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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Separated Catholics - Part two

Separation From Faith - Part two
Our Children today
The lack of knowledge and separation from faith of our children now matured is most distressing for those who have realized the results of their parental disregard. Many young adults attempt to practice their faith to the best of their understanding which is commendable, but do not seek answers to those issues they question. They seem to believe it is OK to accept certain aspects and disregard what they believe is not acceptable to them. This belief is based on the liberalism of current society and lack of true knowledge in their faith. It is affirmed that “cafeteria Catholics” as some have been labeled (referring to those who attend mass when convenient or a few “special” times during the year), “non-practicing Catholics”, or by self proclaimed “ex-Catholics” who at some point “converted” to a protestant faith, do not properly understand the basis of which the Church’s teachings are founded. Many were not given the guidance to know deeply and properly to truly make an informed choice on their own in the first place.

In regard to most, when questioned in regard to the Bible, they can not answer. They have no idea what the Didache is, the Vitus Itala, or the Latin Vulgate. They know little of the Catechism of the Catholic Church nor have much of an idea on why the Church teaches some of it's doctrines. Critically, they have no true knowledge of who the Apostolic Fathers or Early Church Fathers are nor do they know the depth of their ancient writings from the 1st century forward. They believe the Catholic education they received in grade and/or high School was sufficient but never or very rarely have they referred to reading Scripture and questioned what they may not understand. But all of these things have been available to them had they asked questions.

No Catholic properly educated within their faith would ever separate or consider conversion away from it. There is no such status as being “ex-Catholic”. Let me repeat that as to stress the point; there is no such status as being “ex-Catholic”. One cannot unlearn what has been learned any more than one can disassociate their family lineage. One can not deny what He or she has already received in order to abide by something more easily acceptable on a personal level, as though never having been provided the more. Whether one knows their family lineage or not, whether one knows their faith properly or not, it changes nothing of either. As an adult, the responsibility to seek the truth in God becomes that of the individual.

Years of research into the origin of Christianity and numerous discussions with separated Catholics made it overwhelmingly obvious that in addition to the influence of social peer pressure and the promoting of liberalism in society there are two major underlying reasons many choose to separate from or avoid growth in their faith. First and foremost it can not be stressed enough they never truly knew their faith although many thought and still think otherwise. From personal experience with many others and the discovery in recent years of my own past ignorance, they would never allow themselves to be separated from the Catholic Church and the fullness of Jesus Christ. Yes, I was one of these separated Catholics for 25 years. Properly aware of their Faith, the intimacy of their relationship with our Lord would run far too deeply to allow anything to interfere. They would have a true understanding of the love and devotion of the early Christian martyrs. Their sense of fulfillment in life would be too precious to loose and would be the foundation of their lives rather than an inconvenience or interference. They would also realize life is a gift actually meant to be enjoyed and just how beautiful it is when lived in union with God who created and intended life as His gift.

Secondly, many express the opinion the Church presents too many moral requirements (as though fabricated by the Church) in the practice of faith that they do not agree with. Requirements that they believe will directly interfere with the “liberties” granted by this younger society. This is the motivation for avoiding questions they prefer not learning the answers to. It’s not that they don’t have legitimate questions regarding certain aspects of Church teachings, they do. But they avoid asking those questions in fear the answers will lead to “restrictions” of self gratifications, or a deeper awareness of moral responsibilities that once learned can not be so easily disregarded. They do not realize the difference between falling victim to crises and then desperately praying for God’s intervention, and living in God’s guidance never experiencing many of today’s crises in the first place. They assume committing to the practice of their faith and truly living in a relationship with Christ will create an infringement on their pursuit of “happiness” and although they certainly would hope for salvation and eternal life, they want it by their terms.

One may ask of them self;

Isn’t sin outdated and just an archaic attempt to control people and aren’t we more intelligent than to believe such things today?
If God is all loving no one would be condemned, would they?
As long as my intentions are good, I’m doing what I know is right by God, am I not?
Should I seek to better understand more deeply what Jesus teaches and why, or might that create a moral awareness and sense of responsibility that would interfere with my pursuit of pleasure and my goals?
Do I wish to be charitable and humble toward our needing Christian brothers and sisters or do I wish to attain a position “greater” than others either in wealth, authority, influence, or perhaps recognition?
Do I wish to live by my faith and morality or is it embarrassing or prudish to live with such virtues?
Do I really want to refrain from sexual relationships void the commitment of marriage, or am I fulfilled in the liberality of “sexual freedom” without commitment that today’s society offers?
Should I follow Church teachings against artificial contraception? It is after all a major convenience and certainly a “necessity” in the practice of sexually liberal relationships. Surely the Church is unreasonable in teaching artificial contraception is wrong… that’s ridiculous”.

Then we go even further facing the choice of either recognizing the truth of abortion as barbaric murder or denying its act for what it is, supporting abortion as a “necessary alternative”, a “last resort”, a “just in case” one becomes pregnant due to a sexually active liberal life style.

Our nation was founded by people who acknowledged the significance of morality and fundamental belief in God and His guidance and its inability to survive without God. Proclaiming “God Bless America" means nothing from a society formed predominantly of individuals who have lost the true essence and interest of and in God.

Liberalism to the point of abandonment of morality is not God’s turning His back on us, but our turning our back on Him. We then are left to the end results of our choices. As a society, history will record our ways just as it has provided an image of past societies. It is only the young adults of today who can turn this society around from the deplorable direction it has taken. Surely they would not want their generation to be recorded in history as that of their parents. It is the young adult, who has the ability to ask the questions, learn the truth, return to God and teach their Children. And assuredly the pregnancy rate of children will drop, the mass murders in schools of children upon children will drop, and the suicide rate of children will drop, not to mention the commonality of the major crises young adults face today.

From the writings of John Adams:
"Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited. ... What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be. I have examined all ... and the result is that the Bible is the best Book in the world. It contains more of my little philosophy than all the libraries I have seen."
(John Adams, "The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States", Vol. II, pp. 6-7, diary entry for February 22, 1756, Vol. X, p. 85, to Thomas Jefferson on December 25, 1813, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1854)

"The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were ... the principles of Christianity. ... I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God". (John Adams, "The Writings of Thomas Jefferson", Vol. XIII, p. 292-294, In a letter from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson on June 28, 1813, (Washington D.C., The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904)

Part three to follow - “Ex-Catholic" Conversion to Denominational Christianity

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