Sunday, September 21, 2014

The 21st Century Must Come Into the Church

Continued from September 14....

Through the Church’s teachings, God has also revealed his truth on how humanity can live happily. What is so little understood by Catholics and Christians is that doctrinal revelations that come through the Church come out of God’s very Self. They are not tied to culturally constructed norms! Read Vatican II’s Dei Verbum: “by divine revelation God wished to manifest and communicate both himself and the eternal decrees of his will concerning the salvation of humankind.” Our Lord’s Church derives its basic vision not from mere human speculation, which would be tentative and uncertain, but from God’s own testimony—from a historically given divine revelation.  Thus Catholics believe that just as God himself is immutable, so, too, are His teachings as revealed through the Church because they come from him.

As I discuss in my book, although the Church does not change its central teachings, we do see the theological principle of “development” that Blessed John Henry Newman discussed in his Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine: “the bodily structure of a grown man is not merely that of a magnified boy; he differs from what he was in his make and proportions; still manhood is the perfection of boyhood, adding something of its own, yet keeping what it finds.” Here a caution: to say the Church “develops,” is not to say the Church “changes.” What is true about God’s teachings revealed through the Church 2,000 years ago is just as true in the twenty-first century.

We can now see why modern secularists are so contemptuous and spiteful toward the Body of Christ, the Catholic Church. They do not understand Her fundamental assumptions, and so utter foolish questions such as, “When will the Catholic Church come into the twenty-first century? Foolish because this question itself is permeated with a postulation about progress toward perfection that does not make sense to the Catholic worldview. The more appropriate question? What has God revealed to us about what it means to live a healthy life, and how do we best live that life? The answer, according to Catholicism, is that we should conform our lives to those timeless truths revealed through the Church in order to enter into a rightly ordered (not disordered) relationship with God.