Review: Why Catholics Are Right
Michael Coren, a Canadian radio and television talk show host, is never one to shy away from controversy. It’s not surprising, therefore, that he would write a book called Why Catholics Are Right
. Coren is clear: it’s not that everyone else is completely wrong. “There are degrees of wrongness,” he writes. “Some people are only slightly wrong, others wrong most of the time and to a shocking degree.” He includes non-Catholic Christians, in particular serious evangelicals and Eastern Orthodox believers, as examples of the former.
Everyone but Catholics are wrong? I’m already grateful for this book, because I know it’s going to be honest. He’s not going to paper over the legitimate differences that exist, and that’s a good thing.
This book is written at a popular level, and I agree with much of it. I heard Coren on the radio being interviewed about Catholicism. His defense of Catholicism was, in many ways, a defense of Christianity in general. When Coren writes about the crusades, the sanctity of life, and about the importance of choosing truth over expediency, I applaud. In one sense, you could take large portions of this book and call it Why Christians Are Right.
It’s also a helpful book for those of us who tend to mischaracterize Catholic theology. Coren is not a Catholic theologian, but he does clear up some common misconceptions about papal infallibility and the role of Mary, among other things. Given that we should present the position of others as accurately and charitably as possible in our critiques, Coren does a favor to us all when he corrects some of these misconceptions.
But Catholics and evangelicals cannot both be right about many important issues, such as papal succession and authority, transubstantiation, and the doctrine of justification. Ian Hugh Clary has written a helpful review that outlines some flaws in this book related to his use of church history, Scripture, and theology.
I’m grateful for dialogue between Catholics and evangelicals, especially when some former evangelicals (like Coren and Francis Beckwith) have returned to Rome. I’m also grateful for the common ground that we share, and Coren’s honestly in acknowledging that we both can’t be right. I’m also grateful for the way he clears up misconceptions, and for the sake of honesty we need to correct ourselves when we’re wrong.
There are degrees of wrongness, Coren writes, and I agree. I think Coren is wrong on some important issues, and he’d say the same about me. But I count him a friend, and I’m thankful for the way that he’s furthered the conversation, not to mention the way that he’s defended Christianity in general.
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