Why boomer converts make the switch

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Roman Catholic Church has a new member, but he's far beyond the age of any would-be altar boy.

Former British prime minister Tony Blair's conversion to Catholicism in a private ceremony in London last Friday wasn't a surprise to most Britons. He had been edging away from his Anglican roots for years, attending mass on Sundays with his four children and wife, Cherie, who are all baptized Catholics.

But the 54-year-old joins many others who have made the decision to convert later in life. Middle age, some experts say, is a time when many people begin to question their faith — or lack of it.

"A lot of it has to do with confronting death," said Rev. Daniel Donovan, a priest and professor of theology at the University of St. Michael's College in the University of Toronto.

While young people may reflect on their spirituality, those thoughts are often shoved aside by immediate pressures such as childcare, career and paying the rent, he said.

"When you're older, and some of the pressure is relieved, you can kind of think, where do I want to end up?" Father Donovan said.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryCanadaEngland / UK

Posted December 28, 2007 at 6:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Will B wrote:

Confronting death?  Oh balderdash!  I think that a person examines their life in middle age.  While issues are still very real and prominent (e.g. stem cell research, abortion, etc.), the true priority is values (faith, justice,fidelity, etc.).  People navigate to those places—Church, political party, job, relationships, etc. that best refelct those values.  About the only impact of death is the fact that at 555 or 60, you realize there is no time to waste.  Good for Tony Blair and good for anyone else who decides to live by the truth of that wonderful line from “The Shawshank Redemption”:  “You can get busy livin’ or you can get busy dyin’. ”

December 28, 12:22 pm | [comment link]
2. BabyBlue wrote:

Or as Dylan says, “that he not busy being born is busy dying.”


December 28, 1:37 pm | [comment link]
3. Already Gone wrote:

“People take this step for many different reasons,” Lord Black wrote in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail.

“I think that most people who follow this path would agree that they came to the conclusion that God exists, that Christ was a divinely inspired person, that he told St. Peter to found a church and that the Roman Catholic Church, though riven with many imperfections, is the legitimate continuator of the original Christian church.”

This sums up well why my wife and I converted (see also http://sewardfolly.blogspot.com/search/label/Conversion story)  While I am a middle-aged baby boomer, I don’t think the approaching end of my life had much to do with it.  (Besides 50 is the new 30, or so they say!)  Rather it was the slow, but sure, disintegration of the Anglican Communion that revealed to us the underlying weakness of continuing to be Protestants.

December 29, 11:46 am | [comment link]
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