Friday, October 16, 2009

If we disagree with the Church, we disagree with Christ

Parents Weekend events:
1) Newman Center Open House, tomorrow (10/17), 12 noon- 4 pm
2) Sunday Mass (10/18), 11 am, St Stephen's Church (25th and Penn. Ave)
Recently, I have had separate conversations with two students who said the same thing: "there are some teachings of the Church that I disagree with". Each of them came to talk to me for reasons other than these teachings and each meeting was really beautiful. Obviously, their matching statement didn't surprise me because it's a prevalent point among many Catholics. The openness that each of them showed when I talked to them about the Church and her teachings was a pleasant and refreshing surprise. Each of them boldly revealed that that was the first time they had really heard the truth about the Church and her teachings. Thanks be to God, each of them is much more on board with the Church now.

So, based on these conversations and on my experience in general, here are some key points for GW Catholics to consider:

1) The teachings of the Catholic Church are from the Holy Spirit.
Neither student knew the answer to this question: "when did the Catholic Church begin?" The answer is 33 A.D. The Church began at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles. The Lord promised to send the Spirit, "the Spirit of truth" who "will guide you to all truth" (Jn 16:13). The Spirit of truth has been guiding the Church for 2000 years. This guarantees us that what the Church teaches us is Truth. All of her teachings in faith and morals are free from error. They are the Truth!

2) The teachings of the Church are the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Our Lord gives the authority to the Apostles to continue his teach in his name and in the name of Heaven. He does this first with Peter (the first pope): "Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Mt 16:19). He gives the same authority to the other Apostles (the first bishops) in Matthew 18:18. They have passed down this authority to their successors (popes and bishops) for 2000 years...this is know as Apostolic Tradition. This unbroken tradition guarantees us that what the current pope and bishops teach is from Christ himself.

3) Christ and the Church are one.
Jesus makes this clear in the Gospel (e.g., "I am the vine, you are branches" - Jn 15:5). This point is also made by St Paul throughout his letters (e.g., "Christ is the head of the body, the church" - Col 1:18). Christ is the head, the Church is the body. Because Christ and the Church are one, what we say about the Church is what we say about Christ. If we disagree with the Church, we disagree with Christ. But, the more we are with the Church in mind and heart, the more we are in union with Christ.

Finally, a spiritual point about the Church and Christ that is also practical in our modern world. Think about what got Christ killed. Why was he crucified? What did he do wrong? He didn't do anything wrong. All he did was speak the truth. People either weren't ready for it or they didn't want to hear it. So, they killed him for it. He was hated and crucified by the world because he spoke Truth. The same has happened to his body, the Church. The Church is hated and crucified every day by the world because she speaks the truth. Many people still don't want to hear the truth even though "the truth will set you free" (Jn 8:32). Knowing that this would bring about his death, Jesus spoke the truth in love. The Church continues to do this in the modern world.

No comments: