Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Dissent, Truth, and Obedience

Today there are too many people who call themselves Catholic but, in reality, are not. Some are "Catholic" in name only, knowing very little about our Lord, His Church, and the Faith which they profess. Any number of reasons may explain this.

Others, having been taught about the Church and the Catholic faith from professedly Catholic institutions or others, believe they have acquired a special wisdom and power, with the ability to judge the legitimacy or relevance of Magisterial pronouncements.

We see it every day. We have seen it for years. Some of us may have even been a part of it at one time or another during our own lives. What is this "it"? It is nothing more than a new taking-up of an old revolution, a new embracing of an "enlightenment", which is is, in reality, the old sin of pride and disobedience, dressed up in new words and phrases, in an attempt to be persuasive - to one's own conscience as well as to others.

What we are witnessing (and have witnessed) is not only a revolution, but a bold and insolent rejection of morality and of doctrine.

The encyclical, Veritatis Splendor (The Splendor of Truth) was written by Pope John Paul II, in part, to address "...'the issues regarding the very foundations of moral theology', foundations which are being undermined by certain present day tendencies."

These "tendencies" include errors which distort or deny the Church’s moral teaching or her authority to speak on moral issues. These "tendencies" rupture the relationship which authentic freedom has with Truth - that Truth which is the Person of Jesus Christ and His teaching. This dissent, this rupturing, this "tearing asunder", is founded on pride and arrogance and buttressed by distortions and denials. It contaminates and poisons the unwary.

In recent decades, many professed Catholic 'theologians' and others have opined that a Catholic may dissent from authoritative, non-infallible teachings of the Magisterium and that a Catholic is at liberty to ignore the Church to follow his own conscience.

This thinking reflects a human intellect which is unwilling to be enlightened by faith and, consequently, prone to error in moral matters. This error exalts one's conscience to the level of being the supreme judge in all moral matters. The subjective conscience is thus divorced from objective truth. Following the suggestion of the serpent in the Garden of Eden, one has chosen to become like God, arbitrarily deciding by himself and for himself what is good and what is evil.

Those who engage in the promotion of such dissent and rebellion are also depriving others of their right to the truth. It is by the truth - Jesus Christ - that we are saved. It is by obedience to Him that one attains heaven. He gave us His Church, aided by the Holy Spirit, to guide us in His truth.

What, then, is a Catholic to do to avoid being poisoned or corrupted by such pervasive dissent, rebellion, and disobedience? One must strive even more to be ever in union with our Lord and His Church. One must be prepared to refute and condemn the errors which cause so much spiritual sickness and death. One must pray for those who, like a carrier of some deadly communicable disease, infect others with their errors. And one must pray for all those who must suffer the effects of such errors. We also should encourage our priests and bishops to nourish the faithful with the truth in obedience to Christ. We should thank those who are fearless in proclaiming this truth.

We must remember that
"...obedience to the Vicar of Christ is the acid test of being a bona fide Catholic today...And as long as the bishop is kept in a diocese by the pope, we owe him obedience. But ...our obedience to the bishop is conditioned by the bishop’s own obedience to the Bishop of Rome, then, fidelity to the Church’s teaching." *

Posted as I received it from LRS.

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