Friday, September 15, 2006

Don Jim on remaining in the Church

Why remain? I'm sure that's a question that everyone asks at some point in their life. Don Jim has some great thoughts ... do read the whole post but here's a very important thing to keep in mind:
That difficulty in discernment is also responsible for what sometimes angers us in "compromised Catholics," those who don't accept some part of the Church's teaching. I'm not talking about "cafeteria Catholics," whose beliefs are dictated by personal whim, but rather those who have made a sincere attempt to understand and accept the totality of Church teaching and have not been able to do so, who have in fact been convinced (or convinced themselves) that this or that teaching is either not an authoritative teaching, or is imperfectly framed, or is not universally valid. Why do they stay in the Church instead of finding a religion more suited to their theories? Because, I think, that they believe the teaching in question to be a misunderstanding arising from the Church's flawed, human elements, and, so, open to revision. Even if another religious group agrees with them on the point in question, that other group is not the Bride of Christ, the One Church, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. And, so, they stay within the Church, while regarding (say) the full, official teaching on the indissolubility of marriage to be in part a flawed human notion, much as I stay within the Church even though I regard various aspects of Church history to be shameful mistakes. If it were easier to discern between the human and the divine, many of those disagreements wouldn't even come up.
He also recommends (and I second) an essay by Hans urs von Balthassar on remaining in the Church. Tolle, legge!
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