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Why I’ll Stay Catholic Even if the Whole World Turns Against Us

February 14, AD2016

CS- Te Deum Laudamus_Pixabay

 

 

Last year, in response to a Pew Research poll showing the American Catholic Church in decline, Elizabeth Scalia (now at the editorial helm of Aleteia) posted this challenge on her Patheos blog The Anchoress:

If you’re Catholic and have access to a web-page, a radio program, a Facebook page, whatever, take a few minutes, and tell the world why you are remaining a Catholic in an era where doing so seems not only counter-cultural, but also counter-intuitive and even, perhaps, a bit risky?

Thoughtful and moving responses rolled in from all across the Internet, and continue to to do so today.

For my entry, I’m phrasing the question this way:

Why would I stay Catholic even if the whole world turned against the Church and labeled me a fool for remaining a believer?

The short answer: Because the whole world is wrong.

But it’s a question that deserves a long answer, so here goes ….

First, I should define my terms. By “the world” I really mean the much narrower “worldly” subset of modern American and European Western Culture. By “wrong” I mean, well… WRONG. Dangerously wrong. Spinning out of control wrong. In the process of destroying itself wrong.

If the title of this article enticed you to click the link, chances are you already have a strong opinion about the Catholic faith. You either love it or you hate it. Either way, you are likely already aware of the “hot button” social issues on which the world and the Church disagree – abortion, contraception, so-called “gay marriage,” euthanasia, fetal stem cell research, the “New Atheism,” etc., etc., etc. And on every single one of those fronts, and many more besides (the “hot button” issues barely scratch the surface), wherever the world calls something “good” that the Church defines as “evil,” I really do believe that the world is 100% wrong and the Church is 100% right.

I say this with confidence because those obvious “hot button” worldly issues are only visible symptoms of a deeper and more dangerous disease infecting the modern (and “post-modern”) western psyche.

Western Culture has lost its mind.

In his book Theology and Sanity, the great Catholic apologist Frank Sheed put it this way:

… if we see things in existence and do not in the same act see that they are held in existence by God, then equally we are living in a fantastic world, not the real world. Seeing God everywhere and all things upheld by him is not a matter of sanctity, but of plain sanity, because God IS everywhere and all things ARE upheld by Him. What we do about it may be sanctity; but merely seeing it is sanity. To overlook God’s presence is not simply to be irreligious; it is a kind of insanity, like overlooking anything else that is actually there…

We murder babies in the womb and play Frankenstein with their cells not because we are evil, but because we are mad. We treat sex like a toy and each other’s bodies like objects not because we are devils, but because we have lost all self control. Men marry men and women marry women (or have their genders surgically “reassigned”) not because we are wicked, but because we have lost all sense of what it means to be either a man or a woman. Blind to the reality of God everywhere and holding up all things, we fall prey to false gods, first and foremost our own vain and bloated egos. We become our own gods and spin ever further from any kind of moral center, any semblance of a solid ground of reality beneath our feet.

This madness afflicting Western Culture is by no means “modern.” It entered the world with the Fall of Adam and Eve. It is the madness of original sin.

And for the sake of our cure from this ancient affliction, the very real God atheists tell us does not exist, the one who created man and woman and the sacrament of marriage, who knits every baby in the womb and counts all the hairs on the heads of old men, who is everywhere and upholds all things, became one of us in a real physical body, in the real person of Jesus Christ, at a real, measurable time in recorded history. He really established one Church (the Catholic Church, from which all other Christian denominations schismed over time), was really crucified, really died, and really rose from the dead to make it possible for you and me and everyone everywhere to defeat sin and death and regain our sanity.

That’s reality. And only the Catholic Church possesses the fullness of truth regarding it.

Whatever in the world disagrees with that truth or contradicts it is delusion, plain and simple.

So, the real question is not, Will I remain Catholic or embrace worldly values?

The real question is, Will I remain sane or embrace madness?

I choose sanity. I choose the Catholic Church. Forever.

In response to my choice, the world is welcome to call me a fool. I don’t mind. I don’t expect rational behavior from madmen. Now that really would be foolish!

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Felix Whelan is both a Catholic convert and a revert, having entered the faith in the '80s, fallen away, and found his way "home to Rome" in 2010. In addition to his essays published on Catholic Stand, he writes novels, poetry, non-fiction, and even (co-authored with his lovely wife, Carol Ann) vegan and vegetarian cookbooks.

