Saturday, February 16, 2013
Ten reasons I'm still a Catholic
These are rough times for Catholics. The news goes from worse to worserer. The thought of the rape of children is more than I can stand. The thought of covering up the rape of children is beyond the beyond. Fighting against making reparations to survivors is unspeakable. I pray that the Church will clean up its act and sell some works of art or do whatever it needs to in order to make amends for what can never be rectified.
So why am I still a Catholic? Why have I not left the Church in disgust? Let me count the whys:
1. I love home. I'm a "revert." I left the Church for years - more than once. Yet I reverted - sort of like converted, 'cept different. My hunch is that once folks like me have reverted to the Catholic Church, we've thought about it so deeply that we've finally called it home, flawed though it may be. I believe we reverts are as avid about being Catholic as ex-smokers are about not smoking.
2. I love my family. A song taught me long ago that "The church is not a building.... I am the Church. You are the Church. We are the Church together." That's what I believe. Every family is flawed. The Church is flawed. Really flawed. But it is my family. If you scratch deep enough, you'll always find a Catholic under my skin; it's part of my ethnic identity.
3. I love the idea of mystery. Every week we say these words in our Creed: "I believe in all things seen and unseen."
4. I love ritual. The vestments. The incense. Communion at every Mass. The Stations of the Cross. These are things of beauty that speak to me in non-words, a language my soul understands.
5. I love the seasons of the Church. Advent. Lent. I need those seasons for my growth as a being who is human.
6. I love that we have three readings from the Bible at every Mass. I hear the words in a different way every time they are proclaimed. The words remind me to be kind, to forgive others and myself, to keep loving even when it's hard. And boy do I need reminding.
7. I love holy cards, the crucifix, statues. Contrary to popular belief, Catholics aren't idolaters. We don't adore statues as if they were the golden calf. Things like holy cards, the crucifix, and statues remind us of ways to pray. They remind us how to live.
8. I love the saints - ordinary people who lived extraordinary lives. Quite different from super-heroes. Saints have dirt on their feet, and no super-capes. We are all called to be saints.
9. I love the Rosary. It's meditative and it calms me. I have my own way of saying the Rosary. Instead of contemplating a mystery on every decade, I lift up the name of a person who needs prayers.
10. I love activism. The Roman Catholic Church is the largest charitable organization in the world. I'm amazed at the good Catholics do in my own home town, not to mention the whole wide world. The basis of Catholicism is faith coupled with works (Matt. 25:31-46; James 2:14-26).