Thursday, July 15, 2004

Latest Wiseacre Theory on Catholic Conversion: Filthy Lucre

[all material below is public Internet material]

One "Binky Brown" writes (7-10-04):

"Observations About 'Clergy Converts To Catholicism' "

You know the people I'm talking about: Scott Hahn, David Currie, Robert Sungenis, etc..

My observation is that, if you study these men, sooner or later it becomes obvious that they were in a position where likely ulterior economic motives may have been the motivation for their "crossing the Tiber".

Hahn ("Rome Sweet Rome"), for example, was never "an ordained Presbyterian minister", as claimed: he was an associate pastor for some now-defunct independent congregation that averaged about 30 attendees on a Sunday. Then, he got a free ride for a Ph.D. at Catholic Marquette University, and voila!- He became a Catholic.

Currie ("Born Fundamentalist- Born Again Catholic")was never even a minister at all: he spent 5 years in a three year M. Div. program without graduating.

Sungenis was a minister within a liberal Protestant (PCUSA) denomination. Like the others, he never had much success as a Protestant minister before becoming a Catholic. Now asserting that the sun revolves around the earth, he has managed to isolate himself from many Catholics for both his terracentrist views, as well as alleged anti-Semitism.

There is even a "Coming Home Network" organization that holds forth new career opportunities as an enticement for those who become Roman Catholic. Conversion becomes the bargained for exchange in a contract for career enhancement.

The point here is: don't take these individuals at face value. More than likely, their "conversion" was little more than a career move. When they claim to be "a former Protestant minister", determine if they were ever successful as ministers of the gospel: Did they ever really pastor a church? How many people did they actually lead to Christ? Most won't actually say where they pastored, or name elders of the congregations they served (lest too many details of their purported pre-catholic existence come to life), so you may have to dig deeply.

Moreover, many of them play the "Saul before the road to Damascus" card to the hilt: they will claim to have been "anti-Catholic" before their conversion, but were "won over by the truth". Now, if you think you'll ever find a single arguably "anti-Catholic" book , article, or sermon by them before they turned to Romanism, good luck. Chances are their "anti-Catholicism" is but one more legend in their own minds.

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"Hilasterion" wrote (7-10-04):

The phenomenon being described is hard to deny.


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Hilasterion again (7-10-04; 6:20 PM):

. . . they crave attention. Being controversial is certainly a way of doing that. The books are more akin to tabloid trash than scholarship.


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Binky Brown returns (7-10-04; 7:38 PM) with another pearl of wisdom for all of us to ponder:

Newman was the most famous of the 19th Century Anglican "tracterians" [sic] who embraced the Church of Rome. His entry into the Roman Catholic Church was preceded by that of his "friend", Ambrose St. John. The two men shared a close relationship for the rest of St. John's life. When Ambrose St. John died, it is reported that Newman remained clutching the corpse through the night, sobbing all the while. Newman later remarked that he had "loved him with the love as strong as any man loves his wife." The two are buried in England in a common single grave.

You can draw your own conclusions, and in light of those facts, and the fact that others had commented upon Newman's "feminine" mannerisms while speaking, I have drawn my own, albeit tenative, conclusions. Hard and fast evidence that the two were engaged in a homosexual relationship will never likely be found, given the fact that Victorian England took a rather dim view of such matters. And yes- there is an effort by those who advocate homosexual agendas to read their sexual orientation into those who are long gone. All I am saying with regard to Newman is that there does exist certain facts which indicate that he may have been engaged in that lifestyle. It's certainly enough for me to not want to regard Newman as a model of virtue.


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And again, Binky, the reader of hearts and minds speaks (7-12-04; 6:53 AM):

Stephen Ray was a business owner both before, and after, his conversion to the RCC. As he and his business are located in a region with a significant Roman Catholic population (southeast Michigan), one has to ask if his conversion did anything but improve his business opportunities.

[Dave: well, seeing that Steve's business is a janitorial service for businesses, I highly doubt that Catholic businesses have more dust and dirt than Protestant ones. But what do I know? Maybe Catholics do more dirty business than Protestants????]

Moreover, as regards his history before coming to the RCC as an "anti-Catholic" (as another poster has claimed) : do we have any record of books written by him prior to his conversion that dealt with Roman Catholicism within this supposedly pejorative context?

[Dave: I've known Steve since 1983. In fact, the first time I met him I heard him speak at our singles group, and what did I talk to him about afterwards?: the anti-Catholic sub-theme of his presentation, which was derived in part from Francis Schaeffer, with whom he had studied in Switzerland. I was not anti-Catholic as a Protestant; but Steve definitely was. But then I am one of those lying, devious, money-hungry Catholic converts, too, so why trust my eyewitness report, huh?]

If we have only the word of Stephen Ray (or as previously noted, Scott Hahn, as to his pre-Catholic existence), and the individual has an obvious interest in playing this angle to the hilt in order to gain credibility among his new-found fold, we have every right to question, as would any cross-examiner of a witness, the issues of motive, bias, and interest. It's what I identified in my original post as the "Paul before the road to Damascus" card: often played, but rarely substantiated, except from the declarant (or his allies) himself.

Finally, it's not just about "selling books": look at Hahn's website, and see what he charges for a speaking engagement- my recollection is $2 grand a pop "plus expenses". Not an earth shattering amount when it comes to honorariums, but more that he'd ever earn in a week as an associate pastor for a small (thirty attendees a Sunday) independant congregation. Hahn also has a tenured professorship at a small Catholic university. So one can conclude that "crossing the Tiber" has paid off well for Hahn. And remember that one of his undergraduate majors was in economics. I submit that this honor grad has learned and applied lessons in determining market demand well.


[Scott Hahn couldn't have become a professor at a Protestant university or seminary??!! LOL He was offered a job as a DEAN at one such seminary, for heaven's sake, while he was still in his 20s. He finished at the top of his class in seminary. This is such ridiculous and stupid stuff, one wonders if Binky is doing this as a joke; poking fun at anti-Catholic credulity and ignorance and readiness to believe any asinine thing about Catholics]

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Just for the record, Binky later reveals that he is a former Catholic . . .

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I wonder if he makes more money now??? NOT!!! ROFLOL . . .

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