Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Coincidentally from a Catholic

Not to confuse what the Grand High Burglar has been saying (I too am Eastern and proud), but today I read some comments by a recent Catholic convert, R. Reno, that resonated.

Apparently Reno wrote a book in 2001 or so on why conservative Anglicans needed to remain Anglican. The article detailed why though he was apparently eating his own words, the decision was actually faithful to his original principles.

In brief, Newman realized that he was falling in love with his idea of being a prophet among ruins, at the expense of his love for the Church, her members, and Christ. Discussing Augustine's Confessions, Reno traces a similarity between love for idea and theory (ie., the discipline of theology), and the eternal pursuit of "truth" as such: an eternal seeking of theory. What we realize in the end is that we are actually chasing our own mind, ourselves (What am I to myself but a guide to my own destruction?). The following paragraph reminded me of my own motiviations along the journey to the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic.

"[John Henry Newman's] observation (drawn from his study of the Arian controversy) that 'the truth lay, not with the Via Media, but with what was called the extreme party' struck me as a bracing correction to the sensible liberalism of my childhood and education. He endorsed the principle of dogma. 'Religion as mere sentiment,' he wrote with denunciatory directness, 'is to me a dream and a mockery.' He had no patience for vague fantasies of spiritual fellowship. Like Augustine, he saw no hope in seeking. the basis of the Christian life is not our longing; it is the 'visible Church, with sacraments and rites which are channels of invisible grace.' We cannot move through the spiritual life the way we drift through the marketplace. Dogma and the sacramental system must define and circumscribe our belief."

The whole article is worth reading.

Incidentally, First Things and Touchstone are two journals that I am proud to support, and encourage anyone and everyone to make use of them. Last months' First Things also had a good article on the proper goals and methods of "interfaith dialogue" from an Orthodox Jewish perspective.

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