What Lies Behind the Modern Public Image?
Mary Ann Collins
A Former Catholic Nun
Copyright 2002 by Mary Ann Collins.
The Spirit of Roman Catholicism 1
Biography of Mary Ann Collins 4
A Surprising Discovery 6
The Council of Trent 10
The Power of Words 14
Spiritual Coercion 16
Hunting “Heretics” 19
Were the Early Christians 25
Roman Catholics? 25
Forged Documents and Papal Power 37
The Papacy 40
Imperial Popes 44
The Catholic Church and the Bible 47
New Age Catholicism 53
A False Comparison 68
According to Tradition 76
What Is Our Source of Authority? 78
The Good Thief 87
The Numbers Game 89
Devotion to Mary 91
Idolaters and Judaizers 102
Mandatory Celibacy 106
Mind Control 108
Serving Two Masters 110
Modern Persecution 114
Who Are “The Christian Faithful”? 116
Faith Under Fire 120
The Presence of God 122
Catholic Mysticism 125
Mixing Paganism with Christianity 131
The Spirit of Catholicism 132
Scriptural Strength to 136
Confront Catholicism 136
For Former Catholics 139
Glossary of Some Catholic Terms 149
History and the Catholic Church 179
Doctrinal Issues 186
Recommended Websites 194
In the early 1900's a famous baseball player was accused of cheating. Unfortunately, the accusation proved to be true. A young fan met the baseball player and said, "Say it ain't so, Joe!"
I have often felt that way while doing research about the Roman Catholic Church. As I have come to some new discovery, I have often found myself thinking, “Say it isn’t so!” Usually it turns out that it is so. This caused me grief and distress, but I continued to pursue the research in spite of it, because I wanted to know the truth.
The truth is precious, even when it is painful. Our God is Truth incarnate. (John 14:6; Romans 3:4) God promised that the truth would set us free. (John 8:32)
We all need God’s truth. And we all need the strength and courage to live according to it. Keeping the long-range perspective of eternity will help.
May the Lord bless you and speak to your heart as you read this book.
Mary Ann Collins
Biography of Mary Ann Collins
(A Former Catholic Nun)
I was raised a secular humanist. When I went to college I started investigating Catholicism. After two years of intense study I became a Catholic.
I was zealous. I kept studying the lives of the saints and the teachings of various prominent Catholics. I often went to Mass several times a week, and sometimes every day. I transferred to a Catholic college in order to take classes in religion.
I entered the convent for several reasons. I wanted to be closer to God and to serve Him more whole-heartedly. I wanted to learn more about God and spend my life being more intensely focused on Him. And I believed that God wanted me to be a nun.
The convent was not a healthy place either spiritually or emotionally. Our self-imposed penances and mortifications and other attempts to make ourselves more holy actually encouraged self-righteousness. We were not allowed to have friendships or to be close to any human being. We were supposed to be emotionally detached. We were taught to love people in a detached, impersonal way.
This is not Biblical. When God said, “It is not good for man to be alone,” He was referring to more than just marriage. The Bible encourages close relationships.
Our example of the perfect human being is Jesus. He was unmarried but he was not at all emotionally detached. He wept publicly. His heart was “moved with compassion”. He made many statements that showed strong emotions. He had friendships, including a “best friend” (John).
I left the convent after two years, before making vows. I was still a novice, undergoing training and “spiritual formation” in preparation for making vows.
Some people have asked me why I refer to myself as a “former nun” when I never made vows. According to the “Catholic Encyclopedia,” if a novice has been accepted into a religious order (I was) and has been given a habit (I wore it), then he or she is a monk or a nun in the broad sense of the term.
After I left the convent, I was frustrated with the local Catholic churches. I did not see strong faith or zeal for God. Some of the priests preached things which were so contrary to Scripture that they were acutely distressing to me.
My parents had become Christians and they were members of a Protestant church. I visited their church and discovered that I was hungry for the Bible-based teaching. So for years I went to early morning Mass and then went to my parents’ church.
Eventually I left the Catholic Church and joined my parents’ church. And I finally found the personal relationship with God that I had been looking for all my life.
I used to be all tied up in rules, regulations and rituals. But now I have found a wonderful, vibrant, personal relationship with the Creator of the universe, who loves me. And with Jesus Christ who loves me so much that He died for me. And He has put a new song in my heart.
Your Word brings life to save my soul.
Your Truth brings light to make me whole.
Your perfect love casts out my fears,
Comforts me, and dries my tears.
I’m in the shadow of Your wings
Where you teach my heart to sing.
Safe and secure from all alarm,
Your faithful love keeps me from harm.
I will bless You all my days.
You fill my heart with songs of praise.