“Have You Found a Church Yet?”

So I had lunch with a friend I haven’t seen in a very long time today. She asked me in the course of conversation if I had found a church yet. I mentioned the two parishes I’ve tried so far. I expressed that I’m not sure I’ve found the one yet that I will become a member of.

“Do you think you would ever go to a non-Catholic church?”

My answer was clear and it was uncomfortable. “No.”

There were so many things that I wanted to expand on because of my answer, but I’ve learned that that does not work with most people, and most certainly would not work with this particular individual. So I let it slide. I could tell that my answer, though not surprising, likely foiled her next move.

Why I Can’t Go to a Non-Catholic Church

Canonically speaking, because I have been Baptized and Confirmed in the Catholic Church I am bound to participate in the Holy Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation (see canons 1247 and 1248). Regardless of my feelings towards the parishes in Bismarck, I have to go to Mass every Sunday.

But there is a much more important reason, and that is that my heart yearns, hurts, pains, hungers for Jesus Christ. The desire of my soul is to know Jesus Christ crucified and nothing else. This need can only be satisfied in a Catholic church. For it is only within a Catholic church (of any rite) that Jesus is completely given to me. I am not only given a part of Jesus. I am not only given his spirit. I am given his entire person, Body and Soul, Human and Divine, Past, Present, and Future. So no matter how ugly the parishes in this town are, no matter how awful the liturgies, no matter how contemporary the homily is, no matter how irreverent the parishioners are, Jesus Christ gives himself to me completely, no barriers, curtains or stumbling blocks.

This is why I will never ever ever go to a non-Catholic church as long as I shall live.

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