Author: Lisa Graas
•10/04/2002 12:53:00 AM
In Re: Ex-Catholics

Mark Shea wrote: "One weird phenomenon I've noticed on Catholic boards"
Catholic and Enjoying It, Archive, Sept. 23, 2002

Leila Miller writes:

Here's what I've been thinking about the difference between Catholics hoping to convert evangelicals vs. evangelicals hoping to convert Catholics:

Catholic apologists do not deny the Christianity of Protestants. What motivates Catholics to "bring them in" (or back), is the knowledge that the broken Body of Christ is an offense to God and a scandal to the world. The shipwreck of Christendom begun by the Protestant Revolt was not a cause of rejoicing, but a cause of great sorrow. We believe in unity, in a Body that is intact. Read Christ's High Priestly Prayer, John 17. Christ was not speaking of some nebulous unity of "fellowship," but rather a Trinitarian unity!

Protestants who try to convert Catholics must be doing so because they fear that we are not Christians. After all, it can't be that they are trying to restore unity, for Protestantism has never been about unity. Protestantism is very comfortable with disunity, happy with twenty zillion denominations, encouraging of future expansions, etc. There is no problem with that in Protestant philosophy and, in fact, Protestants believe that their system of disunity is precisely what God intended.

Former evangelicals see their old evangelical friends as fellow Christians, albeit in imperfect communion, but certainly not pagans. Ex-Catholics see their ex-congregations as having duped them, "pretending" to be Christian, when all along, Catholics are no better than pagans. Why else do we bother them so much? They should be happy to let us be another denomination! But of course, they aren't content with that.

In light of these differing beliefs about unity, it is not hard for me to see why evangelical converts to Catholicism can be so grateful to their old congregations. And it's not hard for me to see why ex-Catholics are so bitter and ungrateful (and downright vicious, at times) for theirs.

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