By John Norton - OSV Newsweekly, 4/17/2011
Maybe you saw the news about the prominent Protestant pro-life activist, Bryan Kemper, announcing late last month that he’s decided to make a “journey home to the Catholic Church.”
He made the decision at no small personal cost. In fact, he said a lot of the funding for his organization, Stand True – Christ Centered Pro-life, dried up overnight as former supporters among the Protestant churches registered their displeasure. (If you want to help, he’s soliciting donations at standtrue.com or Stand True; P.O. Box 890; Troy, OH 45373.)
On his website, Kemper said he had remained a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church for nearly a decade because he was inspired by the liturgy and reverence he found there.
Then he lists three big reasons why that ultimately was not enough, and why he felt compelled to join the Catholic Church. (Or more precisely, return to the Catholic Church; turns out he was baptized in a Catholic ceremony as an infant. So now he’s preparing for confirmation.)
His reasons were:
◗ “Church authority: There are simply thousands and thousands of denominations and every time someone disagrees with another teaching of their church they simply start a new one. The Catholic Church has had its teaching since the beginning of the Church in the Scriptures.
“There is no way God can be happy with thousands of denominations or so-called non-denominational churches. It seems that when people disagree on doctrine it often results in another breakoff church.
“The fact is that current Christian teaching can differ so much between two churches that it really constitutes different religions and different Gods. There must be one established truth that God gave us, one that has remained from the time of Christ.
◗ “Pro-life and Contraception: There is only one Church that has been consistent from the time of Christ to today on the teaching of pro-life and contraception. Before 1930 there was never a single Christian church in history to accept any form of contraception and today there is only one that absolutely has kept this Christian teaching and truth.
◗ “Communion or the Eucharist: I have always believed that communion was more than just a symbol and in looking back at early Church teaching it is crystal clear that this was taught from day one.”
Kemper says he “fought against” this decision for years. Hearing that made me think how easy it is for us to take our Catholicism for granted. Do we find it as compelling as Kemper does? If not, why not?
And what is it that either drew us to Catholicism, or keeps us there (beyond, one hopes, simple inertia)? The example of a person? An intellectual argument?
What’s your answer? Let me know in the comments section below or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note: Comments left online may be considered for publication in the Letters to the Editor section of OSV Newsweekly.
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