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.
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.