Why Am I A Catholic?

I noticed Ross Douthat published an entry in his NYT blog in response to the many comments on his “precipice” piece from Sunday. He’s an intelligent, occasionally refreshing young guy. But sometimes I think faith can be over-thought.

Why am I a Catholic? It’s simple.

I was called.

This touches on the difference between people, many conservatives and some liberals, who are wringing hands these days, and some liberals and a few conservatives who are not.

I know many Catholics, many believers and disciples get to Jesus through their mind. I get that. I have what passes in some circles as something of a theological education. I’ve had to test and write about things of religion and faith. My mind is not a stranger to religiosity. But it’s just a part of a much bigger picture.

The key is the seeking of the lost, and the invitation to come home. That is where Pope Francis is leaving many people behind. They do not think of the Church in terms of their participation in the net-casting of Christ. They think of it in terms of how they measure up to a standard–sometimes an internal one. How much what they think aligns with what they think God thinks. Or failing God, what a religious institution–say the bureaucracy of Rome–thinks.

I believe God calls. I also believe we are called to imitate that … if we consider ourselves believers/disciples/Christians/devout Catholics/orthodox. If the people aren’t coming to us, it is our mission to go to them.

I don’t think it means as much that we’re asking the question. I think it means more if we are part of someone else’s answer. In other words, why is so-and-so a Catholic? Because Ross or Todd or someone (insert your name) called them. That’s the kind of answer I’d rather hear.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to Why Am I A Catholic?

  1. Hi. I am a new reader here and a relatively new Catholic, having converted from a different Christian faith in 2011. I have to ask you if your last paragraph – indeed your last sentence on this post – is exactly what you meant. Because it reads, at least to me and my husband, that you would rather someone say they became Catholic because so-and-so influenced them. Rather than hearing that someone, like me, had a personal encounter with God; an encounter so profound that it changed the very nature of who I am. I confess, I find your statement a little bit shocking and a little bit – arrogant. Perhaps I’m reading it wrong and I’m open to hearing anything you can offer by way of explanation.

    • Todd says:

      Thanks for asking, Kris.

      My own call is somewhat well-documented here: https://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/2004/04/19/108242694524051621/

      I think God often calls people through the medium of relationships. In my own experience, it was a well-meaning friend, an attentive pastor, and willing parents. Outwardly, God worked through all that. Inwardly, it was God’s inspiration of my first exposure to liturgical music and to preaching, and also to the inspiration of faith.

      Arrogant? Perhaps more audacious. I would like to think every believer is out there, prepared to give an accounting of her or his faith. My fourth-last sentence is more of my intended conclusion: “I think it means more if we are part of someone else’s answer.” I want to be part of people’s answers. I see that as part of the mission of Matthew 28:19-20.

  2. Atheist Max says:

    I once had good reasons for being a Catholic. I was quite certain.

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