Friday, September 29, 2006


HI everyone!

If you were listening to the Dr Is In today, Friday, Sept 29, you heard about the inaugaral meeting this Sunday 5:30 - 7:30 at the Holy Family Shrine on Interstate 80 at the Gretna interchange, EXIT 232. South on Hwy 31 to Pflug Rd turn Right (South) you'll see the Shrine appear on the horizon to your right within a mile.

We will gather together and praise God for the grace we've been given on our Journey Home to the Catholic Church. We'll open with prayer and thanksgiving and enjoy some snacks and conversation. We all can help each other and our parishes to the best of our ability when we find out where we will fit best into the large, Holy wonderful Mother Church. We need support in this transtition period. This is the place to meet where that support will flourish and we can make friendships that will last a lifetime.

We hope to see you all soon,
Rich and Susie

Friday, September 22, 2006

A sweet fragrance to our Lord...

This is me, before my Lord. I bring something dirty, i.e. my heart, and something not too well put together. He accepts my gift in that private place where my confession is heard. He changes and transforms my "offering" into a jar of sweet perfumed ointment, that I in turn, receive from Him. Then I can't keep it to myself. I can't contain that blessed joy, so I must break the jar open and give back to Him all this pleasing fragrance! This costly nard. This aroma far more pleasing than anything ever enjoyed on earth concocted in a laboratory. My hands, now worthy to touch his body, having been cleansed by his mercy and absolved of my sins, take that ointment and caress his feet, just as Mary Magdalene did. Then inevitably, tears fall. Tears of joy. This gift of mercy so sweet- this forgiveness so magnanimous, can only continue to break the "jar of my heart" daily. I must share this good news with others! Even if they despise the aroma and the fragrance is abhorrent to them. For there are some who prefer darkness to light and their own stench, to a beautiful permeating scent, as difficult as that is for me to comprehend!

Grace. Transforming grace. Abundant grace. Offered to all, but not accepted by all! But for me, by a most mysterious grace, I've longed for it all of my life. It is the most vivid representation of my Lord's unending mercy and solace. Nestled near his Sacred Heart, is this sweet, fragrant repose for my sin-sick soul the most penetrating. The most overwhelming. Where is this place, this garden of grace, where One Fragrance unites us? A little room in God's House. There, face to face, heart to heart with Him alone, speaking to me through his anointed priest. What a lovely 'circle of life' ... Come and see. Come and taste the beauty of this Sacrament called Reconciliation. Let the jar of your heart be broken and your "dirt offering" be transformed. Let it be made a sweet and pleasing aroma to Our God who waits for you with bated breath. Waiting to breathe Life into you! The Lover of your soul awaits you in that secret room. Then go to Adore Him in His Sanctuary, where He IS ever present for us all, there in the Blessed Sacrament. Be still and know His heart beats for no other than you. How can you linger any longer? For He says to you "Come away with me, my beloved. Let me wash you and shower you with grace and clothe you in resplendent garments, whiter than snow." .... "Come...come and adore Me and let me adore you." "You are the apple of my eye, my Bride." ~ susie

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Latest from John Martignoni's e-newsletter...

We receive John's weekly email newsletter that contains a wealth of information. I appreciate his Open Line Monday call-in program on the radio, and he's been kind to visit our blog and told us we're "doing a great job and to keep up the good work." That meant a lot to me let me tell you! To God be the glory and his drenching grace who's made this blog possible. For once we were blind but now we see and now we want to help others see our Holy Mother Church across the Tiber! His service to the Catholic Church and those curious about Her, is relentless in exposing the Fullness of Truth to many non-Catholics and many cradle Catholics who want to learn more about the Faith. This is a "Challenge and response" experpt from the most recent email. You can also read it on his link on our link list, Bible Christian Society. Thanks, John, for all you do, and your relentless pursuit to proclaim the Truth in a most loving, and thoughtful manner. You bless us every week, via radio and emails. I found this one very interesting. John agreed with the writer, and also disagreed with the writer, as I did when I sat down to read his questions. We all need to learn, none of us have "arrived" and this just graced me to know how to respond to some people we know from our former Evangelical years, on our Journey Home. I long to see ALL CHRISTIANS united! So did Jesus! They DO NOT HAVE THE FULLNESS OF TRUTH in their fellowships and can't claim that they do, when THEY ALL DISAGREE with everyother fellowship. Isn't that LOGICAL? They have only PARTIAL Truth, only bits of the Truth. Don't believe me? That's okay. We can agree to disagree in charity. Are you curious? Read on. And thanks so much for working so hard and diligently and faithfully, John! We love you and hope to meet you in person one day soon!
~ Susie & Rich


I have a question that maybe you can explain better than my Catholic friends. First, I'm Catholic myself with some Evangelical Biblical background (spirituality). I love my Catholic faith, the Sacramental life and the deep various spiritualities, and renewal movements in the Church (Focolare, Charismatics, Cursillo, etc.) When I speak to my Catholic friends about the fullness of truth, the fullness of Christ I tell them that some Non-Catholic Christians who are in an intimate relationship with Christ (Union), under grace, have received the fullness of the truth through that relationship from Christ himself. They are living the Gospel of Christ, therefore the living Gospel of Christ himself, the living truth. My Catholic friends' response seems to always be, and it always comes off as condescending, "We Catholics have the fullness of truth, we are the apostolic church, we have have the Eucharist etc. therefore, only we have the fullness of truth."

