Apologies to those of you who expected something from me much earlier than this, but more than a year on, and numerous mitigating circumstances later, I think that I have finally come to a point where I might be able to say something helpful and interesting about my full, corporate entrance into the Catholic Church. This is something I hope to do in parts over the coming days and weeks. So bear with me, and enjoy….
In many respects, I would find it easy to point you in the direction of an article by Richard John Neuhaus, written for First Things, April, 2002, (http://www.firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=2007), entitled ‘How I Became the Catholic I Was.’ This is an article written with mildness and profound insight into the catholicity of the author’s own Lutheran upbringing. It is equally an article where you could easily read ‘Anglican’ for ‘Lutheran’ and replace ‘Ottawa’ with ‘Winnipeg’, and find that my own spiritual history, including many of my own feelings, had been laid out faithfully before you. I am grateful to Neuhaus for this.
But of course, there are differences too. First of all, there are psychological dynamics involved in any spiritual conversion that the editor of First Things and former Lutheran pastor doesn’t touch upon. There are also political questions that, while they may comprise some shared experience, due to differences in chronology and location, inevitably take a different form. The fact that Neuhaus was a Lutheran of the Missouri Synod as opposed to an Anglican obedient to Canada’s General Synod would be an example of one such question.
Even now, though, it is not easy discussing with friends and former brothers-in-ministry about all of the elements that ended up contributing to my ultimate move into the Catholic Church. This is because for one thing, the move itself is too multi-faceted a thing to present fairly in the course of any single conversation; for another, I feel as if, in leaving it behind, I may be seen to have forfeited the right to comment on my Anglican past. This is one of the most difficult things to contend with as a convert. For a long while, one is too much a neophyte to comment on one’s new house; yet as a defector, nor is one taken seriously as a critic of the old one. And yet, there are surely things to be said about both, which in turn compels me to say them. Knowing, then, that everything I observe will almost certainly be construed in a way other than I might hope, I submit the following remarks to you and beg your indulgence.
to be continued…