today’s world, isn’t it crazy to appeal to scoffers to consider
Catholicism? Why would a rational modern man or woman in the 21st
century be attracted to what the world and its enlightened guides
consider an outdated, misogynistic, anti-LGBT, anti-science cult?
historical momentum on the side of these scoffers? Doesn't history
itself demonstrate the allegedly backwards and inhuman nature of the
Catholic Church? The modern soothsayers say yes, but here are 17
reasonshardly an exhaustive listwhy the soothsayers are wrong:
1. The Church “conceived” the university, the hospital, and countless institutions to assist the world’s suffering.
Catholic martyrsunlike Muslim “martyrs”never kill, but offer their
own lives as a sign of their love of God and their fellow man.
The Church, in obedience to its founder, conceived the concepts of
universal justice, mercy, and generosity that became the moral
foundation of the world’s representative democracies. Prior to this, and
in much of the world today, only certain groups or classes are entitled
to human and legal rights.
The Church survived a multi-century eradication program by the world’s
Roman overlords; survived wave after wave of barbarian invaders;
survived power-seeking and predatory leaders; survived nation-states
that desiredand still desireto control and manipulate it; survived
atheistic Jacobins, communists, fascists, and other tyrants.
Unique among religious institutions, the Church treasures Revelation
(Scripture), tested Tradition, and reasonall three, with renowned
scholars and mystics opening all of these “windows” to the Divine.
The Church holds up thousands of physical phenomena and miraculous
healings that no one has ever been able to explain or disprove using
The Church fearlessly speaks truth to power: Peter and Paul to Nero, Leo
the Great to Attila, Thomas Becket to Henry II, Catherine of Sienna to
Pope Gregory XI, Joan of Arc to her inquisitors, Thomas More to Henry
VIII, Cardinal Kung to Mao and his successors, Lech Walesa to Jaruzelski
and Poland’s Soviet overlords.
The Church proclaims angels that aren’t New Age fairies and devils that
don’t have pointy tails and pitchforkspowerful spirits who have made
definitive choices and who are engaged in the eternal destinies of human
beings for good or evil.
Pope Francis calls the Church a field hospital for sinners. Catholics
are certain that, if contrite, sinsno matter how heinousare forgiven
by a priest in persona Christi (in the person of Christ) in sacramental confession.
Catholics enjoy spiritual friendships with thousands of unique and
powerful saints who care about their eternal fate and who can assist
them in the here and now.
The Church traces its authority all the way back to the Apostles, and
Jesus, in an unbroken line that includes more than a few scoundrels,
which makes its survival even more amazing.
The Church and its members have produced and sponsored spectacular art,
music, poetry, architecture, and literature in pursuit of beauty and
truth. Art museums all over the world contain breathtaking works by
Catholic artists, and every literary and musical canon includes renowned
Catholic authors and composers.
Catholics believe in eternity and eternal souls, knowing that human
life is a mere instant in relation to eternity (as Dante says, “those on
earth who live that life which is a sprinting to the grave”Anthony
Esolen translation); certain that the only important thing is to get to
heaven and to avoid hell, and recognizing that everything we say and do
brings us closer to one or the other.
Far from the popular notion that the Church is anti-science, there are
hundreds of renowned Catholic scientists, priests among them, including
Albertus Magnus, Ampere (after whom the amp is named), Avogardro,
Bacquerel, Lamaitre (father of the Big Bang Theory), Fermi, Laplace,
Mendel (father of genetics), Copernicus, Pasteur (father of
bacteriology), and Volta (after whom the volt is named).
The Church isn’t anti-sex, as so many falsely claim, having a deep
respect for the sexual act as originating with God, as cooperating with
God in creating a unique human person, andat its bestrepresenting the
self-giving love within the Trinity itself, as John Paul II taught.
Catholics have faith in a person unlike any other person who has ever
lived. No other belief system: Judaism (Abraham, Moses, Elijah),
Buddhism (Buddha), Islam (Mohammed), Taoism (Laozi), Zoroastrianism
(Zoroaster), makes the audacious claim that their founder is God, nor do
their prophets speak with authority as Jesus speaks. As C. S. Lewis
am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that
people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral
teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing
we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things
Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a
lunatic on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg or
else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either
this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something
worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him
as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but
let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great
human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
Lastly, how can a belief system recruit new members and appeal to the
modern world while claiming that its God can be containedbody, blood,
soul, and divinityin a wafer of bread and a drop of wine? Wouldn’t
Madison Avenue and political consiglieres nix such a bizarre idea in an
instant? How can a belief system based on such an absurd notion survive
for over 2,000 years?
The late novelist Walker Percy, a convert from scoffing and skepticism, once did a self-interview
in which he asked himself, “How is such a belief “that is, in
Catholicism“possible in this day and age?” And he responded: “What else
is there?” He then further explained his answer, pointedly rejecting
“scientific humanism as a rational and honorable alternative”.
also noted that he was a “bad” Catholic. He knew well the failings of
Catholics. Yes, there have been, and still are, scoundrels in the
Church. Yes, the human members of the Church have made mistakes and have
done terrible things. Yes, the Church has lurched from crisis to
scandal to folly, all of these. But the “balance sheet”, for anyone who
takes the time to investigate with an open mind, demonstrates that these
failings are miniscule in comparison with the millions upon millions of
acts of mercy and love and justice that the Church has fostered.
been said that the “doors” to faith are the intellect (the quest for
truth) and beauty, especially the interior beauty we observe in other
human beings, and in nature. Of these two doors, beauty attracts far
more people than the intellect. If more Christians displayed this
beauty: the trust and joy that comes from confidence that God can put
everything back together again, no matter how impossible it seems, if
not in this world then in the next, then reasons like those listed above
would be mere icing on an already sufficient cake.