Exhorting a Former Co-Worker




Several years ago I worked with a gentleman who became a good acquaintance. We never spent a lot of time together while not on the job, but we were very friendly during our daily duties. Moreover, having converted recently, Catholicism naturally arose in our conversations. He was from Massachusetts originally, practicing a kind of liberal Evangelic Protestantism with a background in Catholicity and an Albanian grandmother steeped in the schism of so-called ‘Eastern Orthodoxy’. In other words, a spiritual mélange.


From my side of things, I liked him immediately; his soul displayed a sensitivity that is rare amongst human beings. Unfortunately, although he was always ‘nice’ & respectful to me, he would never take the Catholic Faith truly seriously --- leastwise, not openly to my face. I did get the impression that I had an effect on him, though. For instance, he admitted that Protestantism was in many ways grievously lacking & not in harmony with the facts of ancient Christian history. Too, some time after I had gone to work elsewhere and we were not seeing each other much, I found out that he & his wife (who had grown up Protestant, as I recall) were attending services at an Eastern Schismatic church in the local area, having apparently forsaken regular assembly with the spiritual descendants of Martin Luther’s revolt.


Nevertheless, he now had no excuse not to know better. No one really does. The Creator gives men, His creatures, both minds & wills to seek for His Commandments, He guaranteeing their discovery no matter where such men are or when they live... if only they bother to look. But in his case he had me explicitly telling him the Saving Truth of Roman Catholicism and, in turn, he claimed to have read an older version of my book about no Salvation outside the Catholic Church, Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus. Ergo, there’s absolutely no way he couldn’t know how to begin to save his immortal soul. Then, not having heard from him for some time and I moving far away out-of-state, I exhorted him again by physical letter to convert to the Catholic Faith. I later returned to Oregon and erected this website, he unexpectedly sending me a note with the hope expressed that we might get in touch someday soon. To which I responded, explaining what would need to happen were we to do so.


This webpage is therefore comprised of two letters: the first being the one I sent him upon moving out-of-state for awhile, the second being the more recent one I wrote in response to his brief note about getting in touch. And I post them, with his anonymity preserved, of course, in order to show readers how it is often the ‘little things’ that keep a man from converting and thus procuring real hope for eternal salvation. Because while I cannot pretend perfect knowledge of this acquaintance’s innermost soul, it requires no genius guessing what most likely detains him from conversion, provided he actually has good will in the matter otherwise --- to wit, private sin (since real Catholicism assures us that men in mortal sin cannot enter Heaven), the respect of colleagues (since conversion requires a man to talk & act like a real Catholic in public, lest denial of the Faith send him to Hell), and a heretical spouse (since those attached to, or tolerating, heresy in their lives will not want to enter an exclusively saving Catholic Church). Thus, attachment to sin, reputation & spouse are probably what, more than anything else, keep him from taking Catholicism truly seriously & converting. Do not let such things detain you, my dear reader!


+ + +    1. Letter of 2 May 2007    + + +


Dear X,


It’s been many years since we’ve worked together, almost as many years since we’ve seriously talked, and at least a couple of years since last we greeted one another. Several times you’ve denied being too busy to see me, however, I’m well aware of what leadership of the library entails, not to mention the demands that marriage, fatherhood & various other activities of modern life places on your shoulders. I am thus not surprised by the silence of nearly six years beyond a pair of brief hellos.


Nevertheless, I am also well aware that real Catholicism is both offensive & frightening. Were you standing before me you’d probably disavow this, too, as you have in the past. Yet if not offended or frightened by the Roman Catholic Faith that I embody, then why haven’t you met with me? Busy though you are, half a decade affords plenty of chances to do so, assuming you make the effort. Still, you will protest your equanimity. To which I respond:


If you are truly not offended or frightened, then either you haven’t actually understood the teaching of the Catholic Church or else you don’t actually believe what She proclaims.


