What is a Catholic?

What is a Catholic?

Are you a Catholic?

What does Catholic mean?

If you call yourself Catholic, then you must know what the word means.

Okay, let’s see, there are world renowned Catholics, many of them self-professed, such as Mel Gibson (Lethal Weapon), George Clooney, Nicole Kidman, Al Pacino, Leo de Caprio, Martin Scorcese, Alfred Hitchcock, Mark Wahlberg, Arnold Schwazennegger, Lady Gaga, Anne Bancroft, Bill Murray, Bing Crosby, Clark Gable, Danny de Vito, Dean Martin, Grace Kelley, James Woods,, James Caviezel, John Cusack, Jon Voight, John Wayne, Katie Holmes, kevin Kline, Liam Neeson, Mandy Moore, Maritn Sheen, Meg Ryan, Robert de Niro (of The Mission), Gregory Peck, Frank Sinatra, Gary Cooper, Franco Zeferrelli, and even Andy Warhol, the pop artist who distorted Marilyn Monroe’s image and designed our favorite Campbell’s soup.

With these names, could anyone tell  what is a Catholic?

Difficult, huh?  It  gets more confusing if we look at the statistics.

Todate, there is a 1,2 billion strong Catholic Church all around the world.  Latin America leads with 483 million (41,3 per cent), Europe is a far second with 277 million (23,7 per cent),  and ranking in third position is unbelievable, Africa, with 177 million Catholics (15 per cent), and makes you wonder if the beasts of the wild are counted, followed on fourth, by Asia, claimant of the globe’s biggest or largest continent, 137 million ( or 11,7 per cent), and then North America (meaning Canada and the USA) with 85 million (7.3 per cent), and Oceana or those counties located in the ocean, with 9 million (or point six per cent).

1,2 billion Catholics? The world’s population numbers 7 billion? That means the Catholics  is just one seventh, so, in what sect or denomination, or religion do the rest belong?

Islam has 1,62 adherents in a 2010  survey alone.

Fellow Catholics, it had been some two thousand years ago since our Lord Jesus Christ instituted our Church, and we are a far cry from the believers of other faith. Why?

Perhaps because we cannot even define the word Catholic. Sorry.

LIterally, Catholic means……universal. The etymology of the word catholic comes from two Greek words: kata, meaning according to; and holos, meaning whole.  When combined, it means according to the whole. Colloquially, it means universal.

There are synonyms for the word universal, perhaps these words would helps us understand Catholic better. Words such as: diverse, diversified, wide, broad, broad-based, eclectic, liberal, latitudinarian, comprehensive all-encompassing, all-inclusive, all embracing. Or did these words made the meaning of Catholic harder to understand?

Our church is catholic because it extends over the whole world, and She teaches universally and infallibly every doctrine which must come to the knowledge of men, according to St. Cyril of Jerusalem.
This, of course, is with basis, for this is a direct order from our Lord Himself when He said “Go into the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)
The apostles and the disciples yielded, and the early Christians received a most trying persecution from the unbelievers. But, as time passes by, the Catholic spirit has been incorporated on mere mortals such as Stephen, he was stoned to death but never denounced his faith,  Francis of Assisi,  a rich kid who bared all and devoted his life to God’s creation,  Ignatius of Loyola, Rose of Lima, Bernadette of Lourdes, Therese of Calcutta, Karol Josef Wojtyla of Poland, otherwise known as JPII, Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, the one lunged cardinal who is now our Pope Francis.
We can enumerate many very Catholic names right here, we have the late Cardinal Sin, Cardinal Vidal, Monsignor Villegas, Cardinal Tagle, or let us not get farther away, let us come nearer, just in our own backyard, we have Sister Rose Esperanza,, Sister Rita, Sister Lydia, Sister Buena, and many more, of course,, they who offered their hours, despite the demands of their own families, to pray for another, to care for another, ,in the only motherly way they can.
That is the Catholic, one who loves God and shows that love in genuinely serving his fellowman, no matter the circumstance, for the sick needs comforting and the prisoner needs understanding. He who responds to anyone in need, he who gives food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, that is the Catholic.
The Catholic is measured by how much he loves another.
Some years ago, there was a famous Anglican (Church of England) who served as Prime Minister of Great Britain for a decade, from 1997 to 2007. His name was Tony Blair. He was a man who had seen the world, mingled with many faiths, dealt with situations that moved the earth. Tony Blair, after his pomp and glory, had himself baptized as Catholic. He said he only did what was right.
By and large, the Catholic is one who keeps the faith in his heart, again that means loving another person genuinely, selflessly.
(Oooops, sorry, this was not meant as a blog, this was supposed to be a mini lecture  i was tasked to deliver in a church meeting. I was in a hurry and I think I clicked Publish the last time I edited. I was surprised to see that this post generated many views, thank you, and so, I won’t delete this anymore.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: