How I Became Conservative as a Catholic

Short answer: To become Catholic is to become conservative.

You go to mass, you hear what is said, you move your lips to participate in the mass but you don’t know what it means, so you look it up.

You look it up because you want to know what you are doing, you want to be sincere when you speak the Nicene Creed, because you want to be a man of honor. You understand that this religion is too important to just pantomime it, as if it’s just some play and you’re just an actor mouthing someone else’s lines. You want to internalize what you are doing because you want to do it justice.

You find out what the Creed means, and you want to continue to be a Catholic and go to mass and say the Creed and you do not want to be a damned liar, so you endeavor to believe it as an article of faith, every line, every word, every comma and period. You look up what every word means, what Bible verses support it, what other church documents support it, how it came about in the history of the development of the church.

In your research you discover the doctrines on which your actions as a practicing Catholic are based. Belatedly, you begin to learn exactly what it means to be a Catholic. That is to say, you learn what makes a Catholic a Catholic and a non-Catholic a non-Catholic. You discover that you cannot be a Catholic without sincerely trying to buy into certain doctrines, and that if you continue to call yourself a Catholic while spreading doctrines you know to be contrary to church teaching, you are a liar and you are blaspheming the religion.

You do not want to be a liar. It turns out that all of the doctrines commonly attributed to conservatism have a long, well thought-out history — doctrines like the male priesthood, doctrines against abortion and remarriage and active homosexuality, doctrines like helping the poor and the reviled, doctrines like the Holy Trinity and the fact that Jesus the Lamb died as a redeeming atonement for the inheritance of original sin, and that he descended into hell but rose again in three days in accordance with the Scriptures, and why it all matters — why it all matters, why it all matters.

You realize you can no longer be a cafeteria Catholic. You can either be a Catholic, or you can get out of the church. It’s a true dichotomy, not a false one, and it’s your choice.

I choose to remain Catholic. Therefore I became a conservative.

Featured image is the Church of St. Agnes in St. Paul, Minnnesota, reputed to be one of a precious few conservative churches offering a Latin Mass in the Twin Cities:


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