to have it both ways. They want the blessings of God Almighty while living like the Devil. O'Connor's fictional world of misfits and the grotesque is not fictional. It is real. I could never really understand her stories, but I understand them now. To be Protestant is to be mindful of God but to have a blunted conscience. They seem to only get it when something violent or atrocious happens yielding a brief moment of grace. The recent slayings of the Charleston Nine is a potent example of this as for a brief moment white Christians recognized that these black victims were also Christians. But most of the time, it is just a mix of religion and madness.


The primary difference between the South and other parts of the USA is that the religion has grown cold in those places while it still runs hot here. I don't know if that it is a consequence of culture or climate or both. America is predominately a Protestant land that is swiftly becoming secular. The South resists this change as to declare oneself an atheist here has as much appeal as a relative that farts at the dinner table at Thanksgiving. These Southerners--black and white--resist the Catholic faith because they don't care to live under the authority of the pope or to actually try and live up to the demands of the Gospels. Like Henry VIII, they want the cake, and they also want to eat it. They want to read the Bible and make it say what it doesn't say. They want to condemn perverts while ruining women through repeated marriages and divorces. And Christian living is reduced to a few blue laws urging the prohibition of alcohol and tobacco products while neglecting mercy and justice.

Like Flannery O'Connor, I find myself here in this strange Protestant land. I cannot forget that I came from this madness, but I also know that I don't belong to it anymore. I encounter many converts in the Catholic Church who come from a background similar to mine. Many were disowned by their families for becoming Catholic. It would be easier to come from a stock of atheists to the Church instead of the halfway place of Protestantism. The break would be cleaner. But Protestants are still Christian by virtue of their baptism, so they are like half brothers and half sisters sharing a common DNA but raised by a stranger. You want to embrace them, but they keep punching you in the face.


All of this leads us to a burning question. Is it malice? Or is it ignorance? You can overlook ignorance, but malice is a different thing. I want to say that these Protestants don't know any better which paints them in a better light. But if they read the Bible, how can they hate each other? And that is the crux of it right there. I can see them hating Catholics they don't understand, but I can't understand how they can hate fellow Protestants or the poor who they do understand. Therefore, they are without excuse. Protestants put the conclusion before the premise and work backwards. This is how they can twist Scripture to support just about any sin you care to name. Protestantism is a religion of a thousand popes, and they are all wrong. I am just coming to accept that they know it, too. And they don't give a damn.

So, where does that leave me and others like me? The circumstances may change, but the response is always the same. Pray. Receive the sacraments. Do the works of mercy. Be obedient to the Magisterium. Become a saint. I always remind myself that Christ has not called us to be successful but to be obedient. I have to be the light and the salt, so I will keep working on that. Will there be a tidal wave of conversion among Protestants to the Catholic faith? Probably not. But they do trickle in like I did. If you keep seeking, you will find yourself in the Catholic Church.