A conversion reexamined

As a convert from Lutheranism and as a priest, I am interesting in how other priest-converts from Lutheranism got where they are today.

In the wake of the death of Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, on the web site of First Things I found a reprint of his essay called "How I Became The Catholic I Was" from the April 2002 number.

His very short answer: "I became a Catholic in order to be more fully what I was and who I was as a Lutheran."

Not my answer, but an interesting one nonetheless.

I can resonate, however, with this:

Mine was a decision mandated by conscience. I have never found it in his writings, but a St. Louis professor who had been his student told me that the great confessional Lutheran theologian Peter Brunner regularly said that a Lutheran who does not daily ask himself why he is not a Roman Catholic cannot know why he is a Lutheran.

A question a Christian non-Catholic must ask constantly.

A question Catholics must ask.

Why be Catholic?

In any event, Fr. Neuhaus’s essay is an engaging read.

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54 Responses to A conversion reexamined

  1. Paul S. Quist says:

    Fr. Z,

    I had no idea until right now that you, too, were a convert from Lutheranism. So am I. Baptiized in the Augustana Synod, raised, in the LCA, confirmed and ordained in the ELCA and served for 16 years in the ELCIC. It was my involvment in the Society of the Holy Trinity and John Paul II’s Theology of the Body that eventually led to my conversion in 2005. I’m not sure what God has in store for me – friends of mine having crossed the Tiber are already priests.

    Is there anywhere we can read about your conversion?

    Paul
    Edmonton, Alberta

  2. Paul S. Quist says:

    Correction – actually I was confirmed in the old ALC. So from Augustana to LCA, to ALC, to ELCA, to ELCIC, to RCC – how’s that for alphabet soup?

    Paul

  3. Bryan Cross says:

    Fr. Z,

    I also did not know that you are a convert. You say, “Not my answer”, so what is your answer? Do you have it posted somewhere? Thank you.

    In the peace of Christ,

    - Bryan

  4. Anna Jean says:

    Why be Catholic? The Mother of God was. That should be good enough for anyone.

  5. Kirk Kramer says:

    Today’s Catholic Thing

    http://www.thecatholicthing.org/

    includes several tributes to Fr Neuhaus by long-time colleagues & friends at First Things.

  6. JaneC says:

    A priest friend of mine is a convert from Lutheranism. I don’t know his story, though. My husband is also a former Lutheran. His mother recently mailed us a photograph that she found of the day he preached at a youth-oriented service when he was a teenager. He describes it as a photograph of the day he stopped being a Lutheran. His research for that sermon led him to some inconsistencies in Lutheran theology, which eventually led him to the consistent and consistently correct teachings of the Catholic Church.

  7. Thomas says:

    Fr.

    Has your conversion and ordination brought about any conversions in your family?

  8. David says:

    “I became a Catholic in order to be more fully what I was and who I was as a Lutheran.”

    That is very Vatican II, no disrespect intended to the late Fr. Neuhaus.

  9. Anna Jean says:

    I thought the same thing, David. Also with no disrespect of thought to Fr. Neuhaus, but that same thing jumped right out to me too.

  10. Jacob says:

    …the great confessional Lutheran theologian Peter Brunner regularly said that a Lutheran who does not daily ask himself why he is not a Roman Catholic cannot know why he is a Lutheran.

    Ahhhh, this quote makes me long for my childhood. My mother’s family are Lutherans and my mother was until she converted a number of years ago. My grandfather was a German Lutheran of the old school. He and my grandmother went to church every Sunday and were God-fearing folk, if not overly devout. Somehow I just can’t imagine those Germans asking themselves daily why they aren’t Catholics in order to justify their denomination…

  11. Anna Jean says:

    Well, what I thought was more “What an odd thing to say. What a Protestant thing to say.” and my mind flashed to Vatican II.

  12. Dr. Robert Royal, editor-in-chief of “The Catholic Thing” and President of The Faith & Reason Institute, will be my guest tomorrow on “Catholic Radio 2.0″ to discuss Fr. Neuhaus’ work and legacy. You can either listen live at 11:00 AM ET or download the archive of the show later that day by going to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/CommanderCraig.

