The following quotes are taken from the book by Richard Bennet, Far from Rome, Near to God: Testimonies of 50 Converted Roman Catholic Priests, Carlisle, PN: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1997. They are quite interesting and valuable since they give an insight to Catholicism from those who were priests in the Catholic Church and then left it to find salvation in Jesus.
Following are excerpts from only a few of the fifty testimonies in the book:
- Henry Gregory Adams. Born in Saskatchewan, Canada. He entered the Basilian Order of monks and adopted the monastic name of "Saint Hilarion the Great." He was ordained as a priest and served five parishes in the Lemont, Alberta area.
- Sacraments. "The monastic life and the sacraments prescribed by the Roman Catholic Church did not help me to come to know Christ personally and find salvation . . . I realized that the man-made sacraments of my church and my good works were in vain for salvation. They lead to a false security." (p. 3)
- Joseph Tremblay. Born in Quebec, Canada, 1924. He was ordained a priest in Rome, Italy and was sent to Bolivia, Chile where he served for 13 years "as a missionary in the congregation of the Oblate Fathers of Mary Immaculate."
- Salvation by works. "My theology has taught me that salvation is by works and sacrifices . . . my theology gives me no assurance of salvation; the Bible offers me that assurance . . . I had been trying to save myself on my works . . . I was stifled in a setting in which I was pushed to do good works to merit my salvation." (pp. 9, 11-12)
- Bartholomew F. Brewer. He applied to the Discalced Carmelites, a strict monastic order. He received training of "four years of high school seminary, two years in the novitiate, three years of philosophy, and four years of theology (the last after ordination)." He was ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary in Washington, D.C. He eventually served as a diocesan priest in San Diego, California and entered the Navy as a Roman Catholic chaplain.
- Upon questioning Rome's Beliefs, "At first I did not understand, but gradually I observed a wonderful change in mother. Her influence helped me realize the importance of the Bible in determining what we believe. We often discussed subjects such as the primacy of Peter, papal infallibility, the priesthood, infant baptism, confession, the mass, purgatory, the Immaculate Conception of Mary, and the bodily assumption of Mary into heaven. In time I realized that not only are these beliefs not in the Bible, they are actually contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture." (pp. 21-22)
- Relying on works. He left the Roman Catholic Church, got married and through conversations with his wife and other Christians, "I finally understood that I had been relying on my own righteousness and religious efforts and not upon the completed and sufficient sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The Roman Catholic religion had never taught me that our own righteousness is fleshly and not acceptable to God, nor that we need to trust in his righteousness alone . . . during all those years of monastic life I had relied on the sacraments of Rome to give me grace, to save me." (p. 25)
- Hugh Farrell. Born in Denver, Colorado. Entered the Order of our Lady of Mount Carmel, commonly called the Discalced Carmelite Fathers. Ordained as a priest.
- Priestly power to change elements: "The priest, according to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, has the power to take ordinary bread and wine, and, by pronouncing the words of the consecration prayer in the sacrifice of the Mass, to change it into the actual body and blood and soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. Hence, since one cannot separate the human nature of Christ from his divinity, the bread and wine, after being changed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ, are entitled to the worship of adoration." (pp. 28)
- Temporal punishment due to sins. "I knew from the teachings of the priests and nuns that I could not hope to go directly to heaven after my death. My Roman Catholic catechism taught me that after death I had to pay for the temporal punishment due to my sins. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that 'the souls of the just which, in a moment of death, are burdened with venial sins or temporal punishment due to sin, enter purgatory.'" (p. 29)
- Penance. Regarding life in the monastery and doing penance. "These penances consist of standing with the arms outstretched to form a cross, kissing the sandaled feet of the monks, receiving a blow upon the face from the monks, and, at the end of the meal, lying prostrate before the entrance to the refectory so that the departing monks must step over one's body. These, and other penances, are supposed to gain one merit in heaven and increase one's 'spiritual bank account.'" (p. 36)
- The Mass and sorcery. "According to the teaching of the Roman Church the priest, no matter how unworthy he may personally be, even if he has just made a pact with the devil for his soul, has the power to change the elements of bread and wine into the actual body and blood, soul and divinity, of Jesus Christ. Provided he pronounces the words of consecration properly and has the intention of consecrating, God must come down on the altar and enter and take over the elements." (p. 39)
- Alexander Carson. Baptized into the Roman Catholic Church as an infant. His priesthood studies were at St. John's Seminary, Brighton, Massachusetts. He was ordained by Bishop Lawrence Shehan of Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1955 and was a priest in Alexandria, Louisiana. Also, he was pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Rayville, Louisiana.
- Bible or Tradition. " . . . the Holy Spirit led me to judge Roman Catholic theology by the standard of the Bible. Previously, I had always judged the Bible by Roman Catholic doctrine and theology." (p. 53)
- Mass contrary to scripture. "In my letter of resignation from the Roman Catholic Church and Ministry, I stated to the bishop that I was leaving the priesthood because I could no longer offer the Mass, as it was contrary to the Word of God and to my conscience." (pp. 54-55)
- Charles Berry. He entered the Order of Hermits of St. Augustine and became a priest after 17 years. He was given orders to continue studying until he achieved a Ph.D. in chemistry and was then "transferred to the headquarters of the Augustinian order in the United States."
- Superstition. "In the United States the Roman Catholic Church is on its best behavior, putting its best foot forward because of its critics and opponents. In a Roman Catholic country, where it has few opponents or critics, it is a very different matter. Ignorance and superstition and idolatry are everywhere, and little effort, if any, is made to change the situation. Instead of following the Christianity taught in the Bible the people concentrate on the worship of statues and their local patron saints." (p. 59)
- Idols and Statues. "When I met in Cuba a genuine pagan who worshiped idols (a religion transplanted from Africa by his ancestors), I asked how he could believe that a plaster idol could help him. He replied that the idol was not expected to help him; it only represented the power in heaven which could. What horrified me about his reply was that it was almost word for word the explanation Roman Catholics give for rendering honor to the statues of the saints." (p. 59)
- Bob Bush. He went to a Jesuit Seminary and studied for 13 years before being ordained in 1966. He entered a post-graduate program in Rome.
- Works: "When I entered the order, the first thing that happened was that I was told I had to keep all the rules and regulations, that to do so would be pleasing to God, and that this was what he wanted for me. We were taught the motto, 'Keep the rule and the rule will keep you.'" (p. 66).
- Salvation is by faith: "It took me many years to realize that I was compromising by staying in the Roman Catholic Church. Throughout all those years I continued to stress that salvation is only in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross and not in the infant baptism; that there is only one source of authority which is the Bible, the word of God; and that there is no purgatory but rather that when we die to either go to heaven or hell." (p. 69)
- Salvation by works: "The Roman Catholic Church then goes on to say that in order to be saved you must keep its laws, rules and regulations. And in these laws are violated (for example, laws concerning birth control or fasting or attendance at Mass every Sunday), then you have committed a sin . . . 'individual and integral confession and absolution constitute the only ordinary way by which the faithful person who was aware of serious sin can be reconciled with God, and with the church' (Canon 9609)." (p. 75)
- Works: "The Roman Catholic Church adds works, and that you have to do these specific things [keeping its laws, rule and regulations] ]in order to be saved, whereas the Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9 that it is by grace that we are saved, not by works." (pp. 75-76)
As you can see, even Roman Catholic Priests can discover the truth found in God's word and escape the error of the Roman Catholic system of works righteousness. To God be the glory.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast." (Eph. 2:8-9).