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  • Zippity-Do-Daddy

    I feel that an equally valid topic is ‘Why I’ll stay Catholic even if members of the church turn against it’, for in today’s world we see our fellow Catholics dissing Pope Francis, we see them then attacking him and the church in the name of political ideologies that openly defy Catholic teaching, we see them as unconsciously identifying as a member of a political party before identifying as Catholic, we see them supporting candidates who attack the church’s teaching. Through it all I know that if I follow the teachings of the Church, listen to Pope Francis as he and our Cardinals, and Bishops and priests put the words of Christ in action, I know that then, I will remain true to my faith.

  • Jeanette Steiner Grayhek

    You need to read some Chesterton, if you haven’t already. I love how he talks about the insane unbeliever.

  • Julie Anne Curristan

    I couldn’t think of giving up the Eucharist. The Catholic (Latin and Eastern Rites) Church is the only church in the world to believe and participate in the Eucharistic celebration. The thought of never having the Bread of Life ever again brings tears to my eyes! As Peter said in John 6:68, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.”

    • Jean Ebbs Doten

      Julie–you are just plain wrong. The Orthodox and Anglican Churches believe in and participate in the Eucharistic celebration. Like I said, I have found in the past 40 years in the CAtholic Church that the hubris is palpable, and humility is sadly lacking. Which attitude should be the indication of the Body of Christ? I am not an “unbeliever” and I have NOT turned away from the Body of Christ, nor the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I have become a member of a congregation of “separated brethren”–and there is guilt enough to go around to account for the causes of the separation.

    • gmac

      Interestingly enough, humility and surrender has kept me in the Catholic Church, despite failings of its’ members. I would never leave Peter for Judas. We have wonderful Holy Saints to look up to. St Francis of Assisi was not happy with many things in Rome but he did not leave…he stayed and made a HUGE difference. St. Padre Pio was an example of someone who was persecuted by the Hierarchy of the Church but he never left. In the midst of great trials of the Church, God has raised many Holy men and women-ie. St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Joan of Arc, St Teresa of Avila etc…
      Sometimes, we are called to weather the storm under the protection of our Blessed Mother and wearing the armour of Christ-the true test of love for Christ and His Church.

    • Jean Ebbs Doten

      You make a good point, but you lose me with the Peter over Judas analogy. Do you really mean to say that my prayers, my worship, my reading of the Bible, my Lenten sacrifices, by kneeling in the presence of the Body and Blood of my Savior are the equivalent of the betrayal of JUDAS? This is not even the teaching of the Catholic Church! Read your Catechism! “Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: the written Word of God, the life of grace, faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements.” 819. “Not happy” with the church is a supreme understatement: do you realize that the Primate who was responsible for covering up scores of incidents of sexual abuse was REWARDED by a prestigious promotion and a cozy retirement? “Not happy?” Do you have children? Under what code of ethics is this OK? Have you read your Bible? Check out LK. 17:2 It’s so much easier to plant your feet in the ground and say, “The world is against the church but I refuse to budge” than to look in the mirror and say “the church has failed in its responsibility and I’m going to do something about it.”

    • gmac

      I am doing something about it….I’m staying and trying ( certainly fail at times) to be an authentic witness to the Faith. BTW- I do have three young children. Also, I happen to have a very devoted and holy priest as a brother. I understand , there are trees that fall in the forest and make a loud noise but there are others that are good and are growing silently. Just for the record, I was not questioning the sincerity of your Faith. I was merely stating that my loyalties will always be to the Chair of Peter because Jesus promised the gates of Hell will not prevail-that is my guarantee; plus as I mentioned, the lives of many Saints is a true reflection & inspiration of the Faith that I draw upon-in particularly-St Faustina’s Divine Mercy. I recognize the signs of the times…I realize it is very difficult for many Faithful to hold on as the Catholic Church gets “beaten” (strategies of Satan), however, it’s all part of the purification of the Church and i do believe the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary will come soon.
      I apologize, if I offended you. Peace.

    • Jean Ebbs Doten

      Apology accepted. Peace. Please pray for those children, many now adults, who had their trust betrayed by the very hands that brought them the Body and
      Blood of Christ. Until they find justice, I doubt that I can find my way back to the Church.

