I’m Catholic

The deed is done. They let me in πŸ™‚

My brother ended up coming to Easter vigil. It was nice to have family there, but of course it caused a few odd conversations and unfortunately I’m not one who quickly thinks of good responses, unless you include sarcastic comments in the category of good responses. I don’t quite understand why my family feels the need to “evaluate” our church after mass, but my parents did it when they came and my brother did it this past Saturday. I get the phrase “Well, the only things I didn’t agree with was x, y, and z.” I wonder if they would do the same going to church with my Baptist aunt.

The list of complaints from my brother were odd to say the least. He wanted things to be in Latin. Strange for someone who’s used to rock bands on Sunday mornings. He thought those who got baptized shouldn’t have wiped the holy water off themselves. Very strange for someone who doesn’t actually believe in the power of the priesthood to bless things in the first place. When my parents came, they had complained that people didn’t take both the bread and the wine. I don’t understand why they would have that problem when they don’t even believe Christ is present! They only believe it is symbolic. They protested that it is the Blood of Christ that offers us forgiveness. I think that it’s taking the literal reading of the Bible too far to believe the Body of Christ doesn’t offer us forgiveness. I tried to explain that we believe the Blood and Body are present under both species, but it only got blank stares.

And my brother, of course, didn’t like the litany of the saints. I think the issue of prayer to the saints deserves a post, because it seems like that will be the first thing on everyone’s list against the Catholic Church that I will have to defend. Most Christians don’t know much about the issues of justification or fine lines between grace and free will. It’s the practices that stand out as strange to them. As a Biblical “proof” against praying to saints, he quoted when Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) So I asked why he thought asking the saints to pray for us was an attempt to get to the Father without Christ when we ask each other for prayer already. In his usual acerbic manner, he said he didn’t ask people to pray for him and instead focused on the saints being dead. I said he believes the dead can see and hear (he didn’t contest “hear”) and they’re in the presence of God, why would they not be able to pray for us? No good answer, but obviously Catholics are wrong and weird.

Later he settled in to just asking questions. He asked why I became Catholic and I told him:

Me: “Because I believe what the Catholic Church teaches.”

“Everything?”

Me: “Yes.”

“So do you think people who aren’t Catholic are going to hell?”

Me: “No.”

“Do you agree with other churches?”

Me: “What do you mean? Not everything of course. Mom and dad don’t even agree with everything their church teaches.”

Surprisingly, he told me this is why he stopped going to church over ten years ago. He got tired of pastors saying things like, “The Bible says such and such, but…” Apparently the untrustworthiness of pastoral teachings was too much for him.

I told him Catholics believe Jesus is really present in the bread and wine, which he called weird and left it at that. It is weird, really, but unchallengeable by any reasonable person either by logic or the Bible.

On the whole it was a nice night. We got a sitter for Chris Jr. and Isabel was on her best behavior. She loved the candle lighting and watching everyone get their “special baths”. She kept asking when mommy was getting the “special oil”. We forgot the camera, but a friend standing next to me had her camera person take pictures for us. Afterward, Chris and Isabel gave me my special surprise – a beautiful large crucifix for the prayer table I’m trying to set up. My favorite parts: praying after communion with the knowledge of the gift that Christ had just given me, and the smell of the chrism still on my forehead the next morning.

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12 Responses to I’m Catholic

  1. Chad T. says:

    Glad they let you in! Wish I could’ve been there!

    Did I tell you about how I smashed my mom’s foot with the kneeler the first time they came with me to Mass? Good times.

  2. Ragamuffin says:

    Congratulations. I’m very happy for you.

    I do find it odd that the very thing that your brother left church over (100s of interpretations of Scripture with no one who has the “final call” on the right one) is what the Catholic Church would say it solves. It seems like even if he didn’t believe it, he’d acknowledge that their explanation would solve his dilemma.

  3. agellius says:

    Congratulations!! Will you now change the name of your blog to “There”?

  4. Stacey says:

    Thanks, guys!

    Ragamuffin,
    I don’t think my brother is familiar enough with Catholicism to even know the claim they make to authority. If he did, I’m sure he would be like I was and it wouldn’t make a difference. We always evaluated authorities based on whether we approved of them, not on whether their authority was legitimate or not. More democratic thinking, less submissive thinking.

    agellius,
    LOL! Good question! How about I just take my domain name, “So I married a Catholic”? Maybe I’ll ask for ideas.

  5. cyurkanin says:

    Welcome home Stacey πŸ™‚ Fascinating observations and questions from your brother, and a wonderful first Catholic post. Gonna have to change the name now!

  6. lenetta says:

    I keep trying to come up with something either super witty or sweet and moving to match your post and the comments, but I got nuthin’. :>) Welcome home, and we’re glad to have you!

  7. Tap says:

    Welcome home! πŸ™‚

  8. kkollwitz says:

    Do like St. Peter and leave the rest to the Holy Spirit:

    “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…”

    And St. Paul: “Love is patient; love is kind.”

  9. laceymw says:

    Congratulations! I also joined the church this Easter (but our parish confirms candidates on Sunday instead of at the vigil)! My family didn’t make it to mass, but they did come to my party afterward and were very interested in all the “weird Catholic stuff” I got. I still can’t believe after a year of dismissal and RCIA I am able to receive the Eucharist… hallelujah!

  10. Stacey says:

    Congratulations to you too, Lacey πŸ™‚

  11. chris says:

    Congratulations and welcome to the church. Just stumbled upon your blog.

    I am a Catholic, turned Protestant, re-turned Catholic. Look forward to reading more!

  12. Stacey says:

    Thanks, Chris πŸ™‚

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