Monday, March 9, 2015

An Open Letter to Daryl K

I am not political by nature, and I am no theologian.

So since I left the "Why I Am Catholic" beat resolving simply to "Witness" to my life as a Catholic, husband, etc. (see right sidebar), I haven't attracted a lot of negative comment. Some blogs find their raison d'être in controversy. "Witness" usually steers clear.

Still, as my bishop, Cardinal Seán O'Malley, recently wrote in a post of his own, "You have to feed the blog." So when I received a provocative comment last night from "Daryl K" on an excerpt of my memoir, in which I praise James Martin's My Life with the Saints as "The Book that Changed My Life," I thought it might be the start of a conversation here at "Witness."

That post and Daryl's comment are here. His comment concludes with a provocation: "Should you be up to the task, I challenge you to debate this issue on your website, per 1 Kings 18:21-24 & 1 Cor 11:19."

I probably am not "up to the task" because of my non-talents in the political and theological areas. But I know bait when it's offered. My open letter to Daryl follows here:

Dear Daryl,

Thank you for reading my blog and for commenting.

It probably will not surprise you that, as a Catholic, I had to look up your Scriptural citations. I thought they might be what you wanted to debate, but in fact they appear to be Biblical rationale for the debate itself.

1 Kings 18:21-24 seems to suggest a sort of trial by fire. Elijah gets his bullock, the followers of Baal get theirs, we'll put them on pyres of wood and see who gets burned. In 1 Corinthians 11:19, Paul is a bit more direct. "There must be factions among you," he tells the Christian community of Corinth, "in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized."

It appears on closer reading that, as someone who "came out of Catholicism 25 years ago," you have made a judgment about me that I "have converted to the Catholic Church, BUT NOT TO CHRIST!" (caps yours). That's a serious charge, and I would like to know why you make it. Perhaps you are correct.

It also appears that you find the Holy Mass a fiasco and take particular exception to the Catholic belief in "transubstantiation" (quotes yours).

To begin this debate, Daryl, I respectfully ask you to explain:
  1. Why you believe that I have not converted to Christ.
  2. Why you find the Holy Mass a fiasco.
I honestly don't think I'm up to this debate, but I'll do my best to make it interesting. I must ask that you identify yourself at least to the extent of explaining where (in what church) you worship. I have laid myself bare here at "Witness." I need to know with whom I am discussing these matters, or I will take this post and your previous comment off the blog.

I also will ask any third parties to be respectful—toward your position and mine—in any comments they make.

Thanks again for reading. I look forward to hearing from you. 

Webster Bull

1 comment:

  1. I am unable to post. The message reads: "Your HTML cannot be accepted. Must be 4,096 characters."
    Write to me at
    and I will forward you my response, and you can post it yourself.



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