What Is Catholicism?

People hear things about what Catholics believe. Some of it is true. A lot of it is not. The most compelling education about what exactly it is Catholicism is and teaches comes from the example of lived witness.

In an interview about his conversion to Catholicism at age 76, the late Judge Robert H. Bork said:

There is an advantage in waiting until you’re 76 to be baptized, because you’re forgiven all of your prior sins. Plus, at that age you’re not likely to commit any really interesting or serious sins.

He also said, of his wife:

she never proselytized outright. She discussed things with me, but it was more her example than anything else. I don’t know whether it’s her faith or something else, but she is an extraordinarily fine woman.

Some questions for us Catholics in the (virtual) room: Would anyone every become interested in Catholicism because of the way we live our lives? Would anyone every see our faith as the transforming anchor to our lives? Would anyone ever want what we have — would they see the Eucharistic life, watching us?

What are we teaching about the Catholic faith in our deeds today?

My friend and Catholic Voices USA partner Kim Daniels writes in Our Sunday Visitor this month:

the everyday lives of many American Catholics are no longer particularly distinctive from the everyday lives of members of other faiths. But we know things should be otherwise: Our faith should be part of the air we breathe. We need to learn to weave our faith into the particular circumstances of our everyday lives in a way that fits our time and place, without sentimentality or nostalgia. Making that happen — building a living Catholic culture in our homes, among our friends, and in our parishes — is the most important task facing Catholics today.

(More from Kim on this topic — Being Catholic, Everyday — here.)

That’s what the Holy Father is talking about in his Christmas oped about engaging with the world in Christ’s love.

So are we doing it already? Letting His light shine in and through us to a light brighter than any star in the sky?

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