More than once I have been asked, “Why do you remain a Catholic?” This is usually asked after someone has read something about the scandals in the Church, or has experienced some injustice.
It is a fair question. Here is my honest answer.
At the risk of sounding trite or cliché, I remain a Catholic because I have actually met Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church. No, I am not psychotic. No, I have not had a vision. What I have had is an encounter with Jesus in the Church. I cannot deny it. After meeting him, I cannot turn away from him. “To whom shall I go? You have the words of eternal life!”, to quote the Scripture.
I remain a Catholic because I was born a Catholic. I cannot be anything else. I can no more deny this part of my identity than I could deny my family heritage. I honor my father and mother (one of the Commandments) by being faithful to the Church.
I remain a Catholic because of the millions of Catholics that have gone before me and died for the faith. I cannot dishonor them by denying their faith, their Church. Every Apostle, save St. John, died a martyr’s death. They are my teachers and the Scriptures say we must remember them and what they taught us.
I remain a Catholic because, contrary to the opinion of many, the Catholic Church is a very inclusive Church. There is room for everyone. This is so hard for many in the United States to understand. The Church has so many cultures, peoples, traditions, lifestyles that define it. There are plenty of saints and sinners that call themselves Catholic and the Church welcomes them all. Take a look at the recognized saints….. you will find all sorts of personalities, backgrounds, faults and failings, graces and virtues. There is room for you and me and them. The Church is shockingly human, even with its divine characteristics. Despite its pomp and splendor, the Church is radically humble, and identified with the poorest of the poor.
That is why I remain a Catholic, the scandals notwithstanding.
Why are you Catholic?