Skip to comments.The Catholic Position [why the Church is blamed for everything]
Posted on 04/20/2002 5:56:22 AM PDT by heyheyhey
A few weeks ago I tried, in my feeble way, to express why I fell in love with the Catholic Church. I received many gracious and grateful responses from others who felt the same way, some of them converts like me.
Inevitably, there were also a few jeers, directed not so much against me as against the Church. Some dredged up old scandals of wicked popes, or supposedly shocking utterances of Catholic saints, or mere clichés of traditional anti-Catholic polemics. Most of these were meant to embarrass, not to persuade; the usual ahistorical nuggets.
What is startling is the perpetual passion of anti-Catholicism. Youd think that by now people who reject Catholicism would calmly ignore its teachings as old and irrelevant superstitions. After all, the Church has none of her old political power, adherence is now totally voluntary, and she has enough trouble getting her own children to listen to her.
But Catholicism still has a strange moral authority, and many people are unable to achieve a calm and assured disbelief. They are still driven to discredit the Church - perhaps for the same reason so many of us believe in her.
Catholicism offers a complete and comprehensive morality, one which most of us still recognize as the faith of our fathers. Bit by bit, the world, including other churches, has abandoned much of this morality; the Church continues to teach it, even when some of her own priests scandalously violate it.
A few generations ago, nearly all Christians shared the same sexual morality. They abhorred artificial birth control, for example. Many state laws banning the sale of contraceptive devices in this country were passed by Protestant majorities while Catholics were politically weak.
Gradually, however, Protestants ceased to oppose contraception, and Catholicism almost alone continued to condemn it. What had long been a consensus became censured as a "Catholic position." We now see the same process well under way with abortion and homosexuality.
If cannibalism ever becomes popular, and the rest of the world, led by its progressive-minded intellectuals, decides that anthropophagy is a basic constitutional right, opposing cannibalism will become a "Catholic position" too. Catholics will once more be accused of wanting to "impose" their "views" on everyone else (even when they are far too weak to do so), and the reformers will cry, "Lets keep government out of the kitchen!"
I dont defend the Churchs morality because I am a Catholic. I became and remain a Catholic because the Church maintains a consistent morality - while the rest of the world keeps veering off into moral fads. My conviction that she is right is only strengthened by the worlds strident demand that she change along with it, as if it were a sort of moral duty to change ones principles, like underwear, with reasonable frequency.
"The world" includes many nominal Catholics who side with the secular world against their own Church. These are the Catholics you are most likely to see in the major media. They deny the Churchs authority to keep teaching what she has always taught, yet they cant rest until she approves their pet vices - contraception, sodomy, same-sex marriage, and all the rest.
Notice that the proposed reforms usually have to do with sex. When the Church refuses to change, she is accused of being "obsessed" with sex, when its really her critics who are obsessed with it. Catholic morality recognizes seven deadly sins, of which lust is only one; but this happens to be the one the modern world cant stop thinking about. Nobody demands that the Church "change its outdated teachings against sloth."
At any rate, the Church cant change. She can no more change her teaching about lust than her equally emphatic teachings about pride, gluttony, and sloth, because God has made the world as it is and no human will can repeal its moral order. These arent the Popes personal opinions; they are objective truths.
Powerless, hardly able to keep her own flock in line, and betrayed by many of her shepherds, the Church is still treated as a threat. All she really threatens is the false comfort of the dormant conscience; but this is enough to make bitter enemies.
After all, her Founder warned her not to expect gratitude from men for trying to save their souls. She is the mother of Western civilization, and to this day, all too often, she is blamed for everything and thanked for nothing.
Yet an orgy of the Church's enemies is always bound to arrive at a thread that highlights the reality that the Church is perennially the moral beacon of the world. Somehow the orgy always involves spitting on an institution whose earthly leaders are men because these men are somehow "exposed" as sinners. Gasp. Horror. Shocking. As if that were some sort of surprise.
I think Sobran has unwittingly admitted here the problem that exists concerning the Catholic Church's moral authority, or lack thereof. The fact that adherence to the Church's teachings once was not voluntary serves to validate the argument of those who claim that the Church cannot possibly be of God. When murder, torture and other barbarities are employed to produce conversions, albeit in the distant past, by an institution claiming to represent a loving God on Earth, the public skepticism that will meet it is more than understandable. This current sex scandal is only the latest, and not even the worst, of the stains the Catholic Church carries. If people no longer look to the Church for moral guidance, perhaps it's because the Church has not been very moral itself throughout history. And if it claims to be the divinely guided true Church of God, then it shouldn't complain when people bring up it's past (or current) actions and demand that those actions be reconciled with this claimed divine guidance. To do so is only reasonable, after all.
