Monday, January 24, 2005

A cloud of witnesses indeed!

Ran across this little apology for the Catholic Church, "Why Stay Catholic?":

I recently wrote to a friend who was thinking of converting to Orthodoxy with my 127 reasons for staying Catholic. Here they are:

Karl Adam, Mortimer Adler, Lorenzo Albacete, Francis Arinze, Benedict Ashley, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Hillaire Belloc, Robert Hugh Benson, George Bernanos, Maurice Blondel, Louis Bouyer, David Burrell, Frances Cabrini, Odo Casel, Charles Chaput, G.K. Chesterton, Walter Ciszek, Paul Claudel, Yves Congar, Frederick Copleston, Jean Danielou, Henri Daniel-Rops, Christopher Dawson, Dorothy Day, Catherine de Hueck Doherty, Jude Dougherty, Avery Dulles, Shusaku Endo, Josemarie Escriva, Joseph Fessio, Paul Hanly Furfey, Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, Raymond Gawronski, Francis George, Etienne Gilson, Luigi Giussani, Mary Ann Glendon, Aelred Graham, Léonce de Grandmaison, Graham Greene, Benedict Groeschel, Romano Guardini, John Hardon, Dietrich von Hildebrand, James Hitchcock, Russell Hittinger, Caryll Houselander, Stanley Jaki, Pope John Paul II, John Paul II, Pope John XXIII, Mark Johnson, Johannes Jorgensen, Charles Journet, Walter Kasper, Russell Kirk, Ronald Knox, Maximilian Kolbe, Joseph Koterski, Faustina Kowalska, Peter Kreeft, William Kurz, Thomas Langan, Janine Langen, Rene Laurentin, Pope Leo XIII, Ignace Lepp, Henri de Lubac, Gabriel Marcel, Jacques Maritain, Raissa Maritain, Therese Martin, William May, Ralph McInerny, Marschall McLuhan, Thomas Merton, Kevin Miller, Mother Teresa, Malcolm Muggeridge, John Courtney Murray, Richard John Neuhaus, John Henry Cardinal Newman, Aidan Nichols, Flannery O'Connor, John O'Connor, Pope Paul VI, Anton Pegis, Charles Peguy, Walker Percy, Marie-Dominique Philippe, Josef Pieper, Padre Pio, Saint Pius X, Pope Pius XII, Miriam Pollard, Jessica Powers, Johannes Quasten, Hugo Rahner, Karl Rahner, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Oscar Romero, James Schall, Max Scheler, David Schindler, Christoff Schoenborn, E.F. Schumacher, Frank Sheed, Fulton Sheen, Janet Smith, Robert Sokolowski, Edith Stein, Karl Stern, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, J.R.R. Tolkien, Sigrid Undset, Maisie Ward, Evelyn Waugh, John Wayne, George Weigel, Oscar Wilde, Robert Wilken, Christopher Wolfe, John C.H. Wu, Hubert von Zeller.

And that is incomplete and only covers the 20th century!

Similarly, as Dr. Blosser wrote of Thomas Howard's thoughts on conversion,

"Howard writes: 'The fundamental question, of course, is whether the Roman claim is true.' There can be only two possible answers to that, he says. If one says no, then he has Augustine and Bede and Gregory and Aquinas and Erasmus and Thomas More and Ignatius and Bellarmine and Bossuet and Suarez and Newman and Chesterton and Knox against him for starters, 'and that makes me nervous.' But infinitely more serene than that, he has the colossal securus judicat orbis terrarum looking passionlessly at him: 'The calm judgment of the whole world,' he says, against him. '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.'"

Finally, Russel Reno says,

"The Catholic Church needs no theories. She is the mother of theologies; she does not need to be propped up by theologies. As Newman put it in one of his Anglican essays, 'the Church of Rome preoccupies the ground.' She is a given, a primary substance within the economy of denominationalism. One could rightly say that I became a Catholic by default, and that possibility is the simple gift I received from the Catholic Church. Mater ecclesia, she needed neither reasons, nor theories, nor ideas from me."

Come March 27, when I am at last chrismated into the Catholic Church, I may be in rank heresy and doomed to a perdition God predestined me for -- but at least I'll be in good company!

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