Opinions Expressed in "Rants," while informed by Catholic doctrine, are merely the opinions of the author.

AND Sometimes the Church is Right

In my last entry, titled “Sometimes the Church is Wrong” it might have seemed like I came down pretty hard on the Catholic Church – pointing out some of the errors it has made, historically, and even recently.  The intent was to take it off the pedestal – leaving that pedestal for God alone.

Still, it must be worth noting that God does still work in the church – so I thought it would be worth while pointing out a few examples of things that we Catholics should be really proud of.

1. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the western world ran the serious threat of regressing into complete chaos.  Civilization bordered on complete barbarism.  One of the only refuges of reason and tranquility could be found in the monasteries of the middle ages.  In many ways, monasteries, particularly Benedictine and Augustinian, saved civilization.

2. The Church always gets a bad rap for its treatment of women – truth is, from an historical perspective, this was a very different story.  Back in the olden days, women basically had two options – become someone’s wife (depending for their welfare on men) or someone’s concubine (depending for their welfare on men), the second option often translated to just being an out-and-out prostitute.  Some Christian women decided to invent for themselves a third option – groups of women that would live together in community, pool their resources, and basically live independently of men altogether.  Sometimes they dedicated themselves to prayer, sometimes to working for the poor, sometimes to teaching, sometimes to caring for the sick (might say they were the first nurses).  And if you haven’t already guessed it – these women were called – NUNS.  In the middle ages, nuns were often some of the most influential, liberated, POWERFUL women in society.

3. Catholic schools, catholic hospitals, catholic nursing homes, catholic organizations dedicated to the poor (like the St. Vincent de Paul society, or the Franciscans), shelters for orphans and abused women, catholic missionary work, catholic charities – there’s an ENDLESS list of organizations that developed for the betterment of humanity BECAUSE of their devotion to following in the footsteps of Christ. 

4. Universities – this is an invention of the Catholic Church – which stemmed out of those monasteries.  Back in the old days, study of Theology, Philosophy, Science, Literature, Mathematics, Law – they were all done together in the first Universities. 

5. Universality – the Catholic Church has no racial preferences.  The Catholic church is practiced all over the world, in every culture, and every language.  It’s open to everyone.

6. Saints.  Check out a biography of Dorothy Day, Oscar Romero, Jean Vanier, Joan of Ark, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Maximilian Kolbe, Francis of Assisi – read about them, and be amazed.

What’s my point – my point is the Magnificat (Luke 46-55), which all of us Catholics are encouraged to pray every night, reflecting on the work God has done us through the day.  To paraphrase:

My soul proclaims GOD’S GREATNESS,
for look at the wonders he’s done through piddly, stupid little me,
            through the very imperfect Church.
My spirit is FULL OF JOY
            because God has used us,
            used ME,
            to work his wonders.