Friday, December 26, 2008

On the other hand, you don't need art, architecture and incense to be a Catholic. An old barn will do.

I just posted on why some homosexuals justify staying with a Church that they don't agree with.

On the same Minnesota Public Radio web site, a father of five, husband, writer and convert to Catholicism, a resident of St. Joseph, MN, Tim Drake (of the National Catholic Register), tells us why he is a Catholic:

I came to the Catholic Church not by birth, but by an adult conversion experience very much rooted in the centrality of the Eucharist - Christ's Body and Blood - broken and shared for us all. As a former Lutheran (ELCA), I did not find a similar understanding in the Lutheran church of my youth. The Catholic Church's emphasis on Christ's words in the Gospel of John, Chapter 6 and at the Last Supper, were pivotal in my conversion.

What I have discovered, during and since my conversion is the deep history and richness of the Catholic faith - practical helps such as the Sacraments of the Church, devotions, and the Communion of Saints - that all meet the faithful Catholic where he or she is at in his or her life.

The famous British writer and convert G.K. Chesterton used to say that the Church is so much larger from the inside than the out. I've found this to be my experience of Catholicism to the point where I realize that there's so much richness, depth and beauty in the Catholic faith that I've only just scratched the surface. I'll be able to spend the rest of my life learning and will still be unable to exhaust all that's there.

Witnessing the Church on a global scale, at events such as World Youth Day, has helped to make me realize that I belong to something far larger than my local parish. I belong to a community of faith that not only stretches across the globe geographically, but also stretches across time and place. By being united with the Church, I am linked with all those who have gone before - the disciples, the apostles, the early Church Fathers, religious and laity, and all those saints who have died in the faith.

My hope for the Church is that it can move forward in peace and greater unity. The years since the Second Vatican Council have been years of much turmoil and confusion for the Church. Confusion isn't anything new for the Church. It existed at the time of the early Church Fathers, and has existed after each of the Church's councils. That is why we have the authority of the Church - to provide guidance and clarity. My hope is that Pope Benedict XVI's clear teachings will help move the Church from a time of confusion into a time of greater clarity.

Clearly, I have concerns - of which Pope Benedict has frequently spoken - about maintaining Catholic identity in a culture that lives as if there is no God, and a culture that routinely seeks to deny the divinity of Jesus Christ.

My wife and I are doing our best to raise our five children to be faithful members of the Church and of society, but it's a challenge in a culture that largely pushes immorality rather than virtue.

To that end, we try as a family to attend daily Mass as often as possible. We pray together daily. I am a member of a men's weekly faith-discussion group. My wife is a member of a women's faith-discussion group. We both attend annual religious retreats and try to foster a deep, personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

We have even celebrated the Sacrament of the Eucharist annually in our barn, and have invited hundreds of others to join us (see photo).

As I ponder the state of the Church, I have great hope for the future. Many of the young are tired of the instability and division they've experienced - often in their own families - and long for the stability and traditions that the Catholic Church can offer, an unbroken line that goes back 2,000 years.

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