So I kindly ask them if a non-Catholic Christian who is living a fruitful Christian life, walking with Christ only has a part of Christ and they don't know how to answer this question. They usually get defensive, being the fundamentalists that they are, and begin to distance themselves from me. I'm starting to see that these legalistic Catholics have a hard time grasping intimacy with God and maybe that's why they cannot understand that Christ can fully reveal himself to other Christians just as he can reveal himself to Catholics. God is no respector of persons right?

I believe that if you are going to say that you have the fullness of the truth, you better have the fruitful life of the Spirit (Fruits of the Spirit) to substantiate what you are saying. In other words back it up with how you live, and your life should be able to speak the fullness of truth better than your words. My non-denominational Christian friends seem to be more hospitable, unifying and open minded about the fullness of truth. They simply say, "some know Christ and some don't" With them it's about knowing Christ, not about having a collection of information, or traditions that these intellectual, fundamentallist Catholics I run into at Church seem to have. I Would like to get your comments, thoughts on this please. Reply at your convenience.

May God bless You In Christ


Hello Abel,

I would say that I have to both agree and disagree with what you are saying. I agree with what you are saying about Catholics, which is, essentially, that you need to walk the walk if you're going to talk the talk. If you do have the fullness of truth, which the Catholic Faith has, then, as a Catholic, you have a greater responsibility to live the life of Christ than anyone else does. To whom much is given, much will be required.

However, if a Catholic does not live a Christian life...does not live up to the demands of his Faith...that does not mean that his Faith does not have the fullness of the truth. It simply means that he, as an individual Catholic, is not doing what his Faith calls him to do. So, there may be something lacking in the individual, but not in the Catholic Faith itself. Which means, that I would have to disagree with you when you say that there are some non-Catholic Christians who receive the fullness of the truth through their personal relationship with Christ.

What is the truth, Pilate asked. Well, as Christians, we know that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. So, Jesus is the truth. The more truth you have, the more Jesus you have. Also, Scripture tells us that the Church is the fullness of Christ. If the Catholic Church, then, contains the fullness of Christ, the fullness of truth, how can a non-Catholic, someone who does not accept all the teachings of the Catholic Church, ever have the fullness of truth? You cannot have both things happen at the same time. If the Catholic Church contains the fullness of the truth, then someone who does not accept all the teachings of the Catholic Church cannot ever have the fullness of the truth.

Are there non-Catholic Christians who live more godly lives than some, or even many, Catholic Christians...yes. Does living a godly life necessarily mean that you have the fullness of If you believe, as a Catholic, that the Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, how can you believe that someone who denies that, has the fullness of the truth? If Jesus has truly revealed the fullness of truth to someone who is not a Catholic...then why are they not a Catholic?

From John, chapter 4, we see that it is possible to worship what you do not know. In other words, you can worship God, you can think you know God, yet not really know Him as well as you thought you did. And, it is possible to know Him, but not open your life up to Him. You say these friends of yours are living the Gospel of Christ...yet, part of Christ's Gospel is that you must eat His flesh and drink His blood to have eternal life within you...John 6. Part of Christ's Gospel is that God gave men the authority on earth to forgive sins...Matthew 9 and John 20. Part of Christ's Gospel is that He founded the Church on the Rock of Peter...Matthew 16. And so on. Your friends do not believe and practice these things, so how can you say they have the fullness of truth?

In essence, you cannot have the fullness of truth both within and without the Catholic Church at the same time...that is not possible. If the fullness of truth resides within the Catholic Faith, as the Catholic Church claims, then those outside of the Catholic Faith cannot have the fullness of truth...regardless of how godly their lives may be. If someone outside of the Catholic Faith does indeed have the fullness of truth, then no Catholic can have it. Two people who have contradictory beliefs cannot both have the fullness of truth.

One other stated the following: "They usually get defensive, being the fundamentalists that they are, and begin to distance themselves from me. I'm starting to see that these legalistic Catholics have a hard time grasping intimacy with God and maybe that's why they cannot understand that Christ can fully reveal himself to other Christians just as he can reveal himself to Catholics."

Again, Christ can fully reveal Himself to anyone whom He chooses to reveal Himself to...just look at the example of Paul. However, a sign that He had fully revealed Himself to someone would be that they start believing and practicing the beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church...just look at the example of Paul. I would also say that these fundamentalist, legalistic Catholics who have a hard time grasping intimacy with God may be distancing themselves from you because they believe you to have a self-righteous, judgmental, and holier than thou attitude towards them. Maybe you don't, but that's the attitude that seems to be coming through in your email to me. So, if you do have that attitude towards them, you may wish to change. If you don't have that attitude towards them, you may wish to examine yourself to see if you possibly are offending people by your words and your actions when you don't really mean to. Do you wish to evangelize your Catholic friends and help t hem to a closer relationship with Christ, or do you wish to condemn them?

