Why I Stopped Going to Catholic Church

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Why I left the Roman Catholic Church and became a born-again Christian

I was raised and baptized as a Roman Catholic. I studied at a Pontifical University where I was fully immersed in the Catholic tradition. We had angelus and it was my daily habit to pass by the church, genuflect and say a prayer.

I wore scapular and went to confession weekly so I can do penance. During Sundays, I volunteered as an acolyte and often went to the parish office to catch a glimpse of the holy fathers, ask blessings, and kiss their hands. I also had the privilege of being one of the cadet guards for Pope John Paul. 

I went as far as campaigning for the Divine Mercy using my own allowance. It short, I was a devout Catholic.

Is the God of Rome discriminate?

I often pass by the campus church after school. One afternoon, I was wearing an athlete’s uniform when I went inside. I was kneeling in prayer when a Spanish priest tapped me on the shoulder. With piercing eyes, he rebuked me for my outfit. He said I should respect the house of God.

I stepped out of the church confused asking myself if God does mind what I was wearing. A switch turned on that day and I began to see the hypocrisy of my religion.

Later in my adult life, I questioned more things like repetitive prayers, the intercession of Mary, and confessing my sins to a priest.

I began to see the hypocrisy of my religion.

From Catholicism to the trap of New Age Enlightenment

As a young man, I began to seek “enlightenment” through other faith groups. I found myself joining the Rosicrucians Society based in Wheaton, Illinois, the Maharishi movement, and often went to Santo Singkong, a Chinese Buddhist temple in Manila.

I also practiced transcendental meditation and was very much into the new age movement. I wanted some kind of God in my life so I can seek material blessings.

I also knew that if I died then, I would go straight to hell. Perhaps the reason I still considered myself Catholic. I was taught that there is no salvation outside the Catholic church.

Another light turns on

I met a well-known Chinese tarot card reader who was excited to “read my future” for free. He felt some kind of spiritual connection with me.

He had a huge collection of Santos and Catholic amulets in his house. Normally, it would make me comfortable but this time, I was totally creeped out and I did not know why.

As he began to read my future, I felt so unease that I prayed. I told God, if this is not from you, expose Satan. Immediately, the fortune teller became fidgety. He found it difficult to read the cards and after a few minutes stopped everything. He said the Spirit is having a difficult time because I was not cooperating.

The statues of the saints began to bother me

I still went to a Catholic mass but since then, the idol statues began to bother me. The closer I was to the altar, the closer I felt to God. I was desperate and often found myself moved by His presence despite the distraction.

FORMER SATANIST JOHN RAMIREZ STORY.

Hearing the Gospel message of Jesus

I first learned about Jesus when a college friend shared the Gospel. Although I believed all he said, I refused to fully surrender my life to Christ. I still chose a sinful and materialistic lifestyle I thought would make me complete, it went awry instead.

After college, I was at the lowest point of my life, and going out with friends helped. However, coming home was dreadful, I still felt alone. At this point, I let go of my Catholic rituals. Nothing was working.

A mysterious text

I knew the Lord was calling me to abandon my sinful ways and I sought Him by looking for spiritual counseling. I came across “Dial a friend” hotline which helped for a while. Back to desperation, I received a message in my pager that asked me to call a counseling number.

I called and someone named Mike Tan from Jesus is Lord church said he never texted anyone and I must have the wrong number. He sensed I needed help and said the Holy Spirit wants to tell you something. He said that an angel probably texted me.

He quoted Psalm 139:13. Immediately, I felt a thick dark veil lifted from me and I knew that moment how much I mattered to God, I am His child!

Psalm 139:13
For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Church hopping

I joined ELIM Community in New Manila in 1994. It is a Catholic charismatic group that instead of having mass had band music and less formal homily. I joined a small group and thought I found my new home until I saw the hypocrisy of some of its organizers.

Then I heard a “sister” promoting the veneration of Mama Mary. I felt extremely uncomfortable because I did not see the need to go through someone else if Jesus tells me I can come to Him freely.

John 14:6
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.

I felt lost again and came across Telemensahe where I sought prayer and counseling. They invited me to Crossroads Fellowship, a newly planted church that welcomed me as I grew in faith. I met Levi Velasco who explained the Gospel.

Soon, I was baptized and trained in evangelism by Paul Guimary. I was on fire and began sharing the gospel with nearly all the people I knew. A few years later, I moved to another Christian church. God would make our paths cross again, decades later to continue God’s work.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN CHRISTIANS SIN?

The love of Jesus

God is never done with us and in 1999, I moved to Christ Commission Fellowship (CCF) where I was invited to a youth retreat. In my mind, I didn’t need to go to basic Christian training. I understood my theology and was already leading many to Christ.

The last hour

God had a different plan of course. On the last day and last hour of the retreat, I kept asking God what’s His purpose of me being there. I felt I hadn’t accomplished much. Then, during the closing prayer, Jesus spoke to me in a very special way that I knew I died that day and became a born again. I saw the trees and mountain range around me as if it was the first time.

My conversion from Catholicism to Jesus had nothing to do with religion

God can meet us anywhere and at any point in our life. Those who He has chosen will never be lost. It is God’s Spirit who seeks us and our part is to respond.

First I chose to believe in Jesus even though I knew little about Him. Then the Holy Spirit began to work in my heart through sanctification and daily repentance, with the Bible as my guiding light. Finally, the knowledge of who Jesus is turned into loving and choosing to obey Him.

Religion does not change us, it is the love of Jesus that transforms us. That love is there and ready for anyone who will accept His Lordship in their life.

Religion does not change us, it is the love of Jesus that transforms us.

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