The New York magazine has an article titled The Convert. Of course you knew it would not be a normal conversion story but one of a former Jewish leader of a Synagogue who became Catholic and later accused of being a greedy corporate looter.
Even adoring former law partners couldn’t help but wonder if Belnick was suffering a very high-end breakdown. Opus Dei! They’d been to his kids’ bar mitzvahs. A Utah ski house! Belnick doesn’t ski. Just look at him—a shape like Alfred Hitchcock. If Belnick had really become a ski-loving Catholic—and none of his former partners had been informed—then who knew what other kind of kookiness was possible?
… Soon, though, Belnick found companionship in an intensely bound new community, and in particular with the figure at its center: C. John McCloskey, a former Merrill Lynch stockbroker who’d become an Opus Dei priest. The sect, which believes that holiness is possible in the workplace—even for lawyers—has sometimes been accused of secretiveness. But McCloskey is an open book. He’s cheerful, thoughtful in conversation, ending sentences with an upturned hmm. Then there’s his Website. There, anyone can learn that he’s an unusual combination of Ivy League–ness (Columbia grad, strong interest in squash), religious conservative, and aggressive evangelist. “Priests,” he says, “are the Navy seals of the Catholic Church.”
Well the "even for lawyers" line is pretty funny. I also like the “Priests are the Navy seals of the Catholic Church.” Be all that you can be – be a priest sounds like a great motto to me and hey Seals are male only also. In bootcamp I once had aspirations of being a Seal which is funny since even rocks call me static.
His admirers at the Harrison JCC were equally befuddled. “Opus Dei caused us more shock than anything else,” says the treasurer. “It shook us.”
The article on the whole is rather odd since it focuses mainly on his conversion and not the trail itself and his acquittal. Though there is the obvious connection we are suppose to make that they are related.
Navy Seal? I’m more like a Navy Walrus…with a better beard!
Fr. Philip, OP
And yet, if he’d been investigating Buddhism or Scientology or something, nobody would have dared call him weird. 🙂
It’s an interesting human story. I feel really sorry for the guy, in a lot of ways. Someone who feels like he can’t tell anyone he loves that he’s even investigating Catholicism… that’s someone who’s insecure and fearful that he’s not truly loved unconditionally. Maybe with reason. But whatever things had been like before, his old friends showed up to support him at the trial.
It just goes to show, though, that the prosecutor really needed to investigate the people involved a bit more. His personality and lack of savvy in certain areas is something that they should have been able to find out about from his past.
Its funny how the guy’s friends from his old law firm were showing him the “true meaning of friendship” when they come out of their downtown offices to support him, because his Catholic friends scattered all over the map could not.
Typical: “the sect…”. I guess we can not expect much better from the New Yorker.
Yet, we ought not let this slur go without raising some objection.
pax et bonum,
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