Thursday, October 23, 2014

From American Converts

I wanted a handy place to put a few quotations from John Beaumont, The Mississippi Flows into the Tiber: A Guide to Notable American Converts to the Catholic Church, Fidelity Press, South Bend, IN, 2014.
Mr. Beaumont's book includes hundreds of converts, and provides biographical information, quotations, citation of sources, suggestions for further reading, and a Foreword (and an Afterword!) by Fr. C. John McCloskey III. Some entries are several pages long. See Mr. Beaumont speaking about the book and a book review. Another review.
The book is available from Fidelity Press.
See also From Converts Across the Pond.
With the kind permission of John Beaumont and E. Michael Jones.

While sitting there I thought to myself: If this is Church—why have I disliked it so much?
— Elizabeth Laura Adams

Simply being able to understand Thomist theology was what Aquinas calls dead faith. It was not enough to carry one into a Christian religious life.… Here after many years of affirming God's existence and trying to give adequate reasons for that affirmation, I found myself believing in God and praying to Him.
— Mortimer J. Adler

The priest … looked me in the eye and asked, Why haven't you converted yet? I mumbled something about Mary. He did not loosen his gaze, but asked, Do you believe that her soul magnifies the Lord? The literal Baptist had never considered that verse literally before. My soul makes God bigger. I had run out of excuses.
— Dale Ahlquist

Dermot Quinn said that you can believe everything the Church tells you and not be a good Catholic. The question is, Do you believe in the Church as a truth-telling institution? And I thought: I do, I really do.

What is their problem with the lives of unborn children in the womb? They're as human as those strangers in Iraq of whom they know nothing.
— Hadley P. Arkes

I first heard Mortimer Adler lecture in my freshman year. He asked the odd question, Have There Been Any New Ideas in the Last Five Hundred Years? This lecture was one of the most important events of my life. [Entry for Mortimer J. Adler]

As soon as I made the judgment, You can do nothing for yourself, but God can help you if He will. You are foolish to expect a miracle, possessed by this feeling I resolved to do whatever He wanted me to do.
— Benedict Mary Ashley (Winston Norman Ashley), OP

There are five stages in the life of an actor: Who's Mary Astor? Get me Mary Astor. Get me a Mary Astor type. Get me a young Mary Astor. Who's Mary Astor?
— Mary Astor (Lucile Vasconcellos Langhanke)

Father, every conscious moment, I am praying.
— Lee Atwater, to Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ

The thesis to which I had always subscribed, that the Anglican Church had preserved the essentials of Catholicism and therefore remained a branch of the Catholic Church now seemed questionable. I was dismayed to discover that intelligent Protestants could readily grasp the full Catholic position, but were unable to understand the High Anglican view. As a Methodist minister once remarked to me many years later, If I wanted to be a Catholic, I certainly wouldn't stop at Henry VIII.
— Marshall W. Baldwin

A system of religion in which I myself seem to have as good a right as Luther or Wesley, or any Puritan or Mrs. Eddy, to start a sect and to promote a schism, seemed to me no system at all.… I could not understand how a God infinitely wise and just could authorize a system upon which was to depend the eternal salvation of the human race which nobody could understand and about which none agree.
— Charles Fisk Beach, Jr.

Jesus's resurrection makes sense as the cause of the early Church, a body of believers who personally knew Jesus and would have recanted their belief if they knew that the resurrection was a fabrication. But not one of Jesus's early disciples who believed that they had met Jesus after the resurrection ever recanted. In fact, many of them (including 11 of the 12 apostles) suffered horrible torture and death for their beliefs, something that does not make sense if they had made up the whole thing. Granted, people die for false beliefs. But rarely if ever does anyone die for a belief they know is false.

The belief that the bread and wine are literally transformed into Christ's body and blood pre-dates Aristotle's influence on the Church's theology by over 1000 years. For it was not until the thirteenth century and the ascendancy of St. Thomas Aquinas' thought, that Aristotle's categories were employed by the Church in its account of the Eucharist. In fact, when the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) employed the language of substantial change, St. Thomas had not even been born.
— Francis J. Beckwith

His was the quirkiest and most aesthetically driven Catholic conversion, unable to withstand the chilly Protestant wind of Northern Europe or North America.
— Patrick Allitt on Bernard Berenson

Whether in packed and mighty cathedrals, like St Peter's or St Patrick's (New York), a simple wooden building like the Indian church in Sept-Îles, Quebec, in primitive religious structures in Cameroon, at fashionable resorts like Biarritz, St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Portofino, or even Palm Beach (The Lord is my shepherd, even in Palm Beach, as a guest homilist proclaimed some years ago), or in the improvised chapel in my prison as I write [2009], there is a discernible, but almost inexpressible denominator that unites communicants. I am still impressed by the purposeful spring in the step of people approaching a Catholic Church as the hour of a service peals.

Though there are many moments of scepticism as matters arise, and the dark nights of the soul that seem to assail almost everyone visit me too, I have never had anything remotely resembling a lapse, nor a sense of forsakenness, even when I was unjustly indicted, convicted, and imprisoned, in a country I formerly much admired.
— Conrad Black

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, I used everything you gave me.
— Erma Bombeck

The obtrusive fact is that the churches that make the highest demands on their members … have gained in membership.…

TD: Does it seem to make a difference converting at the age of 76 rather than when you were younger? RB: I don't know that it has any effect.… There is an advantage in waiting until you're 76 to be baptized, because you're forgiven all of your prior sins. Plus, at that age you're not likely to commit any really interesting or serious sins.
— Robert Bork

There is no greater paradox in the cosmos than the apparent contradiction of our helplessness (without me, you can do nothing) alongside God's helplessness. Oh, I know, God is all-powerful, and so on; but he cannot undo what he has done, and what he once did was to make men free. This means that he needs us in order to get us to Heaven as his lovers, and in order to do his will in the world. All we have to do in order to frustrate those wishes—to render God helpless—is to say No. But God is not helpless, really, because he has mercy—himself. And what mercy does is convert, change our hearts. Which God never stops trying to do until we are dead. This means continued suffering for him, which is what Christ is all about.
— L. Brent Bozell, Jr.

The beauty of holiness becomes the last word in religion.
— Katherine Brégy

I do not want to die in my sins.
— Heywood Broun

All the stories I wrote, even in school days, were essentially Catholic.
— Beatrice Bradshaw Brown

One day, in the summer of 1944 [aged 9], I was reading the sixteenth chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel, and when I came to the 18th verse, I asked my mother, What church was it that Christ built on the rock, which the gates of hell should not prevail against? That was the Catholic Church. Then, I said, that must be the true church? It was, she replied, at first; but it became very corrupt, and in the sixteenth century holy men believed they were commissioned to reform it. Then, I said, the gates of hell did prevail against it.
— Henry Francis Brownson, son of Orestes Brownson

It's not like Christ established a Church and then over time it gradually evolved into the Catholic Church.
— Mark Brumley

He told me that he was interested in my soul.
— Louis Budenz on Fulton J. Sheen

Why should I have any confidence in my reasoning about having no basis for confidence?

I had to tell myself all sorts of stories that I knew were not true.

Naturally I taught my students Thomas Aquinas, but I found it difficult to do so. The problem was that his arguments presented such a strong appearance of truth. For the very beauty of this appearance, I had to exercise strong discipline not to weep. One of my students in those days asked permission to put a personal question. I've been listening carefully, he said, and I figure that you're either an atheist or a Roman Catholic. Which one is it?

If there really were both good and evil, then I had been so wrong, for so long, so profoundly, that it seemed that almost anything might be true—even the faith that I had abandoned.

One day, I realized that without having noticed it, I had been believing for some time. — J. Budziszewski

Human wisdom would have stopped and disguised the truth; but the Divine Master did not seek to keep those who would not believe.
— George Joseph Bull

Its creeds were dogma—immanent, unchanging, beyond cavil—and I embraced them with an overwhelming consciousness that I was called to embrace them.
— Josiah Bunting

There is no known instance where a Catholic changed his faith upon a dying bed.… If a Catholic can live a faithful member of his Church, he can always die in it.
— Peter Hardeman Burnett

I came across the story of Athanasius, the ancient bishop who had held out for a single word, who had let himself be driven into exile from his see for the sake of that word, which he knew, with all his mind and his heart and his spirit, must be retained if the faith were not to suffer. Small as this last fact might seem as a reason to trouble a modern like myself, it was one which affected me most and which eventually brought me to the door of the rectory of a Catholic church.
— Katherine Burton

I realized that the Old and the New Testaments were one and the same religion.… I understood why and for what we were the Chosen People.…
— Judith Cabaud

The very possibility of action by God in history has become academically taboo. Since I began writing scholarly Catholic history thirteen years ago I have found no other contemporary historian who writes in defiance of this ban. This situation cannot be allowed to continue. For our Christian and Catholic faith is preeminently a historical faith.… The Catholic faith is the pivot around which true history revolves, and the one standard by which the importance of every historical event and figure should be judged.
— Warren H. Carroll

But is it true? I asked. Nobody seemed to be sure but Rome.
— B. Stuart Chambers

What I [had] failed to realize was that my personal acceptance of Catholic doctrine was as definitely an exercise of private judgment as any Protestant interpretation could be.… My submission to the Catholic Church brought only one change in my personal position, theological and devotional, and that was that the authority of the Catholic and Roman Church took the place of my individual and personal attitude and thinking on religion as a whole. I now accepted, for example, the supremacy and infallibility of the Pope, not as a conclusion of my own, based on the limited study and thinking I had been able to do about the matter, but as a pronouncement of the Catholic Church. It was of faith, not because I believed it, but because the Catholic Church declared it so to be.
— Msgr. Michael Andrew Chapman

To claim that Christians just made up the figure of Christ as a ruse to start a new religion was unthinkable: they would have had to be holy themselves to invent such a personality, and if they were holy they would not have lied.…
— Ronda de Sola Chervin

I called on the Rev. James Freeman Clarke. I remember one day his offering to pray with me. But I never could divest myself of the idea that all he said was merely the sum of his own reflections and opinions and being such was no more worthy of credence than the sum of my own. I felt that he had no more authority for anything he chose to put forward than that he, James Freeman Clarke, thought so and I think I can with truth say that just on this hinge turned the door through which I entered the Church.…
— Harriet Brewer Churchill

The more I studied the life and works of Christ, the greater grew my admiration for His character. Almost immediately I saw that if it were stripped of its supernatural qualities, it would be meaningless and contradictory.
— Caryl Coleman

I have been happy in the Roman Catholic, Christian faith—very happy. My only regret is that some of my fellow Catholics—lay and cleric—seem to be losing their faith in the magisterium of the Church and in those ancient truths of the gospel that the magisterium upholds. I keep telling them, I've been where you are heading and, believe me, you wouldn't like it.
— John C. Cort

How did Paul make his conversions? How did the Apostles make their conversions? They weren't handing out the New Testament as we have it today.
— Harry W. Crocker III

I realized there wasn't enough information in the Old Testament to be a good Jew in the Old Testament. I realized there had to be a tradition that was passed down from this priest to the next generation of priests that was never written down in Scripture. That there had to be this oral tradition. Well, I knew where that was leading and I didn't like it.…

I started to realize that sola scriptura is never taught in the New Testament.… I realized that if I was saying I could only trust what was in the Bible, but that statement wasn't in the Bible, then I was in trouble. And that was what made me realize I could not be a Protestant anymore.…

I started to study the Eucharist and sola scriptura is the doctrine that drove me out of the Protestant church. The Eucharist is what made me fall in love with the Catholic Church, and when I see how clearly it was taught in Scripture, I look back and I'm still amazed that I never saw the Eucharist.…

When I read the Fathers on my own, I came to the distinct impression that they were thoroughly sacramental and totally obedient to a hierarchy already existent within the Church. In other words, they were not Protestants, evangelicals, or fundamentalists. The early Fathers had been thoroughly Catholic.

I had spent months trying to justify to myself what I had always believed: the Protestant interpretation of John 6. Jesus had said, I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.… After studying this text from a Catholic perspective, I knew in my head that the Church was right. John 6 clearly taught that the Body of Christ was the sustenance that I needed for eternity. Zechariah had predicted it. Jesus had instituted it. And only one Church in town taught this truth as Jesus stated it: the Catholic parish five blocks from my house.
— David B. Currie

I cannot at all see how Christ can be received as Christ without adoration. To say that He is present but is not to be adored is to me only a certain way of saying that He is not veritably present at all.

We ought to able to say after each Mass, This is the best Mass I have ever said. I have offered more to God, more for souls this day than I have ever done before; more love and more zeal for the conversion of souls. I have sacrificed to Him more of my own will.
— Bishop Alfred Allan Paul Curtis

I have sinned. These are my sins. That is all you are supposed to tell; not the sins of others, or your own virtues, but only your ugly, gray, drab, monotonous sins.

Romano Guardini said the Church is the Cross on which Christ was crucified; one could not separate Christ from His Cross, and one must live in a state of permanent dissatisfaction with the Church.

Huysmans had made me at home in the Church.…
— Dorothy Day

After a varied experience of thirty years in the ministry of the Protestant Episcopal Church, I am forced to the conclusion that Catholicism without the pope, so far as I am concerned, has been weighed in the balances and found wanting.
— Selden Peabody Delany

What I like about the Catholics is that they have this sort of mussed-up human way. You go to the Episcopal church, and people are pretty much alike. You go to a Catholic church, and there are people of all different colors and ages, and babies squalling. You're standing with these people. You're saying: Here I am. One of the people who love God. They're really universal, really catholic.
— Annie Dillard

I started finding out that there are different teachings on baptism, on the Lord's Supper, on the Eucharist, on salvation. I mean essential issues. So then you start realizing that there's 35,000 denominations out there that are all saying, I have the Holy Spirit and if it's not in the book we don't teach it. But everyone teaches something different and there's a new church opening up every week, you know, in some shopping center. You just take the book and open up the church; and what is truth and defining it becomes increasingly difficult to feel.…

And it seemed to me that each individual believer had to acquire enough knowledge on his own to choose or find a church that was going to lead him to eternal life. It's like I pick the church of my choice, what I think that church is. What about the Church that Jesus started? You know, entering that Church on his terms, not on my terms.…

I started looking at some of the teachings that I just had accepted and a lot of the things I heard outside of the church. So, I started to re-examine Matthew 16:17–19 where Jesus gives the keys to the kingdom to Peter, passes on the Davidic kingdom in the light of Isaiah 22:22, and says to him What you bind on earth will be bound in heaven. What you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. And the Catholic Church actually has the authority to bind you to its teaching. Growing up, I thought it was a tyrant. I didn't know it was a servant, a custodian, a humble keeper of the deposit of faith that Jesus gave it. And this is it. You either accept it—they have no right to change it and they haven't changed it. It's been the same for two thousand years. Periodically they define a doctrine, at times when there's controversies or a need.…

John Lennon was a beautiful man, but Imagine represents a huge failure of imagination. In 1971 we didn't need to imagine atheistic internationalism. Communism was living and active, in a least two forms, and it wasn't producing peace.… What made it possible for so many leaders to issue the orders for atrocities over the course of a half-century and more? They feared neither heaven nor hell. Imagine that.
— Dion Francis DiMucci (Dion)

I have had many occasions to see that this cataloging of people as either right or left has led to more confusion in American life than perhaps any other false concept. It sounds so simple and so right. By using this schematic device one puts the communists on the left and then regards them as advanced liberals—after which it is easy to regard them as the enzyme necessary for progress.

Meaningless and empty I learned are such phrases as the brotherhood of man unless they have the solid foundation of belief in God's Fatherhood.

I felt close now to all who received Communion in all the churches of the world. And I felt the true equality which exists between people of different races and nations when they kneel together at the altar rail—equal before God. And I came to love this Church which made us one.

We were the sex-saturated generation who did not have the power to love and who understood love only in its twisted manifestations. I lived through twenty staccato years in this kind of atmosphere. My personal life was meaningless and chaotic, and my spiritual life was void. So blind was I that the murder of 5,000,000 farmers (called kulaks) in Soviet Russia in the name of a classless society and a planned economy aroused only a small twinge of conscience. And the word liquidation meant not the murder of those who did not agree with the leaders of world Communism but the purification of the party. — Bella Dodd

I found that the Catholic Church actually is catholic.
— Edward Ottway Dodson

The duty of the moment is what you should be doing at any given time, in whatever place God has put you. You may not have Christ in a homeless person at your door, but you may have a little child. If you have a child, your duty of the moment may be to change a dirty diaper. So you do it. But you don't just change that diaper, you change it to the best of your ability, with great love for both God and that child.… There are all kinds of good Catholic things you can do, but whatever they are, you have to realize that there is always the duty of the moment to be done. And it must be done, because the duty of the moment is the duty of God.
— Catherine Doherty

I went to school to the Baroness [Ekaterina Fyodorovna Kolyschkine—Catherine Doherty] and to her children; and for the first time in fifty years began to get some little insight into the warmth, the beauty, the majesty, the color, the infinite glory of the Catholic Church.
— Eddie Doherty

The no-miracles criterion is why the historical Jesus project is such a spectacular dead end—because what would ordinarily be the most historically-credible sources for the life and times of Jesus Christ are absolutely soaked in supernaturalism, and if you throw them out you're left with essentially idle speculations about Jesus ben Pantera and other phantoms that have no real historical grounding whatsoever.… If we're honest with ourselves, then we need to acknowledge what this means: Not the beginning of a fruitful quest for the Jesus of history, but the end of it.
— Ross Douthat

After acquainting myself a little with the Gospels, I could have no patience with those modern writers and speakers who were incessantly trying to water down His hard doctrine, and to represent Christ Himself as a mild, tolerant and ever gentle moralist. I was impressed by His unsparing rage against the Pharisees and by His use of physical violence to cleanse the Temple from moneychangers. I saw that He was a man Whom one could hate tremendously, as most of His contemporaries did hate Him, for what they took to be His bad manners and extravagant ideas. The thought occurred to me that most of those who attempted to make Christ seem so moderate and respectable would have hated and feared Him had they known Him as He was.

