As time passes, I am increasingly bewildered by what a large number of people within the Catholic Church seem to think the adjective ‘Catholic’ means. I try to contemplate the ‘options’ which appear to be available, and find that they’re largely contrary to what I was given to understand ‘being Catholic’ implied; which leads me to a dilemma : as I wonder how people who apparently hold these beliefs continue maintain that they’re ‘Catholic’ when what they seem to think is important is plainly contrary to what the Church teaches . . ?
Let me try and explain.
The lady in Ireland in Saturday evening’s post, who was trying to persuade other women in Ireland to ‘boycott’ Mass yesterday, apparently not only believed that this was a right and acceptable way to persuade the Church to do something; but also, that something which has already been clearly stated to be beyond the Church’s power is something which should be done.
Now; whether or not such a ‘boycott’ is a right – or even right-minded – approach, I just find it hard to understand how one can claim to be Catholic and yet be determined to achieve something which the Church has already said, irrevocably, that it cannot do : especially when someone who believes that what she wants is readily available in other Churches.
Another example : if you go looking round the blogs – and I give no particular examples of this because I am not trying to stir up trouble – you may well come across some of those people for whom the form of the liturgy is more important than its content : and if that seems a curious observation, let me clarify . . . they prefer the ‘traditional’ Mass (that is to say, that which was used pre-1962; preferably even pre-1955) said by an Anglican priest to (say) the ‘Ordinary Form’ celebrated by a Catholic one : because the form is so important. Indeed, you can even find examples of those who believe that the Holy Father has done something actively wrong by issuing Summorum Pontifium, and thus allowing the use of the 1962 Mass which they believe is positively obnoxious.
Again, I just find it hard to understand why – if form is so much more important than content – they want to remain Catholic, when they could (as far as I can establish) have everything they want elsewhere.
Do you see why I’m bewildered ?
As part of my preparation for Reception, I was told that the fundamental issue was that I had to accept that, if my opinions and those of the Church came into conflict, then I simply had to believe that the Church, inspired by God, was right, which meant that I was wrong . . . and if I was wrong, and the Church was right, then I had no possible legitimate ground for contesting the Church’s teaching . . . and if I did contest the Church’s teaching, then I was simply showing that I wasn’t a Catholic.
Now; to this bear of very little brain that seemed - and seems - a perfectly simple position to understand . . . what I find so difficult is that there appear to be so many Catholics who don’t agree with it, and yet are perfectly certain that they are Catholics.
I’d love to understand . . . but at the moment it is a dilemma to which I can see no obvious solution.