Wednesday, July 21, 2010

give converts a break

I was reading yet another snippy comment on a blog about converts and sighed. My husband is a convert of five years and he's a better Catholic than I, who was baptized at age nine.
He's a better Catholic than most of the Catholics I know. Last year a number of cradle Catholics asked him to take over managing the young adult bible study. He declined because of his work schedule.
Now I know it's true that there are a bunch of former Evangelical converts who have become obnoxious with their apologetics businesses. I don't care for these people. When I'm in a Catholic bookstore or at an event with books I pass right by their wares.

I've read defenders of the apologetics businessmen that argue that many of these guys were preachers and it's all they know so lay preaching and teaching is the only way they can make a living. I once read the blog of a married priest in South Carolina who enthusiastically praised Mark Shea for being so heroic. Me, being a smart alec wrote in, along with some other commenters that I didn't see what was so heroic. Father responded by saying it was heroic that Shea was giving himself fully to teaching us when he could've had a pleasant life in his old church. Since this blogger is an ordained priest I didn't say what I really thought and let it go.

There's a huge difference from the professionals and the passionate convert sitting next to you at Mass. The professionals are irritating but don't let them poison your view of converts in general. It's just not fair. Oh and one more thing, every single one of the first Catholics were converts. I think Sts. Paul, Peter, Martha, John, the Magdalene, James, and Jude and the others are pretty good company to be in.

7 comments:

Baron Korf said...

I really don't understand the animosity toward converts or the apologetics business.

The Catholic life is on of conversion. Every time we come back to God in confession it is a new conversion. There are some who are better at the Catholic life than I am, and some that aren't, but so long as they aren't teaching heresy, it's really none of my business.

The apologetics business is just like any other religious business. If I like it I buy it. If I don't, I don't. It's pretty simple.

I don't dislike Shea for his apologetics business. I dislike him because he's a fool.

R J said...

I think there's a huge difference between converts in the American Church and converts in a lot of other countries. The former get an incomparably easier ride than the latter.

Outside the States (e.g. Britain and Australia) lay convert-driven evangelism of the Scott Hahn type is almost nonexistent. There tends to be an attitude of real hostility toward converts: "Right, you're here now, so sit down and shut up."

In those other nations (from what I've seen), if two Catholics are going for a job in a church agency, and one's a dead-headed cradle Catholic while the other is a reasonably intelligent convert, the dead-headed cradle Catholic will almost always get the job. Because there'll be very often an assumption that the convert will be too "damned intellectual" to fit in to the mainstream Catholic life of beer, football, reality TV etc.

This doesn't occur all the time but it occurs frequently enough to be a trend. And yes, as it happens I'm an adult convert (from, in my case, atheism, not Protestantism).

楊儀卉 said...

不會從失敗中找尋教訓的人,成功之路是遙遠的。.................................................

scotju said...

I understand what you mean about the apologetics businesses that some converts have set up. Many of these people, like Shea, don't have training in theology, yet they're reguarded as experts in the faith. What I find frightening is some, like Shea,encourage a cult-like following. And Shea's nasty tongue and attitude toward anyone who dares disagees with him on anything he reguards himself as an expert on is legendary. Why his bishop hasn't publically rebuked this pompous buffoon for his filthy mouth and arrogent behaviour is amazing. I guess they're really liberal in Washington State.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

"I once read the blog of a married priest in South Carolina who enthusiastically praised Mark Shea for being so heroic. Me, being a smart alec wrote in, along with some other commenters that I didn't see what was so heroic. Father responded by saying it was heroic that Shea was giving himself fully to teaching us when he could've had a pleasant life in his old church."

First of all, lay apologetics are not exactly on level of "teaching", though on some issues they do teach.

Second, Mark Shea is NOT exactly giving himself fully to it, in the manner of for instance a Dominican.

Third, this South Carolina priest (or perhaps not, due to new ordination rites, a reason I am not calling Dwight Longenecker father, if that is who you meant) could have placed the praise of heroic somewhat better on me.

This morning I had counted on copying some hundreds of pages in three examples and fold and bind together as booklets, this was in last minute thwarted. Owner of copy shop had qualms about letting a homeless man in with the luggage I had, and after that (plus some walking to his colleague, who sold me the card a month and some ago and then getting thwarted there too) made me fume, you would certainly have classed me with Gussie if you had seen me.

If you are reading these old message comments of mine in the mail despite not responding, would you mind sending some words to the French Embassy in US about the low respect freedom of speech seems to get here?

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

"Outside the States (e.g. Britain and Australia) lay convert-driven evangelism of the Scott Hahn type is almost nonexistent. There tends to be an attitude of real hostility toward converts: 'Right, you're here now, so sit down and shut up.'"

I faced that one between sixteen and twenty!

Uusally it should not take four years to convert!

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

Btw, that was in diocese of Stockholm, and under Hubertus Brandenburger. Now Swedes are dealing with Anders Arborelius, a Carmelite friar.

Trads are not always happy with him either, even if he seemed promising at first.

I feel about him just a little less acute disappointment than about Ratzinger.