So why are we Catholic? The world hates us, with a passion. By just about every indicator, the Catholic Church is losing its rank among people in the world today as a moral force for good. The ratio of parishioners per priest is increasing. There seems to be no end to the scandals within the Church today, with priests, bishops and Cardinals all being accused of sexual improprieties. Jesus even said in Luke 18:8: “When the Son of Man appears, will He find any faith on earth?” Let’s take a look at why we believe what we do.
First and foremost, we are Catholic because of the Eucharist – the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ, our daily bread. The Eucharist is the fruit of the tree of life known as the cross, and as Jesus cleared the Temple of iniquity, just so, the Eucharist cleanses our bodies (temples of the Holy Spirit) from sin. St. Peter says that the devil goes around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour, while Jesus, the Lion of Judah, says that, if we eat His flesh and drink His blood, we will live forever. The Eucharist overcomes Satan’s two lies to Adam and Eve:
• Satan said that they would not die if they ate of the forbidden fruit. The Eucharist overcomes that by giving us eternal life.
• Satan also lied when he said that Adam and Eve would be as gods if they ate the forbidden fruit. Jesus says that if we eat His flesh and drink His blood that He will abide in us, and we in Him.
When we consume the Eucharist, we have the blood of Christ flowing in our veins, and thus, we become his royal family descendants on earth, Princes and Princesses in His Kingdom.
A Real Family
The Catholic Church provides each parishioner with a real heavenly family – God our loving Father, Mary our lovely and nurturing mother, and Jesus, our brother and redeemer. Jesus said to his disciple from the cross, “Behold YOUR Mother” (notice that Jesus’ words were not addressed to his “apostle” and not to “John,” but instead to his “disciple”). So His words apply to us all, because we are all disciples of Christ. Our heavenly family mirrors the family of Jesus on earth – Jesus the Son, Mary His mother, and Joseph His adoptive father. Revelation 12:17 says that we are Mary’s children if we obey the commandments and bear testimony that Jesus is the Christ. And even more than that, we have the entire Church Triumphant in heaven (aka the Great Cloud of Witnesses from Hebrews 12:1), and all of the Church Suffering in Purgatory as our family members. Why? Because the Catholic Church teaches that we are all united in Christ and to Christ, for all time. Once we are saved, we are no longer individuals; rather, we are the branches of the vine, and the Vine is Jesus.
The Coliseum Martyrs
All of the martyrs in the coliseum in Rome were Catholic, each and every one. Those who left us their writings, like St. Ignatius of Antioch, leave no doubt that they were Catholic. There were no protestants, Muslims, Mormons, or Hindus among them. They died so that we the living could partake of the Eucharist and the graces of the sacraments. To leave the Church and their legacy for any reason would be to ignore their supreme sacrifice for us. They didn’t leave the Church because of Judas and Marcion, so we shouldn’t leave the church for impure priests either.
The Catholic Church is God’s dispenser of His grace, coming primarily through the seven sacraments, but also through sacramentals and the Word of God. The graces coming from frequent confessions and frequent reception of the Eucharist are unavailable anywhere else, and all of the sacraments are straight out of the bible. In particular, the sacrament of Confession from John 20:21-23 allows us to imitate Christ when he rose from the dead. Just like He went into the tomb dead and came out alive, just so, we go into the confessional box spiritually dead with our sins, but come out spiritually alive with His grace after absolution by His priest.
The Gates of Hell
Jesus promised us all that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church, not then, not now, and not ever. So everyone who says that this happened in the early Church or in the middle ages, and therefore someone had to start their own man-made church as a result, is dead wrong. Belonging to a man-made church from the sixteenth century or later can never be as good as belonging to the church started by God Himself. Satan has tried to destroy the Church using the Romans, the Mongols, the Muslims, the Communists, the Nazis, the Enlightenment, Freemasonry, modernity, scandals, and secularism. And he has failed each and every time.
The Catholic Church gave us the bible in its present form in the late fourth century, at the Council of Rome, in 382 AD. Pope Damasus I infallibly declared that the canon of scripture was comprised of the exact seventy three books that are in the Catholic bible today. The Bible is one of the Church’s greatest gifts to the world, and only the Catholic Church lives out ALL of the Bible, including the sacraments, intercessory prayer, purgatory, etc. No other church takes into account the entire bible. Each only uses parts of it and ignores the rest, particularly John 6.
Only the Catholic Church teaches that one can’t interpret the bible all by himself, which is biblical, by the way. The bible teaches that the Church, not the individual and not the bible, is the pillar of truth. Other churches rip scripture verses out of context and build up entire dogmas on it, ignoring a lot of the rest of the bible. Even worse, some protestant churches now endorse heresies, such as so-called homosexual “marriage” and abortion, as being good. Only the Catholic Church has the fullness of biblical truth.
