Why be Catholic?
Why Be Christian?
Jesus Christ is the most documented person in ancient history. If He never existed, neither did any of the Roman Emperors, philosophers, poets, or historians of that time period. History would have one huge empty hole if we were to try to erase the life of Jesus. Furthermore, we mark time from the birth of Jesus Christ. The year 2017 is calculated as being two-thousand and seventeen years from the time of His birth. No modern scholar, whether or not Christian, disputes that Jesus existed.
Not only is His life solidly established in history, also the time, place and manner of his death is equally well documented. History verifies the biblical account that Jesus was crucified. It must be noted that many of these same ancient historians however suggest that either everyone went to the wrong grave (an empty one) and therefore falsely believed Jesus had risen from the dead OR the disciples stole his body to perpetrate a hoax.
The problem with these two "theories" is they don't make sense. If it was merely a question of the wrong grave, all the authorities would need to do is go to the correct grave and roll out the dead body. That would have ended Christianity then and there. If it is a question of a hoax, we must believe that the historically documented martyrdom of over 500 witnesses, who claimed to have seen a risen Jesus were all willing to give their life for something they knew to be a lie. Anybody applying simple logic can see this is not plausible.
If His life, death and resurrection are true, and as Sacred Scripture teaches He did it for us, not accepting this free offer of redemption and eternal life would be foolish indeed. This brings to the original question ..........................
WHY Be Catholic?
Catholicism is Not a Denomination. Prior to the reformation, there was no need to distinguish between various Christian belief systems. There was only one. We have the actual writings of St. Ignatius of Antioch referring to the Church as the "Catholic" Church. St. Ignatius was a protégé of the Apostle John. The term "Catholic" simply means" universal" and was the only name there was for the first 1,000 years of Christianity. The Catholic Church is the only true 'non-denominational' Church in that this Church existed long before the need to distinguish differences in religious beliefs. Any Christian faith that is not Catholic, by definition, is some sort of denomination in that they are noting they are separate from the original Catholic (universal) Church.
Jesus promised that He would establish His Church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it and that He would protect it until the end of time. If we believe Jesus, then there could never have been a time, from that time forward, when His Church did NOT exist. Unlike all the denominational churches, the Catholic Church can trace its history back to the time of Jesus and the Apostles. All 35,000 denominational Christian sects trace themselves back to a human founder. Most of today's denominations were established in the 19th and 20th century making them indeed distant observers.
The Catholic Church predates the New Testament. It is the Church that gave us the Bible; it is not the other way around. Catholics are indeed the original "Bible-Christians" and the Catholic Church is the original "Bible-believing Church". No serious Bible scholar argues this historical truth.
Consistency in doctrine. Although customs and practices can, and have, changed over the centuries and in various parts of the world, Catholic doctrine has remained consistent and steadfast for 2,000 years. There was a time when all denominational churches spoke out on issues like artificial birth control, abortion, euthanasia and homosexuality. This is not the case anymore. The original reformers (i.e. Martin Luther and John Calvin) re-enforced the veneration of Mary and Communion of the Saints, this is not the case anymore.
Corruption in the Church. As strange as it may seem we can see human frailty as proof that Jesus is indeed protecting His Church. Down through the centuries there have been corrupt parishioners, priests, bishops and even popes. Yet the Church is still here, teaching the same things as she did from the very beginning. What other institution, government, country or business, full of corrupt human beings, can you name that is anywhere near 2,000 years old?
The Didache dates back to the first century and is a document believed to have been written by some of the original 12 apostles. It is basically a handbook for worship and it is the outline for our Catholic Mass today. When St Paul wrote "let everything be done decently and in order" (when referring to worship) he was referring to the Didache.
Mary & the Saints are indeed family members of ours. Being dead does not separate us (or them) from the Body of Christ. If anything, the dead are closer to Him now. This being the case and we remain one family - why would we not want them to pray for us? Asking the saints to pray for us is no more worshiping them than asking someone here to pray for us.
The Sacraments are God's way of dealing physically with physical beings He placed in a physical world. God didn't need the muddy Jordan to heal Naaman. Jesus didn't need mud to heal the blind man. God didn't need Adam and Eve to tell them where they were hiding or what they had done, but He made them confess - out loud.
The Liturgy is public worship. The same public worship handed down to us from the early Church of the first century.
Sacred Tradition is the understanding of the Christian faith from the early Church Fathers. Who better might there be to help us understand what Jesus taught than those who were with Jesus and the next generation, those who were taught the faith by those who were with Jesus? Catholic Sacred Tradition is primarily taken from the writings of the first and second century Fathers of the Church.
Pope & Magisterium are God's assurance to us that His Deposit of Faith has been kept intact. If this country's founding fathers saw the need for a supreme court to interpret the constitution, how much more do we need an authoritative interpreter for Sacred Scripture? The rejection of such authority has led to over 35,000 denominational sects. Many of these denominations have diametrically opposed doctrines while all claiming to use the same Bible as their sole source.
Sola Scriptura is an obvious failed experiment. The thought that the Bible alone is the pillar and foundation of truth and our sole source of the faith is self defeating in that no such thing is taught anywhere in the Bible. In fact, First Timothy 3:15 states that the CHURCH is the pillar and foundation of truth.
To fully answer the question "Why Be Catholic" would fill volumes. In fact, there are indeed volumes written on the subject. The purpose of this page is to hopefully get you thinking and begin your own earnest quest for truth. Perhaps you could start with a few of the Catholic links on our home page.