UPDATE: The quest has begun in earnest now with a series of posts called HOW TO FIND FAITH AT THE MOVIES. Please see: (1) THE FOOL’S QUEST TO UNDERSTAND; (2) ISSUING THE CALL TO ADVENTURE; Encountering the Wise Ones (Part One) (Part Two); and watch for more to come.
When our moral lives are understood as forms of spiritual worship, we may find nourishment in the liturgy and the celebration of the sacraments as Christian activities. But I write only “may” because, though the precepts of the Church concerning the moral and Christian life are supposed to be united with the liturgy and nourished by it, not all Catholics nowadays seem to want to follow the Magisterium in moral matters. Perhaps they are troubled by the new moralism. Aren’t you? Pope Benedict XVI is.
True, the Roman Pontiff and the bishops, as authentic teachers, do preach to us People of God our faith that is to be believed and applied in moral life and make pronouncements on moral questions that fall within the natural law and reason. They clearly base these teachings on the Decalogue (principles of moral life valid for every human being) and the life of Jesus Christ. But it seems not all Catholics want to follow all such beliefs, applications and pronouncements. For some, even natural law and reason have come into question. Aren’t we all taught to be as skeptical as scientists and base what we do only on what we know, not on what we believe, let alone what or whom we place our faith in?
Is it any wonder, then, that claims of infallibility by the Magisterium are themselves questioned, especially when extended to all the elements of doctrine, including moral doctrine, without which the Magisterium claims the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, expounded, or observed? In this age of uncertainty and confusion, these guys are claiming certainty? As Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid might say: “Who are those guys?” [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIie9OosnEM]
Well, for starters, we are not those guys. But we do read what they have written and continue to do so. We are Catholic lay women and men who want to take a stand. As Catholic Stand, we seek to address such challenges to understanding our faith by considering perspectives and education on a wide variety of topics. The topics selected matter to citizens, Catholic or not, who want to understand more about living the truths the Roman Catholic Church teaches with respect to them.
Like you, I hope to find my colleagues presenting informative posts for the continuing responses of our readers. As a way of grasping all of the pieces of information we will doubtless be reading on this blog, I first took the topical categories and organized them into the form of a story for all of us blog readers, a mythological hero’s journey of sorts, if you will, using the approach Chris Vogler describes for screenwriters and the stories we write. This allowed me to organize the blogs categories into the following flow:
- The hero is seen in his ordinary world: HISTORY
- The hero is called to adventure: ____?
- The hero is reluctant: BUSINESS
- The hero encounters wise ones: EDUCATION
- The hero crosses the first threshold: SCIENCE
- The hero meets test and helpers: POLITICS
- The hero reaches the inner sanctum: MEDICINE
- The hero endures the supreme ordeal: LAW
- The hero seizes the sword: FAITH
- The hero takes the road back: ART
- The hero experiences a death and resurrection: SOCIAL
- The hero returns with the elixir: FAMILY
You may not want to approach reading the blog this way. No problem. You may question why I put FAMILY as the elixir. The reason for this will unfold over time. But, the thing that struck me the most about approaching the categories in such a storied fashion is stage 2 of the story: how are we heroes called to adventure? By LIFE, of course.
But where do we start the quest for understanding life? The answer came more readily than I expected.
With questions, of course. And while I have my own questions about leading a Catholic moral life and will share them as we go along, I want more to be able to address questions other readers besides myself have.
Not just any questions, though. There are questions asking for raw data. There are questions asking about interpretations of raw data. There are questions asking about factual knowledge based on interpretations. There are questions about reasoning with factual knowledge, and thus about accumulating wisdom. We can work together to address such questions.
But, my hope for my blog posts is to encourage us to deal with questions that have reached the point of being issues. Issues about which there are differing, even contradictory, positions. Issues about which participants want to end their double-mindedness over by making decisions. Decisions. Not just choices among alternatives limited to those proposed by others. Not just judgments that rely on acceptance of evident facts and hypothetical reasoning. Decisions reached through a process (that includes prayer) in the face of seemingly impenetrable walls of emotion and rationalization. Decisions of issues that will make a difference to you in your life.
Can the Magisterium’s teachings help with your issues? Must they? Should they? Do you want them to?
Please in the comment forms below, raise the issues (involving HISTORY, LIFE, BUSINESS, EDUCATION , SCIENCE, POLITICS, MEDICINE, LAW, FAITH, ART, SOCIAL, or FAMILY) that you have or see others struggling with.
Hopefully we will address them in posts that follow throughout this blog. And, as some in Plano, Texas, still say: “the Lord willing and the creek don’t rise,” we’ll help each other decide answers that fit along the way.
© 2013 John Darrouzet. All Rights Reserved.