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Converts

 

 

 

One of the sources of ever renewing strength to Catholicism has ever been our converts.  My bride is an example of this.  A United Methodist when we married, she converted to the Faith after two years.  Her doubts about the Eucharist were resolved when she drew my attention to these lines from a translation of Tantum Ergo, the masterpiece of Saint Thomas Aquinas:

Faith tells us that Christ is present,

When our Human senses fail

Now she is a far better Catholic than I, and if I ultimately behold the Beatific Vision it will largely be I think because of her prayers for me.

Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, directs our attention to a recent convert:

You guys should have a spring in your step tomorrow morning because you just picked up someone who I would consider to be a MAJOR convert and his family, a guy who may astonish some of you. I’m not going to quote from his outstanding piece because it’s too long and too personal and you really do need to read the whole thing anyway.

Go here to read the comments.

 

The convert’s name is Greg Griffith and here is part of his conversion announcement:

We opened the web sites for the few other ones on our short list. There, front and center at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle, was the announcement that the new dean was none other than the priest who had married us 22 years earlier: A Vietnam war refugee, who as a young seminarian had fled the country after the fall of Saigon, rescued by American Marines after three days at sea in an open boat. These are the kinds of signs ones looks for in times like this, and in the refugee offering shelter to another refugee, it seemed like as good an explanation as any.

We began attending services in March of last year. At first just once a month, then with increasing frequency. One morning I noticed that my daughter had recited the confession and the Creed purely from memory, while I still had to read the text to keep from reciting the Anglican versions. A month or so later, we were literally having to drag her – I mean, knock on the door and walk in and take her by the arm – from Sunday School to get to Mass on time. It was impossible not to see that she was very, very happy, a perception punctuated by the knowledge that all she has known her entire life is that her parents have been in a very public and very pitched war with her church.

So for me, a move to Rome is not about a revolution in my theology, and certainly not about a rejection of Anglicanism. It is about a very painful choice between two dilemmas:

On the one hand there is Anglicanism, an expression of faith that in the abstract – its doctrines and theology – is as nearly perfect as I believe man has ever succeeded in achieving, but which in practice has unraveled into a chaotic mess. There is of course the heresy and false teaching that infects all but a handful of Episcopal parishes in this diocese – including its bishop, its cathedral, its dean, almost all of its clergy, and a distressing number of the few laypeople who have made the effort to pay attention and learn what’s happening – but the promise of the orthodox Anglican movement outside of The Episcopal Church never materialized either. Populated as that movement is by many good people, it has the institutional feeling of something held together by duct tape and baling wire. It is beset by infighting and consecration fever, and in several of its highest leadership positions are people of atrocious judgement and character.

On the other hand there is Roman Catholicism, some of whose doctrines give me serious pause, but which in practice has shown itself to be steadfast in its opposition to the caprices of the world. Even the horrific pedophile priest scandal forces one to concede that Pope Benedict’s purging of the ranks, while not complete, was at the very least spirited, and based on a firm rejection of the “everything is good” sexual sickness that’s all but killed the Episcopal Church.

Over the past twenty years I have come to believe that worship is, properly, sacramental and liturgical in nature. The Catholic church provides that for me in abundance. And, I never have to worry about my rector – to say nothing of my bishop – advocating same-sex blessings from the pulpit, hoisting a pro-abortion banner, marching in a gay-pride parade, or indulging in universalism or Marcionism or Pelagianism or any other heresies the Episcopalian glitterati have decided is fashionable this month.

This is not to say that I find no fault in the Roman church – far from it. I would describe this new pope, for instance, as somewhere between a disappointment and a disaster. But then, that’s exactly how I’ve described the current and former Archbishops of Canterbury too

Go here to read the rest.  Welcome Mr. Griffith.  Some of us are born Catholic and some of us choose to be Catholic, but all of us humbly seek shelter together beneath the Cross of Christ as we make our journey through this Vale of Tears.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

21 Comments

  1. What this blog post says about the orthodox Anglican movement is 100% correct. As sincere, well intentioned and devout as they are, the entire movement is fragmented into a hundred different sects each rivaling the other. And while some of its leaders are paragons of virtue and honor, others can be as abysmally given over to corruption as certain Roman clergy. And yes, I agree with the comparison of the current Roman pontiff with the Archbishop of Canterbury. One orthodox Anglican bishop told me at one time that he could accept Benedict XVI as supreme pontiff, but when Francis got elected, oh the dismay and disappointment! he will never come into the Roman fold with Francis as pontiff.

