Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr Dwight Longenecker

7/18/2012 (3 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 (3 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 areĀ  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 CatholicismĀ  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'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Living Faith

Oldest copy of Old Testament recognized as world treasure Watch

Image of The oldest surviving copy of the Hebrew Bible has been officially recognized.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The oldest surviving copy of the Old Testament was officially recognized as a world treasure by the United Nations Educations, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Aleppo Codex is the oldest surviving copy of the Hebrew ... continue reading


More than a thousand 'super confessors' released by Pope Francis to tackle 'reserved sins' Watch

Image of One of the Pope's

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Those who commit "reserved sins," transgressions that are deemed especially egregious by the Catholic Church, will have another chance this Jubilee Year. Those who have committed such sins previously only pardonable by the Pope may now seek out the 1,142 ... continue reading


'What could happen if every church would rise up in prayer': Christians join before U.S. Supreme Court to call for prayer Watch

Image of Texas Loves Life stands to protect the unborn (bound4life).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Christians stand together outside the U.S. Supreme Court to call other believers to pray the pro-life law passes. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - While the Supreme Court considers a Texas pro-life law, Texas Loves Life calls for Christians to pray for the fates of ... continue reading


If 'Jubilee doesn't arrive to the pockets, it's not a true Jubilee,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of In his continued catechesis on mercy as seen in Scripture, the Pope noted how the Jubilee year is an

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

For Pope Francis, mercy is not just spiritual, but is something that ought to be expressed in concrete acts of service and in sharing one's goods with the poor, which was a key tradition during Jubilee years throughout Scripture. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - ... continue reading


'You can't have Jesus': NASA accused of censoring use of Christ's name Watch

Image of NASA announces the use of Jesus' name in e-communications is a violation of the First Amendment (SacredHeart).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Members of the Praise and Worship Club, composed of NASA employees, were shocked to receive a notice from NASA ordering they cease to include Jesus' name in their religious e-mails. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The use of Jesus' name came up in May 2015, when ... continue reading


MAKE YOURSELF COUNT! Complete this quick Ash Wednesday survey

Image of Take the Ash Wednesday survey so we can better serve your needs.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online is conducting a global survey on Ash Wednesday practices. Each reader is asked to participate once. The survey will take less than a minute to complete. The results of the survey will help Catholic Online determine how best to serve your needs in the ... continue reading


Santa Muerte gains popularity throughout Mexico - Will Pope Francis react during his visit? Watch

Image of Santa Muerte's popularity has spread throughout South America (Pinterest).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Despite the Catholic Church openly saying Santa Muerte is not recognized as a saint, the death saint continues to spread in popularity among Mexican citizens. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Santa Muerte is an absurdity," Cardinal Norberto Rivera, Mexico's ... continue reading


Bible-themed luxury resort to be built in San Diego? Watch

Image of Televangelist seeks to build Bible-themed resort (YouTube).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Televangelist Morris Cerullo has been attempting to build a Bible-themed luxury resort for the past few years - and now there is only one more hurdle to jump. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - After purchasing a foreclosed Mission Valley hotel, Cerullo's plans for ... continue reading


What the Catholic Church should do about this new serious problem among the young Watch

Image of Deacon Flanigan confirmed that the recent surge in overdoses among young whites have been linked to controversial medical guidelines that called for a more aggressive approach to treating both acute and chronic pain.

By Joan Frawley Desmond, National Catholic Register

When recent headlines marked a spike in drug overdoses for white, middle-class Americans, the news saddened but did not surprise Deacon Timothy Flanigan, an HIV specialist at Brown University medical school in Providence, R.I. Providence, R.I. (National ... continue reading


Pope Francis gives priests advice on being good confessors Watch

Image of

By CNA/EWTN News

Priests who are good confessors must recognize their own sins in order to forgive and comfort penitents, Pope Francis said one day before the start of the Lenten season. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "I speak to you as a brother, and through you I would like to ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Deuteronomy 30:15-20
15 'Look, today I am offering you life and prosperity, death and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6
1 How blessed is anyone who rejects the advice of the wicked and does not ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 9:22-25
22 He said, 'The Son of man is destined to suffer grievously, to be ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 11th, 2016 Image

St. Paschal
February 11: Paschal was the son of Bonosus, a Roman. He ... Read More