I would say that you and your non-denominational friends are probably much more "open" about the fullness of the truth, as you say, because you are not really asking questions about the truth and you do not realize that two people who believe different things about Jesus, about the sacraments, about the Pope, about the Church, about the Bible, about the means of salvation...both of those two people cannot have the fullness of the truth. Ask them some questions about the Eucharist, the Pope, Mary, and see if they truly are "open" to the fullness of the truth. I hope they are and I hope you can bring them around to seeing, through your words and your example, that the fullness of the truth does indeed reside within the Catholic Church.

In Christ,

John Martignoni

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Blessed Sacrament...numerous teachings

This is a wonderful website to see how our early Church Fathers regarded the Holy Eucharist. And to think that at one time, not that long ago, I thought that Catholics weren't "being fed!" 30 Years ago I thought I wasn't being fed in the Catholic Church. The 70's were such a strange time. I don't recall mention of the Blessed Sacrament and the REAL PRESENCE of CHRIST in the bread and wine. I hardly saw a rosary and devotional books weren't around and if so, they were only in the hands of those precious white-haired ladies who went faithfully to daily Mass and prayed those "old traditional prayers" on those odd beads and from small books. To me it was so old fashioned and so traditional, it didn't seem freeing. I actually felt somewhat sorry for those old ladies and gentlemen who did those things. God in his divine humor, played a joke on me~ and now I smile and laugh thinking about it, but not without a slight pang of regret at my presumptious albeit ignorant attitude back then. What brought us back to the Catholic Church? Tradition and the Blessed Virgin. When we first returned and went to Mass on December 8 (NOT a coincidence!) I asked my husband for a rosary and that was my most cherised gift on Christmas Day, 2004, a lovely blue rosary! What else brought us back to the Church? No doubt, little old ladies, praying their rosaries and praying prayers from stodgy, traditionalism-trapped prayer books! The joke was most certainly on me! ~ Thank you to all who passed before me, who diligently prayed daily for people like me. Those of us who had to prance down the prodigal path and ended up in the muck of the pig sty. Thank you dear ladies, and elderly gentlemen who faithfully stayed in Holy Mother Church on your knees and before the Blessed Sacrament, praying for the lost souls, the wandering sheep, and the scattered flocks. My hair is now turning grey, and I have 3 rosaries! I cherish and pray daily....almost daily the most holy rosary with Our Lady. I have a long way to go to be as faithful as you were. Pray for me, and I'll pray for you that one fine day, we'll meet merrily in Heaven.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

NEED A GOOD READ? This should qualify. . .

Louis Bouyer
The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism

(back in print 2001!)

The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism is a critical yet remarkably sympathetic analysis of the Protestant Reformation by a Lutheran who converted to Catholicism. In the first half he praises the positive principles of the Reformation, showing how they are truly Catholic. In part two he shows how those great principles have been continuously and inevitably undermined among the Reformers (and their heirs) as a result of Protestantism's failure to properly critique and throw off the nominalistic framework of the late medieval period. He clearly explains how the positive principles of the Reformation and Protestantism can only be sustained and flourish within the Catholic Church.

The Donut Man gets a "dunked" in the Tiber...

Watching the interview on The Journey Home last night with Rob Evans, The Donut Man, was just like a sugar high...only more nutritious and longer lasting! He's home, and we are too, and who knew the missing piece would be found on the other side of the river Tiber? If you're still wondering, and curious about his journey and why so many are taking the Tiber plunge, check out his story here.

Donut Sundays are back! Meet your fellow Catholics in your parish afer Mass for a bit o "sweet fellowship" and a hot cuppa. We need to build family and friendships and pray for our seperated brethren to come back Home and be in unity with the Church Jesus instituted to keep us safe and ONE with HIM.

See ya on the other side! Coffee and donuts anyone?

The Holy Name of Mary...

National Day of Prayer: Memorial of
the Holy Name of Mary

Queen Mary, Mother of God, Christ, Jesus. Our loving Mother

THE Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has declared today, the Memorial of the Holy Name of Mary, as a National Day of Prayer. The combination of popular devotion to Mary and calling Catholics to pray for peace and justice throughout the land is an unusual, if understandable, combination. Since the Holy Name of Mary recalls the Blessed Virgin’s role in God’s plan for the birth of Jesus, Catholics will recognize the value of prayer, regardless of their political persuasion.

The veneration of the name of Mary is a reflection of devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. That devotion grew in the late Middle Ages as a populist movement that reminded Christians in neighboring city-states and regions not to wage war against their fellow Christians. St. Bernadine of Sienna and John of Capistrano succeeded in popularizing devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus during the fifteenth century. They worked hard to prevent Christians from being drawn into petty wars, hatred, and bigotry. Today’s feast of the Holy Name of Mary developed in Spain early in the sixteenth century. Later in 1683, Pope Innocent XI extended the feast to the wider church.

