Personal News: January 2005 Archives

Why I Am the Catholic I Am

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What follows may be too personal to be of much interest, but I thought it might help better understand some of the attitudes and prejudices that are occasionally given air here. I wrote it in response to a correspondent, who, believe me didn't ask for anything of the sort. I guess the unfortunate soul just happened to be in the way when the cannon went off.

"Having come from a protestant faith that claimed that they had existed all along as a "shadow church" but only emerged to claim their own during the reformation, I find that there is a lot of convincing evidence that the Catholic Church may claim, and rightfully so, the title of the one True Church. Certainly, this is a subjective certainty, but I stand with Newman (I think it was) on the notion that I cannot belong to a Church whose creed has a pedigree that does not stem from Christ Himself. While I am not competent to argue the case to others, in my researches, I found sufficient evidence to convince me that one Church could lay claim to that reality. There was another that probably had equal claim, but whose teaching authority was so scattered and diffuse that I found it an untenable home. I've subsequently found that I was wrong in that estimation--but I believe that it was grace that blinded me to my error for the time.

"As a protestant, I was not satisfied and the protestant world view was a warped mirror. It took me a long time after converting to Catholicism to become "truly" Catholic, and I still exhibit a lot of tendencies that drive many of my Catholic compatriots insane. You wouldn't believe how many Catholics look askance and ask why scripture reading is a necessity. And of course my problem with the Rosary befuddles a great many. But apart from a few relict attitudes, I feel that I've become a pretty good Catholic. My chief problem now is that having emerged from error, I live in fear of reentering error. That is, I am deeply suspicious of a great many writers who may be perfectly fine, but who have been accused of being off-track in some way. For example, Karl Rahner is on
my list of "the suspect." Until some recent material by Paul Elie and Christopher Blosser, I had my reservations about Merton, although Merton was one of the figures whose writing convinced me that there was something to be found in the Catholic Church that could be found nowhere else."

So, now when I ask about so-and-so and his "orthodoxy," you will, at least, have some idea of why I am asking. I have emerged from the land of "utter depravity" into the land of "good but flawed and fallen" and I have no desire to return. On the other hand, I also don't want to enter the la-la land of the neo-Rousseauian noble savage who is redeemed in and of himself but corrupted by society. Ho-hum, Anyone who can cast his eye back over the twentieth century and come to that conclusion has and ignorance as invincible as it is ahistoric. I pray that God bless such a one--who will be doomed to wander Candide-like through this world looking for "the best of all possible worlds." Eventually, God's grace prevailing, he shall find it, but it won't be here.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Personal News category from January 2005.

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