I have followed with a good deal of interest the numerous conversions of Evangelical and/or Reformed pastors and seminarians, over the course of the last couple of decades, into the Roman Catholic Church. In addition to the notable conversions of Dr. Scott Hahn (see his Rome Sweet Home) and Dr. Francis Beckwith (see his Return to Rome), a number of other conversions have been related in Patrick Madrid's, Surprised By Truth (now three volumes), and at the Called To Communion website.
Unknown to me, that is until yesterday (with the exceptions of Richard John Neuhaus and Robert Wilken), are the numerous conversions of Lutherans into the Roman Catholic Church. I learned of these conversions via an article posted last Friday at the National Catholic Register website (LINK). From that entry by Tim Drake we read:
One of the most under-reported religious stories of the past decade has been the movement of Lutherans across the Tiber.
What first began with prominent Lutherans, such as Richard John Neuhaus (1990) and Robert Wilken (1994), coming into the Catholic Church, has become more of a landslide that could culminate in a larger body of Lutherans coming into the collectively.
In 2000, former Canadian Lutheran Bishop Joseph Jacobson came into the Church.
“No other Church really can duplicate what Jesus gave,” Jacobson told the Western Catholic Reporter in 2006.
In 2003, Leonard Klein, a prominent Lutheran and the former editor of Lutheran Forum and Forum Letter came into the Church. Today, both Jacobson and Klein are Catholic priests.
Over the past several years, an increasing number of Lutheran theologians have joined the Church’s ranks, some of whom now teach at Catholic colleges and universities. They include, but are not limited to: Paul Quist (2005), Richard Ballard (2006), Paul Abbe (2006), Thomas McMichael, Mickey Mattox, David Fagerberg, Bruce Marshall, Reinhard Hutter, Philip Max Johnson, and most recently, Dr. Michael Root (2010).
“The Lutheran church has been my intellectual and spiritual home for forty years,” wrote Dr. Root. “But we are not masters of our convictions. A risk of ecumenical study is that one will come to find another tradition compelling in a way that leads to a deep change in mind and heart. Over the last year or so, it has become clear to me, not without struggle, that I have become a Catholic in my mind and heart in ways that no longer permit me to present myself as a Lutheran theologian with honesty and integrity. This move is less a matter of decision than of discernment.”
And a bit later:
Now, it appears that a larger Lutheran body will be joining the Church. Father Christopher Phillips, writing at the Anglo-Catholic blog, reports that the Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church (ALCC) clergy and parishes will be entering into the U.S. ordinariate being created for those Anglicans desiring to enter the Church.
According to the blog, the ALCC sent a letter to Walter Cardinal Kasper, on May 13, 2009, stating that it “desires to undo the mistakes of Father Martin Luther, and return to the One, Holy, and True Catholic Church established by our Lord Jesus Christ through the Blessed Saint Peter.” That letter was sent to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Grace and peace,