Two years ago, I converted to Catholicism. I was raised Lutheran, identified as kinda Lutheran-by-default for most of my life, dabbled in Unitarianism, and settled into an indifferent agnosticism that seems pretty common in my generation – a kind of “how am I supposed to know if God exists, but I can vouch for the fact that a whole lot of Christians are real assholes” thing.
Then I got engaged to a lapsed Catholic, and we both started having some God-related restlessness and feeling some pulls to organized religion. For me, it was tied to the idea of maturing and mending some fences with my family, which could maybe include going to my beloved Granny’s Lutheran church with her. For him, it was feeling a pull back to his Catholic roots. I never considered Lutheranism in and of itself controversial but it was basically Catholicism Lite as far as the services and overall vibe, and Catholics were definitely woman-hating idol worshipers, so obviously he needed to accept Lutheranism and all of its boxes of danishes in church basements.
It became a real point of contention between us. Eventually, at my wit’s end, I got some books out from the library on Catholicism. My fiance (now husband of five years) is a very logical, intellectual, academic sort of guy, and I figured I would learn a little more about why Catholicism sucked, develop my arguments, and talk him out of the whole thing by simply showing him the logic flaws and horrible doctrines of the church. Obviously I didn’t want him to know about that until I was fully ready with my ammunition, so I read the books secretly, in the locked bathroom. I had a little cache under the sink.
Well, hiding in the bathtub with my illicit books, Catholicism developed its arguments and simply showed me my logic flaws and the beautiful doctrines of the church. It was like meeting God himself, it made so much perfect sense. I joined RCIA classes and joyfully converted.
The leader of our RCIA class, by then a 20+ year Catholic, had an almost identical conversion story, oddly. He learned more about Catholicism to better argue against it and found truth instead. Jennifer Fulwiler is a popular Catholic blogger and released a very hyped book about her adult conversion a couple years ago, and it was…the same story. It was great. Imagine my surprise when I picked up Pope Awesome (with low expectations for some reason) and found an even-funnier spin on the same. Damn. Conversion. Story. Turns out it’s kind of a thing. It happens a lot.
If you take nothing else from this post, know that Catholicism is basically like the horror movie trope where people keep going into a mysterious building to remove other people, and also getting trapped. And then more people come in after them and they get trapped too. In fact, if this post is getting you stirred up thinking about how shitty Catholicism is, you might as well just get on Amazon and buy yourself a rosary, because that’s how it starts.
So, I loved Pope Awesome. It’s yet another story of a smart, kind of nerdy, kind of feminist chick who thinks Catholics are the worst but the damn religion seems to be following her around. She gets some books to prove it all wrong and gets swallowed whole. Genres don’t really get much more niche than that, which is unfortunate because I need a million more books just like this one. I realize that this review was more of a conversion story and book recommendation than a proper review, but there’s not a lot to say about the plot of the book. It’s a really good book. I want to recommend it to everyone, but I have to rein myself in and realize how extremely specific its target audience is. Although if I don’t practice restraint, maybe I’ll get some people annoyed by Catholicism and score a few new members in the end.