From Skinhead to Catholic

During Lent I usually do some special reading.  One year it was a selection of Saint Augustine’s sermons, another year it was a massive biography of Cardinal Newman, and one exhausting year it was to read the multi-volume History of the Church of Christ.  This year I am re-reading and reading various volumes by Joseph Pearce.

I have long admired Pearce as a graceful and insightful writer.  I also believe that his conversion from anti-Catholic skinhead to a Catholic writer one of the more interesting life transformations I have read about.  Here is clip 2 of his speaking about his conversion.

Mr. Pearce’s conversion underlines one of the strengths of the Catholic Church.  Beginning with Saint Paul, some of our greatest champions have arisen from the ranks of enemies.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit there is no anti-Catholic on this planet who may not end his days as part of the Faith.  Some say the age of miracles ended long ago.  If we have the wit to see it, the greatest miracle is the impact of grace on the human heart.

I am curious as to how many of our readers have read Pearce and what they think of his books.


5 Responses to From Skinhead to Catholic

  1. Blackadder says:

    I have read three of Pearce’s books (C.S. Lewis and the Catholic Church, Solzhenitsyn: A Soul in Exile, and Small is Still Beautiful: Economics as if Families Mattered). Pearce is a lively writer, clearly in love with his subjects, which makes his books a joy to read, though the lack of critical distance does detract from them a bit (the lack of economic knowledge also hurts Small is Still Beautiful). The Solzhenitsyn book is probably my favorite of the three.

  2. Donald R. McClarey says:

    I haven’t read the last two. I will have to get his book on Solzhenitsyn, one of the great figures, and not just literary, of the last century.

  3. John Henry says:

    I’ve read the C.S. Lewis, Chesterton, and Tolkien books; of those I thought the one on Lewis was the best. I’ll have to check out the Solzhenitsyn book. He is a lively writer, although his book on Shakespeare led to some exchanges over at First Things in which I thought he had the weaker argument (but I have no expertise to speak of in Shakespeare studies). Interesting post.

  4. I enjoyed his book on Tolkien and Literary Converts, which is an incredibly enjoyable read for anyone into British novels from the early 20th century.

    While other Tolkien biographers (noteably Humphrey Carpenter) are more scholarly, Pearce seemed “get” Tolkien in a way Carpenter did not.

    Though I did think he came off a bit poorly in the Shakespeare exchange on First Things. It sounded like perhaps as someone used to dealing with questions regarding modern literature, he wasn’t aware of the textual issues that come into play with Shakespeare, and thus had neglected whole are of homework for that book basically because he was coming at it from a reader’s (as opposed to a scholar’s) perspective.

  5. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Shakespeare biography is a minefield into which I would encourage few to tread. The facts are frighteningly few and the theories frighteningly many. The passions that are engaged in this area also have to be seen to be believed. I agree that the First Things exchange was not the finest moment of Mr. Pearce.

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