I think there will soon be a straw shortage because Fr. McBrien in his latest column erects so many straw men that surely it will have an effect on the market.
There were always Protestants attracted to the Catholic Church in the pre-Vatican II era for biblical, theological or historical reasons, all of which were carefully laid out in Father John O’Brien’s writings. With the Second Vatican Council, however, and with the ecumenical movement which the council and the popes had endorsed, it became practically impossible to present the Catholic Church any longer as "the one, true Church" and all other denominations as awash in error and falsehoods.
Enter straw man 1.
And so the traditional apologetical tactics — "demonstrating" that Catholicism alone is right, while Protestantism is completely wrong — were generally abandoned. If Protestants became Catholics in the late 1960s or in the ’70s and early ’80s, it was mainly for family reasons, or because they intended to marry a Catholic, or because they had grown familiar and spiritually comfortable with Catholic worship.
And his evidence for this is what? Surely people entering the Church because of marriage is not exactly a new phenomenon that has some stark Vatican II divide. I am pretty sure that out of my own RCIA of of about 20 people just one of them was there primarily for this reason and the rest because they believed the Catholic faith to be true. Regardless though I don’t know of any actual studies on this.
In the past two-and-half decades, however, we have seen something of a reversion to the pre-Vatican II approach. Many seeking entrance into the Catholic Church today do so as an act of rejecting their Protestant past and of embracing "the truth" found only in Catholicism.
I have read plenty of conversion stories and books and most episodes of The Journey Home, yet I have not heard one ex-Protestant disparage their previous faith. In fact they praised all that they had learned and while they now believe the Catholic Church is the fullness of the faith they don’t see their previous life as void of truth. Though I guess only Fr. McBrian can put "the truth" in scare quotes when talking about the Church.
More recently, however, high-profile Protestants and even a few Jews with strongly conservative opinions about religion, politics and social values have found their way to a Rome that one would have thought no longer exists. It is an authoritarian, triumphant, polemical, anti-Protestant Rome (non-Christians weren’t even considered) that flourished during the first half of the 20th century, but which experienced a thorough updating under Pope John XXIII. He convened the council in 1962 to open the windows and to let some "fresh air" into the Catholic Church.
Bishop Sheen is no longer with us, and there is no Catholic comparable to him who functions in the same capacity. But a priest in Washington, D.C., who runs the Catholic Information Center there and is a member of Opus Dei, has been doing an impressive job of drawing fellow conservatives into the Church.
Now while Fr. McBrien never mentions who he talking about it is of course Father McCloskey. Before liberals go to bed them make sure that Father McCloskey is not under the bed or in the closet since he is there version of the Boogeyman since Cardinal Ratzinger retired from the role. The thing is that Father McCloskey is no longer even the Director of the Catholic Information Center anyway, Rev. William H. Stetson J.C.D. is.
His main celebrity converts are Robert Novak, the columnist who was at the center of the controversy over the disclosure of Valerie Plame’s identity as a covert CIA agent; Larry Kudlow, an on-air financial adviser; and Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, currently a candidate for the Republican nomination for the presidency of the United States.
Senator Brownback had been raised a Methodist but later joined a non-denominational evangelical church. He became a Catholic in 2002.
Conservative Protestants and Jews who convert to Catholicism, especially of the Opus Dei kind, rarely shed the religious, social and political biases they had in their pre-Catholic life. It is true of Mr. Novak and Mr. Kudlow, and it is equally true of Senator Brownback.
I would certainly like to know how someone becomes a convert in the first place without shedding some biases? I guess since they didn’t immediately adapt the watered down tribal Catholicism of Fr. McBrien that somehow this is a bad thing. Sony really got their money’s worth when they hired Fr. McBrien as a consultant to The Da Vinci Code since his view of Opus Dei fall right in line with Dan Brown.
More about him next week.
Oh I can hardly wait and in the meantime dump your straw stock immediately.
|Jester Hat Tip:||L.A. Catholic|
Update: Carl Olson weighs in on the article.
I have read plenty of conversion stories and books and most episodes of The Journey Home, yet I have not heard one ex-Protestant disparage their previous faith. In fact they praised all that they had learned and while they now believe the Catholic Church is the fullness of the faith they don’t see their previous life as void of truth.
