Read this letter by Al Kimel in response written by a women in RCIA inquiring about the Episcopal Church since it is more in line with stance on stance on divorce, birth control, abortion, homosexuality and women as priests. The letter gets down to the root of the question of what the Catholic Church is and our response to it. The whole letter is very good and is the essence of what a pastoral letter should look like I especially liked this part.
… For the Catholic, the decision to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and the decision to accept the authority of the Church is one decision. They cannot be separated, for the risen Christ will not be separated from his mystical body.
… If the Catholic Church is who she claims to be, then she speaks to me with an authority that binds my conscience. Because she is indwelt and guided by the Holy Spirit, she is protected from error in her formal teachings. She speaks truth. She can be relied upon. And so I trust her and seek to think with her. I do not ask her, must not ask her, to accept my views; she asks me to accept her views. One enters the Catholic Church in order to change; one enters the Catholic Church to be changed.
This is one of the fundamental things that a convert should be asking themselves about the nature of the Church. Too often we have our own shopping list of doctrinal likes and dislikes where we look for a church that most closely matches them. We put the cart before the horse. To very loosely paraphrase Flannery O’Connor; either the Catholic Church is the one true Church with the authority to teach and bind our consciences or to hell with it. I certainly wish that I had thought of this first during my conversion. I have described elsewhere why I was like Mr. Magoo and thankfully blundered into the Catholic Church. My military background did help me though to focus on the issue of authority and eventually this helped me to see what St. Augustine meant when he said "I would not believe the Gospels if it were not for the Church." This of course meant that many opinions and ideas that I held that were contrary to the faith had to be ejected before crossing the Tiber, especially since I had a boat load of them. So I can definitely sympathize with those who had had to change their world view and what they took for what had appeared to be societal common sense. When I came to understand that the Church is true it became much easier to see all the holes and misunderstandings in what I had accepted previously as true. I also found that on many issues I had just never really thought them totally through. I can’t count the times I read something on the faith that suddenly illuminated for me the truth that it contained. I also have no doubt this will continue until my death.