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Wednesday, 10 June 2015


A bit ago, I wrote how one cannot have discussions with some in the Church anymore as people have moved so far away from Catholic doctrine that they no longer are using words correctly. Definitions mean something.

I recall almost nine years ago being in a classroom in a course on Aristotle, as an observer. After twenty minutes of discussion in which the students were discussing a key idea, I raised my hand. "No one has defined the term yet, and definitions precede discussion." The professor agreed, stopped the discussion and suggested to the class that the real definition by Aristotle himself had to be the starting place for any work on the idea.

Definitions mean something. The word Incarnation means something specific. The word mercy, or the word justice denote something. Connotations follow denotations.

The word Trinity means something specific, as do the words male and female, or life and death.

When key definitions become lost, forgotten, or ignored, chaos results.

Too many Catholics in the pew simply do not know doctrines, dogmas, definitions give to us by God through Scripture and Tradition. Basic definitions and even more complicated ones seems to be overlooked in favor of "personal interpretations".

To be a Catholic means something. We define ourselves, hopefully, as Catholics, a word which has a definition.

Catholic, with a capital "C" means being a member of the Catholic Church. Membership connotes active participation in something. If one buys a membership to a gym and never goes to work out, one may call one's self a "member" but the definition has been changed to mean either financially or legally a member, but not a member who is working out, exercising three days a week, or uses the facilities in a regular manner.

"Yes, I am a member of ...., but I have not been to work out in a year" indicates that a person simply is not interested, or committed to exercise.

Definitions mean something.

"I am a contracepting Catholic" or "As a Catholic, I support same sex marriage" seem to be phrases which change the definition of Catholic, just like the woman who tells me that she is a member of the .....Club, but she never uses the pool, never works out, never has a party in the clubhouse and so on.

Until we take definitions seriously, definitions such as marriage, confusion will reign supreme.

Language must be precise to be a useful means of communication. And, the Catholic Church has precise definitions for almost anything one can imagine.

When we call Christ "The Word of God", we mean that He is the specific Logos which is God's Will in the world. He is God, a Divine Person, which is the ancient meaning of Logos. The Word made Flesh means that Christ is Incarnated. He is the Revelation of God to the material world.

Definitions mean something. And, we can be assured, by looking towards the Teaching Magisterium of the Church, that we are getting the correct, God-given definitions, given to the Church for our salvation. To change definitions of grace, salvation, and sacrament spells danger for the Catholic.