Should Catholics believe all Church teachings? Living an authentic Christian life is not as easy as it appears to be. If you live it the way the Church wants you to live, it is one of the most challenging religions in the world.
By Blyton Pinto
20 May 2020
A vast majority, including many Catholics, feel that the Church unfairly imposes its teachings on its followers, without a care or concern for the realities or practicalities of life. Is Christianity relevant today? Should we agree to all the teachings?
Here are a few insights to help you make YOUR choice:
Living an authentic Christian life is not as easy as it appears to be. If you live it the way the Church wants you to live, it is one of the most challenging religions in the world. It is a mix of “easy to follow” teachings and “unreasonable and unrealistic” precepts, as they say.
- For the majority, “honor your parents” is an easy one, compared to a difficult one like “contraception is a sin”.
- It is relatively easier to “attend Mass every Sunday” than to “forgive someone who hurt you”.
- It is easier to “avoid hardcore pornography” on your gadgets than to avoid “looking at someone with lust”.
- What is “wise”? – to abort a mentally challenged fetus in your womb or allow him/her to be born and live a life “full of suffering”?
The above choices seem easy to make, as long as it is not us making them.
It was not your choice to be born into a Catholic home or receive Baptism, First Holy Communion or Confirmation but it is your choice as an adult to continue to want to be in the Church. God or the Church is absolutely not forcing anyone to follow. It’s totally up to you.
If you do follow, then you are signing up for tough Church teachings. It’s similar to ticking the “I agree to the Terms and Conditions” checkbox when you shop online. You cannot enjoy the benefits unless you agree to the Terms and Conditions. All the Terms or teachings apply to you, not a selective few.
The Practicality of following “Tough” Hard To Believe Church Teaching
By “tough” I mean, the following Church teachings on:
- Artificial Contraception – an unnatural method of birth control which is contrary to the nature God has given us
- Abortion – the first-named form of illicit birth control
- Direct sterilization – equally to be excluded
- Mutual (between spouses) or solitary masturbation – intrinsically and gravely disordered action
- Euthanasia – constitutes a murder
- Suicide – gravely contrary to just love of self and God and preservation of life
- Divorce – a grave offense against natural law
- Yoga, Reiki, and New Age practices – depend on a non-Christian worldview
- Jesus’s Real Body and Blood in the form of bread and wine
- Pre-marital sex – gravely contrary to the dignity of persons
- Pornography – offends against chastity and dignity of its participants
- Homosexuality – homosexual acts are gravely disordered
- Embryonic stem cells – gravely illicit
Do Catholics really agree with these teachings of the Church? Do you, if you are Catholic?
The arguments people make against the above teachings often seem logical when, on closer examination, they’re actually not. Ultimately, secular arguments against the Church’s moral teachings fail. They’re illogical. They’re unreasonable. They’re opposed to the natural moral law. More often than not, secular arguments against the moral teaching of the Church are based on false tolerance, emotionalism, and secular human, anti-Christian and anti-life points of view.
People often think they can avoid a lot of pain and hardship by jettisoning the moral teaching of the Church. It’s true that doing so can seem easier in the moment. It’s possible to avoid some hardship and pain by pretending to be Catholic while not really living as a Catholic. However, long-term, everlasting happiness could be lost. That’s the risk. That’s the cost. Unending happiness is attained by making truly good choices that align with God’s plan. That includes committing to the divine Catholic faith and living it fully.
It’s not easy to stand up for these teachings, especially in today’s secular world. More so in those countries where there is widespread moral relativism and hostility towards the Church.
The natural person has no room for the gifts of God’s Spirit; to him they are folly; he cannot recognize them, because their value can be assessed only in the Spirit.1 Corinthians 2:14
If we signed up to the Catholic Faith, these teachings are crosses we have to carry. These are the teachings for which we will be ridiculed and scorned. And in some cases even taken to court. However, living the Catholic life is ultimately the life of happiness because it is life in Christ who is the way and the truth and the life (Jn 14:6). Is Christ the Lord of your life? Is the belief of the Church important? Are you a person of faith and truth or, on the other hand, are you of tepid faith and careless about what’s true?
Remember the warning …I know about your activities: how you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were one or the other, but since you are neither hot nor cold, but only lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth.Revelation 3:15
And the reward …
Blessed is anyone who perseveres when trials come. Such a person is of proven worth and will win the prize of life, the crown that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.James 1:12
Conclusion: Believe Church Teachings
In public life you have two choices. Either stand up for these Church teachings when challenged or stay quiet and avoid arguments and confrontation with others—remaining silent may be an omission and failure to defend the faith for which you may be morally culpable before God. But what’s really important is how much do you believe in the teachings of the Church deep down in the depths of your heart. What we believe influences our behavior, speech, and activities. It shapes our lives. How have the beliefs of the Church shaped yours? Living as a Catholic was never meant to be always comfortable or easy. Perhaps it all comes down to this question: How much do you want the crown of life?