    • gmac

      You may be interested to check out Disciples of Mercy-Lori G. website. Just felt prompted to share.

    • Jean Ebbs Doten

      Thank you, but not my style. My spirituality is more in the Vincentian tradition of roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty rather than with private revelations; (St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Merillac and the Daughters of Charity): St. Catherine Laboure was a Daughter of Charity, and until well after her death only her confessor knew that it was she whose visions of Mary brought about the Miraculous Medal. .

  • Jean Ebbs Doten

    Sorry Felixyou haven’t convinced me to “revert.” Ten years ago, even 5 years ago I would have been 100% with you but alas, not now. Because I have come to believe that it is NOT what the Church “teaches” that validates the church, it is what the leaders of the church do, how they model the teachings of Jesus, and how the people who participate in the sacraments in the name of Jesus all over the world that demonstrates the validity of the faith. And after 40 years as a convert and Catholic apologist I can no longer defend the actions of our Holy Fathers and the local Bishops in the area of sexual abuse of children–if the Legionaires of Christ and the Archdiocese of Boston were the only situations, the cover-ups at the highest level are shameful enough for the church to be in deep mourning for a century. Add the terrible record that individual parishes have of making welcome newcomers, mothers with small children, homosexuals, divorced couples and divorced singles, single older people, I could go on. Don’t bother with the usual answers–I’ve heard them all. I know my history, my Bible, my Catechism, and I know that I find Christ where I am worshiping Him now.

    • Michelle Frischolz Kraft

      Jean… what about the Eucharist? You can walk away from Jesus? If you know your faith as you claim you do, than you know that Christ is present in the Eucharist. You will find that no where else. He has not abandoned His church despite any darkness that has tried to devour it over the last 2000+ years, why would you abandon Him walking away from the Eucharist, which he commanded us to take part in? When He said the gates of Hell will not destroy the Church, you know it would be a bumpy ride. Don’t let the sin in the Church draw you away from Him. That is exactly what Satan is trying to do, and is doing so well with many. I am not an apologist, or gifted in teaching and defending the faith, so I may not have said some of this perfectly. But in my heart, I want you to know, I care that you have left the Church, and I care if you come back. I am sure where you are at is wonderful. But as you said you are an apologist, then you know, that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist. How could you leave that?

    • Jean Ebbs Doten

      . Even the Catholic church recognizes the validity of the Eucharist in the orthodox churches; it is that kind of hubris that disturbs me about Catholics. It is by the fruit that you see the action of the spirit. It is presumptuous to say that I am “being drawn away from Jesus”–Our dear Lord has the power to dispose of His grace in any manner and in at any time and place that He wills. He also knows the heart and disposition of each of us, and above all promised that if we seek him, we will find him. I sought Him in the Catholic Church with all my heart, and then ran into what were for me insurmountable impediments that destroyed my hope and my joy, and for my spiritual health I have returned to the Episcopalians where I was brought up. I can express my adoration of my Lord in song which he built into my nature, I can live in a small supportive community with a pastor who is a humble servant, accountable to the parishioners,not just the Bishop. I can and do receive the Body and Blood of our Lord. In that congregation we celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday, in a spirit of beauty and reverence lacking in most Catholic churches; I receive my Lord on my knees, as is fitting. This issue of the validity of the sacraments in the protestant churches is political. When I joined the Catholic church I was reconfirmed because Rome is “not sure” of the validity of Anglican orders whereas a Lutheran standing next to me was not reconfirmed because Lutheran orders are not in question. (huh?) Some of the most “faithful” Catholics I know think themselves so musch better than everyone else that they have lost the message of the Gospel–I find it very very hard to believe in the “True Presence” unique to the Catholic Church in light of the extraordinary pride of individuals and the heinous sins of the hierarchy. But thank you, sincerely, for taking the time to ask and for caring. I care, too, that’s why I had to leave.

