- In Bishops Play Church Queens as Pawns Maureen Dowd continued her predictably sophist rhapsody about the big old bad, mean, and patriarchal Catholic Church that she’s been uttering Ad nauseam for years. In this piece she commented voraciously on the recent decision of the Vatican to appoint a bishop to oversee the operations of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (the largest conference of religious sisters in the United States – representing 80% of nuns), which the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith assessed as having “serious doctrinal problems” and promoting “radical feminist themes.” Highlights? “How do you take spiritual direction from a church that seems to be losing its soul?” “Church leaders behave like adolescent boys, blinded by sex.” “The pope needs what the rest of us got from nuns: a good rap across the knuckles.”
- Consistently throughout Scripture Jesus asked us to ‘Follow Him’ – He never said ‘Do what I would do.’ Nevertheless, in What would Jesus Do? Not Stuff Like This, Susan Reimer opines, “It is no fun being a Catholic woman these days. In fact, it is almost embarrassing. First, the church hierarchy reminded us that those birth control pills in our medicine cabinets are forbidden. Then the bishops repeated their opposition, in various state legislatures, to any legal standing for our gay friends, family members, neighbors or co-workers, somehow casting their opposition as a matter of religious liberty. Now the Vatican is screwing the lid down on American nuns, who the church thinks are spending too much time on social justice issues and not enough time pounding home the message about birth control and abortion.”
She then concludes with a number of unanswered questions, “Why is the Catholic Church tightening the screws of doctrine in a world already awash in religious extremists? Why would it handcuff the good sisters, who live only to serve the weakest among us and be their voice for justice? Why would it wound the faithful at their most vulnerable moments? Why does it exclude, when it could embrace?
- Then in In the Spotlight: Catholic Church positions driving people away John Slevin offers a wash of moral relativism in suggesting that the Church should modify it’s teachings on sin just because it’s members are sinning. He writes, “I must further question why Bishop Jenky has become so angry at Obama, and especially ballistic over the requirement that health insurance cover birth control, when I am quite certain that most Roman Catholic families have used birth control at one time or another for different reasons. It could have been that they were emotionally or financially not willing to conceive a child at the time, or because it was prescribed by a doctor for a medical condition such as endometriosis.”
Of course I should mention that Reimer and Slevin claim to be Catholics. Also to demonstrate the effects of moral relativism and the issue these opinionators have with the Catholic Church’s theology on natural conception, we have to point out that up until 1930, all Protestant denominations were in agreement with the Catholic Church’s teaching that using artificial contraception (for the purpose of restricting natural conception) was immoral. It was not until after 1930 when the Anglican church, swayed by growing social pressure and a shift in public opinion, announced that contraception would be allowed in some circumstances. And it was not long after that self-inflicted crack in the doctrine did the Anglican church completely caved in by allowing contraception across the board. Since that time, all other Protestant denominations have followed suit. Today, the Catholic Church alone proclaims the historic Christian position on contraception.
The main reason why my eyebrows don’t get wrinkled when I read this type of trash is because I recognize the gruesome fact that these people have no qualms whatsoever with what the Catholic Church teaches. On the contrary, their issue is what something much older than the institutional Church – their issue is with the truth. They happen to be suffering from an age-old internal conflict and wrestling match that human beings have always had with the truth. Indeed, it is the very same conflict that people had with Jesus Christ, who called Himself the Truth (Cf. John 14:6). People change, but the truth never does.
That we Catholic-Christians are persecuted within and without for what we have been holding to be true since the beginning is a great opportunity for us to rejoice. Even as Jesus said Himself, “Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12).
What we have to do is pray for people who persecute us and who are having this unresolved internal conflict with the truth; for we have all wrestled with God in this life, and some of us have a longer time than others learning that it is the much better portion to Cooperate with God, than to work against Him. We must also be unafraid to evangelize the truth of our faith. Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword” (Matthew 10:35). Later in Hebrews we hear “Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Many will not accept the truth or us – no big surprise – they didn’t accept Jesus either, but as our Lord preached the truth until His death, so must we. Therefore be encouraged to love your neighbors by sharing the truth with them and correcting error when you are confronted with it.
And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God. ~ John 3:19-21
“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.” ~ John 15:18-19