I’m a bit ashamed today.
People who know me well, know I love to Tweet. I use Twitter for a variety of reasons, but primarily to spread the light of Jesus Christ. I try to be positive and supportive to people I find there. It’s kind of the reason I write this blog. I want to help people find commonalities in life instead of differences. Apparently, I am not actually good at this.
When I woke up today, I happened upon a debate two people were having about Muslims. I was reading the thread, and somehow or another it turned to Catholic bashing. I let it go a few Tweets. But when it was obviously going to continue, and the Church and its people were called evil…well, as I always seem to, I opened my big mouth.
The most unbelievable stream of anti-Catholicism was unleashed on me for speaking up for my Church. I’ve been Catholic my whole life. I’ve never even heard some of this. Of course there was the whole Mary worship thing, the Catholics have too much treasure thing, the Pope is evil thing (which many Catholics seem to believe now as well), the Inquisition thing, and don’t forget the preist sex abuse thing.
But today, we jumped into the Roman Catholic Church is not the Church founded by Jesus Christ thing. You know after all, the Catholic Church is never mentioned in the Bible. Jesus apparently doesn’t name Simon Peter the rock on which he will build his Church, he’s just some Jewish guy who’s name means “rock.” In case you didn’t know, the Roman Catholic Church was founded by Constantine in Constantinople, AFTER other Christian denominations, so he could kill people in the name of religion.
Let’s forget the nuttiness of that or a moment. I’m no theologian or Church expert, but in 18 years of Catholic education and a lifetime of Masses, I heard the answers to most of the big Catholic questions. I’m also an amateur history student, and I’ve read a lot about the Byzantines, etc. I could debunk everyone of these allegations. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. I was a poor witness to the Church in the face of radical attackers.
Two days after Pope Francis left the United States following his amazing first visit where people swamped Philadelphia just to be near him, the anti-Catholic sentiment seems higher than ever. And I’m beginning to understand why so few Catholics take a stand for their faith. People it seems, misunderstand us on purpose. It seems futile. They just don’t get it.
Everyone who attacked me today professed in their bios to be good Christian people. People who, for all intents and purposes, are supposed to believe something very similar to what Catholics believe, sans the Pope and Eucharist. Some of them said they were formerly Catholic!
If you are Catholic, I’ve discovered it’s very important in this day to know what it is you believe in and where it came from. If you want to disagree and still be Catholic, perhaps even more so. Our inability to articulate our religion helps to give rise to these weird Catholic myths. I mean, how could Constantine have started Catholicism when even in the current world, we see great differences between the eastern and Roman rites? And it’s more than statues and icons. There were Christians before the Catholic Church? I bet Jesus himself would be surprised at that. But it’s fair to throw stones at us because hey, we killed millions in the Inquisition and we hoarded all the world treasure and built a wall around it.
Add all of this rhetoric to the Catholics who find fault in every aspect of the modern Church from the Pope’s so called liberalism to music to kids eating fruit snacks at Mass, and it’s no wonder people don’t understand their own religion. We are all closer than we think – there really is no need for thousands of denominations. It all comes down to us wanting to believe what makes us happy – not what has been proven historically, or what the Church has practiced for thousands of years.
It’s true what they say – all Catholics are Christians, but not all Christians are Catholics.