I guess I don't understand the lack of room for any dissent in personal beliefs. I am a cradle catholic and felt very much at home in our parish until the last five years or so, when people started being so militant about the "right" way to do things and calling people out for perceived "wrongs." For example, a very gossipy group of women decided to take umbrage about a parishioner whose child was conceived by IVF. I think that people need to make their own personal choices about whether or not they are right with GOD and not be so nosy, busy bodying, and judgmental against everyone else. If you are truly pushing for what you consider the Authentic Catholic faith, be prepared for a mass exodus of parishioners and their pocketbooks.
We aren't talking about "dissent from personal beliefs." We are talking about dissent from Catholic Church teaching. Jesus gave authority to the Church when He gave Peter the keys. If you dissent from Christ's teaching, it's like someone insisting that it is a "personal belief" that two and two equals four and he can believe whatever he wants to about addition. IVF is morally wrong. So is fornication. The children who result from those sinful acts, however, are no less created in the image of God than anyone else.As for a "mass exodus" for teaching the truth, would that be so bad if those who left had already left long ago in mind heart? At least they would stop being hypocrites. Jesus was pretty "judgmental" about them.Your statement about people making their own choices about whether they are "right with God" is frightening when you consider the ability of people to foster self-delusion. If you can decide you are "right with God" while thumbing your nose at His laws....well, what more is there to say except what Jesus said. "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of my Father in heaven."Finally, that thing between our ears is often called the "seat of judgment." It is irresponsible not to use it to make judgments based on right reason.
I had occasion to do this on Christmas Eve when some very obvious Easter/Christmas "Catholics" were in the pews in front of me. I watched in stunned silence while their children (and they themselves) received Holy Communion with shrugs of the shoulders about what to do, holding open their mouths on their way back to the pew as if the Host burned, and giggles and talking immediately on getting back to their pews--so proud that they "did it" but not knowing what they did. I prayed that if God wanted me to say something, He'd make it easy for me to do so. Well, sure enough, the mother and I ended up walking out together. I mentioned what I saw and asked that they please read John 6 to remind themselves that the Eucharist truly is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ.She was shell shocked and probably angry, but I really felt a strong push to instruct the ignorant. I hope I did the right thing. I've since prayed for that family and owe them some fasting too.
We've already had the mass exodus at least of priests and religious. Just look at the statistics HERETruth is not something one compromises about. But it is true that we are called not to judge the state of people's souls. But we are called to judge their objective actions and admonish them. Jesus did that quite often with the Pharisees and most of the folks that deserve admonishment now are our flavor of Pharisees.
I remember well Sister Alexia teaching us in seventh grade that we must judge actions, "but the state of another person's soul before God is none of your business!"She could have added that when we got older we would have enough trouble worrying about the state of our own souls, that we wouldn't have time to worry about anyone else's.That was the 1956-57 school year. I'm very fortunate to have grown up then.
"If you are truly pushing for what you consider the Authentic Catholic faith, be prepared for a mass exodus of parishioners and their pocketbooks."Well, this would be...A great thing!At least they, (along with Luther, Calvin, Zwingley, Knox, etc., etc.) would be *honest* about whether they were - um - Catholic or not.If one does not want to follow the teachings of the faith (i.e. the faith that Our Lord handed down *once* to the Apostles - Jude 3) then, please God, at least be honest enough to leave the Church.Good for you anonymous at 5:30 PM, Jan. 3rd.St. Paul gives a grave (no pun intended) warning about those who receive Holy Communion (and remember, when you receive Our Lord's Body - you are *accepting* all that He taught, and Mother Church teaches [see CCC 1814]) without properly examining one's conscience - and, by proxy, believing the teachings of the Church on the issues of faith and morals (see 1 Cor. 11:24-30 and CCC 892).Catechist Kevin
I see your point, but I am also so discouraged by those who seem not to want to evangelize, but to criticize constantly. There is such a push to be seen as the best sort of catholic at our parish, which really means just to be showy about things like the number of children you have or abstaining from meat year round or homeschooling. Our parish has turned into some sort of competition. It's very painful to have everyone assume and make comments about how we must use birth control when in reality we are unable to have more children. And I can't imagine what the mom of the IVF baby felt when these same people questioned if that child could go to the parish school. I wish that there was a more of a drive to be loving and compassionate rather than loudly judgmental. -the first anonymous
An honest question here. If I really don't believe what the church teaches, should I leave? Find another church? Be an ex-Catholic and just stay home? What is your opinion?
I have to answer a question with a question because I'm really baffled. If you don't believe what the Church teaches, why would you want to stay? One of the reasons I remain in the Church despite all the terrible things happening and the disgraceful record of the U.S. bishops is because I believe it is true. The doctrine is exactly why I remain in the Church. If I was here for the fellowship or the good preaching, or the bingo I'd have been out long ago. So, if I didn't believe, I would want to study the doctrine and see whether I really understood what the teaching is and why the Church teaches it. My husband and I had our own difficulty in our early marriage accepting the Church teaching on birth control. We decided we couldn't throw it out without even really knowing or understanding it. So we first read Humanae Vitae and it made total sense. It makes more sense in retrospect since all the evils Pope Paul VI predicted as a result of contraception have come to pass.
Unlike many Protestant denominations, the Catholic church is not a social club. If you don't believe what the church teaches then you are being a hypocrite to stay.I would be careful however, because the church is a pretty big tent and what it teaches in not so uniform as many folks believe. There is a tremendous range of things that are not teachings but practices.The church could allow married priests. It has had married priests a number of times. So before saying that you don't believe something the church teaches you have to 1) determine what it is, 2) determine what the churches teaching is, 3) determine why you don't believe it (is it because you truly think it is wrong after studying the issue, or is it because you'd prefer not to believe it because it inconveniences you in some way?). The church is a supernatural institution not a mere human institution so you owe the church obedience if you are a believer. However, that is not the same as saying that every priest or bishop is teaching the truth, so you have to practice discernment.There are also various responses to faith. A book which I no longer have or recall the title of taught that there are three fundamental responses: 1) programmatic, 2) autogenous, and 3) pneumatic. The programmatic response is one of obedience to the church because it is founded and led by Christ. The autogenous is obedience to your own reason and conscience but you have the responsibility to form it properly and this is particularly true when you find yourself at odds with the church. Finally there is the pneumatic response which is the charismatic which entails direct experience of the Holy Spirit. This is often the most dangerous since Satan can appear as an angel of light so that even the elect are led astray. Humility in all things and prayer and discernment are always prerequisites. The risks of failing to follow are increasingly great as you move from programmatic to pneumatic. Each person is a combination of these responses. I found this insight very helpful in my own life. I am predominantly autogenous and as a result have often resisted aspects of church teaching I thought were extreme. Mostly I've come around to seeing the error of my ways. I think praying for increases in humility can only help.
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