This is a conversion story like no
other. For one thing, it was written before the author was received into
the Church. In fact, it is a journal he kept during the year in which
he was coming to a decision about whether or not he must become a
Catholic. For another, he and his wife were both Congregational
ministers, very happily placed in a New England parish.
Catholic meant leaving a pleasant home, congenial work, and security. He
did not know whether his wife would decide to become a Catholic too.
She was attracted by the Church but was not approaching it by the same
path as he was. Whether she would arrive at the same decision he could
not tell. In the face of all that, what made Oliver Barres so certain he
must go straight forward into the Church?
In his introduction to the
book, Frank J. Sheed says of him: "He has a hunger and thirst for
reality, for the objective. That a creed stimulates or consoles or
quiets the conscience, that it meets one's desires or felt needs -all
that is splendid, but secondary. Unless it is true, he will have none of