I haven't heard from my long-lost Catholic in a while but he emailed me recently with an update and a few questions. He gave me permission at the beginning of our dialogue to post our messages on my blog for the benefit of others. Here are his words and my response.
- I have been visiting a few Catholic churches near my house and meeting with the priests. One priest gave me a pretty big book and I am basically ingesting it and it is answering a lot of questions (Catholicism by Richard P. McBrien. Have you heard of it? What is your opinion of it?).
Here are some articles on Fr. McBrien that address these concerns:
- New Edition of Fr. McBrien's Catholicisim, but Dissent Still Remains
- Dealing with Dissent: Fr. Richard McBrien
- The Faith According to McBrien
- Up Front: Fr. Richard McBrien Just Doesn't Get It
- The Trouble with Catholicism
- Fr. Richard McBrien Attacks Pro-Life Bishops in Syndicated Column
- Fr. Richard McBrien and Others Mislead Catholic Public
- Boston Globe Interviews McBrien
- At one of the churches they offer a group that helps you explore so i have been attending that. So what I have come to is a place where by the time I have a question usually between the book or the group it is answered fairly quickly. This is good and bad. I am glad to have my questions answered so quickly but I have enjoyed our dialogue. I greatly appreciate the time you put in to answer my questions no matter how ridiculous. So I imagine our correspondence will be even less than it has in the past (and it was pretty scarce there anway) but if you would like I will let you know where I end up at the end of this journey. thanks again for your time.
[After my first response, he wrote me back the following:]
- I am glad that I wrote to you. Its funny because one of my first questions was what is the modern layout of the church because i didn't want to stumble into a misrepresentation. Maybe i have, but i am not tied to this one. Anyway, I have noticed McBrien's tendency toward liberal views, but he also gives an overview of other views that i have found helpful. Can you recommend a more conservative theology book? I have found that format to be very helpful.
- And for that matter, how might I find a church in correct belief? Are there any indicators? or i live in the Cleveland ohio area, have you ever visited any? I also visited a Byzantine Catholic church, any thoughts on that? thanks
As for your local Byzantine Catholic Church, that is a Catholic church of the Byzantine Rite, instead of the Roman Rite. It's still Catholic, it's just culturally different. By that I mean, Byzantine Catholics express their beliefs in a different way than we do (for example, we speak of "grace", they speak of "divine energy." We speak of "salvation," they speak of "theosis"), and their sacraments are celebrated differently. They even have their own Canon Law (the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches). Since your introduction to Catholicism has already been so "Roman," you may want to stick with a church of the Roman Rite.
I hope that helps.