Over at Facebook’s Anglican Ordinariate Informal Conversation Forum, someone posted a mock poll asking what “persuasive arguments” one might use to persuade those still in the Episcopalian Church or other Anglican body to become Catholic.
Alas, many on the forum did not detect this was a tongue-in-cheek poll. Among the multiple choice answers: tell them none of their sacraments except baptism and maybe some marriages are valid; another that their priest is not a real priest and has never been one.
But that got me thinking: what drew you into the Catholic Church? What pushed you away?
I found insistence by Catholics that I must “convert to the One True Church” not only unpersuasive but off-putting. Same thing with the “Anglican Orders are null and void” arguments. These arguments set me against joining the Catholic Church.
What attracted me were individual Catholics who radiated holiness and love, who I knew were not “lenient” or “anything goes” in the faith—and probably agreed with the above statements—but did not say those things to me—only loved me, and, through a ministry of encouragement and without necessarily saying anything urged me to “come up higher,” to take the risk to believe, to have faith, to make the plunge. Most of all, I yearned to be in communion with them.
This does not mean that it is not important for people to proclaim the truths of the faith. I did hear these things—-and eventually come to accept them—but they had the reverse effect on me than they should have at the time.
All this to say is people become Catholic for different reasons, some persuaded by moral or philosophical or theological arguments; some attracted by love and beauty in Catholic community and worship; and some by quiet, intuitive leading of the Holy Spirit.
If you were to encounter a brother or a sister in an Anglican body, how would you approach them? Because the hard-line, doctrinal approach repelled me, I would not be inclined to use it.