Wednesday, March 18, 2015

C.S. Lewis and the Catholic Church

From World Religion News:
Tolkien believes that Lewis failed to convert to Catholicism due to prejudices he inherited as a Belfast Protestant. It would be rare to see someone raised in an anti-Catholic culture to overcome those prejudices and convert to Catholicism. Lewis frequently exhibited an unease with the papacy, as well as discomfort with the Virgin Mary’s position in the Christian faith. In Pearce’s book, one can see Lewis moving closer to Catholicism, yet there is tension between his predisposed prejudice and his attraction to the Catholic doctrine.

Pearce stated that he could not draw connections between the loss of his mother to his Christian faith, and while his relationship with Mrs. Moore, the mother of a close deceased friend, was strange, it couldn’t directly be connected either. He does believe that the death of his wife, Joy Davidman, aided in deepening his faith in his final years, as one can see from his book A Grief Observed. However, the largest impact was his relationship with Tolkien. Their friendship cooled, though Pearce said it was not because of religious beliefs. “It seems to have had more to do with Tolkien’s lack of sympathy for Lewis’ work, especially his dismissive response to The Chronicles of Narnia… In this sense, it could be said that Tolkien was at least partially responsible for the cooling of their friendship.” However, it was Tolkien’s philosophy of Creation that drew Lewis’ conversion to Christianity.

According to Pearce’s book, Lewis was closest to entering the Church earlier in his conversion, but he appeared to step back from it. Pearce explained that “it must also be stated that Lewis would have been absolutely horrified by the Anglican Church’s abandonment of orthodoxy… It’s difficult to believe that Lewis would or could have remained in a church that had abandoned everything he fought to defend and reaffirm in his life and work.” (Read more.)

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