As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
This weekend after a prolonged nap I woke from my sleep to see this tweet from Fr. Dwight Longnecker, one of the few married priests in the Catholic Church that speaks to one of the most salient things concerning the Catholic Church
This nails one of the most critical things about the Catholic Church that there is.
Think about it for a second. If you think about the kind of church you want to join, the Catholic Church would not likely be high on your list.
You aren’t allowed to divorce your wife or husband if the inclination comes
You an’t allowed to have premarital sex, or even contraception
If you’re gay, forget marriage, if you want to be a priest for nun, forget marriage and sex.
In fact forget about porn, masturbation and a bunch of other things that you might like to get away with
and even worse if you do any of these things you have to go before a priest, confess that you’ve done these thing, “firmly resolve to not commit these sins in the future” (and mean it when you say it) and when (hopefully if but usually when) you falter on some of those sins as is the way of life, have the embarrassment of going back and confessing them AGAIN.
And if you don’t do these things you either have to refrain from communion or go up for a blessing and left everyone SEE that you’re in an unfit state to receive communion.
And consider how many attractive alternatives there are avaialble.
You have Christian churches who preach predestination meaning that it’s all God’s will so no matter what you do now it doesn’t matter (so you might as well do what you want).
You have Christian churches who proclaim “one saved always saved” which means that you can sin all you want without fear of hell.
You have Christian churches that redefine sin to the point where not only are the sins you are most tempted from no longer considered sin but are even considered virtuous.
And beyond that you not only have a culture that hates the church, but celebrates you when you leave it but you have scandals from sexual to financial that makes being a public Catholic a very hard thing.
And if you are devout despite this you have a Pope that has at best been a Lemon or at worst been a heretic to the point where some of the alternatives like the Society of St. Pius seem not only reasonable, but honorable. You even have alternatives that the Church recognizes as valid like the Orthodox whose sacraments are recognized but do not return said recognition
So why does one stay Catholic, or as in Fr. Longnecker case convert to the Catholic faith? Simply for the reason Fr. Longnecker said
“…because it’s the true church.”
My degree is in Computer Science, I’ve trained as an engineer, I’m a maths guy. Do you realize how easy it would be to go to a denomination that said my current sins that I battle were not sins and that the various temptations to other sins I have were no big deal if I thought that the Church was not true? Do you think I would put myself though those things if there was the slightest doubt in my mind that the church wasn’t true?
And that not even dealing with the various ethical dilemmas that have come up regularly from loving one’s enemies rather than taking easy revenge on them or taking ethical shortcuts that would have made me wealthy and my life comfortable
Those alternatives are all dangled before us, from the abolition of our since (as opposed to forgiveness) on one end to the affirmation of our virtue on the other with worldly celebration in between. Almost as if it was being said to us.
All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me Matthew 4:9
That’s the real irony. We are in fact being given the same tempting offer that Christ was and by the same being too. Might I suggest the same answer:
At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! It is written: ‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.'”
Now I’m no Jesus. I’m going to fail a lot and so are all the rest of us but the Eucharist remains the Eucharist, the Sacraments are still the sacraments and the Church for all the scandals it has had over two thousands years and for all the lemons we’ve seen from it, past present and future, remains the One Holy Catholic Church in faith in reason and in truth.
That’s is why I have stayed and will stay. With the Church’s help I might obtain heaven despite my sins and maybe if I’m very lucky and very blessed be of some use to Christ in helping a few others, by the grace of God, along that same narrow path.