Fr. Mike Schmitz

D.I.Y. Religion: Do We Need the Catholic Church?

Do you think you don't need religion? Or that maybe you could just “do it yourself”? Do you feel like you don't need the Catholic Church in order to be spiritual? Check out these answers from Fr. Mike Schmitz’s podcast and listen to the full podcast at the end of the blog for more on why “D.I.Y. Religion” doesn’t work and why the Catholic Church is the Church that Jesus founded – even though it’s people sometimes fail.

But there are so many broken, sinful people in the Catholic Church . . .

A thing can still be true even if someone fails to live up to that truth. What my parents taught me can still be the right thing even if they personally fail to live up to it.

There are people who are completely convinced of the truth of Jesus Christ with their whole heart, mind, and strength and still . . . out of weakness . . . can fall, can fail, can do bad things. If I'm going to stay away from religion because, 'listen, they're imperfect' well then I'm never really going to grow up and be mature.

But 'religion' appears to be man-made . . .

People will say that all religion, especially the Catholic Church, it's just a man-made religion . . . unless it was founded by God Himself, unless it was started by someone who was true God and true man.

If you choose to be Catholic, or you were raised Catholic, you were brought into not a man-made religion but a God-made religion.

But I don't want to feel 'bound' . . .

You know religion comes from the word 'religare' meaning 'to bind' – something we may not like.

But you know sin? The word sin comes from a German word 'SÌÄ®ÕÌâ_nde,' that means 'to sunder' . . . to tear apart . . . to be divided.

And I don't know about you but I have a sundered heart. I have a divided heart. I have a heart with sin and so I need religion because I have division and I need to be bound back together. I need some binding of my own. And I think God's people – we've been sundered. We need religion. We need “religare” . . . we need to be bound.

A covenant is a “religare,” covenant is a binding, covenant is a religion. And what did Jesus say on the night before He died? He said take this chalice, this chalice filled with my blood the blood of the new and eternal covenant.

Jesus established the ultimate binding, the ultimate covenant. Jesus established His own new and eternal religion when He bound Himself to us because we were so sundered.

So it comes down to this:

I may not want religion. I may not want to be bound.

You may not want this binding but Jesus loves you. Jesus loves you so much that He is willing to be bound to you. He loves you so much He's willing to covenant Himself to you. I may not want that “religare,” I may not want that religion . . . but Jesus loves you and me so much in our “sundered selves” that He is not afraid to bind Himself to us.

Fr. Mike Schmitz

About the Author

I'm the director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Duluth and the chaplain for Newman Catholic Campus Ministry at the University of Minnesota—Duluth. Every Sunday at Mass I record my homilies; if you want to listen they're on or iTunes.