St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) defined theology as “faith seeking understanding,” so instead of learning how to battle doubt, I studied how the Catholic Church understands our faith. In Scripture classes, I saw how the disciples interpreted the events they witnessed with the language and concepts they knew from the Septuagint. In doctrinal courses, I read how challenges to Christian unity from the very earliest days led to developments in, and definitions of, Catholic doctrine. In pastoral classes, I learned how to minister to others, should I ever be called to a career in lay ministry. Listening more than speaking is key.
Meanwhile I lived, worked, studied and prayed among like-minded Roman Catholics. Everyone believed that the universe has been called into being by the Triune God who loves us and has redeemed us. It was comfortable to be surrounded by wise old professors who looked like they could battle an army of doubters with no more than a stapler and a choice quote from St. Augustine.
I very much missed them all this past Saturday when I was in an Edinburgh restaurant with a chance acquaintance who asked me, not what, but why I believed.
Outside Catholic circles, it can be embarrassing to be Catholic. Have you found that? At one Edinburgh cocktail party, my husband and I paused before we answered a post-Presbyterian congratulating us on Pope Benedict’s alleged lift of the so-called “condom ban.” ...