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Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Anono Chapino

"there is little in Lewis’s writing that will keep truth seekers from traveling to and into the Catholic Church."

What's this little?

Mark Brumley

As a convert, I have for some twenty years or so been giving a talk called, "Why Be Catholic (When You Can Be Anything Else)?". There are different ways to present the subject. But the common elements are that Catholicism presents the true, the good, and the beautiful, when it comes to God, to Christ, and to the Church of Christ. It seems to me that all reasons to be a Catholic--if they're good reasons--are included in those. There are also plenty of bad reasons to be a Catholic. And there are some reasons that are not bad in themselves but which become bad in the absence of more fundamental, good reasons.

Carl E. Olson

What's this little?

Well, it's little in the sense that he so spot on with almost everything else; it is his lack of a substantial, coherent ecclesiology, something that Christopher Derrick, Thomas Howard, Joseph Pearce, and others have pointed out. Here is what I wrote about it in an article a few years ago:

Even those Catholics who express great admiration for Lewis point out that one of the weaknesses of Lewis’s theological and apologetic writings is a weak, or hazy, view of the Church. In an otherwise glowing analysis of C.S. Lewis recently published in First Things magazine ("Mere Apologetics", June/July 2005), Avery Cardinal Dulles, author of A History of Apologetics, wrote: "As Lewis’ greatest weakness, I would single out his lack of appreciation for the Church and the sacraments. … His ‘mere Christianity’ is a set of beliefs and a moral code, but scarcely a society. In joining the [Anglican] Church he made a genuine and honest profession of faith–but he did not experience it as entry into a true community of faith. He found it possible to write extensively about Christianity while saying almost nothing about the People of God, the structure of authority, and the sacraments."

Howard is even more blunt, saying that Lewis "avoided, like the black pestilence, the whole topic of The Church":

He hated ecclesiology. It divided Christians, he said (certainly accurately). He wanted to be known as a "mere Christian," so he simply fled all talk of The Church as such. He would not participate in anything that remotely resembled a discussion of matters ecclesiological. He was firm in his non- (or anti-?) Catholicism.

Read the entire article.


Sounds familiar! My husband and I became Catholic five years ago. Many of our friends and family kept their comments to themselves, which in itself was telling, though we heard some of the same comments as in your article. Some generously said that they were praying that we would know clearly what God was leading us to do, which sounds nice until you realize that they thought they knew what that was -- to stay put. One elderly friend who is very dear to us told us sincerely that she felt the same way she felt when her son "had to" get married! When we said we were sure that God was leading us to the Catholic Church, she asked if we were sure that it wasn't Satan misleading us!

We hope and pray for opportunities to be a bridge between the two faiths, to promote understanding on both sides.

Fr. Thomas Doyle

Thanks for the insight into your conversion, Mr. Olsen. I do have a question for you. In your article for This Rock, you wrote, "This remark paralleled Chesterton, who wrote about the "deaths" of the Church and her continual "resurrection," coming back stronger than ever, contrary to all human logic." Could you tell me where Chesterton made this statement? Many thanks.

Todd Newbold

As a Catholic, the question I like to ask is "Why cant I pray the way I want to?". The usual answer is we love you so so so much you need to pray like me. And the icing is "What about the Lords Prayer?" oh but thats a Catholic prayer. It doesnt make sense.

Anil Wang

The simple answer to the question, why one becomes Catholic: "Because I love God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Nothing more, nothing less.".

I'd answer the other questions thusly:

Q: “You’ve read too much C.S. Lewis!”
A: "I'm afraid I haven't, since I'm not Anglican"

Q: “You didn’t read the Bible enough.”
A: "Which is why I go to mass even in the middle of the week, and read the Divine Office every day. I read and hear more scripture every day than I ever did as a Protestant as part of Catholic piety."

Q: “Have you been brainwashed?”
A: "I've been washed clean by the waters of baptism and the blood of Christ through the grace of God."

Q: “You want a Church that will tell you what to think.”
A: "When I was Protestant, God was my co-pilot. Now God is my pilot. I live in submission to Christ."

Carl E. Olson

Hi, Father Doyle: I was referring to to Chapter VI of Part II of The Everlasting Man, titled, "The Five Deaths of the Faith."

Fr. Thomas Doyle

Thank you, Mr. Olson.


The soon-to-be-Blessed Newman wrote a book called "The Present Position of Catholics in England " in which he takes the anti-Catholicism of his time apart. It was written about 150 years ago but is still both pointed and funny.

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