When I started this series, my goal was simple: I wanted to explain myself. That is, I wanted to detail the changes my faith underwent over the years, to justify how I started my adult life as a Southern Baptist and am now a Roman Catholic. I haven’t addressed every possible issue (at some point, I want to talk about the beginning and end of the universe), nor have I talked about every aspect of Catholic theology that I like (I want to write another short series on prayer), but I’ve certainly hit the highlights. Almost every post in this 40-part series covers some aspect of theology or interpretation that is integral to my faith as a Catholic. (Not all of these aspects involved changes; such exceptions include original sin, abortion, and marriage, although certainly my understanding of each was clarified significantly.)
In that sense, this series is definitely an apology, but it was never meant to be a work of apologetics. I didn’t set out to convince anyone of the Catholic faith–only to explain my own. I think I’ve done that. If, by some chance, this discourse has piqued your interest in the Catholic Church, I want to encourage you to consider it further. Far better folk than I have made an earnest defense of the faith, from the second century to the fifth to the seventeenth to the twentieth and even into the twenty-first. Catholicism has been around for just shy of two thousand years now; the answers to your questions about it are out there, but you need to be willing to go to the source.
In case you have not caught on, this post concludes my Swimming the Tiber series. As I mentioned above, I do want to continue posting about my faith, but I will no longer strive to keep this rigorous pace (and I think my family shall thank me!). I will also endeavor to work again on things I have let go–the sequel to my first novel, 31 Prayers books, my translation of the New Testament (still in Romans). I might even find time to read again (perhaps once I’m done with graduate classes at the end of this year).
Of course, I’m happy to try to answer any questions you have for me, whether about my own faith life or about the Church. If nothing else, I hope you have learned something through my journey. If you’re not Catholic, I do hope you’ll keep your heart open to the Church. Not everyone who stands by her is perfect, and you will no doubt meet plenty of people who disagree with her doctrines; her authority has been abused in the past, but she has never taught error. Her primary purpose is to save your soul, and to do that, she points in every possible way to Christ. Becoming Catholic isn’t about choosing the right church, which makes you the final arbiter of faith; rather, it’s about becoming obedient to Christ and embracing the unity he desired for us by joining the Church he instituted.
So I guess I kind of took ten months to say this: I didn’t choose the Church. The Church clings to the Truth, the Λόγος. I had a professor once who explained how the Church holds the Truth: Scripture is the written Word; Tradition is the spoken Word; the sacraments are the enacted Word; and Jesus Christ, who comes to us in his whole Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Eucharist, is the living Word.
I will never settle for anything less than the whole Truth.
The Buffet Line