In a nation divided by political rivalries, it is difficult to believe that peace and unity are possible. Perhaps this religious occasion will awaken in Marian devotees the hope that peace, truth, justice, and love are still possible. Catholics believe that Mama Mary is their intercessor before the throne of God; hence, the many titles, litanies, and devotions to the Virgin Mary. Perhaps today’s observance will lead Marian devotees to storm heaven with their prayers for peace and national reconciliation.

Today is a Feast that is not on all the Catholic Calendars published but it is celebrated in some places. It is a lovely reminder of how sweet it is to call on our Mother Mary, each time we pray, "Hail Mary".

May we think of her often today, may we pray to console her Immaculate Heart which is one with His Sacred Heart. I was reading an excerpt from an address given by Pope John Paul II on this:

The suffering of this mysterious new Daughter of Sion, Mary, is a result of the innumerable sins of all Adam's children, sins that have caused our expulsion from Paradise.
In Mary, therefore, in a unique way, there is revealed the salvific mystery of suffering, and the fullness of human solidarity. Because the Virgin did not suffer for herself, being All Beautiful, the ever Immaculate One: she suffered for us, in so far as she is the Mother of all. Just as Christ "bore our infirmities and endured our sufferings" (Is 53:4) so also Mary was weighed down as by the sufferings of childbirth through an immense motherhood that makes us reborn to God. The suffering of Mary, the new Eve, alongside the new Adam, Christ, was and still is the royal path to the reconciliation of the world.

This quote was part of an article entitled "The Hearts of Jesus and Mary and the Theology and Practise of Reparation by Msgr. Arthur B. Calkins.

May this day be a blessing for all of us, and by God's Grace also a day in which we may learn to love in union with the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

Joachim, Anne and Mary as a child.

Mary is an example for us in our lives. There are occasions when we have to accept difficulties, sometimes hardships, sometimes sorrow; often we must put ourselves second, sometimes third, for the sake of others and in giving our own ‘yes’ to God.

Lord, today, I may be called on to forget myself for the sake of others. Give me a joyful courage on these occasions rather than self pity.

Pope Benedict's statement on vocations & empty pews...


It was there in a statement made by the Pope. Speaking during his visit to Germany, Benedict XVI lamented how, if an African bishop goes to Germany, presenting a plea for a social program, he receives enormous help. Every door opens.

But, said the Pope, when an African bishop goes to that same country (or, one might add, any Western nation) with a plan for evangelization, he meets with "reservations."

"Clearly some people have the idea that social projects should be urgently undertaken, while anything dealing with God or even the Catholic faith is of limited and lesser importance," said the Holy Father -- so tellingly, in this land of the Reformation, and speaking about the Church!

In a nutshell there was the root of a current crisis in the priesthood:

Many of our clerics are more social workers, or sociologists, than they are evangelists, more comfortable in the board room of a social agency than in a church where there is the laying on of hands. They prefer the academic, sociological approach to one that is spiritual.

And thus do we have priests who halt visitors from healing services, dissuade Bible studies, quash efforts to establish Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, dislike the Rosary, discourage deliverance, don't know how to bless a home, scoff at the notion of sacramentals, mock the claim of miracles, or simply ignore all of the above.

The same is true all over.

And the Pope was making key links when he also said during the same trip that Western societies suffer a "hardness of hearing" because the air has been filled with the complications of science.

"Put simply," he said, "we are no longer able to hear God -- there are too many different frequencies filling our ears."

More than most realize, science has become the chief nemesis of God.

What is said about God is often considered pre-scientific, "no longer suited to our age," said the Pope -- in the land of Einstein.

Too many priests are ashamed of an unabashedly mystical approach because of the science the swirls and dominates, that creates so many frequencies (literally), around us, is what Benedict -- himself an intellectual -- was saying.

Such is also true of numerous theologians, deacons, and nuns.

They are afraid of seeming to be superstitious, when this is certainly nothing that Christ would have feared.

He came down to pull down such strongholds.

He came down to show the actual force of the Lord.

Einstein himself believed in miracles and professed a great fascination with "the Nazarene," as he once put it.

"No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual Presence of Jesus," this great scientist, who was educated in a Catholic school, was quoting as saying. "His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life."

But that is not the attitude of modern science and it is modern science that has pervaded our education to such an extent that even our clerics don't really believe in much that cannot be documented in a bell jar.

Too many priests are like social workers in religious trappings -- tolerating religion only out of the sense that the public does not want to shed the rituals of tradition.

As a result, the Church has allowed itself to become deadened in certain areas and this is perhaps why other denominations remain. Until it livens up, there will be Pentecostals.

In Africa, in India, in Poland, in the Philippines -- where vocations and the faith is so strong -- there is no such problem. There are deliverances. There is public discourse on the faith. There is the belief in apparitions. People don't just get lectured, they get healed!

Teach this in the rest of the world, preach this, and watch the difference.

Teach the path to miracles.


You don't have to go beyond what Christ did. Was He superstitious?

Just imitate Him -- and watch both the pews and seminaries fill to overflowing (or at least begin to).

Monday, September 11, 2006

We remember the heroes of 9-11-01 and all others who "do what's right" not what's comfortable....

