"Isn't following Jesus enough?"

Subject: Question on necessity of Church "membership"

Dear Fr. Bloom:

Would you please help us with answering the questions "why do I have to join the Church? Isn't following Jesus enough - or shouldn't it be enough?"

This was a follow-on to a discussion with our adult children about why are there so many rules & regulations to follow as Catholics, and especially why there now seems to be a necessity to change rules (e.g., standing for Communion). If you've already addressed this on your web site, please provide a link.

Thank you for your assistance.

God bless you - Janet


Dear Janet,

A good place to start is C.S. Lewis essay on "membership." We live in such an individualistic culture, we can start thinking that membership in the Church is like being part of Kiwanis. So different from what the Bible teaches about us being organs in the Body of Christ (see 1 Cor 12, etc.). Chesterton also has a good section on why there is a Christian Church, but no Buddhist or even Moslem "church." Have you read Everlasting Man (and Orthodoxy)?

I agree that rules and regulations often seem like an annoyance. However, once a person has a basic vision of belonging to Christ's Body, they are easier to take as a necessary part of good order.

The most important thing here is prayer. At this stage, you will not win your children by argument, but by humility - and of course being ready when the right moment comes to make an invitation.

God bless,

Fr. Bloom


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