In this article I attempt to explain three different frameworks for interpreting the Church Fathers (patristic literature) and the consequences for adopting one over the others.
Clement of Rome & the Didache: A New Translation and Theological Commentary by CHN resident linguist Kenneth Howell Ph.D. now available at CHResources. The Letter to the Corinthians by Clement of Rome and the Didache are two of the most important documents from the earliest days of Christianity, revealing the way in which Christians were implementing and living out the Faith taught by Jesus and passed on by the Twelve Apostles.
In my 16 years as a Catholic, I have come to understand these words with an increasing appreciation of their wisdom and truth. Often wise priests console their penitents in the confessional to commit the past to God’s mercy, knowing that we cannot change what has already taken place. When we muse over our past sins or failures, such wise confessors encourage us to let go of our past and place it into the merciful hands of God.
The process of conversion to the Faith may be compared to the ascent to Jerusalem of the ancient Israelite pilgrims, who as they came nearer to the Temple uttered that cry of joy recorded in Psalm 122, “I rejoiced when they said to me, we will go into the house of the Lord.” This psalm expresses the gladness of heart experienced by so many converts as they embrace the Catholic Faith, sometimes after even a lifetime of study or wandering or doubt. But after our conversion, after we become members in fullness of His Church — what then? What is our next step?
“Most clergy converts remember and cherish the moment of their ordination, but, now as Catholics and no longer non-Catholic ministers, they sometimes wonder what, if anything, that ‘laying on of hands’ meant? Those who ordained us may not have had any sacramental apostolic authority to do so, yet the vows of our own hearts to serve Him were authentic and real.” Former Presbyterian pastor Marcus Grodi reflects on the way in which clergy converts must “seek ways to support their families through non-Church employment, and yet never give up their ‘call to ministry.’”
Before I was a Catholic, I had no place for suffering in my personal or preached theology, and I admittedly avoided the many Scriptures that speak of suffering. After becoming a Catholic — actually it took several years after becoming an informed Catholic — I not only began to understand the meaning and importance of, but more significantly, the necessity of suffering.
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.