What is the Catholic vision of the Church? Is the Catholic Church arrogant for believing herself to be the Church founded by Christ and His Apostles? For many of us, the journey to Catholicism began when we became captivated by a vision of Christ’s Church that we had never seen before.
Before even beginning to wonder if there might be truth to this claim, it’s important to keep in mind that everyone thinks their position is right. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be their position. If they thought their position was wrong, they would take another one.
Baptists think they are at least basically “right.” So do Lutherans. So do Presbyterians. And so do Catholics. This isn’t an argument against Catholicism any more than it is against any position a person might hold.
But it’s also not true that Catholics believe every other church is wrong in everything it believes and teaches. What Catholics believe is that in the Catholic Church, the fullness of what Christ and the apostles wanted us to know has been preserved intact and passed down through the ages. Other Christian churches possess much of that truth and the Church teaches us that the Holy Spirit uses those churches as “means of salvation.” With this in mind, Catholics are instructed to treat non-Catholic Christians “with respect and affection as brothers,” to love them and pray for the Church to be one day reunited as one.
With all that in mind, on this page you will find a variety of testimonies and resources examining the unique Catholic vision of “the Church”.
Hear Our Stories
Here are a collection of testimonies from converts to Catholicism for whom the understanding of the nature of the Church played a key role.
There are many, many great resources available for deepening your knowledge of the Catholic Church. Here are some of our favorites.
Pope St. John Paul II
For ten years, Pope Saint John Paul II dedicated his Wednesday papal audiences to a thorough discussion of the Creed. This new book presents a selection of those audiences that address the Church and her place in salvation history. John Paul gives remarkable insights into a wide range of topics such as the unity of the Church, the role of the papacy and ordained clergy, how the laity build up and spread the Kingdom, and the Church’s dedication to ecumenism and unity among Christians. The scope and depth of Pope Saint John Paul II’s discussion on the Church is a treasure for its readers.
This is really interesting and enlightening read. Devin Rose is a convert to Catholicism. In this book he compares and contrasts Catholicism and Protestantism by showing the implications of rejecting the Catholic view of the Church. It’s really good.
Edited by Scott Hahn & Leon J. Suprenant, Jr.
Catholic for a Reason will help readers develop a better understanding of the Catholic Church, through the personal study and reflection of 12 well-known Catholics. In this book, the teachings on Mary, the Eucharist, Baptism, and Purgatory are explained in light of the relationship of God the Father to us.
by Fr. Paul Haffner
Here is a beautifully systematic, clear and in-depth treatment of the Catholic teaching on the Church. The author covers the origin and nature of the Church, the Church as One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic, Peter and the Papacy, the necessity of the Church and tons more. Great book!
by Karl Adam
In this book, Karl Adam seeks to identify the “spirit” or essence of Roman Catholicism. He gives particular weight to the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ, which he considers crucial to the problems of the present age, when mankind is desperately seeking a principle of unity and authentic community.
by Fr. Louis Bouyer
Simply one of the best books on the Catholic doctrine of the Church you will ever read. A former Lutheran, Fr Bouyer looks at the Reformation views of the Church and focuses on how the Catholic Church has viewed itself throughout history and especially now after Vatican II.