“Just another guy with a blog.  No big whoop.”

September 13, 2010

Jennifer Fulwiler explains why she converted to the Catholic Church from atheism

Check out her 45-minute talk: "How I went from lifelong atheism to orthodox Catholicism."

Is good. Is very good.

How John Henry Newman Brought Joseph Ratzinger to Great Britain

Take the time to read this gracious and insightful article about the great English convert from Protestantism, John Henry Newman, soon to be declared beatus by Pope Benedict XVI. It's quite good. Here's an excerpt:
[Newman's] great campaign began in 1833 after closely escaping death from typhoid. He felt “God has still work for me to do” – which turned out to be no less than changing the face of the Church of England. Oxford then being to England what Qom is to the ayatollahs, the theological warfare declared by Newman there became known as the Oxford Movement. With the brilliant scholar EB Pusey, he used pamphlets as weapons in order, in Pusey’s words, to bring “to the vivid consciousness of members of the Church of England, Catholic truths, taught of old within her”.

They achieved more than they meant, for Newman was propelled by the logic of his arguments into the Catholic Church. He set up a community very like an Oxford college, the Oratory, not in his beloved Oxford but, as circumstances dictated, Birmingham. Nothing else he attempted in his first 20 years as a Catholic came to anything. A new university in Dublin, editing a journal, even a translation of the Bible, all shrivelled when other people let him down.

By 1863 he was depressed. “This morning, when I woke, the feeling that I was cumbering the ground came on so strongly, that I could not get myself to my shower-bath,” he noted in his journal. “What is the good of living for nothing?”

Suddenly an attack came from Charles Kingsley, the author of that weird tale The Water-Babies, then at his peak as Regius Professor of History at Cambridge. In a magazine he wrote: “Truth for its own sake has never been a virtue of the Roman clergy. Father Newman informs us that it need not, and on the whole ought not, to be.”

This was the shock that galvanised Newman, the “call”. Truth was the whole reason he was stuck in this obscure Birmingham corner and could hardly get himself into the shower. For Kingsley to deny truth in his life was to “poison the wells”. There was no point simply stating this: he had to write the history of his own mind.

The result was the Apologia, one of the great autobiographies in the English language, and a turning point for Newman. It came out in eight instalments, written on the hoof – literally, since Newman generally stood at a desk.

The effort almost broke him. After publishing five parts, he noted that . . . (continue reading)