Fr. C. John McCloskey: A Life-long Catholic

For more information about this series of posts and this TV series, see this page.

The twenty-fourth episode of The Journey Home is titled “Fr. C. John McCloskey: A Life-long Catholic” and aired April 3, 1998. It can be viewed online here.

As previously with these episodes where the guest has always been Catholic, I expected to have little to say in response.

However, about 13 minutes into the episode, Fr. C. John McCloskey says, “There is no good reason to leave the Church. There are excuses that people give, but there’s no good reason.” No good reason? I can think of a few. One is that there just isn’t evidence that god exists, despite the Catholic doctrine claiming there is. Another is that the genetic evidence shows the Catholic position of a literal Adam and Eve is false. A third is that the Catholic Church spent decades protecting child rapists from justice, demonstrating I think conclusively that no loving god is in charge there. A fourth reason is when you discover that your morals lie opposite to the moral teachings of the Church, and you find you must follow your own conscience. A worse reason to leave is finding community in a different church, but I still think that’s a good reason, an understandable reason, not just an excuse. Obviously, I’m not presenting evidence for any of these reasons, but I just want to point out that there are several good reasons to leave the Catholic Church behind. Even if you don’t agree that these reasons represent truth, surely you can see that these would be good reasons to leave.

Not much later, Fr. McCloskey says, “Every person is only one good confession away from recovering their Catholicism.” I frankly am repulsed by this sentiment. My issues with Catholicism are factual, and this statement entirely ignores that people like me exist. Before someone can even hope to reach me (or someone like me) for conversion, they have to recognize that I understand Catholic theology and have realized that it is not correct for intellectual reasons first. Until that happens, anyone trying to re-convert me will just be talking past me.

So far, our breakdown of the guests’ religious state before conversion to Catholicism looks like this.

  • Serious Christian: 16
  • Always Catholic: 5
  • Lax Christian: 1
  • Non-Christian, but religious: 2
  • Non-believer, but not very skeptical: 0
  • Skeptic: 0

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