In my early 20s I worked as a receptionist for my parish and had close contact with Catholics and Protestants on a daily basis. After 39 years being a Catholic, however, I see religious indifference growing among my fellow believers.
People seem increasingly frightened to admit that the Catholic Church is the “one, holy, catholic (universal) and apostolic church” founded by Jesus Christ more than 2,000 years ago. This is especially the case when Catholics are in the presence of Protestants — our separated brethren in Christ.
Pope Francis has called us to evangelize, but how do we evangelize Protestants if we are afraid to point out the magnificent realities of the Catholic Church?
We are called to love and serve people of all races, color and creeds, but not to act as though the Catholic Church is on even ground with all other religions and beliefs. We must not be ashamed to share the great treasures of the Catholic Church, especially our sacraments including the source and summit of Christian faith — the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Even angels in heaven are “holy” jealous of our ability to partake in the Eucharist — Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. The angels, who are pure spirit, will never be able to physically consume Christ in the Eucharist. Neither did Christ take on their image and likeness to relate to the angels the way he did for us. As human beings, we have a miraculous gift that we should joyfully tell others about.
Why did Saint Paul go to prison so often? It wasn’t because of his indifference about the church, or that he taught that all beliefs were one and the same. Saint Paul wrote 14 books of the New Testament passionately and without reservation. We should follow this lead.
The Catholic Church is the one Jesus established here on earth. As Catholics we have the genuine Eucharist, and while Protestants share partly in the gifts of the church, they do not have the whole truth.
This is the Year of Mercy, called for by Pope Francis. What better way to practice mercy than to share the fullness of the Catholic Church with others. These treasures were not meant to be hidden away.