Why Catholicism is the True Religion

I recently met a man, about sixty-five years old, who, after I told him what I do, related this story: “When I was in Catholic high school, I asked one of the brothers, ‘How do we know that of all the religions in the world Catholicism is the right one?’ This question had been bugging me, and I was anxious to hear his answer. He replied, ‘We don’t know. We have to take it on faith.’ His response completely deflated me.”

After we parted, I wondered how I would have answered that question. Of course, there is no external, rational standard by which we can assess religions, or many other claims that are not empirically verifiable. But that does not mean that we cannot judge religions or determine their truth. What we need is a “first principle,” an agreed upon foundation and starting point, from which we can evaluate the truth of religions. This principle ought to be intrinsic to the nature and purpose of religions themselves.

For this first principle, I propose that we judge religions by how well – or not – they promote human flourishing. This approach does not exclude God nor reduce religion to a this-worldly, self-help modus operandi. Rather, if we can agree on the Judeo-Christian doctrine that all human beings are created in the image and likeness of God, then, as St. Irenaeus put it, we can say that “the glory of God is man fully alive” – and acting according to his true purpose.

On this foundation – one that people of all creeds can agree on – I state that Catholicism is the true religion because it most truly protects, nourishes, and develops the human being in his fullness. We can substantiate this claim by looking at Catholicism in three dimensions that are common to all religions: what it is, what it commands, and what it promises.

Our experience of Catholicism begins with human nature. We know we were created good, because God is incapable of doing wrong or evil. Yet each day we face and commit a host of wrongs that painfully remind us that we are limited, finite, and fallen from what God intended us to be. Try as we might, we cannot fully overcome or atone for our failures on our own; and even when we may be progressing nicely on our own, we encounter depressing situations when bad things happen to good people.

Christ & Adam by Michael D. O’Brien

Rather than leave us on a carousel of mediocrity and misery, God intervened directly in human affairs. He revealed himself slowly over time, until, perhaps fed up with our inability to take the hint, he willed to come directly to us as a man. The incarnation of the Son of God had two chief effects for human beings: it atoned for the sins that we were not strong enough to atone for ourselves, and it provided us with the example of how to live along with the grace of the sacraments to carry it out. Catholicism, then, is a religion of hope: in the midst of our poverty Christ, out of love for us, “became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” (2 Cor 8:9)

Since our redemption is inherently tied to the example Christ set for us, the commandments of Catholicism stem directly from its very essence. Elevating the prohibitions established by the Old Law, Christ gave one commandment: to love one another as he loved us. This love, therefore, is no mere sentimentality or vague promise for peace: it is the complete sacrifice of oneself for the good of another, and it is seemingly counterintuitive to our fallen nature and to the ways of the world. But we often can find (in those who live this commandment to the full) a genuine joy that the world itself cannot provide.

This joy is the promise that Catholicism offers to those who embrace her doctrine and commandments. It is the joy of union with God, a far cry from the dreary claim of seculariststhat “by happiness we need mean only less of pain.” But paradoxically, Catholicism holds that authentic joy only comes with and through pain, suffering, persecution, and even rejection. All religions prescribe ways to deal with suffering; only Catholicism promises that suffering leads to redemption.

Of all religions, Catholicism cuts closest to the heart of what it means to be a human being. Its doctrine, laws, and promises meet us where we are, prevent us from exacerbating our situation, and bring us to God, the ultimate end of our existence, not via Easy Street – a route foreign to human nature – but via Calvary. In the cross we find redemption, and with it, the truth of our humanity.

Detractors will point to the sins of Catholics over the centuries as evidence to the contrary. But abuse does not negate the use: in fairness, we ought to judge all religions by their claims and by their saints, and not by those who fail to live up to their calling.

But perhaps in sinners we see the ultimate truth of Catholicism – not, of course, in the horror of their deeds, but in their internal cry of desperation. And there to save Adam is Christ, “the final Adam, [who] by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear.” (Gaudium et Spes 22)

David G Bonagura, Jr.

David G Bonagura, Jr.

David G. Bonagura, Jr. teaches at St. Joseph’s Seminary, New York. He is the author of Steadfast in Faith: Catholicism and the Challenges of Secularism, forthcoming this winter from Cluny Media.

  • Bruno

    This is not an easy question and Brother’s answer was not wrong.

    Indeed, not every man is an analytical machine, or a passionate historian; if Catholicism is true, and a man believes what it teaches due to his faith, blessed is he. But if a man lacks faith, and finds motives for his belief, then he provides solid soil for his faith to grow upon, and when we finds himself with faith, blessed is he too. For some it will be neither motives nor reason, but persons and acts of love, or miracles worked on sinners, or beauty conveyed in liturgy, and the list is long.. indeed as Pope Benedict XVI said, there are as many paths to God as there are persons.

