I've spent a lot of time thinking about why I'm Catholic. My shortest answer is simply that it is a result of grace moving in my life (hence the name of my column, podcasts and blog).
But I haven't spent much time thinking (or writing) about the reason why most serious fundamentalists and evangelicals are NOT Catholic--
--and why they do not even consider it a viable option or even a possible choice among many choices.
It comes down to this. The Catholic Church does not see herself as a possible choice among many choices.
The fact that the Church states that She is the Church Christ founded makes most (if not all) evangelicals dismiss her completely.
It sounds too much like a cult.
Cults believe they are the Church. The Way. Chosen. Established by God Himself.
So, Catholicism is lumped in with the groups that make this claim. You say that you are the Church Jesus Christ founded. Enough said. I'm out of here.
There is a problem with that generalization. What if there really is a Church that was founded by Jesus?
She would have to be present from the moment of Pentecost forward. She would have weathered the gates of hell and still be standing. She would have to be able to point to a line of holy people that were made holy while in the embrace of this Church. She would have to have a message that touches hearts of people in every culture and time. She would have to transcend time, politics, history, culture, trends, whims, and the theoretical. She would have to be able to set up shop in Calcutta, India and be as valid there as she is in Des Moines, Iowa or New York City or La Paz, Bolivia.
She would have to have a resume.
She would have to have a pedigree.
Both the resume and the pedigree would have to resemble Christ.
History would have to affirm her claim and Christ would have to be present there. Really and truly.
One, holy, apostolic, catholic.
There is only one antidote to the fear that says, "You can't say that! You can't say that you are the Church! Come on. You're sounding like a cult now."
The only antidote to that kind of fear is Jesus Christ Himself.
He is here.
His Body is here, for you.
His Blood is here, poured out for you.
The same Christ.
A perfect love.
And perfect love casts out fear.
Yes, it is a radical claim. It is an absurd claim - unless it is true. John 6. It's true.
Come home. He's waiting for you. In the Eucharist.