Skip to comments.First the Protestants, Now the Cults: Will We (the Catholic Church) Be Ready?
Posted on 05/29/2008 10:50:48 AM PDT by NYer
One of the most amazing works of the Holy Spirit over the past couple of decades or so has been the wave of Protestant converts coming into the Catholic Church. Notable among them have been the Protestant ministers — the tip of the iceberg of whom have been the names that have become well-known in apologetics circles. Though what they have been given by the Church surely dwarfs anything they have brought to her, it is also true that they have enlivened the faith of many a cradle Catholic with their enthusiasm and evident joy at discovering the truths of the faith.
Teaching Protestants who come into the Church is a challenge that any well-managed RCIA program should be able to meet. What has proved more difficult however has been finding ways to make use of the gifts and training that Protestant ministers bring with them and assisting them with their very special circumstance — that their conversion has met the end of their career. The Coming Home Network, founded by Marcus Grodi, has served a very valuable role in helping these men (they are mostly men) make the difficult double transition into a new faith community and career at the same time.
What Marcus Grodi has found, as those who watch his show, The Journey Home, may have noticed, is that sprinkled among the converts from Protestant denominations have been here and there, converts, not merely from among our separated brethren, but from religious groups that deny nearly everything that we and the Protestants have in common. At first it was rare and notable to see a former Jehovah’s Witness or Mormon being interviewed on his show. That has begun to change as converts from these groups become more common. Within recent weeks both a former Jehovah’s Witness and a deacon who was in The Way International appeared in separate episodes of The Journey Home.
These conversions from such high-control groups are often very dramatic and the choices these converts face may go well beyond the Protestant minister’s career upheavals to encompass cruel ostracism by close family members, shattering self-doubt, and difficult navigation through a socially alien terrain.
More and more, we are seeing converts whose backgrounds are much stranger, theologically and socially, than any former Baptist or Episcopalian. Have we noticed that they are coming in? Are we ready for them?
One way we can get ready is by understanding more about what life in cult does to a person, the wounds that may be left from years of spiritual and emotional abuse, from years of living in existential terror of violating dehumanizing and arbitrary — and constantly changing — rules. The people most equipped to convey this understanding to us are the people who have lived the experience of being in a cult, coming out, and coming into the Catholic Church. The richness of their experience cannot be overstated any more than can the depth of their gratitude. The one who has been forgiven much, loves much, and the one in whom the light itself has been darkness finds special joy in the true light.
So come and learn from these people whose amazing journey will inspire and educate you. Come to the Welcome Home! Catholic Conference in Weirton, WV from August 1-3. The conference is sponsored by the Fellowship of Catholic Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Speakers include our own Mark Shea, Tom Cabeen, a former overseer at the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses and yours truly. I will be giving an extended talk on the subject of cults on Friday evening. It is called “Hijacked Lives” and will cover how people get recruited into cults, what happens to them while they are in the group and what kind of help they need when they get out.
I especially urge Catholic social workers, counselors, and other mental health providers to come and learn how to effectively help people with this history. Priests, DREs, and catechists will benefit from understanding how to
meet the unique needs of this population as they enter the Catholic Church in increasing numbers — because whether we are ready or not, God is bringing them to us.
This conference will also be invaluable for anyone with a family member in this group — or in any similar group that wrecks havoc with family life. Come meet others who understand the deep sense of loss, the holiday turmoil, the walking on eggshells.
Weirton, WV is about 20 minutes from the Pittsburgh International Airport and 30 minutes from the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Special early-registration rates are available now through June 30th. To see the agenda and to register for the conference click here or follow the link on the website of The Catholic Fellowship of Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses, www.catholicxjw.com.
Is it within your world view to admit that the Holy Spirit can behind the wave of Catholics converting to Protestant denominations?
Let’s turn that around: Is it within your world view to admit that the Holy Spirit can [be] behind the wave of Protestants converting to the Catholic Church? And if so, why aren’t you yet on the path to conversion to the Catholic Church if you do believe the Holy Spirit is behind the conversions?
I would suggest you google the the name Richard Bennett and go from there.
(John ch 10).. a few of the sheep come out of the sheep pens into the pasture to graze by the shepherd (Ps 23)..
