Monday, September 22, 2014

Conversion in Reverse

Book review of Dr. Thomas Droleskey's Conversion in Reverse: How the Ethos of Americanism Converted Catholics (volume 1).
     This is a thorough and brilliant survey of Christianity from its beginnings, through the Middle Ages, and up to and including the Protestant Revolution in Europe against the Roman Catholic Church. But its primary thesis is to show how Protestantism in the American Colonies and in the nascent United States adversely affected the way Catholics viewed and practiced their own religion in the new nation. In order to survive in a pluralist society as the minority religion, American Catholics learned that practicing a "private" non-confrontational, non-proselytizing faith allowed them gain acceptance and to prosper economically. They began to assume as valid the false idea of separation of Church and State, and a religious freedom based on the concept that the Catholic Church is just one of many co-existing religions, rather than the one true religion founded by Jesus Christ. Thus, they rejected or neglected the doctrine of the Social Kingship of Christ, whereby the Church as the mystical body of Christ, must nourish and guide governmental institutions according to gospel and Church teaching. This is essentially the heresy of "Americanism," condemned in particular by Pope Leo XIII.
     So instead of Catholics converting Protestant Americans, they converted Catholics to their pluralism, hence the title of the book. A secondary and underlying thesis is the author's rejection of Vatican II, and that modernist Vatican II Catholicism is not true Roman Catholicism. Though many of the topics dealt with are complex, the author's writing and presentation are straightforward, making the book a pleasant and even easy read. Excerpts from primary sources and Papal writings are frequently quoted, to prove and document Droleskey's points. This 300 page book is printed on 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper, which would be the equivalent to a 500 page standard book.

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