US Catholic Faith in Real Life

To be or not to be; that is the question

Meghan Murphy-Gill | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

NPR featured an essay by First Things blogger Elizabeth Scalia on Good Friday, in which she told listeners why she remains a Catholic despite the trying times the church finds itself in. (Scalia is a survivor of sexual abuse, but she says it happened within her family and her public school, not her church.)

Clearly, the question "why I am I Catholic" is one that many of us struggle with. While I usually thwart the question when asked by friends with a simply "It's complicated," or "Because it's part of who I am," several writers have been compelled to express their reasons in essays. 

Angela Batie, a contributor to From the Pews in the Back, wrote an essay we will publish in our 75th anniversary issue this August titled, "Why it matters whether you're Catholic." The essay is for our Sounding Board section and is accompanied by a reader survey. We ran a similar essay and survey in 1979, but then it was written by James Breig.

Batie is in good company. Andrew Greeley, Walker Percy, and even Mario Andretti have penned essays on topic (all of which appear in the book Why I'm still a Catholic).

I did a little research and found all kind of personal responses to a very big question in the form of essays, blog posts, lists, and a group blog devoted entirely to the topic (I really liked the reason "because of J.D. Salinger"). It turns out it's a question that we ask ourselves and reflect on frequently. I think this is particularly true in times of crisis, when we have to stop and remember the reasons we even bother. 

So, as we are in a time of crisis, I invite you to read some others' reasons for being Catholic and give us your own in the comments. 

Reading all the different reasons people give for being Catholic is a good exercise, I think. I don't agree with all the reasons, but I like to hear all the different things about the faith that speak to different people.  As Catholics, we catch a lot of flack for not emphasizing enough a personal relationship with God. I think it's an unfair criticism, and many of the personal reasons people give for why they're Catholic really say otherwise. I just think we have so many different practices and traditions and ways for people to personally experience the divine.