For some time I have been pondering the source of this crisis in the Catholic Church. What crisis do I speak of: The situation where so many catholics seem to have different understandings of what the Catholic teaching is on particular issues (i.e Birth Control, Abortion, Pre-Marital Sex, Marriage, etc).
You might say that everyone knows the catholic view. But if that is true, then why is there apparent splits in the church? Why are so many catholics using birth control, having abortions, shacking-up?
Somehow I think the cause of all this is due to a failure of the authority figures in the church over the last 45 years. (I'm not catholic bashing, nor Priest or Bishop bashing - I love them.... I respect them..... I am speaking in the sense of honesty). These authority figures have neglected to clearly and specifically teach their flock the simple truths of the faith. Why? I am not sure. Is it some form of political correctness? Does it have something to do with financial gains?
I know that many priests feel a pressure to keep the tithing levels up. Does this somehow keep them from preaching the truth... the whole truth..... the truth that just might make some unhappy and diminish their contributions.
I have always thought that priests should have a purely clerical job, separate from administrative roles, the mixing of the two seem to be like oil and water.
So where do we go from here?
If our leaders don't begin to take a strong and consistent approach of teaching and preaching the basic teachings of the church, especially on Abortion and Birth Control, I feel that we will flounder for years to come.
It doesn't take much for a typical individual to rationalize their behaviors, their sinful behaviors, especially if they feel that their priest has condoned it. Did the priest actually condone it? Without strong and clear guidance, one might just walk away from such a discussion hearing just what they wanted to hear, even if it wasn't actually said.
If the leaders of the church began today teaching and preaching a strong unified message of what it truly means to be Catholic, would some walk away from the church?
Yes, I think so.
But is that really such a bad thing. Yes, we never hope to send people away from God and His Church, that would never be my desire.
Yet, having millions attend Mass each week and profess to be something that they really don't even understand, and because so, really are not living the tenets that the church professes, is that acceptable?
I don't condone kicking people out of the church. Yet, if they continually act contrary to the faith, even after being told their errors, show no remorse, no contrition, are they even really catholic? Being almost catholic really isn't being catholic..... it is more like being a Protestant!
If we allow anyone to claim to be catholic, publicly especially, and their actions and words affect the beliefs of other Catholics, what are we to do? (i.e Politicians, Celebrities, Misguided Clergy and Lay People)
I do not claim to have the answer here, nor do I think I am capable of giving such an answer. I do pray that our Bishops can sort through this crisis, this dilemma, and can begin to solve this issue that seems to preventing the spiritual growth of so many.