Thursday, October 22, 2009

Canadian Catholics Need a Deeper Faith

Says Robert Ventresca at the National Post.

I fundamentally agree with the piece, but I find it went into a lot of cliche's about Church problems, without really getting to the heart of the matter.

Getting to the heart of the matter. One of the problems of the Church :)

The heart of the problem in the Catholic Church is that faith is treated like an academic subject, a series of abstract deductions that lead one to a conclusion that one accepts as a working hypothesis-- because that's where the evidence leads.

There's nothing wrong with deductions, conclusions, hypothesis or going where the evidence leads.

But faith is not a deduction, or a conclusion, or hypothesis.

It's a relationship to God. A personal God. An intimate God. An interventionist God. A real, bona fide, supernatural, omnipotent Supreme Being who cares and orders the world for your benefit, and is your ultimate source of happiness and delight.

God is not just a necessary conclusion to explain something. If you treat him like it's all about thought processes and putting two and two together, then you will never have real faith.

To me, this is the problem of the Church. God and the Catholic Faith is treated like philosophical or political ideology, the way that one would approach post-modernism or feminism.

God is not ideology.

He's real. He cares. He requires obedience for our own Good, because he loves us.

Faith is accepting the authority of God because he says so and trusting his say-so because he cares.

If you do not trust him to be loving and if you do not accept that he is able to accurately impart his thought then you cannot accept him at his word.

If you accept him as loving, if you accept his power and his word, then you can have faith.

All the dissent and apathy in the Church is symptomatic of not recognizing God for who he is and what he can do.

There are so many people who cannot fathom that God can organize world and individual events that the pope will never utter an erroneous teaching (as per the dogma of church infallibility).

They cannot fathom that God would assure that the Church would transmit Sacred Tradition (that is, unwritten Revelation) in an accurate fashion, in spite of the failings of her members.

They can't picture it. In their minds, humans are too weak-- and their own weakness means that they really can't perceive or assimilate God's Truth properly.

As if God can't overcome human weakness! (Even the weakness of billions of people.)

The truth is, Catholics don't trust God enough. They don't trust him to transmit Revelation. They don't trust him to protect Church doctrine from error. They don't trust him to guide personal or world events.

They have too much invested in not trusting him.

So in not trusting him, Catholics in Canada are treated to an impoverished Catholicism; one without Mary, the angels, the saints, miracles, sacramentals, healings, apparitions, eucharistic adoration, and so forth.

Theirs is the religion of thoughts and sentiments; not of actual divine manifestation.

The goal of this impoverished Catholicism is to change your thinking NOT your soul. Their spirituality is purely psychological, not supernatural.

Part of the solution is partially educational. Of course, more Catholics need to learn the rudiments of the faith.

But part of it is also philosophical. Our world resists belief in the supernatural. Some people might think because it's illogical.

It has nothing to do with logic. It's perfectly logical to believe in God and the Catholic Faith.

It has to do with the vested interest people have in not accepting the supernatural.

When you accept that man is the measure of things, and that all beliefs are relative, it's very easy to justify oneself and one's motives.

I would also say in parting that faith is a gift. While it's necessary to have all the right information and arguments, man's will and intellect can only go so far. Faith, as a supernatural virtue, requires divine grace. It is not the work of man. It is facilitated by humility, good works and one's own questioning. But it can only come by the work of God. God doesn't reward those who make faith into an intellectual exercise. He will reward those who see faith as the pursuit of God himself. But that reward will come in God's time, not man's.