The Dislike of Catholicism: Understanding the Holy in the Catholic Tradition

Jesus le nazaréen by *Katch* via Flickr


If you ask someone on the street about the difference between a Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christian, chances are they’ll smile and admit ignorance.

Back in the 1990s, a fellow student of Religious Studies raised an interesting point in one of those mandatory seminars that everyone attends but secretly wishes they didn’t have to. He said humanities researchers should state their personal biases at the outset of a study instead of presuming they’re objective observers.

These days, the whole idea of objectivity is under fire, and rightly so. Any academic or scientist worth their salt will admit we can’t escape bias. The sciences have emerging concepts like “confirmation bias” and “experimenter bias.” And spiritual persons believing they’ve had a divine revelation should step back and ask if their apparent truth belongs within a given context. Is their revelation merely one that is appropriate for a given moment? It may be powerful. But it is universal? The highest?

This much said, and in keeping with my classmate’s prescription, I’ll tell a bit about myself to illustrate where I’m coming from.

English: Catholic church in Tehran
Catholic church in Tehran (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before converting to Catholicism in 2001, I had little interest in organized religion. Childhood summers were spent enjoying the natural environment of Georgian Bay’s eastern shores. In winters I downhill skied at a resort overlooking the south side of Georgian Bay. So, in a sense, the great outdoors was my religion.

As for religion, itself, I was baptized in the Anglican church but never attended regular services. Weddings and funerals, that was it.

Like many kids, I asked the big questions. Why are we here? What is infinity? I never really got any answers but I kept on asking.

Eventually, I went to university and had summer jobs to help defray the cost. By that time I’d gravitated toward Freud, Jung and sociologists like G. H. Mead and Emile Durkheim. Later, I studied East-West philosophy, New Age and non-Christian religions. In 2001 I became a bona fide Catholic. But a free thinking one.

Since then I’ve met many critics of Catholicism. Instead of ignoring their views, I’ve talked with those honest enough to say what they really think. And from this I have a pretty good picture as to why some folks dislike Catholicism.

High Rock Island, Georgian Bay

Before writing this article, I told a Catholic friend about my plan to do so. She suggested I call it “Why people like Catholicism.” But I feel that dislike is the better term, because I’m mostly responding to the critics. And I’m not trying to put a positive spin on the all-too-human side of the Church. God knows, there are many issues in the Catholic Church.

Despite its real and pressing problems, I continue to experience the holy within the Church. And it’s not just because I was brainwashed as a kid. As mentioned, I wasn’t even a Catholic, and as a Protestant, I never went to church. I skied. I swam. But church? Nahhh.

Copyright © Michael Clark, 2014.

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11 thoughts on “The Dislike of Catholicism: Understanding the Holy in the Catholic Tradition

  1. I really do not see anything holy about Catholicism at all..
    I do not accept any roman catholics as being christian..and this is because of its false teaching, and the demonic practices of ..

    It is the whore of bablon..


  2. Inspiring and truthful expressed. there are 1.6 billion Catholics we try our best to represent our faith.l believe knowing Christ is having a precious diamond worth all the treasures in the world.My regards.JMS ( please read my post .”God’s Grace!/ Ransom.


  3. @spookchristian… thanks for the links. I’m familiar with almost all of those criticisms. I think there was one that was new to me. Anyhow, I’m not doing a point by point critique. But hopefully the ensuing parts will cover much of them. Pls stay tuned…

    Also thanks for using – I like that tool.


  4. I have no intention whatsoever of following your blog, or tuning in to what you are blogging..
    I am confident that you will endeavour to persevere in spreading the lies of roman catholicism.


    1. I’m sure you believe you are doing the right thing. You have your background, personality, and life experiences that have contributed to what you now say. But I also have mine. And the outcome is quite different. So I’m just being honest with my experience and reflections within the RCC.

      I believe Jesus values sincerity.


      1. it is nothing to do with background, personality, and life experiences, it is to do with Gods word..
        your obviously trying to make my motivation, into something it is NOT..



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