The recently retired lead editor of Christianity Today magazine, whose final op-ed was a bridge-burning ragequit against Christian voters who support Donald Trump, has found a new home in the Catholic Church.
That bodes ill tidings for my Catholic readers.
Mark Galli, former editor of Christianity Today, converts to Catholicism; considers himself ‘evangelical Catholic’
By Anugrah Kumar, 14 September 2020
If we can take this article’s title at face value, he’s a full-on entryist with a subversive agenda because there is no such thing as an evangelical Catholic.
Mark Galli, who was editor-in-chief of the evangelical publication Christianity Today until January, is now a member of the Catholic Church after his formal conversion to Catholicism at the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus in Joliet, Illinois, on Sunday.
At the ceremony on Sunday, Galli stood before Bishop Richard Pates, who said, “Francis, be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit,” while dabbing Galli’s forehead with anointing oil, according to Religion News Service, which reported that Galli chose his confirmation name after St. Francis of Assisi.
I call bullshit. Is Galli taking a vow of poverty in the near future? Joining the Franciscan order? A more likely explanation, in light of his “evangelical Catholic” nonsense, is that he’s cooperating with Pope “Pachemama” Francis to pursue the Narrative of “faith-tradition unity”.
A world religion will require the amalgamation of Protestantism and Catholicism in order to achieve its definitive boast. This is the first indicator I’ve seen of anybody trying to bridge the impassable gulf between Protestantism and Catholicism.
“In many ways, I became a Catholic not to reject my evangelical convictions but merely to ground myself more deeply in them,” Galli said last week, speaking to Evangelization & Culture, the Journal of the Word on Fire Institute. “In some ways, I now consider myself today an evangelical Catholic.”
Which is it? Sola Scriptura or Church Traditions? These are mutually exclusive concepts by design and history.
“Many evangelicals who discover the dark side of the movement become cynical. And many evangelicals who become Catholics look back and despise their evangelical past. I’ve never been tempted to do that. Evangelicals, like Christians from any movement, can do some pretty despicable things. But overall they’ve been a force for good in the world.
The only dark side of evangelical Christianity is the hypocrisy of too many of its followers. We aren’t talking about how best to organize a church here, not with terms like dark side.
They remind me of some of the more heroic Catholics I’m aware of in their ability to make tremendous sacrifices, serving in some of the most troubled places on the planet to share the Gospel. I’ve been proud to be part of that movement.”
If this is true then Galli will soon bury himself in sub-Saharan Africa to fight for the souls of ungrateful strangers against 70-IQ warlords. If instead, I’m right about his motivation for taking the name “Francis”, then he’ll soon accept a highly visible & valuable sinecure to continue his Leftward journalism.
Talking about his faith journey…
Christian journey, please, or at least religious journey.
…Galli said one of the key turning points was when he was editing an issue of a magazine called Christian History on Francis of Assisi. “Naturally, his life of heroic self-denial and absolute infatuation with Jesus deeply impressed me,” he said.
That’s what he SAYS. Let’s see what he DOES.
“At the same time, in the evenings, I was reading John Paul II’s encyclical The Splendor of Truth. I can’t remember why I decided to read it, other than my general interest in theological currents of the day.”
After reading a couple reviews of Splendor of Truth, I’m nonplussed. It’s a tract of basic Christian morality that borders on triviality, nothing that should impress an experienced Christian. But I do note that JP2, like Frankie today, sought unity with Judaism and Islam.
Having read that, he continued, he became “deeply impressed not only with the mind of John Paul II but with the Catholic sensibility that was woven into this philosophical treatise.”
“And I remarked to myself that it was amazing that the same Church produced both a Francis and a John Paul II. That was probably the moment when my interest in things Catholic began to accelerate, although it would still take many years before I could say I was converted,” he explained.
If Galli’s motivation is Unity for the Convergence then what he’s saying makes sense.
Galli went on to say that while many Protestants feel that Roman Catholicism is a “version of works righteousness, I discovered that Roman Catholics believe in a grace that is even more radical than the radical Lutherans profess.”
Now that’s just insulting. Do remember that the Catholics went to literal war against Lutheranism, yes? That was not because they went farther than him.
