Orestes Augustus Brownson (1803–1876) was a New England intellectual and activist, preacher, labor organizer, and noted Catholic convert and writer. Brownson was a publicist, a career which spanned his affiliation with the New England Transcendentalists through his subsequent conversion to Roman Catholicism.
Intellectually, I had a strong “faith” in the tenets of Protestantism, particularly as they were expressed in the Calvinist tradition. Yet Calvinism excused my sin as something God Himself did not see, since, so I believed, the righteousness of Christ had been imputed to me because of my genuine faith, covering over my sins so that He was blind to them, at least insofar as my salvation was concerned.
It was my study of the Church Fathers that ignited within me the dormant flame of Catholicism. As many others who have gone before me found, one cannot study the history of the early Church without realizing that many Protestant doctrines — sola Scriptura, for example — were an invention of the Protestant reformation and do not actually reflect the understanding of the Church Fathers, let alone the Apostles. I also realized that the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist is consistent with the way the sacrament has been understood from the beginning.
I continued to pray, to lead Bible studies, prayer groups, and Life in the Spirit seminars, became a Stephen Ministries leader, prepared for ordination, and became a Methodist pastor — all in just three years! While I was living in the church parsonage, I was watching TV one day and I happened upon a Catholic nun (Mother Angelica) who was teaching from the Bible on her own network, EWTN! This station was all our family watched from that day on. We began praying the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and the Liturgy of the Hours — as Protestants!