  2. As sincere, well intentioned and devout as they are, the entire movement is fragmented into a hundred different sects each rivaling the other.

    Actually, I think eight different sects have appeared since 1966, shearing off after each new bit of grossness on the part of the House of Bishops; James Hashcookies Pike, broads in cassocks, Edmund Lee Browning’s buffooneries, massive embezzlement by the denominational treasurer (for which Edmund Lee Browning would take no responsibility), &c. (Did another appear after they consecrated homosexual alcoholic narcissist Vicky Gene Robinson? I’ve lost track).

  3. Rather bittersweet to read this. Yet another convert who actually read the instructions! And I bet he thinks he is supposed to follow the instructions! Such troublemakers.

    His initial experience, …worship is, properly, sacramental and liturgical in nature. The Catholic church provides that for me in abundance. And, I never have to worry about my rector – to say nothing of my bishop – advocating same-sex blessings from the pulpit, hoisting a pro-abortion banner, marching in a gay-pride parade, or indulging in universalism… is in one parish. There are many more parishes in which the laity eagerly await the coming of the Doctrinal Change, and the priest sees his primary pastoral role as maintaining their faith by entertaining this possibility.

  4. You are correct that I exaggerated, Art. this list of Continuing Anglican Churches is smaller – from Wikipedia:

    The following is a list of North American church bodies commonly called “Continuing Anglican,” with the approximate number of their parishes in North America shown in parentheses. Some also have affiliated churches in other countries.

    American Anglican Church (12)
    Anglican Catholic Church (150) includes the Traditional Anglican Church of Canada (11)
    Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (12)
    Anglican Churches of America (2)
    Anglican Church in America (75)
    Anglican Church of Virginia (8)
    Anglican Episcopal Church (5)
    Anglican Orthodox Church (10)
    Anglican Province of America (60)
    Anglican Province of Christ the King (42)
    Christian Episcopal Church (5)
    Diocese of the Great Lakes (5)
    Diocese of the Holy Cross (20)
    Episcopal Missionary Church (30)
    Holy Catholic Church–Western Rite (20)
    Orthodox Anglican Church (5)
    Reformed Anglican Church (5)
    Southern Episcopal Church (3)
    United Anglican Church (6)
    United Episcopal Church of North America (20)

  5. “Over the past twenty years I have come to believe that worship is, properly, sacramental and liturgical in nature. ”
    .
    Funny, that’s just about how long it took me to reach the same conclusion.

  6. I’m glad Greg has come home. He will resolve his questions with time. However, I read the comments on his blog “Stand Firm in Faith” and the anti-Catholic vitriol and ignorance is astounding, troubling and upsetting. Even from those who claim to know better. For example, Matt Kennedy of that blog says that the Catholic Church “denies the gospel.” Holy Smoke, how do ever begin to have a conversation with that kind of argument? I have been this side of the Tiber for over 6 years officially and about 15 unofficially. I’m home, and even though there are some issues (after all, it is humans who make up the Church), I continue to have a great sense of peace, relief and gratitude to the grace and mercy of God and to the Church for receiving me into the Barque of Peter.

  7. We also walked out of TEC the Sunday after the ordination of Gene Robinson and walked into the local Catholic Church the next Sunday. That was 11 wonderful years ago.

  8. Certainly this is good news for him, and I’ve asked the Blessed Mother to pray for him that it works out well. But it seems to me that he’s saying that he reviewed all the options and the Catholic one is best. I prefer the converts who say “The church building is ugly, the people stand-offish, the preaching uninspired, but it’s the one true Church so I have no choice.”