????? There are still twice as many Protestants as Catholics in this country. The only thing keeping the Catholic population at its current levels is all the illegal immigrants coming into this country. It is not a major shift from Protestant to Catholic, although anecdotal evidence for any claim is always available.
Does the author have any numbers of the Catholics converting to Protestantism? I suspect the weight is on the side of the Protestants!
What is the number of Catholics who just sort of “deconvert” - period? I’m guessing that that is the biggest number of them all.
You said: “Is it withing your world views to see people leaving RCC, EO and protestant denominations to a member of THE FLOCK?..”
My point was the the original question was just plain stupid. If you are Catholic (or Protestant) and someone is moving in the other direction then you have to believe that while the Holy Spirit may have moved the person, they did not respond the way the Spirit wished them to. I would caveat that though. For instance there are cases like this one: http://www.envoymagazine.com/backissues/4.6/diplomaticcorps.htm where the convert from Judaism originally became evangelical and then finally came to the fullness of faith in the Catholic Church. A Catholic would say that the Holy Spirit kept prompting her.
So to answer you. No it is not “withing” my world view to believe the Spirit wishes people to leave Christ’s Church...the Catholic Church... “to a member of THE FLOCK” whatever that means.
And the news is that the pope will be hosting Akma-nut-job at the Vatican soon. What’s up with that?
Yes if they were lukewarm Catholics who truly held back their passion for God because of doubts about the Catholic faith and are now fully serving the Lord in their Protestant church.
There may be Catholic converting to Protestantism, but these are usually done by aggressive Proselytizing of Protestants who in many cases, missrepresent what the Catholic Church teaches when doing there preaching. This is particulary true in areas in the 3rd world.
Now, on the other hand, Catholics need to do a better job of clearly teaching the unwavering orthodoxy of the Catholic faith, so that is a “we problem”.
Now, while there may be many ex-Catholics in Protestant circles, many of those Catholics once they leave the Catholic Church will find themselves in a different Protestant Tradition every few years, always searching for the newest fad in Protestant Christianity.
The Protestants that have come into the Catholic Church includes many of the leading academics and theologians of the Protestant world, including man former Protestant clergy. For example, on a recent Journey Home program, an former Anglican clergyman stated that after the Anglican Communion voted to ordain women, he new that he, as an Anglo-Catholic, had to come to Rome. Since 1992, some 750 former Anglican clergy in England have come into full communion with Rome, and of those 450 were ordained as Catholic Priests, and some 180 of those were married.
In the U.S., some 100 former Anglican/Episopalian clergy have come into Rome and been ordained, including Fr. George Rutler, and Fr. Dwight Longeeker, who blogs and Standing on my head. In addition, one of the leading Lutheran Theologians, Fr. Richard Neuhas, editor of First Things, came into full communion in the late 1980’s. Other Lutherans have as well. Thomas Howard, a leader of the evangelical movement in the 1980’s, along with Prof. Scott Hahn, Prof. Francis Beckwith, just to name a few, have come back to Rome.
In summary, while there may be a few Catholic priests who leave Rome, for Protestant traditions, those are few and far between, vs. the number of Protestant Clergy that have, as the Anglicans say in England, decided to “swim the Tiber”.
I notice you didn’t answer my question.
Now Pope Benedict were to lay the Cat-of-Nine-Tails unto the bare backs of certain Southern California Bishops and a certain Cardinal or two :^)
Perhaps the Tiber would be seen a bit warmer.
I would think one of the best things someone could do to learn how to welcome people from very non-Catholic backgrounds would be to understand how they may speak with an entirely different theological language, and have very different cultural presumptions when it comes to religion, despite having so much culturally in common in other areas.
As recently as five years ago, the largest religious body in the US was Catholic and the second largest ex-Catholic.
All the mainstream Protestant denominations are losing members; the Episcopalians are determinedly self destructing before our eyes and the Lutherans and the others are slowly fading.
Individual megachurches are coming and going. The Catholics would be slowly growing if it were not for the immigrants. But Catholicism world wide is growing fast, not just here.
Yes, it within my world view. I don’t feel the Spirit leading me there.
Hosting? According to your news link:
Tehran has also given the Iranian Embassy to the Holy See, instructions to ask for an audience with Pope Benedict XVI, said a report in Italian daily La Repubblica.
We will have to wait and see if the request is granted.