Friday, March 14, 2008

Why I am still a Catholic

The Washington Post today (Friday March 14, 2008) reported that Catholic educators in the United States were concerned about a forthcoming visit from Pope Benedict who has expressed disdain for non-Catholic influences at Catholic colleges. File this one under “Will they [the Popes] ever learn.” But that raises a question: Why do I still call myself Catholic?

The most amazing thing about the Church has been its ability to survive the power madness of so many of the Popes. Christ washed his disciples feet, this Pope seeks to wash their brains. Others have washed (laundered) money. Like most of my generation, I recall the explosion of true faith in Christ that occurred during the papacy of John the 23rd, but its been a long time gone.

The Vatican never learns. It was the attitude espoused by Benedict that suppressed Copernicus and Galileo and thus delayed the progress of human knowledge. Yet, somehow the Church survives the Vatican and truly remarkable Catholic men and women contribute to human knowledge.

The “Big Bang” theory was first espoused by a Catholic priest who was mocked by the scientific establishment until he was proven right. Teilhard de Chardin pioneered concepts that sought to merge faith and evolution (not in the "intelligent design" sense). Unfortunately, because he was under Vatican prohibition, his most important works weren’t published until after his death, Teilhard and “we” were denied the benefit that vetting and debate, over his ideas, would have created.

The Catholic faith is really quite simple and the reason why I am still a Catholic (although how Roman I am may be subject to some debate) is that the key issue of the Reformation was the Protestant advancement of “Faith” rather than Love.

Jesus taught it, St. Paul and St. John wrote it, and St. Francis lived it. There is only one measure and way, Love. As long as the Church bureaucrats flee that message and seek first not the Kingdom of God but the enhancement of their power, the Church Magister will become increasingly irrelevant to those pursuing the faith of Love. In the information era, for the Pope to seek control of the flow of information at any level, is not only bound for failure, it is ludicrous.

Yet, for all its folly, and at times corruption, the most direct way, back through the milennia, to Christ’s message of love is the Church. It’s just a bigger Church than the Vatican wishes to admit. It’s all those who love.