THE NEW CATHOLICS: Contemporary Converts Tell Their Stories by Dan--Ed. O'Neill

THE NEW CATHOLICS: Contemporary Converts Tell Their Stories

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For 2000 years--since Saul became Paul--conversion has fired the Christian imagination. This anthology, containing 17 accounts of conversion to Roman Catholicism, may lack the blinding drama of the Road to Damascus, but it does offer its own muted, cerebral charms. What leads a man or woman to surrender to what Walker Percy (himself a convert) calls in his foreword ""the one holy Catholic apostolic and Roman thing""? Judging by these reports, it's often hunger for a creed that feeds the intellect as well as the heart. John C. Cort (""A Bizarre Conversion"") writes of turning to the Church as an undergraduate at Harvard, spurred by the ministry of Plato and Whitehead. Dale Vree (""A Less Traveled Road to Rome"") discovers Protestantism to be a Swiss cheese of theological loopholes that only Catholicism can plug. In the wittiest, warmest entry, Thomas Ho-ward, while still an Anglican, muses on the moral and mental superiority of the Mother Faith. A rather weird memoir finds teacher Celia Wolf-Devine encountering psychics and demons on her road to Rome. Two relatives of celebrities lend pop appeal: Pat Boone's daughter Cherry (""The Family Reunion"") describes her battle against anorexia, and Judith Rossner's daughter Jean (""Further Up and Further In"") tells of her escape from a childhood faith in ""Orthodox Reformed Freudianism."" These authors spring from a multitude of backgrounds--Buddhist, Protestant, atheist, New Age. Many of them bend over backwards to prove the inferiority of their abandoned faiths, a labor that leaves a sour taste in the mouth. Otherwise, this patchy anthology, while offering little new, does manage to bring a popular genre successfully up-to-date.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1987
Publisher: Crossroad