    Why do I claim that North is that way and not that way? I could say that it is so because the sun rose that other way, or that the stars point that way, or that if we walk East (what I claim to be East) there is a city whose North is known to be that way, in parallel, or that a guard told me, or that I checked my compass… Each one of these motives can be objected, but they are so many that if one insists in objecting, then I must suppose that the fellow is not really bent on heading North but rather is only amused in tormenting a fellow pilgrim.

  • Howard Kainz

    OK, but “take it on faith” may not be such a bad explanation after all — if faith is something more than a hunch or supposition. The Epistle to the Hebrews (11:1) says: “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.” It is a type of evidence. St. Thomas Aquinas, in his commentary “In Johannem” describes faith as an instinct: “Not only does the exterior revelation, as the object of faith, possess an attractive power, but also an interior instinct, impelling and leading to belief, has this power; thus the Father draws many to the Son through the instinct of divine operation moving the interior heart of man to belief.”
    In other words, when this internal impetus is coordinated with suitable external inducements, one finds himself enable to make the “leap” to faith

  • Jack,CT

    good stuff and ya the Brother was correct on faith.

  • Deacon Ed Peitler

    We know that Catholicism is true because we can look at the crucifix and see the image of a person who is full of joy. Others see folly. We know this because our experience has been that, when we are confronted with all the evil this world can throw at us, we too experience joy. If we do not experience joy at those times, we need to get with the spirit of our faith.

  • Ryan

    Other than the sacraments and mention of saints (although you even say “other religion’s saints,” I don’t see where your article differentiates Catholicism from other Christian denominations. Your words could just as easily be used by Episcopalians as evidence that Christianity is correct and Buddhism is not. While it usually causes Catholics to become targets of worshiping Mary, I was wondering whether you would address the honor that we as Catholics place on the Blessed Mother, contra other denominations. Or the primacy of the Real Body and Blood. Or the fact that Catholicism is the only denomination that understands without fail that life is the most precious human right. Don’t all Christian denominations “promote human flourishing?” How are they really different in truth? That’s what I was hoping to hear from you for strengthening my apologetic toolbox during conversations with Protestants and Mormons.

  • Walt

    How do we know that of all the religions in the world Catholicism is the right one?
    The empty tomb! Christ is risen!

  • GKC

    Great column. When I have thought if this question, or had it posed to me, my response has been that Catholicism understands best what it means to be human, and so provides mankind with all the “tools” it needs to confront his fallen state and respond to given grace.

  • grump

    How’s that “love one another” command working out today? Look around the world and all you see is mostly hate and evil. “Faith” is a thin reed, indeed, to hang one’s hat on, 2 Timothy 4:7 notwithstanding.

  • David Bonagura

    Ryan: You make a good point about distinguishing Catholicism from other Christian denominations. The two are the same in terms of commandments and promises, but they differ a bit in doctrine, and there was simply not enough space to flesh out the differences. I put in two references, one of which you identified: receiving God’s grace directly through the sacraments. Sacramental grace, unlike the Protestant view, puts us into direct communion with God. The other is the account of creation of man as good, which has a tremendous impact on our understanding of the incarnation, and by extension, the sacramental graces I just described. To elaborate further would require another column; perhaps in the months ahead.

  • Paul V

    “who embrace her doctrine and commandments”. That statement nicely sums up the disagreement between Christians who think the HRCC is another Christian denomination and RC who believe it is The Church.

    It seems to me your article is arguing; since “Catholicism” is closest to the truth on abortion, birth control, ssm, etc.. then other major Christian denominations, “Catholicism is the true religion”. I agree with many of the teachings of your Church on these and many other subjects but that isn’t proof you are correct in all other doctrines. I know many Christians who agree with your Church on those subjects also but have very good Biblical arguments against many of your doctrines. From my experience, those who believe Peter’s statement is “The Rock” on which Our Lord will build His Church are not RC and those who believe Peter is “The Rock” on which Our Lord will build His Church are. Many of us who believe the rock is the statement also believe “the gates of hell” refer to death/grave not some imaginary kingdom where Satan will rule and reign for eternity.

    When Our Lord and Savior died the veil in the temple was rent, seems to me the HRCC is trying to sew up the tear.

  • Myshkin

    Hmm … Dr. Bonagura takes a strange starting point for his defense of Roman Catholicism. The traditional starting point is from our experience of nature, upon which Revelation builds (recall Fr. Schall’s insightful essay of two days ago about Roman Catholicism as Revelation). This is how St. Thomas Aquinas presents his masterful defense of the Faith in the Summa Contra Gentiles (see SCG 1.3-8). It is a historically unparalleled presentation of the truth of the Roman Catholic Church.

    But instead Dr. Bonagura begins from moral theology which concerns the conditions for human flourishing. In this he is much like Kant, who — in striving to show that metaphysics was barren, and hence that traditional proofs of God led to “antinomies” — turned to moral arguments for God. Kant’s argument for God’s existence shifted throughout his life, but put simply, our commitment to the moral law requires us to postulate God and Immortality. Without those postulates moral law would not mean anything to us. Of course it didn’t take look for other philosophers to note the gaping holes in his argument, with Schelling, Fichte and Feuerbach poking right through them.

