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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Source and Summit of my Faith

As usual, people have asked me why I remain a Catholic in light of the priest scandals.

It's an easy answer - I am not a Catholic because of the priests or because a certain person is the pope.

I am a Catholic because it is the Church Jesus started, Her teachings are true and because of The Eucharist.

What is difficult for people to understand is the difference between the teachings/theology of something and the people teaching that theology. I do not stop believing in gravity if I discover that Sir Isaac Newton was into bestiality and killed several kittens while trying to have sex with them (he didn't - I just made that up so do not start reporting me for stating that Sir Isaac Newton was an animal-killing pervert, ok?).

I listen to both sides, I accept that some of the accusations are true and some are false, I believe that this is the work of the Holy Spirit to shake us up and make us more aware of how men can mess things up and I go to Mass...or Confession....or Communion....or RCIA.

I do not stop going to AA because Bill Wilson cheated on Lois all the time and had at least one child out of wedlock. (This is true - and most people in AA do not know that Bill was such a horndog that there was actually a group of men who went to meetings with the express purpose of keeping Bill away from newcomer women).

Instead, I read the Big Book, work the steps and traditions as best I can, go to meetings and sponsor people...and trudge the road of happy destiny, sober, one day at a time.

I do not stop talking to men because approximately 600 women are sexually assaulted in this country every day.

The point is that, for me, I accept that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, True God and true man. I also did my research and discovered that The Catholic Church is the best way to worship that God...it is the consistent and true Church, established by Him and charged with guarding the Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture that makes up Christianity. I believe in the Sacramental Economy that is the Catholic Church and I know that, in matters of Faith and Morals, Her teachings are TRUTH and have always BEEN Truth.

So, while I cringe at the crimes that have been committed in the 2000 years we have been in existence, I do not walk away from The Eucharist because of those crimes.

I am reminded of a talk I heard last year at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. The word 'traditio' is the Latin root or both tradition and traitor.

The idea is that the essence of those words involves handing something over....in the case of Jesus Christ, we hand over His teachings through our Traditions. Judas Iscariot handed over Jesus Himself.

Sinful men and women, handing over Jesus - do you see the connection?

Never doubt that those of us who walk the path of Christian life are sinful people. We are not perfect - we are not Our Lady - we are, instead, struggling every day to do this deal the right way.

This is why we reject the idea of 'Once Saved, Always Saved'. It makes no sense.

Instead, we believe that we have been saved through Baptism, but that we have an obligation to run the race, so to speak, to the end or we can lose that salvation and end up in hell.

We are saved, we are being saved and we HOPE to be saved.

In my personal experience, I know that I was truly TRULY lost for a long time. I have been found but give me a minute and I can get lost again, which is why I am grateful for the truth of Catholic Teachings.

So, the next person who asks me why I remain a Catholic will get the short version of these thoughts.

In the words of St Peter, where else am I going to go?

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