Volume > Issue > Choosing a Church

Choosing a Church

WHY NOT JOIN THE REAL THING?

By Sheldon Vanauken | April 1993
Sheldon Vanauken is a writer in Virginia and a Con­tributing Editor of the NOR. His books include Gateway to Heaven, Under the Mercy, and the award-winning bestseller A Severe Mercy.

In my account of becoming Catholic in The New Catholics (edited by Dan O’Neilbpand in my Under the Mercy, I said, almost as an aside since it seemed obvious: “Choosing a church is not like choosing a suit or a house, a matter of taste and comfort. A little matter of truth.”

But it wasn’t obvious, even with the remark about truth. A number of readers wrote to me, asking innocently and plaintively, “Why isn’t it like choosing a house to live in?” What they were saying or implying was something like this: “If we all believe in the Risen Christ, what difference does it make whether we are Baptists or Episcopalians, Presbyterians or Catholics? Isn’t it just a matter of taste and comfort if we’re all Christians hoping for Heaven?” What was implicit in all the ques­tions was the idea that the Catholic Church is just one of the multitude of “churches” or, more accurately, sects.

But a sect, the dictionary says, is “in reli­gion: a party dissenting from an established or parent church.” The Catholic Church is the original Mother Church — not a sect. Not “a church,” but the Church.

Christ (Mt. 16) spoke of His Church — not churches. The creeds spoke of one holy catho­lic Church (catholic means universal). But if there is one holy universal Church, there can be no other churches.

Enjoyed reading this?

READ MORE! GET A FREE 7 DAY TRIAL

SUBSCRIBE TODAY

You May Also Enjoy

How Literature Helps Us Grow in Virtue

For millennia the wise have recognized that amid all the various sorts of education a…

Re-evaluating Chesterton

Alzina Stone Dale wrote the first of many books re-eval­uating G.K.C. and elevating him to his deserved place in English letters.

The News You May Have Missed

Girls Will Be Boys... Neither Girls Nor Boys... Nothing Covered Up... A Mickey Mouse Dispute... Fleecing the Trusting Lambs... Goodbye, Tweetheart... Straining Credibility... Islamic Idol... Bogarting the Grid... September Is Special... and more