2018/12/12

To Whom Shall We Go?

An important reminder that conversion is a grace, and God calls whomever He wills.

Catholic & Weeb

No, not to anime fandom. To the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

Praise to Our Lord Jesus Christ and welcome to Not John Daker. May the Lord draw you into ever closer communion with Him through the people and ministry of His Church.

For all the criticism I level at the Catholic Church's current leaders on Earth, my motive is not hostility but filial love.

Imagine a princely and ancient mansion that's been handed down in your family since the clan patriarch built it by hand 2000 years ago. It stood as a rock amid the storms of all the passing ages. Now the current trustees of the estate, your Boomer parents, have mortgaged the grand old house to the hilt to pay for hideous "renovations" in imitation of the McMansions that occupy the rest of the street. Worse, they are harboring dodgy workers--some of whom came not through the door but over the wall and are making trouble in the neighborhood. A small but highly visible number of gardeners have committed the most atrocious crimes against the tenants' children. Yet your parents harbor them.

You could disown your parents, go your own way, and abandon the princely house of your fathers, washing your hands of any responsibility for the future of your patrimony. That is the way of the rootless, atomized man of the world. You would not be the first to take it.

The faithful, tradition-minded disciple of Christ gives filial correction to his wayward parents in a spirit of charity. He does not abandon his ancestral home, which the Builder has promised will stand till the end of time. Even if his parents refuse to listen, he trusts the Builder. For does not the Builder also have a vineyard which fell under unworthy management? And did He not remove those wicked managers?

The order of bishops--including the Pope--is not the head of the Catholic Church. Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, which is His Body. The first fruits of the Church have already been gathered into heaven. The gates of hell cannot prevail against them.

Every day, this reality is revealed to ordinary people--even if only in part. Despite the sins--many of them grave--of her members, God calls his elect into full communion with Him, and some of those who are called answer.

Not John Daker is far from alone. Just this week, I was blessed to learn of a dear friend's ongoing reversion to the Catholic faith. His wife is carefully considering converting, following her husband and a close friend. The Holy Spirit moves whom He wills.

Are these examples anecdotal? Certainly. But they paint a picture of a noticeable undercurrent in the zeitgeist. Recent converts and those who are considering conversion have mentioned two main reasons for their attraction to Catholicism:

  1. The unchanging nature of Catholic teaching
  2. Other churches substituting politics for theology
Reason 2 offers an important lesson that some in traditionalist dissident circles can sometimes forget. Religion is not to be conflated with politics. The former pertains to man's duty toward God; the latter concerns how best to organize a society. There is overlap, but as everyone reading this should know, religion is culture codified, and politics is downstream from culture.

Praise God for the grace of conversion. Welcome to all those seeking shelter from the gathering storm within the Church's walls. And to the current hierarchy, pray for your own continued conversion that you may show those who seek solace a Church worthy of them and God.

24 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Still carefully considering converting, myself. Currently, I'm making my way through "The Faith of Our Fathers" and bought an RSV Catholic bible, "Aquinas (A Beginner's Guide)", "The Consolation of Philosophy" and "Five Proofs of the Existence of God" to read once I'm done with that. Not sure where to go after that but I'll see where this takes me.

    Also, I have to concur with the two reasons you gave here. I've seen enough of Protestant churches to know that I don't want much to do with them, especially Black majority ones, which to me, seems to be going full force with female leaders, speaking in tongues and general debauchery/heresy (take a look at Joshua Holmes and the many black women he has fawning over him). I know that White protestant churches might not be much better but I highly doubt they’re worse.

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    1. My instincts concerning speaking in tongues could be wrong. What's your take on it?

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    2. Look at what the Bible says first of all: if someone speaks in tongues, there needs to be an interpreter so that others may be edified as well. If there is no interpreter, it should be done privately.

      Also, sometimes people think they are praising God by that, but instead a demonic spirit is actually spilling filth and curses.

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    3. In scripture when people speak in tongues the foreign speakers are able to understand you in their own language. At Pentacost for example it's clear that those (I forget if they were Jews or early disciples) who had gathered from all over heard the Apostles speaking in their own language.

      The unintelligible stuff I'm quite sure is either babbling or demonic.

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    4. (I wish I could edit)
      This is what amazed them as so many had gathered from so many different places that there were so many speakers of different languages each heard the Apostles in their own. That's what amazed them.

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    5. I'll cosign D.J.'s take.

      Also offering prayers for the grace of conversion.

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    6. Thanks for the responses and prayers, guys.

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  3. Very happy for Not John! I’m not Catholic myself, I’m Orthodox, but if a brother’s gonna concert to Christianity, in my opinion it should be to one of those two churches. And I hold out hope that the schism will be reconciled in our lifetimes.

    God bless, Not John, if you read this.

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    1. Indeed. The Church breathes with two lungs, East and West.

