Some Roman Catholics like to claim C. S. Lewis as their friend. However, these two quotes would seem to destroy whatever other evidence there is that he was sympathetic to the Roman Catholic Church, even though he seemed to have some strange views on some things, like a kind of purgatory.
C. S. Lewis wrote:
“The real reason why I cannot be in communion with you [Catholics] is not my disagreement with this or that Roman doctrine [but see his quote below on some disagreements with several Roman Catholic doctrines], 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 also to what he is going to say.”
“Christian Reunion”, in Christian Reunion and Other Essays, edited by Walter Hooper, London: Collins, 1990, p. 17-18. [My emphasis and comments in brackets.]
“The Roman Church where it differs from this universal tradition and specially from apostolic Christianity I reject. Thus their theology about the Blessed Virgin Mary I reject because it seems utterly foreign to the New Testament; where indeed the words “Blessed is the womb that bore thee” receive a rejoinder pointing in exactly the opposite direction. Their papalism seems equally foreign to the attitude of St. Paul toward St. Peter in the epistles. The doctrine of Transubstantiation insists on defining in a way which the New Testament seems to me not to countenance. In a word, the whole set-up of modern Romanism seems to me to be as much a provincial or local variation from the central, ancient tradition as any particular Protestant sect is. I must therefore reject their claim: though this, of course, does not mean rejecting particular things they say.”
June 16, 1945
Letter of C. S. Lewis to H. Lyman Stebbins, “The Boldness of a Stranger”
Both of these have been quoted here at Beggar's All before, in separate posts. I thought it good to bring both of them together.
Addendum: John Piper did an excellent job of summing up the good in C. S. Lewis, and the not so good. We must use discernment in all things. When Lewis got it right, he was an excellent communicator of Christianity for many people, and much of his work helped me immensely as a young Christian. Piper says that Lewis never explained why he did not become Roman Catholic, however, I think those 2 quotes above explain why. Piper probably did not know about those quotes, as they are hard to find.