For over fifteen years, the anticipation of an important anniversary has inspired much of our work. By God’s grace, Jim Anderson (CHNetwork’s Senior Advisor and long-time coordinator of our ministry with non-Catholic clergy), is sojourning for an extended period in Germany. This is opportune, for it provides us with “eyes on the ground” to share reflections on the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation — and its impact on us today. This month, Jim gives us an inside look at the preparation for this coming event. — Marcus Grodi
Mr. Storck is a convert from Anglicanism and his conversion story was previously featured in our September 2011 newsletter.
More than once lately I have noticed in the Prayer List column of the Coming Home Network newsletter prayers for difficulties that individuals, new converts to the Catholic faith, are having in their adjustment to Catholic life.
The challenges in Catholic conversion don’t end at the Church’s door.
“I think more should be written about conversion within the Church. It is a more difficult subject than conversion without.” — Flannery O’Connor
St. Paul wrote to his “son in the faith” St. Timothy that “God our Savior … desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4). He penned this after all the joy and trials of his own conversion and his travels as a missionary, bringing many from paganism or Judaism into the Christian Faith.
For years, I’ve been fascinated with a little-known figure in American Church history: Father John Thayer (1758-1815). He served as chaplain to John Hancock during the American Revolution, was the
Whenever I reflect on my own conversion as well as that of CHNI members and the guests on The Journey Home program, the idea of “the verses we never saw”
At the beginning of the Easter Vigil twice we heard this strange outburst:
“O happy fault,
O necessary sin of Adam
which gained for us
so great a Redeemer!”
The joy of these words is surprising, since we’re accustomed to think of Adam and Eve’s sin as a great tragedy.
When stating their objections to the Catholic Church, most Protestant Christians have two impressions. First, the Catholic Church is thought to be somewhere on a scale from hating the Bible to
One thing many people can’t quite get their heads around is the Catholic Church’s claim that there is one Church founded by Jesus and that one this Church, according to the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), “constituted and organized as a society in this present, world, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him.” Or as Richard John Neuhaus liked to put it, “The Catholic Church is the Church of Jesus Christ most fully and rightly ordered through time.”
In the first installment of my advice as to how to avoid becoming a Catholic, I suggested two rules. First, assume that all Catholics are idiots. Second, get all your information about the Catholic Church second-hand. Steer clear of Catholic intellectuals, well-catechized laypeople, and young, zealous, orthodox priests and nuns. Look for leftover aging, hippy priests and nuns, poorly catechized Catholics, and ex-Catholics evangelicals who have it in for the Church. And above all, don’t read the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
With those preliminaries out of the way, the next three rules have to do with history.
A little over a year ago my status changed. Having been a Presbyterian minister for over twenty years, I became a Catholic layman. How that happened is a long story.
In a nutshell, though, reading a Catholic author here, meeting with a priest or two there, befriending groups of faithful Catholics, and attending lectures, meetings, and (occasionally) Mass all added up. At the same time, my questions about the viability of Protestantism in a post-modern environment became more pointed and my answers more frightening. The Protestant mainline, oldline, sideline is in theological, moral, and cultural freefall as it approaches becoming little more than a sideshow. And the evangelicals, I believe, are not all that far behind.