A Speech That Convinced A Dutch Philosopher To Be Catholic

News: Commentary
by Paul Brock III  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  April 25, 2023   

Dr. Peter Kreeft's '7 Reasons Why Everyone Should Be Catholic'

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Prominent conservative commentator Eva Vlaardingerbroek was welcomed into the Catholic Church on Sunday. Her story, which is detailed extensively in an article by the National Catholic Register, highlights the spiritual reality of the culture war, the power of social media and the irrefutable claims of the One True Faith.

In her own words, the 26-year-old Dutch political philosopher credited YouTube speeches — and one in particular — as a major spark for her conversion. Just over one hour in length, the speech that Eva heard was enough to convince her that "Christ Himself founded the Church" and that "everything made sense." 

The speech that compelled Eva to become Catholic is fittingly titled "7 Reasons Why Everyone Should Be Catholic." It was given by Dr. Peter Kreeft — a Catholic philosopher and convert — at a 2017 diocesan men's conference in the diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

In sum, Kreeft's seven reasons are that the Catholic faith is true, it's good, it's beautiful, its veracity is proved by the facts of history, it produces saints, it gets people to heaven and it's where people actually meet Jesus Christ. 

Truth, Goodness and Beauty

Kreeft makes his first three points together because they are inseparable from one another. He opens up by stating, "Truth, goodness and beauty are the three things that everybody wants. They're the three foods that every human soul is designed to hunger for infinitely." In other words, every single human being desires truth, goodness and beauty. And more so, the human appetite desires these three things infinitely. 

God, as Kreeft explains, offers man that which he innately desires. Through the Church, man's longing for truth, goodness and beauty is fulfilled by the three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. Kreefts refers to these three virtues as "the spiritual glue that sticks us to God." On a theological level, man knows truth by faith, he knows the good by charity, and he has hope of infinite beauty, that is, the beatific vision (Heaven).

7 Reasons Why Everyone Should Be Catholic

And Kreeft's first three points must have had a profound effect on Eva, who stated in her NCR interview, "There is such a thing as beauty, there is such a thing as Good, and there is such a thing as the Truth." 

After explicating this process in even more detail, Kreeft then goes on to talk about the Protestant revolt, which, in his words, is "the greatest tragedy in the history of the visible Church." Quickly dispelling Luther's "faith alone" heresy, Kreeft states, "The faith that is indifferent to charity and the charity that is indifferent to faith is not true faith or true charity."

The Facts of History Prove it 

"The fundamental truth that made me a Catholic," according to Kreeft, "was the fact — the historical fact — that Jesus Christ established the Catholic Church. ... If Christ said 'here's the Church I designed for you,' you take it!" Echoing his first point about truth, Kreeft explains how history is explicitly clear that Jesus founded the Catholic Church, which is still here today. As such, there's no excuse for not belonging to it. 

Kreeft then lays out the scriptural and historical evidence for apostolic succession and the Church's teaching authority. On the latter point, he adds that it has also endured for 2,000 years without a blemish: "What other visible human institution has kept its teaching absolutely pure even though the teachers were far from absolutely pure? It's a miracle!"

Catholic doctrine remains the same, no matter who is the pope or what turmoil the Church goes through.

This point must have also stuck with Eva and played a big role in her conversion, for in her interview with the NCR, she confidently repeated this truth, stating, "Catholic doctrine remains the same, no matter who is the pope or what turmoil the Church goes through as an institution. The doctrine has and always will withstand the test of time because He himself founded the Church." 

It Produces Saints

For Kreeft, after he realized the historical truth of the Catholic Church, he turned to the saints, positing in his speech that "you can't argue with the saints." According to Kreeft, these models of the faith are "tremendous teaching device[s]." Connecting these holy exemplars to the modern day, Kreeft told his audience that "a saint in the modern politically correct world [would] look exactly like St. Thomas More." 

Kreeft's point about the saint and martyr Thomas More must have connected well with Eva, for, at the time, she was experiencing persecution of her own for speaking the truth: "I experienced what happens when you come out and speak about your love for Christ: The evil forces in the world become louder because there is nothing they hate more than testimony." 

It Gets You to Heaven

Kreeft's sixth point is probably the bluntest. During this portion of the speech, he explains how one ought to "be a Catholic because it's Noah's Ark, and Noah's Ark is going to the land of life." He does not mince words, rather, he directly says, "Be a Catholic because that's the God-ordained way to get to Heaven." That was basically the extent to which he spoke about this Catholic truth. For non-Catholics, it's easy to imagine how frightening those words are, but, as Kreeft always goes back to with each of his points, it's a matter of truth. 

This Is Where You Meet Jesus Christ 

Kreeft's seventh point, he says, is the most logical. God, being man's origin and end, offers Himself to man in order to lift him up to Himself. 

In making this point, Kreeft states that "what the Church gives you is, of course, truth and goodness, the saints but also beauty, especially in the liturgy, in the Mass, in the sacraments." It is through the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, Kreeft explains, that man is unified to God.

Be a Catholic because that's the God-ordained way to get to Heaven.

Kreeft even mentions that in his own studies before his conversion, he found that "[with] all the Christian writers before the Reformation, I found that not one of them denied the Real Presence of Christ in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist." Going back to his historical reasoning, he makes the point that "nobody said it's only a symbol. The first one who ever said that was Berengar of Tours in the 10th century; he was immediately labeled a heretic; he repented; he was reconciled with the Church."

For Kreeft, the Church's doctrine on the Eucharist moved him most powerfully in becoming Catholic, and, according to Eva, that was the same with her. She told NCR: 

Transubstantiation was key to me. As a Protestant, I rejected the concept. I never felt like I could rationalize that, so I went with the "it's symbolic" argument. But when you look at Scripture, at what Jesus Himself said, he's crystal clear. It's not symbolic at all. And even though I can't rationalize it, I believe it because if Christ said it is so, it is so. So then there is no other choice but to become a Catholic.

Over the weekend, Tucker Carlson gave a keynote address wherein he asserted that today's culture war is really about "good and evil" and that "none of this makes sense in conventional political terms." This realization — because it inevitably leads to the realm of theology — was made by Eva Vlaardingerbroek, and, as a result, she joined the Catholic Church. Perhaps Tucker will be the next prominent conservative to cross the Tiber.

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