Before his conversion, Galli was part of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for around two decades, the Episcopal Church for 14 years and later an Anglican church.
I didn’t know he had such a habit of church hopping. Maybe I shouldn’t throw that particular stone, having wandered through denominations from Charismatic to Calvinist.
Let’s read some more.
[Prologue:] Recently, Tod Worner, the Managing Editor of Evangelization & Culture, the Journal of the Word on Fire Institute, had the chance to have a conversation with Mark Galli. Mark has served as a Presbyterian pastor, respected journalist, and most recently, editor-in-chief of Christianity Today, an international magazine founded by Billy Graham in 1956 that is widely considered to be a leading voice for evangelicalism. On September 13, 2020, Mark will be received into the Catholic Church.
Worner’s words are in boldface.
G.K. Chesterton once observed, “The Church is a house with a hundred gates; and no two men enter at exactly the same angle.” Could you say a little about how you began to discern this call?
Even though it’s clear in retrospect that this moment was key, I still wandered, looking for something that my evangelical faith could not supply. So I dabbled in Christian mysticism for a while, then Eastern Orthodoxy, and then a theology of radical grace as expressed in certain Lutheran writers and the theologian Karl Barth.
Barth was an early counter to Calvinism. Of note, he agreed with the RCC about Mary worship but stopped short of actual veneration. I couldn’t say what attracted Galli to Eastern Orthodoxy; most like shared ethnicity but that’s guesswork.
It is odd for a longtime Christian to be having doubts of this magnitude and suspicious if his search began with ragequitting evangelicalism because we like Trump’s not Cancel-Culturing us.
It’s interesting now to see how Catholicism in many ways was the fulfillment of each of these paths. Certainly the tradition of Catholic mysticism is most impressive, especially as seen in St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, among many others.
John followed the religious leadership of Teresa, whose mysticism took the forms of stigmata, levitation and more probably, temporal lobe epilepsy. That is nothing like (legit) Protestant mysticism, which rather than being overtly miraculous or feminist, takes the form of Holy Spirit baptism. No surprise that a not-showy effort in seeking connection to God failed to be a way to validate Galli’s political agenda.
And the importance of the Church tradition and being organically tied to the early Apostles—that’s not just in Eastern Orthodoxy but also Roman Catholicism. And despite the feelings of many Protestants that Roman Catholicism is a version of works righteousness, I discovered that Roman Catholics believe in a grace that is even more radical than the radical Lutherans profess. So these so-called detours were actually preparing me to enter into the fullness that is the Roman Catholic Church.
There’s one of the bits that the Christian Post quoted. I asked earlier which it was, Sola Scriptura or Tradition. Now that we have the context, Galli has clearly rejected the former. We’ll see if he’s Catholic but he is no longer Protestant.
What aspects of Catholicism have offered you the greatest sense of truth and the deepest sense of peace?
It would be hard to say what is “the greatest,” but let me pick out one or two that are pretty great!
Catholics live with a paradox that I find extraordinary. On one hand there is this incredibly high call to live a life of holiness, to give one’s whole self—heart, soul, mind, and strength—to loving Christ and living for him. At the same time, there is a kind of calm acceptance of the fact that we are miserable sinners and that we may not even come close to living the life of holiness to which we aspire.
That is a universal Christian belief. Did Galli not know that?
One thing that has brought me a great deal of peace is the inherited tradition and wisdom of the Church known as the Magisterium. Many Protestants misunderstand this, believing that acceptance of the Church’s teaching is an abdication of the mind and one’s free will. What they fail to appreciate is that it is a blossoming of the mind and the energizing of the free will.
That’s not just wrong, it’s 180 degrees from right. It takes considerable free will to not rely upon clergy and Protestantism requires the mental effort of literacy and actually reading Scripture. That’s a very high standard, to judge by how few self-described Prots actually do it.
Protestantism is the harder path… lessons in Latin notwithstanding.
The Church’s teaching helps us think more deeply and more clearly about what it means to be a Christian, as well as the nature of truth, beauty, and goodness. It doesn’t mean that Catholics can’t doubt or question; as many Catholic spiritual directors know, it is through the doubts and questions that our faith is formed more deeply… It just means to happily give oneself to live within this tradition, which as I said helps the mind to grow and the spirit to enjoy freedom as never before.
