Some Anglican I Used to Know

This blog post is a “live post”, written last night during Dr. Taylor Marshall”s newest episode on EWTN”s “The Journey Home“. If you know nothing about Dr. Taylor Marshall, you should start by visiting his blog Canterbury Tales, where he writes about Catholic dogma, history, and all things orthodox. Or, you can watch this video, or buy this book

not a picture of Taylor”s head

Here I am, on the couch, getting ready for the show. What to eat? A couch is just incomplete without an edible companion. Ah, raisins! You know you are a dad of soon-to-be-five kids when raisins sound like a good treat. Raisins are good for three reasons:

  • Sweet
  • Cheap
  • Easily Digestible

And, if you are a dad of soon-to-be five kids, you know that the last thing you need is bitter, expensive, and indigestion. All three of those come with the territory, without self-imposition. Plus, when you are a dad of soon-to-be five kids, raisins are typically the only thing left in the pantry by the end of the day.

Yum. Raisins. (that was a very Machiavellian “Yum”)

(Show begins!)

Self-deposed of his Anglican garb, Dr. Taylor Marshall is sporting a shirt and tie.

Taylor Marshall as an Anglican priest

Dr. Taylor Marshall as a Roman Catholic Professor of Philosophy and Dean at Fisher More Catholic College

Dr. Marshall: “I was not raised in a tradition…I had a conversion experience…began studying theology…and was attracted to Calvinism.”

So he became an Episcopal priest. It almost feels like a non-sequitur, but I digress.

Dr. Marshall admits that his conversion came about from his deep desire to partake of the Eucharist (Amen!). After his conversion, Dr. Marshall transitioned to DC, went on to do a Ph.D. at the University of Dallas (that”s in Irving, TX — where I actually met Taylor when I was there), and is now the Dean at Fisher More Catholic College (formerly St. Thomas More College).

Marcus Grodi (host): “What brought you into the Church?”

Dr. Marshall: “Authority.”

Marcus Grodi: “What was the biggest barrier for you?”

Dr. Marshall: “The biggest hold up to me was ordination. My whole life I felt a call, and then I found the Church Jesus founded, and found out that she had a celibate priesthood.”

Bummer. Counting the cost is never tough until you have to actually count the cost.

He goes on to point out the incredible amount of early Church leaders, from Apostles to patriarchs, who were celibate. Also, once he realized that he could be a saint as a lay — that God was calling him to sanctity apart from being a cleric — he became open to the idea of hanging up the colar and living as a lay Catholic. After all, St. Francis didn”t even think himself worthy to be ordained a priest!

Dr. Marshall made a really good point about half-way through the program. He mentioned that to be a really great priest, he would have to sacrifice his family. Think about it. Saying Mass. Hearing Confessions. Offering last rites. Visiting the sick. Where does a t-ball game, math homework, or the evening dance-recital in the living room (happens in my house) fit into all of that?

The point: It doesn”t.

The longer I”m Catholic, the more I”m convinced of the genius of the celibate priesthood. It is truly a gift.

(NOTE: I put down the raisins at 8:18 EST)

Marcus Grodi: “I think the biggest decision at the Reformation (with the biggest impact) was Luther”s rejection of the Church as a necessary channel of salvation.”

That”s right! As if Tetzel wasn”t bad enough, we end up with these guys.

(show is going to the break…)

(…show is coming back)

Our Lady

For many converts, Mary can be a real bugaboo. After all, if your Protestant sect keeps Mary in a shed until December 12th, drags her out, flicks on a light, and then drags her back to the shed promptly on December 26th, it makes sense that Catholic devotion to her would feel a bit off-kilter. To a Protestant, Mary is like a television set would be to an 18th century German: there is simply no context.

Dr. Marshall points out that Protestants have a “zero-sum” approach to the Blessed Virgin. They believe that your affection is like a pie, and that if you give that affection to Mary, then whatever part of the pie you took out to give to Mary now makes Jesus”s pie smaller.

However, this is the wrong view. For one, love grows not divides. I don”t have less love to give to my children because I have more children. In two-and-a-half weeks, I won”t tell my wife, “You can have little, precious Luke back sweetie, looks like I just don”t have any more love left in the tank” (insert smack). Just the opposite! My love grows every time I have another child. Similarly, Christ gives us His Church and His Mother to love in order to expand our capacity to love Him. Why?

Because His Church is His Body. They are “in Christ”. When Saul (soon to be St. Paul) was on the road to Damascus, he was confronted by a light. In this case, it was the Light of the World.

“Why do you persecute me?” the Light asked him. Persecute Christ? When did Saul ever pick up a stone to throw at Christ? When did he ever accuse Christ? But you see, Saul had picked up a stone or two and leveled an accusation once or twice against the Church. As such, Saul was guilty of persecuting our Lord, because in a mystical way, the Body of Christ participates in the life of Her Divine Head.

What about the rest of the show? The rest of the show was great. I won”t spoil it any more. I recommend you watch it. .

Good night. I need to brush my teeth. I have raisin breath.

Brent A. Stubbs is a father of four ( 1 in heaven and 1 in the oven), husband of one, convert, and a generally interested person. He has a BA in Theology, studied graduate philosophy, has an MBA, is a writer (or so he tells himself) and prefers his coffee black. His website is Almost Not Catholic.
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