  9. The Gospel is the death, burial, & resurrection of Jesus Christ. One of the things that drew me to Catholic worship services was the stating of the gospel every single service. I had listened in vain for decades in Protestant churches for the Gospel.

  10. “Some of us are born Catholic…”–Donald R. McClarey

    Were that true there would be no need for infant baptism, would there now?

  11. I read Mr. Griffith’s blog regarding his coming into the Catholic Church and I have to say I have never read a less inspiring conversion story. It does not sound like a conversion to the Truth of Jesus Christ. It sounds like an intellectual decision making the Catholic Church the least of the worst. In truth, the Catholic Church is the only Church, every other form of organized religion is just a pale imitation of the incredible gift that Jesus heads. To encounter the Eucharist and the grace and joy that comes with truly knowing the Lord is present to us and within us is a miracle of the highest order. Mr. Griffith did not once even mention Jesus Christ or the authenticity of His Church. I will pray that the Holy Spirit will pour out some fervor and desire for the Lord as he continues on his spiritual journey. For the first time in his life, he will actually be receiving the body, blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. May that experience alone open his heart, so that it overrides his head.

  12. Deb, completely agree with you. I’m glad this fellow joined in Communion with the one true Holy Catholic Church of Christ, but at this Pentecost, I hope the Holy Spirit grants him the gift of fervor in piety that is lacking in his conversion story. I’m reading GK Chesterton’s St. Francis of Assisi biography & in it Ches makes the point of what made St. Francis unique in human history: he treated religion as a Love-affair. Welcome home, Mr. Greg, but in your knew journey with the Bride of Christ (aka the Catholic Church), try to embrace this “love-affair” approach of St. Francis & not a Pharisee-like mentality. Pope Francis is giving us an example that should cause us to be challenged in our walk as Christian disciples (not occasions to unceasingly criticize Pope Francis), be open to the Holy Spirit’s workings through Francis (don’t shut the Spirit of God off, listen). We’ve been gifted with great Christian teachers lately- Francis, Benedict, St. John Paul II.

  13. “We’ve been gifted with great Christian teachers lately- Francis, Benedict, St. John Paul II.”
    .
    Pope Francis’ motto ought to be “Do as I do, not as I say.”

  14. We’ve attended Anglican Usage Masses in Scranton. The liturgy is what the liturgy of the Roman Rite should be. The language harks back to the Golden age of English, the Elizabethan, and makes no concessions to the PC doctrine of inclusiveness. The host is given on the tongue and received, as one kneels at the altar rail. Evensong is beautiful. Benedict XVI did a great thing for the Church by establishing Anglicanorum Coetibus, to set up Ordinariates to make the swim across the Tiber easier.

  15. Mary De Voe, Pope Francis (like Benedict & St. John Paul) both walks the walk & talks the talk. Pope Francis is an orthodox teacher of the Faith, actually listen to what he preaches. In some press interviews, he has said some things that are excruciatingly subtle yet orthodox but could have been said in a more clear fashion. Sadly, the mainstream media has taken these subtle statements & taken them out of context & reduced them to soundbytes. (I wish he didn’t naively do press interviews – a very informal, unclear & ineffective way to teach- & stick with formal modes of papal Teaching -like encyclicals & actions- but we all make mistakes.) But in his more formal papal teachings from symbolic acts of mercy to homilies, Pope Francis has been very insistent in his orthodoxy (although unreported by media), such as the fact that he warns against the dangers of the true Enemy (Satan) of the Gospel more than his previous two papal predecessors combined. People who listen to media constantly quote (out of context) his “who am I to judge” statement ONCE & on a very informal way, but how many quote his constant & numerous warnings against the Enemy (Satan) of the Gospel? Zip.
    The Church shall always be in debt to servant Pope Benedict’s Anglican Ordinariates, true sources of Beauty in the Mother Church & true examples of Ecumenical embrace. Anglican-Use Mass is how the reformed Roman-Rite Mass after Vatican II should have looked like (vernacular English but with all the rich music & Communion reception in mouth/kneeling, etc.). Bless the Lord

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