Saturday, October 13, 2012

Recent Presby > RC convert reviews the pro & con

Jason Stellman, "I fought the Church, and the Church won" (Called to Communion, September 23, 2012).

[Hat tip to J.M.]


Anonymous said...

This post is one reason that I see a distinction between cradle Catholics and converts. While the author makes much of his search for truth and claims to find it in Catholicism, he does not evince any love for the Church or its beliefs as enshrined in tradition. I question whether that kind of grudging allegiance is really what the Church needs right now.

Most of his argument is pretty old hat. Yes, we all know that Catholicism is untidy, especially when one comes out of a self-selected congregation. But, really, should it be such an EFFORT to become Catholic? And, if it is, why bother?

Pertinacious Papist said...


I'm not sure what your point is. If the prisoners in Plato's Allegory of the Cave in Book VII of his Republic found it difficult to turn their backs on the world of shadows and echoes and face the light of truth, why should it not require EFFORT to become a Catholic?

I agree that most converts (myself included) have required decades to begin fathoming the depth and breadth of the riches God has bestowed upon the Catholic Church in her tradition. Most Catholic converts from Protestant backgrounds are initially what I call "propositional Catholics." They accept the basic "propositions" of the Church without virtually any lived experience of the Catholic Faith.

There's a positive and negative dimension to that. On the one hand, they know next to nothing yet about traditional Catholic devotions, the Carmelite mystics, the traditions of mystical and ascetic theology, the vast resources of the intercession of the saints and the Treasury of Merit involved in indulgences (then again, how many cradle Catholics know anything about these things these days?).

On the other hand, they also have yet to discover the unimaginable impoverishment of the contemporary Catholic experience, the incredible ignorance of most parishioners of Catholic tradition and Church history, not to mention Scripture, the pervasive indifference to contraception, pre-marital sex, homosexualism, and the seduction of candidates like Barack H. Obama, even though they oppose nearly every teaching of the Church.

"Old hat"? Maybe we should rejoice that a blind pig has stumbled upon an acorn of truth in the pigsty. Please. A little gratitude and charity?

"EFFORT"? Don't most noble and worthy goals require EFFORT?

JM said...

"why bother?"

Because it is true. What other reason really makes sense? This guy's point is that truth demands allegiance, even if circumstances make it difficult. Which they do. I believe it was probably also hard being a Jew in rag tag Israel.