Bishop Fulton Sheen once said, “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”
What is he trying to say here? The answer may not be to our liking and in effect be counter to many of us who currently under the impression that there are no problems in the Church.
G.K. Chesterton explained it this way, ¨"There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person.¨
Now both of these quotes were written by contemporaries and friends about a time in which we know Church was much stronger than it is today. The times may have changed, the people have changed, but the problems that plagued us then are now even worse today. Why? The answer lies in the two quotes.
First, there two misconceptions about the Catholic Church. One is carried by the person who calls themself Catholic. They may not be current on their sacraments, they may not have had much religious education training, and they may not have gone to church in decades. This is not uncommon today. The only sacrament some may have is their Baptism. They lapsed before their first communion. When asked about their religion they might say they are Catholics but are they? This is the first misconception- the internal misconception.
Second, there is the external misconception- people looking from the outside. They may be religious or not. If they are religious, it may be with a group that still views Catholics as non-Christians. They see these lapsed Catholics and what they are doing. To this person on the outside of the Church looking in at the lapsed Catholics and seeing how they behave, all it does is to reinforce the beliefs that they have about the Church already.
Some Misconceptions That Are Not True:
- Catholics Do Not Read The Bible
- Catholics Worship Mary
- Catholics Go To Church To Go Through The Motions
- Catholics Are Stuck In The Past and Need To Become More Modern
- Catholics Do Not Think For Themselves- They Are Told What To Think and Say
The Truth is more strange than those misconceptions:
- Catholics read the Bible. In fact, it was the Catholic Church who created the book we call the Bible today. The Books were officially canonized by the Eastern and Western Church and that is how the Protestants got the Bible. However, Catholics are unlike the Protestants who believe in God's word and think that the Bible is the word of God but yet do not use all of God's word by throwing out parts of the Bible. The Books of the Maccabees are a great example here. The Books begin with a family standing up for God and taking on the Greek King who was trying to get the Jews to forget their heritage. Please note, if it wasn't for this family, we never would have had Jesus, because why would you need a Messiah to come if there were no Jews left.
- Catholics do not worship Mary- they honor her as the Mother of Christ.
- Catholics go to Church to Celebrate and to Praise the Lord.
- Catholics are stuck to their faith, not their past.
- Catholics think for themselves and are not told what to think at all.
Brothers and SIsters think about this.
I fully agree with GK Chesterton and I would like to add that next time you go to Church and you start to have your mind wander a little bit, remember his words, "There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person." If the church is not uninteresting, maybe it is just you.