condemning the Church
April 20, 2010 § Leave a comment
Sometimes I think, that the reason why people dislike the Catholic Church, is that we attack their actions/thinking too much. And it also seems, we are too much on the high and mighty ground. Just think of the numerous things which a person who is generally regarded as good by his peers can be accused of. Use of contraceptives, an act which some regard as a responsible step in family planning, is wrong. Abortion in the case of rape is also wrong. Being gay is wrong. Divorce is wrong.
When one faces with this list of not-to-dos, it is hard to believe that the heart of Christianity is love. But the thing is, it really is.
Just look at the way Jesus treats the adulterous woman who is being stoned (as I blogged earlier). Now, whatever you should think of homosexuality, or abortion, or contraceptives, I think I can assume safely that you think adultery is wrong. It is going back on one’s marital vows, and an act of betrayal. Yet, Jesus speaks up for her, not to say that she is right though, but to dare those with stones in their hands to cast a stone if they had not sinned before. Then, after they walk away weighed down by guilt, He tells her that He does not condemn her.
Phenomenal. Even Jesus does not condemn her, what right do we have to condemn those who have flouted the rules that we hold so dear to our hearts?
Returning to my point about why people hate the Catholic Church. Are they justified? To some extent, if our own Catholics have treated them uncharitably. Discrimination against the evil-doer (in our eyes), even though out of a sense of justice, may not have been the best of actions if it was not motivated by love for the sinner. For love triumphs over justice, as Jesus showed. If He had condemned her, it would entirely be just. But He didn’t even though He is sinless Himself, because He loves her.
If Jesus who was perfect didn’t condemn, it seems that neither should anyone. The Church herself says that it is the sin that She condemns, not the sinner. If it came out any other way, it may be a case of misunderstanding. Admittedly, it may also be due to a lack of love on our part. But perhaps one needs to realise that the Catholic Church is made up of sinners who sometimes fail in their ability to be truly loving. No Catholic, I believe, would even attempt to deny that. But being sinners ourselves doesn’t mean that we cannot uphold the truth that Jesus taught. This truth does not come from us- man. If it did, one should feel free to reject it. A thousand men have a thousand opinions anyway. Sure, it would be a lot better if we could practise what we preach, if there weren’t the sex scandals that the Church is facing now. It affects our credibility as Catholics, but at the end of the day, what is right is right, and what is wrong is wrong, and we still have the duty as Catholics to proclaim the truth. The quality of truth-ness that truth has is not affected by the utterer of truth.
Knowing that a loving and forgiving God is the founder of Christianity, it is important for those who have been condemned to realise that however hypocritical Catholics may sometimes be, myself a very guilty party, it is not Christ whom they should turn away from. For He is the remedy, to hypocritical Catholics, to all guilty sinners.
I think it apt to end off with a quote by Fulton Sheen:
“There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church.”