Posted by: L. E. Barnes | April 14, 2011

Why Are You Catholic?

The road of life often takes us places we never expected to go. This has certainly been true for me in many respects, most especially in my faith journey, which has seen me go from charismatic evangelicalism to agnosticism to Catholicism. Had someone told me back when I was growing up or in my 20’s that I would end up embracing the Catholic Church, I probably would have died laughing–or if it had been during my charismatic days, I might have said, “Get thee behind me, Satan!”

But God had the last laugh (thankfully). This Easter will mark my fourth year in the Church.

In a short article for Our Sunday Visitor, John Norton discusses the decision of Bryan Kemper, head of the pro-life organization Stand True, to leave Protestantism and be confirmed in the Catholic Church:

On his website, Kemper said he had remained a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church for nearly a decade because he was inspired by the liturgy and reverence he found there.

Then he lists three big reasons why that ultimately was not enough, and why he felt compelled to join the Catholic Church. (Or more precisely, return to the Catholic Church; turns out he was baptized in a Catholic ceremony as an infant. So now he’s preparing for confirmation.)

His reasons were:

◗ “Church authority: There are simply thousands and thousands of denominations and every time someone disagrees with another teaching of their church they simply start a new one. The Catholic Church has had its teaching since the beginning of the Church in the Scriptures.

“There is no way God can be happy with thousands of denominations or so-called non-denominational churches. It seems that when people disagree on doctrine it often results in another breakoff church.

“The fact is that current Christian teaching can differ so much between two churches that it really constitutes different religions and different Gods. There must be one established truth that God gave us, one that has remained from the time of Christ.

◗ “Pro-life and Contraception: There is only one Church that has been consistent from the time of Christ to today on the teaching of pro-life and contraception. Before 1930 there was never a single Christian church in history to accept any form of contraception and today there is only one that absolutely has kept this Christian teaching and truth.

◗ “Communion or the Eucharist: I have always believed that communion was more than just a symbol and in looking back at early Church teaching it is crystal clear that this was taught from day one.”

Kemper says he “fought against” this decision for years. Hearing that made me think how easy it is for us to take our Catholicism for granted. Do we find it as compelling as Kemper does? If not, why not?

Kemper’s reasons for coming home to the Catholic Church essentially mirror my own. After wander in the wasteland of agnosticism for seven years, I re-approached Christianity. Which church to join proved an easy matter: Having studied Christian history, I realized that the only churches that have maintained unbroken theological and ecclesiastical continuity since ancient times were the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox churches. As John Henry Newman concluded, to immerse yourself in history is to cease to be Protestant. Thus, I determined to become either Catholic or Orthodox, and of course, Catholicism won out. The following video pretty much sums it all up:

 

And what about you, my fellow Catholics? Why are you Catholic? What keeps you in the Church?

 

Advertisements

Responses

  1. It was the Eucharist that brought me to the Catholic Church. And it is the Eucharist that will keep me here. I fought it for a while too but once I realized I was being called to enter the Church, that was all she wrote! I never wavered. Praise God.

  2. I’ll quote Walker Percy: What else is there?

    • Exactly!

  3. Happy anniversary of your coming into the church! May Our Lord bless you and keep you as you continue your walk with Him. 🙂

    • Thanks, Carol. May you be blessed as well.

  4. The thing about Kemper’s second reason, specifically contraception, is that it’s such a private matter within Protestantism, that he can hold his own views on it and be orthodox. Conservative Presbyterians, including the OPC, are generally sensitive to using “moral” methods (non-abortifacient) with proper intentions, not out of selfishness, etc. Their pastors have even been known to recommend NFP.

    What about Eastern Orthodoxy on the matter of birth control? I suppose there’s diversity of opinion on something Scripture doesn’t explicitly address. I read online that views are changing but only in the last 40 years. I would wager the majority are opposed to artificial birth control.

    What keeps me Catholic? It’s difficult these days with the sex abuse scandal. I’m serious. This latest round was far worse than the news from a decade ago. But, so far, I’ve been spared “unpleasant encounters” with clergy despite hearing numerous horror stories from friends and acquaintances. And I’ve been encouraged at critical times by laymen – yes, men – who are intelligent, know the Faith, display kindness and charity and come across as committed, faithful Catholics. Sure, every Christian denomination has these types – God bless ’em! – but I’m only looking for reinforcement.

    • I don’t know what the Orthodox churches teach about contraceptives, but you’re right about how Protestants tend to view it. There are rare exceptions among them who promote having as many children as the Lord grants (and that’s how they see it: a child being conceived is a gift of God and part of His will). But of course, it appears that most Catholic couples disregard the Church’s teaching in this matter.

      Just as the prophet Nathan pointed out to David after his adultery with Bathsheba, the sins of religious leaders causes not only tremendous harm to the victims but dishonor to God’s people–not to mention dishonor to God Himself. Yes, it’s easy to get discouraged when we see hypocrisy or corruption in the Church, but since the Church is made up of us fallen humans, such things are inevitable. So we must always keep in mind that people will judge Christianity by the actions of those who call themselves Christians.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: