Book Critique of Return to ROME by Dr. Francis J. Beckwith
Return to ROME
By Francis J. Beckwith
Pages 11-12: It’s difficult to explain why one moves from one Christian
tradition to another. It is like trying to give an account to your
friends why you chose to pursue marriage to this woman rather than
another, though both may have a variety of qualities that you found
attractive. It seems, then, that any account of my return to the
Catholic Church, however authentic and compelling it is to me, will
appear inadequate to anyone who is convinced I am wrong. Conversely, my
story will confirm in the minds of many devout Catholics that the
supernatural power of the grace I received at baptism and confirmation
as a youngster were instrumental in drawing me back to Mother Church –
after a sojourn of several decades in Evangelical Protestantism.
Note: Only adult men and women were baptized in the apostolic church era.
But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the
kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were
baptized. Acts 8:12.
Page 12: Given these considerations, there is an awkwardness in sharing
my journey as a published book, knowing that many fellow Christians
will scrutinize and examine my reasons in ways that would appear to
some uncharitable and to others too charitable. And I suspect that most
of these examiners will see my reasons as mere pretexts for justifying
my travel to a destination to which I had unconsciously been moving for
quite some time. Nevertheless, given the public nature of my return to
the Catholic Church and my former prominence in the world of
Evangelical Protestant Christianity, I believe that I have a
responsibility, in the words of Peter, “to give an explanation to
anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope” (1 Pet. 3:15a).
Note: Christians will place their hope in Jesus Christ not a church.
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior
and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope, to Timothy, a true son in the
faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our
Lord. 1 Timothy 1:1-2.
Pages 12-13: Nevertheless, the American Church lost much as a
consequence of those early post-Vatican II days. Its reluctance to
properly screen prospective priests for theological fidelity and
personal chastity in the deceptively halcyon days of the sexual
revolution and its aftermath, coupled with the unchristian company-man
instincts of some bishops who reassigned and did not appropriately
discipline wayward priests, has brought scandal to the Church in
America. This is not to say that the vast majority of priests are not
fine Christian men who are honorably and properly administering the
sacraments. For this is in fact the case; praise be to God. Rather, it
means, to borrow a phrase from Richard Weaver, that ideas have
consequences, that what one believes about the nature of theological
truth and personal holiness will be cashed out in the catechesis that
one prepares and the prospective clergy that one selects and forms.
Note: Homosexual behavior is still a major problem among Catholic clergy.
Studies find it difficult to quantify specific percentages of Roman
Catholic priests who identify as gay priests, although the John Jay
Report reported that "homosexual men entered the seminaries in
noticeable numbers from the late 1970s through the 1980s", and
available figures for homosexual priests in the United States range
from 15–58%. A 2002 Los Angeles Times nationwide poll of 1,854 priests
(responding) reported that 9 percent of priests identified themselves
as homosexual, and 6 percent as "somewhere in between but more on the
homosexual side." Asked if a "homosexual subculture" (defined as a
"definite group of persons that has its own friendships, social
gatherings and vocabulary") existed in their diocese or religious
order, 17 percent of the priests said "definitely," and 27 percent said
"probably." 53 percent of priests who were ordained in the last 20
years (1982-2002) affirmed such a subculture existed in the seminary
when they attended. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Pages 14-15: And yet, as a Christian philosopher, whether Protestant or
Catholic, I must also take into account a third temptation, warned
against by Paul in Colossians 2:8-9: “Beware lest any man spoil you
through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after
the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (KJV). This passage
reminds me of how important it is for one to remain true to the Gospel
and to be diligent in recognizing that alluring temptation of being
impressed by, and for that reason, more easily deceived by, one’s own
philosophical speculations and professional accomplishments.
Note: Did any philosophers at Athens believe the Gospel?
And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while
others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.” So Paul departed
from among them. Acts 17:32-33.
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