Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
August 27, 2001
Two who took the road to Rome
Catholic Family Life conference draws 1,500
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
LAC STE. ANNE — Tim Staples believed the Catholic Church "was teaching serious error that would lead people to hell" until he met a Marine Corps sergeant who knew how to defend the Church.
Rosalind Moss was a Jew who became an evangelical Christian before she had even heard of Roman Catholicism.
When she started to think the Catholic Church might be right, she dropped everything to study exactly where it was wrong.
Today, both are lay Catholics and so committed to the Church that they spend their time touring North America and host shows on Mother Angelica's EWTN to promote its teachings.
They came here for the sixth annual Catholic Family Life Conference Aug. 16-19. About 375 families from across the West braved heat, wind, rain, lightning and mosquitoes to camp out and celebrate their faith.
Staples was raised a Baptist but, as a teen, was in frequent trouble with the law and dropped out of school.
However, late one night after partying, he watched evangelist Tammy Faye Bakker talking on TV and crying when she said the name of Jesus. "That night I gave my life to Jesus," he said.
The TV became his church and his favourite preachers were Tammy Faye's husband Jim and Jimmy Swaggart.
Both were Assemblies of God preachers and so Staples took his mom to an Assemblies of God church and joined.
"I got involved in every ministry I could get involved in," he said. "I was just on fire."
At age 19, he would preach on the beach or at crusades. "I didn't know what I was saying, but I would say it real loud."
He wanted to become a preacher himself, but realized he lacked discipline, money and an education. So he joined the Marines to get all three.
In the Marines, the anti-Catholic Staples encountered the staunchly Catholic Sgt. Matt Dula. "He was a man of God and he stood up and defended the honour of our mother on earth, the Church, and of our mother in heaven, our Blessed Mother.
"This guy loved Jesus. For the first time in my life I met a man who had a passion for the Catholic Church and he was willing to go toe to toe with me for 15 rounds."
When Staples made a point that Dula couldn't answer, the sergeant would consult an Opus Dei priest to learn how to respond. He would read up on the issue and come back to Staples with his reply.
"When I got out of the Marine Corps, I was so happy just to get away from him," he said.
But Dula had made an impact and Staples began reading the fathers of the Church and the documents of Church councils.
He turned down an offer to become a youth pastor because he was having doubts about what to believe. He entered Swaggart's Bible college to get his head straightened out.
There, professors would make comments about the Catholic Church that Staples knew were wrong. The anti-Catholic found himself repeatedly defending the Catholic position on issues.
Finally, he was sent to see an ex-priest teaching at the college who was assigned to convince him of the folly of Catholicism.
Staples said he responded easily to all the points raised by the ex-priest. "This fellow did not have answers. After an hour and a half, he just told me to leave."
He went back to his room and prayed for God to show him the truth. "For the first time in my life, I prayed to Mary and said, 'Mary, please help me.'"
He then collapsed on his bed and felt the presence of a mother and the presence of God come into the room. "From that moment forward, I have never doubted the Catholic faith."
He went home and spent the whole night telling his mother and his brother Terry why he was becoming Catholic. Within six months, his brother became Catholic and is now a priest. Within a year, his mother became Catholic and, after five years, his dad did too.
Rosalind Moss was raised a Jew in Brooklyn, was an evangelical Protestant for 18 years and finally became Catholic.
"The most Jewish thing a person can do is to be Catholic. And the most Christian thing a person can do is to be Catholic," she said.
Growing up as a Jew, she believed the Messiah would come. but she also believed no man could become God.
It wasn't until she was 32 that she and her brother David learned there were Jews who believe Jesus was the Messiah.
Then, she met a man in California handing out tracts for Jews for Jesus. "I took his tract that said, 'If being born hasn't brought you happiness, try being born again.'
"That little tract shot a knife through my heart."
Soon, she met with the group. "I don't think there was anything in my life that turned me off more."
They told her, "Christ died for your sins and the sins of the world." She didn't even know what sin was so the group explained to her the sacrificial system of the Old Testament, which she also had not heard of.
Reading the New Testament, she came across John the Baptist saying of Jesus, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."
"I was shattered by that verse," Moss said, realizing then that Jesus must be the Messiah.
She and David became Christians, not knowing that there were many differences among Christians. David soon began to question how so many good Christians could come up with such different interpretations.
It didn't make sense to him that God would establish his family on earth and leave it in confusion. David eventually became Catholic.
When she went to Christmas Eve Mass with him once, she was stunned and couldn't talk for half an hour afterwards. "Finally, I said, 'David, that is a synagogue with Christ.'"
Then she listened to debates between a leading Protestant and Scott Hahn, a former Presbyterian minister who is now a Catholic theologian. At the end, Hahn said anyone who studies the history of the Church will find that what he's been fighting against is the Church Christ established.
"I stood there paralyzed and I said, 'Oh no! Don't tell me there's actually something to this thing?'"
She took a job as a waitress so she had time to read the best anti-Catholic literature. It failed to convince her and, after more time examining the faith, she became Catholic at Easter 1995.
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