♱ @inflammateomnia, Montréal Doctoral student in theology, seeking the true, good, and beautiful.

Unpopular opinion: I think that new converts & those received into the Catholic Church should have to wait a period of time before being allowed to teach/preach/write about the Faith publicly.

I’ve seen way too many cases of ‘convertitis’ leading to burnout & scandal.

Let me know if you’ve heard this one before: a lukewarm Protestant has a spiritual “awakening”, discovers the apostolic Faith, and rightly begins the process of conversion.

Then, said person becomes a Catholic, and filled with the utmost zeal, starts offering their testimony.

However, after a period of time, this neophyte Catholic discovers “tradition”. They read trad Catholic apologetics & next thing you know, they start calling Pope Francis “Bergolio”, constantly criticize the “Protestant Novus Ordo”, and lecture cradle Catholics about the Faith.

Suddenly, this new Catholic becomes a supposed authority on all matters of the Faith. They have taken their side, and view all of Catholicism through their biased belief about what is “true” Catholicism.

But little time has been given to probation & spiritual maturity.

These days, anyone with a pulse can get through an RCIA program to become Catholic. In a matter of months, a person who once believed that the Eucharist was just a symbol is now lecturing their fellow Catholics about how the Luminous Mysteries are a “terrible innovation”.

There’s a reason why the early Church required much more of their converts: because they knew how serious the Faith was, and how it could not be reduced to merely agreement on doctrinal positions. An entire ascetical discipline was necessary.

Don’t get me wrong, some of the most amazing Catholics are converts. And this isn’t to say that cradle Catholics have some kind of gnostic wisdom which makes them know “true” Catholicism by birth. Being Catholic in the cradle means nothing if the Faith isn’t transmitted rightly.

But the problem is that I have seen WAY too many converts follow this trajectory:

1. Non-Catholic, ignorant of teaching

2. Inquiry, begins reading.

3. RCIA, becomes Catholic


5. Flirts with sedevacantisn

6. Lukewarm

Converts are often the most zealous Catholics, which is good. But unless the zeal is well-ordered, it runs the risk of misrepresenting the Faith based off of a neophyte’s insecure, neurotic tendencies. Assuming a position of authority without probation will lead to error.

Don’t forget: following his conversion, St. Paul had 3 years of quiet preparation where he learned about the faith. It was only afterwards that he embarked on his missionary journeys. And it took him 14 years before met with the Apostles.

Preparation before mission.

I appreciate the witness of converts & their passion for a faith they willingly embrace. At the same time, I grow weary of those converts who assume an expertise despite having little theological & ascetical training, who have fire in their bellies at first, but then burn out.

Converts & cradles need each other. Converts remind cradles of the zeal and urgency of the true faith. Cradles remind converts that a life of faith takes time to develop & mature, that not everything in the Faith is black and white, and that Catholicism is always mediated by time

I’m sure you know a convert or two who has turned others off to the Faith by their obsessive compulsions. I’m also sure you know a cradle Catholic who has been a source of disappointment by their apathy towards the Faith. Both are in need of reform.

In truth, we live within a tension of the convert’s zeal & the cradle’s steadiness.

Beware of the newly-minted Catholic who thinks they know more than the Magisterium. And also beware of the Catholic who went to parochial school K-12 but now supports intrinsic evils.

There should be a time of probation for new converts and reeducation for cradles. The Faith is too precious to be spoken about carelessly and inaccurately.

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