Does Satanic worship that mocks Catholic beliefs enjoy the protection of law?

For the past several years a group known as Dakhma of Angra Mainyu has been offering satanic rituals in various venues. Several attempts to hold them at college campuses resulted in angry protests which caused the services to be canceled. In Oklahoma City, however, they have had success. The powers that be there have determined that satanic worship is protected by the First Amendment, thus they permit the service, and will be holding another one this Monday, August 15th, the same day as the Catholic Church celebrates the 1c - satan-widescreen-hd-wallpaper-backgroundSolemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

I know many people who don’t like satanic worship will nonetheless believe it is defended by the First Amendment and will criticize any attempt to stop it. Whi
le that certainly seems reasonable, I do not agree.

I believe we can make a strong argument that the Freedom of Religion established by the First Amendment was intended to protect the rights of those looking to worship God as they understand him and not Satan. Absolute tolerance is never possible; there are always inherent limits to any freedom, and none of our freedoms is absolutely unrestrictable. For example, Freedom of Speech does not protect the right to libel or slander, nor does it protect the right to yell “fire!” in a crowded theater. Similarly, any religion that seeks to worship not God but Satan and advocates obscenity (check out the Dakhma of Angra Mainyu website – it will shock and disgust you) does not, I believe, enjoy the protection of the First Amendment. Similarly, the so-called “Separation of Church and State” that so many people invoke to prohibit prayer in public places and to prevent religious organizations from using public facilities cuts both ways. This satanic worship does not merely worship Satan. Rather, it blatantly mocks Catholicism. Consider this:

During their service ojesusn August 15th, they will hold what they are calling the “Consumption” of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They will decapitate a statue of the Blessed Mother, remove a previously-placed pig heart from it, and eat it. This, they claim, symbolizes the Blessed Mother being cast into hell! Of course, it coincides with our feast of the Assumption of Mary. The timing of this insult for the same day and using a parody of the name of our feast is no accident. Neither was it an accident when the last one mocking Mary was held on Christmas Eve. This is not freedom of worship but hate speech. If public facilities cannot be used to support religion, then neither should they be used to mock it.

In solidarity with Archbishop Coakley of Oklahoma City and his request for all people of good will to join in a day of prayer and fasting in reparation for this horror, here at St. Ann’s we will hold Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 9:00 AM until 8:00 PM in the chapel. A Holy Hour with recitation of the rosary will be held at 7:00 PM.

I urge all people of good will of whatever religion or of none whatsoever to join in solidarity with Catholics whose beliefs are being mocked and desecrated. An attack on one religion is an attack on all!

 

Finally! The Press gave attention to someone in the African-American Community that sees through Planned Parenthood’s secret agenda!!

This article is copied from MSN Sports as reported on August 6, 2016 

Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson has not hesitated to speak out on the state of race relations in the United States, but he’s drawing both criticism and praise for claiming that Planned Parenthood was created to “exterminate blacks” and that “it’s working.”BBvjTTb-1

In an interview with the Turning Point Pregnancy Resource Center, Watson, a devout Christian, said that he’s puzzled by why so many blacks support Planned Parenthood.

“I do know that blacks kind of represent a large portion of the abortions, and I do know that honestly the whole idea with Planned Parenthood and (group founder Margaret) Sanger in the past was to exterminate blacks, and it’s kind of ironic that it’s working,” Watson said.

“We (as minorities) support candidates, and overwhelmingly support the idea of having Planned Parenthood and the like, and yet, that is why she created it. We are buying it hook, line, and sinker, like it’s a great thing. It’s just amazing to me and abortion saddens me, period, but it seems to be something that is really pushed on minorities and provided to minorities especially as something that they should do.

“In the public, it seems to be painted that when minorities get pregnant they need to get abortions, especially when it comes to teen pregnancy. It’s like when black girls are pregnant, it’s like a statistic, but when white girls get pregnant, they get a TV show.”

Watson continued his criticism, saying blacks are “killing our children.”

“We sit here and talk about advancing the black agenda, whatever that means, we talk about our interests, and what’s important to us — like having political power and advancement and all those things — and then we are turning around and we are killing our children,” Watson said. “And we are buying the lie that it’s our personal decision to make.”