The New Testament writings [are] religious testimony—a testimony embracing both factual memories and spiritual insights.… The novelty of the message, the conviction, unanimity, constancy, and spiritual power with which it is heralded, give us every reason to conclude that the apostles were bearers of revelation.… But the New Testament is not simply the expression of an ancient faith. We read it today with full consciousness that the religion born of the apostles still retains its vitality. The witness of the primitive Church is enhanced by the witness of the Church today.
— Cardinal Avery Dulles

I had determined to spend the remainder of my life in penance for past wrongs, to find some work where I could be helpful and do my best for all.
— Ira Barnes Dutton (Brother Joseph of Molokai)

If we believe in God our religion must be supernatural throughout. This life and this world are but episodes in a tremendous and supernatural drama. The eternal future of every individual man is at stake, of man who, contemptible as he may appear to himself and his neighbors, is of enough importance to draw the Son of God from heaven to redeem him by death.
— Thomas Dwight

So I picked up this book [The Man Who Was Thursday].… Chesterton in the book has this character who considers himself a poet of anarchy and he contrasts this with a poet who is a poet of law and order.…. The poet of law and order is arguing with the anarchist poet about what constitutes true poetry and he says the most poetical thing in the world is not being sick. And I read that and I was very touched by that, because I longed for that kind of poetry, the poetry of not being sick.
— Dawn Eden

The Church canonized only four Gospels. However, Robert Funk, the leader of the Jesus Seminar, wants to add the Gospel of Thomas and the Sayings Gospel Q to our canon. This poses the question: Why did the Church canonize four Gospels and no more? The answer is that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the only Gospels that tell the story of the flesh and blood martyrdom of the Son of God. The Church rejected all Gospels that failed to tell this story.
— William R. Farmer

You can't claim to be the vicar of Christ, if you're not the vicar of Christ, without being the antichrist.… That popes can and have behaved like antichrists is difficult to dispute. The view that popes are antichrists, if held by a properly informed person, is schismatic sectarianism of the gravest sort.
— Douglas B. Farrow

The manner in which the Mass is celebrated in most parishes constituted, in the end, the greatest stumbling block to my conversion.… [Overcome by attending at a parish where there are no guitars or missalettes.]

For Catholics, to have faith is to be obedient to the faith, that is, to a body of teachings and doctrines that define one's faith. I cannot pick and choose areas where I recognize the authority of the Church—to be able to do so would make the Roman Catholic Church no different from mainline Protestant communities which elevate individual conscience over even commonsense understandings of God's law.
— Jennifer Mehl Ferrara

To establish the existence of God and the immortality of the soul through philosophical arguments is to establish the realistic [reasonable, rational] possibility of the sort of miracle [the Resurrection] on which Christianity rests its claim to a divine revelation.

Now of course Christianity does not teach that every believer must be able to make some fancy philosophical case for the existence of God, the resurrection of Christ, and all the rest. Most people probably could not even understand the arguments. Their belief is based on what they have been taught by some authority—the Church or theologians or philosophers, say—and in that sense it is based on faith rather than reason.… Most people who believe that E = mc2, and who believe almost any other widely known and generally accepted scientific proposition, do so on the basis of faith in exactly the sense in question here. They believe it, in other words, on the authority of those from whom they learned it. Everyone acknowledges that this is perfectly legitimate; indeed, there is no way we could know much of interest at all if we weren't able to appeal to various authorities.

Unless you are prepared to call Him your Risen Lord, seek no religious meaning in His life and teachings. Nor in His death; for the Passion is what it is only in light of the Resurrection.
— Edward Feser

Natural reason did not teach the Greeks and Romans that it is wrong to kill an unborn or newborn child, though some thought abortion shameful.… From the beginning Christian women did not kill their babies. This is one of the things we can learn from the early Apostolic Fathers. Christians did not practice either infanticide or sodomy.

Jesus was telling his people that the greatest happiness one can have is to have the spirit of the cringing beggar. What a strange statement, then, to make that the abject and miserable, those who mourn the loss of a loved one, are the ones who have experienced divine good favor.

Early apologists, such as the author of the Epistle to Diognetus and Aristides the Athenian only distinguish Christians for their moral purity. Otherwise, Christians are not distinguished from the rest of mankind by country, speech, or custom, and, although they are treated as aliens, they shoulder the burdens of citizenship.
— Thomas Fleming

Not long after my placement in the SHU [Special Housing Unit, an underground steel and concrete containment cell constructed especially for him in the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri] I underwent a five year trial-by-fire purification process in which God worked to purge me of the inner poisons (that is, hatred, rage, bias, bitterness, revenge, vengeance, violence, and so forth) that I had foolishly permitted to control much of my life so that I not only failed to make responsible choices and decisions for my life, but also ended up in prison. [After his conversion, he considered his cell no longer my burial place but an emptied tomb, for I had become a prisoner for Christ.]
— Clayton A. Fountain

It is a natural enough question, when someone outside the Church asks a man of my temperament, Why did you become a Catholic? To that question I would ask in return: Where else can an old man go? It is a Church that for almost two thousand years has been a refuge for sinners and for the poor. And I have been both sinful and poor during a life of incautious impulses, careless mischiefs, bad investments in business and in pleasures. And even today I have to make frequent visits to the Church when the horned fellow catches me napping. He never sleeps, you know.…

The knowledge that no Catholic can be an orphan because we have the Blessed Mother Mary, the Rosary, the Mass, the Confessional, the Holy Eucharist—all suddenly bestowed graces and blessings and escapes from woe—makes it most difficult for the new-comer not to shout from the house-top.…

Look here now, old man, wherever you may be … you will find the Confessional nearby, into which you go each time with feelings of trepidation, but emerge therefrom with a deep sense of peace and forgiveness. Why become a Catholic? Where else can a man go in this world?
— Gene Fowler

A decisive moment in my journey in faith came when, one day, seemingly out of nowhere, the thought pierced me that Jesus had died for my sins. And, immediately on its heels, came the devastating recognition that I am not worth his sacrifice. Only gradually have I come truly to understand that the determination of worth belongs not to me but to him.

If He loves us all, He also loves each of us. And recognition of that love imposes on us the obligation to love one another, asking no other reason than God's injunction to do so.
— Elizabeth Fox-Genovese

I came to the Holy Eucharist. I found Christ saying that we had to eat of His Body.… He said it again to the people who asked Him if He really meant what he said. The Bible told me that after that there were some who walked with him no longer. So I ran into another incontestable fact. Christ either meant exactly what He said about eating of His body or He meant it figuratively. If he meant it as a figure of speech, then He was responsible for turning some people away from following Him. After all, He had only to tell them he was speaking figuratively. But He didn't. So, if He meant it figuratively, He was guilty of turning people away from God. But that couldn't be, since He was God. So I had to face it. He must have meant exactly what He said. It overwhelmed me, but there was no way out of it.
— Dale Francis

Protestants often ask me why I became a Catholic. I reply that Scripture states the Church is the mystical Body of Christ and Christ is its head (Eph. 1:22–23; Col. 1:18). One can't have a personal relation with the Head as Lord and Savior in its fullness if one doesn't embrace the body as well.
— Terry L. Frazier

My own reasons for verting—that I am an historical and linguistic snob, preferring a faith that goes clear back nearly two thousand years to one which stems from around 1500, and to sing the liturgy … in an unchanging language, rather than in a language subject to the vagaries of slang and fashion.

Then, above all, I found—what I had never consciously bothered about—Truth.

I learned to burn what I had adored: birth control, euthanasia, cremation—three absolute tenets of my mother's that we were brought up to think were musts for all right-thinking people. They had become suspect to me even before I knew I wanted to become a Catholic. And I came to see them for what they are, hideous, glaring examples of the Non serviamI will not serve—of Satan and of Adam and Eve. I will not accept the total consequences of marriage, that is really what birth-control advocates are saying. I will not wait, say euthanasia advocates, to be given death, as Eve would not wait for the apple to be given her but took it. I will not let my body serve the soil, giving back to earth what I took from her in being born, that is what I say if I insist on cremation.…

The absolute gratuity of God's gifts daily overwhelmed me.… Nothing else that ever happens or could happen is of comparable importance to the daily celebration of the sublime sacrifice of the Mass. The horrifying humility of God given for us and condescending grows more truly awful with the years.…
— Anne Fremantle

On 6 June 1945, my regiment was passing through Rome, and in the middle of the night I stood in the shadows of the Colosseum. The city was shrouded in total blackout. And the moon silhouetted the amphitheatre where Christians had been persecuted 1,200 years before a British king had elected to sponsor the Church of England in order that he might marry for a second time.
— Brig. Gen. James C. Fry

One wants to give arguments or evidences that will make a move [to the Catholic Church] look as intellectually respectable as possible, whereas the real causes of one's conversion are often more personal and diffuse, and in the end outside oneself altogether.…
— Laura L. Garcia

Yes, I know the history of atrocities committed by Christians, but where outside the Christian West did concepts of personal freedom and of limits to state authority arise and flourish?

I attended a Catholic Mass for the first time in about fifty years—except for an occasional wedding or funeral. The changes since Vatican II brought me up short, but, to my surprise, it was as if I had never left.
— Eugene D. Genovese

Surely, I concluded, a laicized ruled Judaism, a Judaism with a dead-letter book as its only authority, is not Old Testament Judaism. I found further evidence that it is devoid of a priesthood, sacrifices, and Temple, vital to Old Testament Judaism, in the fact that the Orthodox Jews, the intensely religious division of Jewry, prayed daily for the reinstitution of the Aaronic priesthood, with their sacrifices, and for the coming of a personal Messiah. This impressed me as pathetic, for—as I discovered to my amazement—there is no genealogical evidence whatsoever to prove the existence of a family of Aaron from which an Aaronic priesthood could possibly be reinstituted and there are no genealogical records whatsoever to prove the existence of a family of David, in which a Messiah could possibly be born. Thus Orthodox Jews remain like An infant crying in the night; An infant crying for light; And with no language but a cry.

It was the claim of the Catholic Church that Christianity is the fulfillment, the perfection, of Old Testament Judaism that gave me the key to understanding that the end of the Aaronic priesthood, the Levitical sacrifices, and the Temple was providential and not accidental; that it was a blessing, and not the calamity that Orthodox Jewry believes it to be. This finally led me to the baptismal font of the Catholic Church with love of the faith of my fathers from of old in my heart. God had not abandoned His chosen people! The promised Messiah had come. Jesus is His name!
— David Goldstein

I was nearly fifty years old before I discovered that art is the handmaid of the Church.
— Caroline Gordon

It is not the saints that it is necessary to talk about if one wants to prove the sanctity of the Church. It's the bad priests and bad popes. One sees debauched religious, priests without doctrine, ridiculous popes. You find that ignoble, but I find that, on the contrary, marvelous and adorable. Alexander VI edifies me more than Gregory the Great, for a Church governed by saints and continuing on, that's normal and human, but a Church that can be governed by villains and imbeciles, and still continue, that is neither normal nor human.

[After hearing French at Tenebrae on Good Friday, 1956] Psalms mooed as if by cows in French.… How can Catholics not revolt against such ugliness? One bitterly misses the Latin of former times.
— Julien Green

I could no longer remain a Protestant. To do so meant I must deny Christ's promises to guide and protect his Church and to send the Holy Spirit to lead it into all truth.

I read John Henry Newman's landmark book, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine.… My objections evaporated when I read 12 pages in the middle of the book in which Newman explains the gradual development of papal authority. It is a less difficulty that the papal supremacy was not formally acknowledged in the second century, than that there was no formal acknowledgement on the part of the Church of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity till the fourth. No doctrine is defined till violated. … [Newman] wrote that To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant. This one line summarizes a key reason why I abandoned Protestantism, bypassed the Orthodox Church, and became a Catholic.

But maybe the biggest thing that opened my heart to the truth of the Catholic Faith was not all the apologetic arguments convincing me of the trustworthiness of the Catholic truth, but the realization that the Catholic Church, with all her saints and sinners, was exactly what Christ had promised. The majority of complaints against the Catholic Church over the centuries have been aimed at the decisions and actions of bad popes, or immoral clergy, or ignorant laity, or corrupt Catholic nobility, and the correct answer to this is, But, of course! The Church is made up of wheat and tares, from the bottom to the top, we are all sinners in need of grace! This is no reason to leave and form a new church, for any church made up of human beings is made up of sinners.
— Marcus Grodi

One of my friends when he stood up to give a testimony in high school said, God saved me from drugs, alcohol and wild sex. I thought, I know this guy; he didn't do this stuff. It does make a pretty interesting entry into his telling his testimony. He said, God saved me from all that stuff before I got into that stuff. Well, that's what He did with Mary. He saved her before she got into any of that stuff.
— Kimberly Kirk Hahn

In the Protestant world the idea of a covenant is understood practically as synonymous with or interchangeable with contract. When you have a covenant with God, it's the same as having a contract. You give God your sin; He gives you Christ, and everything is a faith-deal for salvation.

But the more I studied, the more I came to see that for the ancient Hebrews, and in Sacred Scripture, a covenant differs from a contract as much as marriage differs from prostitution. In a contract you exchange property, whereas in a covenant you exchange persons. In a contract you say, This is yours and that is mine, but Scripture shows how in a covenant you say, I am yours and you are mine. Even when God makes a covenant with us, He says, I will be your God and you will be my people. After studying Hebrew, I discovered that ‘Am, the Hebrew word for people, literally means kinsman, family. I will be your God and father; you will be my family, my sons and my daughters, my household. So covenants form kinship bonds which make family with God.…

I focused … a little bit more on the Lord's supper and communion. I discovered that Jesus had never used the word covenant in His public ministry. He saved the one time for when He instituted the Eucharist and He said, This cup is the blood of the new covenant. If covenant means family, what is it that makes us family? Sharing flesh and blood. So if Christ forms a new covenant, that is a new family, what is He going to have to provide us with? New flesh and new blood. I began to see why in the early Church for over 700 years, nobody any place disputed the meaning of Jesus' words. All of the early Church fathers without exception took Jesus' words at face value and believed and taught the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
— Scott Hahn

In the end, whether or not one is a Christian has almost nothing to do with persuasive intellectual argument: it has to do with whether one has experienced God; it has to do with the grace of God—a mystery. It has little to do with how good a person is.…

When I compare the Church with the Witnesses, I think: The Witnesses explained everything, and explained everything legalistically. The Church does not attempt to explain everything: triumphant, militant, glorious, it is humble enough to get on its knees and say, We do not know; We have committed grave errors.…

Mostly when I compare the Witnesses with the Church, I think: To be a Witness meant not to give, but to give up; whereas the Church says that not to use one's talents to join one's efforts to God is a serious wrongdoing. The Church says that to be godly is to be fully human, and to be fully human is to be godly.
— Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

When you get into any Christian doctrine, once you do more than scrape the surface, you get back into the Roman Catholic Church.
— Frederick Hart

The priest happened to take me into the Log Chapel at Notre Dame. He was giving me the tourist's tour … when I (only half listening to him) suddenly burst out with what was really on my mind. It was that old time-honored Protestant question: If Catholics really believe that God is really and truly present on their altars, why don't they crawl into church on their hand and knees?

And suddenly I knew, with a shock, that what I was really thinking was: Why aren't we on our hands and knees this minute, instead of standing here like tourists?

It is impossible for me to explain this sudden right-about-turn. All I know is that the Blessed Sacrament, all these past nineteen years, has been the strongest point in my faith.
— Lucile Hasley

To make preaching depend on the ingenuity and personal opinions of every sort of minister showed an indifference to truth.…

In Protestantism there is a constant attempt to segregate the saints from the sinners and regard the church as a select body of holy people. In the Catholic Church the reproach cast at Our Lord that he was a friend of the ungodly is always remembered.
— Msgr. Edward Hawks

Far from denying my own religious heritage, I have come back to that Faith which saints believed of old. I am a Catholic—because it is within the Catholic Church that I can affirm the Christian Truth which I was taught as a child, and have believed, by the Grace of God, all of my life. I am a Catholic—because it is here that the Faith of my fathers is living still.
— Helen Hull Hitchcock

I felt very sure that the eye with which to recognize a revelation could not be in the eye of the intellect alone, since that would make of God a secret to which only the learned could be privy.… It seemed to me … that the chief test of the truth of revelation must lie in its successful recognition by men of simplicity and humility, and in the nature of its transforming influence upon their lives.

I had come to see clearly what, it seems to me, so many persons fail to grasp, namely that Catholicism is an organic whole springing from the germinal seed of the Incarnation. So that my last question was just the old question and the most deeply important one that has ever been asked: What think ye of Christ?

The greatest amazement was finding myself becoming a partisan of His enemies. For the first time in my life I began to have some understanding of the mad rage which this presumptuous and irritating Person must have aroused. I began to wonder what we would think of a man who, after violating one of our most precious institutions (as He broke the Jewish Sabbath), coolly remarked that he was superior to it. I thought we should have rather a serious case against Him as an outrager of our laws. My reaction to Jesus at Nazareth when He entered the synagogue, read from the Scriptures, and announced their fulfillment that day, was exactly the same. I murmured with the people who heard Him, Is not this the son of Joseph? And when He rebuked them I was strongly tempted to join with those that rose up and thrust Him out of the city.

Again and again I was scandalized by His act and words. When He presumed to forgive sins I said with the scribes and Pharisees, Who is this who speaketh blasphemies? Who can fogive sins but God alone? He exhibited a most arrogant and offending egotism: Behold a greater than Jonas is here … behold a greater than Solomon is here. I also discovered in this preacher of the Sermon on the Mount a quivering and terrible anger which found expression in such words as hypocrites, whited sepulchres, and generation of vipers, and in such awful threats as the one for the city which should not receive His disciples: It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city. This man's tongue could sting like a whiplash laid upon an open wound. And I found Him, too, a demand for personal allegiance reaching the very limits of effrontery. His disciples are to keep His commandments and not be scandalized by Him. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me—so does He ask that loyalty to Himself be first of all loyalties, making bold to promise His disciples if they would take up the cross and follow Him they should have a crown of life. What kind of man was this who could ask for Himself all that men could conceivably owe to God? All things are delivered unto me by my father … I and my father are one.… He that hath seen me has seen the father.… I am the way, the truth and the life—what preposterous sayings are these from a mere man! I understood for the first time the passion of the high priest when he rent his robes and said, What need we any further witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy. I was both puzzled and scandalized by His vaunted sinlessness: His most violent words of denunciation were reserved for hypocrites, and yet He could ask, Which of you convinceth me of sin? Such words from one who is no more than human are downright revolting. The more I speculated upon the character of the man Jesus the more offended I became, the more monstrous His imposture appeared. His fellow countrymen wondered and said: How came this man by this wisdom and miracles? Is not this the carpenter's son?… Whence therefore hath he all these things? And they were scandalized in His regard. And so was I.

