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Confessions of a Convert
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Confessions of a Convert
Publisher Marketing: Monsignor Benson begins: "I have been told that I became a Catholic because I was dispirited at failure and because I was elated at success; because I was imaginative and because I was unperceptive; because I was not hopeful enough and because I was too hopeful, faithless and too trusting, too ardent and too despairing, proud and pusillanimous. I have even been told, since the first publication of these papers, that I have never truly understood the Church of England." He then proceeds to describe his life story in the Church of England, which included ordination as an Anglican "priest." (He uses the quotation marks to designate his ordination.) He describes how the Sacrament of Confession was dear to him and led him to the Catholic Church. He details how his life flowed forward and his thinking became clear, for there are many theories going about. One is the "Branch Theory," which holds that the "catholic church" consists of three branches, Anglican, Roman and Orthodox. All come from the same root, according to this theory. "Secondly, there was the question of Catholicity itself. The Anglican theory was simply bewildering, as I looked at it from a less provincial standpoint. I had no notion as to who was the rightful Bishop, say, of Zanzibar; it would depend, I thought, chiefly on the question as to which Communion, the Roman or the Anglican, happened to have landed first on the African coast! In fact, Jurisdiction was represented to me as a kind of pious race-game. In Ireland I knew very well that I was in communion with persons who, according to my personal views, were simply heretics, and out of communion with persons who believed, so far as practical religion went, exactly what I myself believed. On the other hand, the Roman theory was simplicity itself. "I am in communion," the Romanist could say with St. Jerome, "with Thy Blessedness - that is, with the Chair of Peter. On this rock I know that the Church is built." The Roman theory worked, the Anglican did not." "I do not suppose that anyone ever entered the City of God with less emotion than mine. It seemed to me that I was utterly without feeling; I had neither joy nor sorrow, nor dread nor excitement. There was the Truth, as aloof as an icepeak, and I had to embrace it. Never for one single instant did I doubt that, nor, perhaps it is unnecessary to say, have I ever doubted it since. I tried to reproach myself with my coldness, but all fell quite flat. I was as one coming out of the glare of artificial light, out of warmth and brightness and friendliness, into a pale daylight of cold and dreary certainty. I was uninterested and quite positive." This may sound like a strange conversion story, but let us consider that the ways of Almighty God vary from individual to individual.