Watson also posted a link to his Facebook page about a story on his comments, adding that, (A) lot of the women wouldn’t be having abortions if the men would step up and be a part of what they are already biologically a part of.”

Watson’s incendiary comments on such a controversial issue have drawn a predictable mix of praise and criticism in social media. Just check out the comments on his Facebook page.

Watson is certainly not the first person to point out Sanger’s racist views, which were unfortunately common in American society in the early 20th century. But as a popular NFL star sharing the message on social media, that history might find a new audience unaware of Planned Parenthood’s origins.

The 35-year-old Watson signed a two-year, $7 million deal with the Ravens in the off season. 

Political Conventions and Church: What They Have in Common.

Last month both political parties held their conventions to nominate their candidate for president. There have been news stories that talked about how much money each convention cost, plus the cost to the host city in police protection, cleanup, etc. In this day and age with modern means of communication including Skype and email, one might be tempted to ask why the candidates didn’t just type up their proposals and email them to everyone, have a live video feed nomination, and save a ton of money. I doubt if anyone would take such a suggestion seriously. Nothing electronic can replace human contact. Both parties were dealing with internal fights and divisions, and the stated goal for both conventions was to unify the party. In addition to participating in the formal process of nominating a candidate, the delegates were able to meet GOP+Demswith each other, support one another, solidify their positions on issues, and bring about a unity that helped them feel more proud of their party and their candidate. This would never have been possible if everything were done at home through the internet. As human beings we are naturally social creatures, and when there is a strong need to bond together we must do so in person.

But while no one would suggest they could actively participate in the convention at home, some people make the illogical mistake of thinking they can worship God at home and don’t need to come to church to do so. There are similarities between the reasons we go to church-clip-art-church-clip-art-picturesconventions and the reasons we go to church. Paramount, of course, is to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and receive Holy Communion so that we can be one with Christ in His suffering, death, and resurrection and thus have all of our (venial) sins forgiven. But in addition to that, the human element is of great importance. Being in a gathering with others who share our beliefs strengthens us in our identity as members of the Church and in our commitment to follow Jesus, which does not happen sitting home alone. Sure, we could read a good spiritual book at home, pray with the Bible, read the Pope’s comments in L’Osservatore Romano, and say private prayers, but we’d be lacking the communal gathering element that is essential to our well-being.
We as humans are social creatures, and we need to connect with others. One of the worst prison punishments is solitary confinement, prohibiting one from any contact with another human being, because it violates our human nature and our dignity. So why would we want for a moment to practice religious solitary confinement? Yes, we all need alone time when we can pray by ourselves, but we also need social prayer time when we join with others to pray together as a people and support each other in our devotion to the Lord. So just as a political convention builds up identity as a member of a political party, so our common worship at church builds us up in our identity as followers of Jesus and inspires us to be His messengers in our daily lives and in the world. So let’s here no more of this “I-don’t-need-to-go-to-church-to-pray” nonsense. Yes we do! We’re social beings! We need to be with each other, especially before God.

 

 

My doctor says I’m sick, so I’m going to find a doctor who tells me I’m okay!

Imagine someone were to go to the doctor and attempt to tell the doctor everything that is wrong with him and every cure that the doctor needs to give him in order to be well again. I think we can all realize that this would be a big mistake. We go to the doctor precisely because we don’t know medicine as well as he does, and we want him to use his expertise to show us how to be as healthy as we can be. Suppose you got angry because the doctor would not give you the medicine you are convinced would be good for you and decided never to go to the doctor again. Whom would you be hurting? You’d only be hurting yourself. The same thing is true of God. Sometimes we make the mistake of going to God with a predetermined diagnosis for dr-jesus1what we need in life and if God says no or doesn’t grant us what we’re looking for we decide we’re not going to worship him anymore. But whom are we hurting? Only ourselves! Sometimes it’s helpful for us to step back and look at exactly what God wants to do for us.

