I started this letter a long time ago, and since then you have done a program attacking the Catholic Church. I read the transcript and I have to say I’m disappointed…I can attack the Church better than that! Did you know that there were popes who had mistresses and illegitimate children? Did you know one pope dug up his predecessor’s corpse and put it on trial? Did you know that one of the first 12 bishops ever ordained sold Christ for 30 pieces of silver and then hung himself in despair? I find it amusing when people believe ridiculous falsehoods about the Church when the truth is so much more damning. What you said in your program wasn’t true, but even if it was, what is your point my friend? The Church doesn’t claim to have perfect members, it claims to teach truth. I know my Church has its share of jerks, but even if every mathematician you knew was a jerk, it still wouldn’t make 2+2=4 a false statement. My argument is whether empirical evidence supports the Church’s teachings and, since it does and in the places where the Church’s stance is least attractive and in conflict with the opinion of most of the world, this is either a great coincidence or it may give some credence to the Church’s claim to be true. If it is so correct in its prophecies, perhaps it is correct in its premises.
I once heard you say that Mother Teresa had a “weird kink for death”. You totally misunderstand Catholics. You know how irritating Luke Skywalker got after he became a Jedi, all Zen and uppity, like he had some kind of spiritual lobotomy? Catholics aren’t like that. We don’t float around in peaceful denial of lousy stuff in the world. We try to face ugly things like death, and hunger, and mental illness because we want to comfort and edify our neighbor. Do you think that all of these people are doing what they do out of perversion or malice? If this is a “kink”, the poor will not thank you for curing us of it.
If someone told you you were doing that magic trick poorly wouldn’t it be reasonable for you to say, “Do your own act Houdini if you’re such an expert.” Mother Teresa never claimed to be a genius or infallible. She tried to give people a better place to die than the street. She lamented that in America nursing homes were filled with lonely people looking at the door. They had everything money could buy but love, and that is the gift she was trying to deliver. You think “coin” is all it takes? Corrupt government and thieves can steal and misappropriate aid sent from foreign countries. Money donated to the government in India for tsunami relief went to building resorts for the rich. Money donated to Catholic charities went straight to the people because we had “nunneries” on the ground. If you’ve got better methods, by all means show us how it is done.
I imagine you get a bad taste in your mouth from the very word “Pope”. When I put my atheist hat on, I see a pompous, outmoded figurehead. This is a picture of Pope John Paul II consoling the man who put a couple of bullets in his chest. He forgave his assassin publicly from his hospital bed. The pope was neither stupid nor crazy. He just believed all that Christian “love your enemies” stuff and lived it. Might that at least convince you that Christians believe something admirable and extraordinary?
Don’t believe everything the press or the History Channel says about us. Not everything the preempted by “the Vatican says” is really what the Pope says. Most journalists hate us because we disagree with their politics. Hollywood has its own own standards for sainthood. If Hollywood was your sole guide, you would never know Gandhi was a Sergeant Major in the British army, Erin Brockovich was a shyster, Helen Keller became a political radical, and there are no monks in Opus Dei. Things aren’t always what they seem.
Napoleon is dead and his nemesis, the Church, still stands. Hitler and his Third Reich is over – the 2000 year reign of the Church goes on. The French Revolution took over Notre Dame, but our Lady has her castle back. The Communist Utopia has been tossed in the dustbin of history – and the Church lives on. What inexplicable force sustains this Church throughout history? Whether run by good men or bad men, it is an organization foundationally unchanged by man. How can we remain consistent for 2000 years? Several generations of men have come and gone, and dead men can’t enforce their ideas. It is as if there is a mind across the generations. Catholics believe that this is the mind of God. He promised to preserve his Church from error. It’s truths are valid in every age – it is “ever ancient, ever new”. It pointed me, as it has pointed mankind for 2000 years, away from making the same old tired mistakes that people make.
If everyone listened to the Catholic church, we would have avoided millions upon millions of deaths at the hands of Communism, abortion, euthanasia, and AIDS. I’d say we have a weird “kink” for life, not to mention, strong families, prosperity, compassion for the poor and sick, and spiritual hope and joy. Faith is not an intellectual cop-out. It establishes civilizations, makes men free, corresponds to reason, encourages the good and beautiful, and points to the true. Can you name even one organization that has done half as much good out of obedience to its principles as the Catholic Church?
To a Catholic, life is a supernatural battle and the stakes are high and eternal. Every life is a drama, a war and a romance rolled into one. Every soul, if he takes up Christ’s cross of self-sacrificing love, will be celebrated forever by a billion billion souls he has never met. Catholicism makes for a life that is healthy, sane, free, peaceful, prosperous, full of meaning and unselfish love to the greatest extent possible in this life, and we go to meet death full of hope for perfect eternal happiness. If you can find a better deal, take it.
I’m an atheist at heart. Had I been born to any other parents than my own, that is what I would be. I love the videos I see on “Reason TV” and I’m pretty sure I’d be a Libertarian too. But I wouldn’t be like these guys on the internet who make a career of mocking belief in God. That’s illogical. It’s like railing against leprechauns for a living. I personally would just feel sorry for Christians – a bunch of simpletons deluding themselves with wishful thinking. But I grew up in a big family full of freaks with a million reasons to be at each other’s throats, but instead we are freakishly happy and I know it is not luck that holds us together. It is impossible for me to deny the goodness of something I see work before my eyes and I can’t help but want this happiness for others. So I write things like this in case someone else is interested in a piece of the joy I’ve got.
The most frustrating thing about the watered-down catechesis I received in school is how boring and meaningless it was…be nice to everybody, blah, blah, blah…what dreck. The truth, which I hope I have illuminated here, is far more interesting. I am not a philosopher, theologian, physicist, or any other kind of expert. I’m just some girl, but I know what the Church teaches, I can see it is true, and I want people to know about it. My simple advice to the world: become Catholic. If you’ve fallen away, get to confession, return to Mass, and live your faith. If you’re not married in the Church, get married in the church. Hate me, mock me, misunderstand me, that’s fine. Just get to heaven.
I don’t know a heck of a lot about your act. If I remember correctly, you understand that psychics and global warming are bull (even before Climategate – Bravo!), so I expect that you have done that same kind of investigation that I have on those subjects and know a scam when you see one. I just thought you would be the right guy to tell me if what I’ve written is convincing of anything. Any thoughts?