I’ve heard it said that many non-Catholics, when asked why they don’t join the Catholic Church (when surrounded by friends and relatives who are Catholic) respond by saying “There are too many rules.” It’s not that Protestantism has the true message of salvation and Catholicism does not, or anything of that nature. It’s that in the Catholic Church, there are too many rules.
Perhaps they are thinking that Catholics are required to attend Mass on Sunday. Perhaps they are thinking that a Catholic must confess their sins to a priest (receive the sacrament of Reconciliation) at least once a year. Perhaps they are thinking that as a Catholic, one must believe that the Holy Eucharist is the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. Or, perhaps they are thinking that Catholics must believe that the pope is infallible in the areas of faith and morals, or that the Bible is not the only source of religious doctrine.
While, as a Catholic, I feel I can make a convincing Scripture-based argument that each of the above is a legitimate “rule,” what concerns me the most is that a non-Catholic who makes this statement is focused on “rules” and not on their eternal destiny. The truth and reality is that the Catholic Church is the Church founded by Jesus Christ, that the Catholic Church is where the fullness of the truth lies, and that the Catholic Church holds the keys as to where you will spend eternity. St. Peter said it in John, Chapter 6: “Lord, where else shall we go … you have the words of everlasting life.”
The founder of Protestantism, Martin Luther, relaxed the rules to the point of virtually having no rules except that one must believe. It’s easy to accept this if one does not want to put forth any effort where salvation is concerned. But with something as important as salvation, how can one ever think that no other effort is required. It seems absurd to me. I would urge anyone who thinks that this one rule is all there is to it to make a thorough study of the Catholic Church, to talk to a priest, to ask questions, to search for an understanding of the basis of the “rules” in the Church founded by Jesus Christ. I predict that if you are open to it, you will come away with a whole new outlook … one that will change your life and your destiny.