12 Reasons Why I am Catholic

January 27th, 2015 by Fr. Jeff Lucas

“The difficulty of explaining ‘why I am a Catholic’ is that there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true.”
[G.K. Chesterton, “Why I Am Catholic” in Collected Works, vol. III, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1990, p. 127]

I am a Catholic because (of):

  1. Catholicism offers the full truth about God and human life given to us by God Himself.
  2. Catholicism’s continuity with the Church of the Apostles at Pentecost and the word that they preached.
  3. Catholicism’s continuity with the natural religious experience of man from time immemorial, when that experience is true and good. Just as Jesus says “I have not come to abolish but to fulfill the Law”, He also builds upon and fulfills what is true and good in earlier natural religions.“The Church from the beginning down to our own time has always followed this wise practice: let not the Gospel on being introduced into any new land destroy or extinguish whatever its people possess that is naturally good, just or beautiful. For the Church, when she calls people to a higher culture and a better way of life, under the inspiration of the Christian religion, does not act like one who recklessly cuts down and uproots a thriving forest. No, she grafts a good scion upon the wild stock that it may bear a crop of more delicious fruit. 57. Although owing to Adam’s fall, human nature is tainted with original sin, yet it has in itself something that is naturally Christian.” [Pius XII, Evangelii Praecones, 1951, #s 56-57]Looked at another way, as Newman said: “I am a Catholic by virtue of my believing in a God.” [Apologia Pro Vita Sua, Chap VI, 2, 5]
  4. The Catholic principle of building on, elevating, and transforming nature, the given stuff of human life, by grace. Grace builds on nature.
    This includes the artistic and intellectual endeavors of pagan cultures. But the implications of enthusiasm [religious extremism/fundamentalism] go deeper than this; at the root of it lies a different theology of grace. Our traditional doctrine is that grace perfects nature, elevates it to higher pitch, so that it can bear its part in the music of eternity, but leaves it nature still. The assumption of the enthusiast is bolder and simpler; for him, grace has destroyed nature and replaced it. [Ronald A. Knox, Enthusiasm: A Chapter in the History of Religion, 1950, Chapter 1]
  5. Catholicism’s cultural, artistic, and intellectual heritage. Intimately connected with Europe and the Eastern Churches. – a set of cultures that Catholicism has been instrumental in creating. Europe is an example of inculturation. For me personally “Europe” could almost be one of its own.
  6. Catholicism offers a unique path to do justice to the infinite and inconceivable love of God for us: religious orders, especially contemplative orders; and so it reminds us that Love is the foundation of our lives.
  7. The collection of heroes, examples, teachers, and intercessors from every time, place, age, gender, occupation, social standing:–the saints.
  8. Catholicism is realistic regarding the nature of human sinfulness and that it possesses the power to change it from the inside by the grace of God.
  9. Catholicism’s challenging but ultimately humanizing and life-giving moral and social teaching. As Chesterton once wrote: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” [G.K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong with the World, Part One, Chap V]
  10. The Liturgy and sacramental life of the Church, especially the Eucharist.
  11. Catholicism contains a spiritual, mystical, and devotional tradition giving us multiple paths to union with God and our fellow human beings that are as diverse as people themselves are.
  12. Devotion to Mary properly understood and how it encourages doing true justice to womanhood.







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