Michael Coren, if you are not familiar with him, is a newspaper columnist and television call-in show host in Toronto. Though I never looked into his denominational affiliation, I always assumed he was an evangelical based on the topics and guests on his show. When The Passion of the Christ released several months ago, he wrote a wonderful article about it, pointing out that it was nothing but the mass as a movie. He took issue with Gibson’s motives in making it and called the film “stupid and barbaric.” This caused him to receive all sorts of awful feedback and certainly earned him many more enemies than friends.
How times change.
Last week, in a column entitled “The Passion of the Michael,” Coren retracted his statements on The Passion, saying that after viewing it again he now realizes what is at the heart of the movie: The Eucharist. “The epicentre, the quintessence of the Christian faith, was no symbolic act but a literal instruction. ‘Take this, all of you, and eat it: this is my body which will be given up for you.’ And ‘Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all men so that sins may be forgiven.’ What had been a barrier has now become a bridge. A connection between a broken, smashed and needy creature like me and his perfect and glorious creator. The great paradox of God. In so simple a matter as a wafer is the most wonderful gift in all the world. Given at a very great price indeed.”
A few paragraphs later we read “The interspersing of scenes from The Last Supper and the institution of the Mass with the immense and intense suffering of Christ…serve as chapters of explanation, each one shining a unique light on the events that surround them.” He goes on to say “As I watched again, another reality embraced me, like the arms of a loving mother around an eager if sometimes foolish child. It was that Mary is not merely a background figure in a magnificent drama, but the divine conduit for salvation. In other words, she is sublime and perfect and with us forever. The mother of us all. Through her eyes, I saw the life and death of Jesus once again, with all of the human as well as godly suffering that it entails. I use the present tense, because although Christ died for us so long ago, He still lives. His sacrifice exists in the present and can be witnessed every day by us all. Yes, even by me.”
Now we can see where this is going.
The column concludes with these words: “Perhaps one day I’ll meet Mel Gibson and be able to thank him for what he has done and tell him how his screen meditation helped to change me. Also apologize to him, for not understanding what he was saying. ‘Lord, I am not worthy to receive you. But only say the word and I shall be healed.'”
Obviously some great change has come over Coren. As my friend Joel says, it would seem that he has “poped!” After all, I don’t know too many Protestants who would say that Mary is the “divine conduit for salvation.”
A few days ago Coren wrote another column that answered the question many were wondering: has he converted to Catholicism. His answer is “on July 5 of this year I did indeed join the Roman Catholic Church. Or returned to her. I was baptized a Catholic almost 20 years ago, but for the past 10 years have been an enthusiastic evangelical Christian…I am convinced that the church founded by Christ is the Roman Catholic Church and that Jesus gave earthly authority to Peter and his successors, down to and beyond Pope John Paul II. I believe that Jesus is present on the alter [sic] during the Mass. I believe in the seven sacraments.”
There we have it, straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Coren has converted to Catholicism…or more correctly, has returned home to the church of his youth.
It’s tragic, really. The voice of Christians is rarely heard on Canadian airwaves and on Christian television and it is sad that one of the biggest voices has returned to the false church of Rome.