Thursday, June 4, 2015

Why I remain Catholic

At the behest of Elizabeth Scalia "the Anchoress" who manages the Catholic portal at, Catholic bloggers have been posting their thoughts on "why I remain Catholic."

Dear Catholic World: Why do YOU Remain a Catholic? - via

What follows is not a systematic apologia (I read and treasure Cardinal Newman, but it should be obvious I'm not him), but just a few thoughts.

1.  TRUTH -- it's what lead me into the Church in 1992 at Christ the King parish in Nashville, TN, and it's what keeps me here.  To whom would I go?

There is no #2.

Admittedly, my understanding and appreciation of #1 has improved and deepened dramatically over the past twenty-three years.  I "get" the Catholic tradition better than I did when in my 20s.  Couldn't that be said about so many other things in life?  But in my 20s I had spent a semester living around this--ancient Roman ruins.

Obviously if around that I couldn't help but notice this:

And the reality of Roman Catholic Christianity--its age, longevity, diversity (even in the late 1980s the Church's universal population was evident in Rome), and its unapologetic theology (even though that's not what Bill Placher meant exactly by the phrase)--hit me.  Here were Christian roots that existed long, long, long before anything I had known in Missouri or Indiana.  No shouting, Bible-thumping preachers, no revivals, etc.  It was, as Cardinal Newman said, a religion.

And I could not get it out of my head.  Or my heart.  I had to join, be a part of, this.  

Several of Scalia's contributors have remarked on the difficulties encountered along the way.  That is certainly the case, and that in its own way, only confirmed my new faith.  It is precisely because Roman Catholic Christianity does not shy away from life's difficulties that I have found it more real;  it is precisely because the Church's message is not exactly what I want to hear that I recognize its truth.   After all:

And, yes, that song reverberated in my mind while I pondered in Nashville my conversion.  Little did I know....

"Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee, O Lord" St. Augustine once wrote.  Those words, too, have come to mean so much more than they did when I first read them as a college student.  Nor should the Church be confused with God Himself.  That reality awaits us later, even though God exists among and animates our life now.  Until then, though, the Church offers the greatest, and really only, rest--not just for me, but for all.  And in that encompassing reality--which extends thankfully far beyond me and my limited horizons--I will remain.

1 comment:

  1. I can't imagine NOT being Catholic even though I do not hold to some social dogma such as the ban on ABC and the Church's stance that being gay is "disordered". I believe in transubstantiation and I am devoted to Our Holy Mother. I was meant to be part of the Church just as, on the flip side there are über conservatives such as rad trads that are also Catholics.