  13. David Deavel says:

    As a convert, though from Calvinism and not Lutheranism, I understand Fr. Neuhaus’s statement very well and have made similar statements through the years. Many confessional Protestants think of themselves as the true heirs of the ancient Catholic Church and many hold a great deal of orthodox teaching and attitudes that have been abandoned by other more radical Protestants. This was Neuhaus’s background. He felt that what was good in his background–and there was a great deal of good–was fulfilled in becoming a Catholic. It is not as if he still thought of himself as a Lutheran, nor do I think of myself as a Calvinist, but there is a recognition of all that was good there despite the mistakes.

    Fr. Louis Bouyer explored this in THE SPIRIT AND FORMS OF PROTESTANTISM well, showing that Calvin and Luther’s main impulses were powered by the recovery of Catholic ideas that were not always acknowledged in all sectors of the Church, but their philosophical errors (Bouyer cites nominalism mainly) led them down a wrong path obscuring the original goods they treasured. Nevertheless, to the extent their original impulses were followed they often bore some fruit despite their errors.

  14. Sid says:

    In a study of the Oxford Movement which I read years ago, the claim was made that those of the movement who eventually became Catholic (Roman Catholics) came mostly from Low Church Evangelical backgrounds, and those who became Anglo-Catholics came from Broad Church Latitudinarian upbringing.

    In reading the cited work from Richard John Neuhaus, we see he had been Missouri Synod Lutheran, the most “conservative” Lutheran group (by report), not the old ALC, LCA or the current ELCA — the Mainline.

    So, In the USA, do “conservative” Protestants — Evangelical, Pentecostal, Dispensationalist, or just “Conservative” — become Roman Catholics and the Mainline become Eastern Orthodox and Anglo-Catholics (what’s left of Anglo-Catholics)?

    Fr. Z: which Lutheran denomination were you in?

  15. wsxyz says:

    I think protestants that discover that all that Catholic “unbiblical nonsense” was always believed by Christians right back to the time of Christ, must often experience a crisis of faith. Some choose to embrace the paradox, others are more honest with themselves.

    My father (a baptist) once showed me an article in a protestant magazine about Pope St. Gregory the Great. Referring to his letters and other writings as source material, the article spent four or five pages praising his governance, teaching, and personal holiness; only to end by saying (paraphrased) “His only flaw was that he actually believed all that weird Catholic stuff.”

    Now when I discovered that Christians in the 1st century believed Catholic doctrine that my “church” rejected as “unbiblical”, I posed myself a question: Who is more likely to be right, people who learned their faith directly from the apostles, or 16th Century Europeans? Trying to answer that question led me to the Catholic church.

  16. Vicky says:

    I too am a convert from LCA/ELCA Lutheranism. For me there were several things that pulled me toward Catholicism. Firstly, I had an unpleasant experience that lead me to start looking for what the Lutheran church’s official teachings were. Secondly, I found my church acting less and less like the “traditional” Lutheran church that I grew up in, and found that the Catholic Church looked and acted more like the Lutheran church of my youth.

    Once I began RCIA, I found the bible they gave me when I was confirmed in the ELCA. I found a paper that I had to write for my confirmation folded up inside, and the sentence that sticks out the most was something to the effect that I “hoped that I would go to heaven.” I know that my family (who is all still ELCA), believes that they will go to heaven, there is no doubt. As good Sister pointed out to me after I told her about my conversion experience, God planted the seed and patiently waited for me to heed his call.

    Those are where “Why be Catholic?” started for me. It grew to be much more.

  17. cheyan says:

    David and Anna Jean, what does “very Vatican II” mean? It sounds like it’s a bad thing, especially with your disclaimers of “no disrespect”, but I don’t see what’s negative about that explanation: even before Vatican II, it was believed that everything good about a Protestant denomination was to one degree or another found in the Catholic Church, wasn’t it? So if he felt he was retaining everything good about being a Lutheran, and in fact having many of those good things more fully, surely he was being more fully the person that he was as a Lutheran once he became a Catholic?

  18. David Jeppesen says:

    This is the unfortunate thing about Fr. Neuhaus’ conversion story and it explains why when the National Review surveyed its staff on the
    Fideism-Rationalism Debate back in the early 90s, he came down on the side of the former (he had already been ordained by Cardinal O’Connor)

    Nevertheless, it plays well into the EWTN/Journey Home mindset. The question necessarily becomes: conversion; why the urgency?

