Ah, but taking the higher and more austere road, you manfully go straight to sola Scriptura, for the rigorous, disciplined, and painful (but certainly not ascetic, because ascetic's what them thar feelthy papists do) deduction of what God requires of you.
I learned last year that in some west African country the lay Dominicans give each other the title "Joyful." Their experience of Christianity and their expression of it is so much one of joy that they have taken "joy" for their name. And this is in an area where Christians are in the minority and are sometimes martyred.
Some non-Catholics have no idea of what being Catholic is really like. They talk about "tradition" as though it were a digest of painful and onerous burdens, crisply laid out like a Product Safety Data Sheet.
But that's not it at ALL! I LOVE Augustin of Hippo, for his frankness, for the beauty of his expression -- "Sero te amavi, pulchritudo tam antiqua et tam nova, sero te amavi!" --and because this beauty gives wings to the love of Jesus which Augustine and I share. I am happy to let him give voice to my love.
Aquinas and his teaching on ethics drips, like honey, sweet drops of joyful proclamation that God made us to find our happiness in Him, in His Love, in the good works to which He calls us and for which HE equips us.
There are plenty of jerks in the world, and the Church has her share. But the same source who informed the Scriptures and their interpretation also informs the Church to this day. He has not left us comfortless, and my loving friends, brothers and sisters in the Lord, are my partners as we look at Holy Writ and to God Himself to learn who He is and what He wills for us.
I am a member of a huge family, thousands of years old! This is not a matter of hacking through a thorny thicket of lies to get to the castle of truth. It is God welcoming us a members of His family of Love, as members, indeed, of his body of love, in which the joy of one member is shared by all.
So we confidently look to our older brothers and sisters for their wisdom and guidance, because we are not so afraid that God will abandon us, His family. We are not afraid.
“So we confidently look to our older brothers and sisters for their wisdom and guidance, because we are not so afraid that God will abandon us, His family. We are not afraid.”
Here! Here! Very beautifully said! Thank you.