Comer_Michael_7955-180Why should anyone belong to the Catholic Church, especially given the scandals and problems that we all recognize? This is an extremely important question. So what is the answer?

We should want to belong to the Catholic Church because it is true! I know that this is not considered politically correct to say today. Our culture does not believe in objective truth. One thing is true for you, and something else is true for me. This is especially so when it comes to religion.

Imagine a math teacher who told his or her students, “It does not matter if you think that 2 plus 2 is 4, or that it is 5, or that it is 87, as long as you believe 2 plus 2 adds up to something.” How long would we put up with such a teacher for our children? Or if a history teacher said to his or her students, “World War II was fought between Mexico, Ghana and India. As long as you believe World War II was fought by different countries, that is all you need to know. Truth is not ‘out there.’ It is only ‘in here.’ Inside our minds. Truth is whatever we want it to be.”

When we talk about math or history, this attitude about truth is clearly nonsense. But when we begin to talk about religion, even believers buy into this idea about truth. Does God exist? “Well, if he exists for you, then God exists. But if he doesn’t exist for me, then God does not exist.” In other words, there is no God out there for us to discover and believe in. There is only the God that exists in our own minds. What this means is that God does not exist. Only we exist, and we create reality from within ourselves.

This is what Pope Benedict XVI called the Dictatorship of Relativity. It is the idea that there is no such thing as objective truth. Nothing is really true, because whatever anyone believe is true. The Holy Father identified this as the greatest enemy to the truth in our age. Other ages argued about what actually constituted the truth, but this age denies such a thing exists. For a religion based on truth, this is a great threat.

Pontius Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?”  Elsewhere in the Gospels, Jesus had said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” If there is no truth, then the teaching of Jesus is meaningless. We might as well be Buddhists or Muslims or people of any other religious belief. Then it does not matter if we are Catholic or Protestant or Orthodox. It is just a matter of taste.

As Catholics we believe that truth does exist and that religious truth matters. Either Jesus is God made human or he is not. Either the Eucharist is really and truly his Body or Blood or not. Either we are saved by the death and resurrection of Jesus, or we are not. There is no middle ground here.

So what does the Catholic Church believe and teach?  Why does it teach what it does? And what do those teachings matter in our lives?

Beginning on Thursday, August 22, at 11 am, and at 6:30 pm, we will begin a study of the Catholic faith, in a series that I am calling:  Know Your Faith—An RCIA for Catholics.

I hope that you will be there to learn more about what your Church teaches and how to live that truth in your life.

— Fr. Mike Comer