    So I’m a bit uncomfortable with this approach. For although, it’s not a strict Kantian approach, it shares many features with it. I prefer the Thomistic approach used in the Summa Contra Gentiles.

  • Rosemary

    We need fides ET ratio! Each is irrational without the other. Without faith, we end up with positivism; and without reason, we get fideism. Both lead to madness because neither by itself can explain or help us negotiate the persistent turbulence of the world. Each alone will cause us to retreat from the world instead.

    Sacrifice! Read Pope Benedict XVI’s excellent book, “The Spirit Of The Liturgy” which gives a wonderful explication of the end of sacrifice in the Temple and the beginning of sacrifice of the New Covenant. (Chapter 3) What other “religion” can you attend that gives you the opportunity to offer yourself with Our Lord to The Father? What other faith can dare to do that?

    Witness! And not just one but four. No other faith has such a coalescent documentation from so many sources. God’s “fingerprints” are everywhere – if we take the time to read and hear what He is trying to tell us. Without Christ’s Passion, Death, and, crucially, His Resurrection, well, there’s no point to anything because without this Paschal Mystery, we have no hope of a meaningful life beyond, “it is what it is”. (A phrase we hear today all too often.) But the Catholic Church is full of pilgrims who are constantly making movement toward the “goal” God has reserved for all who accept His gift of eternal love, both on earth and in heaven.

    Because only the Catholic Church was given by Christ the license to sacrifice, we hope to progress together toward our salvation and eternal life of joy with God via that one sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Although I searched for awhile to find a better deal than this, I could not find it.

  • Ken Tremendous

    There are some good insights here, but the faith as presented here is pretty much completely divorced from the Old Testament story and God’s coming Kingdom. It’s as though we start with Genesis 3 and skip to Matthew 27-28.

    I am also unconvinced as to how one could show empirically that Catholicism best promotes human flourishing of all religions. I suppose you could argue this from pointing out how great the Catholic Middle Ages supposedly were. But today….many Catholic countries are absolute basket cases, politically, economically and socially.

  • Layman Tom

    Greetings all, I missed you guys.

    When dealing with the agnostic/atheist/new age mumbojumboist, I use the following argument taken from my years as a Cubmaster. I sometimes played a game with the boys whereby I would line them up and whisper to one kid a simple two or three part story. They were to follow one by one and relate it to their neighbor until the kid at the other end recounted the story to the room. Then, I would read the original story verbatim from my notes. Never once did the story make it through 10, 20, 30 kids without being substantially altered. Not one time. The same phenomenon can be observed in any office or group of friends. It is very difficult to recount a story without changing it in some small way.

    The word of God was essentially shared as oral tradition for centuries. Parallel to this were the few scribes who wrote parts of the scriptures down. The compilation of the scriptures that we know of as the Bible today did not exist for centuries. And then, up until the advent of Gutenberg’s press, it only existed in volumes painstakingly copied by hand by medieval monks. All the while, the propagation of those scriptures was still largely word of mouth.

    What does this have to do with the question of Christianity? The earliest known hard copy scripture, the Dead Sea Scrolls, contain parts of most of the books in the Old Testament and several books of the New Testament. In many cases, those texts are word-for-word identical to the next oldest known scriptural samples written many centuries later and indeed still printed in the Hebrew versions of the bible to this day. There is no way, absent Divine intervention that this could be so. I cannot get twenty people to recount verbatim a simple three sentence story, yet generations of ancient people were able to do it over and over again? Only the Word of God could have survived intact under those conditions.

    As to Catholicism, well, for 1490 years there was only one church. One Universal and apostolic Church. And for all that time, the Church safeguarded and delivered the Word. That church, as the haters are fond of pointing out had many corrupt and, dare say, evil men in control of it at different times. There has never been a better opportunity and motive for corrupting the Word of God, yet regardless of the motives of men and the opportunities to pervert the Word to suit their own intentions, even they could not change the Word. Any “reformation” or protestant movement had to, by definition, change the tradition and interpretation of that which God himself had given and protected.

    Hence, since the Word is of divine origin and protected by divine intervention and the Church is the original purveyor and protector of that Word. Providing the Church has not changed; then She is the one TRUE religion.

    Now, that may be too simple for some, but for me it’s as simple as that.

    Layman Tom

  • Matt

    Evangelizing through perceptible degrees of human flourishing and differing human approaches to metaphysics? Really? I can just see the people lining up for RCIA in droves with those human approaches.

    The answer is much simpler; focus on the supernatural.

    What testified to Christ’s teachings on earth?
    His plenitude of Miracles.

    What testified to Jesus’ claim of divinity?
    The Miracle of the Resurrection.

    What testified to Christ’s church to its first converts?
    The miracle of tongues of the apostles.

