Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr Dwight Longenecker

7/18/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

If you are a Catholic and you are talking with non-Catholic friends or family members about the faith, you have to be patient

It might be an email or a phone call, but they come in regularly now--enquiries from Evangelicals who are interested in the Catholic Church. They call me because they have heard that I was brought up as an Evangelical and graduated from the fundamentalist Bob Jones University--but now I'm a Catholic priest.

Fr Dwight Longenecker

Fr Dwight Longenecker

Highlights

By Fr Dwight Longenecker

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/18/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: evangelical, catholic, protestant, ecumenism, dialogue, witness, full communion, conversion, catholic converts, Fr Dwight Longenecker


GREENVILLE,SC (Catholic Online) - It might be an email or a phone call, but they come in regularly now--enquiries from Evangelicals who are interested in the Catholic Church. They call me because they have heard that I was brought up as an Evangelical and graduated from the fundamentalist Bob Jones University--but now I'm a Catholic priest.

Invariably they are  attracted to the Catholic Church, but having difficulties with some doctrine or devotion. They hold back from coming closer to the Catholic Church because they have real and genuine difficulties and doubts.

This is good. They're being honest and taking the whole thing seriously. However, one of the problems is that the Protestant (even when he doesn't know it) has an underlying critical attitude-especially when it comes to Catholicism. That is to say, deep down he has a belief that Catholicism  can't possibly be true. Even when he has started to be fair to Catholicism and is even attracted to it he still holds back because that deep seated prejudice is still very strong.

It's understandable. That's why, if you are a Catholic and you are talking with non-Catholic friends or family members about the faith, you have to be patient. This deep prejudice is written into the genetic code of Protestants because it is written into the genetic code of Protestantism. Protestantism is a breakaway from the Catholic Church. It is, after all, called Protestantism because at heart it is a protest movement. It is by its very nature a reaction against Catholicism. It's whole theology and worship and liturgy and ecclesiology and therefore its whole understanding of God, Jesus Christ, the Bible, the world and everything is a reaction against the Catholic world view.

Therefore real, solid and in depth conversion takes a lifetime. Converts of many years still find themselves struggling with a basic aversion and distrust to things Catholic. It happens to me. I love the Catholic faith, but when I'm presented with some new devotion or Catholic custom I am, more often than not, likely to reject it rather than accept it.

When this happens I have to remind myself of the little dictum that changed my life: It is a quote by F.D.Maurice: "A man is most often right in what he affirms and wrong in what he denies." This is wisdom: it means that when we are denying we are usually cutting ourselves off from something which is good and useful and beautiful and true. It must be all these things or good people wouldn't hold to it.

This quote, joined with one by the poet Thomas Traherne, will change your life. Traherne wrote, "Can a man be just unless he loves all things according to their worth?" See, love all things. ALL THINGS!. What? Yes, but 'according to their worth'. By all means, therefore, love a Big Mac, but according to it's worth, for next to a five course French meal the Big Mac's worth is perhaps much less.

In college I joined the opera chorus against my first inclination. But when I thought about it I came to the conclusion that lots of decent people, people more educated and wiser and older than I seemed to like opera, so maybe my dislike of fat ladies bellowing in Italian was something I ought to get over. So with an open mind I joined the opera chorus and learned to like Puccini and Verdi, who are worth was much more than the music I had loved up to that time.

Same with religion. When confronted with something new we all need to have an open mind and open heart and realize that God has far more goodness and truth and beauty in store for us than we can ever imagine, and we should stop being so picky. Instead we ought to welcome new things with curiosity, an open mind and an open heart.

This has happened to me many times in my pilgrimage in the Catholic Church. I was in Oklahoma once and had a day off. I wanted to visit a nearby Benedictine monastery, but it turned out to be not so nearby and you needed a jeep to get there it was so out in the sticks. So it was suggested that we visit the shrine of the Infant of Prague instead. Now, I didn't really 'get' the Infant of Prague. To me it was just a doll baby dressed up in outlandish clothes with a crown on his head. I wasn't disrespectful or anything--I just didn't get it.

But wanting to affirm and not deny, I jumped in the car and off we went. I met the priest warden of the shrine and he told me about the history of the Infant of Prague--how it had links with St Teresa of Avila and therefore with St Therese (who was one of my favorites). Ahh! St Therese of the Child Jesus. I get it! So I knelt before the image and still not quite having made the long journey from the head to the heart I prayed, "Lord, help me to understand this Infant of Prague thing."

