Protestantism Made Me Catholic, by Casey Chalk

Two Cardinals Close to Francis Accused of Covering Up Sex Abuse of Pope’s Altar Boys, by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
September 20, 2019
Catholic Hospital Can Be Sued for Refusing Transgender Hysterectomy, by Wesley J. Smith
September 20, 2019

Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman

By Casey Chalk, Crisis Magazine, September 20, 2019

First Things has been running a fascinating and provocative series of articles that question the principles and beliefs of most of its readers. In May, it published “Why I Became Muslim” by one Jacob Williams, a Brit who grew up Anglican and then converted to Islam. More recently, the magazine published “Catholicism Made Me Protestant,” a reflection by Onsi A. Kamel, who grew up a “non-denominational, baptistic evangelical,” then seriously considered Catholicism before returning to Protestantism, though one more self-consciously Reformed.

Perhaps as a coup de grace First Things could next publish a piece entitled “How First Things Made Me Stop Reading First Things” (kidding!). In seriousness, the controversial series is welcome, because however much such pieces incite annoyance or anger, they help clarify weaknesses (or perceived weaknesses) in Christianity and Catholicism. If we don’t take the time to understand why our critics disagree with us, how will we ever dialogue with them? Yet a response to Kamel’s criticisms of Catholicism is still warranted, and I’d like to give one.

Kamel has three main criticisms of Catholicism. First, the Church does not have the best claim to the Church Fathers, given that there are “discrepancies” between Catholic apologists’ conception of Holy Tradition and the tradition Kamel encountered. Sometimes, he observes, the Church Fathers say things that sound much more Protestant than Catholic. Moreover, many Reformation-era Protestants quoted the Church Fathers at great length. ….