The Roman Catholic Church in The Bahamas is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope. The diocese was elevated to a full diocese, as the diocese of Nassau in June 1960. On June 22nd, 1999, the diocese was again elevated as the new Archdiocese of Nassau.

Monday, October 17, 2011

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink!

Many in the Catholic Church refer to themselves as devout strong Catholics yet they refuse to accept some of the Church's teachings. What does it mean to be a Catholic or Catholic Christian? Are Catholics even Christians for that matter? Let it be known that Catholics are Christians just as Lutherans are Christians, Baptists are Christians, Protestants are Christians and so on. So what then is a Catholic Christian?

Catholic by definition is one who is called out and gathered into the universal society founded by Christ. The word Catholic comes from the Greek word katholikos that means "universal". The word Church comes from the Greek word ecclesia that means "those called out"; so when we put them together they become the Catholic Church. A Catholic is one who listens to the Church, which is the pillar and foundation of truth. Jesus intended that there be one universal, authoritative, visible Church here on earth.

The Catholic Church is labeled has having too many rules, some that should be done away with, claims many non-Catholics as well as many Catholics. What are some of the issues you have with your Catholic faith? There is probably a long list, but here are a few that I have heard through conversations: priests should be able to marry, abortion, contraception, Mary, living together before marriage, confessing your sins to a priest and of course, Sunday worship.

We continue to hear those words "the Church needs to change with the times"; but God is always constant and never changes. When Jesus left instructions with the disciples he left rules in place that He expected to be upheld. Who are we to question God?  It's so unfortunate though that we rely on the little teaching we receive through home, CCD and Catholic school education to carry us through our entire Christian life, thus we hear the statement, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink!" There are numerous resources available to learn the history of your Catholic faith. We should always be ready to give an account for what we believe.  "Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope," 1 Peter 3:15.

The Church has always been under attack and will continue to get a bad rap until the end of time. Jesus knew His Church would be attacked and so promised to Peter that the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. Have you taken the time to truly know what it is that you have within the Catholic Church. It is my belief that those who are raised Catholic from birth have less appreciation for their faith, than those who come into the Church as adults. Stand up and be a representative of Christ and his Church. When we accepted the position as a Catholic Christian we also said yes to sharing our faith in Jesus with others. "But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father." Mt 10:33.

The stigma which says that "Catholics do not read the Bible" will probably always be attached to the Church, but we know differently. I had a friend just recently say to me that he was told that Catholics do not read the Bible. Can someone please tell me when the Bible fell from Heaven in printed form? You would not believe how many within our small country do not know the history of their own faith denomination (e.g. Baptist, Pentecostal, etc) let alone the history of the Catholic Church. As a Baptist, Lutheran or an Anglican, do you have any idea when your Church was formed? Even though the Catholic Church locally does not have the greater numbers like that of the Baptist or other denominations; we must remember that we as Catholics are made up of the entire Universal Catholic Church all around the world. Do not be intimidated or fearful to stand up for your faith.

The Catholic Church is the one true Church, and can be easily identified as such. How, you may ask? Look at all of the denominations and groupings of Churches and point to the Church that is always being attacked. If you ask me, all fingers point to the Catholic Church. While Jesus were amongst us here on earth he was constantly under the fire, so too will the Church He left behind. However, Jesus left us hope though, when He promised Peter that the gates of hell will not prevail?

Now is not the time to clam up when questioned about your belief. If you do not have the answer right away, let whoever asks know that you will certainly get back to them with the right response. The Catholic Church is still the forerunner of truth and unity and the doorkeeper of morality in the world today. What Church, but the Catholic Church stands up more against abortion, euthanasia, pre-marital sex, same sex marriage and let us not forget contraception.

Getting involved in the ministries within your Parish can help you deepen your faith and draw you closer to Christ.

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