    • Michelle Frischolz Kraft

      If you are in an Eastern Orthodox Church, then yes, depending on which one, your Communion may be valid there. However, if it is not an Orthodox church, the other “lung” of the Catholic Church, then it is not because there would be no Apostolic Succession, which as an apologist, I am sure you know 🙂 Just because we have come to a particular decision about something, and feel wholeheartedly about it, doesn’t mean it’s correct. I understand that God can do anything He wishes, and can (and does) dispose of His Grace in whatever ways he wants…but to say that because you have been seeking Him with your whole heart, that where you landed is correct…then what about those who seek him but land on Islam, or Hinduism, or Mormonism? Or feel that it is just as good to worship God in nature than to go to church on Sunday. Did they seek Him any less, or in a wrong way? Or does it not matter where we land as long as we believe it is the right place because we feel good there? If we base our faith on our feelings…what “feels” right or “comforting”…we could easily be lead astray. And I think that Satan will offer us consolations and “confirmations” to make us believe we are right. I am not necessarily saying that is what is happening with you. I believe that where you are may be very spiritually fulfilling for you. But you may walk into another Episcopal church one day and it may not be. The pastor may be a mess. The people may lack spirit or be rude. There may be scandal in that church as well. Then what? Would you leave? The difference is with the Catholic Church, and as you pointed out some Eastern Orthodox churches, if all else falls apart around it, Jesus is still there in the Blessed Sacrament. Did you believe the Catholic Church was the true church when you converted? When PJPII was alive? I get it, I see what you see in the Church as well, and I also find it very difficult to reconcile with. It often makes my heart ache and leaves me with many questions and does sometimes cause my faith to come into question. But, I fully believe that Satan goes after that which he fears most…so as long as the Catholic Church is being attacked left and right, from inside and out…as it has been from the beginning…to me that just confirms its validity. And, I just could never leave Jesus in the Eucharist. I think it is great that you care about your faith enough to seek out what you feel is right and true, and I wish you the very best. I will keep you in my prayers, please keep me in yours 🙂

    • Jean Ebbs Doten

      The issue of the Apostolic succession is not so clear cut, as I stated above in the issue of my “reconfirmation.” Please do not patronize me with the “feel good” issue either–after 40 years I think I’ve gotten past that. And my “faith” has not changed, thank you, that’s the point, isn’t it? My faith is in the Lord Jesus, and all baptised Christians are members of his Church. Yes, a pastor may be rude, and people may be unfriendly, once again, I have been holding out for 40 years in parishes of all sizes all across the country, and I have to conclude finally that the problem is systemic, not isolated I don’t understand how one can gloss the problems with the Bishops who covered up sexual abuse and allowed it to happen over and over again with the phrase “difficult to reconcile.” If you truly believe that this is the work of Satan, then you should be working to fix the church, not me. That good, faithful Christians find it “impossible to reconcile” the apostolic succession with the ongoing lack of responsibility to such evil should cause people like you to stop and think, and at least listen and understand that a faithful person who loves our Lord could reasonably and prayerfully come to the conclusion that the Catholic Church has lost its way. Sunday and Sunday after Sunday I sat in the pews asking, where is the Holy Spirit? I tried to get involved, to become part of the community, part of the solution, and met wall after wall, after wall. “Is it me? Am I a difficult person to work with? Please show me, Lord.” Then I walk into an Episcopalian Church, I am greeted with open arms,(my Catholic pastor of 7 years doesn’t even know my name and yes, he should because I’ve worked with him) I don’t think attending the Eucharistic celebration should “feel” like penance with people who give dirty looks at squirmy children, music that redefines the word “banal” or contrarily is sung in Latin so that no one but the choir can participate. I participate in a liturgy with more reverence and beauty and awe than in most Catholic Churches. If that makes me shallow, then the good Lord knows my weakness because he gave me my love of beauty and my desire to sing his praises and kneel to Him in adoration. .

    • Michelle Frischolz Kraft

      Do you believe that Jesus started a Church? Do you believe it was the Catholic Church? If not…which one?

