Was Ammon Hennacy ever really a Catholic? - Catholic Worker odds & ends
Was Ammon Hennacy ever really a Catholic?|
"Some friends say I never was a Catholic. Whether I left the Church or the Church left me depends on how you look at the question. Now after 15 years in the Catholic Church I find that any increase in spiritual emphasis that I have gained has been in spite of and not because of attendance at Mass or taking Communion. So I do not think it worthwhile to call myself a Catholic. In solitary (confinement) in 1918-19 I made my real conversion. This was the important event of my life. All since then, as may be said, is only on the surface."---Ammon Hennacy in THE BOOK OF AMMON.
As someone who has stood near the doors of churches for over fifty years without being certain whether I should enter or leave, I find stories about religious change (and non-change) fascinating. The conversion of 1918-19 was from what? To what? Whenever I think of joining a group, religious or otherwise, I sense that at some point I am going to have to betray them or myself. Yet change from my current "status" to a "better" one seems always valuable.
Ammon, when he had his conversion in solitary in Atlanta Federal prison was a teenager, a Socialist and an atheist. He had been raised a Baptist. This is all in his autobiography. After reading the Bible, because there was nothing else to read became an anarchist (he met Alexander Berkman in prison) and a non-Church Christian. He became a Catholic to please Dorothy Day. Your predicament reminds me of Simone Weil a bit. She could never quite take the step ot become a Catholic but that was because she was a Jew and felt that accepting baptism would be a betrayal of her heritage, at least that is the way I've understood it. I have a friend who was away from the Church for fifty years but has recently returned because he is 88 years old, is afraid of death and afraid of hell, but he was raised a Catholic. I was raised a Methodist, became a Catholic when I was 16, spent two years in a Trappist monastery, then went to the Cathoilic Worker for ten years and am now an atheist. So go figure! RS
|Date:||March 19th, 2010 07:29 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: church membership
Thank you. I must confess that, in spite of a fifty year interest in Ammon Hennacy, I have never read his autobiography.
Re: church membership
Yes he was though he later left the church. I am reading his autobiography right now. Well worth the read.