Reaction against Catholic teaching is very strong, perhaps no stronger than among the laity within the Church itself.
As I wrote elsewhere, our attitude in today's culture is not simply I-Want-What-I-Want-When-I-Want-It but, "I want this, and therefore it must be morally good, and if it ain't, well, a little Mental Hopscotch will fix that!"
In other words, I want to do it so it must be good!
This sleight of hand we play in our minds tells us two thing, two very opposite things
1. We all want to do stuff that's bad (this is the Catholic doctrine of Original Sin)
2. We are all driven to rationalize our sins and convince ourselves that what's bad is good - so that we may do it and feel good about ourselves.
While such a one-two punch could easily send any observer of human nature into a kind of
despair, there is something very telling about Number Two.
If Fact Number One proves Original Sin, Fact Number Two proves the existence of God - or at least comes pretty darned close. For if we didn’t have a Conscience, we wouldn’t need to keep appeasing it. And Conscience is nothing less than the Voice of God within us.
The Church writes, in Gauduium et Spes, and affirms in the Catechism (paragraph 1776)
"Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. . . . For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . . . His conscience is man's most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.”
Thus I have noticed what stands as the single most frustrating thing within the Catholic Church in America. It’s not bad catechesis, bad bishops, the sex scandals, or the liturgical wars. It’s lay Catholics behaving badly and spending their time convincing themselves they’re the True Catholics and all the others are False.
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