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J.D. Vance, the author of the bestselling Hillbilly Elegy, was baptized and received into the Catholic Church in Cincinnati last weekend, a week after Ron Howard wrapped up filming for the movie of the same name.
“I became persuaded over time that Catholicism was true,” Vance said in an interview published Sunday. “I was raised Christian, but never had a super-strong attachment to any denomination and was never baptized. When I became more interested in faith, I started out with a clean slate, and looked at the church that appealed most to me intellectually.”
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Vance said that he also looked at the people who meant the most to him and found they were Catholic, which also influenced his decision.
“I’ve been reading and studying about it for three years, or even longer. It was time,” he said.
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“It probably would have happened sooner if the sex abuse crisis, or the newest version of it, hadn’t made a lot of headlines,” he said. “It forced me to process the church as a divine and a human institution, and what it would mean for my two-year-old son. But I never really questioned over the past few years that I would become Catholic.”
Subtitled “A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,” Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy has been described as “a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis — that of white working-class Americans.” Released in June, 2016, it summed up for many the state of many of the nation’s “deplorables” who would go on to help elect Donald J. Trump to the White House in November.
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Vance himself is a graduate of Yale Law School, a far cry from his “dirt-poor” Appalachian beginnings, as well as being a former marine who served in Iraq.
“One of the things I love about Catholicism is that it’s very old,”...
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