[But] no man putting forth the preposterous claims He made for Himself could have also inspired that perfect love which we find His disciples paying to Him, for He scandalized even them on several occasions. Nor is it even imaginable that any man could unite so perfectly in himself the qualities of meekness and terrible anger, and although with knowledge of his own stainless perfection could yet weep with compassion for all men.

From what I could learn of Peter, Paul, and the other Apostles it seemed quite unbelievable that they were perpetrators of a great fraud. If they sincerely believed in what they taught to the world (and their sincerity is proved by their martyrdom), surely they must have regarded their knowledge of Him as the most precious of all knowledge and therefore not to be tampered with. Moreover, they were mostly simple men, close to reality, and such men are not so easily deceived by things they see, touch, and experience.

I had no sudden conversion. Faith came very slowly, and it was not easy to feel the reality of it after so many years of negation. As the new point of view was gradually gained I had alternating moments of lively conviction and sluggish doubt.… I found myself coming under the imperious spell of this mighty and towering Personality, found myself capable of loving Him. God granted me the gift of faith, and I confessed with Peter: Thou are the Christ, the son of the living God.
— Ross J. S. Hoffman

I began to feel that the [Anglican] Church was losing sight of Christ. Where was truth in all this? And I really didn't want to spend the rest of my life … simply debating what I thought was essentially a political issue [the ordination of women]. Not what the truth was, but what people voted for, what the world wanted. But, the Archbishop of Canterbury said in 1992, How can we hold up our heads if we disappoint the world? And I thought, we are doing things for people who don't even believe in Christ. I don't say that he saw it that way, but anyway I was losing sight of Christ.

Walter Hooper, I said, I've been trying to save the Anglican Church for forty years. Now I've run out of steam. I want the Catholic Church to save me.
— Walter Hooper

How much do you practice each day, Mr. Horszowski? Well, I get up at 6 a.m. and dress and go to the church at 7 a.m. Then I take the breakfast at Dewey's—low salt, you see—then I read the newspaper. Time to teach my lessons. Then I go to Rindelaub's for the lunch, excellent cookies … then another few lessons. When I go home, I grill a little hamburger for dinner and watch the news. By then it's late. I go to bed. I guess I do not practice very much.
— Mieczyslaw Horszowski

My free-church friends and colleagues have the simplest solution of all: the Church—the entire Church—went off the rails about AD 95, and so Church history is a farce. Only the faithful (read evangelical) remnant matters. My difficulty with this line of thought has been settled forever by Saint Augustine's argument against the Donatists: no matter how mucked up the Church is, you can't start anything new. It is the only church we have, and Christ called it His Spouse and sanctifies it with His Holy Spirit, not with the right living of its members.

I have the colossal securus judicat orbis terrarum looking passionately at me. The calm judgment of the whole world is against me. The Roman Church has, as it were, nothing to prove. Everyone else has to do the sleeve plucking and arm pawing to validate their cases.

If the Roman Church has nourished … the writings of the Lady Julian and Richard Rolle and Bernard of Clairvaux and Saint Teresa of Avila and ten thousand others whose work towers above the terrible flea-market junk filling religious bookstores these days … then I must ask myself whether that source is worth finding.

Anything as old and enormous as the Roman Church is bound to be a horror show.… Israel was not less Israel when she was being wicked.…

The eye of faith alone can pierce the surface and see Reality. That is why Catholics genuflect when they come to church. They know that this is a holy place, and to be found on one's knees is a very good posture in such precincts. It says, ceremonially, not verbally, I am a creature, and thou art my Creator. I am thy child and thou art my Father. I am a subject and thou art my Sovereign. And alas, I am a sinner, and thou art holy.

I often thought, as I was teaching at a very good Evangelical college, it used to occur to me again and again, you know, if the Apostles were to pop in briefly out of their coffins and come visit us on this campus, they wouldn't know what was going on. They wouldn't know what this enterprise was. The would say, Where is your bishop; where is the Eucharist; and where is the authority of the Church? Our apostolic spokesman, St. Paul, says the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth. How do you all relate to that?
— Thomas Howard

If the world is not logocentric, then the Catholic Church is wrong. All Christians who accept the truth of the Scriptures believe that God created the world through the Word, and the Word's imprint and form is found everywhere in creation. Through him all things were made. The world, the out there of our experience, is not an utterly alien thing—mysterious, yes, but mysterious in a way that can gradually reveal its depths and allow us to see into it.
— Deal Hudson

[My Catholic friends explained to me papal infallibility.] The pope, they assured me, was certainly no oracle. He possessed, according to the definition of the First Vatican Council in 1870, not so much personal infallibility as the infallibility of the Church. Even this he exercised only under narrowly defined, and correspondingly rare circumstances.…

The best theologians agreed that infallibility was essentially negative—not inspiration but protection from error. Papal definitions were not necessarily the last word. Indeed, given the limitations of human language there could never be, strictly speaking, a last word in matters of faith, apart from Jesus himself as Word of God—the Father's personal communication to us. The truths of faith would always require restatement as language and patterns of thought changed, and insight deepened. In a given case, it might have been better for a pope to have said nothing, or to have expressed himself differently. But on the rare occasions when he articulated the Church's faith as its official and supreme teacher, at least he would not be wrong.…
— John Jay Hughes

Paul speaks of our real participation in the body and blood of Christ as that which unites the Church (1 Corinthians 1:16–17) and soon thereafter remarks that some of the Corinthians have fallen infirm and dropped over dead because of their eating and drinking unworthily (11:27–32). One doesn't die from mishandling symbols; one dies from mishandling that in which God is found, as readers familiar with Uzzah's demise in 2 Samuel 6 and viewers of Raiders of the Lost Ark know.

In Luke 24:30–31 the risen Jesus vanishes from the two disciples' sight precisely after Jesus took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them to signal that Christ is to be found thereafter in the Eucharist.

Contraception isn't healthcare because pregnancy isn't a disease.
— Dr. Leroy Huizenga

I was by no means a skeptic, like great-uncle David Hume. I believed very definitely that God had designed a human intellect capable of comprehending knowledge. As far as belief in absolute truth went, I was right in there with St. Thomas and the Council of Trent. The confusion resulting from good old free interpretation and individual judgment had long since reached the reductio ad absurdum point. It boiled down to something very simple and literal, as it has to so many converts: somebody was right and somebody was wrong. But if there was such a thing as belief being right or wrong then there must be an authority to define what is and what is not.
— Paul Hume

What is the alternative to conversion? Except what G. K. Chesterton, writing of his own conversion, called a sorry surrender to … the awful actualities of our time? I came to believe that there is no answer, except Rome, to the question.

My conversion story is, in part, the story of four men, only two of whom were Catholics .… Karol Wojtyla … my father, James Hogg Hunter … C. S. Lewis … Malcolm Muggeridge.

Rome, sweet Rome, be you never so sinful, there's no place like Rome. So, mockingly, Muggeridge had written in the mid-seventies. Yet on 27 November 1982, Muggeridge knelt at the altar of a little chapel in the Sussex village of Hurst Green and was received into the Catholic Church. When I asked him why, he replied: The day will come, dear boy, when you must decide whether to die within the Church or outside the Church. I have decided to die within the Church.

Unlike much of Protestantism, Rome is innately suspicious of feelings and enthusiasms; still, the predominant feeling on the day of my reception was of a homecoming, or a responding to a bell that I had long heard toll, of taking my place at a table that had long been set, of finding spiritual companionship among those unashamed to profess the faith of the fathers.…

Let me state the position I was in as simply as possible: I came to believe that there is no source of authority outside the Roman Catholic Church. I could abandon the Christian faith, which had nourished me since childhood, or I could submit to and seek membership in the Church which, as St. Paul expresses it … has the mind of Christ. But there was, for me, no longer any middle ground left.
— Ian Hunter

I brought back with me to America the discovery that, as far as Germany was concerned, Rome [in the form of anti-Nazi sermons by a priest in Cologne Cathedral and by Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber in Munich] was doing the job of the Church. Gradually I began to find out what a tremendous reality Cardinal Faulhaber and the preacher in Cologne Cathedral had uncovered for me: the concrete presence of the Church of Christ, a living entity with relevance to every possible phase of life.

At length the day came when I sought out the chaplain [of St. Paul's Catholic Chapel at the University of Wisconsin-Madison], Father (now Bishop) John B. Grellinger.… He was sitting in his study reading his breviary.… [I]n a few calm, recollected, and strangely secure sentences, he told me that in attempting to understand anything Catholic, I must always remember the three foundations: belief in God, belief that Christ was the Son of God, and belief that Christ, as the Son of God, had founded the Church. He then put into my hand a copy of the Baltimore Catechism and a pamphlet called Father Smith instructs Jackson, suggesting that I read both of them at any speed I liked and bring back any questions if I cared to. As I was leaving the room, I noticed that he had resumed his breviary.

If ever there was absence of pressure, it was there! There had been no attempt to convince me of anything, just quiet and courteous replies to my questions, and a statement of what Catholic thinking rested on—the three foundations of Cardinal Faulhaber's sermon—and the same unruffled, timeless assurance as that shown by the eloquent preacher in Cologne.… And as far as anything personal was concerned, the distance in the study was as great as that in Cologne Cathedral—no eagerness to argue, no curiosity to interfere. How was it that such aloofness could be so to the point, such indifference so concerned? I sensed then what I now know to be back of this attitude, truly neither aloof nor indifferent: faith (in the Catholic sense, that is, belief in revealed truth), love, and prayer.

It is one of the earmarks of a high order of love, and therefore, above all, of the divine virtue of charity, that it grants its object perfect freedom. The Church … has solicitude for all the children of God, but no constricting anxiety; for she knows that their heavenly Father wants their love freely given, and that to this end He has given them their freedom. In her capacity, then, as the chosen instrument for bringing men to God and God to men, she offers herself, as also her Master, in constant sacrificial prayer; and she takes care that it is God who does the bringing.

[Eventually, after considering Protestant objections to Catholicism] I made what Newman calls notional assent but no real assent.… I withdrew into silence, and did my best to pray.

One morning about a month later, waking up at the usual time, I sat bolt upright in bed, filled to overflowing with but one thought: There is a Church of Christ on earth, and I am outside it. Isn't that appalling? I must do something about it.… There was nothing introspective about it: I was aware, not so much of my own certainty as of the Church—the Church of Christ, with its center over there in Rome. And here was I, sitting up in bed, not of it.
— Fr. Christopher Huntington

The doctrine of the Church is that her clergy have a peculiar authority and peculiar powers conferred on them by the Sacrament of Holy Orders. They are regarded as the immediate representatives of the Lord himself, and as chosen by him for this office. It seems, therefore, a fair presumption that they would all be holy men.… Scripture itself … shows it to be ill-founded.… When our Lord sent out the twelve, he gave them, in proof of their ministry, miraculous powers to heal the sick and cast out devils in his name; these powers were evidently conferred upon Judas just as upon the others.
— Joshua Huntington

The circumstance which … shook my confidence most of all was the absence, in my view, of any instituted method among Protestants for the remission of post-baptismal sin. Sins before baptism were expressly forgiven in that sacrament. But for the remission of those committed after, however deadly, I could see in Protestantism no provision.
— Levi Silliman Ives

I said, Oh, good Lord. I have been trying to reinvent something Jesus made right the first time.
— Rev. Joseph R. Jacobson

Months of studying history, theology, and (surprisingly) Scripture let me to one simple and inescapable conclusion. The papacy was right, and I was wrong.
— Bobby Jindal

For the briefest moment, the baby looked as if it were being wrung like a dishcloth, twirled and squeezed. And then it crumpled and began disappearing into the cannula before my eyes. The last thing I saw was the tiny, perfectly formed backbone sucked into the tube, and then it was gone.

One day we were sitting in Mass.… I was sitting behind this woman whom I don't know, and this little infant.… It was just clear to me, like a switch that had gone off, that we had to stop contracepting.
— Abby Johnson

I am trying very hard to let every work be a religious intention, not simply an expression of my ego. It means taking on quite a lot and not writing large numbers of works.
— Ben Johnston

Both St. Augustine and I came to the Catholic Faith by reading a book. The Seven Storey Mountain had been a surprise bestseller in 1948, the year when I was born. It was part of the Catholic revival in America which followed World War II. I don't remember any specific argument from the book.… The Seven Storey Mountain I thought was first-rate writing and if a man with this much literary talent could believe in God, well belief in God was good enough for me too. And so I gave up everything else and decided to put my life in God's hands.
— E. Michael Jones

I think what struck me really wasn't the grandeur of the Mass. It was the simple faith of the people. For me this whole journey was a journey into awe. I would just get these moments of quiet where there wasn't anything. My head would just shut up, and I knew that was a good thing. And also the carnality of the church: there was a body on the cross.

The faithless contenders for prayer's relief who sometimes ask me for help praying (still a comic notion) often say it seems hypocritical to turn to God only now during whatever crisis is forcing them toward it—kid with leukemia, say, husband lost in the World Trade Center. But no one I know has ever turned to God any other way.

I came to prayer — through what James Laughlin (via Pilgrim's Progress) used to call the Slough of Despond, and over the years prayer led me to God, and God led me to church—a journey fueled by gradually accruing comforts and some massively freakish coincidences.…
— Mary Karr

The next day I visited the mission [of the Sacred Heart in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho] which was established in 1846. The church was built of logs, spacious, but unfinished. Everything within and around had a rustic appearance. Father Joset, Father Minitree, and two lay brothers were there. In this savage, out-of-the-way place they were obliged to live and labor with the Indians. In the evening I supped with the fathers. They had plenty of excellent beef, vegetables, and milk, but the table and its service were as plain as possible.

In Father Joset I found a cultivated gentleman in the prime of his life, fit to adorn the most polished society in the world. I was unable to restrain my expressions of astonishment when he informed me that he had passed the last fourteen years in the wilderness with the savages. I asked him if he had no longings for a better life and society. No, said he, I am content and happy where I am. In your profession an outward obedience to orders is all that is required of you, but in the society to which I belong obedience must be internal, and cheerful, and ready. I am happy, and have no desire to exchange situations with any person.

Twice every day while I remained at the mission I had conversations with Father Joset, which increased my admiration for his character and my estimation of his self-denial. He instructed me how his Church had preserved the traditions and dogmas of Christianity, and sustained the purity of the faith, and it was primarily due to his influence that I enrolled myself, at a subsequent date, in the Roman Catholic Church. By his explanations and revelations Father Joset revealed to my mind vistas through which the light from calvary shone more pure and brilliant than ever before.
Erasmus Darwin Keyes

On one snowy silent afternoon in mid-winter I went to the shrine of St. Anne de Beaupré, in Canada. It was not a time of pilgrimage. There was not a soul in the church besides the friend who was with me, and myself. I dipped my fingers in holy water as I entered, knelt down, and crossed myself; in the same way that I had done hundreds of times before, first merely because it seemed courteous to follow prevalent custom in the house of God, as one would in the house of a friend, and later: because this had become instinctive. Then I raised my eyes to the lighted altar, and in one blinding flash, my whole life was transformed.

The more I traveled about, the more it was borne home to me that no Catholic with whom I came in contact seemed to consider that any reasonable pleasure was in itself an evil thing.… Enjoyment of life, in all its normal phases, was regarded as natural and desirable.…

In the beginning I had gone [into Catholic churches] primarily to pray, when I could find no other churches open.… I learned that while it was the open door of the church which gave the first sense of welcome it was the Real Presence which transfigured and sublimated this. Previously I had often wondered when I entered a church which had once been Catholic but had been shorn of its altar during the Reformation, why it seemed so sterile to me. Now I thought I knew.
Frances Parkinson Keyes

[A Catholic acquaintance] could see that I had a very Protestant approach to the priesthood. In a few very simple but clear words he explained the sacramental powers of a priest, which are strictly apart from the individuality of the man, and that it would have been impossible for the Church to survive merely on the human attributes of its ministers. To my surprise he spoke of certain popes and other ecclesiastics, drawing a sharp line of distinction between their office and functions in the Church and their often regrettable but nevertheless human attributes.

A fellow Balt and distant family connection who was a friend of mine and also a newspaperman, startled me one day with the statement that he was contemplating becoming a Catholic.… He reminded me that after all our ancestors had left their Westphalian homelands some six hundred years ago to move into the Baltics on a mission for the Pope and that the Duchy of Courland, which they founded, was once known as Marienland (Maryland). After all, he contended, he was not leaving the old but merely returning to the faith of the fathers. That was not a theological argument … but I had never had our own Catholic tradition, the Catholic tradition of all Protestant and Christian people, impressed upon me before. It is so obvious and still it was the cleavage, not the common background, which I had always had underlined for me.…

Suddenly it became clearer to me that one fundamental distinction between the Catholic and Protestant belief is that one is pulsating with the continuing life of inspired revelation through the Holy Spirit, whereas the other accepts this up to a certain date only. Then the Reformation figuratively closed the chapter of growth and replaced it with the commemorative exploitation of what had happened through God's revelations through His Church.… After Martin Luther, the heavens were locked and the deposit of Faith no longer drawn upon for further knowledge. Humanity then was restricted for its guidance merely to the dead past, instead of moving spiritually in a living present.
— Robert Wendelin Keyerslingk

[To Father James J. Daly, SJ:] I need some stricter discipline, I think, and it's hard to get it.… I wish I had some medieval confessor—the sort of person one reads about in anti-Catholic books—who would inflict real penance. The saying of Hail Marys and Our Fathers is no penance, it's a delight.

