Simple Catholicism

To explain the goal of this website, I borrow a phrase from Cardinal Francis George of Chicago. When asked about the tensions between "liberals" and "conservatives" in the Church, he responded that what we should be about is simple Catholicism. The heart of the Catholic faith transcends any past or present controversies. Yesterday's heresies and today's dissent while they lead many astray, can also serve to clarify that essential core.

Simple Catholicism is a not a watered down, vague version of the creed which aims to please everyone. Rather it is that body of truths which has been handed down from generation to generation for almost two thousand years. It is sometimes referred to as the "deposit of faith," but not as if it were in a box somewhere under the Vatican. It is more like the precious white stone given to each believer--and personally treasured by him (Rev. 2:17). Simple Catholicism is the life blood which pulses thru the arteries of Catholics in a dazzling array of cultures.

As the name implies, it is not complex. Simple Catholicism can be discovered in the answer to three yes-or-no questions:

1. Does God exist?
2. Is Jesus God?
3. Did Jesus found the Church?

The burden of this website has been to ask those questions in variety of contexts: homilies, correspondence and articles about current controversies. We live in a culture which, like the proverbial ostrich, does everything it can to avoid the questions. When it cannot do that, it will belittle them by appealing to compromise solutions. Presented as "bold" and "orginal," on closer examination they turn out to be antiquated and timid.

The three questions are not only unavoidable, they call for a "yes" or "no" answer. I hope you will answer "yes" to each one. But I cannot bring you to that point by reasoning alone. Faith is a gift and that free gift is received thru prayer. It will not be comforting, at least initially, but it will involve you in a great adventure.

What I can do is help clear away some of the obstacles to that act of faith. I can show that while an affirmative answer to each of the questions transcends reason, it does not contradict reason or science. On the other hand I can show how a negative answer involves greater difficulties to common sense. An example of that is the most common denial of God's existence: Naturalism. Even though it is part of the air we breathe, its logical premises go against what we know most deeply to be true.

Something similar will be discovered when we face the Either/Or nature of the questions regarding Jesus and the Church. But I will let you read the articles. Perhaps you will have questions of your own for me. Or you may even wish to state a contrary opinion. I welcome dialogue while striving for civility. I know that it is possible to win an argument and lose a soul--my own included. When all is said and done, none of us will be saved being right--or even by doing right. What saves each person is confession of sins and the humble, joyful acceptance of Jesus' forgiveness. In the final analysis that is what simple Catholicism is about.

In light of Matthew 9:12 ("the healthy do not need a physician; the sick do") I try to show the sickness at work in our society and our lives as members of it. This can be seen in our ready acceptance of birth control, abortion, etc. The goal is not to condemn, but to save (cf. John 3:17). But the diagnosis comes before the prescription. Only when we face the mess we have got ourselves into will we be able to recognize the Gospel for the Good News it really is. And there is only One who can save. Simple Catholicism invites, "Come to Him." (see Rev. 22:17)

"Yet even now," says the Lord, "Return to me
with all your heart." (Joel 2:12)


May 12, 1997 Mission Statement