I’ve recently heard some interesting cases where supposedly clear thinking individuals had a knee-jerk reaction against public displays of anything “too Catholic”. You can hear the polite commentary: “Oh no, it just isn’t done – Catholic stuff, I mean. Free country and all – but Catholics really should keep to themselves. You can BE Catholic, just don’t act proud of it and for heavens sake don’t write a fiction story with strong Catholic characters. That will definitely offend someone.” It is almost as if being a “Christian” is a higher good than being “Catholic”. Christians can proclaim their religion, Catholics have to admit theirs.Considering that Catholicism is the root of Christianity, I am bewildered by this ridiculous double standard. What is worse is that Catholics (like me) often fall into the trap of having to identify ourselves as Christian-Catholics!
So here are some points I need to remember about why being Catholic is the coolest faith of all:
1) Jesus Christ began the Catholic Church. Coolest founder of all. No one, but NO ONE can compare.
2) The Catholic faith has been proclaimed throughout the whole world for over 2000 years without refusing anyone entry. It is the first faith of equality.
3) The Catholic Church stewards the faith and the faithful. We don’t (re)invent our faith. We protect and proclaim what is and always will be true.
4) We have bells that mean something. My Lord and my God.
5) Our altar is more than just a table. It reaches back 5000 years to the altar in the ancient Jewish temple and the sacrifice of Abraham. It really is an altar of sacrificial worship.
6) We have incense. Gorgeous incense that lifts souls on clouds up to the heavens.
7) We have sacred music. There is a time for toe tapping. And there is a time for awe. Sacred Catholic music draws the soul into awesome territory.
8) We have traditions and Traditions. We know what we believe, but we’re nice enough to write it down for the fools who go around making things up.
9) We have miracles. Proven ones. Lots of them. And more saints than we can count, saints who prove that God can and does perfect willing souls. Catholic souls. Kinda disproves the theory that Catholics are of the devil. The devil doesn’t produce saints.
10) We have God. If God says He comes to me on the altar under the appearance of bread and wine – I’m not going to tell Him He can’t. I believe Him. His word is enough for me. “Blessed are they who do not see, yet believe.”
So, the next time my Catholic characters are told to hide themselves away in a dark corner – I suspect they’ll refuse. And I might just grow braver along with them. When the devil’s having his day, it might be cool, as well as wise, to call on a vibrant, tradition rich, faithful Catholic. Did I mention, we also have some pretty cool angels?