[To Father James J. Daly, SJ:] Of course you understand my conversion. I am beginning to understand it. I believed in the Catholic position, the Catholic view of ethics and aesthetics, for a long time. But I wanted something not intellectual, some conviction not mental—in fact I wanted Faith. Just off Broadway, on the way from the Hudson Tube Station to the Times Building, there is a Church, called the Church of the Holy Innocents [128 West 37th Street, New York City]. Since it is in the heart of the Tenderloin [red-light district], this name is strangely appropriate—for there surely is need of youth and innocence. Well, every morning for months I stopped on my way to the office and prayed in this Church for faith. When faith did come, it came, I think by way of my little paralyzed daughter [stricken with polio]. Her lifeless hands led me; I think her tiny feet still know beautiful paths. You understand this and it gives me a selfish pleasure to write it down.
Joyce Kilmer

Dr. [William Henry Temple] Gairdner described the first stage of [the English Reformation] as merely the old religion with the Pope left out. I should now wish to teach the old religion with the Pope put back.

Schism is the voluntary isolation of superior persons, and hence was an easy sin for those endowed with insular complacence.

My opinions in regard to Roman Catholicism passed through four stages: it is not so bad after all; it is really quite good; it is the best thing I know; it is the Church. Only when the last was reached was there genuine conversion.
— Frederick Joseph Kinsman

More than any other writer, [Mark] Twain set me to thinking early on about ultimate questions. For me, Twain demolished the notions of Progress and Perfectibility.

I was not converted to the Church, but made my way into it through what Newman calls illation—fragments of truth collecting in my mind through personal experience, conversations, and much reading and meditating.

It is only, I think, in the light of the suffering of the Son of God that we can look without dismay at the wounded man in his private world of pain.… The world in which all things are hard: man cannot explain them by word, where all is vanity and vexation of spirit, and the perverse are hard to be corrected, and the number of fools is infinite; this same world in which hopes are stillborn and good causes are brought to nothing, so full of wastelands and crosses, is, if the Christian revelation be true, a cross on which God has stretched his arms, making a tree of life.
— Russell Kirk

Real churches don't kill babies.

What finally opened my heart?… I think it really was John Paul II, the man himself, the incredibly powerful witness, and of course the rejuvenation of the Church and the rescue of Vatican II as represented by John Paul II. Like many a serious and theologically conservative Protestant I watched those early years after Vatican II with considerable dismay. I wanted to say, Fellows, we've been here already. Let us tell you, you don't want to go in the direction of a kind of radical subjectivity, rejection of authority. This is a dead end. And in the words of a famous Southern Baptist, I forget who it was, All of a sudden we had a pope who knew how to pope. And that made me say to myself, OK, why am I outside? My heart and my head were inclining me to full communion, towards the fullness of the Catholic Church, the richness of tradition, the incredible richness of material which you have to work with, the people and the sacraments, the lives of the saints, the devotions, the traditions. These things I identified with; I identified with strongly. And I think finally that witness said to me that I needed to do what I'd been tending toward for an awfully long time.
— Fr. Leonard R. Klein

I had been given a convenient push toward the dark abyss of rationalism which has benighted the souls of thousands of Jews today, especially in the United States.

When we entered the church, I knelt down with the rest because I had too much human respect to sit! Vaguely I noticed the devotion of the worshippers; I did not pray because, I suppose, I did not know how. The service itself was very impressive. I am sure that Jesus spoke to my heart from his Altar Throne that memorable morning.…

To worldly hearts the supernatural is only the fiction of a fevered imagination, a sort of self-hypnotism.… The supernatural, considered as an influence which lifts men to the dignity of partakers of the nature of God, must of necessity come from God Himself.
— Arthur B. Klyber, CSSR

As a Lutheran I assumed that Lutheranism was restoring Christianity, not just at the time of the Apostles, but throughout history until very recently before the Reformation, when Aristotle had corrupted theology and Luther corrected it. So, we didn't think as Lutherans that Christianity died out when the Apostles died out, and that Luther re-created it again a thousand years later. We didn't think that at all. Athanasius, Augustine, those were our guys you know. We didn't think of them as evil Catholics, because they were part of the Christian tradition and they were saints. And so I expected when I opened up all those Church fathers that they would sound Lutheran, basically they would be sort of proto-Lutheran, and I was very surprised to find they sounded much more Roman Catholic than we did. They talked about the Church, the episcopacy, the bishops, the historical succession, the apostolic succession, and all of that. And that was disturbing to me. It made me think things through again.

But the thing that held me back was the doctrine of justification.… In my own mind I thought, well, you know, because I was impressed by what I'd read from the Fathers, ideally we should all be Catholics, but unfortunately the Church had got it wrong on justification.…

A number of things started raising this issue of justification again in my mind. One was this joint declaration where the Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church had stated that the differences on justification weren't that significant. I don't in the end agree with what they said. There are deeper differences than the joint declaration let on. But it did raise the issue again for me. It made me think, Well, I'd better look at this again, because it's not quite as simple as I thought it was.… So now, of course, I looked at Scriptures, looked again at Paul, … at the Church Fathers … Augustine … Melanchthon … the Council of Trent again … [etc]. In the end of the day I had to say, Well, you know, I was wrong about the justification issue. At the very best it's a draw and the burden of proof is on us, so it looks as if the Catholics have won this one. And that was my only thing that was keeping me from being a Catholic at that point.
— Robert C. Koons

I think my conversion was a natural growth. Even in the darkest hours of my childhood, I was an irrepressible optimist, always able to find something to fill me with amazement, wonder and delight. When I came to the faith, it explained to me why I always had—and always should have—felt exuberant and full of hope.

The older I've gotten, the more beauty, wonder and mystery I see in the world, which is why there are ever more of those three things in my books.

What is your favorite thing about being a Catholic? It gives me a sense that the world has shape and form and function and meaning. I suppose that's my favorite thing about it, because I don't wander aimlessly about seeking for some meaning in things. I have a sense of what those meanings are. It opened my eyes to a deeper, more complex world, and that leaves you a lifetime of exploring to follow.

What's your least favorite thing about being a Catholic? How Vatican II threw away so much tradition. It's only beginning to come back. The Latin Mass and all of that was a great loss, something that is embraced and promoted for hundreds upon hundreds of years and then disappears overnight in an attempt to satisfy an urge toward trendiness. It was a great loss to the church, and I think it still is.

The most humorless people I've ever known are ardent atheists.… The Catholic view of the human condition is fundamentally tragic, but that does not mean that we are required to be glum. Indeed, quite the opposite. The human condition may be tragic, but we have been given a beautiful world to enjoy and the promise of eternity, and if we are open to the grace of God, we must be happy because faith and hope and happiness are the proper reaction to what we've been given.
— Dean Koontz

At Heaven's gate our entrance ticket, according to Scripture and Church dogma, is not our good works or our sincerity, but our faith, which glues us to Jesus. He saves us; we do not save ourselves. But I find, incredibly, that nine out of ten Catholics do not know this, the absolutely central, core, essential dogma of Christianity. Protestants are right: most Catholics do in fact believe a whole other religion. Well over 90% of students I have polled who have had twelve years of catechism classes, even Catholic high schools, say they expect to go to Heaven because they tried, or did their best, or had compassionate feelings to everyone, or were sincere. They hardly mention Jesus. Asked why they hope to be saved, they mention almost anything except the Savior. Who taught them? Who wrote the textbooks? These teachers have stolen from our precious children the most valuable thing in the world, the pearl of great price, their faith. Jesus had some rather terrifying warnings about such things—something about millstones.

Like all converts I ever had heard of, I was hauled aboard not by those Catholics who try to sell the church by conforming to the spirit of the times by saying Catholics are just like everyone else, but by those who joyfully held out the ancient and orthodox faith in all its fullness and prophetic challenge to the world. The minimalists, who reduce miracles to myths, dogmas to opinions, laws to values, and the Body of Christ to a psycho-social club, have always elicited wrath, pity, or boredom from me. So has political partisanship masquerading as religion.

Priests are not power-brokers or managers. They are sewers. Like Christ, they drain off the world's sins. They are spiritual garbage men. They wash feet; dirty, smelly souls—ours.

What initially attracted me to the Catholic Church was, first, stepping inside St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York at about age twelve, feeling like I was in heaven (I had never been in a cathedral before), and wondering why, if Catholics got everything else wrong, as I had been taught, they got beauty so right. How could falsehood and beauty be so beautiful?

Secondly, a few years later, it was reading St. John of the Cross's Ascent of Mount Carmel, out of curiosity, not understanding him, but knowing that here was a mountain, something so massively real it had to be true.

Then, at Calvin College, reading Catholic stuff and trying to exorcise the temptation to like it more than I was supposed to by taking a course in Church history to prove to myself how Protestant the early Church was. I knew one thing for sure: whether I was going to stay Protestant or become Catholic had to be decided not by me but by Christ, so I had to know what kind of Church He left us. If you read John Henry Newman's The Development of Christian Doctrine, you know the rest of the story. The doctrine that bowled me over was the Eucharist: not a single Christian doubted the real presence—as most Protestants did—for a thousand years (until Berengar of Tours, I think).
— Peter Kreeft

I wondered how it could be that there were Catholic, not Protestant, doctrines everywhere in the writings of the early Church Fathers.

I also saw how doctrine developed in the early Church. The Trinity and the divinity of Christ were doctrines that were clearly rooted in Scripture but were not as self-evident as I had been led to believe. The full form of these doctrines, as we know them today, were not derived straight from Scripture, but are the result of centuries of deep reflection on Scripture and the oral tradition of interpreting Scripture that had been handed on to the Church from the apostles.

The New Testament records conflict between believers; sharp disputes over circumcision, dining on meat sacrificed to idols, the person of Christ. And yes, the New Testament describes the sin and corruption of various Church members. But nowhere are the believers given the option of hiving off into independent splinter groups; in fact one of the few offenses that give us reason to expel a brother is the offense of causing disunity.

In John 17:21 Jesus prays for the unity of the people. In fact, something I learned from Francis Schaeffer many years before was that in the passage Jesus gives the world the right to judge whether the Father sent the Son by the degree of observable love and unity they witnessed on the part of his people. Now, if it's observable, it can't purely be spiritual. It has to be something which can be witnessed, it has to take shape, It has to take form. It has to exist in space and time.

All of these things dovetailed for me into this hunger. I had to see visible unity.…
— Al Kresta

The single biggest technical factor for me personally in composing as a Christian is narrative form. By that I mean that the music has a teleology or motion toward a goal that seems purposeful rather than random. This directedness symbolizes for me a purpose to life, the story of redemption. By contrast, what makes much contemporary music sound modern is not, as many suppose, simply a matter of dissonance. Rather, it is the loss of perceptible narrative and dramatic direction, as this music floats in what the vast majority of people perceive as atonal randomness or a post-modern collage of sounds that seem to come and go without purpose. These kinds of music seem to be an apt representation of our age's relativism. We can redeem the culture of the arts, in part, by restoring to them symbolic representations of purposefulness.
— Michael Kurek

In following [the] missal closely for a year there came before my eyes the whole panorama of Christian doctrine. All the dogmas of the Church were demonstrated in the feasts of Christ and the Blessed Virgin; the moral teachings were embodied in the examples of the saints. Not only were these doctrines shown to me in the missal, but, by God's grace, they seeped into my mind and were accepted.… By this time, not only the Latin and the music [Gregorian chant] drew me to the altar, but the Sacrifice of the Mass itself, the renewal of Christ's redeeming death, had taken on meaning for me.…
— Fr. Rollins E. Lambert

Why, when the very fact of life itself, of the existence of anything at all, is so astounding, why—I asked myself—should I withhold my belief in God or in the claims of Christianity until I am able to explain to myself the discrepancy between the suffering of the innocent, on the one hand, and the assertions that God is just and merciful on the other?
— Denise Levertov

It is hardly likely … that a missionary priest would recommend Zola and Renan as appropriate conversion reading. Still, it was those unbelievers who first made me aware of the magnitude of the Church in history and society, while providing me with an inoculation against the cynicism I was later to encounter in Anatole France and the materialism of Marx.…

[Zola's] leading characters [in the novel Lourdes] are Pierre, a young priest, and Marie, a crippled girl he is taking to the shrine for the cure. Here was a type of character I had never encountered before in fiction—people whose decisions were not pre-determined or colored by their desire for personal happiness. Pierre and Marie were the first Catholics I had ever met who made me at least partly understand what religious faith can mean in the lives of people, and for years they were the only Catholics I knew.…

Renan's contribution to my conversion was his sympathetic portrait of the human side of the Savior in his life of Jesus.… I never had a vivid impression of the human personality of our Lord until I discovered Renan. His portrayal of Jesus as a virile and magnetic character—not as the Savior, of course; but as a man who was wise, compassionate, and the paragon of human excellence—had the immediate effect of reviving my interest in the Gospels.
— Theophilus Lewis

I read everything I could find on the origins of the Schism between the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, the history and doctrine of the Papacy, and on the Ecumenical Councils of the first eight centuries.…

[B]y the last year of University study I had become convinced that to be true to itself as well as to the simplest facts of Church history, Eastern Orthodox ecclesiology logically demanded belief in the Catholic dogmas of Papal Primacy and Infallibility. Belief in One Visible Church constituted by Christ as a People made one with the unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit made historical and theological sense only in the context of a Primacy of supreme authority bonding in unity the entire collegial-episcopal structure of the Church. Thou knowest that I love Thee, thrice replied the Prince of the Apostles to the Risen Lord before receiving the chief authority in the Church (Jn. 21:14–18). This Apostolic Primacy of Peter and his successors, the Roman Pontiffs, was also a Primacy of Love. This Primacy of fatherly love in the Church established by Jesus Christ, the Lover of Mankind, to endure perpetually in Peter and his successors had its fitting exemplar in the effusion of love that characterized the Procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son.
— James Likoudis

I discovered that science can fascinate the mind but it can't satisfy the hungry heart. There is in man, I came to learn, a God-ache which no science can ease and a spiritual hunger which no secular erudition can appease.

I remember [my Catholic grandmother] taking me at Easter to the beautiful cathedral. The lights, flowers, music, statues, and paintings were in pleasing contrast to the plain, unadorned hall in which my father held forth from the pulpit. In her hands she clasped her beloved rosary, which was a great source of joy and consolation, especially in her hours of trial. It was made in the Holy Land of olive wood and mother-of-pearl and was her chief prayer book. Little did Grandmother ever dream that her beloved grandson (I was her favorite) would one day clasp her precious rosary as he turned to God for light to lead him out of the darkness of agnosticism and despair.…

[A]s I began to understand what the Catholic Church really believes and teaches, I found that what I had been fighting was not the teachings of the Church, but grotesque caricatures of them.

As my understanding of the Catholic Faith increased, I found some of my inveterate hostility beginning to yield grudgingly to respect and even incipient appreciation. As I look back now, I can see that what I needed desperately to do at that time was to get down on my knees, as Newman did, and pray to God to send me His kindly light to lead me out of the darkness. This I failed to do; in consequence the light was slow in coming, and like the Israelites I was to journey for years in the wilderness before reaching the Promise Land.…

One evening I was walking down Market Street in San Francisco when I saw throngs of people entering St. Boniface Church. I entered and saw it filled with people from all walks of life.… The service closed with Benediction, during which the priest raised aloft the monstrance containing the Holy Eucharist and, with it, made the sign of the cross in blessing over the people. The silent reverence and the deep devotion of the great congregation made a lasting impression upon me. They were not in a meeting-house but in the temple of God, where He dwelt in the tabernacle upon the altar. It was this Real Presence, I discovered, which explained their profound reverence and brought them, even more than the sermon, to the services. Here was a nice perception of the difference between the human and the divine—a perception which lies at the very heart of the Catholic Faith.
— Rudolph M. Lippert

I realized that to be a good Catholic in the Church of England you had to be a good Protestant.

People now had to take sides. It was all very simple—either you believe in a relative religion or a revealed religion. It the first, you can happily choose what you want to believe and remain a Protestant. If the second, your only consistent move is to become a Catholic.

The next few years were a terrible time of indecision. By now I was married and we had two young children. I hadn't trained for any other career and if we left the Anglican church there seemed nothing but an uncertain future. Then one sunday evening I went to Quarr Abbey [Benedictine, on the Isle of Wight] for Vespers and Benediction. As the monks chanted I agonized over the decision to leave the Church of England. But I only wanted to serve you in the ancient church of England! I cried out to the Lord. As the incense wafted heavenward and the monstrance was lifted, the still small voice replied, But THIS is the ancient church of England. Then the struggles ended. My mind was made up.

One of the things I was taught about the Catholic Church was that they invented certain things much later in the day, which were completely unscriptural, things like the infallibility of the Pope, or the Marian doctrines and so forth; and of course in understanding the Catholic development of doctrine, the Catholic Church teaches firmly that nothing that the Catholic Church teaches is contrary to Scripture.

Instead, on the other hand, there are certain things and certain truths from Scripture which will be given over time. Remember when Jesus said to his disciples that he is sending the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit will teach you all things, and he said later the you're not ready for all things right now. And so the implication is that things will be unfolded in time, and sure enough in the early centuries of the Church doctrines like the Incarnation and the Trinity were developed and understood by the Church, sometimes through great controversy, but eventually the Church came together and decided the truth and decided the right interpretation of the truth, and that doctrine developed.

Other doctrines developed later, and the understanding is that the doctrines are developed when they need to be developed, because the Church is facing some sort of heresy or some sort of problem and then it comes to define those things.

I also like to think of it like the acorn and the oak. You look at an acorn and it doesn't look anything like an oak tree, but of course the oak tree comes from the acorn. And the development of doctrine is a bit like that, so that as the acorn is planted and grows into an oak tree, so that seed doctrine, that kernel of doctrine is there, and sometimes takes centuries for the Church to come to a full understanding of that doctrine.…

It could be said that the only thing that matters is how much we love Jesus. [But] how can we be sure that we love Jesus and not just our idea of Jesus? … To follow Christ should mean to lose yourself, not to worship yourself. I wanted an objective Jesus—one who was not my own reflection.

The Church as the Mystical Body of Christ—a living, dynamic organism empowered by the Holy Spirit to continue the work of the risen Lord in the world … was suddenly [I saw] a sacrament of Christ. In my brothers and sisters, I could find Jesus. In my service to the Church, I could find Jesus. In our worship, I could find Jesus. In obedience to the teaching of the church, I could find Jesus. By immersing myself in the Church, I immersed myself in Jesus and transcended the limitations of my personal walk with the Lord. But if my church was only a gathering of people like me, and Jesus only a reflection of us, then we were serving ourselves, not Him.
— Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Paradoxically enough, in most books by Western authors we are cautioned to hold on to Christian virtues and principles, but to do away with the belief in Christ. This is much as though the authors should advocate that we keep our streets and houses well lighted, but do away with power plants.