    What would be the miracle for “modern” man?
    The Miracle of Fatima is God’s testament (and warning) to modern man that Catholicism is the one true religion. A physical occurrence without parallel in modern time, witnessed by close to 80,000 people; many of whom were not Catholic. It is well documented even in secular press.
    The seers were chosen by God himself, spoken too by the Archangel and the Blessed Mother. The children were Catholic and Jacinta is un-corrupt as well.
    Now if a person dismisses the Miracle of Fatima out of hand, feel free to put forward to him or her the Churches’ deeper path to humanism or the even the book “A Theology of the Body”. I am sure they will be converted before the Rapture.

  • Dave

    I hesitated to weigh in, but here it comes. Catholicism is the True Faith because the Church says so, and the Church’s claim is credible. (1) Despite the idiots within the Church (including me) and the enemies outside the Church, the Church continues to survive and even to flourish. Any merely human organization making the claims that Holy Mother Church makes and assailed from within and without would have collapsed centuries ago. This constitutes a proof that she is of divine origin, and that makes her message credible. (2) The Church’s incredible capacity for cultivating sanctity in all sorts and conditions of people, across all eras and cultures of the world. (3) No other religious entity makes all the claims that the Roman Catholic Church makes: not a one. So the Church is either telling the truth, or she is crazy, or she is a liar — this follows C.S. Lewis’ argument about Christ. If she were crazy or telling a lie, she would have self-destructed long ago — but she is still here. Positively stated, no other institution in the history of the world — not one — has done all the things that the Catholic Church has done: the glories of lay life fully lived, the glories of monasticism and religious life, universities, hospitals, contributions to the sciences and the arts. Only the Catholic Church can lay claim to having touched every single aspect of human life intensively and extensively. Not even Orthodoxy comes as close.

    In terms of external, rational standards, one could ask, “does the Church do the things she says she can do, in the way she says she can do them, and exclusively (both intensively and extensively). The evidence is preponderant that she does. She says she does the things she does because she possesses the power of God to do them — in both Word and Sacrament. Is the claim credible? On the evidence, yes.

    But faith is still necessary, and faith is a gift. There is an inner logic to the Faith that is given only to those who are given the gift of Faith. The Gospels are full of people who saw all the deeds that Our Lord did, who killed him, and who marveled at his Resurrection — and of those who still refused to believe because they did not have the gift of Faith — either it was not given to them or they rejected it.

    Prof. Bonagura is right, by the way, in his view that only Christianity embraces suffering as the path to redemption. The problem is that within Christianity, Orthodoxy embraces this doctrine, too, and so do several sects and semi-sects of Protestantism. So I think the arguments relating to the credibility of the Church’s proclamation have to rest in the credibility of the Church’s claims about herself: they are true, or not true. If true — if you see they are true — they command obedience. If they are not true – if you do not see them as true — they demand scorn. And thus, because of both the obedience of those who see and the scorn of those who do not, the Church — the Catholic Church — suffers much as her Head suffered, and just as He said she would.

    That, at least, is how I see it, and I hope these observations add to the conversation.

  • Jon S.

    Catholicism is not the true religion. It is the truest religion. Catholicism is not the “right one.” It is the “most right one” or “best one.” All other religions and philosophies have some truth to one degree or another. Before “Catholic” means “universal,” it etymologically means “according to the whole” from the Greek “kata holon.” Catholicism has the whole truth, the fullness of the means of salvation, the fullness of God’s grace. All other religions and philosophies, when compared and contrasted with Catholicism, are found to be reductionisms.

    Why? Catholicism is most in harmony with Reason and Divine Revelation.

    Catholicism is most in harmony with Reason because it is most in accord with the principles of correspondence, non-contradiction, and the unity of truth. It best describes and brings one in touch with reality.

    Catholicism is most in harmony with Revelation. The One True God is most revealed in Jesus Christ, Who is most revealed in the Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition of the Catholic Church, founded by Jesus Christ, as that Scripture and Tradition are interpreted by the Magisterium founded by Jesus Christ.

    Consequently, human beings are happiest – that is they get what they should want even though it is not always what they want and does not always feel good – when they embrace the creed, worship, morality, and prayer of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is the universal sacrament of salvation.

    “To reunite all His children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into His Son’s Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation” (Catechism, 845).

    “The Church is ultimately one, holy, catholic, and apostolic in her deepest and ultimate identity, because it is in her that ‘the Kingdom of Heaven,’ ‘the Reign of God,’ already exists and will be fulfilled at the end of time” (Catechism, 865).

    “Only then [at the Parousia] will ‘all the just from the time of Adam’ . . . be gathered together in the universal Church in the Father’s presence” (Catechism, 769).

  • Kevin O’Mahony

    For me the signs that point to the true religion of Catholicism are:
    The care for the infirm at processions in Lourdes, the order and devotion at the masses in the Vatican, and 800,000 people praying in complete silence in Rio and in Seoul.
    This is the real face of Catholicism – not the predatory clergy, nor the misguided public figures who support abortion, etc.

