Friday, May 04, 2007

James White annoys me to no end

As Chad can attest, I didn't want to announce that Dr. Francis Beckwith, President of the Evangelical Theological Society, returned into full communion with the Church last Sunday. The service took place at my parish, here in Waco. Yes, this is a "high profile" conversion, but I did not want to be the first to announce this due to the political scene around here.

Now James White has posted this article in which he slanders Dr. Beckwith. (Maybe, "slander" is too strong of a word, but read it for yourself.)

I want to say a few things about the service in which Dr. Beckwith and his wife were received back into communion with the Church. This is in response to White, who implies that Dr. Beckwith converted for political reasons. This is not to say that I can be a judge of motives, but here is the evidence I have gathered about Dr. Beckwith through discussions with those at my parish.

1. You must know something about St. Joseph's: Our parish is one of smaller ones in the Waco area. It's located in a small town on the outskirts of Waco called Bellmead. I've heard other Catholics in Waco refer to St. Joseph's as a "blue collar" parish. If you look around the church on any given Sunday, it's true. Aside from a few professors and Baylor students, most of the people there are good, simple, hard-working, central Texas people. They are some of the sweetest and most devout people I know. They have not heard of Francis Beckwith. Thus if Dr. Beckwith had wanted this to be a political statement, wouldn't he have reverted through a more "high profile" parish. Austin is only an hour away. He could have had his revert service at the Cathedral with the Bishop present.

2. Dr. Beckwith had apparently been talking to Father Timothy for some time about reentering the Church. I do not know the details, of course, but I'm sure these discussions were based on whether or not this was the right time to do this. Fr. Timothy gives good pastoral counseling and advice. The fact that these discussions were carried out over a long period of time tells me that there were many factors going into Dr. Beckwith's decision. If he had wanted to make a political statement, he could have gone to probably any other priest in town to return home at a much swifter speed than he did. The fact is, Dr. Beckwith wanted to examine his conscience and make sure he was doing the right thing.

3. James White implies that Dr. Beckwith lost a love for truth and thus, decided to "return to Rome." I think it was precisely Dr. Beckwith's love for truth that brought him home. As many of us converts and reverts can attest, it is our love for truth, for Christ, and for His Church that lead us to make this difficult journey. When Fr. Timothy welcomed the Beckwiths back into communion there were tears in his eyes, not because he was proud of such a "high profile" conversion, but because he genuinely loves all those who come under his care. He had tears in his eyes at my confirmation too. The humble nature of this reversion was clear in both the Beckwiths and the priest. The service was beautiful

Anyway, welcome home Dr. Beckwith and family! To my readers, please pray for the Beckwiths. Now that this news has broken the Internet, they will probably have a difficult journey ahead of them. I'm happy Dr. Beckwith has returned home, and I'm happy he's attending St. Joseph's.

On a better note, Jimmy Akin offers his insights here.

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