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Rod Dreher @roddreher..I respect Catholics who have serious disagreements with the East, but the stuff of Lofton's I've seen is shallow & unconvincing..If you're a Catholic who takes this guy seriously on the subject of Orthodoxy, you're making a mistake...

I've recently become aware of an anti-Orthodox Catholic apologist named Michael Lofton. He is a former Prot who became Catholic in 2012, then left for Orthodoxy, spent 3 yrs there, then returned to Rome. He makes videos now explaining why Orthodoxy is wrong and Rome is right. I respect Catholics who have serious disagreements with the East, but the stuff of Lofton's I've seen is shallow and unconvincing. And no wonder: you cannot spend only three years within traditions as deep and complex as Orthodoxy (and Catholicism too!) and gain any kind of meaningful expertise. In the case of both traditions, this requires practice. If you're a Catholic who takes this guy seriously on the subject of Orthodoxy, you're making a mistake. Again, it's not that there aren't serious disagreements between Orthodoxy and Catholicism; there are, and it's important to understand them. We can discuss them in a spirit of mutual respect. But this guy doesn't really know what he's talking about -- and couldn't possibly, having only been Orthodox long enough to clear his throat. On the day in 2006 I became Orthodox, a woman in our parish said, "Welcome, but please know that it will take you about a decade to become really Orthodox." I had no idea what she meant. I had all the books! Her point was that Orthodoxy is the kind of Christian faith that you come to know primarily through practice ... and that takes a long time. You can read all the books, and that's good ... but knowing *about* God as an Orthodox Christian is not the same thing as knowing God as an Orthodox Christian. I found out that the woman was right. I'm not saying that the only non-Orthodox who have standing to critique Orthodoxy are those who were Orthodox for a long time. I believe it is possible to gain accurate understanding of theological differences between East and West through study. My claim is more limited: that an anti-Orthodox apologist who spent only three years as an Orthodox, and who now sells himself to his fellow Catholics as an expert on Orthodoxy, is not a reliable source. What would Catholics say about an Evangelical who converted to Catholicism, spent three years as a Catholic, then reverted to Evangelicalism and began a career as an expert on Why Catholicism Is Wrong? As a matter of logic, it wouldn't make all the man's arguments wrong, but it would give pause to his credibility, and the depth of his knowledge of his subject. Shoot, as a convinced Orthodox Christian who was a practicing Catholic for 13 years, I would not give any real credibility to an Orthodox who had been Catholic for only three years, then reverted to Orthodoxy and became an anti-Catholic polemicist. Even if I believed he had returned to the right church, I would be very, very wary of what he had to say about Catholicism. I know perfectly well from my own experience that Catholicism takes far more time to really get to know. Alas, there is always an audience, in every religious tradition, for shallow analyses that confirm our own prejudices.


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