My pre-Catholic concept, derived by rumor and distortion, of the Christian God was, possibly, revolting enough to drive anyone to atheism. The Father was an absolute tyrant, living in lush felicity while his children suffered unbearable agonies. And the Son was an effeminate, saccharine, mournful and naïve character, with a marytr-complex. This was certainly the kind of God I could get along without—and did for twenty years. The kind of God I could not get along without was the kind I found in the New Testament when Father Sheen finally put me to reading it.
— Clare Boothe Luce

I listened to [Fr. Pavone] and came to realize that what God was actually saying to me was to come all the way home to Him in His Church—the Church Jesus Christ Himself founded, the Mother Church.
— Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe)

I no longer think it is smart or enlightened to be a rationalist or an agnostic. I don't believe in Communism or National Socialism or Democracy as a solution to man's problems here on earth. The Catholic Church does not pretend to have any solution either, but it does provide an outlet for my mystical feelings, and I do believe in the mystery of the symbol of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, through which all humanity may be united in brotherly love.
— Claude McKay

I was impressed by the fact that the Catholic interpretation of Scripture was invariably in keeping with the natural and obvious meaning of the text, while, in inverse ratio, the Protestant interpretation was forced and strained. I found, too, that the late Bishop Brownlow's maxim that when scripture is quoted against the Church the most effective retort is usually to ask the disputant to read the next verse, is a sound one.
— H. F. Mackintosh

Had I not encountered Chesterton, I would have remained agnostic for many years at least.

The modern media are engaged in a Luciferian conspiracy against the truth.

Catholic culture produced Chaucer and his merry story-telling Canterbury pilgrims. Licentious enthusiasm produced the lonely despair of Christian in Pilgrim's Progress—what a different sort of pilgrim! Catholic culture produced Don Quixote and St Francis and Rabelais. What I wish to emphasize about them is their various and rich-hearted humanity. I need scarcely indicate that everything that is especially hateful and devilish about the conditions and strains of modern industrial society is not only Protestant in origin, but it is their boast(!) to have originated it. You see my religion hunting began with a rather priggish culture hunting. I simply couldn't believe that men had to live in the mean and mechanical joyless rootless fashion that I saw in Winnipeg [letter to his mother, 1935].

It was a long time before I finally perceived that the character of every society, its food, clothing, arts, and amusements are ultimately determined by its religion.… [Ibid.]

[It is the job of the Church] to shake up our present population. To do that you'd have to preach nothing but hellfire. In my lifetime, I have never heard one such sermon from a Catholic pulpit.

In Jesus Christ, there is no distance or separation between the medium and the message. It's the one case where we can say that the medium and the message are fully one and the same.

More important than any other single difference between Catholic attitudes and others is perhaps that the Catholic does not fear God, but has every reason to love him. The first thought which a Catholic has of God is that which a man has for a real friend. It is only his second thought which may suggest to him how little he deserves such a friendship. Taking this fact, together with the social nature of the Church, it is easy to see why Catholics speak so freely and naturally of their prayers and devotions.
— Marshall McLuhan

I learned that if a man throws faith out the window, he must relinquish not only his faith in religion, but also his faith in science, in authority, in reason—even his faith in unfaith and in himself. Henceforth he dare not accept the diagnosis of his physician or eat the soup his wife has prepared.
— Helene Margaret

I wasn't drawn to the Catholic Church because I had a catholic vision; I had a catholic vision because I was drawn to the Catholic Church. A catholic vision of things is the work of the Catholic Church, built up and borne by it over time in aid of its own witness and self-understanding. This is a product of the Catholic Church scrutinizing her own mystery, as Vatican II says in another connection. Such a vision depends upon the reality of the Catholic Church, without which it would not be attractive or credible.
— Bruce D. Marshall

I began to see that I could not hold fast to the historical-critical method [of biblical exegesis] and at the same time agree with what the Apostles were saying in the New Testament was the meaning of the Old Testament texts. Things that St. Paul was interpreting as a prophecy I was being taught not to interpret as prophecy. And things that Matthew had seized upon as a prophecy I was being taught not to take as a prophecy. I realized that something was wrong and I had to find my way to a more solid biblical exegesis that was in line with apostolic practice.

I began to realize that there was a tradition that had shaped my approach to the Scriptures, … and now the thing to do was to get hold of God's tradition with a capital G, the apostolic tradition. And when I picked up the Apostolic Fathers it didn't take long before I realized what the early Church was like [it was like the Catholic Church].

[The apostles] learned [how to interpret the Bible] from Our Lord Himself, who applied Scriptures to himself and said, This is fulfilled today in your hearing.

[After studying the justification issue and finding it no bar:] So, then it was just a matter of overcoming, you know, my sins. Because, you know, I knew that the Catholic Church was the place to be for a whole year before I got there. It was just the lethargy of the flesh and and the inertia, and all of these things that come into your mind, Oh my mother won't like it, and so-and-so won't like, and so, but in the end with the help of God's grace, I finally did the right thing.
— William H. Marshner

The scientific sphere along its periphery touches upon truths essential to man's spiritual welfare and to the conservation of these truths the Church cannot be indifferent. Her problem is, so to speak, how to be faithful to the divine deposit of revelation and yet yield to reason its legitimate claims. Her policy may change from age to age as to the means by which this end is to be attained, just as the policy of administration in the civil State changes with the times; but the obligation laid upon her by the divine commission remains constant. Scientists and critics are never so far-seeing as the Church; they look only along the line of their own researches. The Church, like a city set on a hill, sees in all directions. True catholicity is not an easy-going acceptance of opinions as all more or less true, but it is a critical incorporation of truth wherever found into the unity of one self-consistent whole.

Non-Catholics may say with their lips that Christ was God and was born of Mary; but they will not say Mary, the Mother of God, thereby betraying their lack of real faith in the Incarnation. They may talk of the communion of saints, but they have no real communion with the saints.

The doctrine of the Holy Eucharist pervades Catholic theology as the theory of gravitation enters into the natural sciences. Our worship is meaningless without it; with it, every act, every symbol is fraught with meaning.

Catholicity affirms, embraces; Protestantism denies, criticises.
— William Stetson Merrill

[N]one of the glories and honors that have come my way because I happen to have some success in running, can compare with the pleasurable thrill that was sincerely mine when I realized, for the first time, that I was a Catholic. I have found new happiness in my religion, an undreamed-of consolation in my prayers. My conversion, very likely, was the most important single act in my whole life and I surely have no regrets.
— Ralph Metcalfe

Sometimes a progressive Catholic asks me why my family and I became Catholics.… I will often say, in as cheery, boosterish, and cheerleading a voice as I can manage, My wife and I discovered the truth of the Church's teaching on contraception, and after a while we just had to join the one body in the world that was telling the truth about it. That usually shuts down the conversation.

In the end two insights brought me over the line I had been unwilling to cross. The first was that I had to fish or cut bait.… I became a Catholic in part because one day I realized that God might stop giving me such times when my heart and mind were so well allied that I could more easily overcome the inertia that kept me where I was.

If the first insight pulled me into the church, the second insight pushed me in. About a year before we began instruction, I sat for several days in a conversation about divorce and remarriage with twelve Evangelicals, all learned, all biblically conservative, all holding more or less the same hermeneutic, who came to (I think) nine different and to some extent deeply opposed positions.… The earnest discussion of my friends, showing that those with the highest view of the authority of Scripture could not tell you authoritatively what it said, [became] a reason to move.

The Deeper Reason: … I began to love the Catholic Church. I began to love her saints, and great men like John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger; and saw that she alone fought for the things I was fighting for, like the lives of the unborn; and found in her leading minds a commitment to reason found nowhere else; and found in her also a pastoral wisdom which understood human frailty without giving up the call to sanctity; and so on, and so on.

But in the end, I began to love the Catholic Church for the Mass, because in her my Lord and God came to me.… I could no longer stay outside the place where God could be touched and tasted.
David Mills

After a lifetime of holding wobbly and jittery notions of truth, I had at last made the discovery that what I was starving for, were not more wish-fancies, as formulated from the views of Tom, Dick, and Harry. What I wanted was some dependable authority to guide me to all truth, and correctly interpret it for me. But could such an authority be found? Then I ran across a statement of G. K. Chesterton in his Orthodoxy.… He said, Christianity came into the world firstly in order to assert with violence that a man had not only to look inwards, but to look outwards, to behold with astonishment and enthusiasm a Divine Company and a Divine Captain.

From that hour I began to look outwards. I gave up relying [only] on my inner consciousness; I ceased depending wholly on private judgment. Instead I turned to the storehouse of truth. I had discovered that Truth is One and is objective, not subjective; and that trying to find it by the inner light alone would forever lead to frustration.

To explain more concretely. My whole investigation of the Catholic point of view had been inconclusive and futile until I had definitely begun to seek for the proof of the infallible authority of the Catholic Church. This at once led me, of course, to an examination of the Catholic Papal question—the Church's claim that she speaks with the infallible authority of Christ. And with what result? Why, of course, I discovered with astonishment and enthusiasm a Divine Company and a Divine Captain.
— John Moody

For the Catholics I had a warm and atavistic sympathy—a feeling that lurked in my Irish ancestry. One of the great prides of Jellico was being able to take visitors to one side of the town and say Look, put one foot there, another here—see, now you're half in Tennessee and half in Kentucky. Right over the line in Kentucky was a tiny Catholic church. Rather shabby, ugly, and ramshackle on the outside, it held the mystery of a strange other world within. I would come into it in awe; then, falling solemnly to my knees, would say a quick little prayer and run away, back to the Baptist solidity of Tennessee. Today I am married to a Catholic, and that kinship for the warm, passionate pageantry of the Church still holds.
— Grace Moore (The Tennessee Nightingale)

With the large questions—What is man? What is God? What is the state?—foreclosed or predetermined, we were left, in the Department of Anthropology, to think in a minor key. Our theories were mostly inconsequential efforts to explain trivial phenomena in mostly moribund cultures. Most of the time we busied ourselves recording the exotic minutiae of such cultures, many of which will almost certainly cease to exist within a few generations. A dead-end occupation if there ever was one.

Reading Saint Thomas Aquinas, these scales fell from my eyes. For here was a philosophical edifice that not only encompassed all of creation but also reached up to the very heavens, including proofs for the very existence of God.

As I learned about the Catholic faith, no doctrine touched me more deeply than the communion of saints. The idea that we wayfarers should be aided in our pilgrimage by those who have gone before us links our world to the next in a marvelous and positive symmetry. Once I recognized this truth, it seemed especially applicable to my own circumstances, in which the great cloud of witnesses that Saint Paul speaks of in Hebrews (12:1) bore mostly the visages of Chinese babies.… I had interceded for them in a weak human way, while they had interceded for me in a powerful supernatural way, an arrangement much to my benefit.
— Steven W. Mosher

They took me through the sacrificial system of the Old Testament, which I never knew through all my years in synagogue. They explained that we come into the world separated from God.… They explained original sin, the sin of our first parents that plunged the entire world into sin. They told me that the Scriptures state that the wages of sin is death. The wages—our salary, what we've earned, what is due us!—is death. And they explain that death means separation.… They explained that God is a holy God who must punish sin.… But God, they quickly added is also a loving God who created us for a relationship with Him. And then they unfolded the most incredible story the world would ever hear, which, at the age of thirty-two, I was hearing for the first time.

My hang-up all this time was that a man cannot be God. I realized that, indeed, a man cannot be God. But if God is, if He exists, God can become a man!

Actually, my calling, unknown to me at the time, started many years before becoming Catholic. I was twenty years old when I read a story in the newspaper about nuns receiving permission to shorten their habits. It was at the beginning of the mini-skirt era of the 1960s. I believed that these religious women were in the world to affect the world for God, but, alas, I thought at the time, the world had affected them.

Something physical ripped through me. What I assumed had nothing to do with me became my deep and immediate loss. I had lost something that wasn't mine. Or so I thought. I did not imagine that years later I would find myself fully given to restoring these hemlines and longing to fill the world with religious in habits as the glorious sign to God that they are.

The No. 1 thing that attracted me to the Diocese of Tulsa was Bishop Edward Slattery's decision to offer the Novus Ordo Mass ad orientem, that is, facing east, liturgically speaking. It is the posture of the shepherd leading the people to Christ and has been the case for centuries.
Sr. Rosalind Moss

The thing that finally decided me was a conversation I had with two other Protestant seminarians with whom I associated while at a youth camp on Lake Coeur d'Alene in Idaho. It was an August afternoon. We were having a typical college bull session on religion. Finally I made a simple but startling statement: I believe that the Catholic Church is the true Church. Silence followed. Then the lad from Yale Divinity said thoughtfully: Olie, if you really mean that, then you'll have to become a Catholic if you want to save your soul.

I had prided myself on being logical. But it took the logic of this Protestant divinity student to convince me.
— Msgr. Olin John Murdick

Once I understood the theological and historical underpinnings of Church declarations and recognized that teachings about life form a seamless web, I realized that I could not, in good faith, remain a cafeteria Catholic.

When I confessed my shame over my wild and sinful past, Father [Richard] Lopez asked a simple question: What is greater in your life—your past or the power of God to work through your past?

At first I just didn't get it. What did offer it up really mean? I had heard that expression when I was a child but never could make sense of it. Gradually …

Christ himself had offered up his suffering on the Cross. He had given his life out of love for mankind.… During the Crucifixion, God himself experienced the absolute depths of human suffering. But the final chapter of that story was not the tomb but the transformation that occurred through the Resurrection. As Alice von Hildebrand so eloquently stated it, From a supernatural point of view, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, which cannot be turned to God's glory. Every defeat can become a victory.
— Lorraine V. Murray

Karl Stern and I encountered each other twice, with twenty-five years between the encounters; the second encounter launched my search for spiritual truth. Only the Hand of God could have engineered such a ratifying experience as this.

What is it like to terminate the life of your own child? I have aborted the unborn children of my friends, my colleagues, casual acquaintances, even my teachers. There was never a shred of self-doubt, never a wavering of the supreme self-confidence that I was doing a major service to those who sought me out.

I felt the burden of sin growing heavier and more insistent. I have such heavy moral baggage to drag into the next world that failing to believe would condemn me to an eternity perhaps more terrifying than anything Dante envisioned in his celebration of the redemptive fall and rise of Easter. I am afraid.

… someone died for my sins and my evil two millennia ago.

[Looking forward to his baptism:] I will be free from sin. For the first time in my life, I will feel the shelter and warmth of faith.

A few years ago I was asked to review a book by an internist, Dr. Larry Dossey, who claimed to have adduced scientific proof that intercessory prayer works. I remained unconvinced by his data, but nevertheless one of the stories, that of Dossey's visit to a patient dying of cancer, has stuck with me. The man was constantly praying. When Dossey asked what he was praying for, the man said he wasn't praying for anything. Well, said Dossey, if prayer isn't asking, then what is it for? It isn't for anything, the patient replied. It mainly reminds me that we are not alone. I am no longer alone.
— Bernard N. Nathanson

For over thirty years, alone, in the night, I cried. For years and years I cried over that baby.… If I had only one thing to do over in my life, I would have that baby.
— Patricia Neal

I said then [after Roe v Wade, 1973], and I've been saying all these years, that the most decisive and most tragic thing that has happened in American life is that the liberal flag got planted on the wrong side of the abortion debate.

I was thirty years a Lutheran pastor, and after thirty years of asking myself why I was not a Roman Catholic I finally ran out of answers that were convincing either to me or to others.

Wherefore did you separate yourselves? Augustine's question echoes down through the centuries, directed at all who have separated themselves from communion with the Catholic Church.

Nowhere are the words Ut unum sint, that they may all be one, prayed so fervently; nowhere is the wound of our broken communion felt so keenly; nowhere is the commitment to reconciliation so relentless or irrevocable.

Within the American ethos is a very gnostic, radically individualistic, kind of spirituality.… Don't talk to me about authority.… I am my authority. It works for me. It is the truth for me.… Whereas Christianity, of any sort that is recognizably Christian, says, No, it all begins with … God, the absolute, entering into history, creation, tradition, arguments, the human condition … including the Church. So that for Christians, if Christ is Lord, then there can only be one Lord, one Christ, and therefore there can only be one Body of Christ, the Church.

To be obedient to Christ, to want to be a disciple of Jesus, … is to want to be part of the community of disciples through time, as that community of disciples, namely the Church, is most fully and rightly ordered, which is the Catholic Church.
— Fr. Richard John Neuhaus

On 22 October 1996, I came to Syracuse to deliver the annual Flowers Lecture.… Standard procedure for college lectures is a pre-speech dinner for the speaker, hosted by the sponsoring student committee. There was one woman on the College Republican committee, seated across the table from me. She was striking looking, wearing a gold cross on her neck.

What happened next may be distorted in my memory and shaped by the religious mysteries that I see entwined with this episode. Without mentioning the cross, I was impelled to ask the woman a question that normally I would not consider posing. Was she a Catholic? I thought she answered yes and then asked me whether I was one. No, I replied, but my wife and I have been going to mass every Sunday for about four years. Do you plan to join the Church? she asked. I answered: No, not at the present time.

Then the young woman looked at me and said evenly: Mr. Novak, life is short, but eternity is forever. I was so shaken by what she said that I could barely get through the rest of the dinner and my speech that night. Sometime during the short night before rising to catch a seven a.m. flight back to Washington, I became convinced that the Holy Spirit was speaking through this Syracuse student.

Q: You've said your Catholicism was helping you deal with your illness.
A: Well, nobody wants to die. I certainly don't. But all Christian faiths, and certainly Catholicism, hold that there's an afterlife, that we are not just dust to dust. And that's comforting, particularly now that I have an illness and there's very little chance I will recover. A priest who visited me told me I've been given a chance to prepare myself. So I began to think about my life and what I've done right and not done right and to prepare myself for the last days. I've found that reassuring.
— Robert Novak

The old proofs of the supernatural were … subjected to a test of certainty which could be met only by mathematical demonstrations, and naturally, not being concerned with mathematics, they did not meet the test.

