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Why I’m Glad We’re Catholic

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10. We finally got a great Pope. I knew it would happen someday, but assumed we’d have to wait till the second coming. And while Catholics don’t think every word of the Pope is sacred, we do respect the office, just like Americans respect the Office of the President no matter who’s in charge. Yes, it can be that hard.

9. Protestants have to decide for themselves which of the 17 sects in town has the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. We just have to go to church, and if we don’t like the priest, we can go to a different one. The Mass is always the same.

8. I heard the Mass in Italy, and it was pretty clear what to do, when to do it, and what to pray. I even understood it in Gaelic. On the other hand, I once went to a Pentecostal wedding, and had no idea what the doctrinal significance of the service was when the bride went leaping around the church like a stag-ette while a live band payed raucous rock’n’roll.

7. Our religion wasn’t founded on the inability of a fat English king to engender male offspring or a monk’s concerns about Vatican taxes on Germany. It was founded on Jewish tradition and this guy most people call Jesus.

6. Priests don’t pretend to have all the answers. “It’s a mystery” is more their line. Except when the answer is “Free Will.” I prefer “It’s a mystery,” myself. Because it is. And Free Will sucks. All that responsibility.

5. We don’t have to read the Bible. The whole Mass, every Mass, is built around Biblical texts. If you go to Mass regularly, you get to know the Book pretty well. But we are encouraged to read it, because, after all, it is the Bible.

4. We also don’t have to take the Bible literally. Since you can back up any claim you want with some scripture or other, we treat it as a mystic text. The Bible comes from God, of course, but he used human scribes. You know how that goes.

3. We get to drink wine in church. Not a lot of wine, just one sip. But if you open your gullet and gulp you can catch a nice, warm, morning glow.

2. We have the best art. And the best music. Okay, we used to have the best art and the best music. Nowadays the art and the music are crap. I blame Vatican II.

1. And, finally, Purgatory was the only way we were ever gonna get Daddy into rehab.