Saw this posted by a priest friend, then by a 2 year old convert friend for whom I had a small role in her journey to the Church. Let’s get into it.
First – and this is truly most important – one must remember what the Catholic Church claims to be. The Church claims to be the bearer of the Truth, the vessel of God’s grace through the Sacraments, and the communion of God’s pilgrim people on Earth.
The Church aims to shepherd you into eternal life, not (necessarily) to make you feel happy and fulfilled in this life. I’m not aware that anyone does guarantee such a thing. Moreover, that’s the whole point, isn’t it? You can’t be totally fulfilled in this life.
This is critical, because the temptation – aided and abetted by the very well-meaning Protestant ministries which are legion on this point – is to think we can have Heaven on earth, somehow manifest it here and now.
We really, really can’t. Anyway, visually, that would look like a pulling down of the sky upon the earth, and if the dinosaurs teach us anything, it’s that the Cosmos should stay “up there.”
Second – there is no serious Catholic who is surprised to hear that there are flaws in the Church Militant. If you wake up tomorrow and you find there are no flaws – blessed are you, for you have died and gone to Heaven!
The author, to his credit, answers his own lament:
I’ve come to an ultimate conclusion though, and it’s one that many Protestant converts before me have come to as well. The Church is us. As a Protestant convert to Catholicism I bring certain gifts, talents, and insights. If there’s a need for better catechesis in my parish my role isn’t to lament the church’s failure, it’s to start a Bible study. If RCIA sometimes seems like a chore for those leading it then maybe I need to volunteer next year. If not enough laypeople are devoted to keeping the church open during Eucharistic Adoration than maybe I can help arrange a schedule. Do you see what I mean?
The default attitude for us Protestant converts needs to shift—my attitude needs to shift—from seeing what sucks about the Catholic Church to doing something about it. After all, when Jesus gave his most difficult teaching on the Eucharist—his very own blood and body given to His Church—He asked his closest disciples, “Are you going to leave, too?”
St. Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go?”
You and I, we’re the ones at fault. We’re to blame for these complaints and thousands more. The Church that you can see is made up of 1.5 billion of us.
Something “sucks” about the Catholic Church? It’s us.
UPDATE: I should have added – see how I suck? – what the author obviously implies. That is: If you can bless the Church, if you can create community or better educate catechumens or minister to the poor? Do it. That’s why you’re Catholic – because works matter.