4 thoughts on “Catholic Conversion Stories

  1. I was wondering if someone had done a study of Catholic “conversion stories”. This pretty much confirms what I thought it was: a trend among Protestants-turned-Catholics about the “moment” that made them the “real” Christian-Catholics they are today.

    I don’t think you see the same thing among Catholic reverts, especially those whose time away from the Church was not spent in an Evangelical setting (my own “Home Away From Rome” was Deism). There is a tendency for cradle Catholics, for both good and ill, to see the reversion to Catholicism as one step in a lifetime journey toward holiness and perfection, rather than an arrival. To paraphrase Belloc, the reversion is just that moment when you turn around and see the giant mountain you have to re-climb to get back to where you started.

    Speaking of reversions, since it’s been two years, what was it like “returning home” for you, Dr Cork? It was intriguing for me to come back seeing the same old squabbles with new eyes and a new perspective. Did you have the same feeling?

    • Actually, many of those books tell the story of “reverts” as well.

      Two years. Yes, indeed. At times I feel like Rip Van Winkle, because there were things I missed since life went on during my time away. And at times I speak a different language, having had my own experiences over the years. Yes, a lot of the squabbles are the same old things, and I do see them in a different way. Writers like Ewert Cousins and John Dunne have spoken of interfaith dialogue in terms of the mythic “heroes journey”–you wander in a strange land, and then come home, changed by the journey, and you see your own home in a different way. Some of the squabbles seem more petty than ever … but other things take on a richer, deeper, hue.

  2. Chesterton once wrote about the boy who lived on a hill and set off to see a giant, and when he got down, he saw what the giant from below that he couldn’t see from up close.

    I have by no means read all those convert books and the stories, but from what I saw, a lot of the reverts were those who went through evangelical Protestantism, and a few had left the Church at a young age. So perhaps I overgeneralized, though I still think it holds true for the reverts I know personally.

  3. Husband, “revert” … me, “convert” back nearly 5 years. I will never leave my Holy Mother, my refuge again! Gone for 26 years in the Evangelical/Pentecostal/Fundamentalist fray. God, it’s great to be HOME! Love your site. Pax

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