  19. Andy F. says:

    “I became a Catholic in order to be more fully what I was and who I was as a Lutheran.”

    I’ve never read that quote and yet I have answered that question in the same way hundreds of times except that I was a Nazarene. I did sing 3 years in an ELCA choir though. The Nazarene call to sanctification and heart holiness rang fully true in the nave of Holy Mother Church. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

  20. David Deavel says:

    David Jeppesen: “Nevertheless, it plays well into the EWTN/Journey Home mindset. The question necessarily becomes: conversion; why the urgency?”

    This is silly. There are a lot of converts who came into the Church because of Fr. Neuhaus’s influence and also the Coming Home Network. You seem to want Protestants to damn every aspect of their former life and/or Protestant background in order to become Catholics, a proposition that is not only uncharitable but false to the facts.

  21. Paul S. Quist says:

    I’m not sure that I understand David Jeppesen’s comment: “Nevertheless, it plays well into the EWTN/Journey Home mindset. The question necessarily becomes: conversion; why the urgency?”

    If one comes to believe that the RCC is everything she claims to be, and one is not in communion with her, then, of course, it will cause a sense of urgency – even crisis. Once you know… you gotta go… My wife and I felt that we had found the pearl of great price in Mother Church and we became Catholic as quickly as prudence allowed.

    Paul

  22. Maureen says:

    I don’t think you can be more evangelical and Catholicization-hungry than the EWTN/Coming Home Network crowd are. Sheesh, they have a toll-free number! They come to people’s houses! More to the point, they get results!

    What else do they have to do to prove their commitment? Eat glass for Jesus? Convince terrorists to walk barefoot through St. Bernard’s Pass to ask the monks for a Confession appointment and to let them discern?

  23. Christa says:

    I had spent several years watching Mother Angelica on EWTN, appreciating her common-sense attitude towards the Christian life.

    When Pope John Paul II died, I was watching the coverage of the funeral on EWTN. Father Neuhaus was one of the commentators appearing with Raymond Arroyo. When Pope Benedict\’s election was announced, Father Neuhaus was on my television explaining the significance of his election.

    I made my decision to enter the Church that day. Father Neuhaus will always be associated in my mind with my conversion.

    I always appreciated his commentary, and I will truly miss him.

  24. Ryan says:

    The lack of charity being displayed by some in this thread is offensive. I remember distinctly reading Fr. Neuhaus’s conversion story during my own conversion process from the Episcopal church and thinking, “Yes, this is exactly how I feel”. I was Catholic in my heart already and once I made this realization joining the Church was a necessity and joy. May Fr. Neuhaus rest in peace and his soul dwell in perpetual light.

  25. arthur bowman says:

    Oh the clarity of hindsight! It is hardly 20/20, but there are some things that become clear with time.

    Whereas many converts confess to new theological insights, I believe that the practices of the ELCA during my tenure as a pastor gave me pause as to what Lutheran teaching was really all about.

    The appointment to head the examining committee for those preparing for ordination of a pastor whose church openly defied the policy of not ordaining practicing gays set the tone. I also happened to receive a wedding invitation for a same sex union to be held at his parish.

    The practice of having those who are candidates to the office of bishop give campaign speeches at synod conventions was rankling. And then there is the reality that some bishops after winning an election were voted out of office at the next election.

    An associate pastor confronted me after a new member class where I had taught about the “real presence” and asked me where I got that strange idea.

    I was also deputized to perform an ordination. I did so but had no sense of the reality of what I was asked to do.

    At one time the LCA, the ALC, and Missouri Synod had a common bond.
    That bond was broken when the AELC emerged from the discord at the Missouri Synod in St. Louis. The breaking of that bond allowed the LCA and ALC to drift off into all kinds of mischief.

    An interesting topic for someone’s PhD would be to contact retired Lutheran clergy and note where they presently worship and how they are nurtured in their religious life. I have some ideas about what retired Lutheran clergy do about religious life, but no hard data.

    Peace to the memory of Father Newhouse.

