For years, the Catholic Television Network (EWTN) has had a show called The Journey Home. My parents used to watch this show when I was a child, for the few years that we had a dish before we tore the roof off the house. To the best of my recollection, the purpose of the show is to display how Catholicism is an awesome religion because so many people convert to it. When I found out that all the episodes are available online, I decided to watch them and review them. It’s undeniable that people convert to Catholicism; my question is, do they have good reasons? How many of them started as some form of Christian in the first place? How many came from other religions? How many were atheists or skeptics? Why did they convert, and would the answer to that question be a convincing reason for a skeptic?
If you decide to watch these episodes with me, you may notice that I ignore a lot of things I could respond to. The target audience is Catholics, and this is clear from the very first minute that Marcus Grodi begins speaking. These stories aren’t necessarily meant to convince a skeptic, but to strengthen the faith of a Catholic, or possibly convince a non-Catholic Christian to convert, and there’s really nothing wrong with that. Nonetheless, I’d like to see if this collection of conversion stories contains any compelling reasons for a skeptic to convert.
The sixth episode is titled “Fr. Ray & Ruth Ryland: Episcopalians Who Became Catholics – The Journey Home Program” and aired October 10, 1997. It can be viewed online here.
This episode is slightly different, in that there are actually two guests. They are a former Episcopalian minister and his wife, who entered the Catholic Church together with their children. Again, as with all previous episodes, they started with the presumption that Christianity is true, and came to think, from investigation, that Catholicism is the one true form of Christianity. In this case, the journey is slightly more interesting, because the man decided to become a Catholic priest, and he and his wife are exempt from celibacy. This is, of course, a rare case, and they spend most of the episode talking about how amazing it is that Catholicism has celibate clergy. Of course, with celibacy being so awesome, it is unclear to me why they do not practice it and sought an exemption from it.
The next episode actually has someone who started out their journey outside of Christianity, so perhaps this show will eventually contain something for the skeptic after all.
So far, our breakdown of the guests’ religious state before conversion to Catholicism looks like this.
- Serious Christian: 6
- Lax Christian: 0
- Non-Christian, but religious: 0
- Non-believer, but not very skeptical: 0
- Skeptic: 0