Sunday, March 25, 2012

Faith and Obedience

Earlier today, I posted about an odd comment: and odder assumptions about the Catholic Church.Some of what folks 'know' about the Catholic Church simply isn't so. On the other hand, it's true that the Catholic Church is huge, and ancient. I'm okay with that, but some folks aren't.

It's Not American!

The Catholic Church isn't an American institution. Like the fellow said, we're "all over the world:"

(from H.E. Fowler, via Wikipedia, used w/o permission)
"Crowley, Jeremiah J. (1913) 'The Pope: Chief of White Slavers High Priest of Intrigue,' p. 430"

Jeremiah J. Crowley was right on one point. The Catholic Church is "all over the world."

I was attracted by that aspect of Catholicism. (March 23, 2012) But I grew up in a different era, and decided to become a Catholic. Not everybody's like me.

I didn't, by the way, covert to Catholicism to be with folks who were pretty much like me. The Church encourages diversity, and that's another topic.


A dictionary says that superstition is "an irrational belief arising from ignorance or fear." (Princeton's WordNet) For folks determined to believe that religion is an irrational belief arising from ignorance or fear, Catholics are "superstitious."

Here's what the Catholic Church has to say, in part:
"Superstition is the deviation of religious feeling and of the practices this feeling imposes. It can even affect the worship we offer the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. To attribute the efficacy of prayers or of sacramental signs to their mere external performance, apart from the interior dispositions that they demand, is to fall into superstition.41"
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2111)
Bottom line, as a practicing Catholic, I'm not allowed to be superstitious. It's against the rules.

I've been over this before:

Faith, and the Alternative

I think I understand why some folks think religious faith is unpleasant:
"By faith, man completely submits his intellect and his will to God.2 With his whole being man gives his assent to God the revealer. Sacred Scripture calls this human response to God, the author of revelation, 'the obedience of faith.'3"
(Catechism, 143)
'Submit my intellect and my will to God?' Why should I give up my whims and preferences? That sounds so - restrictive.

Simon Peter explained why sticking with my Lord makes sense, in the long run:
"Jesus then said to the Twelve, 'Do you also want to leave?'

"Simon Peter answered him, 'Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

"We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.' "(John 6:67-69)
At the end of all things, I've got two options: to be with my Lord, or not. On the whole, I'll take "the words of eternal life" over the alternative.

I put a definition of faith, Catholic style, and more links under "Background," at the end of this post.

As for why I think it makes sense to submit to my Lord:


I spent my teens in the '60s, when obedience wasn't a fashionable idea. The establishment of that era had made a mess of America, and I've been over that before. (January 12, 2010) The establishment's changed in some ways; and not so much in others. (September 15, 2011)

I'm quite willing to obey my Lord. That's because I know who He is, and what He did. (March 18, 2012, March 11, 2012)

Faith, Yes: Blind, No

I've said this before. I'm not required to check my brain at the door when I go to a Catholic church.

I think the Church's position is seen as "vague," or worse, in part because we're expected to think about what we're told.

We're not told that beer is evil, or workers are right. Instead, we're told about moderation and fundamental rights.

That's part of the reason that Catholic groups in America often host Bingo games. And that's yet another topic.

The sort of freedom we have comes with responsibility. (Catechism, 1731-1738). Part of those responsibilities involve being good citizens. (Catechism, 2238-2243) More topics.

Then there's erroneous judgment. (Catechism, 1790-1794) And that's - what else? Another topic.

Related posts:Background:
"FAITH: Both a gift of God and a human act by which the believer gives personal adherence to God who invites his response, and freely assents to the whole truth that God has revealed. It is this revelation of God which the Church proposes for our belief, and which we profess in the Creed, celebrate in the sacraments, live by right conduct that fulfills the twofold commandment of charity (as specified in the ten commandments), and respond to in our prayer of faith. Faith is both a theological virtue given by God as grace, and an obligation which flows from the first commandment of God (26, 142, 150, 1814, 2087)."

"OBEDIENCE: (1) The submission to the authority of God which requires everyone to obey the divine law. Obedience to the Church is required in those things which pertain to our salvation; and obedience is due to legitimate civil authority, which has its origin in God for the sake of the common good and the order of society (1897). The fourth commandment obliges children to obey their parents (2216). (2) Obedience of faith: The first obedience is that of faith: to listen and freely submit to the word of God (144). (3) Obedience of Christ: Jesus Christ substituted his obedience to the will of his Father, even unto death, for the disobedience of sin, in order to bring us the grace of justification and to satisfy for our sins (615). (4) Vow of obedience: In imitation of this obedience of Jesus, as an evangelical counsel, the faithful may profess a vow of obedience; a public vow of obedience, accepted by Church authority, is one element that characterizes the consecrated life (915)."
(Glossary, Catechism)

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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.