Monday, May 19, 2014

More on Conversion Dynamics

Here are some longer quotations that didn't make it into Not So Secular Sweden:
In words quoted at my brother-in-law’s conversion to Catholicism, Hilaire Belloc put the matter this way:
When you have predicated of one what emotion or what reasoning process brought him into the fold, and you attempt to apply your predicate exactly to another, you will find a misfit.  The cynic enters, and so does the sentimentalist; and the fool enters and so does the wise man; the perpetual questioner and doubter and the man too easily accepting immediate authority—they each enter after his kind.
Belloc reminds us of the irreducibly personal aspect of calling, which transcends Biblical or church historical argumentation. "It was not logic that carried me on,” wrote John Henry Newman in his Apologia Pro Vita Sua, “as well might one say that the quicksilver in the barometer changes the weather.”  But the thick description of conversion dynamics cuts both ways, applying to those who stay put as well.  After I asked him about Ulf Ekman’s conversion, Abbot Peter announced with a peaceful smile that he will remain Pentecostal.  It reminds me of Edward Pusey’s reply to John Henry Newman:
I cannot unmake myself; I cannot see otherwise than I have seen these many years… I am no nearer to thinking that the English Church is no true part of the Church, or that inter-communion with Rome is essential, or that the present claims of Rome are Divine.  I earnestly desire the restoration of unity, but I cannot throw myself into the practical Roman system, nor renounce what I believe our gracious Lord acknowledges.  And so I must go on, with joy at the signs of deepening life among us, and distress at our losses, and amazement that Almighty God vouchsafes to employ me for anything….
I am in debt to Fr. Scott Caton for the Belloc quote, and to Edward Short's Newman and His Contemporaries for the Pusey quote.