    Unfortunately, these aspects are not much covered by the mainstream media. You have to go to a program like EWTN to see these.

  • Rose

    The best test to see if the Catholic Church is true is to move Pope Francis to the Third World. He could move to the Philippines (Asia) or Congo (Africa), the most populous non-white catholic countries. Since he claims to be a simple man, he can live in a shack over there. He could pursue his social justice agenda there too. Western Man (European/Caucasian) provided the intelligence needed to logically prove the church’s positions and keep it going. This intelligence is what has kept the church going. But with many Europeans finding out they don’t really need the church to be good, it’s time to give others a crack at this and see what happens.

  • ath kalogeropoulos

    you should try to get acquainted with orthodox christianity before talk about true religion!

  • R. Bellman

    I admire this man’s clarity of thought, his civil tone, and his ability to say a great deal in a small space. A very fine essay.

  • Mary

    I agree with Layman Tom. I am God, I change not. And by their fruits shall ye know them. The Catholic Church is true North, it leads not to confusion or a multitude of truths but to greater understanding of the eternal truth through inspired thought given by the Holy Spirit. Catholic doctrine never deviates but only expands on human understanding, the true fruit of the vine.

  • Mark

    One interesting way to approach it is to look at the opposition. The satanists hold a black mass, not a black tent revival. Satan knows his enemy and that is God with his Catholic Church. We can also look at history, the earliest known and Named Church is the Catholic Church. “Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he ordains [i.e., a presbyter]. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church” (Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 [A.D. 107 to 110]). Note: within approximately 70 years from the crucifixion title Catholic Church was already in wide use The early Fathers note many doctrinal points that the Catholic Church contain.

    If we look in scripture about the church God founded we find:

    Mathew 16: 18 – 19
    18 And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
    19 I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

    1 Timothy 3:15
    15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

    Exodus 40: 15
    15 As you have anointed their father, anoint them also as my priests. Thus, by being anointed, shall they receive a perpetual priesthood throughout all future generations.

    From the scripture above we know the Church must date to its original founding (33 AD) as it will not fail (“gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it”). This Church is the “pillar and ground of the truth”, and it has the authority to bind and loose for both heaven and earth. As such the Church gave us the bible and it is why we have faith in it. And lastly there is a perpetual priesthood. The only Church that was founded in 33AD on Peter with a priesthood that gave us the bible is the Catholic Church. No other can meet the requirements as set by Jesus.

    Jesus established the Catholic Priesthood at the last supper (around 33 AD). The Catholic priests grew in number. Around 70 AD the Jewish temple was destroyed and the Jewish Priesthood ended, leaving the Catholic Priesthood to fulfill the promise made by God for the continuation of the “perpetual priesthood throughout all future generations.” If all you have is a minister, you have been short changed.

    Matthew 18:17: If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to The Church; and if he refuses to listen even to The Church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
    Ephesians 1:22-23: and he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for The Church, which is His body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
    2 Thessalonians – Chapter 2
    15 Stand firm, then, brothers, and keep the traditions that we taught you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.

    2 Thessalonians – Chapter 3
    6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we urge you, brothers, to keep away from any of the brothers who lives an undisciplined life, not in accordance with the tradition you received from us.
    7 You know how you should take us as your model: we were not undisciplined when we were with you,

    The Protestant idea to avoid tradition and only use the bible is contrary to the bible!

    God gave us the Catholic Church as the Pillar of truth to guide us and instruct us, we need the Church to understand the scripture she gave us

  • Ben in Maine

    Except it seems that the hierarchy of the Church does not believe this. As Archbishop Bergoglio, he was known to have turned away an Anglican missionary turned bishop, a Mr. Palmer, especially when this gentleman sought out conversion to the Catholic Faith.

    On June 24, it was reported by evangelical leader Brian Stiller that the Pope said, “I’m not interested in converting Evangelicals to Catholicism. There are so many doctrines we will never agree on. Let’s be about showing the love of Jesus.”

    How can you believe in a Church that doesn’t even believe in itself?

  • Martus

    Mark stated “The Protestant idea to avoid tradition and only use the bible is contrary to the bible!”

    Matthew 15:3
    Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?

    1 Thessalonians 2:4
    On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.

  • rik

    I remember reading that allegedly, the visionaries of Medjugorje asked the Blessed Mother how they were to respond upon being asked about the Catholic church claiming to be the one true church. Her response was “there are many paths to God but, the Catholic church is the fullest expression of what God desires in a church”. I found this answer highly plausible and gracious as the Blessed Mother states Her truth always without unduly offending her children which is everyone.
    Catholics unfortunately along with other degenerations in the church since Vatican II have since shied away from being so bold in this claim. It’s high time we return to saying it seeing how satan has weakened the church’s influence in the world from such false embarrassment at having previously been such a proclamation. We are soldiers in Christ and must now do battle to strengthen her.