Take, for example, the gospel parable Jesus tells about the man who had a great harvest and decided to build extra barns and store all of his goods there. He then says he can relax and take it easy because now he has everything stored for the rest of his life, and Jesus says of him “you fool! This very night your life will be demanded of you, and to whom will all these piled up goods go?” Jesus is showing us something critical for our lives in this little parable. Why did he call the man a fool? It was not because the man had a good harvest and had done well and was wealthy. The problem was that the man thought that as long as he had money in the bank he was good to go and he needed nothing else. And that’s why Jesus said called him a fool because he said that very night he would die and what good would all of that saved up grain do for him? So the Lord is not saying that we should not pray for the goods of earth but that we should not make them our priority. Certainly the Lord’s prayer teaches us to pray “give us this day our daily bread”, and it’s certainly fine if we’re financially strapped or somebody is ill and we pray for healing for more money whatever the situation may be, but our primary focus must always be getting to heaven. We call Jesus our Savior. But from what did he come to save us? from poverty? No! He was born and laid in a manger. To save us from ill health? No! He was in terribly poor health as he hung on the cross and eventually died. To save us from lack of popularity? No! His friends all abandoned him. To save us from false judgment? No! He was falsely accused of being the devil himself and when he was crucified those who killed him thought they were doing the will of God. No, Jesus came to save us from sin. But sometimes sin seems to be the last thing we worry about and maybe we don’t even worry about it at all! Sometimes I even hear people joking about sin, making fun of it as if it’s an antiquated notion that we’ve wisely outgrown. Nothing could be further from the truth! Sin is indeed something very deadly. Remember that Original Sin, Adam and Eve turning against God and deciding they could choose for themselves what’s right and wrong and not have to listen to God, is what brought all the evil into the world from which we suffer each and every day. And more importantly Original Sin closed the gates of heaven to us. You and I could try to be perfect and maybe we could live without committing any sin, but even with that we could not get to heaven and we would be condemned to hell for all eternity, because heaven was close to us thanks to the sin of Adam and Eve. There was no human being who could do anything about it, because in order to adequately pay the price – the ransom – for sin one would have to be perfect, and since there was no perfect human being, there was not a single human being who could change anything. We were doomed! Only God – the perfect one – could save us, and that’s what he did: by taking on flesh, suffering and dying on the cross, and rising from the dead. When he rose from the dead he destroyed the power of death and now turned death around completely, so that it is no longer our entrance into condemnation – into hell – but is now our entrance into salvation – into heaven! Jesus now teaches us through the Church how to follow him, to avoid sin, and stay on the path to heaven, to avoid all the pitfalls of this earth which is Satan still trying to lead us back into his clutches. Yet again, sometimes we just don’t seem to care about that and we approach God with the answer already in our minds of what God has to allow us to do. This becomes especially a problem when something that God teaches us through the Scriptures or the Church we don’t want to accept. Instead of accepting it, we either invoke the opinion of society and decide, “well, society accepts it now and so must the Church” or we give ourselves an excuse as to why that teaching doesn’t apply to us. Sometimes people even go further by demanding of God and of the Church that he change things that he’s teaching are sinful and that are harmful to us and tell us it’s good for us, and if the Church won’t tell us what we want to hear, then we search out a denomination of Christianity that will do so. But is that really helping at all?

Going back to our example of the doctor, imagine if someone decided they want to be perfectly healthy except they don’t want to have to exercise or eat properly. They go to the doctor and tell the doctor they want to be able to sleep as much as they want sit on the couch and eat all the rich and fatty foods they want and still be healthy. Obviously the doctor tells the person he cannot do that, that if he wants to be healthy he has to exercise and eat properly. But the person doesn’t like that so he says, “Fine! I’ll find another doctor will tell me it’s okay to do so! And maybe he comes across a doctor who has very few patients – for obvious reasons, that he’s a bad doctor – but this doctor, eager to keep patients, tells him whatever he wants to hear. “Sure! It’s perfectly fine for you to sit on the couch all day eat all the potato chips and junk food you want, and don’t worry about exercising; you’ll still be perfectly healthy!” The patient says to himself, “Great! I finally found a doctor who sees the truth, a doctor who understands my needs and my feelings. This is exactly what I was looking for!” Well, what happens to that person when he follows this doctor’s advice? You know the answer: he gets very sick! The same is true of Christians who look for denominations of Christianity that will tell them that whatever they want to believe is fine just as long as they stay with them, or with Christians who turn to God and say, “Hey God, if you don’t give me what I want I’m not going to church anymore!” Well they’re not hurting God, they’re only hurting themselves!”

