"Going Home" — Sad News
One of our readers brought to our attention that Bill Cork from Built on a Rock is “going back home” to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Bill Cork was the Director of Young Adult and Campus Ministry of our Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Only Bill can know why this decision was made and we have no intentions to question it. From his post, he says the following about his decision:
I’ve been laying out theological and ecclesial issues over the past two months that were contributing factors to my loss of trust in the authority of Rome and the Catholic Magisterium. And that’s what so much of Catholic life and teaching is built on: “Trust us.” If you do, you can accept everything; if you don’t, then you must fall back on something else–the Word of God
I don’t know Bill personally. I never really visited his blog. I only went once and had a rather unpleasant discussion with him on immigration issues. I still think that it is saddening for all of us whenever a friend of ours or even someone we don’t know leaves the Church, especially if they were involved in some kind of ministry.
The “Big Picture” of Catholicism
The girl I worked with as a Youth Minister left the Church while we were working for the parish. She joined a Vineyard community. That really hit me hard, because all the time I worked with her I was completely unaware that she had doubts about the Catholic faith. The inevitable happens everytime we are faced with these situations: we ask ourselves “what could I have done to change his/her mind?” I wonder sometimes if that is even a valid question to ask. I think that I could have helped her to understand the “big picture” of Catholicism, because we get so disappointed at times with little things especially if we are involved in ministry: clashing personalities, pastors, horrible liturgies, and so on, that we forget the “big picture” of our faith. But even if we attempt to convince them, I believe that as Ratzinger says in his book Introduction to Christianity, faith is a decision and requires a personal conversion.
I personally think that we can get the “big picture” of Catholicism through a strong relationship with Christ, which the Pope has emphasized so much. It is only in light of that relationship that we can understand how Christ has worked and continues to work in the Church. Recently, Michael had a very pleasant conversation regarding Catholicism with one of our friend’s coworkers who was not a Catholic. He seemed to have unreconciled concerns about Catholicism that were not allowing him to convert. A few of his concerns were the extreme veneration of Mary and papal infallibility. Our friend introduced Michael to his coworker and Michael tried his best to address his concerns. Well, we are happy to tell you that he is a Catholic now and he is one of our frequent blog readers. You would think that it only took Michael to tell him a couple of facts about Catholicism, like in Apologetics, to make this man convert to Catholicism. But that was not the case. Perhaps Michael helped him answer a few questions, but the journey towards Catholicism that he had started a long time ago is unquestionable.
I admit that I had trouble reading about the papacy in the Middle Ages for my Church History Class. I even had trouble reading about Pius IX and the First Vatican Council. But then I think of Thomas Aquinas during that same medieval period and his contribution to theology or the beautiful prayer that Pius IX wrote for St. Joseph and I realize why I am a Catholic. I think that just as the Israelites were not perfect in living out their love for God in the Old Testament, but still tried so hard every time, in the same way Christians have tried for so long to live out that same love for Christ. I think of the Church and then I think of Peter. I think of how much he tried to live out his love for Jesus and others, but he failed every time. The important thing is that he never gave up. There is a reason why Jesus chose Peter as the rock to build His Church upon.
I am a Catholic not because of the Pope, not because of the Magisterium, and not because we have a pretty Church in Rome. I am a Catholic because of how Christ is the center of the Church. Notice that I said “center of the Church” and we are all the Church: the mystical body of Christ. The Pope does not make the Church. The Roman Curia or the bishops do not make up the Church. In contrast, the Pope, the Curia, the bishops, the clergy, the religious, and all the faithful united in Christ make up the Church.
I am a Catholic because of how we unite with all the faithful in the world every time we worship Christ in the Eucharist. I am a Catholic because the faith we profess is the same that the Apostles professed. I am a Catholic because we honor those man and women who imitated Christ by living for others and not themselves and are called to holiness just like them. I am a Catholic because of its universality. I am a Catholic because of its emphasis on the dignity of humans and its uncompromising approach to the essence of the human person.
Is the Catholic Church perfect? No. Is the Pope perfect? No. Are priests and bishops perfect? No. Are the lay faithful perfect? No. We cannot forget that we are all sinners, but that together we make up the mystical body of the one who was human but without sin, Jesus Christ, and only together we can allow Him to be seen by all working in His Church.
We will keep Bill in our prayers during his journey of faith.
See also: Why am I Catholic? Video