  26. Christina says:

    God bless you, Father, all the more, for your own flight to orthodoxy!!

  27. little gal says:

    I have read Fr. Neuhaus’s biography and didn’t see any mention of his being married or having had children prior to becoming a Catholic priest. Does anyone know about his personal background? Also, for those who are former Lutherans I wonder if you could explain if there are any restrictions on ministers being able to move up in the church hierarchy if they are married. Lastly, is it true that women can be deacons in the Lutheran church?

  28. Mark G. says:

    At the behest of then-bishop Kurtz of Knoxville, now Louisville, our parish & many others in the diocesee are engaged in a 4-year, 48-week study course of the Catechism called, “Why Catholic?” I think it’s a terrible name, but a fairly decent format for presenting the Catechism to those who have never taken it upon themselves to study it..

    I have a Methodist in my study group that comes as she can with a parishioner friend. She said something to the effect of, “It just seems like there is so much more…” Indeed.

    I always enjoyed & profitted from Fr. Neuhaus’ commentaries & articles. We will miss a truly great teacher & preacher. May God rest his soul.

  29. Hugo says:

    Dave:

    With all due respect to the late great Fr. N and anyone who swims the Tiber; I find it odd that St. Thomas could say all of his work was straw after having a vision but these former prots can’t let go. Often they try to rationalize previous beliefs and have brought in no shortage of heresies. E.G.: Mark Shea theories on the Jews, origins and torture.
    Nevertheless, they’re usually a lot more orthodox than their bishops. Still, they are not the Magisterium no matter how often they get in front of a camera

  30. Dale Simmons says:

    Great people don’t always convert for the best reasons.

    The Normans come to mind ;-}

    R.I.P.

  31. MPod says:

    The good works and words of Father Neuhaus speak for themselves. Only a fool would question his fidelity to Christ and his Church. Yes, St. Thomas had a vision and drew that conclusion. But I don’t recall his giving up his work afterwards, for he continued it until the day he died, thanks be to God.

    Perhaps a few “former prots” (what an unkind thing to call them) continue on a long, long journey once they come into full communion with the Catholic Church. But not a few heresies have come from within the Church’s ranks, and Satan rejoices when one of us “cradles” thinks he has everything he needs by simply taking up space and air in the barque. There’s more than one kind of goat.

  32. Little gal,

    Fr. Neuhaus, as a Lutheran, was firmly committed to a celibacy of the clergy–in the Lutheran Church. I know this from personal association with those who went to seminary with him.

    One of the most unfortunate things about Traditionalism in the Church today is the failure to see that there is a core deposit of belief that the confessional protestants (not most American so called protestants liberal or conservative) have in common with Catholics and Orthodox, even on the sacraments.

    One of the most important events of the last 50 years is the apostasy from Christianity in its historical form of the American protestant denominations and the recognition by their best theologians (e.g. Neuhaus) that the only place where the faith is preserved is the Catholic Church. To second guess this decision is vicious and sectarian. Especially after they have proved themselves truer to the faith than the majority of in the pew Catholics.

    As a seminary friend of Fr. Neuhaus, now also a Catholic, once told me: for a Christian today, the Catholic Church is the only game in town. Many protestants are learning that \”make up your own religion,\” which is what protestantism is, is played out. We will get the best of the protestants. The NYTimes crew will get the rest.

  33. Credo says:

    “I became a Catholic in order to be more fully what I was and who I was as a Lutheran.”

    I think a little context to this quote of Fr. Neuhaus helps it to make perfect sense.

    I immediately took the quote by Fr. Neuhaus to say something like this: “I was a Catholic in my heart even as a Lutheran, and in joining the Church I fully became who I always knew I should be as a Lutheran – a Catholic in full communion.”

    I watched a brief CBC biography of Fr. Neuhas on youtube, so that gave some context to his statement in this post. In the biography he stated that as a Lutheran he always yearned for Lutheranism to re-unite with the Catholic Church, and he knew that he had to make the move to Catholicism after realizing that Lutheranism had no intention to reconcile with Rome.

