I am not Catholic, however, I was raised Catholic. In another thread, it was mentioned that the gospel is not taught in a Catholic church. I just wanted to say that in my experience, it was. I think many many Catholic churches have changed. Last year while I was searching, I spent Advent in my former Catholic church just to kind of go back to square one where I came from. Spending time in 3 different baptist churches over the years left me very confused about what the truth was and I had become uncertain of my salvation. They all believed in Salvation by faith through grace alone, but all 3 of them seemed to define things a little differently. Namely, the role that works play. The churches I attended were flavored with the Pastor. They were very much cults of personality. Anyhow, time spent in my old Catholic church showed me just how much they have changed. However, one thing that I always did know growing up was that Jesus died for my sins so I could go to heaven and that I needed to believe that in order to go to heaven. I actually think, from my experience that baptists complicate the gospel somehow. So many people "get saved" over and over and over and get baptized over and over and over. Watching this happen to people around me was very confusing. Was I saved or not? Is it possible to want to be saved, but not be able to be? These were questions that filled my head. At my darkest point, I was convinced God hates us. It seemed like a cruel joke to not know if I was saved or not. I looked at people who "knew" they were saved and wondered why I couldnt know. It boiled down to feelings really. I was always doubting my salvation because it just seemed tricky. So, around Advent 2008 I decided to go back to my Catholic church searching for answers. I got a few. Firstly, liturgy is a beautiful thing and definately sounds a lot like the worship in the bible. Secondly, I am a firm supporter of the ecumenical creeds. I learned late in baptist life that I wasnt supposed to believe in the creeds. I learned in the Catholic church that I very much do agree with them.. strongly. I think they are needed. Thirdly, I learned that there are real Catholic christians, and that much of what I was taught in baptist churches was misrepresented and incorrect. I think we are all wrong in doctrines in some places-otherwise there would not be a million denominations. I think that Christ is merciful. I dont think the Catholic church is sending people straight to hell. The gospel is there...in the readings.. in the church year... in the preaching if you happen to pick a good catholic church, which I know can be rare. But the gospel is definately there. Fourthly, I learned that I am not Catholic and cannot be a Catholic. I agree with those here that the honor of Mary goes beyond honor and into worship-though it doesnt really happen as often as baptists might imagine. Still, it happens and I cannot be a part of that. I know that I always believed...never doubted.. believed from the time I was a child and "got saved" in highschool because somebody convinced me that I wasnt saved. I do wish that the Catholic church had better educated me on the details of my faith, because I was duped into believing that I wasnt.I believe now that I was. Baptists made it all very confusing. Anyhow, today I am a happy almost Lutheran. I am enjoying much deeper, much more thorough exegesis of scripture and I am loving the traditions of ancient liturgy. And I am not at all confused about the gospel. God did it all!! Its amazingly freeing to know that God did it all for my salvation and I dont have to doubt that anymore. Its not muddled with my efforts or decisions. It is finished. Praise the Lord!