Sunday, September 16, 2012

Because I Love Catholic Conversion Stories...

...and because I gobble them up greedily, I thought that-- in the interest of fair-mindedness, and to escape the charge of living in a mental ghetto or echo chamber-- I should read stories of conversion to other religions, or even deconversion stories.

They are actually not very easy to find. Protestant to Catholic stories seem to be everywhere, while Catholic to Protestant stories seem rare, even though many people undoubtedly take that route. I guess (I might be wrong) that few people cross the Tiber in the "other direction" because of a desire for a deeper spiritual experience-- rather because they disagree with some Church doctrine but don't want to forswear Christianity entirely. (I imagine the exceptions are people who leave Catholicism for charismatic Christianity or new religious movements, which might give them a more intense emotional experience.)

I found this site of conversion stories to Mormonism.
I mean no disrespect to Mormons, but I have to say that-- though I only glanced at a few stories-- they didn't seem to compare in depth and substance with the Catholic conversion stories that I have read. Most converts to Catholicism-- at least those who write an account of their journey-- have very definite reasons for their conversion, which range from an immersion in early Church history (very often the Church fathers), to a respect for Catholic convictions on abortion and contraception, to an acceptance of the necessity for authority in spiritual questions. The Mormon stories seem rather bald in comparison, concentrating upon emotional reactions.

I also found this account of a Catholic priest
who became an atheist-- but then, he doesn't seem to have been much of a believer to begin with.

It does seem to be the case that-- to use Joseph Pearce's wonderful phrase-- people who want more Christianity tend to find themselves drawn to the Catholic Church, and that when that journey is one made through genuine seeking-- and not simply for some other motive, such as to share a spouse's religion-- it is rarely reversed.

Here are some Catholic conversion stories.
Decide for yourself.

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