Saturday, December 22, 2007

My Attraction to Catholicism, Part One

So what do I find in Catholicism that attracts me? There are lots of things, but here are the main ones:

The Eucharist. I believe the Catholic position on the Eucharist is correct. I'm far from a biblical literalist, but it's hard to overlook the words of Jesus in John 6:53 to 58. And when you add to that Paul's language in First Corinthians about eating without discerning the body and so forth, I think you can make a compelling scriptural argument for the real presence of Christ in the elements. But scripture aside, it just feels right to me. I know this is not logical and I have real trouble explaining this, but it just feels right and I believe it.

And even more importantly to me, I want it in worship. And I don't know where else I get that outside a Catholic Church. At my Presbyterian Church, we believe Christ is with us while we participate in the sacrament, but not in any special way in the elements. After church, a very nice man I know takes home the leftover bread to feed the ducks on his pond. In the Episcopal Church, there are some who believe in the Real Presence, but like so many other things, it doesn't appear that this is required. In a small town in rural South Carolina, the only way place to find my view of the Eucharist is in the Catholic Church. I hope that one day I will be fortunate enough to receive the Body and Blood of Christ myself.

Secondly, I want the unity found in the Catholic Church. Jesus prayed that his disciples remain united. The current divisions of Christians into so many different denominations surely disappoints God and it should certainly should sadden us. I know that real unity of all Christians certainly won't occur in my lifetime (and maybe not ever in this world) but that doesn't mean I shouldn't seek to be in communion with the greatest number of other Christians possible. I also like the fact that there is some real diversity in the Catholic Church. The United Methodist Church that I grew up in, the Presbyterian Church USA that I currently belong to, and the Episcopal Church where I occasionally worship all welcome worshipers of all races and nationalities. But every church I have ever belonged to has been all white. The Catholic Church has plenty of divisions also, but at the three or four different Catholic Churches I have ever attended I saw some non-white faces. Latinos, African Americans and Asians aren't seen too often in my small town Presbyterian Church. And outside of my wife and I, few others seem real concerned about that.

This post is getting a little long, so I'll continue with more reasons in part two.


Adam said...

I'm from Charleston, though originally from Connecticut. You ought to come see Stella Maris Parish on Sullivan's Island. We have a latin Mass on late Sundays (5:30PM). You'd be more than welcome.

MHL said...

Thanks! I'm actually in the upper part of the state, but I appreciate the invitation. My wife and I always spend the weekend in Charleston in April for the Bridge Run, so maybe we can visit then.

Thanks also for being my first comment. I'm new to this whole blogging thing and it's good to know somebody besides me is reading these posts.

Adam said...

I saw a comment from you on another blog (which talked about Tony Blair's conversion) and clicked on your name. I was delighted to find this blog, as you and I have many things in common: an interest in Catholicism, a home in South Carolina, and we're both lawyers (I'm in law school, actually).

I look forward to reading your future posts.

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