Suicide or Catholicism?

Evelyn Waugh has been mis quoted as saying, “There are only two choices: suicide or Catholicism.” I believe what he really said was in a letter responding to a friend who asked why, if the Christian faith was supposed to make you happy, Waugh was such a miserable character. Waugh replied, “If it weren’t for my Catholic faith I would have committed suicide long ago.”

However the thought (and the misquote about it) raises an interesting question–one linked with a more erudite and balanced expression of the same idea. In his Apologia Pro Vita Sua Bl. John Henry Newman wrote,

I came to the conclusion that there was no medium in true philosophy between atheism and Catholicism, and that a perfectly consistent mind, under those circumstances in which it finds itself here below must embrace either the one or the other.

Newman’s key phrase is “a perfectly consistent mind”. It is very difficult for many people to think the whole matter through with a “perfectly consistent mind.” Their mind is cluttered up with negative expressions of Christianity, bad examples of Christians they know, poor theology and ignorant Christians. They are further confused by the shallow propaganda pumped out by the atheists and secularists. They also have not been trained to think logically and clearly. Their thoughts are clouded by sentimentality, lack of discipline and they are unable to prioritize their thought. Read more.

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