Conversion

Kids in Defense of the Culture

The shock troops against Conservatism, Inc. have arrived. Witness the rise of the groypers. These cowboys sent people ducking beneath barstools the moment they set a spurred boot in the Culture War saloon. It has been amusing, to say the least, but not everyone is laughing. Some have even warned that the pale rider of [...]

Converts Who Followed Chesterton Across the Tiber

Many religious roads lead a convert to Rome, and a frequent guidebook is something written by G.K. Chesterton: often Orthodoxy. In his new collection of convert stories, My Name is Lazarus, Dale Ahlquist, the world’s greatest living Chesterton promoter, claims that he can name a couple of thousand who followed the fat journalist across the [...]

Sohrab Ahmari’s Modern-Day Confessions

There is no rest where you seek it. Seek what you seek but it is not where you seek it.  ∼ St. Augustine New York Post op-ed editor, Sohrab Ahmari, was twelve years old when he proclaimed himself an atheist. Angry about various things in his life, and alienated by the re-Islamization of his native Iran, [...]

Why the “Witness” of Whittaker Chambers Is Still Relevant

One might wonder why an almost 800-page book written 67 years ago (1952) by an author who died in 1961 would still have any relevance today. The book is Witness by Whittaker Chambers. It is both an autobiography and a "tell-all" book of a complicated life, of espionage, of a notorious court case, and, finally, [...]

Confessions of an American Bead Counter

“They count rosaries…. Please don’t laugh.”  ∼ Pope Francis Thomas De Quincy’s Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, by turns glamorizing and ruing his dependence, was first printed anonymously in 1821. Its succès de scandale emboldened the father of addiction literature to acknowledge paternity in an official edition the following year. Literary cachet notwithstanding, quotidian journals didn’t approve. [...]

A Catholic Convert’s Case for Religion Over Mere Spirituality

The spiritual-but-not-religious phenomenon has its roots in the Reformation, but it has taken flight in the United States, fanned by the ego-affirming consumerism, democratic individualism, and the atomizing effects of mass media and modern technology. Now, more than a quarter of Americans identify as “spiritual but not religious,” according to the latest survey from the [...]

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 [...]

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