A bad argument against conversion

Some Protestants are trying to persuade David Meyer to forsake his plans to become Catholic by appealing to membership and/or baptismal vows he took in his former (Protestant) congregation. I have replied there, but it seems sufficiently important that it’s probably worth posting here as well.

Catholics are bound by oath to remain faithful Catholics. The question I put to these Protestant commenters (the ones appealing to his vow as reason to remain at his former congregation) at David’s blog is: If a Catholic sought to leave the Catholic Church and to join David’s old church, would you counsel him to remain Catholic by reason of his vow?

I think we can take a reasonable guess at the answer. These folks would most certainly not counsel the Catholic to remain Catholic because of his vow. But the inherent contradiction ought to be obvious, then: how is it that one oath warrants remaining in your place, but the other does not? It seems clear that what is really operative isn’t a concern that David fulfill a vow, but rather a concern that he not become Catholic.

We can ask another parallel question. If it is wrong for David to become Catholic because of his vow, would it not also have been wrong for Luther, Calvin, and the rest to leave the Catholic Church because of their vows? Is it not the case, then—if vows trump truth—that the Protestant Reformation was invalid because it was initiated by oath breakers?

That, at any rate, is an inescapable consequence of asserting that a membership vow precludes one from pursuing the truth. It is self-defeating.

Posted in Protestantism
3 comments on “A bad argument against conversion
  1. David Meyer says:

    Hey nice blog! I just found it. I like your comparison here. I think we know what would be said to the Catholic who was converting. “Don’t think twice about ignoring any vows you made to the Catholic Church, because they [fill in the blank} so your vow is meaningless!”

    • aquinasetc says:

      Hello David!

      Thanks for stopping by! To be fair to your (and possibly my) former fellow church member, I don’t think he was thinking clearly about the situation; I don’t think he was trying to be manipulative. But as we know, that dog won’t hunt. :-)

      Say, if you don’t mind my asking…a couple weeks ago I emailed you (at the address on your blogger profile). Did you get it? Maybe I was trapped by a spam filter :-)


      • David Meyer says:

        Yeah, I got it. I thought I replied, but perhaps I forgot! Actually I think you had a couple questions that I dont remember answering, so I must have forgot. I will do that now.

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