Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Make them One

"I in them and you in me.
May they be brought to complete unity
to let the world know that you sent me
and have loved them even as you have loved me."
John 17

The other day I finally finished watching the A&E mini-series "God or the Girl", a reality show about four twenty something young men who were discerning the priesthood. I only decided to watch it, after I saw the DVD for sale in my latest Ignatius Press catalog, which allowed me to assume it would at least be respectful of the church.

Naturally I objected to the title, in that it implied that if you chose married life over the celibacy, you somehow lose God, or worse, that He comes in second place. That aside, I did enjoy watching the show, and even a few times caught myself weeping in joy at the sight of Christianity honestly portrayed on secular television. The fact that my "favorite" of the four, was from the DC area, was also a plus.

The other kid I was rooting for, Dan, was described as this "on fire" Catholic man, and for the most of the five episodes, that is who we saw. The sad part came in a scene where he is confronted by a Bible thumpin' Evangelical, and our fiery Catholic hero is instead silent, lacking any good argument (witness) for his own faith. As an armchair quarterback (and both a salesman and a Catholic convert), I of course could have scored a touchdown, or at least gotten pretty darn close.

After all my study and personal experience, I know where the Protestants are wrong, and why the Church is "the Church", but that scene of ball dropping, has left me wondering if many cradle Catholics could, under the same circumstance, defend their faith. I also realized that most non-Catholics have a lot of misinformation, and have sadly gotten it from Catholics who don't understand, or much care about, their own faith. In all honesty, it has only been in the last few years, that I myself, have met any substantial number of "Christian" Catholics (and I am happy to say, they, we, are everywhere! and growing in faith and number).

Yesterday, a friend actually said to me that Catholics weren't Christian, and if he would have taken the stance that most calling themselves "catholic", were using the term as a cultural or ethnic identity, similar to a Jewish atheist who still calls himself a Jew (but has never been in a temple), I may have agreed on that point. But to say that a devout Catholic is not a Christian actually shows ignorance on a profound level.

If the definition of Christian is "follower of Christ", than it would actually mean that Protestants were in fact not Christian, regardless of how devout they appear to be. Following Christ means following His teaching, and since He instituted/taught the Sacraments, that the Evangelicals constantly reject or deny (mostly out of Catholi-phobia), then we can conclude that they can not in truth, call themselves Christian.

I am not saying this keeps anyone out of heaven, as God alone knows the number of His children. I am saying that both camps (myself included) are guilty, to some degree, of an ignorance and pride, that is beneficial to Satan alone.

Anyhow, what my caffeine deficient brain is trying to get at is this;
a) if you are Catholic, I challenge you to learn how to defend, as well as share, your faith in Christ Jesus,
and b) if you are Protestant, I challenge you to study to see if maybe the church Christ started, still is.

Catholic means universal/one,
so let us all strive for that, in Jesus' holy name!