    • Jean Ebbs Doten

      MIchelle, strictly speaking, I’m sure that as a Catholic you will agree that the Church was not established until after the Ascension, and it was established by the apostles through the power of the Holy Spirit on Pentaecost as recounted in the Book of Acts. I am not an expert on the history of the early church, but I have done a certain amount of research: the term “catholic” was used by the early church fathers as roughly synonymous with “orthodox” well into the 2nd century, to differentiate between “Churches” that did not follow the teaching of the apostles regarding the nature of Jesus, his resurrection and the nature of salvation. Those early non-“catholic” churches included the Gnostics, Pelagians, Donatists, and Arians–these last being perhaps the biggest threat to orthodox Christianity and the focus of the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. In the ensuing centuries, as the western and eastern empires grew wider apart, and, in my opinion, as Bishops of Rome lost their knowledge of Greek making it difficult to communicate easily with the eastern Bishops on matters of theological complexity, the misunderstandings eventually led to Great Schism of 1054. I’ve studied this, and frankly, I am not convinced that the theological issues are compelling; more like politics, misunderstanding, and human weakness. So I ask you–which of these two churches did Jesus start? He started both of them, and human beings broke them up, for reasons that seemed important to them at the time. Look at the papacy in the 16th century, and tell me that people who Love the lord and love his church could not understandably be scandalized to the point of not being able to see Jesus in the Roman Church, just as I feel today. Once again, this is not individual human weakness, it is systemic. Pointing to the Saints doesn’t work either–you don’t know any non Catholic Christians who have being heroically holy? I just become more and more sad that you and most of the serious practicing Catholics are missing the point as long as you focus on what’s “right” with the Church and don’t take responsibility for what’s wrong. I tried, and got absolutely nowhere.

    • Jean Ebbs Doten

      regarding those who seek him but land in Islam or Mormonism–yes. Jesus said if you seek, you will find. Check out the last chapter of C.S. Lewis The Last Battle.

    • jamey brown

      I was a divorced, single man, former alcoholic and drug abuser, and 8 years ago I was welcomed by the finest group of 4 RCIA teachers that I could have possibly dreamed of. Any of them could have written books or teach catechesis on TV and in seminars. (One has written several books and done a TV series; she teaches courses on the Blessed Mother, and the saints at St. John’s University). Some of my classmates are still great friends and I have met kind and giving and devout people in my parish that constantly inspire me in new ways to imitate our Lord. There are many, many good people here, and the priests that I know are good and holy men. We have a new priest who plays guitar and loves Bob Dylan like I do. We have some awesome jam sessions at Bible Study. You should give the Church another chance, I beg you. You will find so much goodness if you put aside your preconceived notions. “Within this household the human spirit has roof and hearth. Outside it is the night.”

    • Jean Ebbs Doten

      Jamey, I am happy for you. I also know good, holy Catholic laypersons and some priests. But the Catholic church claims to be the one truly Holy institution of the Lord, and it is in that institutional claim that it falls down, if the example of the sexual abuse scandal in Boston, and the reassignment of Cardinal Law to Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome is the only scandal, then that is enough for me to leave the church. The Bishops are the representatives of the apostles, the highest authorities (the Pope himself is a Bishop) and yet they are not protecting the “little ones” and they are still not being held responsible. This terrible illness trickles down in many, many ways that poison the clergy and the congregations, the liturgy, the homilies and the way people treat each other. This is not a knee jerk decision; I have given it serious thought. and prayer. Even my most beloved and devout CAtholic friend speaks with disgust and hatred about the people she disagrees with–people she does not even know or try to understand. And this is the fruit of her encounter with the “real presence” of Jesus and her devotion to Mary? It just doesn’t seem right to me.

    • gmac

      Remember.
      …Satan attacks the Most Holy of Holy….the Catholic Church….we all need to pray for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

    • Jean Ebbs Doten

      Prayer is good, but we are the hands and feet of God on earth, (my paraphrase of St. Teresa of Avila), so we also have to roll up our sleeves and take action. Which I have tried to do in several parishes, and got stonewalled.

    • jamey brown

      Jean, sorry for taking so long to reply: I was writing an article about exorcisms. I am glad that you’re going to a church. And I’m glad that you’ve found a loving place, with loving people to worship our good Lord. It’s funny how I grew up Protestant and am now Catholic and you are just the opposite. A number of Episcopalian parishes have gone back and been reunited with the Catholic Church. Maybe yours will someday. I sometimes go to the parish of Fr. George Rutler who converted from the Episcopal Church in 1979. I think he is the finest living writer. He is on TV on http://www.ewtn.com I’m reading his new book He Spoke to Us http://www.ignatius.com/Products/HSU-P/he-spoke-to-us.aspx (available also electronically). In this book he has a chapter on John Henry Newman who also converted from the Anglican Church. Newman’s famous quote is “To read the early Fathers’ of the Church is to cease to be Protestant.”

