Devil: Ah … I see you’re going to church … again! Why do you do this?
Man: It’s Sunday. I am going to Mass.
Devil: A Catholic hein? One of them I see.
Man: What do you mean?
Devil: Well … Catholics are a bit odd. Do you know that some people do not consider Catholics as being Christians at all?
Devil: Where do I start? The Pope for instance. What is all that about? Having one man at the top supposedly in charge of the whole outfit. Surely, the only one you should follow and listen to is God; if your logic is correct?
Man: Yes … God is the Supreme Being at the top, as you put it. The Pope is only a representative of God, like all priests, like all Christians really. He is “at the top” to lead and guide all in the Church. Just like St Peter did all those years ago.
Devil: OK … how about your habit of confessing your sins to a priest? That’s odd don’t you think? Surely, if you need to confess anything it should be to God. Not a man who for the most part has little experience of real life, being single, with no real understanding of raising a family, providing for his family and all the other problems of life?
Man: The Catholic Church, I understand, bases its teaching on the words of Jesus, when He said to Peter, “And so I tell you, Peter: you are a rock, and on this rock foundation I will build my church, and not even death will ever be able to overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven." (Matthew 16:18). I can understand that some people, Catholics even, find it difficult in these days to go and confess their sins to a priest. It is a personal choice, and I guess the Church has a lot of teaching to do on this.
Devil: Diplomatic answer … I see. I wonder if it convinces anyone. How about all the statues and images you have in your church. And people lighting candles and placing flowers by them and worshipping them. Surely this is wrong.
Man: I agree … worshipping the statues and images is wrong. We should only worship God. Over the years many Catholics have been confused by this, and again, perhaps we should teach them that it is not the statue they should be worshipping. Let me explain it another way. I have in my wallet a photo of my wife and children. Also on my desk at work. I do not worship the photos, nor do I worship my family. I love them of course. The photos are a reminder of my family. As for placing flowers and lighting candles to statues. We should do this as a sign of reverence and respect. Not as a sign of worship. Very much like many people place flowers and light candles on the graves of their loved ones. They do not worship the grave or who is in it.
Devil: You seem to have a clever answer to everything. But you must admit that your church does some eccentric irrational things at times. Like the exhumation of the body and bones of St Therese of Lisieux and taking them round from country to country for people to visit them and pray? Or mortifications and flagellations. How about the Spanish Inquisitions? And all the other evils that your Catholic Church has brought to the world? How about all the riches you have accumulated in the Vatican and other churches whilst poor people, Catholics amongst them, starve all over the world?
Man: I agree … there is a lot that the Church has done, and is doing wrong. But you must remember that the Church is made out of human beings. And human beings often make mistakes, and get things wrong, and indeed do evil too, often in the name of their religion. There are many things that the Church has done which cannot be defended. But that should not stop me going to Church, should it?
Devil: Why do you go to church?
Man: As a Catholic, I go to Church because I believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I base my beliefs on John Chapter 6 where Jesus tells His followers and disciples that unless they eat His flesh and drink His blood they will not have eternal life. I admit that I do not understand this. I doubt anyone does. But I believe it because Jesus said so.
Devil: Wishy washy meaningless answer. Would it not be better for you, and others, if you just gave up on the church and followed me? I have no rules. Anything goes. Whatever you want to do or believe, just do it!
Man: I guess the difference between you and Jesus is that Jesus did what He did, for us, because He loves us and cares for us. You do what you do for yourself. To increase the number of your followers. So thanks for the offer; but no thanks!