We expect to see antagonism toward the Church within the world; what is shocking is when we see it within the ranks of the membership.
The reasons for this are multifold, but for now I’d like to focus on one concern: issues of catechesis. People receive rotten, incorrect catechesis during their formation, or they misremember what they were taught, or Sister/Father Rebel throws out the ubiquitous “Spirit of Vatican II” excuse for abandoning uncomfortable teachings (like the ban on artificial birth control, or the need for Sacramental Confession, or the reinventing the Eucharist to be only a symbol which we all surpass).
We see a LOT of this in the South, where Catholics have always been a minority population, and most Catholics are transplants (usually Post-Vatican II retirees) from other parts of the country. The dioceses of New York, I’m discovering, are almost certain to send the South poorly catechized individuals who heartily resent the use of Latin even during heightened seasons such as Advent and Lent – “We did away with that junk after Vatican II!” one indignant parishioner told me as he quit the choir.
Actually, we did not – but the retention of Latin is not my point.
It is truly heartbreaking to see such rancor and competition within the Church, within our own parishes – but it ought not to surprise us. After all, Jesus Himself warned us that, in the Last Days, “if it were possible, even the elect would be led astray.”
If we wish to be able to Fight the Good Fight, as Paul said, we need to be prepared to fight on all fronts, home (within the Church) and “abroad” (the world). We need to be able to give a good account of our Faith wherever it is needed. This means we really do have to know our Church. We have to be well-acquainted with our Catechism and our Bible, to keep abreast of new document releases and old ones. A nodding acquaintance with Church History isn’t a bad idea, either.
We also have the obligation to be working not only on the intellectual conformity to the Church, but also on the transformation of our characters.
I have a feeling I’ll be blogging about this quite a bit in the coming weeks, as I prepare to being work on my MA-Theology from one of our major Universities.
May God raise up many well-equipped workers in His fields.