Unsung Heroes
they're everywhere around us
doing most heroic things
like staying in a loveless marriage
when they could just spread their wings
maybe caring for a sick parent
or a child too ill to speak
not seeking any credit
just doing the next thing
not requesting recognition
or anyone's applause
they're too busy being heroes
and helping just because
the sports stars making millions
while playing games these days
and self-absorbed celebrities
most often steal their praise
but unsung heroes just don't care
they're too busy . . . being brave

susie melkus

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


By another Catholic blogger, Mark Mallett. Thank you for your "sobering" post. May we be graced with repentant hearts and obedient to our Lord as was Our Lady. JM pray for us! ~ susie

Where would your soul go for all of eternity if today was the day you died? St. Thomas Aquinas kept a skull on his desk to remind him of his own mortality, to keep the real goal before him. That is the purpose behind these "trumpets of warning", to prepare us to meet God, whenever that may be. God is marking souls: those who believe in Jesus, and live according to His commandments which He promised would bring "abundant life". It is not a threat, but an invitation… while there is still time.

I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of [sinners]…. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy… He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice.Diary of St Faustina, 1160, 848, 1146

Yet even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God.For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, andrelenting in punishment. Perhaps he will again relent and leave behind him a blessing… (Joel 2:12-14)


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Clinging to Mercy's Hand. . . I too shall rise and "go and sin no more."

Mercy Alone
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I reach to cling to Mercy's Hand
While slowly from the dirt I rise
Then Mercy bends to raise me up
And I gaze into Mercy's eyes
My sins of scarlet Mercy forgives
Blood-red sins now as white as the snow
They're cast as far as the East from the West
Tender Mercy makes my heart overflow
Mercy has only His arm extended to me
Mercy has not a stone to throw
Mercy waits for you to call on Him, too
And Mercy longs for you to know
Mercy is new for you every morning
Mercy will hold at night you while you sleep
Mercy will give you a reason to smile
And Mercy understands why you weep
Keep reaching out to cling to the Hand
That is always there reaching for you
Let Mercy change you from the inside out
Mercy alone will see you through
susie melkus
copyright pending
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Sunday, September 03, 2006

RECON logo... it says it all!

Thanks Maureen for your talent and putting the design that loomed in my head onto paper!

Please visit Maureen's website:

RECON Inaugural meeting scheduled!

RECON will have it's inaugural meeting on Sunday, October 1, 2006. And every FIRST SUNDAY of the month. We will gather at the Holy Family Shrine (I-80 Exit 432) from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise posted, so check back or email us to be updated. If any of you are interested in bringing something to eat, please feel free to bring something for yourself. This won't be a a pot-luck meeting, per se, as we have no idea how many will be coming. We want our first meeting to be simple and fun with nobody feeling obligated to bring any food items. We can certainly have potluck dinners/lunches down the road, however. We hope this is a time that will work for everyone, but realize that it won't work for everyone. We thought that Sundays would be best with all that goes on during the weeknights and Saturdays in this football season/school functions, etc. It will be early enough to still get home in time to be with your family. Being once a month, this shouldn't stretch anyone too far, but if there are any of us who'd like to get together in between our monthly meetings, we can certainly do so. Flexibility is key. We realize it's the dinner hour, so that's why you're free to bring something to eat if you so desire. The HFS is lovely, and peaceful. We hope to see all of you that we have visited with on the phone and in person and will have a wonderful time of prayer with our Lord Jesus in his prairie tabernacle, to offer up our petitions and our praise for a much needed group such as RECON. All glory and honor belong to our Lord. May Mary's mantle be ever over and around us as we seek to grow in our faith, in our love and in our service to the Lord and one another. Please spread the word to all who might be interested in meeting other reverts and converts for support, fellowship and a good time! AMEN! See you there! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Thomas Howard... a favorite author

I found this recently while surfing the net today. Below are excerpts from his books/articles. I am very fond of this author, eventhough I've only read one of his books. I do read much more than I ever did, and always have enjoyed reading, but I'm not aware of all the great Catholic writers out there, being a neophite to and in the CC. I had not a clue Thomas Howard is the brother of Elisabeth Elliot. I used to listen to her on our Christian radio station about 9 years ago. I was so exicted to hear Thomas "jumped the Tiber" too! When one is truly interested in delving into history and into the depth of Holy Scripture, one can't help but be beckoned and answer that call to HOME...Rome Sweet Home that is. I am posting the link where I found this and hope you visit. It was a very extensive, and informative blog spot. ~ susie

Thomas Howard Quotes

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

[compiled and uploaded to my website in 1997]

Biographical Brief

Thomas Howard is one of the most popular and eloquent Catholic authors today, and (in my humble opinion) the stylistic successor to C.S. Lewis. Like Lewis, he is an English professor, formerly at Gordon College, and now at St. John's Seminary (both in Massachusetts). He was raised in a solidly evangelical family, and is the brother of the well-known missionary and writer Elisabeth Elliot. After becoming interested in a more liturgical style of worship at Wheaton College in the late 1950s, he became an Episcopalian.

