Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Challenging task of leaning to think & live as a Catholic

I don't have a TV and have rarely seen anything on EWTN, but someone called to my attention the "Journey Home" interview on YouTube of Former Episcopal clergyman, Taylor Marshall, which I found notable for one reason. The interview touches on a number of interesting issues, including the role of Our Lady in the story of our salvation; but the key issue, for me, is what Dr. Marshall says about the challenges involved in learning how to think and live as a Catholic.

This is something I have become particularly sensitized to by looking back over my shoulder over the past two decades since I was received into the Church. Old habits of being, thinking, and acting die hard; and this is as true of the former Protestant habits of those of us who are converts as anyone else.

To become Catholic is a process of growing into new habits of being, thinking, and behaving that mean -- in a much fuller sense that even we as Catholics can imagine -- "putting on Christ," taking on the new nature that grace engenders within us, new habits that will hopefully lead us and our families and loved ones to Heaven. And this simply doesn't happen overnight. One doesn't become a Catholic by signing a membership card.

Looking backwards over my shoulder, I can see so many ways in which, even after having been received into the Church, I had not yet "become Catholic." Some of you have pointed out how true this is of many individuals who assume the mantle of speaking for the Church who are former converts, whose Catholicism is still very "Protestantized" by old habits that have not yet died out. In some respects, one could argue that many Catholics are not yet sufficiently Catholic, that even various ministries of EWTN have a certain Protestant patina evidenced in habits of speech and interaction and language of prayer.

Nevertheless, I find this interview pointing powerfully in what I would consider the right direction. There are all sorts of gifts that former Protestant converts to Catholicism bring with them into the Church. In other words, converts can have genuine gifts of insight and discernment that one would not wish them to leave behind in becoming Catholics. Yet there are also ways, deep ways, in which all of us -- former Protestants and "cradle Catholics" alike -- can profit in our pilgrimage through life and hope of Heaven by learning to think, live, and act as true Catholics.


Anonymous said...

If our clergy and Popes are not solidly Catholic, what is the meaning?

Sorry, not trying to be just a pain in the anatomy but, I respect few priests, no bishops and no Popes, who I can recall....that goes back to and includes John XXIII.

Fagan said...

When I watch EWTN, I just do it over the Internet. Streaming!

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

Most of EWTN is simply unlistenable. Everything Christopher Ferrara said in his book was justifiable, but it goes well beyond the cases he emphasized. The shows have congealed into a single gooey stream of malt shop happy talk, one saint to another, about how we've got to keep on being as jolly good as we are. Much of this can-o-corn saint-babble is conducted by protestant "converts", who sound, to my mind, not much different from the hucksters and failed entertainers on TCT. Protestant patter sprinkled with frequent, obligatory favorable references to Rome.

Particularly memorable is EWTN's brief series of saint impersonators, which proceeded to turn, among others, John Vianney and Robert "Call me Bob" Bellarmine -- BELLARMINE for God's sake! -- into joshing ecumenical old shoes. Catholic travesty, a laff riot, smarmy sentimentality definitely, but useful Catholic doctrine from the despicable "manuals" -- you've got to be kidding. There's just nothing here for Catholics: neo-Cath vaudevillians and Grub Street hacks with TV cameras.

And then there's Marcus Grodi. His meandering interviews with homeless protestant "converts" such as the "Donut Man" are sheer embarassment. These folks, for the most part, simply don't know what they're about, except if they don't say "duh pope is good" every few minutes, they will lose their "Coming Home Network" meal tickets. It is clear that many of them are simply befuddled failures as protestant ministers, who are now looking for a new gig.

What a ridiculous, useless waste of time!

Anonymous said...

"... single gooey stream of malt shop happy talk ... can-o-corn saint-babble ... joshing ecumenical old shoes ... Catholic travesty ... laff riot, smarmy sentimentality ... neo-Cath vaudevillians and Grub Street hacks with TV cameras."

RALPH! Where do you find these succulent adjectives?!

You're SUCH a bad boy! Perhaps you should be SPANKED ... by Marcus Grodi?

Lynne said...

Ah! A subject near and dear to my heart, sensus Catholicus. About a month or two ago I began listening to a bunch of audio recordings by two traditional Catholics, Charles Coulombe and William Biersach. You can find the recording here... Tumblar House audio files.

EWTN is like 1950's Catholicism, happy, happy, happy. It was perfect for me when I came back to the Faith at the age of 50 in 2005. I had never heard of half of the things they talked about. But one does outgrow things eventually. So what else is out there?

Prior to Vatican II, Modernism, the heresy, was in hiding. It came out in full force during and after the Council. Unfortunately, some strain of it colors most things Catholic today, i.e books, talks, etc...

So what is a faithful Catholic to do? Go to for really old books.

The thing that has really caught my eye is how saints used to talk about Mary.

Holy Scripture was written for Mary, about Mary, and on account of Mary. —Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153 AD)

No one can enter into Heaven except through Mary, as entering through a gate … No one ever finds Christ but with and through Mary. Whoever seeks Christ apart from Mary seeks Him in vain. —Saint Bonaventure

Mary is called “The Gate of Heaven” because no one can enter Heaven but through her means. —Saint Alphonsus de Liguori

Listen to the talks above, especially the ones about the Assumption and Anti-clericalism and get a hold of William Biersach's book, While the Eyes of the Great Are Elsewhere.