Thursday, 6 October 2011

Conversion stories

I'm not normally a great fan of the conversion story genre - through effectively a convert myself (I was baptised a catholic and was one on the Jesuit theory of gottya by the age of seven, but I didn't make my first communion until my late teens). 

Still, many contemplating becoming Catholics do find them useful, and some aspects of others stories can be helpful to us all.

In this light, do go and check out the interesting why I'm catholic website.

In particular, do read the powerful story of Mr R J Stove, a regular commenter here, who offers some great observations on the problem of atheism, coping with mental illness, and on the abuse crisis.  On the latter, here is a short taster:

"First, I never deluded myself into supposing that priests were free from Original Sin. Second, I knew that those who yelled loudest against Catholic clergymen for being perverts were the same individuals who considered perversion eminently OK, when anti-Catholics practiced it. I also knew—unfortunately all too few of today's Catholics know—that filial obedience to authority is not at all the same thing as blind obedience to authority; that in certain circumstances, defined very specifically by the likes of St. Robert Bellarmine in his book De Romano Pontifice, opposing (with the greatest respect) the damage done even by a pope is wholly lawful; and that once particular clergy are causing scandal, we not only may protest, we must protest....Would the sex-abuse nightmare have occurred at all, if the average Australian or American Catholic had bothered to realize all this?"

Do go and read the whole thing.


R J said...

Thank you for your kind words.

That article was actually written a good few years back, though only recently did a (slightly changed) version of it appear, published originally in THE TRADITIONALIST (Colorado).

Anthony S. Layne said...

Good to see you back, Kate! I found conversion stories, such as David Currie's Born Fundamentalist Born Again Catholic and Steve Ray's Crossing the Tiber very helpful in my own reversion from "cafeteria Catholicism" back to orthodoxy. Thanks for posting the link; although I came across it from another source, I'm sure your other fans will appreciate it.

@R J: I read your post too. It was very lucid, very straightforward, and very poignant. Thank you for sharing it with us (again!).

R J said...

If I may add another remark to this thread: that article of mine has inspired more comments made to me personally, and has been more widely picked up on websites, than anything else I have had published - whatever the topic - in a good many years. Every single comment has been supportive.

With one exception: this exception being from a somewhat Klan-like hysteric identifying himself solely as "Greg", who announces that Catholicism is "an insult to human intelligence" (take that, Augustine and Aquinas!), and who accuses me of having "sifted through the bible, picking and choosing". As I went out of my way to praise Protestants in, above all, the pro-life movement, I find myself wondering about what "Greg" actually supposes he read, since it was most certainly not what I wrote.

Paolo said...

Great to see the blog back, and thank you for the link to RJ Stove's story. I have read many of his articles, and as a psychologist, I find his accounts of contacts with mental health professionals have made for thought-provoking (if sometimes, uncomfortable) reading.

The site linked to looks like it has many good stories. I look forward to checking them out as well.