40 Myths About the Catholic Church–The Church is Irrelevant

“Nobody cares about the Church anymore.  It’s old fashioned and irrelevant in this modern age.”

This one’s so easy it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.  Just this week the Cardinal electors gathered in Rome to select the man to succeed Pope Benedict XVI.  Every secular news agency in the world had reporters on hand.  NBC News had at least three reporters in Vatican City along with camera operators and other support staff.

The US president was in a meeting and was interrupted to be informed that white smoke had come from the chimney in Rome.  Catholics, friends of Catholics, even enemies of Catholics were anxious to hear the news.  Who would be the new Pope?  That doesn’t sound irrelevant to me.

Of course there are a lot of people who are anti-Catholic for one reason or another, many of them fallen-away Catholics.  But even those folks recognize that the Church is important.  Otherwise, why would there be hundreds of anti-Catholic books, magazines, and web sites?  If no one cares, why is anti-Catholicism such a thriving industry?

Here’s the thing, whether you like it or not, the Roman Catholic Church has a huge influence on what goes on in the world.  Here in America, where so many nominal Catholics disagree with some of the Church’s core teachings, it may not be evident.  But, in parts of the world where Catholics still act like Catholics, what comes out of the Vatican has an influence on the way people live their lives.  What the Pope says may not impact all 1.2 million people who call themselves Catholic, it certainly does impact hundreds of thousands of us who still believe what the Church teaches.

Over the next few days, hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people will watch the events televised from the Vatican.  Some will cheer, some will cry, some will scream at their TV screens, but they will watch, making the Church far from irrelevant.

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