From: Dougg Sent: Wednesday, August 27, 2003 6:04 PM Subject: Ex-Jack Chick type Fundamentalist now a convert to CatholicismDear Father Bloom,
Recently, I was doing some research for a project I am working on and I discovered your web-site which proved very helpful. For that I thank you.
However, I was reminded of my own past when I read some of the e-mails that you have received attacking the Roman Catholic Church. From the time that I started going to church in my early teens, I quickly became influenced by Fundamentalist thinking. This made me vulnerable to the type of anti-Catholic literature such as is published by Jack Chick. When Chick published the Alberto Series of comics, I believed every word of them were true. I thought the Roman Catholic Church was the Great Whore of Babylon and the Pope was the anti-Christ. I thought Catholics worship Mary and the Saints and that there were secret tunnels under the nunneries to hide all the dead babies from the nuns. I also thought that the Vatican was going to take over the world any day and begin killing us Christians. I am sure that you have heard these type of attacks before.
Through all my years in college, seminary, and even as an evangelical pastor for almost ten years, my views of the Catholic Church never changed. I thought that the only way a Catholic could be saved was to abandon the Catholic Church and become a “Bible-believing Christian”. Later, despite my views of the Catholic Church, I was converted to Catholicism in what I can only describe was an out-pouring of unfathomable grace through a truly mystic experience. Like Paul, the scales were removed from my eyes and I began to see that the one thing that I thought was the greatest threat to the Christian faith, namely the Roman Catholic Church, was actually the highest expression of that same faith. In time, I came to partake in the highest expression of that truth during my first communion through the beauty and grace of the Most Holy Eucharist.
Since that recent experience, I have often reflected on my past. I am particularly concerned as to how effective Jack Chick and others like him have been in slandering the Catholic Church. I have come to the conclusion that the reason so many Protestants continue to believe these sources, despite the fact they have been debunked even by leading Evangelical sources, and why many Catholics are even lead away from their faith is the basic ignorance people have in regard to Scripture, Church History, and Theology. It is easy for Chick and others to make the outlandish claims they do because people’s ignorance in these areas allows them to be gullible to their lies and half-truths. Another difficulty is that for every ounce of lies that Chick publishes, it takes about ten ounces of effort to expose the truth and few seem willing to do this (notable exceptions like Fr. Keating, Scott Hahn, and others) and still few others may be willing to take the time to learn what is needed to defend their faith. The truth is out there, you just have to be willing to allow God to reveal it to you.
I also read the various e-mails about the recent scandals facing the Church. I find it odd that people would use these tragedies as an excuse to argue that Roman Catholicism is a false religion. I am not sure what these scandals, as horrific as they are, have to with the validity of the Creed that I am called upon each Mass to recite and which has been defended and preserved by the Roman Catholic for almost two thousand years. Neither am I clear as to how these scandals diminish the grace that is poured out for us in the mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist. Ironically, there was a time in the history of this creed, called Creed of Nicea, that it upheld the Bishop of Rome alone. When all the world had turned to the doctrines of Arianism, it was the Bishop of Rome who stood against heresy and preserved the essential doctrines of Christianity that most of us, Catholic or Protestant, hold to and profess today. In all the accusations against Rome that are made in regard to her history, stories like this seem to be left out.
Let the attackers of our faith be honest. While the may twist and distort the historical picture for the purpose of showing how the Catholic religion is false in their eyes, the real issue that separates us is not the recent scandals, nor our history. It is not the Inquisition with their wildly exaggerated number of victims or the Church’s supposed support of Hitler. These are not their real problems with the Catholic Church. The real difference is the same issue that caused the first schism within the Church – the Eucharist.
In John, chapter 6, Jesus had not only called the 12 Apostles, there was also much larger group of other disciples. Things seemed to be going pretty well. That is until Jesus said “For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.” This was too much for many of his disciples and “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” Jesus turns to the 12 and asks, “Will ye also go away? Simon Peter gives the same answer that I find myself saying to those who tell me I should leave the Catholic Church for this reason or that one, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” No matter what a certain priest does, no matter what scandals hit the church, despite whatever corruption or abuse of power might exist, and despite whatever mistakes the Church has made throughout history, “to whom shall we go?” for here is the body and blood of Christ given for a sinner as miserable as I.
That, Fr. Bloom, I believe is the real reason why, no matter what else the Church may be or may not be in the eyes of her accusers, I can never now live apart from the Catholic faith again. Sorry to ramble so much. I guess I just wanted to let you know that it is possible for even a Jack Chick-type of anti-Catholic Fundamentalist to come to the grace that is offered us in the Roman Catholic Church. I am always
Your servant in Christ
What a beautiful testimony!
God bless. My prayers. Please remember me - and all who struggle to be faithful to what Jesus has entrusted us, especially, as you say, the Eucharist.
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