Wednesday, October 02, 2013

About Conservative Catholic Idols

Addendum to last night's blogpost about Pope Francis' latest interview and the commotion around it.

Remember that the devil will use ANYTHING to turn us against the Church or Jesus Christ.

Including our own orthodoxy.

Strange as that sounds, the devil will use our own orthodoxy against us to separate us from the Church, and ultimately Jesus.

It is possible to make orthodoxy into an idol replacing Jesus.

We become so busy in pursuing orthodoxy, that we forget the ultimate goal.

The goal is not to give popes and other clergy litmus tests. Don't get me wrong, orthodoxy is very important.

But our goal is not to make the Church orthodox. Our goal is to save souls.

Orthodoxy is necessary but it's not the only way to save souls.

By that I mean some people come into the Church from an intellectual point of view, and so orthodoxy is really important.

But other people come to the Church from a mystical standpoint, because we have the Eucharist. Or from a psychological standpoint, because Christ healed them of a wound.

These are all valid means to save souls.

We are rightly disgusted with the dissent in our Church. But that disgust shouldn't turn into  a monomania where it`s the be-all and end-all of being Catholic.

'Cuz it`s not.

There are people in the world who don't think a lot about doctrine who are legitimate Catholics.

The purpose of  doctrine is to bring people to Christ, but for some people, it's not what leads. It's the Eucharist, or some spiritual or psychological aspect that brings them to Christ.

We shouldn't be so pharasaical that we have to evaluate everyone by their orthodoxy.

Everyone is at a different place in their spiritual life, and some people aren't not into doctrine right now.

What is unacceptable is when people have an agenda to spread serious errors. This we rightly oppose.

Our faith isn't reduced to doctrines. I guess this is what I'm trying to get at. Our faith is an encounter with Jesus Christ to bring us closer to him. Doctrines help us with that, but doctrines are not the only thing.  Our faith is not a theology test. Our faith is to love Christ and through him our neighbour. If someone doesn`t really know the Marian doctrines, that`s not so good, but if he tries hard to love God and his neighbour, that's the main thing. It`s not the only thing, but it's the main one.

Some people might discard that path because it's ignorant and not theological. That person is a not-good-enough Catholic because they don't even bother to learn their faith. While of course we should all learn our faith, but this is what St. Paul said when we shouldn't argue with those weak in the faith. We have to begin where people are at.

If we expect people to be doctrinal experts before they can be acceptable Catholics, then we're acting like Pharisees. We look down on people who were poorly catechized, or those who try to accompany them.

And in this way, the devil makes use of our commitment to orthodoxy and faithfulness to separate from Christ. We become full of pride and we say to ourselves: well those Catholics are no good, they haven't learned their catechism yet.

Instead of looking down on Catholics who aren't well-versed, we should try to care about them, and see what we can do to bring them one step forward to Christ. For some people it's difficult because it involves actual caring and empathy, and instead of putting forward information or an argument.

It's still something we need to learn.