When I came to my Catholic faith, one of the biggest ideas I had during RCIA was how naïve I was. Incredible, right? Not so really. My other idea was this: Was Jesus so wrong and short-sited that He didn’t know the church He was leaving behind would fall into wickedness, apostasy, and not be reformed until over 1500 years later by a priest who wanted to marry a nun?
Martin Luther was right in wanting to reform the Catholic Church, because it did need a reformation, in the strictest sense of the word. Corruption, state deals, the selling of indulgences, and members of the Church who were corrupted in other ways, all needed to go. That would make the Church “reformed”, without changing any of her teachings, but cleansing the members within the body. But, unfortunately history has gotten it wrong. Instead of calling what Martin Luther and his predecessors did as a “revolt”, or the “Protestant Revolt”, history and peoples have termed it the “Protestant Reformation”, which is inaccurate, because they reformed nothing. They threw the baby out with the bathwater.
But what about those Christians who existed up until 1500 A.D., who followed the oral and written traditions of the Church, partook in the sacraments, worshipped Jesus as God-made-man, understood that priests, bishops, and the pope were required against heresies and false teachings, led a devout life of prayer, abstinence, and almsgiving, understood the Church required apostolic tradition to be authentic? Was not only Jesus wrong, but all those who came into the church He established on earth? Why would a just God allow such a thing to happen? Why would He not come in swiftly to correct an incorrect Church, especially if it is His own?
This idea of all being wrong after Christ established His Church on earth, and all getting it right after a priest with an ulterior motive got it right over 1500 years later has me scratching my head. But, what about those religions that sprung up in the 1800’s that proclaim they are the “reformed” Church of Christ? Now, we are to believe that Jesus was even dumber than we thought before, because instead of Him getting it right the first time, or the second time through a fallen-away priest who wanted to marry, we are expected to believe God has finally reestablished His church on earth through modern Christian or pseudo-Christian churches that don’t believe in the divinity of Jesus, or believe in the divinity of themselves, among other strange teachings.
It’s not my intention to pick on anyone, that is why I left denominational titles out of this post, because I have met some very holy members of many Christian and pseudo-Christian faiths, and it’s not my intention to make enemies with my Protestant brothers and sisters, who are followers of the same Lord as I am. But, I wanted to share something that dawned on me as I was becoming a member of the Church that has been on earth since the first Pentecost.
This Church and her beliefs are found in the writings of the early Church Fathers throughout the first 600 years A.D., supporting the many beliefs, practices, sacraments, and traditions we still have today. She is only changed culturally around the world, but not doctrinally anywhere. We do not come up with new beliefs that fit our lifestyles, but instead form ourselves to the supreme authority and demand of God. When the entire Protestant world in the 1930’s caved to the secular demand for contraception in America, the Catholic Church stood alone in opposition, and still does today, and will always.
The consistence of the Catholic faith is what really convinced me (among other things). Is not God the most consistent of all since He is truth, and truth cannot err? Then why would not His Church also be consistent? The consistency of the Catholic faith over so many generations proves that she has our Blessed Lord leading and guiding her throughout all the ages. She stands by and watches the formation and destruction of kingdoms. She even watched the construction of America, and sadly, she will observe the death of America in time.
So, if you are a Christian today, you might be surprised to find that you may have been a Catholic in the year 1500 A.D., and you would have thought it to be unreasonable to be anything else.
God’s love be with you!
(Afternote: I got roughly double the amount of hits for my review of a television show than I do for theological or spiritual matters…. It’s difficult to be Catholic1.net if people prefer to read about sitcoms!)