What Happens When an Evangelical Protestant Falls in Love With the Catholic Church
Nike air max trainers for women nike wmns nike air max trainers for women air max 90 many are issuing calls for reforms as the cardinals convene. I have my own wish list rooted in the usual historic Protestant complaints, but the announcement compels me to dwell on what I admire. There is much to appreciate.
First, the Roman curia’s politics are delightfully confusing. Many go slackjawed in their efforts to cram the mitered eminences into modern partisan categories. They don’t fit. invaded Iraq, right in his opposition to liberation theology, left on climate change and left on the death penalty. The political “experts” perched before the cameras and “analyzed” his “inner motives, Was the pontiff moody? Mercurial? Intellectually unbalanced? What’s his game and to which constituency was he appealing and how would this play in Peoria?
Believe it or not, most Catholic leaders are not mugging for the cameras. They’re doing their level best to preserve a 2,000year tradition that defies modern pigeonholes. Only a fraction of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics live in America, so they’d be mining data from the global south if they were marketdriven leaders; but, more to the point, they know their Church survived persecution, the Arian heresy, Docetism, Donatism, the fall of the Roman Empire, the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, the Black Death, the Reformation, the Renaissance, the French Revolution, Fascism and Communism. They lionize sacrificial martyrs, not questiondodging candidates. Rightwing death squads murdered Latin American priests, nuns and bishops; leftwing Eastern European despots threw them into prisons and they remember who got the last laugh at Stalin’s question: “How many divisions does the pope have,
For all their huge flaws (covering up priestly pedophilia will rank high on their scandal list), most cardinals and bishops view their Deity as their commanding constituency. Their Church has outlasted civilizations and empires and the mighty USA is a smartaleck nike wmns air max 90 toddler smoking a cigar. Don’t take it personally, Peoria. We love you and we pray for you, but your finite wishes pale when nike air max trainers for women compared with an infinite Being’s.
Let the analysts stretch their horizons: Catholic political thought, developed over the eons long before Adam Smith was a dream in his mother’s eye centers on the sanctity of life. Both American political parties subscribe to selfinterested Deistic Capitalism: Human beings are economic units, expendable cogs, vehicles by which impersonal corporate entities accumulate profits. The Church doesn’t walk in step with either party because it is following the beat of a different, more ancient drummer.
My second reason involves that vast tradition. Listen to informed Catholics and you’ll hear references to luminaries like Augustine, Benedict of Nursia, Francis of Assisi, Clare, Thomas Aquinas, Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avilla, John of the Cross and many others. The Catholic Church, like Eastern Orthodoxy, embraces the full body of Christian thought. The Bible is paramount, of course especially in the wake of Vatican II but the Church sees how our forebears interpreted and nike wmns air max 90 applied those Scriptures through the millennia. It’s all there, ready and available, offered within the broad but firm parameters of our ancient creeds. Plow through that teaching. Use it. Lewis speculates that the story of Adam and Eve was an ancient myth portraying a genuine truth. Lewis, another wannabe Catholic, was deliberating within creedal parameters.
Third, there’s the contemplative tradition, which brings us into intimacy with God. Ultimately, Christianity is not a “belief system” or a mere set of morals. They’re there, but they flow from a divinehuman encounter. I’ve learned much from Pentecostal and charismatic Protestants, but I find Catholic charismatics more thoughtful precisely because they’ve been nurtured in contemplative teaching. They relish quietness and meditation and they maintain their relations with noncharismatics when they belong to the same parish. There’s less church shopping.
But my fourth reason is more subtle and yet most important. I once was praying in a Catholic sanctuary (I took the open door as an invitation); I walked its perimeter, a little jaundiced as I viewed the statues and votive candles. Then it struck me: I was in “The Church” the Mother Church, the church from which the others were birthed. The Protestant Reformation was necessary; dear old Mom essentially admitted that in Vatican II, but she stayed within those parameters while her children wandered far in the 19th and early 20th centuries: Some European theologians sliced off huge portions of the New Testament and remolded Jesus into a professor teaching a class on the Rhine. I prayed for her then and there. I haven’t stopped. I can’t shake the feeling that evangelicals such as I must join hands with Catholics if we are to be avenues of genuine spiritual renewal.
There is still enough “protest” in me to remain a Protestant. I’d chafe under Catholicism’s topheavy, exclusively male celibate hierarchy. Some of Martin Luther’s original objections remain, and I wonder nike wmns air max 90 if the hierarchy grasps the depths of the pedophilia scandal. I am, indeed, an ecumenical evangelical. I may as well dwell in my camp, knowing that its closets hold their own skeletons. We have much to learn from our mother even as she prepares herself for a new pope. I wish her well.
Eventually, even your reasons to “protest” will go away once you continue to engage in study. I was once Protestant and now I’m Catholic. They are the only ones with consistent theology and interpretation of Scripture regardless of their flawed and inconsistent behavior, which by the way, bad, inconsistent occurs in every church. There are deep (and legitimate) theological reasons for an allmale, celibate clergy just as there are reasons for EVERY thing Catholics believe and do most of which come right from the Scripture. If you do decide to take a leap of faith and go Catholic, you will not regret it.
God bless you for witnessing to the lovableness of the Church and the ridiculousness of trying to fit Her into political pigeonholes. It is balm to my soul right now to hear of your admiration for your “Mother, How well I remember the time when I had fallen in love with the Church but had some objections that seemed to be dealbreakers. My objections were swept away much quicker than I imagined they would be; I came into the Church last spring. Keep reading and contemplating and you may find yourself getting swept away too! I wish you all the best.
But let me remind everyone here who is analyzing all of this from a secular, worldly standpoint that God is not “of this world, This is about Truth with a capital T and about the Divine. To debate or pick apart or even discuss this as though it were a political or social concern is just. well, there is no word or analogy for it, because nothing can be so inappropriate. We are not meant to make up our own truths and make God conform to what we want or what makes “sense” to us. We are meant to discover Him as He is, and to conform to Him. Yes, in a secular, progressive and “modern” world, that seems foolish, but it is ultimately the only nonfoolish way to live.
May God bless all who read and write these many comments, so that they come to see God as He is and know that above all, He loves them.
I followed a similar path. And was picked up by the ear and placed in a Catholic church, all the while grumbling, “But I don’t want to be Catholic, Of course I said the same thing when God called me to be a Christian. But I did make a deal with God. I know you’re not supposed to do that but I did it anyway. I said,Some of this Catholic stuff is just too weird for me, so if there is something that is really, really important and you want me to believe it (like all the Marian stuff), then it’s up to you to change my mind and convince me that it’s true, So I became a wary Catholic and God slowly revealed one thing at a time, changing my mind about all KINDS of things that I said I could never believe. Every day is a new adventure and I never know what the Holy Spirit has tucked up that capacious sleeve of his. LOL nike wmns air max 90.