When I was a child, I had the impression that the Catholic Church was a cult. I don't have a memory of anyone making this assertion, but my conscience was formed on the assumption that any church that claimed to be the church that Jesus Christ established was definitely a cult. And there were a few churches that fit the bill. If you are an Evangelical, I bet you can name them.
And the Catholic Church was on that list.
On days like today, when every news source is covering the Conclave and anxiously waiting to hear the name of our next Peter I realize a few things.
The Catholic Church is clearly universal. The shepherds are gathered from every corner of the world. No other church is universal in this regard.
The Catholic Church is historical. The successor to Peter will be number 266 in the long line of names that make up the Papal List. The first name on that list is St. Peter himself.
The Catholic Church is holy. Yes, the gates of hell have tarnished her name at times, but they have never prevailed against this church. She is over 2000 years old - and the eyes of the whole world are upon her.
When I was a child, I had the impression that the Catholic Church was a cult.
After all, she claimed to be the Church Jesus Christ founded.
Today, I realize that there was one other possibility that I had not considered: What if the Catholic Church really is the Church Jesus Christ founded? If so, then she would not be a cult at all - even though she claimed to be the historical Church founded upon Christ. There is not one possibility. There are two possibilities. She is a cult. Or she is The Church.
The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic church...
God bless the Conclave. Come, Holy Spirit!