In 1985, Howard was received into the Catholic Church at the age of 50, after a "20-year pilgrimage," shortly after publishing perhaps his most famous book, Evangelical is Not Enough. He cites the influence of great Catholic writers such as Newman, Knox, Chesterton, Guardini, Ratzinger, Karl Adam, Louis Bouyer, and St. Augustine on his final decision. Howard's always stylistically-excellent prose is especially noteworthy for its emphasis on the sacramental, incarnational and "transcendent" aspects of Christianity.

His conversion caused quite a stir in Protestant evangelical circles, and was the subject of a mildly frantic and somewhat defensive feature article in the leading evangelical periodical Christianity Today ("Well-known Evangelical Author Thomas Howard Converts to Catholicism," May 17, 1985, pp.46-62). His wife Lovelace has also recently entered the Catholic Church.


1967 Christ the Tiger
1969 Chance or the Dance?
1976 Hallowed be This House
1980 The Achievement of C.S. Lewis
1984 Evangelical is Not Enough
1985 Christianity: The True Humanism (with J.I. Packer)
1987 C.S. Lewis: Man of Letters
1991 The Novels of Charles Williams
1994 Lead, Kindly Light: My Journey to Rome
1995 When Your Mind Wanders at Mass
1997 On Being Catholic

Evangelical Strengths and Weaknesses

I owe my nurture to evangelicalism. The evangelical wins hands down in the history of the church when it comes to nurturing a biblically literate laity. When we think of evangelism, evangelicals are the most resourceful, the most intrepid, and the most creative. But evangelicals themselves would say that they have never come to grips with what the whole mystery of the church is. I don't know whether I've ever met an evangelical who does not lament the desperate, barren, parched nature of evangelical worship. They're frantic over the evangelical poverty when it comes to the deeper reaches of Christian spirituality and what the mystery of worship is all about.

{Interview: "Why Did Thomas Howard Become a Roman Catholic?," Christianity Today, 15 May 1985, 49}

The Meaning of Existence

There were some ages in Western history that have occasionally been called Dark. They were dark, it is said, because in them learning declined, and progress paused, and men labored under the pall of belief. A cause-effect relationship is frequently felt to exist between the pause and the belief. Men believed in things like the Last Judgment and fiery torment . . . Then the light came . . . Men were freed from the fear of the Last Judgment; it was felt to be more bracing to face Nothing than to face the Tribunal . . . The myth sovereign in the old age was that everything means everything. The myth sovereign in the new is that nothing means anything.

{Chance or the Dance: A Critique of Modern Secularism, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1969, 11-12}

Chronological Snobbery

Because a given era lacked a given body of information, we feel that its whole consciousness was naive. We can, therefore, sniff at, say, twelfth-century imagery of evil along with twelfth-century notions as to the shape of the solar system. The idea is that, having come upon information that supervenes the medieval cosmology, we can thereby dismiss all medieval notions as merely medieval . . . Their credulity left them open to the possibility of such touching vagaries as dragons, hell, and Virgin Birth. We, of course, know better . . . We now know that nothing exists that we cannot examine through a glass or on the consulting couch.

{Christ the Tiger, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1967, 138}


The eternal . . . attires itself in the routine, the inauspicious, the anonymous. It does this because it reserves itself (it is so holy) for the pure eye of faith . . . The eye of faith alone can pierce the surface and see Reality. That is why Catholics genuflect when they come to church. They know that this is a holy place, and to be found on one's knee is a very good posture in such precincts. It says, ceremonially, not verbally, "I am a creature, and thou art my Creator. I am thy child and thou art my Father. I am a subject and thou art my Sovereign. And alas, I am a sinner, and thou art holy" . . . A Catholic has difficulty in grasping what it is that non-Catholics espouse that precludes this act. Surely we are not mere minds? Surely all of us bring physical gesture to bear on all situations (a wave, a nod, a kiss). Why is the physical excluded here? Surely to exclude it here and here alone is to imply a gnostic (disembodied), not a Christian (incarnational) state of affairs?

{On Being Catholic, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997, 69-70}

Church Unity

Where we (non-Catholics) were pleased to live with a muddle, and even with stark contradictions (Luther vs. Zwingli, for example, on the Lord's Supper), the Church of antiquity was united. No one needed to remain in doubt forever as to what the Church might be, or where it might be found . . . There was one Church: the Church was one. And this was a discernible, visible, embodied unity, not a loose aggregate of moderately like-minded believers with their various task forces all across the globe. The bishop of Antioch was not analogous to the General Secretary of the World Evangelical Fellowship, nor to the head of the National Association of Evangelicals . . . . He could speak with the full authority of the Church behind him, whereas these latter gentlemen can only speak for their own organizations.

