Thursday, December 9, 2010

Questions, Answers, and Being Catholic

I've been thinking about this blog's subtitle. Or maybe it's the description:
"Following Catholic beliefs and practices in America: One man's experience"
Quite a few of my posts aren't so much about me, as about some aspect of Catholicism that's been on my mind. Like the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin, giving the green light to the Marian apparitions near Champion, Wisconsin.

As I recall, I forgot to mention that one reason that I was interested in the news wasn't just that "Our Lady of Good Help at Champion the first and only site in the United States of an approved apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary." (Diocese of Green Bay)

Champion, Wisconsin, is only three or four hundred miles east of Sauk Centre, Minnesota, where I live. It's not exactly 'next door,' but Wisconsin is the next state over - so Champion is (relatively) close to home. I had a sort of neighborly interest in what was happening over in the Diocese of Green Bay.

I've wondered if I should write more about 'I, me, and myself' - which might be expected, given that 'one man's experience' blog description.

On the other hand, there's quite a bit of my attitude and viewpoint in these posts: so maybe I'm staying 'on-topic' after all.

Even posts that aren't quite so opinionated show, I think, what it's like for me to be a practicing Catholic in America. Celebrating Mass is an important - central - part of my faith. But so is learning about what the Catholic Church teaches, and why it teaches what it teaches.

It's more than just the joy of learning - although that's part of my experience, too.

If I'm going to live as a Catholic in America - or anywhere else - I need to know what's in Scripture and Tradition, as taught by the Magisterium. And, being the sort of person I am, it's a lot easier to accept instruction, if I know why the Church teaches what it does about, say, liturgical dance or how God relates to His creation.

About that last item: It hurt a bit, but I had to give up my 'clockwork universe' idea. Learning that God "...at every moment, upholds and sustains them [creatures] in being, enables them to act and brings them to their final end..." answered my question: God did not make the universe, 'wind it up,' and then let it run itself.(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 301)

One question answered - a mess of new questions raised. Like 'how can God permit evil?' That has to do with free will - and is another topic. Several, probably.

So, am I discouraged by the 'one question answered, more questions raised' situation?

Hardly.

In a way, it's reassuring. I don't expect to understand everything - but I have a lot of fun learning what I can.

And it looks like I won't run out of questions.

Which, for me, is a highly satisfactory situation.

Sort-of-related posts:

2 comments:

Brigid said...

Maybe it's supposed to be 'posts': "my attitude and viewpoint in these points"

Er: "it's a lot easy to accept instruction"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

P.S. If you modify the analogy to include regular checking of the time and rewinding, you could make it fit a bit better. No analogy is perfect.

Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...

Brigid,

Thanks for spotting those (glaring) goofs. Found & fixed!

About the 'clockwork universe' analogy - the 'rewinding' is *constant.* The analogy remains attractive, Newtonian in elegance, and wrong. As nearly as I've been able to determine, God is a very, very 'hands on' creator.

Which raises questions that the clockwork model - defers, I think is the best way to put it.

Bottom line, for me: I can *like* some philosophical concept, without assuming that it's true or applicable. God, I've been taught, and believe, constantly sustains and upholds His creation. Okay: So, now I get to think about free will, causality, the problem of evil, and a heaping helping of other ideas.

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.