Occasionally, I am asked by some of my Protestant friends and erstwhile colleagues whether I have ever had any second thoughts or suffered a twinge of "buyer's remorse" after converting to the Catholic Faith two decades ago. My truthful response is: not for a moment!
One must understand, of course, how the contemporary situation sometimes looks to a Protestant bystander of an Evangelical or Reformed stripe. They look at what has happened in the Catholic Church since the sixties -- which one of their own scholars, David F. Wells, describes as Revolution in Rome in his book by that title -- and they have questions: "Didn't you just jump out of the frying pan into the fire?" "Didn't you find that the Church you thought you were joining exists only in the history books and not in the real world today?" "If you saw yourself as climbing aboard the Barque of St. Peter to save yourself from drowning, don't you find yourself in a pretty leaky boat these days?"
I suppose there may seem to be a little truth in all of these questions, depending on how one interprets them; but the Church is not something that can be destroyed by human hands. It can be severely compromised, surely, but never quite destroyed. How do I know this? In the same way that I know the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ: by faith in His promises.
So, yes, there is a sense in which I do find myself somewhat "out of the frying pan and into the fire," inside a Church that looks strangely different from the Church of Catholic history, in a leaky Barque of St. Peter that seems to be listing alarmingly to the starboard side as it takes on water. Some would say of the Church that her days are numbered.
In a temporal sense, I cannot quarrel with the data. They do not look good. But like J.R.R. Tolkien, I continue to hold fast the the Eucatastrophe, the dramatic narrative climax that delivers victory from the jaws of certain defeat. In the end, I should find it surprising if the Church were NOT under withering attack by the world, the flesh, and the Devil. It is exactly what one should expect.
To be Catholic is to part of the most beautiful adventure in the world. It is to be recruited into an army to fight exhilarating battles with no hope of success -- battles that are nonetheless exhilarating because they are battles in a war whose outcome is already known: in the end we will win. Our liege Lord has already assured us of that.
Remember the words of Gandalf: "Look to my coming on the first light of the fifth day -- at dawn look to the east!" Our King will INVADE, and nothing will stop Him!