{Lead, Kindly Light: My Journey to Rome, Steubenville, OH: Franciscan University Press, 1994, 38-39}

The Sins of the Catholic Church

Rome's opulence, her political machinations down through the centuries, her tyrannies and hauteur and self-assertiveness, not to mention the Dionysian romp in the Vatican in the Renaissance, what with Borgia popes and catamites and so forth: all of that is bad - very bad. The Catholic Church knows that. Dante, of course, had half of the popes head down in fiery pits in hell. Chaucer, contemporary with the Lollard Wyclif, but himself a loyal Catholic, is merciless - scathing even - in his portraiture of filthy and cynical clergy. St. Thomas More and Erasmus, contemporary with Luther and Calvin, were at least as vitriolic in their condemnation of Roman evils as were the Reformers . . . [But] Israel was not less Israel when she was being wicked . . . The Church is in the same position in its identity as people of God. We have Judas Iscariot, as it were, and Ananias and Sapphira, and other unsavory types amongst us, but we have no warrant to set up shop outside the camp, so to speak . . . Evangelicals, in their just horror at rampant evils in Catholic history, . . . unwittingly place themselves somewhat with the Donatists of the fourth century, who wanted to hive off because of certain evils which they felt were widespread in the Church. Augustine and others held the view that you can't go that far. You can't set up shop independently of the lineage of bishops . . . As far as the ancient, orthodox Church was concerned, nobody could split off . . . The problems of the Roman Catholic Church (sin, worldliness, ignorance) are, precisely, the problems of the Church. St. Paul never got out of Corinth before he had all of the above problems. Multiply that small company of Christians by 2000 years and hundreds of millions, and you have what the Catholic Church has to cope with. Furthermore, remember that the poor Catholics aren't the only ones who have to cope. Anyone who has ever tried to start himself a church has run slap into it all, with a vengeance . . . Worldliness, second-generation apathy, ossification, infidelity, loss of vision, loss of zeal, loss of discipline, jiggery-pokery, heresy - it's all there.

{"Letter to my Brother: A Convert Defends Catholicism," Crisis, December 1991, 23-24,26}

Monogamy and Fidelity

For Christians, the reason why it is ordinarily assumed that a marriage will go on "till death do us part" has been that this advanced lesson in Charity which marriage opens into is a long, a difficult one, and the life span that my spouse and I are allowed will certainly not be nearly long enough to finish the lesson . . . I will have as much as I can do to learn this advanced lesson well with one other person; a harem will only confuse my efforts.

{Hallowed be This House, Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1976, 112-113}

Eucharist and Incarnation

The Sacrament of the Eucharist is, of course, one step away from the Incarnation itself, where the thing signified (The Word) and the signifier (Jesus) were absolutely one. Symbol and sign and metaphor strain towards this union; Sacrament presents it, but the Incarnation is that perfect union. Again, it is a scandal. God is not man, any more than bread is flesh. But faith overrides the implacable prudence of logic and chemistry and says "Lo!"

{Evangelical is Not Enough, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1984, 111}

Christian Ceremony

Ceremony assists us to cope with the otherwise unmanageable. Far from erecting a barrier between us and the truth, it ushers us closer in to the truth. It dramatizes the truth for us. Ceremony does what words alone can never do. It carries us beyond the merely explicit, the expository, the verbal, the propositional, the cerebral, to the center where the Dance goes on . . . Ceremony belongs to the essential fabric of what we are. We do not need verses from the Bible to validate ceremony for us any more than we need verses to tell us to eat our meals or to have sex. The Bible is not a handbook of everything . . . To prohibit ceremony, or even to distrust it, and to reduce the worship of God Himself to the meager resources available to verbalism, is surely to have dealt Christendom a dolorous blow.

{Evangelical is Not Enough, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1984, 98,100}

C.S. Lewis as Rhetorician

Anyone who has . . . read Mere Christianity . . . knows something of the sheer force and magnificence of Lewis in argument. There is nothing snide, nothing petty, nothing ad hominem, disingenuous, or irrelevant. All is magnanimity, clarity, and craftsmanship. Lewis knew backwards and forwards the art of argument - of rhetoric, actually, in its Renaissance meaning, designating the whole enterprise of opening up and articulating and working through a given line of thought.

{C.S. Lewis: Man of Letters, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1987, 15}

Orthodox Worship

When I walk into an Orthodox Church . . . one is immediately aware that one has stepped into the presence of what St. Paul would call the whole family in heaven and earth. You have stepped into the precincts of heaven! . . . I love the Orthodox Church's spirit. I think the Orthodox Church many, many centuries ago, discovered a mode of music and worship which is timeless, which is quite apart from fashion, and which somehow answers to the mystery and the solemnity and the sacramental reality of the liturgy.

{"A Conversation With Thomas Howard and Frank Schaeffer," The Christian Activist, vol. 9, Fall/Winter 1996, 43}


A rigorous doctrine of imputation is not only limiting but ends up doing a disservice to the nature of grace and justification. It makes the transactions of the gospel basically juridical. In the Roman view, justification and sanctification are a seamless fabric. It is more than a question of God simply seeing us through a legal scrim of Christ's righteousness. Righteousness actually begins to transform us.

{Interview: "Why Did Thomas Howard Become a Roman Catholic?," Christianity Today, 15 May 1985, 57}

The Gospel in the Mass

It is in the familiar structure of the Mass itself that a Catholic not only encounters but finds himself received into the very gospel itself, day by day, year after year . . . the entire liturgy is a seamless gospel fabric, so to speak. It is the gospel, in public, ceremonial, ritual, explicit form.

