Because I want to be sure that my meaning is understood, allow me to restate the title of this article in more explicit terms. The characteristic that defines me as a member of the Catholic Church is also the definitive reason for why I will forever remain a member of the Catholic Church. What is it that defines me as a member of the Church that Christ established? Well, it is the same thing that defines the Catholic Church. And what defines this One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church is nothing less than the unique and irrevocable authority of the Magisterium of this Church.
If you venture far from the Petrine house, you will find people who will not affirm the divinity of Christ or the Trinity we adore. Not so far out as that are houses innumerable that are filled with people pulled in every direction, unsure of what they believe. Their only anchor is an unflinching resolution that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are One. They have faith in Jesus as the Christ, but they have only a couple sacraments — and not all of them even have that.
Step outside of the Petrine house only a short distance and you will find neighboring homes where the Trinity is adored, where Christ’s divinity and humanity are absolutely affirmed, and where each sacrament is validly celebrated for the salvation of its inhabitants. These brother and sisters are so incredibly close, that it is hard to believe that they reside under a different roof.
Yet what all of those people have in common, what none of those groups recognize, what none of their members will affirm, is the thing that I affirmed on Saturday, 22 March 2008, when I received into the Catholic Church. Every one of them is unwilling to declare, “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.”
Might I jump ship and still find authentic faith in the hypostatic union? Without a doubt. Might I find belief in the Trinity and salvation through the Incarnate Son of God and his perfect sacrifice on Calvary? Again, yes. Is it even possible for me to find the sacrament of Holy Orders so that I could still avail myself of Reconciliation and receive the Most Blessed Sacrament, our Lord Himself? Yes, this is so. But what neither you nor I will ever find outside the Catholic Church is the authority granted to Peter and the Apostles that safeguards those who recognize and obey it against the deceits of Satan.
I came here for authority; it’s why I’m Catholic. I will remain for authority. Everything, for me, hinges on who holds the Keys to the Kingdom.