These are some of the things that make being a Catholic different.


For all its stumbling through history, despite the Renaissance popes who remain an embarrassment, the Crusades and persecutions and Galileo, forgetting the times it has failed because its members have failed, the Catholic Church has survived; its center has held. It has not petered out on a mountaintop waiting for the end of the world that didn’t come; it has not been confined to one nation like a domestic sport no other country understands; it has not foundered at the death of its leaders, nor even at the death of its founder from which point it springs.

The Catholic Church has survived. In all places, at all times, no matter the circumstances and pressures and purges, it has gone on because it is different. Papists and fish eaters, genuflecters, bead counters, and the ones who “have to go to church on Sunday,” Catholics have stood apart-figuratively as well as literally. Where separation was paranoid, it has, for the most part, been eliminated, but still the central sense remains, the sense that Catholics are different.

In a world of the wishy-washy, of temporary fads and passing interests, of momentary “in” things and the “latest” being hot for only a few weeks, the Catholic Church has lasted since its start 2,000 years ago-lasted and grown and held onto its soul. It has proven that it can stick- in the world or in an individual.

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Discovering, Accepting and Appreciating that Men and Women are Different

It is true, Original sin has intensified our pain at the experience of these given differences. The Catechism links the tension surrounding these difference to the Fall of Adam and Eve:

[The] union [of husband and wife] has always been threatened by discord, a spirit of domination, infidelity, jealousy, and conflicts that can escalate into hatred and separation. This disorder can manifest itself more or less acutely, and can be more or less overcome according to the circumstances of cultures, eras, and individuals, but it does seem to have a universal character. According to faith the disorder we notice so painfully does not stem from the nature of man and woman, nor from the nature of their relations, but from sin. As a break with God, the first sin had for its first consequence the rupture of the original communion between man and woman. Their relations were distorted by mutual recriminations;their mutual attraction, the Creator’s own gift, changed into a relationship of domination and lust; and the beautiful vocation of man and woman to be fruitful, multiply, and subdue the earth was burdened by the pain of childbirth and the toil of work. Nevertheless, the order of creation persists, though seriously disturbed. To heal the wounds of sin, man and woman need the help of the grace that God in his infinite mercy never refuses them. Without his help man and woman cannot achieve the union of their lives for which God created them “in the beginning.” (CCC #s 1606-1608)

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