The divergence in the testimony of the two or more accounts [as in the Gospels] is held to cast doubt upon the reliability of all of them.… But [the Higher Critics] are not satisfied merely with denying that the event took place as any of the witnesses recorded it. They must have something positive to say.… They proceed to reconstruct the event according to their opinion of what probably happened—and this reconstruction becomes one of the assured results of modern scholarship.

As a result of a whole series of such reconstructions we are presented with a history which is quite different from any of our records.

To say that preternatural events are improbable in the statistical sense is quite in line with Christian belief, for, according to this belief, these events are so rare that they call for an extraordinary explanation.

Almost all the early heretical bodies possessed bishops and valid sacraments, and yet I had always regarded Arianism as outside the unity of the Church. If an Arian with his bishops and sacraments was outside the Church, how could an Anglican, even if he had the same equipment, consider himself inside?

… continuity is real, whereas the attempt to return to the primitive Church was a break in continuity.…

If I were to name the greatest gain that comes from entering into the Church from outside, I would say that it is depth.… With this depth comes a broader charity and an understanding of those who differ from us.… The Ark of the Lord will remain firm without my having to steady it. I know it is not going to fall, and I do not have to jump in to counter-attack everyone who disagrees. With this depth also comes freedom. The Faith is so much more than any professor of it that one is liberated from the domination of colorful personalities; one worries no more about public opinion; and one no longer feels under pressure to join the scramble for worldly success. But most important, there is depth of understanding of the meaning of the worship of God, and a depth of participation in that worship which could not exist elsewhere. And with this deeper participation in the worship of God comes also a deeper knowledge of God.
— Willis Dwight Nutting

I had been reading for several months these two authors [C. S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton] and I was thinking, If this stuff is true, as they both claim it is, I can't keep it on the shelf, it's not like Shakespeare, which you maybe take off the shelf and then perform and put back on the shelf. If this is true, I have to live with this and I have to give my whole life to it.…
— Kevin O'Brien

The fact that God would become man points to a sacramental reality. God entered into the material realm, showing us that God would use material things, water, wine, bread, oil, to convey spiritual grace, supernatural life.… The Church was not just an invisible reality. Just as Christ is fully human, He is fully divine. The Church is fully human, it's also fully divine. It's holy and yet it consists of sinners. This is one of the great paradoxes, but it is a great truth of the Catholic faith.

One of the great differences between Protestantism, especially classical Protestantism, and Catholicism, are the differing understandings of grace. And for me the real mind blowing, eye-opening was to see that grace was not just the external favor of God. It was more than that. It was the actual divine supernatural life of God by which he makes us partakers of the divine nature, as Peter writes in 2 Peter 1:4. And so it's not just the external reality, but it is an internal reality and that then leads us to a completely different understanding of the Church. It's not just that we're bound together by external force, but by sharing in God's own life we become his actual sons and daughters, his actual children.
— Carl E. Olson

It was not so much a matter of discarding the old in favor of something new as it was a feeling of coming home. It felt right.… Upon entering the Catholic Church, I had discovered my true mother—the Mother Church—at long last. I found a richness of history, tradition, and symbolism in the liturgy, along with the realities of the sacraments and apostolic authority that I had never before known. To deny myself access to this storehouse of treasures would have been to deny my own nature, my own mode of spiritual expression, my own growth process.
— Cherry Boone O'Neill

When pressed to share a single thing that attracted me more than others, I will point to the sacrament of the Eucharist. In all the churches I had encountered in my life, Communion was a monthly (at most) appendage, hurriedly tacked on at the end of a service. Grape juice (never, God forbid, real wine) and crackers represented symbolically Christ's presence. In Catholicism, Communion was central, Christ's presence real—a sacrifice and a celebration. In the same way ancient Jewish sacrifices were real sacrifices that atoned for sin and looked toward Christ's sacrificial death as the unblemished lamb, the sacrifice of the Eucharist was a real sacrifice, looking back at, and celebrating, Christ's atoning death. In the same way humankind fell from grace through eating the forbidden fruit, we are redeemed through eating in the Eucharist. I longed to enter in.
— Dan O'Neill

While I was still not a believer upon departing from Judea, I had reached a point where I was wishing the story was true.
— Fulton Oursler

My most painful sacrifice, intellectually and emotionally, was the surrender of the belief in man's perfectibility.

If you once open your mind to the possibility of a divine Man [a God-Man, not a man-god], you are out of the woods.

I found that people enter the Church because they want the fulfillment of either heart or brain or soul.… Nobody left the Church because the best in him could not find fulfillment there.
— Gretta Palmer

In recent years, actually since the 1970s, the Canadian Church, the Episcopal Church in the United States, and … other Anglican bodies began to deal with theological matters as though they were sociological issues. For the first time in Anglican history many of us began to feel that the integrity of the Catholic faith in the Episcopal Church was being formally violated. Certain decisions were taken that led us to believe that the corporate union [between the Anglican and Roman churches] so deeply desired was no longer a viable goal. We were no longer morally justified in being out of communion with the successor of Peter.
— Fr. James Parker

If you take the claims of Christianity seriously, then it seems to me that Catholicism is where you have to end up.

Q: But aren't you a Catholic?
A: Yes.
Q: Do you regard yourself as a Catholic novelist?
A: Since I am a Catholic and a novelist, it would seem to follow that I am a Catholic novelist.
Q: What kind of Catholic are you?
A: Bad.
Q: No. I mean are you liberal or conservative?
A: I no longer know what those words mean.
Q: Are you a dogmatic Catholic or an open-minded Catholic?
A: I don't know what that means either. Do you mean do I believe the dogma that the Catholic Church proposes for belief?
Q: Yes.
A: Yes.
Q: How is such a belief possible in such an age?
A: What else is there?
Q: What do you mean, what else is there? There is humanism, atheism, agnosticism, Marxism, behaviorism, materialism, Buddhism, Muhammadism, Sufism, astrology, occultism, theosophy.
A: That's what I mean.
Q: To say nothing of Judaism and Protestantism.
A: Well, I would include them along with the Catholic Church in the whole peculiar Jewish-Christian thing.
Q: I don't understand. Would you exclude, for example, scientific humanism as a rational and honorable alternative?
A: Yes.
Q: Why?
A: It is not good enough.
Q: Why not?
A: This life is much too much trouble, far too strange, to arrive at the end of it and then to be asked what you make of it and have to answer Scientific humanism. That won't do. A poor show. Life is a mystery, love is a delight. Therefore I take it as axiomatic that one should settle for nothing less than the infinite mystery and infinite delight, i.e., God. In fact I demand it. I refuse to settle for anything less.…
Q: But isn't the Catholic Church in a mess these days, badly split, its liturgy barbarized, vocations declining?
A: Sure. That's a sign of its divine origins, that it survives these periodic disasters.…
Q: How do you account for your belief?
A: I can only account for it as a gift from God.
Q: Why would God make you such a gift when there are others who seem more deserving, that is, serve their fellowman?
A: I don't know. God does strange things. For example, he picked as one of his saints a fellow in northern Syria, a local nut, who stood on top of a pole for thirty-seven years.
Q: We are not talking about saints.
A: That's true.
Q: We are talking about what you call a gift.
A: You want me to explain it? How would I know? The only answer I can give is that I asked for it, in fact demanded it. I took it as an intolerable state of affairs to have found myself in this life and in this age, which is a disaster by any calculation, without demanding a gift commensurate with the offense. So I demanded it. No doubt other people feel differently.
Q: But shouldn't faith bear some relation to the truth, facts?
A: Yes. That's what attracted me, Christianity's rather insolent claim to be true, with the implication that other religions are more or less false.
Q: Do you believe that?
A: Of course.

When it comes to grace, I get writer's block.

While no serious novelist knows for sure where his writing comes from, I have the strongest feeling that, whatever else the benefits of the Catholic faith, it is of a particularly felicitous use to the novelist. Indeed, if one had to design a religion for novelists, I can think of no better.

The Mass was going on, the homily standard—that is true but customary. A not-so-good choir of young rock musicians got going on Joy to the World, the vocals not so good but enthusiastic. Then it hit me: What if it should be the case that the entire cosmos had a Creator, and what if he decided for reasons of his own to show up as a tiny baby, conceived and born under suspicious circumstances?
— Walker Percy

After sixty years as a Protestant, I found that the only way to be true to Christ was to come home to his Church.
— John Poindexter

Over time, I became disheartened by many of the clergy who were coming to believe that homosexual unions were something that could be blessed by the church and that sexually active homosexuals could be ordained. I know they were trying to be compassionate and just; but instead, they were leading people astray, encouraging that which is not from God. Those of us who disagreed—and there were many—were told that we were unchristian and unloving. No longer was it acceptable to love the sinner but hate the sin.…

I bought the Catechism of the Catholic Church and eventually began to read it. Cradle Catholics often do not realize the great gift of having the beliefs of the Church so clearly presented. According to many Episcopalians, God is essentially mysterious; therefore, the truth, as much as we can know of it, lies in the questions and not the answers. I started to really wonder about this kind of thinking. Does God want us to wander in the dark? Is He not a God who has chosen to reveal Himself to us? I began to have a new respect for the teaching authority of the Church, that is, the Magisterium.

The first hint of any problem came when I became convinced that the outcome of the celebrated Roe v Wade case had not been liberating but tragic. Until this conviction was borne home to me, I had happily chanted the illogical slogan that I was antiabortion but pro-choice.

The simple fact forced itself little by little into my consciousness that there was no real authority to speak for the truth in the Communion in which I worshipped and worked.… I sought refuge in prayer at the Catholic church nearby. I walked into that church and was immediately at peace. I said to myself almost at once, Can I become a Catholic? Is this what God wants of me? And I really wanted hear Yes. It took me almost five years of study and thought and prayer.…

There is no denying that women historically have been abused, dominated and ill-used. But in the ultimate deformity, radical feminism seeks to remedy that historical abuse by denigrating all the beauty that God created in femininity and turning women into imitation men. Existing for the other becomes existing for the self, existing for the fulfillment of the self.

The priesthood is a sacrament. The priest represents Christ and is in persona Christi. The priest is a symbol of Christ within that sacrament and symbols are not arbitrary and interchangeable. Even in pagan religions, priestesses did not serve and represent male gods but rather goddesses. The old (and new) pagans understand the power of symbols.

Jesus chooses the Apostles, those who will be his representatives and they are all men. Some will tell you that Jesus is choosing men because of the culture of his time and the lowly place of women. Do these people accuse Jesus of sexism or political correctness? …
— Linda Poindexter

We don't choose what is true.
— Ramesh Ponnuru

Because the traditional family is based on nature, it has a habit of burying its own undertakers.

Children are more precious than ever and more needed than ever by our country.

Without science we all know that the pregnant woman is a woman with child.
— Herbert Ratner

Since Jesus spent three intimate years with his disciples, we know for a fact that the content of the Gospels is only a small fraction of what he taught them.

We had displaced the Eucharist for a sermon. And my wife got to the point where she would be asking me, How can I go for an hour and listen to a sermon and call that worship? She said, There's something not right.

[Discussing the background of Matthew 16:13–19:] The Jews understood these things. The Jews in Israel understood not only the implications of the temple and the sacrifices, but they understood Caesarea Philippi. Right there now is a plaque put there by the Israeli government, which says that this site, with the mountain and the cave there, was a singular site in all the Greco-Roman world. For Jesus went there for that specific purpose [of establishing the Church on Peter, the Rock].

My question … became: Who should I listen to? My pastor today, two thousand years removed from the Apostles, or Clement and Ignatius who knew the Apostles and were no innovators.… The early Fathers are genuine transmitters of the ancient tradition of what the Apostles taught. I had to listen to them. I could no longer ignore their voice.
— Stephen Kim Ray

The Catholic Church needs no theories.

I have never wanted to be alone with God.
— R. R. Reno

There is no doubt that two intersecting factors were instrumental in introducing me to make a Christian commitment: a sense of intellectual and personal solidarity with those whom I could accept as role models among believers and a sense of estrangement from those whom I deemed naively cocksure in their rejection of belief.

With questions that relate not to how things are but how they should be, that address matters not of how to proceed if we must achieve certain goals, but rather ask what those goals ought to be—questions of meaning and value, in short—then we enter a domain of deliberation where science enjoys no special prerogatives.

Being a philosopher may well not make one a better person; but it should by rights help one to achieve a fuller understanding of what it is that being a better person involves.

Of the many forms of human failings, the failure of imagination is one of the saddest. And one of the gravest failures of imagination is that of the person who cannot manage to project the concept of a God worthy of ardent desire—a God whose nonbeing would be the occasion for genuine grief.

To refrain, in the absence of preponderating reasons to the contrary, from letting hope influence belief—even merely to the extent of that sort of tentative belief at issue in a working assumption made for practical purposes—betokens a crabbed failure of confidence that has nothing admirable about it.

I have become and continued to remain a committed Catholic because this represents a position that, as I see it, is intellectually sensible, evaluatively appropriate, and personally congenial.

The answer to the question of why I am a Catholic is perhaps simply this: Because that is where I feel at home … part of a wider community of spirits who are in some degree kindred, who share with oneself a sense of values and priorities geared to the spiritual dimensions of our species and to a sense of human insignificance in the awesome face of the mysteries of our existence.
— Nicholas Rescher

Dear Charles, how can I fail to find time to have talks with one to whom Christ Himself has spoken? [Letter from Ignatius W. Cox, SJ]

Someone said these words: What happiness to be a Catholic even were it for this life alone, and now after being one for the past fifty-two years, I can more than confirm the truth of the above words—one day, waiting for the elevator, someone said these words to me: How's things, Charlie? The surprising answer made to this question was framed in these words: I'm Catholic; I can't complain.

It's belief in the Resurrection which is the source of such intense delight all the time we stay in this life thus rendering true what was said of the happiness there is in being a Catholic were it for this life only, thus bringing it the realization what joys they miss who have not received the grace to become the members of the only true faith, since had they received such a grace, they would feel themselves compensated by it for everything else they did not have, since having the true faith, they, with the having of that faith, possess everything worthwhile this side of heaven.
— Charles Rich

Once I realized that Protestants, too, opposed artificial contraception until the middle of the twentieth century, I had to confront a dilemma: Who's right? Did the Anglican bishops discern the Spirit in 1930 while all other Christians had been misguided for 1,900 years? Or, did the entire Church until 1930 know something that many of us have forgotten? I confess that I never took comfort in the company of those Anglican bishops.
— Jay W. Richards

I am without a doubt the only convert you and Dante have made between you.
— Sophia Willard Ripley, to Fr. Isaac Hecker

I saw all of [my players] walking to the Communion rail to receive, and realized the several hours of sleep they had sacrificed to order to to this.… Then it was that I really began to see the light; to know what was missing in my life, and later on I had the great pleasure of joining my boys at the Communion rail.
— Knute Rockne

I was received into the Church two and half years ago [2009]. Best day of my life, although every day after that has been pretty good.

My dad was on his own spiritual journey, reading the Church Fathers and doctors. So we had these books in the home: a lot of Ignatius Press books, for example. And so, I was reading these as a young teen.

I had been intellectually convinced over a period of years, but I really didn't have Catholic friends, you know, strong Catholic friendships, or anything like that, so it didn't really occur to me that I could convert.

So I was looking for churches and [said] I'll go to Mass. … I went [with a friend to a women's Opus Dei center], prayed through the Mass, and then I was sitting with a woman in the back of the Mass; and I turned to her afterwards, and I said, You know, is there someone here that can mentor me, or something like that? She was a numerary [see Christians in the middle of the world], and she's like Yes, I'll see you tomorrow.

She ended up becoming my sponsor; a year and a half later, I was received into the Church. I got formation there. I started meeting with a priest on a weekly basis, my spiritual director. I was all of a sudden awash with desire, awakened with desire to be part of the Church and to get to receive the Eucharist. And all of these things that I knew intellectually were suddenly becoming very real in my heart. And so, it was only a matter of time.
— Lila Rose

I think that Catholicism is a fulfillment of Judaism as far as the acceptance of the Messiah.
— Lillian Roth

It seems that the one thing that all Jews, however defined, can agree on (excepting, of course, converts like myself) is that one can't be Jewish and believe in Christ.…

[I] decided to major in Art History. Wholly unaware of it at the time, painting and sculpture functioned for me in those years as they had for the Christian people throughout their great periods of ascendancy in art: as instruction in the Gospel. When I later came to consciously consider Christian doctrine, I was surprised at how much I had already learned of it through the medium of pictures.…

In [the] final phase before my Confirmation even the stumbling blocks I had encountered in my journey toward the Church became the very rocks of my growing faith.

God writes straight with crooked lines, my mother-in-law is fond of saying, and mine has certainly been a twisted path.
— Jeffrey Rubin

My first admiration for Rome was based on the fact that Roman Catholics did agree on the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. They had a doctrine that I did not understand, but at least they all agreed on it.…

It is strange that since I have become a Catholic I have discovered something that I was not sure of before about the doctrines and discipline of the Catholic Church. I have discovered that the truths proclaimed by the Roman Catholic Church are based not upon caprice but upon sure proof. In fact the Catholic Church is truth conscious. Rome says, Stick to the facts! If you can't prove it, don't say it with finality. Whatever you say may be a fine, workable theory or hypothesis, but stick to the facts and prove your case.

Actually what I really wanted (although I did not think of it that way at that time) was to have the Church give me the Faith which she wanted me to profess.…

All the truth and all the information in the Catholic Church is all mine as soon as I am able to possess it. I grow impatient at my lack of ability to grasp it all at once.… The Catholic church is a treasure-house full of many rich things, but it seems to grow and grow.…

Another thing which did not come out during the instructions but which I found later is that, even though there may be some bad Catholics, I can be unaffected by them in my spirituality and righteousness. I can be perfect if I care to be—or at least I can approach as close to perfection as my limited capacity will permit—and all this in spite of anybody else in the Church.…

In retrospect, I further believe that one reason why the Episcopal Church seemed so empty to me is that it was a household devoid of a Mother.… The Blessed Virgin is not enthroned properly in the Episcopal Church. The devotion to Mary is not consistent. She is not present there; and in those parishes where she is venerated to some extent, the situation seems much like giving respect to an adopted Mother or to someone else's Mother. Today, I am not only in the household of the Faith, but I am at home because our Mother Mary is here.
— Fr. William R. Rush

When I read Newman's Apologia it seem to me that—just change the names and places, and it was rather what I was seeing around me.