I absolutely agree with you here. Scott Hahn’s expression (I think) was that he considers himself to be a fulfilled evangelical.
This is why I cannot stand ex-Catholics who have converted to some form of Protestantism. They are almost always of the type which describes the Catholic Church as the Whore of Babylon.
You actually do have to reject most of Catholicism to become Protestant, but on the whole, you get to keep what you’ve already learned as a Protestant and you get to build on it when you become a Catholic.
As for Fr McBrien… well that’s something else altogether. Shepherd in Wolves’ clothing, I think.
Every time I see McBrien’s name or see/hear him on TV or radio I get this loud buzzing in my head. My eyes start sting and water. My tongue swells, and I go unconscious in a swirling wave of nausea. I usually come to feeling like I need a bathe.
Oops! There’s the buzzing…now my eyes itch…and here comes the darkness __________________________ . . .
So let’s get this straight.
Fr. McBrien thinks the kind of Catholicism that holds other denominations in disdain is wrong-headed.
Then he belittles the views of former Protestants and Jews for not having relinquished their old Protestant views when he converted.
So he really holds the views of many Protestants and evangelicals in disdain.
So he does not believe the Church has “the Truth” but he also thinks the abandoned faiths of many converts is much worse than some personal vision of what he believes the Church should be.
He would like to protect his church from such harmful influences but cannot resort to using words like “heresy” or call people to a kind of “orthodoxy”.
What does he do?
He just tries to poke at them and make frowny faces. Like high school brats making fun of someone who has not kept up with fashions, his technique is mainly pointing out that something was thrown out (he thinks) and traded for something better (he thinks).
But it is not an argument. He only contradicts himself and ends up looking silly and undignified.
McBrien used to be in the weekly Milwaukee Catholic newspaper. Letters would be published saying “Thank God for McBrien, he’s the reason I read this newspaper”.
Somehow Bishop Dolan has managed to remove his column without causing the forecast demise of the Archdiocese.
Thank God for Bishop Dolan.
Let’s see. Fr. McCloskey has helped bring Robert Novak, Larry Kudlow, and Sam Brownback into the fullness of Truth…how many souls has Fr. McBrien helped???
High profile converts, and thats all he can come up with? How about Tony Blair, how about Norma McCorvey (Roe from Roe v. Wade), Fr. Rutler, Fr. Corapi…
Fr. McBrien is the classic example of the type I term the “68’ers”(after the French: les soixante-huitards) –people whose ideas were formed in the ferment of the late 1960’s, and have dominated Church leadership for the last 30 years or so. They are forever trying to assert the ideals of their youth, with results we have come to lament. Lately one sees them trying to clone themselves by recruiting and influencing seminarians, with varying results,
Errr…hold off on the Tony Blair…
As a former Wall Street-type, I had to chuckle at the trivialized characterization of Larry Kudlow as “an on-air financial adviser.”
“They are forever trying to assert the ideals of their youth, with results we have come to lament.”
Yeah, but does it make sense to have LOW ideals? It seems as if that should be an oxymoron…or some kind of moron…(not that i’m not some kind of moron myself, but i’m trying not to ingest anymore low ideals, or should we just say ‘errors’?)
My those are sour grapes, Father Richard! It is a shame that they are just about all that you have left to munch on as the parade that started under JPII and continues so well with BXVI passes by you. Sorry but the bandwagon went by long ago. Have another grape.
. . . Why do I get the feeling that the “religious, social and political biases” converts AREN’T shedding include being PRO-LIFE?? Very very strange to have a priest carp about converts to his OWN church (well, I know, only sort his own church with Fr. McBrien). It is obvious his idea of “fresh air” in the Church excludes conservatives!
God is good. Being one myself, I pray every day for more converts to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. 🙂
I was reading this at work and missed the HIS in the statement about converts and thusly made myself look stupid, as per usual. In the words of Gilda Radner.. nevermiiiinnnd.
I’d actually for once, and probably the last time like to agree with Fr. McBrian. I was raised liberal Protestant. I never considered myself a Protestant (though I did consider myself a WASP by heritage). No one had really explained to me what a Protestant was in school or at home, or at fake “church.” All I knew was that Protestant sounded a lot of PROTESTant, and I had no idea what they were protesting.