      I’m sorry that you’re so upset about the scandals; they indeed were horrible events, mostly from the 70’s. Dr. Phil Donohue is a Sociologist and he has some very learned insights:

      http://www.catholicleague.org/cardinal-law-resigns/ Law
      http://www.catholicleague.org/less-1-priests-credibly-accused/
      http://www.catholicleague.org/homosexuality-and-sexual-abuse/

      God bless you in your journey with our good Lord.

    • Jean Ebbs Doten

      Thank you, Jamey. Just to clarify–I grew up in the Episcopal church, converted to Catholicism in 1978 but have now returned to the church that originally nurtured my faith. Thank you for the information and peace be with you.

    • Wendi

      What do the sins and failings of humans have to do with the Truth of Christ Church established on Earth. Our human weakness in no way negates the Truth of Christ.

    • Jean Ebbs Doten

      That attitude is one than seems to have led to complacency on the part of the Papacy, which rewarded rather than punished one of the notorious Bishops involved in abuse cover-up. How can any Catholic not hang his or her head in shame at the level of that scandal? The “Truth of Christ” and the “Truth of Christ’s Church” are not both synonymous with “The Roman Catholic Church.” Even the Catholic Church does not teach that. Pride, ignorance, complacency.

  • Ben

    Against us? There are millions of clergy and lay Catholics, part of the “Us” subgroup, who oppose Catholic teaching.

  • Mary Floeck

    I thank God for allowing me to know the Truth. I owe Him all. I pray that as the waves grow and turbulence increases I won’t jump ship. Stay the course.

  • Guy McClung

    “God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools…and He has not been disappointed. Devout Christians are destined to be regarded as fools in modern society. We are fools for Christ’s sake. We must pray for courage to endure the scorn of the sophisticated world. If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world.” ~ Justice Antonin Scalia

  • bdlaacmm

    In response to Elizabeth Scalia’s question, I would have just quoted Saint Peter. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

  • Shaune Scott

    Amen!

  • Larry Bud

    Catholic media (web sites like this one… tv and radio) are guilty of being just as sensational as any other type of media. They have taken the long-standing Catholic guilt message of “oh, that nasty terrible world is just so evil and so threatening to we Enlightened Catholics” to a whole new level of paranoia. The whole “we are in the world but not of the world” silliness.

    And now there’s a whole new crop of “lay evangelists” and “apologists” making the rounds – many with a convert/Protestant background, no less – hoping to earn their living by extracting money from our parishes and dioceses to spread their messages of fear and paranoia. Many write articles for sites like this, and are firmly implanted into the so-called “Catholic media” and especially the blogs.

    It’s time to take a deep breath and for common sense to return. The world and the culture are not threatening Catholics. There has never been a better time to be alive and to be an American.

    • Emmanuel Bassil

      The world doesn’t start and end in America. (Which is attacking Catholic values, mind you.)
      The Persecution of Christians has reached unparalleled levels, across the world.
      The Catholic Church is being attacked from within and without, and if you don’t see that, then it’s time to wake up and smell the wilting roses.
      https://www.opendoorsusa.org/newsroom/tag-news-post/persecution-of-christians-reaches-historic-levels-conditions-suggest-worst-is-yet-to-come/

    • Felix Whelan

      “The whole ‘we are in the world but not of the world’ silliness?” …

      Silliness? Really?

      Jesus praying for His disciples in John 17:14:

      “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+17&version=NASB

      If taking Christ at His word makes me an enemy of “common sense,” then in the spirit of this essay I would have to say “common sense” is wrong.

    • Larry Bud

      Yeah, yeah. But I’m pretty sure that the apostles and other folks in the early Church didn’t run around with a big chip on their shoulder. They didn’t go running to their media or squawking on their blogs at every perceived slight. They had to try to fit into and deal with the society they lived in. Which is what today’s Catholics need to do a better job of.

    • Ann Smith

      Larry is just making his usual rounds spouting the same criticisms that have already been addressed by others in other forums. For those who care to rebut Larry I will give you fair warning that he has already been offered lenthy explanations on the workings of approved Catholic non profits, and yet, he persists in his unfair criticisms of Catholic apologetics.

    • Larry Bud

      Wow, I’ve got a stalker! I’m so proud.