Remember that God is not here to give us the life of Riley and he is not Santa Claus, the one who gives us presents if we are good. I know I’ve said this in previous blog posts, but it’s worth repeating. God never said “come follow me and I’ll give you a bed of roses!” He never said that! In fact, he said if we want to follow him we must deny ourselves take up our cross each day and follow in his footsteps. In other words, there will be challenges as we follow the Lord in this world. There are going to be times when we have to go against the flow, where we cannot follow what society says is right and instead must remain faithful to the Lord even if it means going against what is currently socially acceptable. Jesus is not here to make our lives easy and to give us whatever we want. He came to show us the way to heaven, and we should be willing to reject anything in this world – no matter how difficult it may be for us – if it’s going to mean losing our eternal salvation.

And so my friends, when you go to God in prayer don’t go with a preconceived notion that you already know what God should do for you and figure were going to manipulate him and do anything possible to get God to give us what we want. Don’t pre-form your mind as to what you believe is right for you and then just look for the church or denomination that teaches what you want to believe, nor should you decide that that’s okay not to follow God because you don’t like what he’s saying. There’s only one thing for us to do: follow God with all of your heart. Turn to him and say, as St. Francis of Assisi said, “Lord what do you want me to do?” God is not here to give us what we want but to lead us to heaven. May we never forget this truth, and may we always remember that we are only here temporarily, just passing through this world on a journey to heaven, which is our true home. May we never sacrifice the glory of heaven and our true home for any comfort or convenience or pleasure here on earth!

“If you disagree with me you’re hate-filled!” – the new American mantra

If you’ve been following my blog and the articles on the Journal News regarding my May 19th post about transgenderism and the “bathroom wars” you will notice that the responses were all over the place.  Here’s my reaction to what people wrote.

First of all, I am disappointed that so many people resorted merely to name-calling rather than offering evidence to support their opposing view. I am especially amazed by the number of people who used hate-filled language to call me hate-filled. Sadly, it seems to have become a common reaction to call anyone who disagrees with you “hate-filled.” Whatever happened to respectfully disagreeing? I a26eb437e7180c8268f569f77f2395fcwill not respond specifically to any such accusations other than to tell the person to reread my article. There was nothing hate-filled in it and I made no derogatory comments about transgender individuals. I have a good friend who is currently addressing this issue with his daughter and I am well aware that the issue is painful and complex. I merely offered an alternative approach that I still support as being more compassionate in the long run, one which was stated by Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitiae. I was also well aware that some people would find offense in my chicken analogy, and I prefaced my argument by stating I intended no insult to anyone. I like to argue by analogy. So if you were offended by the chicken analogy, let’s use a human one: suppose a 16-year-old feels he identifies more as a 21-year-old? Should he now be allowed to purchase alcohol? Or suppose a man in his forties feels more like a senior citizen? Will we allow him senior citizen discounts at stores and the right to collect Social Security? The point is simple: basing rights merely on people’s feelings does no good for anyone. Only addressing reality truly helps them.

One of the few writers who offered any concrete information was published in The Journal News on June 5th. (read letter here) Jeffrey Hoffman introduced into the discussion the topic of intersex genetic karyrotypes. His point was that gender identity is far more complex than what genitals one carries. I researched his assertion and found his summary erroneous. Allow me to quote an article on the website of the Intersex Society of North America (ISNA):

“ISNA is working to create a world free of shame, secrecy, and unwanted sexual surgeries for children born with anatomy that someone decided is not standard male or female. This is different from, for example, having a feeling that your identity is different from most women (or men). (Emphasis mine.) People with intersex conditions generally don’t have to search for evidence that they are intersexed; the evidence is in their own bodies. For instance, women who do not have ovaries, men who don’t have testes, women who have no clitoris or inner labia, people who remember multiple genital surgeries during childhood and scars in their genital area and abdomen, people who have ambiguous genitalia….

Many people confuse transgender and transsexual people with people with intersex conditions because they see two groups of people who would like to choose their own gender identity and sometimes those choices require hormonal treatments and/or surgery. These are similarities… {but} In spite of these similarities, these two groups should not be and cannot be thought of as one. The truth is that the vast majority of people with intersex conditions identify as male or female rather than transgender or transsexual. Thus, where all people who identify as transgender or transsexual experience problems with their gender identity, only a small portion of intersex people experience these problems.

