Conversion

Do-It-Yourself Biology

The bromide of “being true to yourself” has found new life in gender studies, in the vertiginous celebration of the Supercilious Self, and in the concomitant denial of the “permanent things.” For example, Mount Holyoke College, in Massachusetts, proudly announces that “it welcomes applications for its undergraduate program from any qualified student who is female [...]

On Converting for the Wrong Reasons

The last few weeks have seen the ranks of the #NeverTrump crowd dwindling somewhat as several once-staunch opponents of The Donald have concluded that, despite their myriad objections to Trump’s positions and personality, he would still be preferable to Hilary Clinton as president. Now, the dominance of the two-party system in the United States has [...]

Visiting the Site of England’s Conversion

Landing in London the other day, we wasted no time in locating the first available train to Minster Abbey, a lovely little place where the monastic life has been around for almost fourteen hundred years, its inspiration owing to a fellow named Benedict, who pretty much founded Western Monasticism. We planned to stay a week [...]

Three Paths to Rome

Once asked what book he’d like to be stuck with on a desert island, G.K. Chesterton reportedly responded in the way one would expect of him: Thomas' Guide to Practical Shipbuilding. He was being facetious, and his real answer was The Pickwick Papers. The question is a fun one to consider, but frankly, I’d beg [...]

Holy Saturday: On Looking Back and Peering Ahead

“Something strange is happening….”  ~ Bp. Melito of Sardis This past Holy Saturday I had the privilege of sponsoring my friend Chris as he made a profession of faith and became a Catholic—Deo gratias! What a joy to stand with him, attest to his readiness, announce his new name—“Monsignor, this is Thomas Aquinas”—and then celebrate [...]

Advice for a Catholic Neophyte

It’s an especially happy Easter for the Lu family this year, since a near and dear relative of mine came into the Church at the Easter Vigil. Eleven years into my Catholic life, I am no longer the only Catholic in my natal family. God is good. In light of that, I’ve been reflecting on [...]

Coming Home to God: On Losing My Unbelief

Let us come home at last to you, O Lord, for fear that we be lost.  ∼ St. Augustine My recent conversion to Christianity (and although I was raised Catholic I feel the distance I’ve traveled in my spiritual journey warrants the name of conversion) has come about as the culmination of three different levels [...]

Why I Remain a Catholic

“Something had given him leave to live in the present.”  ~ Walker Percy A friend of mine sent me an email with this subject line: “A challenge for your blogging….” She included Elizabeth Scalia’s invitation to Catholics everywhere in the internet cosmos to write about “Why Do YOU Remain a Catholic”—an invitation itself prompted by [...]

Ten Years a Catholic: A Conversion Story

Ten years ago, on the Vigil of Pentecost, I received my first three sacraments and became a Roman Catholic. From an eternal standpoint, it was probably the best day of my life. It didn’t feel that way at the time. It was a dark, broody sort of day, which matched my mood. A small group [...]

Retrieving Apologetics

A number of Catholics, including theologians, think that the Church should not engage in apologetics. These critics claim that Vatican II made apologetics obsolete by calling for the Church to embrace, and no longer turn its back on, the modern world. They say theology is supposed to engage pressing contemporary issues that affect everyone, but [...]

A Romantic Yearning for Our Eucharistic Lord

The thing which keeps life romantic and full of fiery possibilities is the existence of these great plain limitations. ~ G.K. Chesterton Two of my former students are on the road to becoming Catholic, and both recently confided in me their frustration regarding Holy Communion—but it's not the reason you'd expect. You'd think they'd be struggling with [...]

The Conversion of the Vikings

God writes straight. My crooked lines, tortured between grace and the depraved human heart.... No matter how crooked I set it down, God writes it straight.  ∼ Brother Antoninus, O.P. (ca. 1949) As Charlemagne lay dying in 814, a new threat was growing in the north. Norse tribes, attracted both by the weakness and the riches of [...]

The Final Hours of Jacques Fesch

On April 6, 1957, finding the defendant guilty of murder, the court passed its sentence, and with that, the fate of Jacques Fesch was sealed: he was to die. The legal process had come to its inevitable conclusion, and, thereafter, preparations began in earnest for an execution. But, as the clock ticked ever onwards to [...]

What the Traditional Mass Means to Me

I came to the Church through the Traditional Latin Mass. I would have converted anyway. It was becoming more and more obvious that the Church was where I belonged, and it seemed pointlessly obstinate and even artificial to remain apart from her. But the Traditional Mass made the situation clearer, because it made it more [...]

Russell Kirk: Conservative, Convert, Catholic

Ordinarily Providence works through men and women—through St. Gregory, through St. Joan. Saints and martyrs will be raised up within this land of ours during the next hundred years, men and women not swept away by the running tide of our prosperity and our triviality. Even you and I, putting aside our vanity, may essay [...]

The Spiritual Drama of Eve Lavalliere

On Friday, July 12, 1929, the following report appeared in The Times of London: “Our Paris Correspondent telegraphs that the death has occurred at Thuilieres, in the Vosges, of Mlle. Eve Lavalliere, formerly an actress of distinction. She had been living in retirement for the last 12 years, having suddenly come to the decision, in [...]

A Lesson in Three Conversions

The Year of Faith began with a challenge from the Holy Father Emeritus: “We cannot accept that salt should become tasteless or that light be kept hidden.” During this last intense year of renewal, Catholics have been reminded again and again that our age calls for vigilance. For the embers of Western Civilization glow but [...]

Sign of Hope: Anglican Nuns Become Catholic

I have had, as we all have, many good moments in my life as a Catholic (greatly outweighing the inevitable bad ones); but yesterday was one of the very best. Have I ever, I try to recall, had such a vivid sense of how glorious it is to be a Catholic, of the transcendent splendor [...]

Submerged in the Ocean: Challenges Often Arise After Catholic Conversion

By the time I was received into the Catholic Church 15 years ago I had already read a number of stories of conversions to the faith—Newman’s Apologia, Avery Dulles’ A Testimonial to Grace, Scott Hahn’s Rome Sweet Home, and many others in essay or book form. I still love reading conversion stories, not just from [...]

Courage & Conversion: An Interview with Hadley Arkes

Hadley Arkes is the Edward N. Ney Professor in American Institutions at Amherst College and one of the country’s most prominent proponents of natural-law jurisprudence. He is the author of numerous books, including First Things (from which the journal took its name) and Natural Rights and the Right to Choose. His latest is a collection of [...]

Charity in the Face of Opposition

"But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." —Matthew 5:44 That's a tough order, to love your enemy.  But it's direct from Christ and a non-negotiable for a Christian.  I understand the meaning behind Christ's words, but can often struggle in implementing them. When someone spits in your face, [...]

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