Why am I Catholic?

Why am I Catholic?


A simple question. But surprisingly difficult to answer.

Quite a few years ago, I worked for a global tech company that had a large team in India. I had the opportunity to travel there a few times. During one trip, a few of us were sitting around chatting over drinks, and the topic of religion came up. My co-workers in India were Hindu and they were educating me about their faith practices. But then, they looked at me and asked, 

“What about you? Why are you Catholic?”

(By the way, they weren’t asking in an accusatory way… they were just genuinely curious.)

I felt completely off guard and fumbled to find the right words to explain my answer. I honestly can’t remember what I said, but I know it wasn’t compelling. And to this day, that moment still haunts me - I truly regret that I was not a better witness for my faith.

So if I could go back in time, how would I answer that question today?

To summarize, I would say something to the effect of:

I believe Jesus is who He said He was, and I believe in the Church He founded here on earth. By following the teachings of the Catholic Church, I have experienced true joy and peace in my life, and I look forward, with hope, to eternal life with Him in heaven.

While that statement is fairly concise, there’s a lot that’s behind its message. Let me explain…

Even though my parents raised me Catholic, as an adult, we can all choose to stay or leave the Church. And many do leave.

So the first question is to decide whether or not you choose to be a Christian. And that question really boils down to: Is Jesus who he said he was?

The simplest answer to this question comes from C.S. Lewis’ Liar, Lunatic or Lord logic in Mere Christianity which I’ll attempt to summarize.

We know Jesus lived on this earth. It’s an historical fact. But some people might want to say he was just a really nice guy, or maybe even a great teacher. The problem with this is that Jesus didn’t claim to be just a great teacher or nice guy. He went around saying he was the Messiah, the son of God - and he said it more than once. That’s why many of the Jewish leaders of his time hated him so much.

So if he’s not who he said he was (the Lord), then he’s either a liar or a lunatic.

The problem here is that you can’t say that he was just a good teacher or a nice guy, because that would contradict what he said. In other words, how could such a good person be a liar?


So if he's not a liar, then perhaps he was a lunatic.


From a common sense perspective, I have a hard time believing that a Church could endure over 2,000 years if it was founded by a lunatic. Not to mention all of the incredible good work that Christians have done throughout history - establishing hospitals, advancing literacy and school systems, founding countless charitable organizations and so on and so on.

All that said, I do believe that Jesus is who he said he was and, therefore, I am a Christian.

So the next question is: Why Catholic?

For me, this boils down to one reason: It’s the Church Jesus started. 

Jesus came to this earth, established his Church, built it (the rock) upon Peter and gave him the keys to the kingdom. And he said the gates of hell would not prevail against it. Then Peter and a rag-tag group of guys did the impossible. They went out and preached the gospel in the midst of persecution and Christianity spread like wildfire. And for 1,500 years that tradition and teaching was passed down from generation to generation to generation. 

But in the early 1500s, the Church needed reform. And instead of reforming the Catholic Church, Martin Luther left the Church to establish his own. Around the same time, King Henry VIII wanted to divorce his wife for another woman, but the Pope would not allow it. So he, similar to Luther, decided to leave and start his own Church, the Church of England. 

And from there, more and more churches kept splitting off from the Catholic Church. 

And today, according to a quick Google search, there are over 47,000 Christian denominations to choose from. How do you know which one is right?!? Now, many could argue that number is exaggerated, but even if there are let’s say 20 main branches of Christian denominations, how do you choose one? 

The Catholic Church is the only one initiated by Christ himself.

And because the Catholic Church was the original Christian religion, it offers some significant faith foundations that others don’t.

First is the richness of Church traditions that may not be explicitly found in the Bible, but are referenced in Scripture:

“Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15

One example of this is the belief that Jesus is present in the Eucharist. This teaching, and the practice of the Catholic mass, has been passed down from the early Church fathers - those who were taught by the apostles themselves. Another example is the belief in Mary’s perpetual virginity. While this isn’t explicitly said in the Bible, it’s a belief that was held by early Christians and passed down. And what’s interesting is that even Protestant reformers like Martin Luther believed in her perpetual virginity.

Second, the Church offers authority in teaching. 

One of the main ideas that came forth from the Protestant Reformation was personal interpretation of scripture. While I believe we can personally immerse ourselves in scripture (i.e. lectio divina), the idea of personal interpretation - or lack of authority - feels a little dangerous to me…

The reality is that there are so many nuances to the Bible. For example, our lifestyle and customs in 2024 are VERY different from the people living in the time of Jesus. There are things in the Bible that were well understood by everyone when it was written, that we just don’t understand today. 

Then, there’s also the issue of translations. There are so many nuances to the languages it was written in, and the Church helps us interpret those. For example, in John 6, many non-Catholics believe that Jesus was speaking metaphorically about eating his flesh. But the  word that Jesus uses here for “eat” is the Greek “trogon” which more accurately is translated as “gnaw” or “chew,” which was not metaphorical language of the time.

And finally, there’s the issue of the Bible being compiled roughly 300 years after Jesus lived…There were so many faith traditions handed down before the Bible was even assembled. Why would we throw those out if they were given to us by Jesus? These are all beautiful gifts from God himself to help keep us on the path to heaven.

And because of the Catholic Church’s authority, it can also provide clarity on issues in our current culture that weren’t present during the time of Jesus. 

For example, birth control and abortion. This is an issue that the Church has been unwavering on. Despite harsh criticism and persecution, the Catholic Church has always upheld the sanctity of life. Another is the LGTBQ agenda - many Christian denominations vary in their teachings on this issue. For example, the Methodist church recently split over this issue. So which church is right? In contrast, the Catholic Church has remained steadfast in its authority of teaching on this topic, as well as many others.

And here’s the thing: the Catholic Church’s teachings are hard. It’s not easy to truly live the Catholic faith in today’s world. But again, I’ll reference John 6. When Jesus tells his disciples to eat his flesh and drink his blood, many people say, “This teaching is hard. Who can accept it?” Jn 6:60


And then they walk away because Jesus didn’t change the teaching to accommodate what they wanted to hear.

And this continues to happen today. Our Church’s teachings are hard. Some are very difficult to accept. So people leave.

But in John 6, when Jesus looks to his disciples, and says, “What about you? Will you leave too?”

Peter responds:  “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” Jn 6: 68-69

Like Peter, I choose to stay because I believe Jesus is who he said he was, and that he offers the way to eternal life, even if it is a difficult and narrow path.

And I can tell you that, personally, deciding to intentionally live my faith has made me a better version of myself. Even though I have my own struggles in life (just like everyone does) and I am far from perfect, I have come to experience a profound joy and a deep sense of peace by living my Catholic faith.

So there you have it. I’m not a theologian. Just a simple suburban Catholic mom who loves her faith. And this is why I’m Catholic. 

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