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    2. Alex and Brian,

      And my devout hope is that the 2 lungs reconnect. The graces that would flow would be like a burning bush for the world to see.

      xavier

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  4. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Honestly, I don’t see the filioque as reason enough to have the church be split. Isn’t 1,000 years enough? We’re being stamped out in our birthplace in the Middle East and we’re bleating about migration and global warming . . . come on.

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    1. well said, Brother. In regard to the filioque and how to interpret petrine primacy, this Catholic theologian is prepared to negotiate for the sake of the unity Christ prayed for.

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  5. An honest question here from a reader raised as an Evangelical:

    What's your take on someone who would consider conversion due to finding that traditional Church teaching was more convincing than the Reformed "5 Solas" doctrines (especially Sola Scriptura), but is instead looking at Eastern Orthodox churches because of the recent scandals involving Catholic clergy such as Cardinals McCarrick and Cupich and even Pope Francis?

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    1. Christ never made the promise that his earthly representatives would be pure. Furthermore their immoral behavior isn't your problem.


      It is better to be more concerned about things like Fatima and Akita than McCarrick and Cupich.

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    2. I don't want to start a fight with Alex, but the Orthodox Churches made their accommodation with the world not just in practice but in doctrine. See Christ's teaching on the indissolubility of marriage and the Orthodox allowance of divorce and remarriage.
      Then there is the fact that Orthodox churches are national churches, when the bible describes the true Church as 'universal,' also translatable as 'catholic. The Church is meant to be the one universal brotherhood of men of all nations--that is one reason why the UN is such a perversion: it tries to imitate without Christ the Christian brotherhood among nations, and succeeds not in raising men above themselves to God but corrupts them toward Satan.

      I'm like you, in a way. I was raised without a religion, but at the time I moved toward conversion I was attending a reformed 'church' with my then-girlfriend. I knew it wasn't for me, but I went looking for anyone--ANYONE--other than the Catholic Church, including the Orthodox. I found the compromises in doctrine and the abandonment of a key feature of the Church to be impossible to overcome.

      Also, as above: the fallibility of the men who run the Church is a further proof of the Church's status; if it could survive 2000 years with men such as these running it, and still maintain unchanging doctrine, it must be from God.

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    3. @Darwinian Arminian

      Thank you for raising this question. The clergy sex abuse crisis is a scandal in the true sense of the word: a sin that tempts others into error by bad example.

      I'll begin my reply to your honest question with an honest question of my own. If you find the Catholic Church's teachings convincing, why would a scandal which has no effect on those teachings in the slightest, affect whether or not you accept those teachings as binding in conscience?

      It would be one thing if the corrupt bishops, caught in their sin, abused their magisterial authority to declare homosexuality and pederasty licit. But this has not happened. In fact it cannot. The bishops are custodians and servants of the deposit of faith, not its masters.

      The current crisis is far from the worst moral scandal to rock the Church. In the past two millennia, there have been bishops--even popes--who bought and sold Church offices, incited wars, kept mistresses, and indulged every vice under the sun. They had every chance to alter Church doctrine to their whim. They did not. If that is not proof of Christ's promise to preserve His Church from error, then none is possible.

      The Church is vastly more than the flawed sinners who now occupy her hierarchy. A sinner like me is the Church. The billion other sinners working out their salvation with fear and trembling around the globe are the Church. And we all have hope of salvation because first and foremost, Christ Jesus is the Church.

      We have had bad clergy since Judas. He conspired to commit deicide. No later sin of the hierarchy holds a candle to that black deed, and it occurred the very night the order of bishops was founded.

      There is no pure Church on Earth. If you seek a denomination whose leadership is immaculate, every religion in the world will disappoint you.

      Truth binds the conscience, and membership in the Church is definitional. If you conclude that the Catholic Church's teachings are true, you are Catholic in thought if not in deed.

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    4. Matthew,

      It takes a lot more than honest disagreement eloquently and respectfully expressed to rile me up.

      I see your point re: divorce—I don’t believe in it myself—but how is that worse than annulment? Is annulment Biblical doctrine, just pretending the marriage never happened based on ex post facto justification that it’s improper? Orthodoxy recognizes divorce as an act of compassion if a marriage is truly intolerable. Low divorce rates in Greece, at least, attest that the church’s allowance of divorce hasn’t done as much damage as American law.

      Your second point is one I agree with more. We call the churches autocephalous and I think it’s more for administrative ease, but I’m not a fan. At least each church isn’t allowed to unilaterally change doctrine. I can go to a Russian or Romanian or Syrian or Lebanese or Ethiopian Orthodox Church and it’ll be the same thing, just people might look different. And vice versa.

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  6. If I can jump straight from nihilist to Catholic then anything can happen.

    Such as converting Mr. Not into a full blown weeb.

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    1. "Such as converting Mr. Not into a full blown weeb."

      It's a Christmas miracle!

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  7. Thank God for his gift of faith, and for the Church to bring that gift into the world ever anew, albeit through imperfect tools.

    Slightly off-topic: I was trying to write a prayer for a story--it is harder to keep it both orthodox and meaningful than it looks. No wonder the Church hands down pre-written prayers for so many things.

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