Saturday, May 17, 2008

Roman Catholicism Pros (please don't be offended)

I have been accused by some people of not so much converting TO anything but rather FROM something. As my former Pastor said to me 'you've told me why you don't believe in Protestantism, but what is so great about Catholicism'. This blog is not meant to anger anyone, to sling mud, or to attempt to convert people, it's just to say what I enjoy about the Latin Rite Catholic Church. They are not in order from 'most liked' to least, just the order I thought of them in.

1. Orthodoxy - Having the teaching of the Historic faith (again this is up for debate). I also like that the Church usually picks a middle ground position. Ex. they are Augustinian, not Pelagian, and not Calvinistic, they don't tend towards extremes in official dogma (though in practice and low level teaching they are basically Pelagian - at least where I live). But I read a quote from Chesterton: "when the world went Puritan in the seventeenth century, the Church was charged with pushing charity to the point of sophistry, with making everything easy with the laxity of the confessional. Now that the world is not going Puritan but pagan, it is the Church that is everywhere protesting against a pagan laxity in dress or manners. It is doing what the Puritans wanted done when it is really wanted. In all probability, all that is best in Protestantism will survive only in Catholicism, and in that sense all Catholics will still be Puritans when all Puritans are pagans." I realize it can be an offensive quote but I think it's honest and I agree mostly with it. I like the fact that I can read the church fathers and not be scared of what I'll find, I like reading back through the councils and seeing the continuity.

2. Church Hierarchy - I enjoy the fact that there is a structure of Pre-eminent Bishop of Rome (pope) then the college of bishops then the Priesthood, then the Diaconate, then the laity. It makes it alot easier to control. For example if my Priest started teaching heresy, my Bishop could simply discipline or remove him.

3. The Saints and Our Lady - At first I thought that I would NEVER pray to the saints and that it would be one of the worst parts of conversion, but now I Love it. It is so wonderful to feel the community of God's people and to pray to the Blessed Mother. I can't really explain it that well, but I feel like it's truly real. My prayers are answered and it is much more experiential than apologetical. I'm excited as I still try to narrow down my patron saint, I'm still deciding between: Augustine, Patrick, Thomas Aquinas, Gregory of Nyssa, or another.

4. The Liturgy of the Eucharist - I go to basically an 'evangelical' Catholic church so there not really liturgy in the sense that I normally imagine, however there is always the liturgy of the Eucharist, which I absolutely love. The way the words flow and the idea of what is happening is just amazing and I always find it beautiful.

5. The Unity and Universality - I could go to mass all around the world, Chesterton says that it is the only type of Christianity that is truly Catholic (Universal) - though I don't think it's true anymore - but it challenges me to remember that Jesus died for everyone, not just english speaking upper middle class white people.

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