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Why I am A Catholic

by Rev. Raymond K. Petrucci

I was born into the Catholic faith. From the second grade to the equivalent of grade twenty-three, I attended Catholic schools. Even though I grew up in strong Catholic environment, I would have to decide at some point how devoted to the faith I would be. It is most difficult, if not impossible, to articulate the maturation process of soul and mind leading to the creation of a devout Catholic. However, I shall share with you a number of what I consider to be objective and subjective causes.

There is a very strong sense of assurance and comfort in knowing that the roots of my faith reach back to Christ and the apostles. I it also evident that the apostles went throughout their known world to form communities of faith - churches. I can trace the names of all the Popes, bishops of Rome, back to Peter. However, it is the sacraments of the Church that so keenly bring to life the presence of Christ and the mission he mandated. I can feel the touch of grace in all the liturgies of the Church and, especially in its masterpiece: the Mass. How wise of God to reveal his love and his wish to nourish and strengthen the faithful by becoming our food as well as our sacrifice. The promise of Jesus that he, the Father, and the Holy Spirit will live in us is so beautifully fulfilled in the reception of Jesus’ body, blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist. As the processes of transformation relegate so many of the people, places and experiences of my youth to the realm of memories, the Mass is the still point in my changing world.

I remember the story of visitors who entered a bombed out church in a small village after the end of World War II. They saw a statute of our Savior that had its hands blown off by shrapnel. There was a sign hanging from the arms that read: You are now my hands. Jesus has taught us that we are to be his eyes and ears, his hands and feet. We have a share in the authority and mission of Jesus Christ. They had their human flaws, but each possessed shining qualities that were all God.

In my growth as a Catholic, I was fortunate to have had both family and friends who provided me with a consistent manifestation of a lived faith that formed and guided me along my way. I would be remiss in not mentioning the beneficial impact of the many media productions on religious - most Catholic - subject which were created during my formative years in the decade of the 1950's and early 1960's.

There is very much that has gone in making me a Catholic and much of it goes beyond the limitations of this article. In an attempt to capture my core feeling about my Catholic faith, I wish to refer to a line from Robert Bloch’s play, A Man for all Seasons, about the life of Saint Thomas Moore in which he responds to the questioning of his friend, the Duke of Norfolk, concerning his reasons for refusing to sign the oath of allegiance to King Henry VIII in his break from the Roman Catholic Church. Saint Thomas Moore says: "It is that I believe it. No, not that I believe it, but I believe it." His faith and his identity are one. Therefore, I humbly profess: I am a Catholic because I am a Catholic.

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