  34. Paul says:

    I’m not a priest, but before I became a Catholic two years, ago I was a Lutheran in a predominantely Lutheran country (about 80% of the population are baptized Lutherans). I can understand Fr. Neuhaus. When I came into faith I consistantly asked myself why I was a Lutheran. I looked for the Church and found that I could no longer justify to myself being a Lutheran (for I had, to my surprise, become a Catholic at heart). And so I made the decision to convert. I haven’t looked back since.

  35. Those of you who find that Fr. Neuhaus’ remark smacks of Protestantism or is redolent of “Vatican II-ism” might be interested in the following argument, which I have posted at mine:

    Christians receive the faith in baptism. Those validly baptized in Churches and ecclesial communities not fully united to Rome also receive the faith, whole and entire, when they receive the sacrament of Baptism.

    Christians therefore have an innate desire for the font of the fullness of the truth into which they have been reborn. They can be confused, deluded, taught to deny that the font really is the font. They cannot, however, as Christians, cease to desire it.

    This, it seems to me, is the truth of faith behind, or beneath, the late Fr. Neuhaus’ affirmation:

    I became a Catholic in order to be more fully what I was and who I was as a Lutheran.

    I understand that this is not the formulation that Fr. Zuhlsdorf might have chosen for his 25-word answer to the question, “Why did you become Catholic?” It does, however, explain the structure of the experience that occasioned the expression.

    It also has the advantage of underpinning the other lines of Fr. Neuhaus’ essay that Fr. Zuhlsdorf quotes, saying he can resonate with them:

    Mine was a decision mandated by conscience. I have never found it in his writings, but a St. Louis professor who had been his student told me that the great confessional Lutheran theologian Peter Brunner regularly said that a Lutheran who does not daily ask himself why he is not a Roman Catholic cannot know why he is a Lutheran.

    This is, indeed an important question. It strikes me that it is an especially advanced formulation of a basic question, indeed, the basic question, that must be at the center of our very being: “Lord, what do You want of me? Where would You have me go?” No one, Catholic or non-Catholic, ought to cease asking this question in every second of every day. Anyone who asks it assiduously, and listens to the answer, will be forever lost, or so we pray: Utinam hodie vocem eius audiatis / non obdurare corda vestra…

  36. Fr. Angel says:

    What some traditionalists may think Fr. Neuhaus is saying is that “I don’t believe a Protestant has to abjure heresy, but rather you can be a happy Protestant and still join the Catholic Church thanks to the new ecumenism.” That is ignorance of his background and religious beliefs as a Lutheran, especially of the Missouri synod.

    Of course, if you see all Protestant belief as 99% vile heresy and a convert says what Fr. Neuhaus says, it could sound like “compromised Catholicism.” What Fr. Neuhaus was saying was that the elements of truth and goodness in Lutheranism are the Catholic elements which were carried in Luther’s heart when he left Rome. I believe Fr. Neuhaus was saying with his words: “As a Lutheran I was taught to love Scripture, I was taught to love liturgy and ritual, I was taught to base my life upon that of Our Lord, I was taught to follow the morality of the Decalogue, I was taught the importance of good order and courageous pastors.

    “However, the love which captured my heart also gave me the sense that something was missing. When I found the Catholic Church, I did not have to renounce Scripture, or reject devoted liturgical piety, or water down the Christ of faith who is the model of my life, the Commandments, or cast off hierarchical authority. In Catholicism, I found the source and Mother of these beautiful elements of truth and goodness and so my love for these things was completed and fulfilled. Now, there is nothing missing.”

  37. little gal says:

    Fr. Augustine:

    Thanks for responding to my question. So, if I understand what you said, in a sense -with his committment to celibacy as a Lutheran minister- Fr. Neuhaus, was on the road to conversion for a long time prior to his formal conversion…

    Re: Catholic Traditionalists & their view on confessional protestants ,although I am not studied in this area, I have been very impressed on what I have read by Dietrich Bonhoeffer about’cheap grace.’ I think we can fall victim to ‘taking’ grace as an entitlement at times…

  38. RBrown says:

    This is the unfortunate thing about Fr. Neuhaus’ conversion story and it explains why when the National Review surveyed its staff on the Fideism-Rationalism Debate back in the early 90s, he came down on the side of the former (he had already been ordained by Cardinal O’Connor)

    I am unfamiliar with the NR debate, but I would hope that Fr Neuhaus would not come down on either side.

