Tuesday, May 25, 2004


Discernment went well. The decision I've made to become Catholic was something thought out, something I'm convinced is right, something, in the end, that I'm ready to defend. I'm looking forward to the coming RICA classes. I don't think dismissal will be too hard -- perhaps I might continue to go to Mass with my family on Saturday evening and just go alone on Sunday morning for dismissal study.

I began, tonight, to see some of the deep fissures in even this local church, let alone the global Catholic Church. During my discernment, we spoke a bit about contraception and gay marriage. We all know people we love and respect who have used contraception and others, both friend and family, who are gay. We all know of friends and family whose marriages have fallen apart around them. We all know and love people who sin just as we ourselves live in daily sin. Drawing a line in the sand and refusing communion to politicians who support abortion, or refusing communion to individual catholics who vote for politicians who support abortion... in effect, turns the church into a single issue body. Is this good? I'm too young in my faith to make that call... but I don't get the impression from what history I've read of our Tradition that the Catholic Church is historically a single-issue church and I don't get the impression from the Bible that Jesus was a single-issue teacher.

One instructor said that the Catholic Church can be a very comfortable place for unthinking people, people who are happy to be told, 'This is Right' and 'This is wrong' and that's that. The instructor said that the church can also be a very turbulent place for people who think.

This, of course, is dangerous ground because there are plenty of people who think who are very comfortable with the Catholic Faith and there are plenty of people who don't think hardly at all who bash the church out of pure ignorance. This comes quite close to the nuance thing... saying that the more intelligent you are, the less difference there is between Right and Wrong. The Protestant Churches, more and more, just don't go there, where 'there' is divorce, homosexuality, abortion, infidelity... sin. They don't go there because they don't want to alienate anyone and reduce their rolls even further, even faster... but this has the opposite effect as many studies have shown (none of which I'm going to try to find tonight). Whether we care to hear about issues in black and white or not, we need to allow Right and Wrong to be preached. If some go away mad, at least they have a passion and aren't luke warm.

We raised our teenagers with a plan: arguments are going to happen and it's the kid who should go away mad. They should go away mad because teenagers are built to rebel, it's part of growing... if they have no boundaries to bash against and never have the opportunity to yell, "It's just not FAIR" well... then they'll most likely be rather spoiled fruit.

I feel the same about my priest giving a sermon against contraception, against gay marriage, against abortion, against divorce... against the lives of some of my friends and family... perhaps it isn't fair. Get used to it, don't be spoiled in your faith, there are boundaries.

Update: Liberal Churches See Drop in Attendance

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