Why be Catholic?

In his book, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, Thomas Woods states that anti-Catholicism is one of the last acceptable prejudices. When I moved to a state that has one of the smallest Catholic populations in the country and then decided to convert, I realized how high the feeling against Catholicism could run.

The benefits to me, though, were too great for that antagonism to alter my decision to convert. Catholics always seemed to have a way of incorporating their faith seamlessly into their lives. They have the same problems as everyone else, but they seemed to have a stability in the midst of it all that I seldom saw as a significant trait in any other religious group. Certainly my experience had not given it to me, and I very much wanted that instruction in how to live as a Christian instead of the constant admonitions to do so and prove it to those around you. I wanted help working it out on the inside, so that it was real instead of just seeming so to others.

The Catholic faith also both recognizes a spiritual world consisting of both good and evil and provides some information about what is it and how to cope with it. Infrequent encounters of some variety with unexplained phenomena seem to run in my family. For example, my college roommate started dabbling in the occult, and the only place to go for information was the Catholic church.

Another big attraction for me was the history. We had very little family growing up, and as a result had very little in the way of personal history, legacy or place in the world. As protestants, our religious history still only spanned, at best, less than 500 years. The protestants generally ignore the first 1500 years of Christian history and nearly all of the individuals who kept the faith alive until the reformation. As Catholics, all of that history is suddenly available, along with the life stories of all those individuals who were part of it. Catholicism gave me all sorts of examples to draw upon to learn how to live out my faith in my life.

From this side of my conversion, I have not been disappointed. I found all that I sought and much that I did not even know existed. Much is difficult to explain. There is much more I simply would not explain. The joy of discovery should never be clouded by doubts about whether the experience were genuine or simply the product of expectation planted by someone else. If you decide Catholicism is right for you, I guarantee it is even better than you think.