{On Being Catholic, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997, 122}

The Church Off the Rails by 95 AD

As a Fundamentalist I had discovered while I was in college that it is possible to dismiss the entire Church as having gone off the rails by about AD 95. That is, we, with our open Bibles, knew better than did old Ignatius or Clement, who had been taught by the very apostles themselves, just what the Church is and what it should look like. Never mind that our worship services would have been unrecognizable to them, or that our governance would have been equally unrecognizable: we were right, and the fathers were wrong (about bishops, and about the Eucharist). That settled the matter.

{Lead, Kindly Light: My Journey to Rome, Steubenville, OH: Franciscan University Press, 1994, 32}

Devotional Legalism and "Magic"

Another thing that worried me . . . was the array of devout exercises that was seen by each group as having a unique and a divine validity. That is, people who were loyalists of any form of religious orthodoxy assumed that their set of gestures, and their set alone, represented true love for God . . . The great thing is to discover some activity that signals good intentions before God . . . There is almost no way of keeping ourselves free from the inclination to magic. We like to see others' gestures as vain, idolatrous, or superstitious, but it does not often occur to us to think about what would be left of our own righteousness if the familiar equipment were suddenly to vanish.

{Christ the Tiger, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1967, 72-73}

Sacraments and Nature

Sacrament is metaphor lifted by redemption from the mortal world, locked as that world is into mere "nature" . . . Sacrament, recalling and presenting the Incarnation itself, is not so much supernatural as quintessentially natural, because it restores to nature its true function of being full of God . . . , not in a pantheistic [sense] that blurs the distinction between Creator and creation but in testimony that indeed heaven and earth are full of His glory. Nature is the God-bearer, so to speak, not the god, nor God and nature merged.

{Evangelical is Not Enough, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1984, 110}

Adam and Eve and the Fall

There is, like it or no, a Dance going on, and one may join or not . . . The implication . . . of the Adam and Eve story is that if they had bowed to the interdict placed on the forbidden fruit, life and not death would have been the guerdon. That is, paradoxically, if they had knuckled under to what looked emphatically like a denial of their freedom, . . . they would have discovered something unimaginable to them - something that, according to the story, was at that very point lost to them and us for the duration of human time.

{Chance or the Dance: A Critique of Modern Secularism, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1969, 106-107}

Inquisitorial Orthodoxy

That religious earnestness forever tends toward fright and hence towards brittleness and inquisition is clear enough in mythology and history. In the story of Job, for instance, God took the side of Job, who had complained and accused him, against Job's orthodox friends. They were correct in their propositions, but their loyalty to what they were sure was true had led them into subhuman attitudes. They had become inquisitors. Christ had a similar problem with the Pharisees, and Saint Paul with the leaders of early Christendom.

{Christ the Tiger, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1967, 97}


Love . . . asks that you disavow your attempt to enlarge your own identity by diminishing that of others. It asks that you cease your effort to safeguard your own claim to well-being by assuming the inferiority of others' claims. It asks, actually, that you die.

{Christ the Tiger, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1967, 144-145}

Sacraments and the Incarnation

Sacraments, like the Incarnation itself, constitute physical points at which the eternal touches time, or the unseen touches the seen, or grace touches nature. It is the Gnostics and Manicheans who want a purely disembodied religion.

{Lead, Kindly Light: My Journey to Rome, Steubenville, OH: Franciscan University Press, 1994, 43}

Catholic vs. Protestant Heterodoxy

"Trouble," especially doctrinal conflict and the various efforts to include moral (read "sexual") innovations within the pale of the Church, is qualitatively different in the Catholic Church from what it is in the denominations . . . In church X, shall we say, we may find a bishop urging homosexuality as a profoundly Christian "style of life," or ostentatiously doubting the Lord's virgin birth, or busily eroding the confidence of his flock in the text of Scripture. Nothing can be done except ad hoc protest. Good men in the denomination may get up a White Paper, or write articles, or introduce a resolution in the next General Convention. But we all know what this sort of thing ends in. Alas. In the Catholic Church there occurs this same heresy and false teaching, often loudly taught in high theological quarters. But everyone - both in the world and the Church - knows that there is a desk on which the buck stops, so to speak, and that when Rome has spoken on the issue, it is concluded . . . Rome can say and does say to the Church and the world, "This which you hear Fathers C. and F. teaching is not Catholic teaching. It is not in accord with the Faith once for all delivered to us by the apostles." . . . No one need be in the slightest doubt on the point; whereas another denomination, if it can ever get up the votes, can only pass a resolution.

{Lead, Kindly Light: My Journey to Rome, Steubenville, OH: Franciscan University Press, 1994, 84-85}

The "Embarrassed Catholic"

An embarrassed Catholic . . . goes to Mass, to be sure. But an onlooker might suppose that he was seeing a man awaiting the dentist's drill. Great gloom emanating from the facial expression, heavy winter jacket all bunched up, mouth clamped firmly shut during anything as stupid as singing, and a beeline for the door at the instant of dismissal. It can happen that, upon being asked about his faith, such a man will only mutter awkwardly, and change the subject.

{"Catholic is Not Enough," Envoy, May/June 1997, 39}