Into and Out of Roman Catholicism

Over at Green Baggins, a commenter named Rooney said:

If a reformed person visits sedevacantist websites like MHFM [“Most Holy Family Seminary”], I think such a person would be hardened more against the current RCC and the chances of converting to the RCC will drop. Reading sedevacantist/traditionalist arguments was one thing that kept me from seriously considering the RCC.

Roman Catholicism has lots of high profile ins-and-outs. Here are just a few of them:

The former Roman Catholic priest Addison Hart said:

Second, as an Anglican priest who, with high ideals but considerably lower savvy, “poped” back in 1997, all I can say to those who may be thinking likewise is this: Unless you know in your heart you can believe in such super-added dogmas as papal supremacy and infallibility (very late inventions), that Jesus did not need to possess “faith” during his earthly years (to which I respond, was he or was he not fully human?), and that the bread and wine physically change into his body and blood during the Eucharist without any palpable evidence of it; unless you can believe in Mary’s “Immaculate Conception” (an unnecessary and unverifiable belief, if ever there was one), her bodily assumption, and so on, then I would urge you to stay put. You already have everything you need, and, what Rome would add to you, you not only do not need, but should positively avoid weighing yourselves down with. Anglicanism is doctrinally sound and blessed with great forms of worship. Rome is neither. As for Rome’s claims to a vastly superior moral authority — well, I would venture to say that after such revelations as clerical sexual abuse on an international scale and their bank’s money-laundering, the lie has been put to that.

No, don’t make my mistake. I wouldn’t make it again myself, and, as it is, I’m making my way out the Roman door.

Just a word to the wise.

There are other “big name” converts to Roman Catholicism in recent years who have “slipped out the back door”. These include:

Rod Dreher: a former writer and columnist for the Dallas Morning News, he became Roman Catholic with some great fanfare in 1993. His Wiki says:

He wrote widely in the Catholic press, but covering the Roman Catholic Church’s child sex abuse scandal, starting in 2002, led him to question his Catholicism, and on October 12, 2006, he announced his conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy. Dreher is married and the father of three children. At the time, Dreher had argued that the scandal was not so much a “pedophile problem”, but that the “sexual abuse of minors is facilitated by a secret, powerful network of gay priests” referred to as the Lavender Mafia.

On April 10, 2010, Dreher blogged about the abuse scandals (italics in the original):

They all did it — by which I mean, virtually the entire hierarchy is complicit to a greater or lesser degree in shuffling child-molesting priests around, or keeping them in some way in a position to commit their crimes. Why? Clericalism. The clerical class is what mattered most to these people, not the children and their families, to whom they were functionally indifferent… if anybody thinks Pope Benedict should resign, they should sober up and understand that there is almost certainly nobody under him who is untainted by this thing. This was the way the hierarchy operated for a very long time. At least this current pope seems to have at long last been enlightened about the scope of this catastrophe. But he is not doing enough to make it right. What is it going to take?

Alvin Kimel: Wrote a now-defunct blog called “the Pontificator” and was a well-regarded staple in a number of Roman Catholic discussions. Steve commented on him in 2005:

In disputes like this, it is appropriate to invoke the solemn authority of Pontificator’s First Law: “When Orthodoxy and Catholicism agree, Protestantism loses.” Perhaps Pontificator needs to formulate a new law: “When an interpretation of Scripture violates Pontificator’s First Law, it just can’t be right.” Hmmm, I need to give that some more thought before putting it in stone.

As the image nearby shows, his old “Pontifications.net” is unused and now carries ads for, among other things, “natural sex lubricant”. Hmmm…

Gerry Matatics: Matatics was a Catholic Convert before my decision to leave Rome was even a twinkle in my eye – there are Gerry Matatics debates at aomin.org from as early as 1992. He has given up on Vatican II Catholicism, and he says things like this:

At each venue I speak on “Counterfeit Catholicism: Why Vatican II, the New Mass, and Benedict XVI Are Not What They Claim to Be.” I try to provide everything necessary to help the audience understand the magnitude of the current crisis in Catholicism, the worst ever in the 2,000-year history of the Church.

Robert Sungenis was another old-timer who made Roman Catholic converts swoon back in the day. But James Swan has been tracking him, and the trajectory is not pretty:

I, [Robert Sungenis], being an independent Catholic theologian, am able to penetrate a little more deeply and be much more critical, as I have always done in this apostolate. Although some still regard me as a “Catholic apologist,” unlike Jimmy Akin and Catholic Answers I no longer consider myself an apologist for the modern Catholic Church. When compared to the Catholic Church of tradition, I have resolved that the modern Catholic Church will be required to stand on its own, for I simply cannot defend it any longer. There are simply too many doctrinal aberrations and moral laxities in today’s Catholic Church that are indefensible.

Let’s don’t forget the recent Pew Survey that noted that “roughly one-third of those who were raised Catholic have left the church, and approximately one-in-ten American adults are former Catholics”. And as James Swan has written, among those who are staying “fewer than 20% attend Mass on Sundays”.

And in the appropriately funny line of the day, he says: “Perhaps calling their fellow brethren to actually attend communion would be a more consistent use of CTC’s bandwidth.”

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