I received today my copy of G.K. Chesterton’s “The Catholic Church and Conversion.” The following passage got me thinking: “For the convert’s sake, it should also be remembered that one foolish word from inside does more harm than a hundred thousand foolish words from outside. The latter he has already learned to expect, like a blind hail or rain beating upon the Ark; but the voices from within, even the most casual and accidental, he is already prepared to regard as holy or more than human; and though this is unfair to people who only profess to be human beings, it is a fact that Catholics ought to remember. There is many a convert who has reached a stage at which no word from any Protestant or pagan could any longer hold him back. Only the word of a Catholic can keep him from Catholicism.”
Chesterton captured here something I have been feeling for sometime. A couple of weeks ago I started attending an RCIA class. Yesterday I was reading an article on the sacraments which the priest gave us. As I started reading it I discerned that I was in a very skeptical frame of mind. It was odd because the material was quite good. I realized I was not being skeptical of the Catholic position I was skeptical that the document would not present the Catholic position. I was afraid that a Catholic would try to destroy my Catholic faith. It seems odd but it is true. Catholics may be their own worst enemies. When I read, for instance, “and it [growth in insight] comes from the preaching of those who, on succeeding to the office of bishop, have received the sure chrism of truth.” (DEI VERBUM 2.8) and then read Catholics who talk about how messed up many of the US bishops are, I feel a very real pang of doubt. Chesterton was very insightful.