Friday, May 18, 2007

Thoughts on the Beckwith Conversion

Francis Beckwith's return to the Catholic Church has sparked a firestorm of discussion amongst Protestants and Catholics alike. features an article by David M Howard Jr, the nephew of former Protestant, now Catholic, Thomas Howard, who "crossed the Tiber" some years ago. The younger Mr Howard has an interesting comment about converts and their devotion to the Faith.

A common element among these converts is a strong commitment to the Catechism and papal encyclicals. These Catholics are not generally in sympathy with the theologically liberal wing of the American Catholic Church but are enthusiastic supporters of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI's emphasis on orthodox teaching and practice. In short, they have more in common theologically with evangelicals than with liberal Catholics, and evangelicals themselves, in many respects, have more in common with traditional Catholics than with mainline Protestants. Especially on social and political issues, there is much room for common cause.

Who hasn't heard of "convert fever"? The term is often bandied about as a longsuffering dismissal of those who come to a faith and actually show joyous adherence to what that faith actually teaches. There are instances wherein someone new to the Faith hasn't 'lived the Faith' long enough to truly understand the nuances and levels of importance within the 'web of faith', to take on what we in the Byzantine Tradition call the Phronima of the Church. But often the term "convert fever" is merely an attempt to belittle not just the fervor of the believer but also the Faith itself. It is a charge used by those who wish to keep the title but throw out the substance that makes the title meaningful.

Let us pray for all converts to the Catholic Faith that they may enlighten not only others to come to the Church, but also members of the Church to truly come home to the Faith!

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