And upon his death, I learn that he was a Catholic convert:
I was married in 1952. My wife died on Dec. 8, 1980. I remarried on Oct. 30, 1982.
I was introduced to the Catholic faith through my second wife, Mary Ellen. She had been a nun for 15 years. I didn’t know any priests or nuns. Although I had many Catholic friends, we never discussed religion. I had been to a Catholic Mass a couple of times with friends when I was in my teens and early 20s, but I hadn’t been to any church for years and years until I began going to Sunday Mass with my Mary Ellen.
What sparked your interest in the Catholic Church?
After I wrote Slouching Toward Gomorrah the priest at St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., Msgr. William Awalt, told me that my views on matters seemed to be very close to those of the Catholic views, which was true. Not being religious, the fact that our views corresponded wasn’t enough to bring me into the Church, so it took me a while before I was ready to enter.
I had a number of conversations with Father C.J. McCloskey. He gave me some readings and he would drop by on his way home and we would talk for an hour to an hour and a half in my office. The one I liked best was Ronald Knox’s The Beliefs of Catholics. I’ve taught classes, but I didn’t feel like being taught a class. I wasn’t eager to be a student. Our time together was informative and highly informal.
Were there any misconceptions that you had to overcome?
When I was between 15 and 16, I was taught that the Catholic Church was highly authoritarian and that the priests had strict control over your thoughts and ideas. By the time it came to convert I had been around the world a while, so I no longer had those ideas. I knew too many Catholics to believe that.
Does it seem to make a difference converting at age 76 rather than when you were younger?
I don’t know that it has any effect. My mother is going to be 105 this fall. I don’t feel old compared to her. I haven’t spoken to her about it yet, but I assume she’ll take it well.
There is an advantage in waiting until you’re 76 to be baptized, because you’re forgiven all of your prior sins. Plus, at that age you’re not likely to commit any really interesting or serious sins.
Was there anything in particular that pulled you toward the Church?
I found the evidence of the existence of God highly persuasive, as well as the arguments from design both at the macro level of the universe and the micro level of the cell.
I found the evidence of design overwhelming, and also the number of witnesses to the Resurrection compelling. The Resurrection is established as a solid historical fact.
Plus, there was the fact that the Church is the Church that Christ established, and while it’s always in trouble, despite its modern troubles it has stayed more orthodox than almost any church I know of. The mainline Protestant churches are having much more difficulty.
Tim Drake has more and it's stuff I'd not heard before. And I find it sad that he had many Catholic friends but had never discussed religion. That's an indictment.
God give rest to Robert Bork.