      Like I said in the other article, Ann, “great minds discuss ideas”. The rest of the quote, from Eleanor Roosevelt by the way, is “average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Don’t be a small mind.

      My idea here is that the Catholic media and blogger and speaker “industry” (which is a quite recent creation) draws its audience largely by expanding upon the old Catholic hook that the non-Catholic world is evil and threatening and not to be trusted.

      Discuss.

    • Ann Smith

      I am of the opinion that America needs people like Scott Hahn and others. I also think that the America of 2016 needs a lot of help and that it is far from the perfect place in which to live. No one is forcing people to buy any books or pay for lectures. In a free-market society people will buy whatever they feel like buying. If the promos seem sensational to you, I may not agree with your assessment of the situation. And the Catholics, by the way, do not have a corner on “The world is evil” hook. Most major world religions have as their goal a communion with the divine creator. If you see a recent proliferation of religious content, it is because there has never been such a falling away from religion as we now see in our time. Also, with advances in technology it has become easy to self-publish books for less than $5 per copy. People who convert or revert to Catholicism see themselves as “on fire” for the Lord. They fervently evangelize with whatever it takes. I question whether they are in it for the money. How would you know what their motives are? Also, how can you presume to know where the money they make goes? For my part I like to vet any organization in which I have an interest before supporting it. That includes reading their financial reports or looking up their federal tax returns online if they have legitimate tax exempt status under section 501(c)3 or related sections.

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      Whoa there,Ann…Catholics”on fire”for The Lord?? “Fervently evangelizing”? Seriously? Listen, I’ve been studying around many Catholics over the past 25 years, and I’ve NEVER seen that before.I mean, I’ve engaged with many,many Catholics who’ve argued passionately about Roman Catholicism,but preaching…”Christ and Him crucified”…as the great Apostle Paul said–No.

    • Ann Smith

      There are many, many such Catholics who are indeed living their lives for Christ. Perhaps you will never find any at all by looking in the halls of academia. Try attending any of the Lenten “missions” taking place at most Catholic churches between now and Easter. These are traditionally three consecutive evenings of lectures presented by the same speaker or group. The talks are centered around a particular theme, such as “Divine Mercy.” Oh, and these missions are free and open to the public. You will most likely notice a basket on a table in the back for any “free will offerings” that attendees may wish to contribute. There is no little sign, however, with the words, “Suggested Donation” or the like. That kind of tactic only guilts the listener into donating. Some people toss in a dollar or two and others don’t.
      Arranging for and bringing a speaker into town for three nights takes a modicum of coordination. Someone needs to put gas in a vehicle and pick them up at the airport. The Pastor needs to arrange for their meals (buy extra groceries) even though the speaker will most likely sleep at the rectory. If there aren’t any volunteers, parking attendants sometimes need to be brought in when there is a large crowd. This happens when the speaker is more well-known, for example. The police around here do not take kindly to self induced traffic jams…
      My town is comprised of roughly 40% Catholics and we have three Catholic churches. Not bad for a little burg of less than 30,000. My church has about 900 registered families, but we are lucky if we get 900 people attending the masses on any given weekend. Even so, the place where I live is an example of a vibrant faith community. Our brothers and sisters at the Baptist, Presbyterian, and Episcopal churches as well as those who attend the synagogue make this town a wonderful place in which to live.

    • james

      Very well said, Ann.

  • Carol Goodson

    Being Catholic is not just one of the possible choices: for me, it is the ONLY choice.

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      Being In Christ is a far better choice,Carol; after all,Roman Catholicism is just another-“ism”,like Protestantism–right?

    • Carol Goodson

      If you were a Catholic, you would understand. No, it is NOT just another -ism. I am sorry you have not received the gift that I have, but I will pray for you.

