Posted December 8, 2011
Book: Recovering Faith: Stories of Catholics Who Came Home
Author: Lorene Hanley Duquin
Our Sunday Visitor. Huntington, IN. 2011. pp. 207
An Excerpt from the Jacket:
Every person’s journey of faith is filled with twists and turns. Now Recovering Faith: Stories of Catholics Who Came Home follows the personal and heartfelt faith journeys of 18 well-known Catholics who have come back to their faith. Some had fallen out of step with the Church through complacency or poor education. Some were sidetracked by the lure of fame and fortune. A few took a turn in Protestant traditions. Others traveled through the darkness of atheism.
An Excerpt from the Book:
When Bad Things Happen
A crisis in someone’s life --- illness, the death of a loved one, divorce, a job loss, or some unexpected tragedy --- can trigger a desire to turn to God or to the Catholic Church. When bad things happen, people feel as if they have lost their bearings. They can no longer rely on themselves, and they begin to search for something that they can hold on to for strength and for comfort. If you are going through a difficult time, but you’re not ready to talk to a priest, try going to Mass. Or simply go into a Catholic church and sit before the Blessed Sacrament. Ask the Lord to give you the strength and the comfort that you need.
In the spring of 1986, Clarence Thomas met Virginia Lamp, a labor-relations lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Their friendship blossomed, and in 1987 they were married in a Methodist church. Together they joined an Episcopal church, which they attended every Sunday --- but during the week Clarence still went to Mass.
Two years later, President George H. W. Bush appointed Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia Circuit. When Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall announced his decision to retire, President Bush nominated Clarence Thomas as a replacement. The confirmation process was difficult, with horrible accusations against him.
“It had long since become clear to me that this battle was at bottom spiritual, not political,” he explained, “and so my attention shifted from politics to the inward reality of my spiritual life.”
He described it as a dark night of the soul. He knew that his enemies wanted to break his spirit so that he would walk away, but he felt that he owed it to his family and to the memory of his grandparents to confront the truth. During his appearances before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he denied every allegation that had been leveled against him. He later revealed that throughout the ordeal he fund strength in God. After a Senate vote on October 15, 1991, the president’s nominee was confirmed. Eight days later when Clarence Thomas was sworn in as the 106th associate justice of the Supreme Court, President Bush commented: “America is blessed to have a man of this character serve on its highest court.”
Clarence Thomas acknowledges the dark days during the confirmation hearings but notes that on this sunny day, there was joy. “I was alluding to Psalm 30, which had brought me much comfort in recent weeks and from which a friends had suggested that I quote on this great day: “I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me. You refused to let my enemies triumph over me . . .Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning.” I had forgotten that it was possible to know such joy. Thanks to God’s direct intervention, I had risen phoenix-like from the ashes of self-pity and despair and though my wounds were still raw, I trusted that in time they, too, would heal.”
During the time, Clarence Thomas continued to attend morning Mass but officially remained a member of the Episcopal Church. The turning point came when he finally admitted to himself and to his wife that he wanted to return to the Catholic Church.
On June 8, 1996, Clarence Thomas announced to classmates at a Holy Cross reunion banquet that he had officially returned to the Catholic Church. He had received communion that morning for the first time in 28 years. He had been granted a decree of nullity from his first marriage, and his marriage to Virginia had been convalidated. He had forgiven the Catholic Church for the racism he experienced in the seminary.
“Years later, I would find out, as you get older, that it is not the religion that is the problem,” he admits. “It is the fallibility and imperfection of man.”
Table of Contents:
Catholic radio host, author, and motivational speaker
Award winning movie producer
Father John Fletcher, C.C.
A priest called to the ongoing renewal of the Church
A coordinator of annulment companions
U.S. Supreme Court justice
Cofounder of St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy
Award-winning television and motion-picture actor
Dr. Kevin Vost
Clinical psychologist and former atheist
Former contestant on the reality show
Author, speaker, and host of Crossing the Goal
Founder of Catholics Returning Home
Father Eduardo Montemayor, S.O.L.T.
Popular speaker and workshop leader
Best-selling suspense novelist
Deacon Waldemar Sandoval
Coordinator of Landings ministry
Executive director of Priests for Life
Dr. Francis Beckwith
Former president of the Evangelical Theological Society
Author, lecturer, and blogger
Advertising executive and founder of Catholics Come Home
Afterword: An Invitation to Consider Coming Home