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Far From Rome Near To God: Testimonies of Fifty Converted Catholic Priests (Bennett)

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This book contains the moving testimonies of fifty priests who found their way, by the grace of God, out of the labyrinth of Roman Catholic theology and practice into the light of the gospel of Christ. But this is not a narrowly polemical work, nor is its relevance limited to the ongoing controversy between Rome and the churches of the Reformation.

The love and concern felt by the former priests for those they left behind, and their fervent desire that they too should experience the joy and peace of salvation in Christ are seen throughout. The wider relevance of the experiences described will also be felt in many contexts remote from Roman Catholicism where human pride and presumption have erected rival sources of authority between people and the Word of God, so obscuring the way of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, and in Christ alone.

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Table of Contents: 

1 Bob Bush: Once a Jesuit, Now a Child of God 1
2 Dominic Stockford: Life after the Catholic Priesthood 13
3 Cuthbert Dzingirai: Rescued by the Grace of God 31
4 Joseph Tremblay: Priest, but a Stranger to God 41
5 Charles Chiniquy: Fifty Years in the Church of Rome 51
6 Bartholomew F Brewer: Pilgrimage from Rome 59
7 Henry Gregory Adams: Christ Alone Is the Way 70
8 Alexander Carson: Free Indeed 73
9 Hugh Farrell: From Friar to Freedom in Christ 78
10 Robert V Julien: Saved by the Free Grace of God 94
11 Charles Berry: A Priest Asks God for Grace 99
12 Cipriano Valdes Jaimes: An Irresistible Call 106
13 Miguel Carvajal: Why I Left the Monastery 111
14 Victor J Affonso: To Follow Jesus without Compromise 116
15 Anibal Pereira dos Reis: If I Had Stayed in Roman Catholicism, I Would Not Have Found Jesus 122
16 Anthony Pezzotta: I Found Everything When I Found Christ 129
17 Simon Kottoor: There Is Power in Christ’s Atoning Blood 133
18 Vincent O’Shaughnessy: From Dead Religion to New Life in Christ 138
19 José Borras: From the Monastery to the Ministry 146
20 Edoardo Labanchi: I Received Mercy 151
21 J Ernest Fresques: A Priest Finds the Saviour 160
22 Francisco Lacueva: My ‘Damascus Road’ 167
23 Juan T Sanz: ‘Thou Knowest That I Love Thee’ 173
24 Nino Tirelli: God’s Grace in the Life of a Monk 178
25 Manuel Garrido Aldama: From Roman Priest to Radio Evangelist 185
26 Robert Champagne: Into His Marvellous Light 192
27 Bruno Bottesin: I Was Not Antagonistic to the Truth 195
28 Salvatore Gargiulo: I Was a Blind Leader of the Blind 199
29 Toon Vanhuysse: The Truth Set Me Free 204
30 Roman Mazierski: The Holy Spirit Brings His People from Darkness into Light 210
31 José A Fernandez: I Was Blind, Now I See 222
32 Joseph Cherucheril: The Way Made Clear 233
33 José Rico: New Life for a Jesuit Priest 238
34 Jacob Van der Velden: God’s Grace in New Guinea 242
35 Charles A Bolton: My Path into Christ’s Joy 246
36 John Preston: From Works to the Light of the Gospel 252
37 Gerald Walters: All Things Are Become New 255
38 Joseph Zacchello: I Could Not Serve Two Masters 264
39 Mariano Rughi: Living Water – Peace with God 268
40 John Zanon: I Found Christ the Only Mediator 274
41 Thoufic Khouri: The Gospel of Grace in Jesus Christ 277
42 Joseph Lulich: The Word of God Came to My Rescue 286
43 Dario A Santamaria: Yesterday, a Priest – Today, a Missionary 292
44 JMA Hendriksen: From Priest to Preacher 296
45 Leo Lehmann: The Soul of a Priest 302
46 Carlo Fumagalli: From Death to Life 308
47 Renato di Lorenzo: A Monk for Twenty Years, Then Born Again 313
48 Guido Scalzi: My Encounter with God 317
49 Benigno Zuniga: Transformed by Christ 324
50 Richard Peter Bennett: From Tradition to Truth 327
  Epilogue 339



Richard Bennett was born into a devout Roman Catholic home in Dublin Ireland. His early years were spent in Belvedere Jesuit School. Eight years of theological instruction for the priesthood followed under the instruction of the Dominican Order with his formal education culminating in 1964 at the Angelicum University of Rome.

As a young priest, Richard (Peter) was assigned to the West Indies. He spent the next twenty-one years in Trinidad, mostly serving as a parish priest applying Roman Catholic teaching to everyday life. After a serious accident in which he nearly lost his life, he began to seriously study the Scriptures. 

After fourteen years of contrasting the teachings of Rome with biblical truth, he was convicted by the Gospel message through God's grace alone and in 1986 he formally left the Roman Catholic Church and its priesthood. Richard has since founded an evangelistic ministry called 'Berean Beacon' which brings the truth of God's plan of salvation to many worldwide.