Would C.S. Lewis be entering the Catholic Church?


It’s a question many ask after reading anything written by C.S. Lewis:  Why wasn’t this guy a Catholic?  In fact, many Catholics actually mistakenly believe he was a Catholic because of just how Catholic his beliefs were.  And indeed, when reading C.S. Lewis one gets the very obvioius feeling that he is essentially arguing for the teachings of the Catholic Church.  It’s a pesky annoyance among many protestants who also hold C.S. Lewis in such high regard.

But there is no denying it.  The man was far closer to being a Catholic than to being any kind of “main-stream” protestant of today.  He was essentially a part of the group of Anglicans in recent news who are on the verge of reunification with the Catholic Church.  And personally, I think the man would have probably converted to Catholicism eventually anyway – even without this latest change in Apostolic Constitution.

Taylor Marshall has an interesting write up with more on the Anglo-Catholicism of C.S. Lewis.

7 comments Add comment

Jeffrey L Miller October 22, 2009 at 11:10 am

Joseph Pearce’s biography on C.S. Lewis talked about this. It seems that C.S. Lewis was a bit prejudiced against the Church, though many around him including his secretary did cross the Tiber because of him. He was sort of a Typhoid Mary of Catholicism.

enness July 13, 2011 at 11:18 pm

“Typhoid Mary of Catholicism”

I’m not sure that was intentionally funny but it made me snortle! I love it.

Paul D. Gallagher October 22, 2009 at 1:09 pm

Good point. I’ve always felt that Lewis was perhaps the most non-Catholic Catholic writer I ever encountered. He may well have converted. But I recall one sticking point: artificial contraception, which Lewis spoke in favor of — at least, in one of the interviews found in “God in the Dock.”

planstoprosper October 22, 2009 at 9:28 pm

Don’t forget that all of CS Lewis’ writings came before Vatican II. If his writings seem Catholic to you, I would say it’s because the Catholic Church has moved closer to CS Lewis over the last 50 years. It’s a bit much to say that he had some secret leaning towards a Catholic Church that was completely different during his lifetime than it is now.

Matthew Warner October 22, 2009 at 11:46 pm

Thanks for the info, Jeff. I’ve wanted to read Joseph Pearce’s bio on him – sounds interesting. It seems a common theme that many of the things that keep people from “crossing the tiber” are bad experiences, prejudices, or otherwise emotional road blocks they can’t seem to overcome.

And that’s a good point, Paul. But I guess I would think if Lewis had ever fully come around to the authority of the Catholic Church he would have also come around on the contraception thing. Who knows!

Matthew Warner October 23, 2009 at 12:05 am

planstoprosper – which teachings in particular are you referring to that have somehow become more like Lewis since Vatican II?

David October 23, 2009 at 10:13 am

I have read Joseph Pearce’s book. The main reason that Lewis did not join the Catholic Church is that he always viewed the Church as The Roman Catholic Church. He felt that it was somehow, un-British to be Catholic. He had a problem with papal authority, but we need to remember the historical context in which Lewis was working and thinking in. During most of WWII, Italy was at war with Great Britain. The popes were seen as foreign and of a nationality that was antagonistic to Lewis’. So you can see why he might see this as unpatriotic.

A great insight of Lewis’ mind and heart can be read from a letter he wrote to his local pastor to criticize his pastor’s liberal teachings. He said, “…this will lead people to become atheists or Roman Catholics.” He was right on.

Previous post:

Next post: