I love the fact that the Catholic Church is both universal and local, and you can see both. The HQ is there in Rome at exactly the place where St Peter was crucified upside down and buried, and just a short distance from St Paul’s burial place. It is there down through history, solid and secure, but it is also down the road at St. Agatha’s. It’s in the little thatched hut in Africa, the medieval cathedral, and the American church that looks like a parking garage.
What I Love About the Catholic Church – 2
Yes, its a messy jumble of human frailty, liturgical abuses, glorious strengths and embarrassing weaknesses, but it is just as full of blood and guts and glory and shame as the Old Testament. All of human life is there, not only from the last two thousand years, but also stretching back to the history of God’s people the Jews. Furthermore, all of this shame and glory and sin and forgiveness and humanity and divinity is all bundled up and made particular as I enter the confessional and step up to the altar at Mass.
All of it is there, from the martyrs who faced the wild beasts to the priests who said Mass over a scrap of dry bread and a thimbleful of wine huddled in a corner at Auschwitz. It is all there from the greatest baroque churches and the saints of the counter Reformation to the old Italian lady with no teeth who clutches her rosary beads in prayer. It is at once universal and ancient and everywhere and yet here and now and everywhere present.