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This might seem like a weird question if you're a protestant and really like C.S. Lewis, but as a Catholic, I don't see him as ever espousing particularly non-catholic positions and he is very well read at Catholic universities.

His faith journey closely parallels G.K. Chesterton, although he comes from a more intellectual background and GKC converted from nothing to Anglicanism to Catholicism, but Lewis never made the final jump.

I read Pilgrim's Regress and understand he had a few things to say about Catholics, but in general, we like him, so why didn't he like us? One of his best friends, J.R.R Tolkien (who was largely responsible for his conversion), was Catholic so what made him not Catholic?

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+1 This is a fascinating question. –  Richard Sep 13 '11 at 21:15
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This made me really have to ask why Chesterton did convert. I'm interested in seeing what answers your question gets, too! –  dancek Sep 13 '11 at 21:31
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There actually is a book on C.S. Lewis and Catholicism. amazon.com/C-S-Lewis-Catholic-Church/dp/0898709792 –  a_hardin Sep 13 '11 at 21:32
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@PeterTurner: FWIW there's a somewhat obscure book called the "Latin Letters of C.S. Lewis" or something like that. It's a body of correspondence between Lewis and an Italian priest who worked in the Vatican. They wrote in Latin because it was the language they had in common -- but the edition I saw included both the Latin and an English translation of the letters. I don't know how much light it sheds on this question -- maybe the priest was just a huge Narnia/Space-Trilogy fan! -- but I suspect it would be helpful. My local religious bookstore sold out before I could get a copy. :-( –  Ben Dunlap Dec 23 '11 at 20:56
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It was interesting to see this question and great to see the response below with quoted text. He is often quoted in the LDS community and some feel to claim that with his expressed beliefs he would have become a Mormon :). He's done a lot of good to inspire the reader to Christ, expressing the good that we find in the many forms of Christianity –  Noremac Jul 29 '13 at 20:55
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In his book "Mere Christianity" he indicates that Christianity is one step in a sort of religious evolutionary system. In his mind the thing after Christianity won't be constrained by religious divisions or Dogmas. This is one obvious reason he wasn't interested in becoming Catholic.

The evolution is approximately: Paganism->Christianity->Something Better.

"Perhaps a modern man can understand the Christian idea best if he takes it in connection with Evolution."(218)

"(Never Forget that we are all still 'the early Christians'. The present wicked and wasteful divisions between us are, let us hope, a disease of infancy;...)"(221)

"On this view the thing has happened: the new step has been taken and is being taken. Already the new men are dotted here and there all over the earth... Every now and then one meets them. Their very voices and faces are different from ours: stronger, quieter, happier, more radiant... They will not be very like the idea of 'religious people' which you have formed from your general reading... And I strongly suspect (But how should I know?) that they recognize one another immediately and infallibly, across every barrier of colour, sex, class, age, and even creeds. In that way, to become holy is rather like joining a secret society. To put it at the very lowest, it must be great fun."(223)

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Interesting answer. +1. Don –  rhetorician Dec 3 '13 at 22:23
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C. S. Lewis wrote in Christian Reunion:

The real reason, I take it, why you cannot be in communion with us is not your disagreement with this or that particular Protestant doctrine, so much as the absence of any real "Doctrine", in your sense of the word, at all. It is, you feel, like asking a man to say he agrees not with a speaker but with a debating society.

And the real reason why I cannot be in communion with you is not my disagreement with this or that Roman doctrine, but that to accept your Church means, not to accept a given body of doctrine, but to accept in advance any doctrine your Church hereafter produces. It is like being asked to agree not only to what a man has said but to what he's going to say.

To you the real vice of Protestantism is the formless drift which seems unable to retain the Catholic truths, which loses them one by one and ends in a "modernism" which cannot be classified as Christian by any tolerable stretch of the word. To us the terrible thing about Rome is the recklessness (as we hold) with which she has added to the depositum fidei - the tropical fertility, the proliferation, of credenda. You see in Protestantism the Faith dying out in a desert: we see in Rome the Faith smothered in a jungle.

I know no way of bridging this gulf.

That said, Lewis usually takes great pains to avoid sectarian division (perhaps influenced by growing up in Northern Ireland), and is often sympathetic to Catholic viewpoints. For example, he received advice on Mere Christianity from Catholics as well as Protestants before its publication, to ensure that it expressed sentiments that were universally agreeable.

The book C. S. Lewis and the Catholic Church by Joseph Pearce (Ignatius Press, 2003) explores the development of Lewis's thought on this matter. The foreword by Thomas Howard summarises as follows:

Lewis wishes us to accept his identity as a "mere" Christian; but we find the truth of the matter is that he is a mere Protestant. [...] But there are more anomalies. Although he loathed the whole business of "High", "Broad" and "Low" churchmanship in the Church of England, he could not avoid it all. He had nothing but contempt for the Broad churchmen who diluted the Faith until it was a mere sickly gruel (see his Anglican bishop in The Great Divorce). And he detested the "smells-and-bells", lace-cotta, biretta sort of thing that one finds at Anglo-Catholic shrines, and which formed the metier of T. S. Eliot. He just wanted to be left alone, to go to church and be done with it.

But it was not so simple. In spite of himself, Lewis moved more and more toward what can only be called a "catholic" Anglicanism. Again - he hated the epicene punctilio of the Anglo-Catholic party: but his faith came to embrace all sorts of doctrines and practices that his evangelical readers (who are his most enthusiastic clientele) must sedulously ignore. He spoke of "the Blessed Virgin", and made his confession to his priest regularly, and believed in purgatory, and even came to refer to the Eucharist as - heaven help us all - the Mass! Lewis's anti-Romanism remained with him until his death, however.

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Wow. Very nice. +1 –  Richard Sep 13 '11 at 22:07
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Excellent. It would seem Lewis disliked dividing the Church at all. –  fredsbend Jun 1 '13 at 20:06
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