South Park – North Park – Golden Hill

Friday, January 12, 2018

Grace--it's why I'm Catholic

Grace--it's why I'm Catholic
There are many reasons to be Catholic. Grace is present in all of them.

My friend recently asked me in an email conversation why I stay in the Catholic Church. "If that sounds confrontational, it's not," he wrote in his email. "At least not yet. I am genuinely curious." 

My friend was raised Catholic but is not currently a practicing member of any religion. He credits the Jesuits with saving his life in high school, and he went to Georgetown University for undergrad and married a Catholic woman he met there. They now have four children. His wife is still a practicing Catholic and brings the younger kids to Mass and religious education. My husband Bill and I are godparents to their third child. 

My friend's question is a fair one. He's not asking why I'm Christian or questioning my faith in God; he's asking me why I belong to a religion that has some elements with which he knows I disagree. 

He knows, for example, that I believe the church should ordain married people of both genders, along with men and women who choose celibacy. He knows I believe the question of birth control and family planning is complex and should not be simplified into a one-size-fits-all teaching. He knows that because Bill and I have adopted from the U.S. foster care system, we have a depth of understanding of the ramifications of all types of child abuse. 

Yet we have chosen to stay with a church whose leaders failed to protect children from the most egregious of abuse. He knows I hold dear our gay friends and colleagues--that I believe they should be as welcome at the eucharistic table as they are at our own dining room table. 

And yet I'm Catholic. Passionately Catholic. And I could no more change to another Christian religion than I could peel off my skin and exchange it for a different tone with a better hue. 

Why am I Catholic? I may not embrace or even agree with all the teachings of the church, but I believe in all the sacraments. I believe in God's grace working through them. I've felt the grace; I've seen it. 

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