Liturgy should be chantable, reverent, and express of the highest culture we know, without self-consciousness.

I think there should be few options in the liturgy, and no attempt to be creative, for [creation] is God's particular talent.
Fr. George William Rutler

At the outset of our seeking-become-pilgrimage, neither [my wife nor I] clearly saw authority as the fundamental issue. Only through a years-long process did the Spirit gradually lead us clearly to see that. Not only is authority the rock-bottom issue in all Christian divisions; it is the key to understanding the Roman Catholic Church.…

Initially, at Union [Theological Seminary], we were attracted by the Anglican claim of comprehensiveness, which means embracing many different approaches to theology. Now we began to see the term as a euphemism for chaos.

It is impossible to go back in time and re-create or re-establish an institution or even a situation of the past.… Now I realize that all non-Catholic traditions are essentially restorationist.

Frequently during my study, the question came to my mind: If St. Augustine were to come to D.C. today, where would he go to church? I never had to work to find the answer; it came immediately. I knew with certainty that St. Augustine would … go to one of his churches, a Catholic Church. Had I taken that signal as seriously as I should have, my journey to Rome might well have been shorter.…

We were forced to examine Rome's claims with great care. Rome answers these questions in the teaching office of the Holy See, established by Jesus Christ in His charge to St. Peter. For years, this was a great stumbling block in Roman Catholicism for us. But accept it, and the whole design of Christian truth becomes clear.
— Fr. Raymond Ryland

There could not be more than one Church. There had to be one Church, or no Church.

There had been only one event that had changed human nature, and that was the Incarnation, the birth of Our Lord at Bethlehem, of the Blessed Virgin. By that, the clumsiest private soldier in any army could becomes divinized to a glory which far outshone that of endless ambrosial laughter on Mount Olympus. The Greeks had looked forward to the Incarnation, and we looked back to it. Otherwise we were the same.

At Bras [during the battle of Verdun] the Catholic chaplains were different [from the Protestant ones]. They went about their work more unselfconsciously, bringing with them not their virtues but God's sacraments. They were never in the way. They did not stand with their own personalities between the dying men and God.

Everything that was admirable in France showed the touch of the Church.… Tourists can go to Paris and see Notre Dame, and yet not see the Church at all.

I had never in my life attended a Mass, although I had stared in detachment at Masses going on.… And the altar candles were lighted, and the Mass began. I have read of how St. Patrick converted pagans in old Ireland simply by celebrating Mass, in all its splendor, before them in a grove, and I have asked myself can such a conversion be a real conversion. It can, especially where the pagans have already, as is common to all men save disinherited Christians, a sense of offering sacrifice. I was a disinherited Christian, yet the sight of the Mass sent its light all through me. I discovered there and then what a sacrifice was, and recognized this sacrifice as no invention of man, but as God's own act—Christ offering himself to God, the Father.

Several Frenchmen whom I knew kneeled to confession openly on the occasion and then received Holy Communion. They were not among the naturally pious. That is what impressed me most about their action. Here was a Church not for those who felt good, but for those who knew they were not.

First and last, it was not a church which bore any resemblance to other so-called churches. Its excellence did not depend on the merits of its clergy or its laity, although I found them admirable. It had the confidence of a body which derived its authority from outside itself; and all its actions, even its defects, bore witness to that. It was calmly, not emotionally, confident.…

I had not come to the Church by first learning that Christ was God. I had begun by finding the Church to be divine, and inferred that its founder must be divine.
— Daniel Sargent

I found myself a Catholic, by the operations of my own mind [much reading and questioning], under God; and when I announced my intention, at the age of eighteen, of joining the Catholic Church, I had never even conversed with a priest. I now put myself for a few weeks, under ecclesiastical instruction, and was then received into the Church.
— Molly Elliot Seawell

The best of us are prone to sophistry when an obvious truth contradicts a strong desire.

The only rational way for Protestant and Catholics to get along together is to practice the difficult virtue of tolerance—not to falsify their claims by ambiguities.…

The Apostles, though they knew him directly and personally, had a time as hard as you believing the ultimate Christian fact, and with them, and with Doubting Thomas touching His wounds, you have to say, like the consequences or not, My Lord and My God.

What is Christian culture? It is essentially the Mass.
— John Senior

If I am right Thy grace impart still in the right to stay. If I am wrong Oh, teach my heart to find the better way.

At last God is mine, and I am His.
— St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

A religious society which has Divine truth must claim that everything which contradicts its doctrine is erroneous, and that every other faith which omits part of its teaching is incomplete.

At this juncture I read the Gospel.… In reading it, a comment of [Robert] Hutchins proved meaningful. He said that if one wanted to make sense of the Bible, one should read it as if it were true. He did not say it was true, but that reading it as if it were true would help to understand it.…

What I found was a narrative told unimpassionedly, a drama unfolding among characters whom I could identify with those in my current experience. Jesus, with his flaying, cutting rejoinders to his enemies, did not fit my ideal of the wise, balanced man who followed in all things the golden mean. But much less could I identify with his enemies. As the story unfolded, I became aware of the beauty of the personality of Jesus and its power and authority. Where did such authority, such brilliance, come from? I could not attribute it to the editors of the Gospels or the milieu from which they came. I could not account for it as being purely human. I realized that in this drama, so true to life in a way that defied human artistry or ingenuity alone to explain, I was forced to take sides and not remain a mere spectator.
— M. Raphael Simon, OCSO

We can let love change everything.
— Tony Snow

A few generations ago, nearly all Christians shared the same sexual morality. They abhorred artificial birth control, for example. Many state laws banning the sale of contraceptive devices in this country were passed by Protestant majorities while Catholics were politically weak. Gradually, however, Protestants ceased to opposed contraception, and Catholicism almost alone continued to condemn it. What had long been a consensus became censured as a Catholic position. We now see the same process well under way with abortion and homosexuality.

Notice that the proposed reforms usually have to do with sex. When the Church refuses to change, she is accused of being obsessed with sex, when it's really her critics who are obsessed with it. Catholic morality recognizes seven deadly sins, of which lust is only one; but this happens to be the one the modern world can't stop thinking about. Nobody demands that the Church change its outdated teachings against sloth.

Powerless, hardly able to keep her own flock in line, and betrayed by many of her shepherds, the Church is still treated as a threat. All she really threatens is the false comfort of the dormant conscience; but this is enough to make bitter enemies.

Jesus was just like a lot of other religious leaders? Such as?

The last thing man gives up, even in the face of death and damnation, is his pride, and very few Europeans, even in formerly Catholic countries, can bring themselves to admit, We were wrong. The sexual revolution has been a calamity for our civilization. The Church was exactly right.

The loveliest argument I know against unbelief was made by a woman whose name I have forgotten, quoted by the theologian John Baillie in Our Knowledge of God [Note by John Beaumont: the woman referred to was the writer Katherine Mansfield]; it boils down to this: If there is no God, whom do we thank?

As one of the characters in Lear tells his father, Thy life's a miracle. Of whom is that not true?

When I think of my [continuing sinfulness], the debt of thanksgiving itself seems far too heavy to pay. No wonder He commands us to rejoice. It's by no means the easiest of our duties.

Nobody thinks of Jesus as having died prematurely, as if he had been killed before his teaching had been fully developed, and as if it might have ripened into something more profound and interesting had his life span been longer. There is about his life a sense of completeness; he had done what he had come to achieve. At the very end, he said, It is consummated. He had foretold his own death and resurrection.

It is, of course, impossible for anyone to invent a single saying worthy of Jesus.

Some day when you have nothing better to do, try improving on the Lord's Prayer.

Being nice is far from the same thing as being a Christian; after all, Jesus was not tortured to death for urging good manners on his disciples.

A cliché of literary criticism tells us that evil characters are more interesting than good ones. If so, why is this best of all characters—indeed, he is sinless—so fascinating? And how could four unpracticed amateur writers create the most vividly virtuous personality in all literature? And why does he sound like the same utterly unique man in all of their accounts of him?

Atheism is the extreme form of wishful thinking.
— Joseph Sobran

The problems of the soul are covered up and put out of sight, smothered under a multitude of projects for the uplift of the submerged masses.
— Msgr. William Edmund Starr

I wrote to C.S. Lewis and got a fascinating and interesting reply. That letter of Lewis practically put me into the Church, because that man for whose intellect I had boundless admiration very carefully wrote a stupid letter, the stupidest thing he ever wrote. He summoned all that he could dream up to say as an argument against my becoming a Roman Catholic and there was no substance in any of it. My immediate response was that if this is the best this marvelous man can think of as an argument against it, then I'm all for it.

So then when I was in London, I went to the Jesuit church at Farm Street on May 28, 1946, blessed day. I was received into the Catholic Church.

The Boldness of a Stranger: Correspondence Between C. S. Lewis and H. Lyman Stebbins
— H. Lyman Stebbins

Certainly the greatest joy is to be in communion with the one with whom our Lord left the keys!

This past month of September we have been in Assisi, trying to learn some Italian, and our classmates have been the new seminarians from Ireland. What truly amazing young men they are! They are so keen to bring people to Christ! Who can doubt that they will become the young priests God will use to renew the Church in Ireland? This is the great thing about the Catholic Church. She has her ups and downs, and there are times when one might think that death approaches and there is no chance for recovery. But this capacity to be renewed and resurrected, to come back stronger and more confident and reconnected to the apostolic foundations, this is the great thing.

Over and over again when I served in the Episcopal Church I heard this argument that we need to listen to the experience of people, especially on the same-sex questions. I don't care if you're Anglican, Baptist, Presbyterian, even American Roman Catholic. If you let local people make decisions based on experience, they are going to all come out pretty much where the culture is. The big difference, of course, is the Catholic Church has Peter and has an ability to speak prophetically to it. I'm not sure that [the Catholic Church] would be so different from any of the other liberal denominations, except for the fact that there is Peter. That's the heart of the matter.
— Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson

Christ always has the appropriate answer, and He gives it in his saints.

If the divinity of Christ was an error or a lie the force which radiated from this idea was impossible to explain. In a paradoxical way Tolstoy was right. For without the divinity of the Messiah the simple piety and heroic sanctity of some peasant maids were somehow unthinkable, but so were Chartres and Grunewald, Bach and Mozart.

Heresies are based on denials. In this respect Christianity was no heresy from Judaism; it rejected nothing essential but made a new positive claim.

The Church is immutable in her teaching. There is only one supernatural truth, as there is only one scientific truth. What in the mastering of matter constitutes the law of Progress, in things of the spirit is the law of Preservation.

I presume that de Broglie is a Christian and that Planck was a Christian. Pascal and Newton were Christians. It is possible that they were Christians besides being Scientists or on account of being Scientists, but why should they have been Christians in spite of being Scientists?
— Karl Stern

Mass, whatever it was, had something intensely serious and absorbing about it. The peaceful, reverent silence in that church, filled to capacity with devout worshippers, impressed me profoundly. I marveled at the way everyone was attending strictly to his own personal business between himself and God, Who seemed to be actually present somewhere. [W]hat impressed me most that day … was the awareness of the presence of God. The very attitude of the worshippers was one of unquestioned belief.

I was stunned to read that as long as a non-Catholic believes his particular denomination is the right one and lives up to what he thinks is the will of God, he has a good chance of salvation; but once he doubts seriously the validity of his Church, he is obliged to seek the true Church, to investigate her truths, or suffer the danger of losing his soul.

If Christ founded a Church, He certainly intended that Christians belong to it.

How could God, Eternal Wisdom, found hundreds of different churches, resulting in confusion, conflicting ideas, misunderstanding, and even hatred? As to the interpretation of the Bible and the exercise of private judgment to which Protestant hold tenaciously, would Christ teach certain definite things and at the same time permit each individual to read into those doctrines another meaning, to accept or reject at will any of His teachings? To affirm that He did so is to make Him responsible for all the confusion, contradiction, and chaos among the hundreds of Christian denominations.
— Sr. Cora Stevens, CSJ

… in the dark transept where I go now and then in my more lonely moods …
— Wallace Stevens

In the camp we saw our own people kill each other over a crust of bread. In the old days I used to think that religion did not matter much, that people could be good without it. That was not true in the camps. If you had no hope or faith to keep you human, you sank to the lowest depths. I'll practice my religion more faithfully now. [from the novel The Winged Watchman. Hilda van Stockum was not herself in a prison camp during World War II.]

[After reading Arnold Lunn's Now I See] I'm not thinking about being a Catholic, I AM a Catholic!
Hilda van Stockum

One day, on the mantel-piece in our dining-room,—shall I ever forget that mantel, or the corner of it on which the wee book in its brown paper cover was lying!—I found a copy of The Poor Man's Catechism. I had never before seen a Catholic catechism, nor any Catholic book whatever; but we had stores of anti-Catholic works, and the discovery of this little Spy in the camp somewhat startled me. I at once took it away to my chamber and began to read it.…
— Charles Warren Stoddard

In what way, then, did the Incarnate Son of God, before departing from this earth, provide for the continuance and advancement of His kingdom? One thing is certain: He did not write a book, nor did he order one to be written. Instead of doing that, He founded a Church, against which He declared the gates of hell should not prevail, and with which He promised to be present while the world should last.

[In the] more than three hundred years before the Canon of the New Testament was definitely fixed … the Church was struggling upward from the catacombs to the conquest of the world, when she was preaching the Gospel to the heathen, converting Europe, sacrificing her martyrs, producing her Saints, and forming that magnificent liturgy, whose words are still pronounced at every Catholic altar in the world. During those centuries not only countless individuals, but also entire nations, learned and accepted Christianity, not by a book, but solely by the teaching of the Catholic Church.

[S]ince intellectual conviction of the truth is not conversion, something more is needed, and that is faith, without which, St. Paul tells us, it is impossible to please God. And what is this faith? It is something more than trust or confidence, or even a religious inclination of the heart. It is a voluntary devout and unquestioning acceptance of the Revelation of Christ's divinity, His precepts and the authoritative and unchanging teachings of the Church He founded.
— John Lawson Stoddard

The Catholic Church is the great incubus which is perpetually haunting and troubling the dreams of the world.

In France and Spain and Italy a man is either a Catholic or an infidel. But in Protestant countries unbelief salutes Christianity; it puts on the livery of the saints, and builds its chapels, and pays its preachers; and in the course of a generation or two it has made Protestantism as godless as itself.

To be hated of the world is a note of the Church.

Why is it that the Roman Catholic Church is so perpetually disappointing the prophecies of mankind? … Hobbes's famous saying … that the Papacy is the ghost of the deceased Roman Empire, sitting crowned upon the grave thereof … is very witty, one of the most brilliant jeu d'esprit I know of, but nothing more.…

There can be only one infallible Church, and there is only one Church which claims infallibility.

Let us go back to the beginning of the sixteenth century. Either there was a Church of God then in the world, or there was not. If there was not, then the Reformers certainly could not create such a Church. If there was, they as certainly had neither the right to abandon it nor the power to remodel it.

From the infallibility of the Church we infer the infallibility of its Head, inasmuch as the latter is an essential condition of the former.
— James Kent Stone (Fr. Fidelis of the Cross, CP)

All Protestants, including Anglo-Catholics, basically make up their own religion.

When I converted to the Catholic faith early in 1978 at the age of twenty-seven I was motivated by only one thing: my conviction that Catholicism was true, that Catholicism's account of reality was in fact the way things really are. But long before that date, when I did not yet believe that the Catholic religion was true, I found myself increasingly attracted by the beauty of the Faith.

Catholicism, rather than the Catholic Church, not because I felt any coldness toward the Church itself, but because my vision was broader. In the center of it indeed stood the Church, but around that Church stood Catholic civilization, Catholic life.

Catholics had a familiarity with God and the things of God that others did not seem to have, a familiarity that … seems to be rooted in a wholehearted acceptance of the Incarnation and its implications and which, translated into actual living acts and material objects, has created a culture of great beauty and liveliness.
— Thomas Storck

And now words fail. Of the mother, by consent or by her own hand, imbrued with her infant's blood; of the equally guilty father, who counsels or allows the crime; of the wretches who by their wholesale murders far out-Herod Burke and Hare; of the public sentiment which palliates, pardons, and would even praise this so common violation of all law, human and divine, or all instinct, of all reason, all pity, all mercy, all love,—we leave those to speak who can.
— Dr. Horatio Robinson Storer

Having driven the King from His tabernacle, there surely was no longer any reason for preserving His Royal splendor; nor the beauty of the House where His Glory dwelt, after that Glory had departed.

In every Protestant church … the minister is the central figure: his sermon the important event. If he talks well and is amusing (above all, in these modern times, if he be intelligently heterodox) he draws delighted crowds; if he be a pious and dull man, he has only a small congregation of strict church-goers and they complain about his preaching. For us Catholics, on the contrary, the sermon—if there is one—is a mere episode.…
— Maria Longworth Storer (Mrs. Bellamy Storer)

It is very disturbing to be confronted, against one's will, with a growing conviction that Anglicanism owes its separate existence as an institution to motives and deeds which were not such as a well meaning man can entirely commend.
— Carlton Strong

Since Christ had given the Church the mission to teach the truth (Matt. 2818–20), mere men could not take away either the mission or the authority to carry it out.
— Robert Sungenis

… I was examining questions of the Faith. I was trying to see whether I could accept every aspect of the Church's teaching. But my friend Dermot Quinn pointed out to me the futility of this approach. Even if I could study every detail of every teaching, he observed, and come to say honestly that I agreed with the Church, this would not make my faith truly Catholic. What made a person Catholic, Dermot insisted, was not just belief that the Church taught the truth in matters of faith and morals, but the belief that the Church is a truth-teaching thing.
Msgr. Stuart Swetland

Maid-Mother of humanity divine,
   Alone thou art in thy supremacy,
   Since God Himself did reverence to thee
And built of flesh a temple one with thine,
Wherein, through all eternity, to shrine
   His inexpressive glory. Blessed be
   The miracle of thy maternity,
Of grace the sole immaculate design!
Fr. John Banister Tabb

Ironically, it is that much-debated document of Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life), that is proving to be most prophetic.
— John Michael Talbot

The proper meaning of transubstantiation was to come to me later. During those first troubled months [in a Catholic boarding school] it was enough for me to know that Christ broke the bread and drank the wine with His disciples at the Last Supper and said: This is my Body—This is my Blood.… Because the disciples had believed, and because I believed what they had passed on to me, each morning a miracle took place in front of my eyes and Jesus was present upon the altar before which I knelt.
— Ellen Tarry

I take it that more than doctrine, even if the doctrine be true, is necessary for a great poetry of action. Catholic poets have lost, along with their heretical friends, the power to start with the common thing; they have lost the gift of concrete experience.

