Monday, June 09, 2008

Catholicism was never meant to be taken literally?

Responding to an open letter which I wrote to His Excellency, the Most Reverend Robert J. McManus, and which may be found here, an anonymous individual has left a comment at this Blog defending Fr. Andre Dargis. This anonymous individual wrote, "Catholicism was never meant to be taken literally...All of the negative bloggers here seem content to cite Church teachings as if Christ himself taught them. Note to the uneducated - many, many teachings of the Church were created after Jesus, including many that have been cited by bloggers here. Is everyone here mindless enough to believe all these things taught not by Jesus, but in fact written hundreds of years later, many by early popes and bishops, are to be taken as true?"

And after chiding me (and others who comment here) for being "mindless," "uneducated," and "negative," this pillar of Catholic charity writes: "Before you all criticize him [Fr. Dargis] for his lack of doctrine, why don't you research the doctrine yourselves, and realize who wrote what, why they wrote it, the political ramifications of those times, as well as the pressures put on them from their common people. I am certain Fr. Dargis has done his research on the history of the early church, and from what I read, I am equally certain most of you bloggers have not."

What this troubled soul doesn't understand is that those of us who are authentically Catholic do indeed accept what the Church proposes for our belief as true. The Catechism defines faith thusly: "Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us, and that the Holy Church proposes for our belief, because he is truth itself." (CCC, 1814). Faith is the acceptance of the truths revealed by God without proof.

Faith is a grace: "Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him. 'Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior helps of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth.'" (CCC, 153).

Faith does not contradict reason. Consequently, once the truths which have been revealed by God are accepted, human reason attempts to understand and defend those truths. Faith may be understood as "faith seeking understanding" (CCC, 154-159). As No. 156 explains:

"What moves us to believe is not the fact that revealed truths appear as true and intelligible in the light of our natural reason: we believe "because of the authority of God himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived". So "that the submission of our faith might nevertheless be in accordance with reason, God willed that external proofs of his Revelation should be joined to the internal helps of the Holy Spirit." Thus the miracles of Christ and the saints, prophecies, the Church's growth and holiness, and her fruitfulness and stability "are the most certain signs of divine Revelation, adapted to the intelligence of all"; they are "motives of credibility" (motiva credibilitatis), which show that the assent of faith is "by no means a blind impulse of the mind."

I know this will probably come as a surprise to this confused defender of Fr. Dargis, but the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum) of Vatican II had this to say:

"..the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed." (No. 10).

Let's pray that the unhappy soul who left this angry comment will take the time to research the documents of Vatican II. We've heard enough about the "spirit of Vatican II" (the truly mindless ideology which has contributed so greatly toward the formation of Cotton-Candy Catholicism, a sacharrin spirituality devoid of any substance). Let's actually read the documents. Is that asking too much?


Anonymous said...

Notice how vague anonymous' criticism is Paul? Your letter to Bishop McManus is rock-solid Catholic teaching which cites extensively from Vatican II and Pope John Paul II. That's why this person can't refute what you say.

I challenge this person to reveal his/her true identity and to show us from Church documents why he/she believes you are in error.

I know I'll get no response. These dishonest types prefer to hide in the shadows and accomplish their works in secret. This because they know they have nothing solid to offer.

Anonymous said...

It would seem that the pastor from Holy Rosary has confused at least one person that we know of. Pray the Rosary for that person.

Anonymous said...

Since Father Dargis has said that the Episcopalian church is setting the standard for ecumenism, one has to wonder how he feels about "Bishop" Gene Robinson's same-sex "marriage."

Anonymous said...

I wonder if it was Father Dargis who left the comment. Anonymous doesn't seem too anxious to return to this thread now that his (or her) silly ideas have been refuted.

Anonymous said...

I sure hope that the comment wasn't written by Father Dargis. Whoever wrote it, it is clear that they have lost their faith. One has to wonder why the Bishop hasn't removed him this priest from ministry. Surely Holy Rosary deserves better.

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