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      Hmm…I’m usually fairly articulate,Carol,so I’ll have to assume that you misunderstood me somehow.I’m not sure what”gift” you’re referencing,but if it’s not the…”Free gift of eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord”…we’re definitely NOT talking about the same thing.Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ graciously and freely gave me that Wondrous Gift in a jail cell in the state of Mississippi October 4th, 1976 at 2:00am when I was 22 years old and,as it says in the Epistle to the Hebrews chapter 13, verse 5,He…”has never left nor forsaken me”…through ups and downs, highs and lows, feasts or famines, sickness or health,and death will NEVER do us part!! (It IS a marriage after all–right?)—as the Epistle to the Ephesians says,I am sealed unto Him for eternity,and as long as JESUS IS LORD, that will be the case, ALWAYS. I like to remind people that Our Saviour didn’t invite us to any-“isms”,-“doxes”-,or denominational constructs,or religions—He invited us to HIMSELF,and I gladly accepted His Invitation lo these many years ago.I am 61 years old now,and NEVER have I been so content,so blessed,so fulfilled!!! So,we won’t quibble over terms or titles,Carol.As the great Apostle Paul said in Romans 14th chapter, 5th verse : ” Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind”. (Or hers.) I’m satisfied with the title “Christian”so…PEACE IN CHRIST, ALWAYS!

    • Carol Goodson

      I have no intention of getting into a debate with you about this. I will simply repeat that if you were Catholic, you would understand why it matters so much to me and millions of others. I hope you will receive that grace someday.

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      Wow…I’m open to being corrected here,Carol,but you’re giving me the impression that being Roman Catholic somehow tops God’s Gift of Eternal Life in Christ Jesus!! In what world does that even make sense? And exactly what manner of “grace” does being Roman Catholic convey? Any Scriptural evidence for that claim? How is being Roman Catholic better than being Christian,a bona-fide Biblical designation even spoken of by both Paul and Peter? I await your reply.

    • Robert Guy

      Lawrence…The Catholic Church does not claim to be the ONLY source of the Truth, but rather the ONLY source of the WHOLE Truth…Jesus brought the Sacraments into the world during His ministry, but these have largely disappeared or have been distorted by non-Catholic (albeit Christian) Faith’s so that the original intent is either watered down or lost altogether. I believe this is what Carol is referring to when she says if you were Catholic, you would understand. I fully respect your position and believe that the Lord holds you in the palm of His hand because you have apparently embraced Him as your personal Saviour and have chosen to follow Him. I believe there is room in the Kingdom for those who do not follow completely fhe tenets of the original church instituted by Christ. Jesus Himself said this (Sorry, I don’t remember the exact location in the Gospels)…But, please remember that the Apostle Paul warned early on of the dangers of altering or distorting Jesus’ message and His words to fit our personal biases and desires. He saw this happening during his evangelization of Greek and Roman territories and spoke out against it… Unfortunately this practice has continued to the present and has resulted in the countless schisms and splintering of the original church instituted by Christ, which I believe to be the Catholic Church…May God Bless you and your family.

    • jamey brown

      There was no Bible until 393 when the Catholic Church established the Canon:

      “…in the Synod of Hippo (393) and the Synods of Carthage (393, 397, and 419) the correct Canon was adopted.” http://www.catholic.com/encyclopedia/canon-of-the-holy-scriptures#.283.29_The_period_of_fixation:_c._A.D._367-405

      “Now, what do we find when we examine the historical record? Jesus Christ—as a matter of history–established a Church, not a book, to be the foundation of the Christian Faith (see Mt. 16:15-18; 18:15-18. Cf. Eph. 2:20; 3:10,20-21; 4:11-15; I Tm. 3:15; Hb. 13:7,17, etc.). He said of his Church, “He who hears you hears me and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Lk. 10:16). The many books that comprise what we call the Bible never tell us crucial truths such as the fact that they are inspired, who can and cannot be the human authors of them, who authored them at all, or, as I said before, what the canon of Scripture is in the first place. And this is just to name a few examples. What is very clear historically is that Jesus established a kingdom with a hierarchy and authority to speak for him (see Lk. 20:29-32, Mt. 10:40, 28:18-20). It was members of this Kingdom—the Church—that would write the Scripture, preserve its many texts and eventually canonize it. The Scriptures cannot write or canonize themselves. To put it simply, reason clearly rejects sola scriptura as a self-refuting principle because one cannot determine what the “scriptura” is using the principle of sola scriptura.”
      http://www.catholic.com/blog/tim-staples/the-protestant-achilles-heel

  • Mary Cooper

    Growing up in the South, there were only 3 families in our school who were Catholic, and 1 of them didn’t practice the Faith. I totally get this, having grown up where we were “different”.

  • Claire Marie

    Excellent! I feel the same way, only you said it so well!