I have difficulty believing people who say that they live in the Blood of Christ, for I take them to mean that they have the faith and hope some day to live in it.… The report of the Blood is very different from its reality. St. Catherine does not report it; she recreates it so that its analogical meaning is confirmed again in blood that she has seen [the blood of Niccolo di Tuldo].

If the gun has got to be fired, the Blood has got to be shed.

If prejudice were dogma, the New York Times Book Review would be a first rate critical organ.

— Allen Tate

Jesus, I love You!
— Last words of St. Kateri Tekakwitha

I asked my father to get me [a crucifix]. But he shook his head and said, That's just for Catholics. There was no malice in his words; he simply spoke matter-of-factly.

For me … Church history became one long confirmation of two realities: the universality of sin and the sovereignty of grace.…

All of a sudden I put down [St. Augustine's anti-Donatist writings] and I said, Oh my goodness, I am a Donatist. He's talking to me. And I realized that he was responding to all my reasons for being Protestant.
— Paul Thigpen

I had been attending the Church of England and Roman Catholic services exclusively for upwards of four years, and reading all of the controversy I could get my hands on, and finally yielded only when to believe and not to profess appeared to be wretched cowardice.
— Sir John Sparrow David Thompson

I began to read the Gospels—all four. I used the translation by Monsignor Ronald Knox, because it was in understandable English and wasn't printed in two columns and with every sentence made into a separate paragraph.

I read the history of the Church. That there were bad popes was not surprising; the first one had denied Our Lord three times.

What was surprising, and humanly speaking incomprehensible, was the extraordinary life of the Church.

I believed everything—and yet I didn't believe that God meant what He said. Or rather I didn't believe that He meant it for me. He said: If you love Me keep my commandments, and He meant all ten. But how could I keep them?

I had been saying the rosary every day for some months. As I was doing so one evening, I realized that the next day was the feast of All Saints and I decided to go to mass—as it was a holy day of obligation. On the way back from mass, I thought: Every Sunday is a day of obligation too, and all at once I knew that I must trust God, go to Confession [for the first time in seventeen years], and lead a Catholic life.

God answered my prayers and sent me to a very holy priest [Fr. William Peers Smith, at Farm Street Church in London]. I talked to him for a moment about meaningless things, and then said that I wanted to go to Confession. I did so, and when he gave me absolution, it was the happiest moment in my life. When I left, he told me to trust God and not to be afraid.

On a Crucifix


Here at last


Dunstan Thompson

I remembered being intrigued by, and at some level probably mildly jealous of the ritual aspects of Catholicism I had seen, in or out of church: the sign of the cross, the incense, the rosary beads, the Hail Mary, the bells, the Latin, etc.

A highly personal reason was that I had lost my wife, Tess, of thirty-seven years, and the faith assured me that I could pray for her soul (and vice versa).

Finally my intellectual questions began to resolve themselves into a few basic choices: either the universe is random, or it is meaningful. Either there is a Creator, or there is not. If there is Creator, the Creator is either impersonal, or personal. I gradually began to see that the scientific skepticism that had burdened me for so many decades was just as much a matter of belief as any of the faiths so scorned by Richard Dawkins and his fellow neo-atheists. I began to see that in fact belief in a Creator was far more reasonable than belief in a random, impersonal universe that had somehow miraculously sprung out of nothing (the Big Bang), ordered itself and then produced personality, self-awareness, conscience, love. I began to believe in a personal, loving God that I had pushed away for so many years but who had pursued me down the decades, the Hound of Heaven … In short, I rediscovered the God of Love, the Christian God, the Revealed Holy Trinity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.…

Of course there were problems I had to deal with before my conversion, such as the priestly abuse scandal that exploded in 2002. But I came to realize that such things … are the result of human sinfulness, and not caused by any of the intrinsic doctrines of the Church.

As for the Catholic liturgy, suddenly I understood that everything, everything, made sense. Those mysterious bells, that incense, the vestments, the genuflections, the Gregorian chants: these were not superstitious mumbo-jumbo, as I once had been thought to think, but were all beautifully designed to elevate the soul to God. In sum I had found the fullness of the faith, the original, true faith, a faith that was practiced daily, and everywhere, and that was indeed catholic, that is, universal.

Of course, many of these revelations would only come after my conversion. But the clincher, the single argument that motivated me most to make my move, was the defense [by a Polish friend] of the concept of Purgatory, subtracted by Luther when he jettisoned the Deuterocanonical Books. It makes so much sense that almost no one at death is pure enough to be in the presence of God, and that a spiritual purification is necessary. I thought of Tess, who had left the One True Church and had not yet found her way back into it at her death. I had felt the helplessness, such impotence as a husband as she lay dying. I now know that her awful suffering was her purgatory on earth, and that I now can pray for her departed soul and by my own faithfulness hasten her into her Beatific Vision where she may be now. Such empowerment! Such joy!

[From a letter to John Beaumont] When I came to the Catholic Faith I felt that I had found at last the Rock of Peter, and hoped that I had left behind forever the shifting sands of my Protestant origins. But I soon discovered how mistaken I was.… I realized that, for some, conversion to another faith is unthinkable: Once a Catholic, always a Catholic. But, at a deeper level, attempting to reform the Church from within, without full acknowledgment of the authority of the Pope and the magisterium, is a form of pride or hubris.… Indeed, while acknowledging the need for some non-doctrinal accommodations to the modern world, I find myself more and more drawn to certain pre-Vatican practices. What I missed in the Protestant world was the vertical dimension. So many Protestant congregations and denominations have become exclusively this-worldly, addressing social rather than spiritual issues. With regard to pre-Vatican II practices, I would prefer, for example, that the priest face the Blessed Sacrament, rather than me. And I love the Latin rite, while recognizing that mass goers should be instructed as to what the Latin words mean (perhaps by way of bilingual dictionaries). I don't like priests going about in civilian clothes outside the Church. They (and nuns) should always witness the Faith by their dress. And so on. To conclude: I did not convert to the Catholic Church simply to find it becoming just another Protestant denomination. Fidelity to scripture and the oral tradition is not negotiable. The Pope, not Hans Küng or Teilhard de Chardin, is God's vicar. So be it.
— Lars Eleon Troide

I suddenly saw that the towers and spires of Oxford had been raised in heart-lifting beauty by men who had believed: and I perceived that the question—the Question of Jesus—that I had never asked had got to be answered: Was Jesus, in fact, God?

The real question for me (as for Newman) was not whether Catholicism was right but whether I as an Anglican was a Catholic.…

Protestantism (probably the first known instance of throwing out the mother with the bath water) has no Supreme Court—hence the continual splintering. The Catholic Church has the Magisterium.

In the very year that Henry VIII's obedient Parliament named him head of the English church, Pope Paul III went through the streets of Rome in sackcloth and ashes for the sins of his predecessors—but not for their errors in doctrine. That is the significant fact: not what the good popes did, but what the bad ones didn't do.
— Sheldon Vanauken

I have always credited an atheist former friend of ours with being partially responsible for my conversion (he would be much surprised to hear this): once, in the course of a conversation, he exclaimed happily: Oh, isn't it wonderful to live in an age of decadence! That remark alone moved me along several steps toward Christianity.

Becoming a Catholic was an experience of freedom and expansion. I was linked to millions of people of all nations, races and cultures. It was exhilarating. A particular form of this freedom was the realization that Catholics cover the complete social spectrum: a Catholic may be a king or a truck driver, a millionaire or a peasant. To be a Catholic is not to be part of a particular social class.
— Paul Clayton Vitz

When I converted to Christ [not yet to Roman Catholicism] in 1966, I did so on His terms. No longer would I set myself up as the arbiter of religious truth.

Now, there were a few things Rome taught that didn't much appeal to me. But ironically, my qualms about Rome made Rome attractive in a way that seemed fitting. That is, it seemed that if Rome were the authority I thought her to be, I should have some qualms.

Seldom in Protestant churches did I hear about these inconvenient words of our Lord: Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you … for my sake (Matt. 5:11, KJV).

In Roman Catholicism I found a church in which I could emphatically affirm both the rights of labor and the ancient creeds, reject both abortion and the use of nuclear weapons, affirm both lifelong marriage and the dignity of the poor, reject both laissez faire capitalism and do-your-own-thing morals, and stand apart from both the philosophical materialism of the East and the practical materialism (consumerism) of the West—and do so in full harmony with the teachings of my church.
— Dale Vree

I guess my first wish to be a Catholic came from desire to be an altar boy and wear a cassock and surplice like my little Irish pal Timmy. I remember how proud he used to be to wear that shiny cassock. It covered his tattered clothes, and how wonderful he looked to me. I remember also that fact that he sat right up with the priest and was regarded as the equal of the other more fortunate boys whose folks had money. It was the first inkling of what I later came to know as the Church's real democracy.

My wife personified to me what I had noticed and admired in so many of my Catholic friends. She enjoyed life to the fullest and was so terrifically human, yet she was strictly and devoutly religious. When staying out late of a Saturday night, fasting after midnight and getting up early for Mass and Communion seemed so natural and easy for her. Religion was part of her and her personality blended into all that she did. But it seemed natural for a great many others too, and later on in life when I began to think more deeply about Catholicism it was the naturalness of the Catholic religion that so strongly appealed to me.

It is during time of sickness and death that the power and adequacy of our faith becomes most apparent. It seems to offer one such great consolation. My wife was ill for some time before she died, yet right to the end she managed to get to St. Ignatius Loyola every Sunday morning. The pew where she knelt, incidentally, is still there, in her memory, and it always will be. She knew she would not recover, but her faith made her content and she remained happy to the end. Death for Catholics is something holy—it is an expression of God's will. Somehow a Catholic funeral lacked the awful bleakness that I frequently experienced at the funerals of my non-Catholic friends. Yes, you just had to be moved by it all, and I was.
— Senator Robert F. Wagner

The creed of Pius IV sounded most musically in my ears, and I took pleasure in repeating it very slowly and distinctly.
— Fr. Clarence A. Walworth

The little Catholic school child is learning to pray, not only in words, but also in song; not only in the Church's language, Latin, but in her musical language, Chant; and when these children grow up, our choirs will be the whole Catholic world.

Church music is an art made up of two elements, music and prayer, and it cannot be judged by the value of one of its elements tested as a separate entity. We need a test that applies to the art as a whole, and we find it in the simple formula Lex orandi lex candandi.

Prayer and music must so combine as to make one art; the music must pray and the prayer must sing.

There is something obvious about the two scales of modern music. Christianity is not obvious. It is a philosophy of seeming contradictions: joy through renunciation; happiness through suffering, triumph through failure; victory through death.

Becoming a Catholic changes the whole of life. Everything is seen in fresh perspective, with new and startling relation to oneself and others. This has been my experience. Some things lose their importance, others become the center of the picture, but the striking sensation is that of finding all things in life taking on a sudden, an inimate connection with everything else; of each thing falling gradually into its place, held together by a spiritual principle of gravitation. The puzzles that agitated the heart before as to the reasons for things, the apparent inequalities and injustices of life, the meaning of sorrow and of physical pain—all these things, and many more, suddenly fall into place.

A difference which has struck me perhaps more forcibly than any other is the contrast between the Protestant attitude and the Catholic attitude toward sin. In general the Protestant attitude is that a good person will not be tempted to commit serious sins. The Catholic attitude is that all are tempted; therefore watch and pray; if you stand, beware lest you fall. If you fall, there is a remedy—so rise up quickly. The Protestant attitude tends to foster hypocrisy; if you commit a sin you must hide it. The Catholic attitude fosters humility; admit the sin and try to do better.

The great Saints have all been either simple by nature or simple by acquisition; the complex among them having worked around the entire cycles of complexities and found at last the one simple and complete truth: the Word of God. The Mystics were absolutely single. Contact between mind and mind, moreover, does not depend on those things which are often called culture, but on possessing firmly certain fundamental things in common.

I know that souls can be raised to the level of the Liturgy, by elevating the souls. Children have no preconceived ideas; if they are taught to pray in beauty, they are delighted.
Justine Bayard Ward

When things are going good, I'm a Protestant. When things are not going good, I'm a Catholic.
— John Wayne

I encountered in Merton and Day, and in many other Catholics I was coming to know, a certain kind of awareness or spiritual wisdom. Specifically, they knew themselves in all their weakness, sinfulness, and giftedness; and they knew God in the depths of his mercy and healing power. I knew precious little of my own sin, even less of my own giftedness, and by then I knew God only by reputation. How could these Catholics probe their own inner recesses so fully, as fully as any Calvinist or Freudian, and yet not succumb to despair? How could they be so optimistic about the eventual redemption of the entire cosmos, and yet be sober about the exact cost involved? More and more, I found that the answers to these questions had something to do with the mystery of the Eucharist, and the sacramental life as a whole.
— Peter K. Weiskel

For myself, there was the need to discover the Church first [as the creator and preserver of Western civilization]; it was the Church that would bring Christ to me.
— Kenneth D. Whitehead

The question really became whether one wanted to be in communion with the Church of the Apostles.
— Robert Louis Wilken

[T]he secret of power, I recognized, consisted of personal action. The most beautiful artistic expression of a truth had no such energy as the doing or living of the truth. Therefore, the words of Christ have transcendent and unapproachable power because … His life was in them, and remains in them forever.

I read too much, and prayed too little; though I had indeed at last begun consciously to pray, petitioning (vaguely at first) the Power above all other powers, the One Supreme and Central Light, for help and light and strength. And by and by my prayers became more definite, and (thanks be to Him) at last I turned to Christ in my prayers.… Only the fact that I had formed a habit of prayer, and that my will was turned in part toward its Object, saved me.…
— Michael Williams

For all the talk about Humanae Vitae driving Catholics from the Church, it was instrumental in bringing us in: not only because its teaching is true, but because it was so plainly the work of the Holy Spirit guiding the Vicar of Christ. It seemed obvious to us that Pope Paul VI would have rather walked on hot coals and broken glass than issue the encyclical, which brought so much opprobrium upon him; but he could not flinch on a clear matter of doctrine, despite his timid tergiversation on matters of polity and discipline.… Catholics lost an historic opportunity in 1968 … by not defending Humanae Vitae.

It may be that we are witnesses to the disintegration of a culture and a moral order two thousand years and more in the making.… We now confront a generation for many of whom the traditional culture of the West is simply incomprehensible.… The current dismantling of Western culture can be witnessed in two quite diverse but equally fundamental areas of human life: sex and language.

Cultural disintegration can be very rapid; restoration is always slow and problematic. But there are also no grounds for despair. Nations, societies, and civilizations will all perish and, in Shakespeare's words, leave not a rack behind. Men and women, however, are immortal: their souls will live—in unimaginable bliss or unspeakable horror—forever.… Each of us must strive to act and speak as a faithful instrument of grace in the hands of Our Lord. If a faithful word, a hopeful gesture, or a charitable act on our part moves a single soul to live eternally in joy, then we have accomplished something more than any election victory, military triumph, or political appointment.

When we began taking instruction, we were already doing pro-life presentations, in Catholic parishes as well as other venues. Many cradle Catholics were not pleased with the pro-life message, and many asked us why on earth we wanted to become Catholics anyway (What's the difference? Churches are pretty much the same.) I eventually settled on one of two answers: one frivolous—I am really fond of balloons and banners in worship—and one deadly serious—to save my soul. The second left my interlocutors more dumb-founded than the first.

Hence the importance of Humanae Vitae [in our conversion to Catholicism]: it of course has a crucial place in the history and destiny of the Church and of humanity, but it was also a special source of grace for a couple of newly-weds, groping their way to the Truth. It became increasingly clear that flesh and blood did not teach Paul VI this doctrine, nor was it his own rather retiring character that furnished the fortitude to proclaim this sign of contradiction to a hostile world. For Suzanna and me it was a guarantee that the Roman Catholic Church really is the Church of Christ, nurtured and protected from error by the Holy Spirit. If the abortion issue opened our eyes to the Church's Wisdom, Humanae Vitae revealed Her strength and courage.
— Prof. Robert V. Young, Jr.

Whatever I knew of Judaism and Christianity came to me mainly through reading. The chief influences were Augustine, Anselm and the monastic theologians of the 12th century, in whose writings I caught sight of a country I longed to inhabit but—I know this will seem strange—didn't know where to find.

I have altered mainly by swimming upstream against the currents to which [William] James introduced me, from personal religious experience immediately and privately felt to worship objectively offered; from theology as therapy to theology as queen of the sciences.

One still hears complaints about the institutional church—the very expression betrays a parti pris. But how would we know Christ without the institutional church? Who else would preserve the great secret of the gospel for us through the centuries, keeping it safe in the wilderness of opinions? We live in a world of institutions or in no world at all, and the institutional church is surely the greatest institution the world has ever known.
— Prof. Carol Zaleski

Religion was for Freud a field of which he knew very little and which moreover seems to have been the very centre of his inner conflicts, conflicts that were never resolved.

That which Jung calls religion is not religion at all. Even from an empirical point of view it appears to be only a very incidental manifestation.

[To Thomas Merton] You want a hermitage in Times Square with a large sign over it saying Hermit.
— Gregory Zilboorg

The Church has given two things to the world as a common inheritance: art and saints. In the one case, art is God's beauty shining through in inanimate material creation; and in the other case, it's his beauty shining out through living animate people.

The beauty of the liturgy … allowed me to see further than just the intellective part and all the studies and the books allowed me to see.… The clergy are a key component in this, because the liturgy and the liturgical actions to a certain extent have been entrusted to them as a sacred trust for the whole Church
— Fr. John T. Zuhlsdorf (Fr. Z)