It’s also important to understand the differences between these two groups because in spite of some similarities they face many different struggles, including different forms of discrimination. The differences between transgender and transsexual and intersex have been understood by lawmakers in countries such as Australia where lawmakers have publicly acknowledged that people with intersex conditiospeaking the truth inspirational quotens have distinct needs from people who identify as transgender or transsexual.”

The cases of gender dysphoria being addressed in the “bathrooms war” have nothing to do, with the intersexual condition. The decision by Target and other companies and President Obama’s order that school students be allowed to use whatever bathroom they “feel the identify with” falls prey to the very confusion the ISNA discusses. The issue here is gender dysphoria, not intersex genetic karyrotypes, and the two must not be confused.

I am grateful that for the most part Mr. Hoffman avoided insults, although not completely. Where, for example, in my argument did I at any time claim that transgender Catholics cannot have great contributions to make and cannot have positive influences on others? That was purely an injection on his part. His suggestion that the Church and her priests “embrace the Imago Dei in all its splendid biological variation and to bless the gender-variant Christian” is a misuse of the concept. Embracing the Imago Dei (image of God) means to accept that the Lord is trying to restore to us the holiness of the His image in which we were created but which was damaged by Original Sin. Thus to ignore the perfect image God intended the transgender person to have and merely allow them to embrace the fallen image as if it is okay in itself is to deny them the call to holiness and is therefore an injustice. This must not be misconstrued as judgment of them nor of rejection of their intrinsic human value. We embrace every person as they are, but at the same time we challenge them to strive to live the perfect image of what God created them to be. When speaking of gender dysphoria, I assert it is certainly more difficult but far better to help the person identify with the gender they in fact are rather than encouraging them to pretend to be the gender they are not. In the long run, this is the only truly compassionate solution.

I am what I am, and nothing can change that!

Everybody wants to show compassion, especially to people who are emotionally hurting. Most people, however, know that misplaced compassion is even more harmful than lack of compassion, and sometimes we have to look very carefully at exactly what we’re doing when we decide to address someone’s needs. Let’s consider the following example:

Suppose I were to come to believe one day that I feel more like a chicken than a human being and I publicly announced to the world that from now on I want to be considered a chicken. What do you think most people would say? They may feel terrible for my plight and may see the anguish I am going through, but they would clearly realize that, irrespective of the cause, something has gone wrong in my thought process and my feelings to make me believe I am a chicken. They would undoubtedly say I need some sort of help. I am not a chicken, and they need to get me to accept the truth that I have deceived myself. Of course there would be some people who, in compassion for me and in fear of being accused of discrimination against those with different feelings, would go along with me and would tell me that it’s okay for me to be a chicken if I want to be, and they might even build me a chicken coop to live in. They would publicly defend my “right” to live as I wish and would brand anyone who doesn’t allow me to live out my fantasy as “chicken-phobes”. Someone may even find a doctor who is willing to give me avian hormone shots to help me grow feathers and others may teach me how to cluck properly, but is any of this really doing me any good? As much as I may think I’m a chicken, I’m never going to lay an egg! In fact I am not a chicken: I am a man, and the only thing that will truly help me in the long run is to get me the help I need to accept that I am a human being and address whatever the cause is that’s made me think that I am a chicken. Anything to the contrary would be a misplaced compassion, which is far more harmful than lack of compassion.

It may seem a bizarre stretch from this story, and I apologize if anyone is offended by the analogy for I assure you no offense is intended, but I find our modern society guilty of making the very same mistake when it comes to “transgender” individuals. Now please don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are great pains involved by someone in such a situation. I have a good friend of mine whose daughter is going through this at this very moment, and I know the pain both the child and the parents are experiencing. But are we actually helping anyone who thinks they’re a different gender by going along with the charade? We can certainly empathize with their struggle, and we may think we’re helping a girl who think she’s really a boy or vice-versa by telling her she can dress as a man and use the men’s room (even the Obama administration is now encouraging schools all over the country to allow young people to use the bathroom of their choice rather than their natural gender), but the girl is not a boy; she is a girl. We are male or female down to every gene in our body and dressing up in other clothes, even having surgeriesMale and female he created them to alter the appearance is only doing that: altering the appearance. It’s like putting on a costume, but it does not change reality. I know that we want to understand and help people, but are we in the long run helping people by encouraging them to deceive themselves? It would be far better if we were to help the person accept the reality of their gender and work with them in living as that gender, not encouraging them to delude themselves into thinking they are something which in fact they are not. And especially when we are talking about teenagers, who have their whole lives ahead of them, would it not be far better in the long run for us to help them live with the gender they are rather than encouraging them to live their whole lives pretending to be something they are not? Encouraging someone to be “transgender” is the easy way to convince ourselves we’re helping them, but it is not the right way in the long run.