  • Daughter.of.Chrisy

    Let’s start with Christ giving the keys to Petet and telling him that who’s sins he forgives will be held loosed in Heaven…. Etc.

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    I would start with, “All Religions, especially organized Religions are worthless in the end.” These do not even bring peace or God-experience to man-kind. Rather they bring DEATH and WAR. Buy JESUS DOES BRING PEACE to true SEEKERS. JESUS IS THE WAY. His WAY is true Religion if there has to be a Religion for me. Well, then, that is hypothetical question.

    Religions are all man-made and man controlled. Men have their own goals in mind.

    Did Jesus supply us with a Religion? But he gave us THE WAY. He told us, “I AM THE WAY.” “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

    God in Jesus The Lord is everything for a true SEEKER. More of GOD and less of RELIGION the BEST. And the best name of God here below is JESUS THE LORD. In true SEEKERS it is demonstrated and who demonstrates it better than Saul who became Paul? I too have my little story to tell.

    This does not mean we better destroy all Religions. Keep the BEST elements from Religions, but don’t take any Religion very seriously; each one has it’s own claims but SEEKERS who compare them by the RESULTS (FRUITS) cross over to THE BEST according to their judgements.

    Please read the book : IN SEARCH OF YOU by Maulavi Sulaiman, but NOW Mario Joseph (GOOGLE for DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE, Kerala, INDIA. He is a Word of God preacher there.

    Arguments and claims of religions without verifiable claims are very wearisome.

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    I would start with, “All Religions, especially organized Religions are worthless in the end.” These do not even bring peace or God-experience to man-kind. Rather they bring DEATH and WAR. Buy JESUS DOES BRING PEACE to true SEEKERS. JESUS IS THE WAY. His WAY is true Religion if there has to be a Religion for me. Well, then, that is hypothetical question.

    Religions are all man-made and man controlled. Men have their own goals in mind.

    Did Jesus supply us with a Religion? But he gave us THE WAY. He told us, “I AM THE WAY.” “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

    God in Jesus The Lord is everything for a true SEEKER. More of GOD and less of RELIGION the BEST. And the best name of God here below is JESUS THE LORD. In true SEEKERS it is demonstrated and who demonstrates it better than Saul who became Paul? I too have my little story to tell.

    This does not mean we better destroy all Religions. Keep the BEST elements from Religions, but don’t take any Religion very seriously; each one has it’s own claims but SEEKERS who compare them by the RESULTS (FRUITS) cross over to THE BEST according to their judgements.

    Please read the book : IN SEARCH OF YOU by Maulavi Sulaiman, but NOW Mario Joseph (GOOGLE for DIVINE RETREAT CENTRE, Kerala, INDIA. He is a Word of God preacher there.

    Arguments and claims of religions without verifiable claims are very wearisome.

  • Kenneth Heck

    The “human flourishing” argument is incomplete because it ignores the situation of man after he dies. Which religion has the best provision for life after death? Life after death is a very important aspect of any religion. In this, Christianity provides a unique opportunity to rule with Christ on the throne of the Father. Nothing higher is found outside of Christianity.

  • AnneM

    Never forget who gave the world the Holy Bible, God’s word, but the Catholic Church.

  • Edward M Wharton

    An inspiring sermon an Christianity being the true religion was given by Bishop Fulton Sheen. Also the prophecies surrounding Jesus Christ and being fulfilled in Him have the probabilities of realization on a scale of 10 to the power of 28! So you can have it on faith or reason whichever you choose to know that Christianity is the true religion. And that the Catholic Church is the true church (another proof for another subject)

  • Johnboy

    Many religions teach different doctrines. Some teach conform or perish. Some teach love is the answer. Others teach fire and damnation without strict obedience. Many of them believe they have the only answer. The answer is all of the above. Christ loved us while we were sinners. He asks that we only seek Him. He will accept any of us as the thief on the cross if we look to Him. The Catholic Church is what Jesus founded and entrusted to spread the good news of redemption and salvation. Many other Christian churches came forth from His foundation Church. They too receive His graces as they too love Christ an carry forward His message. We all as Christians must spread and defend our faith in Christ without denominational differences as we all fall short of being deserving. I trust the Catholic Church, but I also trust many other Christian churches. I come to be fed as a dog who hungers for the scraps from my Masters table. Let the Master feed us all that we need to recieve His mercy and forgiveness regardles of denomination or doctrines……Peace

  • Caoimhin

    “For this first principle, I propose that we judge religions by how well – or not – they promote human flourishing.”

    I read as far as this – after the answer given about our taking it on faith. Faith makes all things well.
    I like it.

    Though I’ve experienced this in other traditions too.

    If we cannot love the brother/sister we can see – then we ain’t gonna really love the God we cannot see – or begin to know by not loving.

    Mary – the ‘Mystical Rose’.

    Such a beautiful title.