In the stillness I saw that this was a pro life image. It was a reminder that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords had become a little child, and that in this cruel and cynical age we needed to remember that unless we become like little children we cannot enter the kingdom. So now I love the Infant of Prague and when something new and Catholic comes my way I'm going to try to affirm and not deny!
-----

Fr Longenecker is parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in Greenville South Carolina. Visit his blog and website and browse his books at http://www.dwightlongenecker.com

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


ę 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More Living Faith

Weakness and Failure in the Christian Life. We Hold This Treasure in Earthen Vessels Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

I have been reflecting upon my own weakness a lot these days. I have discovered that the older I get the less I know and the more imperfections I discover in myself. As a younger man, I labored under a misconception that living the Christian life would somehow ... continue reading


Labor Day: Human Work Has Been Raised to the Grandeur of God Watch

Image of For the Christian, all human work participates in the ongoing work of redemption

By Deacon F.K. Bartels

When God Incarnate entered into our created world, he sanctified humankind and the labor in which men engage in order to shape creation. It is in gazing through the supreme lens of the consummation of God's revelation, the Person of Jesus Christ, that the divine light ... continue reading


International community has done too little in Syria and Iraq, Cardinal Vegli˛ declares Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Cardinal Antonio Maria Vegli├▓ met with Pope Francis last week. The President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants, Cardinal Vegli├▓ me to discuss the plight of those fleeing the Islamist violence in Iraq. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Pope: 'God wants us to grow in the ability to come together, forgive each other' Watch

Image of Pope Francis drinks a traditional South American drink called mate offered by the faithful as he arrives to lead his weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis, addressing more than 12,000 people that had gathered for the pope's catechesis and blessing, touched upon a common human trait that everyone must strive to overcome. The Pope said that while envy, jealousy and cruelty are human instincts, they are ... continue reading


Why Do We Commemorate the Beheading of John the Baptizer? Watch

Image of The Beheading of John the Baptizer

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We now refer to this Feast as the Passion of John the Baptizer more often than the Beheading of John the Baptizer. However, given the realities we face in this new missionary age of the Church, the actual beheading rushes to the forefront. We are seeing it in our own ... continue reading


How much power do you really have? More than you think!

Image of YCVF continues to deliver quality learning tools to Catholic students.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Earlier this year, representatives from Catholic Team Global donated a batch of XO Tablets to a humble Catholic school. Now, Catholic Team Global is preparing to do it again with support from its members and valued readers of Catholic Online. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Challenging the just war theory

Image of The horrors of war persist long after the shooting stops.

By Tony Magliano

Is there such a thing as a just war? Can the massive death and destruction of armed conflict ever be morally justified by followers of the Prince of Peace? For the first disciples of Christ the answer was a resounding "No!"During the first 300 years of Christianity it ... continue reading


St Augustine Teaches Us How to Read the Bible Watch

Image of St. Augustine writing

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Bible is not some-thing, but reveals Some-One. In the words of St. Paul to Timothy, all Scripture is inspired by God. (2 Tim. 3:16) The Greek means God-breathed. They reveal Jesus Christ and our encounter with Him is the heart of what it means to be a Christian. ... continue reading


Spiritual Childhood and Contemplative Prayer Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

One of the greatest joys in this later chapter of my life is an unexpected gift, his name is Noah. He is my grandson. He calls me Poppi. He is seven years old and so very wise. Noah continually confronts me with the utter simplicity, trust, openness and beauty of ... continue reading


How to Avoid Sliding into Pharisee-ism Watch

Image of Christ Before the High Priest, by Gerrit van Honthorst (1590-1656) hangs in the London Museum of Art.  The painting depicts Jesus, standing before the High priest - with His holy hands bound. The Priest, who at the time I thought was a Pharisee, is looking up with an arrogant demeanor and a pointed finger.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

A priest friend once reminded me that not ALL the Pharisees were so blinded by their self-righteousness that they failed to recognize that the One whom they so often sought to correct was God Incarnate. And, of course, he was correct. The Pharisees were a genuine ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 2:1-5
1 Now when I came to you, brothers, I did not come ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102
97 How I love your Law! I ponder it all day ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-30
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 1st, 2014 Image

St. Giles, Abbot
September 1: St. Giles, Abbot (Patron of Physically Disabled) Feast day - ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter