Being Catholic Without Being Catholic
When joining the Church more than four years ago I was shocked to silence at how many Cradle Papists I would encounter who hated the Catholic Church for, well, acting like the Catholic Church. It made no sense to me as a Protestant-turned-Agnostic why someone would remain as a Catholic while demanding that the Catholic Church cease in its Catholicity and begin to resemble the local Unitarian Community. When asked what they wanted to Catholicism to be, the response was nearly always, “A Church that appeals to more people,” to which Carl Olson in his latest post, correctly pointed was a way of saying, “In a way that appeals to me.” The fact remains that many Westerners still want a personal God who will not be so personal.
The Church may lose some appeal to the masses, but that is something that the Church is quite used to. I am more than sure that St. Ignatius was caring little about popular opinion as he was being dragged to Rome to be consumed by lions, and I know that many martyrs were little stricken by their unpopularity in the Colosseum. The modern mindset sees the measure of a good religion by how many attendants it attracts and how good it makes the attendants feel. Numbers, however, have nothing to do with the measure of any faith, any less do they have anything to do with ideas. The only thing that matters is if it is true, and on this measure we weigh the entire universe of thought. My true statement to a child that he will burn his hand on the hot stove takes in no consideration the child’s sincere desire to touch the stove but the truth of the matter. I may, as an adult, allow the child the will to touch the stove and feel the pain, but again the truth is set regardless of any emotions in the situation. Perhaps, if I ascribed to the Oprah doctrine, I would not coddle the young one and assure him that his positive thinking will overcome the heat from the stove, but then I am in falsehood, no matter how well intentioned the falsehood.