So, since Catholicism is now voluntary, that must mean God's Church has changed with the world and the times, is that right?
adherence to the Church's teachings once was not voluntary serves to validate the argument of those who claim that the Church cannot possibly be of GodSee Notwithstanding in #63,
This current sex scandal is only the latest, and not even the worst...While NO ONE child or teenager should ever be sexually targeted by a Catholic clergymen, I would need to be convinced there is an ONGOING problem of such abuse in the Church. "News" from 20 years ago do not convince me. Meanwhile a lot of criminal abuses take place elsewhere as we post on FR.
"The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ." This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.
To the Catholic Church the interpretation of the Word of God is not by the Holy Spirit, but by man.
The Popes are not very good at playing God.
I'll take my personal revelation from the Holy Spirit, thank you.
Not knocking the Catholic Church as an insitution, but if it gets it's moral authority from the Pope rather than the Word of God, no wonder it can't clean it's own house.
The Popes are not very good at playing God.Why don't you just stick to YOUR religion for the time being.
The Church has no use for the "wisdom of the age" when it contradicts what I will call the "Wisdom of the Ages" (God's eternal truth). Happily, the Church gradually accepts the "wisdom of the age" if and only if it comports with the "Wisdom of the Ages". Thankfully the Church's habit is to avoid doing so hastily.
Doctrine has never mandated that all or any persons be forced to "believe". Any such forced conversions were imprudent, rather than signs of a Church whose doctrine was in error.
Catholics do not believe in men - we believe in the Truth's of God which He reveals through His Church. Truth does not depend on the bearer of the message. It is the message that is the Truth.
If we are all individaully inspired, nothing can logicallyy prevent the situation we have today in which homosexuality is biblically fine some and not with others. Funny how you would think that YOUR inspired interpretation has to be right - just as much as Rosie O'Donnel thinks hers is right.
If the source of the Churches moral authority is based on the Pope's opinion of the Word of God, and not on the Word itself, I see that as a problem
What if the Pope decided St John 17:18 and St Luke 22:29-30 were no longer part of the Word, he is the final authority?
Very interesting.. you know Pro 16:18 Pride [goeth] before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
When I said you were watering down the Church by what you were saying.. apparently that went WAY over your head bud.
You need a little history lesson, my friend. The Church existed long before the first letter of the first gospel or first epistle was written. Just where was its moral authority coming from during the period before and during the writing of the gospels, the last of which was not even completed until after 90 A.D. And who do you think determined that the Gospel of John was inspired and that the apochryphal Gospel of Thomas, for example, was not. I will tell you where the Church gets its moral authority: From the lips of Jesus Christ himself: Take a good look at Matthew 16:18-19. "You are Peter and upon this Rock I will build my Church....What you declare bound on earth shall be bound in heaven, what you declare loosed on earth shall beloosed in heaven." Your personal revelation, as you call it, is just that. It has absolutely no assurance of moral rectitude in the sight of God. The Church declared which books of the Bible were divinely inspired and you, in the face of Christ's clear instruction, deny it the right to interpret the scripture and contend it lacks moral authority, because the authority reposes, by Christ's command, in His vicar on earth. So be it.
The point that you and many others fail to understand is that the Church, as an institution, is both divine and human. Because it is human, its followers will sin. This does not lessen its moral authority, because this authority comes from Christ and is not dependent on whether you or the Gallup Poll or any other human being judges it to be hypocritical. If you don't agree with its teachings, you are free to reject it. But don't use the argument that the Church is composed of sinners as an excuse for doing so.
As I said, the Church is both Divine(Jesus)and human(His followers). It is thus a blend of light and darkness. It radiates enough light for those who want to see and enough darkness for those who don't.
I really try to abstain from bickering about religion so please remove my name from your ping list. In the meantime, have a nice day!
When these men who are exposed as sinners (as all men are) did not have to face the consequences of their actions in a criminal court, because the church protected them, and then claim to be the "moral beacon of the world," has some answering to do. Answers that thus far seem to be along the lines of "mistakes happen, get over it." The issue is that the church leadership covered up these mens crimes, and then to make matters worse they just sent the predators off to another parish to ply their trade on some other unsuspecting member of the flock.
Most that you classify as enemies are merely pointing out than ANY institution that acted as the RC Church leadership has cannot play the victim, nor can they claim a moral authority, as Sobren and others seems to be claiming.