Michael Sean Winters, the Wile e. Coyote of the liberal catholic Left at the Fishwrap, and hyper-liberal Massimo “Beans” Faggiolo at Villanova, and the papalatrous gnostic Austen Ivereigh at Crux have incited a little war on converts recently.
According to them, converts are tiresome, they should shut up, they shouldn’t express opinions, etc. Sure, they also say, “We like converts too! Aren’t they great?” And we believe that, right?
Ivereigh sort of apologized at Crux. Sort of. Ivereigh’s contribution was so worrisome that Crux editor – and recipient of lots of money from the Knights of Columbus – John Allen issued a new “Prime Directive” of niceness. HERE Spin, by any other name.
Now, however – again at Crux – I see yet another convert piece by David Mills. Mills has not been associated with the catholic Left. On the contrary. However, lately he wrote for Pathe…os, Aletheia.
David Mills is a convert.
What’s the title of Mill’s piece at Crux
Newcomers to the Church should speak less, listen more
It astonishes me that people keep going to back to this third rail and jumping up and down on it.
I think all these people grumbling about converts are concerned because of the more conservative positions held by many visible converts who are well-known for speaking and writing on Catholic issues.
Let’s turn the sock inside out. How about this:
- Cradle Catholics should learn something about their Faith.
- Cradle Catholics should go to Confession before Communion.
- Cradle Catholics should stop shacking up and get married.
- Cradle Catholics should stop contracepting at same rate as non-Catholics.
- Cradle Catholics should speak less, listen more.
I don’t have stats at my finger tips, but I’ll wager that the converts the libs want to silence are more faithful in these matters than most cradle Catholics.
Let me be clear:
I have sympathy for the position that converts need to be patient and to learn and.. yes… to listen. And I agree that listening and learning are closely bound. As a convert myself, I know that it can take a while… in the cases of some converts quite a while… to get acclimated, to get to the point where the Catholic “thing” is deep in the marrow. I wrote recently on that. HERE I also used the image of “Catholic thing”.
A couple bits from Mills:
Theologian Massimo Faggioli and journalist Austen Ivereigh having taken some flack recently for their articles on Catholic converts; in effect, both seemed to be saying, “Converts, please stop talking.”
(Ivereigh later apologized for his use of the metaphor “neurotic” to describe his subjects in his Crux article.)
They meant the vocal, public converts, who are usually culturally as well as theologically conservative.
That’s probably the real problem. Converts are often culturally as well as theologically conservative?
He also says:
In both cases [Marian elements], I had to live the Catholic life for a long time before I could really feel the truth of these things and understand them from the inside.
That is – ought to be – the experience of every Catholic. It takes a whole life.
So as a convert, I would say: Converts, please stop talking so much; when you do speak, speak on the narrower subjects on which you can speak with authority; and trust those who have been inside the Thing longer and look to them as teachers and models, or at least challengers – even if their names are Faggioli and Ivereigh. Even Paul went into the desert for three years after his conversion, and he was a religious genius and a saint.
Sorry, but St. Paul is Saint Paul. Also, Paul was not silent in the years between his conversion in 32 and when he would eventually confront Peter to his face, because Peter was wrong (Galatians 2:11). Let’s review in Acts 9:18-22:
And immediately there fell from his eyes as it were scales, and he received his sight; and rising up, he was baptized. [Paul’s a convert.] And when he had taken meat, he was strengthened. And he was with the disciples that were at Damascus, for some days. And immediately he preached Jesus in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. And all that heard him, were astonished, and said: Is not this he who persecuted in Jerusalem those that called upon this name: and came hither for that intent, that he might carry them bound to the chief priests? But Saul increased much more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt at Damascus, affirming that this is the Christ.
And the next verse, that might not be in your Bibles…
And the disciples who were with Paul at Damascus began to grumble among themselves saying, “Who does Saul think he is? Should he not remain silent and listen? After all, he was just baptized a some days ago while we were baptized even more days ago.” And they told Paul to shut up and listen, for they were tired of hearing Paul explain things.
After Damascus, Paul went to Arabia. I’ll bet he didn’t say anything there. Surely, he was just silent and listened. No wait… it seems that he often had to flee here and there, probably because he was such a good listener.
QUAERITUR: How long, in their opinion, should converts to shut up? Is there a set time? Perhaps they will decide based on a quiz or an interview! Are they the arbiters? Once you pass my test, then you can pipe up.
Mr. Mills is a convert of some 15 years. What about this? “Sorry, Mr. Mills, that’s not long enough. 15 whole years? You should listen more.”
Who gets to decide? I won’t pretend that I know, and I don’t think that David Mills should silence his pen just because he has only been in the Church for 15 years. He has a lot to contribute.
Look, I don’t mean to pick on David Mills here. He’s okay.
However, when we see that converts should shut up and sit in the back of the bus… no… just know.
Go to the back of the bus! How DARE you sit up front!