Consider this real instance: I know of a young woman who is living as a man and dating another woman. Does the other woman know that this “man” she is dating is really another woman? If she does, then she’s a woman dating a woman pretending to be a man. Am I the only one who sees something unhealthy in this whole bizarre scenario? Is encouraging this altered reality really in either of their best interests in the long run? And if she doesn’t know “he’s” really a woman, imagine how hurt and angry she will be when eventually she finds out! Is that fair to the other woman? I find that indefensibly cruel.

I do not want to mislead anyone into thinking I am naïve about the real pain experienced by people and families in these situations, and I’m not for a moment pretending that I can offer a simple solution, but I know what the solution is not: it is of absolutely no help to encourage people to live a lie. This massive social embrace of “transgenderism” is, quite frankly, political correctness run amok. We’re so afraid of being accused of lacking compassion or of discriminating that we don’t tell people the truth for fear of hurting them, so instead, we encourage a farce. As a society we have overdosed on looking for simple solutions to complicated problems, and so we blindly embrace anything that offers a quick answer. But there are no simple solutions; if there were, they would not be complicated problems. When matters are complicated, you can be sure that the solution will be difficult. My question is, what’s the next lie we are going to embrace?
It’s time we start facing the hard reality that encouraging people to identify themselves as “transgender” is convenient and accommodating in the short run, but in the long run it only makes things worse. Counseling and true compassion – not misplaced compassion – that lovingly helps the person live with their God-given gender (or nature-given if you don’t believe in God) is the only hope for true peace of mind for the “transgender” individual. Anything else is nothing more than a real life application of the Emperor’s New Clothes.

 

I don’t believe everything the Church teaches. Am I a hypocrite?

christian or hypocriteSomeone recently told me that he was having a discussion with a few people who were very much trying to follow the Lord, but they felt like fake Catholics because they don’t agree with the Church on some of the “hot button” topics today, and they wanted to know if that means they’re not good Catholics and are instead hypocrites. It’s an excellent question and I was very glad that these young people were considering it. There may be many others reading this who have the same feeling. Should you be considered a fake Catholic or a hypocrite if you don’t follow everything the Church teaches? My answer is, “not necessarily.” There is more information that needs to be looked at before anyone could judge himself and accuse himself of being fake or a hypocrite.

First of all, what does it mean to be a hypocrite? Hypocrites are not people who don’t understand or who don’t agree: hypocrites are people who claim they are doing God’s will and yet turn around and end up doing precisely the opposite of what God wants. I will give you an example of where I have found hypocrisy recently in some people in the church: Usually on my blog and in other places I find myself battling the liberal people who want the Church to change her teachings, but recently I have found myself in a strong battle against people on the extreme right who are condemning Pope Francis. I found myself in a conversation on a rather reactionary conservative site that is accusing Pope Francis of abandoning the faith in his new apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. They seem to have ignored all of the strong things the Pope said about the value of a traditional marriage and the things for families to do in order to keep their marriage strong and have focused their attention on a footnote in one comment about Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics. In the exhortation the Pope clearly reiterated the Church’s teaching that divorced and remarried Catholics who have done so without an annulment are in an irregular situation and cannot licitly present themselves to receive Holy Communion. In a footnote to that the Pope mentions that under certain circumstances some people may be able to be admitted to Communion. That has always been the teaching of the Church. For example, couples who are invalidly married but willing to live as brother and sister-meaning they refrain from any sexual activity-may present themselves for Holy Communion after confession provided no scandal to the faithful exists. Unfortunately, these reactionary people read only the footnote and seemed to be convinced beforehand that Pope Francis, by not just bashing people over the head as sinners, is somehow altering the Faith and has changed the Church’s teaching on the matter. I put a comment on a question board on this site asking people, “please someone showed me the quote where Pope Francis changed the Church’s teaching on Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics?” The reactions I got back from that were vile and obscene! While some very politely accused me of living in a naïvely Pollyanna world where I did not want to see the “serious danger of the Pope’s new teaching,” others told me I was doing the devil’s work and they were praying for my soul because I was in danger of being condemned for all eternity simply because I did not condemn Pope Francis! Another one said he would listen to tradition and not “the evil teachings of this evil Pope”. When I asked him where he found the justification to judge the Pope, he said to me “God has given me the right to judge the Pope!” Mamma Mia! That sounds like Martin Luther all over to me! That’s precisely what the Protestant reformers had said: they felt that the Pope had broken from Tradition and they had a God-given duty to correct the Pope and even broke away to “reform” the Church into what they thought it was supposed to be! I wrote a note to the editor of that website saying that I would no longer participate on the site because of the self-righteous and sanctimonious statements of some of the readers that they are attracting. I told him they are attracting people who believe they speak for God and when even the Pope says something they don’t like they believe the Pope is wrong and they are right; in other words, their minds and their thoughts are the ultimate judge of truth, and in their self-righteousness they have repeated exactly what the Pharisees did in condemning Jesus. The Pharisees were convinced they were defending God and attacking an evil person when they sent Jesus to his death, and I told the editor I would have no part of such an attitude! That to me is hypocrisy; the “I-am-right-and-anyone-who-disagrees-with-me-is-a-condemned-sinner” attitude.

