Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Church Hierarchy vs. Church Membership

A popular idea that has been advanced by the media and others is that within the Church there are two groups, the hierarchy and the lay membership, and that these two groups are frequently at odds with one another.

Usually in the media, the lay membership is viewed as the "down-to-earth" crowd who are in with the times, and understand the real world better than the hierarchy. This is the story the media wants you to believe anyway.

However, this idea is not only false, but dangerous. The hierarchy of the church is the ordained members of it. It includes deacons, priests, and bishops. Their task is the teach and preserve the truth of the Catholic Church which was established by Jesus Christ. The teachings they proclaim are not their opinions on various matters, but represent the Church's doctrines, dogmas, and disciplines.

A Catholic who disobeys legitimate hierarchy is not "down-to-earth" or "modern", they are heretics and schismatics. The hierarchy is obliged to obey all the laws of the Church, just as non-ordained members must. Many religious live in poverty, owning no personal possessions. These are the very people who enforce the rules. Obviously they are not doing it for reasons of wealth and power, as news stories would have you believe. Rather, they have given their lives to Christ to serve him.

One of the most important characteristics of a good Catholic is obedience. Unfortunately, obedience is often ridiculed in the general public. Rather than a virtue, obedience is seen as a defect in character, indicating a person who is unable to make their own decisions. On the other hand, a person who justifies disobedience in the Church is lionized. They are seen as the little guy standing up the big bullies.

But nothing could be further from the truth. Catholics believe the Church was established by Jesus Christ and that it will remain always free from error. Faithful Catholics obey the Church even if it means they will need to make sacrifices at times. These are the true Church Militant. Disobedient Catholics on the other hand care far more for their own will than for the will of God. They do whatever they want, then justify it using their own flawed logic. Then they have the audacity to criticize the Church for disagreeing with THEM! Could someone please show me the Bible verse where Jesus established "your opinion" as the standard of truth?

I cannot understand how making up rules as one goes along is considered virtuous. I can understand however, how obedience, fortitude, and good morals are virtuous.

There is no room in the Church to disagree on fundamental moral issues such as abortion, euthanasia, contraception, embryonic stem cells, gay marriage, etc. Anyone who has supported one of these must end their support and align themselves with the Church.

There is no dogmatic distinction between true Catholics. Contrary to what the media would like us to believe, one cannot be Catholic and believe and act as they wish, any more than someone who plays baseball all day long can call himself a golfer.

There is also no distinction between faithful hierarchy and faithful laity. All must be obedient to the teachings of Holy Mother Church.

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