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Why should I be Catholic? Isn’t it enough to be a spiritual and moral person?

Many people today seek meaning by throwing themselves into work, possessions or sex, so your desire to be a spiritual and moral person is commendable. You already understand that we can’t find enduring meaning in objects.

Let’s take a look at that spirituality and morality you seek. What is it based on? Who decides what is moral and what isn’t? Where do you ultimately find that purpose and meaning that you seek? In yourself? Or in God?

If your spirituality is linked to God, then you must decide how best to express it. Many people say they prefer to encounter God alone, in nature, rather than in crowds of people. But why not both? Solitary encounters with God can be invigorating, but most of us are social creatures. We prefer to eat with friends, vacation with loved ones and work with colleagues, even the ones who can sometimes drive us crazy. Worshipping God is no different – it is often more fulfilling when we do it surrounded by others.

Even if you are in agreement so far, you may want to know why Catholicism instead of any of the other expressions of faith. This is a fair question, and one you ought to devote a great deal of thought and reflection to. Consider this: One of the oldest analogies for the Church is Peter’s fishing boat, and it’s a comparison that’s packed with good insights into the Church. We’re on a journey with a map, lots of stormy weather, people slipping overboard, survivors being pulled in, mutinies among the crew, getting off course, being attacked by pirates. And a boat needs a captain when everybody’s losing their heads. He may not be the ideal captain, but if everybody grabs for the tiller we’re all in trouble. Then again, for quite some time Peter wasn’t ideal either, yet what his crew managed has lasted 2,000 years.

Jesus intended the Church he founded, quite clearly, to reach out as far as possible, “to the ends of the earth,” and to embrace women and men of all shades of political attitude, race, language, social position, color. To unite that transcultural entity, as with any society, there has to be a single director, perhaps less inflexible than many popes have been, but more than a mere figurehead symbol like the Queen of England. In the hurly-burly of materialism, exploitation, capitalistic and socialistic saber rattling, there is always a focal, powerful figure who comes forward to remind us what we are: human beings ennobled by Christ. The pope is, for many people, a father. You might not always agree with your father, but you need one nonetheless. The acceptance of our current Holy Father among non-Catholics and non-Christians alike when he speaks on a variety of topics, or visits around the world, has been a positive influence for world peace and justice.
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