Abemore introduces an argument against Catholicism that’s actually one I’ve struggled with. Am I Catholic because that’s simply how I’ve been raised? Is my faith no more than an attempt to please my parents? No, is the short answer. The long one follows:
1. No, because of converts. While I am not convert myself, I know enough of them to be certain that Catholicism is not merely passed along by parents. People choose, and I see them getting baptized at the Easter mass. This all becomes apparent when viewed through a historical context. The Church started with a few nobodies and is now the largest religion in the world – not because of social pressure, but against the tide of social pressure. When you’re being fed to lions and crucified, “my parents taught me this” isn’t exactly the phrase that makes you refuse to renounce the faith. But the martyrs did, and do.
2. No, because of ex-Catholics. They, the second largest Christian denomination, are living proof that we are not slaves to our parents wishes. We may just as well rebel against them as do what they ask.
3. No, because the Church and life does not allow it. The Church has the sacrament of Confirmation, which asks that we confirm our belief. It asks that we decide for ourself if it’s all true. Would a Church that is self-perpetuating, a Church that relies only on the pressure of society and the teaching of parents, would a Church like that require Confirmation? And then life presents us with problems that we cannot simply solve by doing what are parents and society tells us. When friends have cancer, when airplanes crash into buildings and tsunamis bring countries to their knees, either there is love and consolation and redemption to be found, or there isn’t. Parent’s words don’t cut it.
4. Because the overwhelming pressure of society and of day to day life is not to be Catholic. But I am.
Granted, parents teach you it first, and you believe them. There’s no problem with that, because it’s a time where everything is taught by your parents. The time will come when you have to decide. And I am neither Protestant nor Muslim nor Hindu because they are wrong, not because I was raised in a different country. I know this because truth exists outside of circumstance – if they are wrong here, whether or not I lived in a country where I could figure that out – they are wrong there.