I have many Catholic friends who don’t understand how self-proclaimed Catholics can identify as “pro-choice,” “pro-marriage-equality,” etc, etc, etc. How can such incompatible beliefs as Catholicism and “pro-marriage-equality” be held within one person? How can one claim a religion as his or her own, while holding views that are directly opposed to the teachings of that religion, teachings that do not appear to be liable to change?
Some suppose that such teachings may change, based upon the general popularity of such positions as “pro-choice,” “pro-marriage-equality,” etc, etc, etc. They suggest that a grave injustice has arisen in the “bishops’ decision” to not be tolerant of such views, as if the Church committed a serious error in not assimilating into itself such beliefs as Arianism, which most self-professed Christians identified with at one point in the Church’s history.
Catholics who see with clarity and believe with faith in the Church’s authority ought not be surprised by their friends and peers who identify as both Catholic and, for example, “pro-marriage-equality.” It has been a historical fact that most people will be driven on by their general feelings and sentiments, and then form beliefs based upon these emotions. If a teaching presents a “difficulty,” fallen man’s first assumption is that the error must be with the teaching and not with the person experiencing such a difficulty. This assumption is neither surprising nor new in the history of the Church or in the history of man.
Still, this assumption must give pause and concern to Catholics. Men and women who hold themselves to be both Catholic and “pro-marriage-equality” do not only have a stinted view of what marriage is or of what the Church teaches. They have a stinted view of who and what God is, and of what religion is.
They have failed to realize the nature of an eternal and unchanging God, and of a religion that claims to be the earthly presence and bride of such a God. They have failed to realize that, were a view such as the commonly-held “pro-marriage-equality” view to be true, the Catholic religion would be false, now and forever. Were the “pro-marriage-equality” view to be true, such a truth would be the invalidation of the Catholic religion.
Thus, we find that the failure of catechesis in the world today is not only a failure to teach Catholics the various applications of Christian doctrine. It is a failure to teach Catholics what religion is. Catholics persist in views incompatible with their religion because they don’t know what religion is to begin with. If we think that the errors of today’s Catholics would be solved by a reiteration of the Church’s teachings on life, sexuality, etc, we have a very narrow view of the problem at hand. We must begin with the basics: What is God?