Take a journey into your imagination with me for a minute and imagine a world without the Catholic Church. As John Lennon sang, “imagine there’s no heaven…and no religion too“. Of course, with the recent news about how some politicians think faithful Catholics are just “backwards” and stuck in the middle ages, we may not have to work too hard to imagine this world.
What would it look like?
How would we be structured?
What would our culture be like?
Some might rejoice at this. In fact, this number is growing rapidly (see the link above).
Some would mourn.
Some would be indifferent.
Regardless of our initial reaction to this exercise, I think it is important to remind ourselves of what the Catholic Church has done.
Here are a few things that Church has given to the world:
- The Bible
- The University and the modern education system
- The Church educates 2.5 million children in the USA alone
- Over 600,000 college students attend over 200 colleges in the USA
- The Big Bang theory
- The Gregorian Calendar
- Theory of Evolution
- Modern development of:
- Modern Astronomy
- Some of the greatest artists, composers, and buildings ever
- Many principles of law used in every government today
- Many of the greatest books, plays, poems, etc
- Non-profit hospitals for all
- treat 1 in 5 patients in the USA
- over 600 hosptials treat 84 million people annually
- Largest supporters of AIDS and HIV treatment in the world
- Easter / Christmas / Good Friday / etc
- Prolife movement would virtually not exist
- Upholds marriage & family by fighting divorce, abortion, contraception, infanticide, slavery, etc.
- Monks helped preserve many great ancient documents we would not have without them
- Brought Western civilization, morality, language, and religion to far-reaches of the world
- Social Justice as a way of life
This is the short list. A fuller list can be found in the book “How The Catholic Church Built Western Civilization” by Thomas Woods.
The Catholic Church is the backbone of Western Civilization. Without it, we will not be able to stand tall and be the leaders in the world. Run the Catholic Church out and our culture will quickly crumble. Catholics are also the heart of Western Civilization. Without the heart we lose so much of what makes us good.
Still, I have not even mentioned the most important thing the Catholic Church has done – it brings us God!
The Catholic Church incarnates God in the world. Through the members of the Catholic Church we are able to show others the face of Christ, the mercy of Christ. We are His hands, feet, and voice.
Through the Catholic Church we bring God into the world through the Sacraments.
Through the Catholic Church the Good News that Jesus saves us is given to the world.
The result of a world without the Catholic Church = A meaningless, sad, nihilistic world, because the Catholic Church is the only institution left in our Western Culture with the ability to stop the momentum toward moral and structural decay which has been driven into our culture by others.
A momentum toward a post-theistic culture.
A land where God is anathema and where vice is called virtue.
What would the world look like without the Catholic Church? Well, this explains it for me:
“The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.” -Genesis 6:5-6
What other choice do we have but to pray and become holy? Only if the members of the Catholic Church rise up and live as we ought – as saints – can we hope for any change. The only hope is found in Christ, who can transform us and by transforming us – we can win our culture for Him.
“You cannot be half a saint; you must be a whole saint or no saint at all.” -St. Therese of Lisieux
“The saints have always been the source and origin of renewal in the most difficult moments in the Church’s history.” -JPII
“There is only one tragedy in the end, not to have been a saint.” -Leon Bloy