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 ninth episode is titled “Bob & Penny Lord: Returned To the Catholic Faith After Drifting Away – The Journey Home Program” and aired October 31, 1997. It can be viewed online here.
Once more, there just isn’t much I can offer in the way of commentary. I have marked this couple as “always Catholic” because they never gave themselves another label.
When their son died, they quite understandably fell away from practicing Catholicism. However, what drew them back was not some great answer to the Problem of Evil, but just a feeling that Christ lives in the Catholic churches. They did not even offer an answer, but blamed the devil for testing their faith.
They talk about how, if Catholics only knew Catholicism, everyone would join. That is almost laughably untrue in the face of my experience.
So far, our breakdown of the guests’ religious state before conversion to Catholicism looks like this.
- Serious Christian: 6
- Always Catholic: 2
- Lax Christian: 0
- Non-Christian, but religious: 1
- Non-believer, but not very skeptical: 0
- Skeptic: 0