Doubt is a humbling admission, a sign of weakness. We want our leaders to display unwavering confidence. Imagine if Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said at his next rollout,, “This is the best iPad yet. At least I think so. Honestly, sometimes I wake up late at night and envy Jeff Bezos, wonder if I shouldn’t buy a Kindle Fire and retire.” The headlines would not be favorable.
There were times as an evangelical Protestant when I did not have any doubt. My ten weeks serving as a evangelical missionary in the Catholic country of Poland were one of those times, but also exposed ignorance. My conviction discouraged an intellectual curiosity and humility to take seriously the claims of Catholicism, rather than simply propose counter arguments which, in the end, were lightweight.
Though I am firmly Catholic, there are still days when I wonder whether I’m doing Christianity “right.“
Do you know why ?I haven’t read everything, don’t know everything. When an Eastern Orthodox man refers me to ancient documents asserting the Roman Catholic Church broke off from them, or a Protestant apologist declares Mary’s high place among the Catholics comes from ancient Roman practices, I don’t always have an answer. I read voraciously before becoming Catholic, and continue to use sites like Catholic Answers, but I haven’t yet consumed many tomes of Christianity, each encyclical and historical controversy.
Yet I am more comforted by my ignorance and doubt as a Catholic than as a Protestant. Without the conviction of apostolic succession, each Protestant, especially evangelical Protestants, must become a Martin Luther and carefully construct their own systematic theology, deciding whether their beliefs line up with the Bible. Most evangelicals would nod and say this is a good thing but, for many, it is exhausting. Marcus Grodi, as do many other converts to the faith, describe wondering as they preached on Sunday how they could be so sure of their interpretation of a core topic like baptism and their Baptist friend down the street could be so wrong.
Catholics, on the other hand, more fully embrace the men and women who have lived before us and, most importantly, Christ’s promise to guide his Church through the apostles and their successors. Anyone who affirms this can more easily say, “I don’t have all of the answers, but wiser men and women than me have gone before me and are kept by the promises of Christ.” This does not negate the importance of apologetics, but I do believe it is a more humble approach and, also, the right approach.
As I delve deeper into Catholicism, answering every question and doubt has become less urgent. I am more interested in learning about St Teresa of Avila and leccio divina than in scouring Catholic Answers for refutations against Mormonism or the Crusades. My sentiment is the same one St. Peter expressed to the Christ: “Lord, to whom shall we go?”(John 6:68). I love Jesus and I believe he is the Way the Truth and the Life, found most fully in the Roman Catholic Church, and will submit my journey to Him.
Thanks for reading,
Anthony Baratta is a former evangelical youth pastor who left seminary to become Catholic in February of 2012. Anthony is happily married to his wife, Jackie, and actively involved in his local parish.