You Converted to What?

One Mennonite's Journey

At Pentecost 2004, I made a small yet formidable step in my life of Christian discipleship. Having considered myself a “Catholic Mennonite” for years, I entered into full communion with the Roman Church and became what I think of as a “Mennonite Catholic.” Catholic friends were gratified but puzzled. After all, this might not have seemed an auspicious time to join the church. The body blow of the sexual-abuse scandals; a shortage of priests that has left many parishes without regular Eucharists; a gnawing generation gap between incoming priests and the generation trained in the glow of Vatican II. “Thank you for joining us,” my friends’ faces read. “But why now?”

Christian apologists—ancient and new, Catholic or otherwise—too often provide answers in defense of the faith that really only work for those already convinced of the faith. So I would like to offer nine “non-Roman” reasons to be a Roman Catholic. They are not standard explanations of, say, Marian doctrine or papal authority, but reasons that simply grow from meditating on Scripture, on the vicissitudes of church history, and, above all, on the faithfulness of God.

1. From the Hebrew Scriptures. Disappointment with God’s people has a long and storied history. Ever since the call of Abraham, God has endeavored to form a people faithful in witnessing to all nations and peoples. These people are not always faithful,...

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About the Author

Gerald W. Schlabach is professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota and author of Unlearning Protestantism: Sustaining Christian Community in an Unstable Age (Brazos Press). He is cofounder of, and a longtime leader in, Bridgefolk, a grassroots organization for unity and dialogue between Mennonites and Catholics.