If you need a crutch to be a good Christian then I won’t take it away from you, but it is not good to go from self-reliance to dependence upon a bureaucracy.
Are there any aspects of Catholic teaching, or the Catholic Church in general, that still give you pause or make you uncomfortable? If so, how do you view these in light of your coming into full communion with the Church?
Of course I’m still uncomfortable with some things in the Catholic Church; I’m still uncomfortable with some things Jesus said. (“Loving my enemy, Jesus? You’ve got to be kidding!”)
Again, that’s not a Catholic-unique teaching. Galli’s now-lifelong refusal to love his enemies as Christ taught explains much of his rejection of evangelical Protestantism. I reject Trump but that doesn’t make me hate those who continue supporting him.
It’s one thing to be uncomfortable with Christ’s teachings; it’s another to disobey them.
Are there any books or people who have been instrumental in your process of conversion?
It’s a nice coincidence that I’m being interviewed by a ministry founded by Bishop Robert Barron.
Robert Emmet Barron (born November 19, 1959) is an American prelate of the Catholic Church serving as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He is the founder of the Catholic ministerial organization Word on Fire…
The very people doing this interview.
…and was the host of the TV series Catholicism, an award-winning documentary about the Catholic faith which aired on PBS. Previously, he served as rector at Mundelein Seminary in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Barron is affiliated with Los Angeles & Chicago Archdioceses as well as PBS, and he’s an accomplished media executive-equivalent interviewing an accomplished media executive-equivalent new convert? Uh-oh.
On July 21, 2015, Pope Francis appointed Barron an auxiliary bishop…
…in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and titular Bishop of Macriana in Mauritania. Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles gave each of the three forthcoming auxiliary bishops pectoral crosses modeled after the one Pope Francis wears, noting that Barron’s media talent and rapport with young people, as well as his outreach to other faiths and to the world of culture (including with non-believers and non-practicing or fallen away Catholics) and education, would be good for the archdiocese.
Confirmation for my suspicion of why Galli took the name Francis came more quickly than I thought. I was expecting a few months of wait-and-see, or at least a trip to the bathroom, before Galli publicly associated himself with the handpicked-acolytes-in-journalism of Pope Frankie Jesuit.
As things were becoming more and more clear, I listened to an audio version of [Barron’s] book Catholicism, not once but twice. During my second reading, as he concluded the book by alluding to Catholic intellectuals and social activists, to those who worked in the arts and those who built great cathedrals, those who enjoyed extraordinary mystical experiences and those who lived lives of intense holiness—well, I found myself sobbing. I was driving as I was listening, but had to pull off the road because I couldn’t see straight.
That was the point I had become converted in heart, and knew I had to figure out the logistics of getting confirmed.
What are some of the joys and difficulties you have found in this unfolding process? How have or how will family and friends, colleagues and readers receive this news and how will you explain it to them?
My family and evangelical friends tend to be either curious or affirming. No one has rebuked me or criticized me, at least to my face!
Damn the Cult of Nice! Did no Christian take Galli aside and ask WTF, Homes? “I’m turning my back on Christianity as I’ve ever known and taught it to make my salvation dependent upon Vatican approval.” “We’re so happy for you!”
But in my faction’s defense, Galli was a NeverTrumper of a Prot.
What I have found difficult is explaining to them why I’m becoming Catholic. It’s not something I can condense into a soundbite. Besides, I’m not completely aware myself of what has been going on inside me. It is fundamentally a mystery.
Galli, it’s not difficult to tell people that you converted because Pope Climate Change offered you a swank PR position. It’s even possible to change denominations for the sake of a job offer and still be a Christian, so why did you lie about it? To wit:
That being said, I wanted to explore how I’ve arrived in the Roman Catholic Church after all these years. So how does a writer do that? Well, he writes a book, which I’m in the process of doing as we speak. And as any writer will tell you, in the process of writing, I’ve discovered a number of things that have led to my conversion. The book is still a work in progress.
Galli said “Why am I a Christian? Buy my book to find out!” immediately after taking the conversion name Francis because he was so impressed by Assini’s self-imposed poverty.
Or alternatively, because Galli is a Marxist allying himself to a Marxist Pope.