Thursday, December 29, 2011

Video: Dumbed-Down Catholicism is the Problem

At about 3:30 of this video, Fr. Barron tells an anecdote that sums up what's wrong with Catholicism as it is handed down to our youth.

One of the big reasons I am Catholic today is that I was lucky enough to have a religion teacher who taught me the rudiments of Thomism in Grade 10.

Once I had those rudimentary points in hand, I could understand Catholicism on my own.

As far as I'm concerned, if you don't understand basic Thomism, you will never have a profound grasp of Church teaching. Your understanding will always be superficial.

That's not to say that every great writer in the Church has been a Thomist. St. Teresa of Avila had some very profound things to say. And she was not very educated.

But everything the Church teaches and preaches will be compatible with Thomism.

But we don't get that. We're scared of frightening everyone off. It's true, it's a bit challenging. It may not be Catholicism 101. But must we always remain at a level of Catholicism 101 in the Church? I wish the pastors would sometimes leave aside their anecdotes and their pop psychology-- cute and relevant as it may be to many people-- to probe deeper into our faith by referencing the great Catholic writers of the ages. I know many people's religious education has been mediocre and they don't have a clue who Thomas Aquinas is. Must pastors speak to the level of that mediocrity?

Nobody is going to run kicking and screaming from the pews because the preist referenced a line about grace in Augustine or a line from Aquinas on morality. If anything, the novelty of it might compel them to read up on them. There are people in our Church who don't have a clue on theology. Not a blessed clue. Grace, merit, redemption, salvation, Revelation, penance, sacraments, and on and on. And clergy seem afraid to refer to these ideas, instead of focusing on issues relating to psychology and personal relations.

As if our faith had nothing to do with those basic theological ideas.

People would not be scared off by a judicious use of great Catholic writers. If anything, it would push them to think more. Instead of relying on touchy-feely do-goodism, they would have something to think about (and assent to!) rather than something that just makes

Oh Lord, that pastors would understand this.

This is one reason I started The Catholic Breadbox. I've always liked quotations, because they're a neat way to introduce new ideas in a digestible format.