Now, you’re an intelligent fellow. I know, because I’ve spoken at some length with you. And I’ve told you what the Church declares with God-given infallibility about no one entering Heaven apart from full & literal profession of Her Catholic Religion. The Holy Spirit convicted your heart of this Saving Truth; all the same, you’re fully capable of examining the Papacy across the centuries should you doubt my words. What’s more, I’ve backed them up with documented testimony from earliest Christians, the plain hard facts of Sacred Scripture and rock solid reasoning rooted in simple common sense. The older version of my book, Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, that you claim to have read, is proof of this. Consequently, a lack of understanding isn’t your main problem.


Indeed, regardless of how little you may grasp the Church’s teaching, refusal to heed Her Voice always boils down to one of two things. That is to say, either you want what’s contrary to Catholicism more than you want the True Faith itself, or else you fear the loss of something in your life right now by becoming Roman Catholic more than you fear the loss of your soul later on by not dying as a Catholic. The former is attachment to sin, the latter attachment to earth. And while sin certainly obstructs your conversion, your wife was raised Protestant & despises the thought of becoming an actual Roman Catholic. Ergo, you face the very real possibility of her divorcing you were you to convert. This, I wager, is your biggest stumbling block --- not to mention how cut off you’d feel from others by beginning to act like a genuine Catholic.


This fear you must overcome. Unfortunately, I can no longer easily visit you, having left Oregon for New Mexico to propagate Jesus’ Catholic Body throughout the world. Notwithstanding… [you have]… everything that you need to become truly Catholic & so have real hope to save your immortal soul. I’ve also included an article with this letter, Catholic Ritual Defended, which demolishes the silly yet very popular animosity against ecclesial liturgy nowadays. Praying for your conversion,


                                                                                      -Paul Doughton


+ + +    2. Letter of 28 August 2008    + + +


Dear X,


Thank you so very much for your generous gift in the mail recently.


Concerning your reference to me as a modern day ‘Elijah’, I am not worthy of the appellation. I may cry in the wilderness, buck against the overwhelming tide & speak to a multitude of deaf ears, however, I am an unworthy sinner. He was a brave & holy saint.


As for connecting --- if possible --- that would be alright. There are, though, several things that we would have to bear in mind were we to actually see one another:


One, I have a wife & six sons and I must slave for awhile for an earthly taskmaster to earn money. Hence, whether you visit here or I go there, my time is limited & precious.


Meaning, two, that we must not waste moments. Friendly chitchat is understandable to a modest extent, but the crucial thing is the gulf between us regarding the Catholic Faith.


Meaning, three, that we must tackle this divide. Be it one hour or three hours, our words must get down to brass tacks. Why don’t you think I’m right? Why won’t you become a real Catholic? Have you sound reasons or simply bias & fear?


Meaning, four, that ‘tackling this divide’ isn’t the same as bare disagreement. Anybody can say, “I disagree.” Fine. Yet the heart of the matter is not the mere fact of difference. It is precisely why you disagree, the solid reasoning & rock hard evidence for your stance… if any. To do less than this on your part is sheer animosity, however politely stated.


In short, my dear former co-worker, I am in earnest --- as any genuine ‘Elijah’ would be. I neither aim for ecumenical parley nor shooting the breeze. You’ve The Epistemologic Works website, which --- though but a 100th of all that it will eventually be --- more than suffices to show why there can be no Salvation outside Jesus’ Roman Catholic Body. You also claimed to have read an older version of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus several years ago. Ergo, there is no excuse not to hit the ground running were you & I to talk.


But perhaps you’re ensconced comfortably midway between Luther & Rome. I mean, so-called ‘Eastern Orthodoxy’ has all of the sacraments, ritual & tradition one can find in the Western Patriarchate, right? It’s almost like Catholicism minus the Papacy, n’est-ce pas? Yet if you’ve studied doctrine carefully then you know this is not true. A pope is the visible head of God’s Ecclesial Body, teaching by His Infallible Authority. Catholic Faith stands or falls on this principle alone. Moreover, after a millennium, East defies West on many dogmas other than papal authority. The two are now wholly separate religions. So, while it may keep marital peace, evoke family history & assuage spiritual conscience, it is not an honest solution. In the deep love of Christ’s Cross for your immortal soul,




+ + +


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