Saturday, November 13, 2010

Why I am a Catholic

Although I have blogged on my other blog, Marching Orders, about how I became Catholic, I never really addressed why I became Catholic.  To list every single reason that led to my conversion would be nearly impossible, I would like to enumerate some of the reasons:

  • Credibility. The main source of my information about Catholicism before my conversion, Chick Publications, has absolutely no credibility when looked at critically.  Is it really credible that the Catholic Church is responsible for Freemasonry, the KKK, Nazism, Communism, and Islam?  Is it credible that the Church was behind the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II?  Though this alone is not enough to become Catholic, it is sufficient to discard everything I previously "knew" about Catholicism.
  • Mary.  Although I do not have a strong Marian devotion (this is something I am prayerfully working through), it cannot be denied that Mary is worthy of a healthy level of respect and veneration.  She is definitely worth more attention than what is typically given in Fundamentalist congregations, that is, you never hear a peep about her except for briefly at Christmas and Easter.
  • Unity of Reason and Faith. Accepting a strictly literalistic interpretation of the primordial chapters of Genesis requires a dogmatic rejection of reason.  Catholicism makes relatively few demands.  We must accept Adam and Eve as a real historical couple and parents of all of humanity.  We must accept the account of the Fall.  Creation can be interpreted as a poetic representation of God's creation of the universe.  Later, such great thinkers such as St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas infused theology with philosophy, allowing for a more complete belief system.
  • Communion of the Saints. It is quite comforting to think that those who have gone before us in the faith are constantly interceding for us in the heavenly liturgy.  In fact, I can find nothing in the Scriptures to indicate that those who have passed on are cut off from the Mystical Body of Christ.
  • Problem Scriptures. There are certain Scriptures that were particularly problematic for me as a Fundamental Baptist, and those very same Scriptures make sense in Catholic theology.  In addition, those Scriptures to which I clung as a Baptist take on an even fuller, richer meaning.
  • Morality. The moral teachings of the Church are not a list of seemingly arbitrary, unrelated strictures, but form a cohesive whole which are sensible and defensible.  
  • Liturgy. The Catholic Liturgy is ordered and reverent, and at no point does a properly celebrated liturgy devolve into chaos.  Chaos was the norm in my previous faith tradition.
  • Eucharist. The Eucharist is central to Catholic worship.  The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the greatest work of which we mere mortals are capable.  My congregation celebrated the "Lord's Supper" a paltry four times a year.  I can receive the Holy Eucharist daily.  There is a strong emphasis on the Eucharist in the Scriptures, and the Catholic Church likewise places a strong emphasis on the Most Blessed of Sacraments.
As I said at the beginning, this list is far from comprehensive.  In fact, each of the things I listed could be a blog post, if not a book, on their own.  Perhaps that will happen someday.