From devout Catholic to Baptist missionary

JP: This will warm your heart.

Jim Civale: Awakening to Truth


Hanging up from a rushed, long-distance phone call from my brother in New Jersey, I stared at the fax machine, waiting and wondering. What was this big decision he had made “that would be best communicated in writing”?

Finally my fax machine cranked and sputtered as three pages inched their way across continent and ocean. While the letter was still attached, I raced to read. I was stunned. Vince had left the Catholic Church.

Worse yet, he dared suggest I do the same. Did he forget who I was? Surely he recalled that I almost joined the Jesuit priesthood seven years earlier. He knew that although I chose to marry a woman I had met while serving as a Catholic missionary teacher in Samoa, I was no less devoted to the Mother Church than if I had been one of her priests. Vince knew I had had all of my children baptized Catholic and that I attended daily mass, not wanting to go even one day without receiving Christ through the Eucharist. He knew I was currently the Director of Catholic Education and no mere nominal Catholic.

As an active member of the Legion of Mary, I knelt weekly before Mary’s marble likeness and religiously recited the Rosary. How, then, could I help but take umbrage at his attacks on such sacred things as Mary’s Immaculate Conception and Perpetual Virginity? There was only one right response to my brother’s offense. I would defend the Mother Church. I would prove how gravely mistaken my less-learned brother was. I would show him from the very Scriptures he claimed would lead me away from my former faith why he must return to it.

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