"Let unity, the greatest good of all goods, be your preoccupation." - St. Ignatius of Antioch (Letter to St. Polycarp)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Internet Monk on Scott Hahn and Mary

Retractiones (a Protestant scholar sympathetic to Catholicism) has an interesting article (here) responding to Michael Spencer's (aka Internet Monk) post on Scott Hahn and Mary. I think it shows well how Protestants tend (quite understandably) to evaluate Catholic claims from within a Protestant paradigm. (H/T Chad Is Not Enough)

Please remember to pray for Michael and his wife, whether you are Protestant or Catholic. When one spouse moves from Protestant to Catholic, or vice versa, and the other spouse is not convinced, this can create a lot of marital friction/tension. I went through this as well, and it was very painful. In our case, I was the one who decided to become Catholic, and my wife was very unhappy about my decision. (That's putting it mildly.) I proposed (and I don't know if this was the right thing to do) a short-term compromise that required and showed mutual good-faith toward each other, and aimed at effecting unity in the long-run. My proposal was that I would wait to be received, if she would sincerely study the question. By waiting, I was trying to show her that I respected her, and the value of our spiritual unity (which was not in good condition anyway, by that point), and also that I trusted that she would sincerely and open-mindedly study the question. I was also trying to show her that I was seeking the truth, since I was giving her time to find whatever she could that would show me to be wrong. She agreed to the proposal. She went to the Anglican bishop and got a bunch of books arguing against Catholicism. We read these books, and she read some Catholic apologetic books. We also started reading together from the Church fathers.

Eight months later, she agreed to come to RCIA with me, only as an inquirer, just to listen and ask questions. And she did ask questions, lots of questions. Often during RCIA, when she asked these questions, I felt like I knew the answer even better than the person answering her question, but I just kept my mouth shut (both during RCIA and during the drive home), because I knew it would be harder for her to hear it from me. About a week ago she told me something I hadn't known, namely, that during the RCIA teaching on Mary, she actually got so upset that she had to leave the room, and pretend to go to the restroom, while in fact she was sitting on the
stairs in the hallway for a while calming down, before she could come back into the RCIA room. This was a very hard process for her. We started reading together (out loud to each other) from Peter Kreeft's Catholic Christianity, reading a little bit each day. I can remember, as I finished reading out loud that last page of Kreeft's book, she was sitting across from me at the kitchen table. I closed the book, and she looked at me and said, "I think I am ready to become Catholic."


Kim said...

I feel your pain (or the reliving of it). The only way I can keep peace in my marriage is to be quiet. We can't talk about this thing I'm going through at all without it turning ugly. I don't know what to do next and dread that whatever I do it will bring pain. Will it be worth it? Will it be the right thing to do? I wonder these things all the time.

Going to read from the links you shared now.

contrarian 78 said...

I just bought Catholic Christianity on Friday to read with my wife and ponder!