    Mystic – rose,

    something beautiful which opens itself to the Sun/Son and flourishes in such a way all might know the splendoured Beauty of God and indeed, each other, as brothers and sisters of that same Son.

    “My soul magnifies the Lord. My spirit exults in God my Saviour”.

    Mary teaches so much in the splendour of Her silence.

    Mater Dei – Theotokos – ora pro nobis.

  • Caoimhin

    I think it important to clarify something I believe to be true.

    Where it speaks in the Scriptures of binding and loosing.

    We are given the impression that what is bound on earth will be bound in Heaven etc. As if it happens here first.

    When it’s the other way around. It’s what is bound in Heaven and loosed in Heaven will be so on earth.

    This would be consistent with the Lord’s Prayer.

    “Thy will be done on earth AS IT IS IN Heaven.” I think it an important distinction.

    Keeps the power trippers in line. 🙂

  • Michael

    Catholicism is certainly the true religion. It’s the final mystery of the most holy Luminous mysteries of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Institution of the Most Holy Eucharist. The cornerstone of the Catholic Faith. The actual sharing in the reception of the body and blood of Christ at every single mass, in all the churches throughout the world. He comes to us in the simple wine, water and bread transformed. Nothing is so powerful at the the hands of our Holy priests to make this available to us. Yes, Catholicism is the true, right and Holy Institution on this Earth. No other religion can claim this power or have such a concrete foundation traced back to that last supper when Jesus sent his friends out into the world.

  • Caoimhin

    This is a sideline.

    I don’t know what people think of Fatima. I was wary of it for many years. Could not understand it at all.

    But recently I had started praying the Rosary again. One day last week I was praying and wondered why I was even bothering. Just closed my eyes and suddenly had this image of a Woman – as beautiful and angelic as anything else.

    She was made of Light it seemed, a Light which was greater than She – and radiating a Light from within Herself upon the world.

    This Light greater than She not coming from Herself – but from a greater Source – through Her and radiating upon the world – various parts.

    I had the impression this is the effect of heart felt prayer. We bring down the Light of God – the grace of God upon the world – individuals – through prayer, interceding with and through Mother Mary. I prayed so fervently then again.

    I was thinking the other day then about Fatima. Where there is a vision of an angel about the strike the world with a firey sword. The ‘justice’ – consequence of a world which has lost its faith and become steeped in sin – a turning from the law of God which is Love.

    But Mary reaches out and the splendorous radiance from Her prevents the world being struck.

    It seems that the prayers and sacrifices She’d asked for did indeed bring mercy, which is greater than justice, upon the world.

    Some ask why Mary would be more merciful, compassionate than God – even Jesus. But that is not the case.

    The Light, Compassion, Mercy is of God – something She images perfectly – radiates, maybe as Mediatrix of Grace – upon those She understands so well.

    Humanity – Her children – all of us.

    So to pray the Rosary – sincerely, from the heart, is to act in accord with The Immaculate Heart – calling the grace to say ‘yes’ in all things to God.

    To have our hearts of stone converted to those of flesh – and allow the true Peace of Christ reign in this world.

    Just thought to share.

  • John

    “Of course, there is no external, rational standard by which we can assess religions, or many other claims that are not empirically verifiable.” Dear God, so this is what gets taught at Catholic seminaries these days? No wonder the Catholic People have lost the faith. The Catholic faith can be proven empirically, whether or not an individual soul accepts the proof is another matter. How terribly, terribly sad this article is. One should not be Catholic because it is the “best” religion, one should be Catholic because the Catholic Faith is true. If it be not true, then regardless of whether it promotes “human flourishing” or not, it would be a lie, and a lie is an abomination. Please stop teaching at a Catholic Seminary and go get a job at a bible college somewhere.

  • Caoimhin

    I’ve been discussing ‘proof’ from bible taught pastors and theologians and ‘logicians’ for the last twenty years, not least on their death beds and they have no more ‘proof’ than you or I John. You waffle is just that – hot air and a waffling superior attitude. To such as these – not the ‘learned’. Ever hear that Scripture ? You’re a clear example of that when you judge the ‘faith’ of anyone or that yours is somehow superior. The only thing greater is your ego.

    There would be no need for ‘faith’ in your ‘theology’. No faith – not hope and clearly as you have shown – no humility or love.

  • Jason

    I am a student of history first and foremost. To be perfectly honest, I have struggled with my Catholic faith from time to time (I am a convert from the Lutheran church I might add), but when I think about what the CHURCH has been, was meant to be, and how it developed over the centuries, I am always taken back to the age of the Church Fathers; they were so Catholic! Have you ever read the Letter of Ignatius of Antioch? He affirms apostolic succession, the Real Presence in the Eucharist, the three-fold ordained ministry, and he did all of this (depending on which historical model one ascribes to when it comes to the writings and development of the Scriptures) within only a few years of when some of the New Testament writings were complied. I have often thought that if (why weren’t they!?) his letters were made part of the Scriptural Canon (and some early Church fathers thought that they should have been), no one, and I mean no one, could deny the legitimacy of the Catholic Church. Perhaps it was God’s will and design that the these letters were not made part of the canon. It would be too dang easy to see the validity and legitimacy of the Catholic faith if they had been. God wants us to FIGHT for our faith. He wants us to come to him as a humble people asking for his grace, his enlightenment, a revelation of his truth.

