NOTE: This column appears in full at Spokane Faith & Values. It has graciously been given permission for reposting at MtnCatholic.com.
When I think of religious misconceptions and the Catholic Church, I legitimately have to stifle a laugh as I think to myself, “Where do I even start?”
It’s almost as sure a thing as death and taxes, in my experience, that misconceptions abound about the Catholic Church — what she believes, the ramifications of her members behaving badly, whether or not her teachings are outdated. One could look anywhere and find them.
A quote from the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen has always said it best for me:
“There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”
It’s a very intriguing statement, when you think about it, and I believe it’s profoundly true.
There should be no doubt that the Catholic Church is a tour de force in our world, and has been for centuries. For better or for worse, everyone who’s been to a university, been treated in a modern hospital, or lived virtually anywhere in the world has been affected, directly or indirectly, by Catholicism.
One example is Pope Francis’ visit to the United States last September; for those days, the American public was treated to the “most positive news week I have ever seen,” as one writer put it.
But two questions still remain: Why should I care? And how can the good things matter when so much bad has been done by the Church over the centuries?