As for others who don’t believe they agree with the Church, we must remember that Jesus during his lifetime made some very provocative statements and he challenged people. Lots of things that he said went against the grain. Sometimes people rejected him without hearing him through and understanding why he taught what he did, and so they ended up not following Jesus and not experiencing the salvation he could offer them. That is a mistake. Take for example the situation when Jesus gave the Great Discourse on the Bread of Life, telling everyone they had to eat his flesh and drink his blood in order to have eternal life (cf John 6). For Jews that was a horror! Contact with human blood made you unclean, and so it violated everything they believed in. In addition, Jesus did not tell them he was going to turn bread and wine into his body and blood, and so they must have thought he was talking about cannibalism. St. John tells us that after this many of Jesus’ followers abandoned him and would no longer be his disciples. He turned to the apostles and asked them if they too wanted to leave him, and Peter replies, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Peter didn’t understand any more than the others did, but he was so convinced in whom Jesus was that he accepted something that made no sense to him simply because Jesus said it and he knew Jesus could not be wrong. What Peter said is what Jesus was looking for: trust in him completely, so that even things that did not make sense to us we would accept because Jesus said it and then look for the answer and the explanation as to why Jesus said what he did. The apostles found that; those who left him did not.

So to people who accuse themselves of being fake Catholics because they reject the Church’s teaching on any number of issues, I ask them to ask themselves this: have you carefully looked at why the Church teaches what she does on this particular issue? Many times we reject something without understanding why it’s taught in the first place. Remember that we, thanks to Original Sin, are rewired in a faulty way whereby what is God’s will and what advances us on the spiritual journey to salvation is not natural to us. Because of that, our natural inclination is not to embrace the things that lead us to heaven but what makes us happy here on earth. Sometimes meeting a need here on earth would compromise our call to salvation. But we don’t see that, especially when to follow the Lord’s teaching would be to cause us inconvenience or even suffering here and now, and we end up rejecting the teaching because we only want convenience now and don’t see the high price we have to pay for that convenience.

So have we thought everything through and gotten complete and sufficient information to know that something that would satisfy our desire now will compromise our call to salvation, and then chosen to reject the teaching? If so, then I would say we are not authentic Catholics. But for most people we simply have our own opinions that have come from the world around us which we have openly accepted without even thinking through, and ended up rejecting the Church’s teaching without really thinking it through. So I’m not saying for a moment that it’s okay for someone to reject the Church’s teaching! At the same time, however, I don’t think it’s fair for anyone to accuse either himself or another of being a hypocrite or a fake Catholic simply because he has not completely come to understand why the Church teaches something it does. So before you condemn yourself, do research and find out why the Church teaches what she does on certain issues. If you are of honest faith and a desire to follow Jesus, chances are when you do, you will find yourself understanding the teaching better and perhaps even accepting it. Only if someone has completely understood the teaching and chosen to reject it should he say that he is not a faithful Catholic.