  • Saint Peter

    If everyone knew what they were giving at the Catholic Mass the line for communion would be overflowing daily..

  • SM

    I think what frustrates me more than anything -is the fact that we as Catholics do not
    tell people of the world about the wondrous gifts in our Catholic Church

    No other religion has them- how clean one feels after confession.

    And after receiving the Holy Eucharist- which is the body of Christ – how at truly at peace and joyous one feels

    Anyone can pray – but no-one other than Catholics can have their soul relieved of sin.

    Nor can anyone other than Catholics have their soul nourished with the Body of Christ

    Muslims, Jews, Protestants- none of these billions of people experience these gifts

    No wonder the world is in the state that it’s in

    It’s about time that we told the rest of the world about the wondrous gifts of the Catholic Church

    • Debbie Mystery

      Hi I’m very curious on what biblical scriptures you base your beliefs that only those of the Catholic faith are worthy of receiving God’s glory? I’m not Catholic, I’m not atheist, I don’t have a religion at all actually. I believe in Jesus Christ as the Lord of all, but if you wanted to put me under a religion, I’d be Christian. I say that I have no religion because religion is a faith that you believe in, but I don’t believe, I know. I know that there is an all powerful Creator who loves me and all of his children, no matter sin or religion. I’m not here to hate, but to ask for some knowledge of what Catholicism is based on and its beliefs because I’ve always been very confused. For starters, Jesus is quoted saying in scripture, Romans 10:9 actually, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Nowhere at all does the bible state that only those of the Catholic faith will be saved. What bothers me most of Catholicism is the non biblical practices. Nowhere does the bible preach of confessing sins through a priest. Jesus died on the cross so that we can have a close, intimate relationship with him and speak to him on our own. There’s nothing wrong with telling others I did wrong, but you don’t need someone else’s approval of forgiveness. You’re forgiven before you sinned! Another, Matthew 23:9 says “And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father and he is in heaven.” Bible tells you not to call anyone father, yet this true religion calls their priests father. Finally, do not worship Mary. Mary pleased the Lord, so he blessed her to carry Christ. The bible does not ask us to worship her though. The bible specifically calls us to worship God and God alone.
      Anyway, I just wanted to share just a few my thoughts and wanted to know more about what make Catholicism the “true religion”. I would love a response.

      • Tom

        Hello, I was Catholic until about 2 years ago when my life of deep sin came crashing down on me, but through the turmoil I went through repentance and deep change in thought to who I am and who God is. I feel as though God has laid a foundation through this process and I’m still being molded to this day. I am in the same boat as you as to what Society may consider me as a “Christian”, but I do not cling to any orthodoxy. In response to your questions I can relate. I went through the bible and was surprised to find it so different than my previous experience of Catholicism. I would say to be gentle with these matters. Look to Roman 14-16. Their reasoning is on the basis of tradition playing an equal role in what they believe and unfortunately it has left a stumbling block for people like you and me. I agree about only worshipping God. I struggle with this one too, but I’d never condemn something a person may do that i don’t fully comprehend. In the past I was intensely wrapped up in this stuff, but I had the wrong heart about it so it’d be
        unfair for me to give any testimony. I’d say if you asked a Catholic why they pray to Mary, I don’t think they world say anything outside of asking her to pray for you, to Jesus Christ. So long story short it may be to them like you asking someone you know to pray for you, I don’t think they’d say they worship her, but if they did, then they may need some direction. In all of this conflict I hope we can remember our orders to pray for those who you struggle with and treat each other as we would want to be treated. Hope this helps and God bless us all

        • currious

          At this point in my life I am really struggling with where I am in my Faith. I do not know what I believe exactly. I come from a strong protestant background and am asking that God reveal himself to me because I am having a hard time finding him outside of a good feeling that he is real. I have been very interested in the catholic faith do to there insistence on tradition. What did the Christians from the time Christ walked on this earth believe. I found it interesting the documentation from Christians from 50 years after Christ talking about the literal body and blood of Christ. These beliefs go back a long time. I think that should count for a lot more than a good feeling that you have when you talk to God. Another thing about the protestant understanding is that you come to God once then your done. I have seen in Catholics that they openly struggle with there sinful self. There is not all this pretending that you are clean. I am still praying a lot that God give me some indication of his reality. I feel the yearning, I hope its not something I have made up in my head.

      • John

        Hi Debbie, what you say is true, would the true faith practise non biblical practises? the answer is no. Would someone of the true faith kill their brother ? again no!! The catholics do both. Do they have the true faith? The answer is obvious.