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The twenty-second episode of The Journey Home is titled “Peter & Regina Cram: Episcopalians Who Became Catholics” and aired March 20, 1998. It can be viewed online here.
Once again, this episode focuses on a conversion from taking Christianity seriously to Catholicism. This time, there are actually two guests, as you can tell from the title: a married couple. The woman had been raised Catholic, but went into Protestantism as a teenager. The man had been Protestant his whole life until he became Catholic.
The reason that they became Catholic or returned to Catholicism is rather interesting, not because it hasn’t been covered by other guests, but because the way that Peter put it reminded me of an argument against Christianity. He says that he was looking at disputes within his church, and realized that everyone claimed the Bible as their authority, but nobody agreed on what it had to say about certain issues. Their answer was to go to the Catholic Church, obviously, because the Catholic Church has a spokesperson, an authority, who speaks for the Church itself. From my perspective, however, they could just as reasonably have said, “If there’s this much disagreement about what the Bible says, maybe it isn’t divine in origin after all, or god is a shitty communicator.” After all, you have to admit that an omnipotent being could have answered every issue in a way that would leave absolutely no room for disagreement, and done so in a way that would still allow for free exercise of the will in regards to obedience. You must also admit that that’s almost the opposite of the situation we have.
Much of the episode focuses on the fact that this couple came to the Catholic Church together. The advice they gave for a person considering Catholicism whose spouse is not willing to join them on that journey is equally applicable to a person leaving religion behind whose spouse is religious. They say to be loving and gently, to show respect, and to communicate and listening. It’s amazing how much of what they say in that conversation applies in both directions.
At one point, Marcus Grodi exclaims, “God designed our legs with a special spot for kneeling!” I knew that was wrong, since our knees are descended from ancient primate knees, and I’ve never seen a monkey or an ape kneel. I decided to do some research, and it didn’t take more than a few minutes to find a painful condition caused by excessive kneeling called Housemaids Knee. If there is a god who designed us to kneel, he didn’t do a very good job.
So far, our breakdown of the guests’ religious state before conversion to Catholicism looks like this.
- Serious Christian: 15
- Always Catholic: 4
- Lax Christian: 1
- Non-Christian, but religious: 2
- Non-believer, but not very skeptical: 0
- Skeptic: 0