September 27, 2012

Seven Myths about the Catholic Church

In my last post we explored how we know God through the teaching of the Church.   Some balked at this.  One person complained bitterly about the failures of priests and bishops to preach and govern.  But the point is -- these are failures.  When we are faithful to the tasks God has given us - whether clergy or lay faithful - the glory of God is revealed in the world.  Dr. Christopher Kaczor has recently pointed to Father Richard John Neuhaus in this regard.  Father John Neuhaus, before his death in 2009, was outspoken in his commentary on the scandals that have rocked the Church in recent years.  He quotes Neuhaus as emphatically stating that the failures of the Church boil down to "fidelity, fidelity, fidelity."

I suppose some do not like to hear this because it strikes too close to home.  Am I really as faithful as I should be to the Gospel of Christ and do my failures really harm the Church and the world?  We would like to think this was not the case, but sadly it is.   On the other hand, fidelity to the truth is a shield against evil, even grave social evil, and at the same time overcomes all kinds of myth and false narratives.   Myths, false narratives and infidelity prevent people from knowing the true God because these things are in themselves contrary to the truth.  If we want others to see the Church in a truer light, we must take up the work of being faithful in our own lives.

Over at http://www.catholicnewsagency.com, my good friend Carl Bunderson offers a review of Dr. Christopher Kaczor's new book, Seven Myths about the Catholic Church.  I also had a chance to chat with the author about his work and found Dr. Kaczor's whole approach refreshing and informative.  This Philosopher from Loyola Marymount invites his readers to take a fresh look at many of the popular misconceptions about the Church - like the Church is opposed to science or that the Church does not want people to pursue happiness.  He also offers a scholarly examination of contentious issues like whether having a married clergy would have prevented the sexual abuse of children or whether the Church is expressing disdain for those with same sex attraction when upholding the traditional defintion of marriage.   By carefully considering the issues at stake, he invites us to question what is popularly believed against what the evidence actually suggests. A real encouragement for those who are looking for a good answer to charges leveled against the Church, but also a challenge to be more faithful to the truth and a little bit more courageous in speaking out.

It is a discussion Dr. Kaczor carries out with a lot of class and clarity.  When asked about this, he explained that he wrote the book for his friends who either were never Catholic, or have left the Church, or struggle with its teaching.  He wanted to engage his friends in a discussion about the truth.  This means working to expose misconceptions and accepted narratives that do not have a basis in reality.  In his explanation about why writing this work was important to him, I realized that bringing our faith to bear in the marketplace of ideas is not merely a duty, attending to the true concerns of other and learning to speak the truth with clarity is even more an act of friendship to those whom God has given us to love.  Another place for more information about the book is by SOP Newswire2 and the Maximus Group.