Michael Terheyden on 'Why I am Catholic: An Introduction'
I am a Catholic because I believe truth is real and that the fullness of truth, especially as it relates to the human person, is only found in the Catholic Church
In January of 2012, Pope Benedict XVI said the world is facing a profound crisis of faith, and Christianity is in grave danger and risks oblivion. In the United States, open persecution of the Catholic Church has begun under the Obama administration. So what are we to do? One thing we can do is reflect on why we are Catholic.
Jesus said, 'I am the way and the truth and the life' (Jn 14:6)
Each of us has his or her own story to tell. Technically, mine began when, by God's grace, I was born into a Catholic family. But I will begin when I was still in high school and preparing for college about forty years ago because that was a turning point for me. Back then it seemed like college campuses across the country were on fire. I am referring to the throngs of protesters that were on the news almost daily. They had so much to say. I listened to them point out the evils of our society. They cared. They were going to make things better. I suppose it was because they were older that I looked up to them.
I finally left home for college in the early 1970's. It did not take me long to see the hypocrisy around me parading as self-righteous indignation. I did not find peace and love or a higher ethic; I found self-indulgence, escape, thrill seeking, lust, rebellion, and chaos. Needless to say, I did not fully immerse myself into this culture and steadily drifted away from it.
However, this left me in a quandary. Although I continued to practice my faith, at least minimally, I had largely rejected my parents' values and was now adrift without a value system or meaning. I felt completely free, but I also felt lost and alone. It was like being on the open sea in a small sail boat without a rudder or a compass to guide me. Fortunately for me the 70's was also a time of soul searching. Thus, my quandary motivated me to search for truth and the meaning of life.
I was surrounded by secularism. It stretched out before me as far as I could see. So I began my search in this environment. I took classes in the humanities, the social sciences and the physical sciences. All of these studies were interesting and helpful, but I never found what I was looking for, only fragments, bits and pieces. I gave up hope that I would find answers in secularism.
At this point, I began searching for spiritual answers. I read about the major world religions, except for Christianity. I did not think Christianity, or anything Western for that matter, had the answers I was searching for. Eastern thought fascinated me most, so I concentrated on it. I found great wisdom and beauty in Eastern religion and philosophy, but I could not accept some of their fundamental assumptions or their relativistic reasoning.
My mind was wide open to new ways of looking at the world in those days, but I needed ideas to be rational and relate to human experience in some way. This need gave me something solid to stand on. It also led me to books which attempted to synthesize Eastern and Western thought. These ideas were exciting at first, but as I read more, I found them too speculative and shallow. In general, I felt like these books were leading me in circles, so I stopped reading them.
Only after I had failed to find what I was looking for in secular and Eastern thought did I look at Christianity. I still did not think I would find answers in Catholicism, so my explorations only included Protestantism. Some of the protestant writers had a dramatic impact on me, and I am eternally grateful to them. Reading them was like soaring above the tree tops. Yet, my need for firm footing dampened the flame they ignited. Except for C.S. Lewis, and maybe one other, their reasoning was too loose for me at times.
That is when I started reading Catholic books, and they blew my mind! Catholicism included the fragments--bits and pieces--of truth that I had found in secular, Eastern and protestant thought, and much more. Its reasoning was tight and elegant. Moreover, it offered profound explanations of human experience and compelling, forceful reasons for faith. After being tossed about in the open sea for years, I finally felt solid ground beneath my feet, and it brought me much comfort.
Now, many years after landing upon Catholic shores, I can make my confession of faith in union with our first pope. When Jesus asked the apostles if they also wanted to leave Him, Peter responded, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (Jn 6:68). Peter's response has great meaning for me today because it represents one of the chief reasons why I am Catholic. I am a Catholic because I believe truth is real and that the fullness of truth, especially as it relates to the human person, is only found in the Catholic ...
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Living Faith News
- The Paraclete: The Counselor Who Helps Us Fulfill Our Calling
- C-section leaves mom fighting for life over dreaded flesh-eating virus
- Pope Francis tells world's leaders to abandon 'cult of money'
- Saint Cyril of Alexandria Reminds Us: The Holy Spirit Helps Us to Live a New Kind of Life
- Women, Behold Our Mother
- Pope Francis canonizes over 800 new saints
- Transubstantiation: Bulwark Defending the 'Is' of Jesus
- GOSNELL GUILTY!
- When Death Arrives, Will You Say Joyfully: O Death, Where is Thy Sting?
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?