Why Be Catholic?
Godless Girl tweeted:
I’ve noticed a trend: points that atheists make seem to make a lot of sense on the surface. But, once you dive below the surface and actually think about what they say, you realize how stupid it actually is.
Atheists own Twitter because their arguments are best kept to 140 characters. More importantly, their opponents should have the same limitation because it takes more letters to unpack and understand a concept fully. In this way, they sound superior to us ignorant Christians.
But this time, Godless Girl seems to have a point. I mean, why should anyone remain Catholic? After all, there was worldwide abuse and this institution just covered it up, shoveled priests to different parishes or dioceses, and then paid out their butts in settlements to keep some of the more damning stories out of the media.
If a corporation had that kind of record, people would boycott its products and services and drive the company out of business. Why would anyone want anything to do with such a corrupt organization?
Except that’s not really true, is it? Think about Jack-in-the-Box. They purposely designed their cooking procedures to emphasize speed and not food safety. They didn’t cook their ground beef to a proper serving temperature and as a result made hundreds sick. Children and elderly died of E. coli poisoning.
And they’re still in business. Evil corporate money-grubbers slayed children with bad hygiene and food safety standards — why would anyone support that institution?
Because the products, services, and messages are separate from the messenger — and the public knows that. It appears to have escaped Godless Girl. Jack-in-the-Box revised their cooking procedures and now serve safe food. It was really never about the food — it was the process, the lax enforcement, and lack of food safety standards that were to blame. The product was still good, and people were willing to give it another go when Jack-in-the-Box had fixed the real problems.
The Catholic Church, like all Christian churches, has been entrusted by Jesus with a message of salvation to mankind. None of us are perfect; only Jesus had the mantle of sinful flesh but remained unstained from sin. We only point the way to him that saves you; we don’t save anyone.
The Catholic Church is the mechanism of this message, but it isn’t the message nor is it mankind’s salvation. It merely points the way, without being the Way. Christ himself said that only he is the Way (Jn 14:6).
Another example should suffice. Let’s say you were sitting on a crate that you really didn’t know the pedigree of. It’s ticking; could be a bunch of clocks, right? Then a guy comes up to you, frantic, and screams, “Get off! Get off! That’s a bomb, and it’s set to go off!”
You recognize this guy from a database of registered sex offenders. So you remain on your perch and resolutely declare, “You’re a registered sex offender! So I know this isn’t a bomb. I know you’re lying because rapists are liars!”
It’s usually the concussive force that kills people like you, not the shrapnel. You won’t even feel the broken boards or nails, therefore. Your insides will already be soup from the explosion.
Judge the message on its own merit, not the merit of those who bring it. The Catholic Church isn’t perfect. My church isn’t perfect. We are, however, co-laborers for one who is perfect; and we point to him, not ourselves.