    Nevertheless, it plays well into the EWTN/Journey Home mindset. The question necessarily becomes: conversion; why the urgency?
    Comment by David Jeppesen

    I converted in 1970 at the University of Kansas. I sensed no urgency other than a thirst for the Sacraments that could only be satisfied by becoming a Catholic.

  39. magdalene says:

    “”When Pope John Paul II died, I was watching the coverage of the funeral on EWTN. Father Neuhaus was one of the commentators appearing with Raymond Arroyo. When Pope Benedict’s election was announced, Father Neuhaus was on my television explaining the significance of his election.
    I made my decision to enter the Church that day. Father Neuhaus will always be associated in my mind with my conversion.”

    WOW! Isn’t that marvelous! The Holy Father wasted no time in interceeding from eternity to help souls ‘swim the Tiber’. I like that. And I am certain that Fr. Neuhaus brought many souls to the Church and will continue to do so.

    Mr. Shea! You are sounding a bit grumpy yourself! And your dislike of ‘rad trads’ is showing too. There are many many souls who cannot hardly help the bitterness of having lost so much in the RCC (as you wrote) after the 1960s. They only long for the Church as it is in its fullness. So many SUFFER in their protestant leaning modernist parishes. I think it is getting better. But I had to move to a new town to find an (almost) well offered Holy Mass according to the norms. And I have an opportunity for a monthly TLM–don’t tear out your hair over that one!

    Fr. Richard and others suffered so much in their protestant churches, watching them float farther and farther from truth. And eventually this suffering made them look to see where the Truth is held and not voted on and so they were led into the Catholic Church.
    There are those within the very Church who also suffer when they have heretical or no preaching and so on. I have suffered myself and it is because I longed for the fullness of faith for myself and my family and I wept over the irreverence for the Lord and for the lack of teachings that has led to a tremendous fallout of souls who never knew nor grasped the faith.

    Peace to you, though. May you continue on your journey and lead others too. May you even come to love the traditional Latin Mass, the extraordinary form.

  40. Bernardo says:

    To all converts here: Welcome! Pay not attention to the unkind and silly portraits some make of you. They want you to pray the Rosary on Mondays and hate protestants on Tuesdays. Sure, one must point to the errors of his former protestant religion but some catholics want you to push this to a higher level, a level in which your heart is consumed not by love but by hatred and vengeance. You are not fully catholic until you become a heresy, liturgical-abuse, Vat-II-influence watchdog.

    My wife is a convert. I know how hard it is to let go of some customs, some terminology, even when one’s heart has fully crossed the Tiber. It takes time, prayer and help from EWTN, CHN and the likes.

    No matter how hard you try there will always be those who will give you at best a consolation price and call you a “conservative”, a “neo-con”, a “Vat II catholic” or some other euphemism for “not-as-catholic-as-us-rad-trads”. Pay not attention. Pray for them. Continue faithfully on your journey which does not end at (formal) conversion.

    May Fr. Neuhaus rest in peace and may all converts, famous or unkonwn, who have made it to Christ’s arms, pray for us.

  41. dymphna says:

    “I became a Catholic in order to be more fully what I was and who I was as a Lutheran.”

    I’ve read that several time and have been puzzled over it. At first glance it made me wonder why bother to convert if you’re just going to be a better Lutheran. That can’t be what Fr. Neuhaus meant so I’m just going to have to sit down with more of his writings.

  42. Austin says:

    I don’t get this hostility to people affirming elements of their faith
    heritage after becoming Catholic. Doesn’t God works good works among all the
    baptized to draw them toward the fullness of faith?

    I have known few Catholics as fervent in prayer as my Evangelical friends, few
    as socially engaged as many mainline Protestants, few as deeply converted as Othododox
    believers. This does not justify wrong belief, it testifies to the power of the
    Spirit to redeem.

    My Anglo-papalist background gave me far more Catholic formation than any Cathloic
    priest or program has. And I have yet to find a Catholic parish whose worshipand
    devotions are as rich. We had the offices and several Masses daily, beautiful liturgies
    sung to classical Catholic settings (something now almost impossible to find), Rosary
    groups, sodalities of the Sacred Heart and Holy Souls, devotions to Our Lady of
    Walsingham, Corpus Christi processions, contemplative prayer groups, etc. And
    we longed for reunion.

