Including Every Detail

W. P. Witcutt was a 20th-century Anglican convert to Catholicism, who was granted an exemption to begin studying at seminary shortly after conversion. Around the 1940s he reverted back to Anglican and lived out the rest of his life as a high-church Anglican priest. Here is a passage from his account of his conversion and re-conversion:

I began to study the Roman Catholic system, and it at once attracted me. Here was an intellectual scheme moulded and shaped, it seemed, to include every detail. One had only to make an act of faith and one was settled, intellectually, for life. No more questions need be asked. To a youngster who could not trust his own judgement this was very satisfactory.

Source: Witcutt, W. P., Return to Reality. London, 1954: SPCK. pp. 15-16.

I think a lot of his criticisms of scholasticism are over-the-top (although the scholasticism of that time was not very healthy), but personally speaking, I think desire for certainty does in fact motivate a lot of conversion from Protestantism to Catholicism/Orthodoxy (why people think Orthodoxy guarantees certainty is anyone’s guess, but the feeling is there). And certainly scholasticism can seem appealing because, superficially at least, it looks like it has an answer to every question.



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