Patheos Prompt: Why I’m Catholic?

Patheos wants to know why I’m Catholic, in 200 words.

The most honest answer is this:

I don’t know—who really knows why they are who they think they are?

I don’t have evidence or arguments, just a hodgepodge of experiences and feelings and thoughts and circumstances and guesses and doubts and fears and beautiful things and love and my family and pain and suffering and stories and fortune and hope.

The better, shorter, and even less satisfying one-word answer:


(You should read Unamuno’s “My Religion” if you’re into this stuff; I’d quote him here if I wasn’t writing with word rations.)

And why assume that I am Catholic?

“Why I’m Catholic” sounds too much like “Why I’m the universe.”

There’s no such thing as being Catholic in an individual unit of one.

Catholicism is a we thing.

Trinity, Church, communion.

For Augustine, becoming Catholic was a struggle where even the self becomes a community.

My inner self was a house divided against itself.”

I am not Catholic in some static, fixed sense of being.

I cannot be Catholic, I can only become Catholic.


New question.

Why are we becoming Catholic?

It’s a mystery, that’s why.



  • Billy Kangas

    I think the idea that being a Catholic is something that we are always in a state of becoming is one of the things that led me to the Catholic church…. I am an unfinished project that God is going to keep working on.

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  • Petro

    Catholic, as an identity, is a fallacy. I feel that it is the opposite of what Christ would want from His Church—for us to promote a singular identity or tribe that somehow differentiates us.

    The message I have heard more than anything from Pope Francis so far is to let go of your identity, and go out into the world and look at your brothers and sisters not as other identities nor other tribes, but as your brothers and sisters.

    In the meantime, the tribal drum of identity continues to beat.

    • srocha

      Identity is a paradox, I think. Any form of identity, but especially religious identity. I don’t think it can be ignored, but I also do not think it is sustainable when it becomes egoistic. The Christian paradox of dying to one’s self is even more mysterious. We will surely never get it quite right.

  • Theodore Seeber

    I’m Catholic because I am a believer in the Fullness of Truth- beyond Christ, in Objective Truth itself. I did a good deal of searching when I was Sam’s age, and this was the only place I could find it.

  • Margarita

    I am a Catholic because I was born a Catholic. But Vatican ll rocked me. I loved the mass in Latin so much that when I was travelling in countries where I could not speak the language I would pretend it was Latin. We had a terrible guitar mass and a cantor who not only sang the sappiest songs I ever heard but tried to peddle a CD to the parish. I had children and my husband and I would never forgo on weekly mass but I almost felt sorry that they only saw the church I loved at the Brompton Oratory when we were in London. But somehow in a house crazed teenagers and at times a crazed mother I righted myself and realized that I could never be anything but Catholic and it was up to me to search deeper into the richness of my inheritance. I came home to prayer and to reflection but it took a long time before I realized how wasteful werethose years of sullen adherence .

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