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Thursday, 9 January 2014

The Disappearance of Rational Catholicism

One of the reasons I loved Benedict, Pope Emeritus so much, is that he cut through the "touchy-feeley" Church again and again, starting when he was a Cardinal, with such documents as the condemnation of Liberation Theology and Dominus Iesus.  Throughout his papacy, he was determined to clarify the errors of thinking using his brilliant, rational mind.

Most of the adults I have met in the Church, barring very few, (mostly converts), are stuck in a mode of approaching religion purely by emotional responses to either liturgy or doctrine. The number of those who fall into false teachings from seers, covered on the blog in detail, has weakened the Church from the inside. Also, some of the newer orders, especially those which were founded in and through Catholic Charismatic Renewal also have revealed sloppy teaching and a weakness for religious phenomena instead of doctrine or dogma.

In fact, many priests and monks I met in England were convinced that the only way to God was through experience, totally denying that one can, combined with the gift of faith, come to know God through the intellect. We are material and spiritual beings, between animals and the angels. We learn through the senses and through our minds. The rational capacity to study and know the Truth of God has been given to us.

We do not have instant knowledge, as we learn incrementally. But learn we must. And, I am totally convinced that the greatest weakness of today's Church is this avoidance of the rational. The anti-intellectualism of many, many Catholics is nothing more than disguised Protestantism. The emphasis on private revelation has ruined many good Catholics, sending them into the arms of Pentecostalism.

I am not the only one lamenting this demise of the rational. As Scott Hahn stated there is one road into the Catholic Church through the Charistmatic Renewal and seven roads out.

These seven roads were not to my knowledge defined by Hahn, but I can guess one; anti-intellectualism.

Why is this so dangerous? Firstly, people think they know the teachings of the Catholic Church but they do not. If one is not reading and studying the Catechism and the encyclicals, one will stay a child, a spiritual pygmy.

Second, we are in a fierce battle with evil in the world and all adults are called to the new evangelization, which is not based on feeling, but a real relationship with Christ and His Church. Apologetics must be part of the adult approach to the new evangelization.

Third and this is so important I cannot emphasize this enough, the intellect informs the will. The intellect forms the conscience. Without study, reflection and pursuing Church teaching, one simply does not have a rightly formed conscience.

So many people fall away out of ignorance. They think the Church teaches something which it may not.

We, as adults, are responsible for cultivating an adult faith. We have seen the Church weakened by false teachers, by ignorance, by heresy.

All of us must be able to play the game of "heresy watch".

To be a Catholic is to be a rational Christian. Rational Catholicism strengthens the Church. There are so many sites on line which teach the real deal. If people are not taking advantage of these, they will be judged harshly for not forming their consciences in conformity with the Church and for not passing down the faith to their children.

As baptized Catholics, we have no choice but to be rational Catholics.