(Originally written in 2011)
The Catholic faith is constantly under attack, not only by those directly opposed to the faith but by Christians as well. Our stance against abortion and contraception, sexual promiscuity of any form and also for tenants of the faith are examples of issue which seem to be stumbling blocks. But we Catholics understand the truths handed down to us from the apostles through the church and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We know these to be truth and with our eyes set on the things not seen we focus on the eternal. To gain the eternal, we must live a fruitful life through witness to the gospel in this world.
However we have a real problem here. The issue is that we have two types of horrible Catholics both in and out of the clergy. So many hypocrites exist but the biggest problem I fear are twofold, The disconnect that is often between the actions of our authorities within the church and what is preached and taught.
We often have Bishops and or priests that when the secular public makes a scene about the teachings of the faith they back track. In one instance in the Diocese of San Diego a Bishop twice back tracked when they denied a Christian funeral for two non-practicing catholic homosexual that owned gay bars. It has always been understood and is canon law that anyone who lived in obvious sin without any signs of repentance cannot receive a Christian funeral. But when they tried to enforce this rule public opinion and condemnation swayed the Catholic authority.
The attempt to prevent scandal in actuality created a double scandal. Not only did know they allow it, which then sent the message that it is ok to live in Sin. However then they also affirm that church teaching is essentially meaningless. If they are willing to back down to popularity, then they have lost all authority to teach. They have condemned themselves because these actions will certainly drive others to sin instead of show them the truths of the faith.
Had the Bishops stood up and in a loving manner explained the teachings of the faith and why the funerals would not be allowed it would have sent a signal that we stand for the truth. Now it appears to others that we stand for nothing that could not be changed with a popularity contest. I cringe when I see these types of reports; this is more hurtful to the conversion of souls than the actual sins perpetrated by others within our midst.
Another issue is those within our midst that do not live the Gospel but want to hit others over the head with our teachings. What I mean is that we cannot change the hearts of others by attacking them with the truths or condemning their actions. So, often I see many people get into arguments instead of dialogue. To dialogue you need to have a loving respect for the other person. It is only through love that we will ever change the hearts of this society.
Recently, I have had a change of view about a serious issue. I may be wrong but the whole gay marriage issue I think is overblown. The civil form of marriage has little value in my eyes. I never thought highly about it when I got married, and I think less about it now. When we fight those trying to propagate this highly political issue we give these people a stage to call us all kinds of names like hate mongers and the like. Meanwhile the courts grant divorces at the drop of a hat. The fact that marriage is a business transaction in most cases should be made apparent. So, it is meaningless.
I believe we should drop this fight and instead focus on teaching within our own church the proper meaning and understanding of marriage. But when we talk of marriage in the Catholic Church we speak about two people, a man and a woman, who join together in a complete natural union created by God that will bring the gift of life, which is children, if God wills it. Marriage is a gift of love which is a gift that comes from God. That way we understand and become open to life. At this time unfortunately most Catholics are not. It is that mentality that allows people to accept contraception and abortion since we think we are the arbiters of life and not God himself.
But the point I am trying to get at it is this. We need to focus on our own household. We have to build the proper supports and understanding that will lead to a life of living the gospel and the teachings of our faith in everything we do and say. That is how the church was born. That is how the church grew. It was by giving and loving and not by arguing with others. When others see the joy we have within our communities and in the way we live our lives and that we are faithful then they will join us. Then their hardened hearts will change. But when you look around at how poorly we are behaving it is no wonder that few truly believe that we have a real and vibrant faith.
We must turn our faith into one of love for our Church community but also for love of all outside our church as well. Even the sinners need our love. How will we save souls as God has asked us to do if we do not show them love? It will be by loving the world that we can affect the most change not by entering into political arguments or popularity contests. Hence it is the old way of evangelization that becomes new again.
As Saint Francis was quoted as saying, so we must live “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.”