Here’s where I agree with Fr. McBrian. I converted 3 years ago. I completely rejected the core doctrines of my previous faith in the United Church of Canada(universal tolerance, and Jesus loves everyone’s sins) and I completely rejected Protestantism for the falsehood that it is once I found out what it stood for and what Protestants were protesting against.
Please note that I admit that there is much good to be found in Protestantism, and I will continue to stand up for Protestants if they are being persecuted by this cruel and pagan world.
One more thing: I definitely shed my political baggage before entering the Roman Catholic Church. I became pro-life instead of having the rape exception garbage. I began to oppose sodomy and premarital relations. I ended all support of the Liberal Party of Canada and their corruption and anti-religious ferver. And I adapted a very sound political view as a social conservative.
I feel so sorry for you Fr. McBrian. It’s a good thing Jesus is judging you and not me!
So, if there is going to be a straw shortage, shouldn’t we be buying straw stock in anticipation of inflation rather than selling it?
Or are trying to save us from the temptations that come with making millions on the stock market?
” yet I have not heard one ex-Protestant disparage their previous faith”
Well you are hearing one right now :-). The reason why they don’t “disparage” (loaded) is because 1. they refuse to fully accept the fact they were material (and very possibly formal) heretics 2. They refuse to accept the fact those they have “left” behind are in serious danger [this also excuses them not trying to convert because of fear and human respect], 3. They refuse to fully accept their OWN culpability for the prior state of affairs.
It was no “faith”, it was a lie, or, rather, sufficient a lie, to get one a ticket to hell.
“fullness of Truth” Carlos, come on, – did you hear that one in Eden or on EWTN? It has the whistle of the serpent about it.
Let’s see what Paul VI has to say:
Romano Amerio, Iota Unum, p. 154.
[The end of dialogue, Paul VI]
From the Catholic�s point of view, the end of dialogue cannot be heuristic, since he is in possession of religious truth, not in search of it.
Nor can it be eristic, that is, aimed at winning the argument for its own sake, since its motive and goal is charity.
True dialogue is aimed at demonstrating a truth, at producing a conviction in another person, and ultimately at conversion.
This was clearly taught by Paul VI in his speech of 27 June 1968:
�It is not enough to draw close to others, to talk to them, to assure them of our trust and to seek their good. One must also take steps to convert them. One must preach to get them to ***come back***. One must try to incorporate them into the divine plan[!!!!!], that is ***one and unique***.�
This is a very important papal utterance, because the Pope was expressly talking about ecumenical dialogue. [emphasis mine]
If charity is the goal of dialogue, name-calling can’t be an invitation to dialogue. If you call a person a heretic, they hear that you want them burned at the stake! To say that a particular belief is heresy (error is a good starting word) is more helpful to ecumenism.
If that sounds like Kindergarten I don’t need to say more. But would you be open to the truth of Catholicism if you were invited to it the tune of “I hate you, your family and everyone like you. If you don’t join me, you’re going to burn in Hell. Want to be Catholic?”
Hey, wait a minute…that sounds like the pitch of some folks who have knocked on my front door over the years…
I DO NOT call people heretics when I speak to them in person, come on, please. We are Catholics here and I was using it in it’s proper sense, “picker and chooser.” Heretic is not name-calling, BUT, if said for the wrong reason can certainly qualify as saying “raca” or “fool” I think!
Right, when talking to someone say “error” or “mistake” or “I don’t think that’s quite right” or “yes, there’s something in that, true, but how about this…?”: 99% of the time, even if they still disagree, at least now they understand and don’t think the Church is a bunch of idol-worshipping Goddess lovers.
I do not however, see how you make the leap from (assuming I did say to someone):
“You sir, are a material and formal heretic” to
“I hate you…”
And, as you well know, there is no salvation outside the Church unless a man be ignorant of the claims of the Catholic Church through NO fault of his own (invincibly ignorant) and he die not in mortal sin and he has worshipped God according to the law written on the heart of everyman (which is, to a degree bound up in die not in mortal sin). I don’t see the connection between stating that truth (though timing is the issue, right?) and “you’re going to burn in hell.”
I mean no-one surely starts off with EENS unless they are asked directly…and if one is, I think it wise to answer directly and not be evasive.
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