I borrowed the words for the topic of this post from Pope Benedict XVI. His words were actually “Christian faith provides a surer basis for life than the secular vision.” I changed it to love because that is a more accurate statement, in my opinion.
B16 continued on to discuss further the New Evangelization Pontifical Council which is setup to promote “a renewal of authentic Christian living based on the teachings of the Church.” I don’t know about you, surfers, but I have been struggling with my faith and religion for many years. I am ready for my renewal of Christian living that is authentic. I fear that New Evangelization will not be able to help me because it only sees the struggle for our renewal against the backdrop of the secularization of our societies.
Fellowship with one another is one of the bases for love in Christian faith. As I continue to struggle and search for answers regarding my faith there are members of the Catholic Church who continue to call me a small-c Catholic, or worse. One name I have not been called is a secularist, but I am sure that name is coming soon. Most of these conversations end with the same sentiment that I should leave the Catholic Church. Many years ago my wife and I considered changing our religious practice to one of the Protestant denominations, but we didn’t. No matter where we would go the result would be the same. We continue to struggle with that decision every day, but we know our Christian obligations.
Can. 210 All the Christian faithful must direct their efforts to lead a holy life and to promote the growth of the Church and its continual sanctification, according to their own condition.
– Code of Canon Law, Title I. THE OBLIGATIONS AND RIGHTS OF ALL THE CHRISTIAN FAITHFUL
My children are receiving a Catholic School education. As they are growing they ask questions about why my understanding of Catholicism and our Parish Priest’s differ. They will make up their own minds about the teachings of the Church. My role in their education is to provide authentic witness on Christian faith and fellowship through example. A true Catholic Church witness to true Catholic values.
Education is the most interesting and difficult adventure in life. Educating – from the Latin educere – means leading young people to move beyond themselves and introducing them to reality, towards a fullness that leads to growth. This process is fostered by the encounter of two freedoms, that of adults and that of the young. It calls for responsibility on the part of the learners, who must be open to being led to the knowledge of reality, and on the part of educators, who must be ready to give of themselves. For this reason, today more than ever we need authentic witnesses, and not simply people who parcel out rules and facts; we need witnesses capable of seeing farther than others because their life is so much broader. A witness is someone who fi rst lives the life that he proposes to others.
Where does true education in peace and justice take place? First of all, in the family, since parents are the first educators. The family is the primary cell of society; “it is in the family that children learn the human and Christian values which enable them to have a constructive and peaceful coexistence. It is in the family that they learn solidarity between the generations, respect for rules, forgiveness and how to welcome others.”
– Papal Message December 8, 2011
For my conservative friends out there, I am not certain I can leave the Catholic Church even if I wanted to. OMNIUM IN MENTEM signed by B16 in 2009 ensures I will always be a Catholic. Because I have questions regarding Catholic teachings and struggle with my faith does not make me a threat. The Catholic values of a peaceful and constructive coexistence with those who struggle with their faith, like me, must be a Catholic hallmark. Welcome me, and those like me, with love that comes from God.
“I’ve been experiencing some challenges to my beliefs lately, and I feel like I have nowhere to go to help me with my questions…. I cannot imagine giving up and leaving Christianity, but at the same time I don’t want to close my eyes and ears to genuine issues that should be faced. I don’t know where to really even look for answers to my problems. Most of the people I know are either too conservative with regards to Christianity, or against it. I feel stuck in the middle!
– A woman named Stephanie
Regarding the challenges outlined by Stephanie, she is not alone. B16 made the statement that “it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of humanity truly becomes clear” (Gaudium et Spes, 22), and I am in 110% agreement with the Pope on this account. I also believe that this mystery of the Word strikes religion as much as it strikes secularism. There are teachings of the Church and teachings of secularism that need to be exposed to the light of the Word in order to achieve the renewal that the New Evangelization Pontifical Council is looking for. I sometimes wonder if Catholic leadership established this New Evangelization for purely economic reasons. If they did, it will fail.
God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.
If we say, “We have fellowship with him,”
while we continue to walk in darkness,
we lie and do not act in truth.
But if we walk in the light as he is in the light,
then we have fellowship with one another
– 1 Jn 1
So the question remains; if I feel that there are teachings of the Church that need to change, why am I still Catholic?
I am still a Catholic because of the beauty of Catholicism, beauty being truth in its most attractive form. It is the beauty of the images and stories of Catholicism which keep me in the Church, not the wisdom or intelligence or the virtue of the Church leadership. Beauty, truth in its most attractive form, is not weaker than prosaic truth but stronger… I’m still a Catholic because of the beauty of the Catholic stories.
So are most of us Catholics.
An appeal to beauty may seem a weak argument; surely it will seem weak to many of the Catholic conservatives who write in this book. Again I remind them that we were Catholics for several centuries before the doctrines acquired some precision. It was the beauty of the stories and the lives inspired by the stories, particularly the Christmas and Easter stories which appealed to those who heard them. Whatever appeal our idiot leaders have left us is still to be found in the beauty of the stories.
Beauty is not opposed to truth. It is simply truth in its most attractive form.
I wonder how I would be able to explain that I am still a Catholic to Sam Donaldson. If I said to him it was because of the beauty of Catholic stories, he wouldn’t know what I was talking about.
Or to the ineffable Phil Donahue whose main concern seems to be whether masturbation is a mortal sin. Or to those Catholic conservatives for whom a list of doctrinal assents is the proper measure of Catholicism.
One of which assents is NOT to the notion that God is love, a notion which they find dangerous.
Too bad for St. John.
They are the heretics, the falsifiers of the tradition, the scribes and Pharisees of our time, the false prophets.
Pay them no heed.
– Andrew M. Greeley, Author, Priest, Sociologist
Father Greeley has a wonderful way with words. He is an author, after all. I am in 110% agreement with Fr. Greeley regarding why I am still Catholic and why I will remain Catholic. I also tend to agree with his opinion regarding the scribes and Pharisees of our time. I will keep my obligations to the Church. I may not agree with every teaching of the Church but there is no secular vision that includes a basis for LOVE.