An American Catholic’s Idolatry

My dear brother or sister-in-christ, I ask you first to pray for me. Please read my words with love and grace, for I am an imperfect sinner.

Could you count the number of times a Protestant brother or sister-in-christ has called you an idol worshiper, or a follower not of Christ, but of “traditions of men”? I believe for most of us – forgive me- myself personally, I could not accurately recall the number of these insults I have received they are so numerous. In these insults of theirs, my heart is wounded. More so than my own sore pride, the pain of their blind belief of such misinformation, given to them through their fellow Protestants, pastors, biased and incorrect websites and articles, is a heavy weight within me. How I desire for them to know the truth, the beauty of the Church, the fullness and the union of Christ! How I long for them to not invest their faith into such slander, but instead in the Church that Christ formed truly with His own flesh and blood. These lies they consume I know the devil feeds them, and sadly most often through the mouths of others. These lies I am guilty of once trusting, and these lies I am once guilty of speaking before my own conversion to Catholicism.

When our faith is questioned, criticized, and even insulted, we are called not only to learn, to teach, and to inform others of this most wonderful Truth, the teachings of the Church, but we are called to use their words as a measurement of our love for Christ. Every opportunity to ensure our direction is on the narrow path, the path to sainthood, and to our devotion to Christ and the One Holy Catholic Church, is a gift to us. Through these wounds they have inflicted, may Christ enter me, may He rid me of the idols and traditions of men that I have placed before Him! I confess to you my brothers and sister-in-christ, that I do have an idol, I have placed first traditions of men, may God have mercy on me a sinner!

Let me explain first that if it is not yet obvious, the idols and traditions of men that Protestants believe us to worship, are not idols. We know very well that our Blessed Mother and the Saints are not idols, they are windows into the life of Christ, and Mother Mary is the door. We know the “traditions of men” they speak of are Traditions that Christ has handed down to us, Traditions that are as divinely inspired as the Word of God.

By definition and idol is that which we consult before we consult Christ. So, what is my idol, what is this tradition of men that I speak of, that I am guilty of?

If I do a single Web search on Pope Francis, likely I am able to find the latest highlights of his visits to America. How blessed we are, the Vicar of Christ has come to our beautiful country! Within these highlights I admit, I’m disappointed, on a few occasions even furious. How many of his words in the articles were not blankets of comfort over my ideals or beliefs, but instead they were discomforts, causing me to shift in my seat, shoulders dropping. Some of his words even insulted me! Gratefully, in this offense brother or sister-in-christ, I seek to measure myself once again. And within this measure, I have found that I am guilty of so blindly and carelessly believing media, similar to the way our dear Protestant brothers and sister-in-christ do with anti-Catholic material. Instead of using this material to measure myself, I measured the Holy Father Pope Francis! Please forgive me!

I did however find it strange that this same media that posts on abortion or gay “marriage” that is liberal in flavor, I obviously discard for its biases. Yet, when this same bias material quotes out-of-context, misinformed, or mistranslated  words from our Holy Father Pope Francis, even if only briefly, I trust it like it is the Word of God itself! Article after article, yard stick after yard stick, I add to the measurements of the Vicar of Christ! Yet, in his words, the words he truly spoken, I did not measure myself. Instead I first consulted my idols, my traditions of men, and against this lengthy tape measure I found his words insignificant, and ignorant. Papa! Forgive me!

Like the insults from our Protestant brother and sisters-in-christ, there is more to be found, to be measured, within Protestantism. I have come to understand the Devils greatest weapon against the Church, the Body of Christ, in once glance at Protestantism, would be division. He grins and pants for this division. The devil was defeated in the wounds of Christ’s body, yet now he desires to succeed in the tearing of the limbs away from the Body of Christ. How he finds pleasure to see us turned against each other, and above all against the Vicar of Christ. As always, he uses our pride. Pride that leads us to consult our idols, pride that leads us to conform to traditions of men.

Now, I must confess to you, what is my idol, my traditions of men that I have put before Christ, and before the truth, and the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church. What have I used with my pride to measure our Holy Father Pope Francis? To where have I pledged my side before the side of the One True Holy and Apostolic Church? I have pledged first, to my personal and political ideals.

Forgive me, brothers and sisters-in-christ, I have measured Pope Francis against man-made institutions and beliefs. I have tried to place him in a man-made box of political morals. I did not measure these beliefs and find them not catholic, instead I had measured Pope Francis and found him not of my political taste! Is this where the Truth is found, in this box? Or is the Truth found in the Church, and in the Church alone?! How small must I have made God, in order to attempt to fit Him so nicely in this box, to my political “side”, almost as well as He fits in a Protestant mega – church, with contemporary worship music and props. Truly, I believe in the Universal Church, which cannot be placed in one American political party. Our country is great, but it is not so great that only half of it can hold the context of the entire Catholic Church wholly and completely! Since my conversion I have always said “I am Catholic, even before I am Janelle”, and I must live up to such a statement!

My wonderful brothers and sisters-in-christ, how greatly do I care for our country, but our most noble pursuit is our pursuit for holiness. How blessed we are to be Catholic, to be American, to be allowed partake in the Sacraments of the Church and the full union of Christ without persecution of our lives, but I must first defend the Church, the teachings of the Church, and the Holy Father. I must refuse to conform to anything of this world that is not divinely formed or inspired. Conforming only to Christ alone, and uniting my life with Christs. The truth, that is, was, and always will be, Jesus Christ, is found in the Catholic Church. Forgive me, brothers and sisters, and please pray for me, a sinner.

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