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Larry Kudlow’s Catholic Conversion

Earlier today, President Trump announced that he offered the job of chief economic advisor to CNBC personality and former Reagan Administration economist Larry Kudlow. The former Bear Sterns director has reportedly accepted the job.

This is welcome news in a White House seemingly in turmoil. Kudlow is a strong pick who has previous experience directing economic affairs in the White House. Plus, he has the kind of business experience necessary to get our economy going as he advises President Trump.

But here’s something you might not have known. Though he grew up Jewish, Kudlow is a committed Catholic. But, not only that, he became a ardent Christian after suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction for years.

In an interview back in 2000 with Crisis Magazine, Kudlow describes his fallout in vivid details. But then he describes his reawakening with Jesus Christ.

Here are some excerpts from the interview below. The first is Kudlow answering a question for how he discovered the saving power of the Catholic Church and of the cross:

The story starts in the winter of 1993. I was introduced to Fr. McCloskey by Jeffrey Bell, a political consultant and dear friend of mine. I ran into Jeff on the street in New York, and we had not seen each other in a while. We talked, and Jeff said he wanted to introduce me to Fr. John. A few weeks later, Fr. McCloskey came to visit me in my office.

He introduced himself and said he had been watching me on various television shows throughout the years. He said, “Lately you have changed?’ I said, “How so?” And he said, “It appears you’re looking for God.” He was right, and I broke down and started to cry. So we talked some more. As I recall, he asked me if I believed in life in the hereafter. I said I did.

I think I had told him that I had just come from four weeks in a treatment center for alcohol and substance abuse, a faith-based or spiritually based treatment center. He said that he would give me some books to read.

Kudlow’s journey to Catholicism really began when he started working at National Review:

I had a rough time with the alcohol and cocaine. I had to resign from Bear Stearns. That was in the winter of 94. And then I went to work as a senior editor, the economics editor, at the National Review magazine. I loved that, because of National Review’s intellectual atmosphere and interesting people. I learned to write there. And there is a certain Catholicism that permeates the place.

It was during that time, let’s say the spring of 94-95, that under Fr. John’s tutelage, George Sim Johnston began to instruct me in Catholicism.

The exposure to Catholicism helped Kuldow, but it didn’t stop him from relapsing into his old ways:

In the spring of 1995, the roof fell down on my life. I had another bad relapse. I lost my jobs and my life in the spring of 1995. My wife sent me away to the Hazel Treatment Center in Minnesota. I was there for five months. That was a very important experience for me. That’s what got me sober. Every Sunday, I went to Mass in Minnesota. A great experience. I was able to do more reading and also kept in close touch with Fr. John. I was also talking to Sim on the phone. John Sites also kept in touch with me. John and I were partners together at Bear Stearns. He is a wonderful, warm human being.

Kudlow concludes with how he eventually joined the church and has remained clean ever since:

So through God’s grace I got through that whole period. I then moved to San Diego where I lived for a year in 1996. I reunited with my wife. We lived in Rancho Santa Fe, which is outside of San Diego. And I was working for Arthur Laffer, who is the father of modern supply-side economics and a very dear friend. That was a great year, and I kept up with my twelve-step program and attended church every Sunday. I also went to a couple of Opus Dei recollection evenings.

In fact, Fr. John connected me with a priest who would drive down occasionally from Los Angeles and talk with me. Then in 1997, we moved back east to Connecticut. I took a job with America Skandia, which is a life insurance company, and got to see some more of Fr. John.

By the autumn of 1997, I developed a strong desire to convert. I told that to Sim and Fr. John. They helped me with the necessary paperwork. We did it through the Archdiocese of New York. On November 20, I was baptized in a small chapel adjacent to St. Thomas More.

What an incredible story! It truly shows the power of redemption in Jesus, and how the Christian faith can help save individuals from their sins. And that’s exactly what happened with Kudlow, who said, “I think that I have always felt connected to Jesus’ suffering on the cross because of my problems with alcohol and drug abuse.”

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