    I firmly believe that the Catholic Church has the fullness of truth, but I cannot
    honestly say that I have enjoyed Catholic parish life, the perfunctory and poorly
    performed liturgies, the truly dreadful music, and the lack of engagement and
    basic knowledge of the faith among the people.

  43. Ioa says:

    “Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity.”—Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    I have no problem with the theory of evolution but I heartily commend Mark Shea for his principled stands against torture and Israel’s attacks on the Gazan people. Not surprising that he is being condemned by people who treat the Catholic Church as if it were a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Republican Party or a Latin Language Fan Club.

  44. Hugo says:

    As for converts, my mom converted because she felt V2 had answered all of Luther’s objections (as if Trent hadn’t!).Not the best logic there. Anyhow, she went on to become the most sincere rosary bead pushing old lady I’ve ever met!

    No, I don’t know if she ever said the Luminous Mysteries.

  45. I deleted a few comments from this discussion for the sake of protecting the proper identity of a couple participants.

  46. Sal says:

    No, Mark, it’s not a “weird” misunderstanding.
    And few people see Lutheran = rebel. It’s been a
    long time since Protestants were anything but
    people born into Protestant families, who took their
    faith from their environment.

    Fr. Neuhaus’ statement was and is ambiguous. It’s not
    just “Lord, what do you want of me?” either.There’s
    more to conversion than simply finding the completion
    of what one had found in a partial way in Lutheranism.
    One also has to reconcile oneself with the very real
    differences between the Lutheran and Catholic structure
    of thought, differences in the understanding of nature
    and grace, of salvation, of ecclesiology, etc.

    Daphne Hampson has written a very interesting book,
    entitled, Christian Contradictions, in which she poses
    the thesis that Catholicism and Lutheranism cannot be
    reconciled because of the factors I cited above.

    Fr. Neuhaus’ statement also seems to contain mental
    reservations (as do the statements of other converts I
    have read). There appears to be a desire to keep one
    foot on the shore, one foot in the stream (to quote
    Shakespeare). It’s really a type of Christianity
    predicated on ecumenism, not predicated on any
    recognition of Catholicism as the real truth for which
    they are searching.

  47. Clyde Andersen says:

    Thank you Fr. Z.

    I didn’t like where that coversation was going and it ah forget it.

    Regarding the Jews and their relationship to Mother Church, the Holy
    Spirit (with some help from the Holy Father) is hard at work and
    did the right thing clarifying 50 years of confusion on the topic!

    http://culturewars.com/2008/USCCCatechism.htm

    Even the US bishops did the right thing and didn’t yield to Political Correctness

  48. Hugo says:

    Well put, Sal. Very well put!

  49. Jeff says:

    My son’s high school teacher and his wife are Lutherans.

    When he began to teach at Avalon (which ia run by Catholics), he told the President in friendly half-jest, “I get the feeling you think I should be a Catholic and you hope I’ll become one.”

    The President answered, “Well, I certainly HOPE you think I should be LUTHERAN and you hope I’ll become one…”

    Jerry thought and thought about that. And thought and thought. And now he and his wife are taking instruction.

  50. tom says:

    What a marvellous article; so well articulated, with powerful arguments. Fascinating stuff. Many thanks for posting.

  51. walter says:

    I really don’t understand why so many are puzzled by Fr. Neuhaus’ statement? To me it is quite clear.

  52. Leslie Quill says:

    No doubt Rev. Neuhaus’s reasons for entering the Church were a little suspect, but I don’t think we
    could’ve kept him out for these, even if they should have been scrutinized a little better prior to
    his ordination.

    But, as time went on,he grew in maturity and I’m not just talking about the distance he put between
    himself and the neo-cons.

    God writes straight with crooked lines

  53. Chris M says:

    What Austin said.

  54. ASD says:

    Hey, David Jeppesen or anybody: Do you have more specific info about the National Review article about Fideism vs. Rationalism, what issue, how to find it?

    TIA. ASD