I owe Paul McCusker a huge debt

The guy helped raise our kids by writing fifty bazillion Adventures in Odyssey episodes, not to mention playing the slimy Phillip Glossman, who you just want to slap. So I was particularly pleased to hear he’d become a Catholic a few years ago. And at last report, he lives out in Colorado Springs, where Sherry Weddell’s Catherine of Siena Institute Mothership is located. So I have this hope that one of these days, we’ll be visiting Sherry and I’ll be able to shake his hand and thank him for all the fun yarns he spun for us.

Anyway, till then, I recommend checking out his conversion story which, like so many conversion stories from Protestantism, is in part an expression of gratitude for his heritage and an account of the way grace builds on nature in becoming Catholic.

Which reminds me, Catholic converts nearly always have lovely things to say about where they came from. “Recovering Catholics” pretty much never have anything good whatsoever to say about where they came from.

Conversely, Catholic converts, while maintaining generally friendly relationships with their past, don’t typically feel an obsessive need to hang around their old church, proclaiming their liberation from it and throwing rocks through the windows of the place and spray-painting the walls and nattering on endlessly about what was wrong with it in super-granular detail again and again and again for years. They move on with life. “Recovering Catholics”, in contrast, often spend their lives Not. Being. Catholic. (Have they mentioned they aren’t Catholic anymore? I mean, so Not Catholic you wouldn’t believe it. Free. From the Catholic Church, I mean. That they are totally free from and aren’t obsessed with or anything). They also tend to have reams of advice for changing the Church they no longer care anything about.

  • Greg

    There you go again, demeaning those who disagree with you while proudly declaring your superiority. “Dear Lord, I praise you that I’m not like that bitter, obsessed convert from Catholicism to Protestantism. They’re all the same, You know, constantly bashing the church of their youth. We, however, the converts from Protestantism to Catholicism are grateful for our former churches. Oh, that those poor, wretched, embittered souls would become like us, full of gratitude that we are superior to others, not only embittered former Catholics, but the dazzling stupid, brain dead, pitchfork wielding mob that constitutes traditional Catholics.”

    • Greg

      I know many converts in both directions. My observation is that in both camps, there are those bitter with their old communions and those grateful to it, but both groups disbelieve the aspects of the teaching of the other and are bewildered by those who converted the other way. In any event, I’ve seldom read anyone whose demeaning attitude toward others reflects more bitterness than yours. If the triumphalism, pride and loathing of others which permeates your writings is evidence of the effect of conversion to Catholicism, I want no part of it. Fortunately, I know many Catholic converts who don’t have those attitudes or share your demeaning prejudices toward those who have converted the way.

      Your writing would be better if you got over yourself.

    • Mary B.

      I don’t know. In the Protestant circles that I run in (all lovely and Christ-centered people), the most profoundly anti-Catholic folks are themselves all former members of the Church. Mr. Shea might go a bit overboard in his characterization, but the phenomenon he describes does seem to be fairly commonplace.

      • Dave G.

        I’ve seen converts in both directions pretty much across the board in how they regard their former walks. And I have to say, some of the most ‘anti-Protestant’ Catholics I’ve run into used to be Protestant.

  • Mary B

    Oh my goodness! I grew up on Adventures in Odyssey (I was born the same year the show was created) and I have very fond memories of Paul McCusker (and his nefarious character Mr. Glossman). What a beautiful surprise to learn that he has become a Catholic!

  • Paul McCusker

    You’re very kind, Mark. Sherry graciously hosted a meeting recently where I had the pleasure of getting to know her (and her husband) better. I’d love to meet up with you next time you’re here. (And, by the way, the piece of advice I give to anyone who ever wants to act is this: if you’re going to play a slimy bad guy, use a DIFFERENT voice than your own. It’s the only one I have and now it’s permanently linked to Glossman. Worse, I’m not an actor and got strong-armed into playing the part!)

  • Jeremiah H

    Might it be more accurate to say that joy-filled converts from Protestantism have found a more public forum here on the internet than their counterparts who didn’t want to wet their feet in the Tiber? I’m not sure if Patheos is a good example of this phenomenon, but calledtocommunion.com certainly tracks that way. Is there a Protestant counterpart to that on the internet?
    Paul McCusker, I read part of your story of converting from the Baptists. To think that Philip Glossman got voiced by a now-converted Catholic. What’s next, the guy who played Regis Blackguard became Orthodox? Thank you, so much, for what you and your fellow voice actors, as well as the teams of script writers, accomplished in pretty much every Odyssey album. My family also grew up on them. Mary B, would you say that the original Whit was basically another grandpa?

  • Sharon

    Watching EWTN’s Journey Home with host Marcus Grodi interviewing new Catholics I am always moved that these new converts speak with so much affection and gratitude for the ecclesial community in which they were raised.

  • Marjorie Louise Jeffrey

    Wow. I grew up listening to Adventures in Odyssey too. What a great story – thank you for sharing.


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