The Catholic Church encourages the great cloud of witnesses from Hebrews 12:1 to be our intercessors, 24/7/365. James says the prayers of a holy person are powerful, and who is holier than someone who is in heaven? St. Paul recommends intercessory prayer in 1 Timothy 2:1, and Luke tells us that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Saints in heaven definitely know what is going on down here, as in Luke 15:7. 2 Maccabees 12:15:13-16 says that saints, who have died, do pray for us. Revelation 5:8 says that they present our prayers to God in the form of incense, while man-made churches ignore this.
In the Old Testament, either a sacrificial offering of grain or of animals was offered up to God in worship. That word in Leviticus to describe that offering of “remembrance” was “anamnesis,” or a sacrificial offering. In the Holy Mass, the Head of the Church (Jesus), offers up his body, blood, soul, and divinity to His Father under the appearances of bread and wine. We, in turn, offer up our personal sacrifices of the week to Him. Thus, the Mass is where the head of the Church (Jesus), unites Himself to His body (the laity) in one sacrificial offering to the Father. Contrary to what some preachers say, the Catholic Church does not re-sacrifice Jesus over and over again at each Mass; rather the exact same sacrifice of Calvary is re-presented to us through time and space at each Mass, so that we can now participate in the crucifixion of Jesus, just like Mary and John did 2000 years ago. Just like a movie made before we were born is re-presented to us on TV, just so, the sacrifice of Jesus is re-presented to us at every Mass.
Spirit and Truth
In John 4, in the story of Jesus meeting the woman at the well, He states that the Hour is coming when men and women will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. The Mass is about an hour long, and the priest invokes the Holy Spirit to change the bread and wine into His Precious Body and Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Except for the Orthodox Church, other denominations use symbolism in their services for their Communion table. The Holy Spirit is not symbolic, but is real in every sense. The Mass is not symbolism and truth; It is Spirit and Truth.
It’s the Kingdom of God!
Jesus said in Mark 1:15 that “The time is fulfilled. Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” A King like Jesus must have a Kingdom, and his Kingdom is the Church. In Matthew 21:43, Jesus took the Kingdom away from the Jews, and in Matthew 16:19 he gave the Kingdom to Peter and the Church. In Luke 11:20, Jesus says that the Kingdom of God HAS come upon you (past tense). Therefore we know that all preachers who say that Jesus will return to establish His Kingdom in the future are 2000 years off!
The Papacy and Truth
In the Bible God always works through a man or a woman, whether it’s Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Mary, or Peter. The Bible guarantees that the Spirit will guide us in truth, and that guidance comes through His Church and His appointee, Peter and his successors. So many man-made church denominations now embrace homosexuality and abortion as being great things, but the Catholic Church still stands tall against them, through the teachings of the Pope and the Holy Spirit guiding him.
Faith AND Works
Only the Catholic Church preaches the necessity of good works. While Luther got the useless works of the law (Torah laws included circumcision, kosher dietary laws, not touching the dead) mixed up with good works (the fruit of our faith from Colossians 1:10), the Catholic Church and the Bible both preach that faith without works is dead (James 2:24). It is true that our initial justification is a free gift of grace from God in Baptism, but our continual sanctification is built up by bearing good fruit, our good works done in His name.
While most churches do believe in the mercy of God, only the Catholic Church has the Divine Mercy devotion, started by St. John Paul II and St. Faustina. Most people readily believe in the justice of Almighty God, but thanks to this devotion, more and more people are discovering that their sins do not block out His Divine Mercy; rather, the bigger the sinner, the more right to His mercy they have!
Fulfillment of Jewish Tradition
After Jesus took away the Kingdom from the Jews in Matthew 21:43, he didn’t expect his Church to start over with their worship. Rather, a lot of the Jewish traditions, like vestments, candles, scripture reading, sacrificial worship, tabernacles, prayers for the dead, etc., were continued. After all, He didn’t come to abolish the Old Testament. He came to fulfill it.
The Catholic Church = Jesus’ Church
And last, but certainly not least, only the Catholic Church was started by Jesus Christ. He is the rock predicted by Daniel in his dream that would shatter the Roman Empire and last forever. He told Peter that he would build HIS church, not Churches. By becoming a member of the Catholic Church, one is joining the very Church founded by Christ Himself. All Protestant Churches were founded by very fallible and sinful men. The Catholic Church IS God’s family!
The Bottom Line
Today, scandals lead a lot of people away from His Church. But just like scandalous presidents don’t make good Americans leave the country, good Catholics shouldn’t leave His Church either because of a few weeds mixed in with the good wheat. Harvest time is coming soon!