A real Catholic friend and I have regularly spoken about the Faith and how we respond to dogmas of the Faith that we didn’t understand, or didn’t agree with completely over the years. These are the kinds of discussions that we end up in, just about every time we spoke, and still do, although we both agree with and accept everything the Church proposes for our belief. We have spoken about those matters of Faith that we didn’t understand, but we also both told of how we accepted finally all dogmas, even if we personally wanted it to be something else. We admitted that we’re just men who want to do our own will, but we had no choice as Catholics to do otherwise, and where we did go own own way, we knew we could and would be engaging in sin, maybe even mortal sin, and we could not receive Holy Communion. We are both tremendously pained to see the Eucharist profaned and treated shabbily.
We have told each other of our efforts to learn the Faith better, to learn as best we could why the Church teaches as She does, and to seek wisdom, understanding and guidance in prayer. We didn’t do this together, but it was our common shared experience, as it is for many others. We told each other of these things, and recounted happily how we came to understand. The result of these conversations is only that two men had real happiness in being blessed in coming to know the Truth, despite our rebelliousness, despite our struggles and despite all those in and outside of the Church who told us in various ways that the Church was wrong, that the Faith was wrong. These conversations between us I have cherished over the years because they don’t happen with too many others.
We are both also very bothered by Catholics who claim the title but refuse dogmas as if turning down turnips at the buffet and taking only the chicken, potatoes and corn where everyone must eat everything offered. We knew that not everyone will be Catholic and those who are decently honest will not claim the title and then publicly proclaim that they are, and then publicly proclaim they are opposed to a matter of Faith. As we discussed trying to understand why Catholics would do this, he said something almost as an aside but which struck me as precisely the reason:
If somebody is publicly going against a teaching of the Church especially with heated vitriol and justifications, you’ll eventually find out it is because they are engaging in some related sin that they don’t want to give up.
Over the years, for example, I have found that Catholics who support abortion have had one, or helped somebody have one. Those who support adultery are often engaged in it or have and liked it, or can think of times where it can be “good” and supported others in the pursuit. Those who condemn the Church for being “mean” to homosexuals are engaging, or happily did before, in buggery. And so on. In fact, thinking about my own difficult to conquer sins, I can see that I would downplay their severity, even if I acknowledged their sinfulness, which made me, in effect a private dissenter. I was not totally opposed to the teaching of the Church, but I was still dissenting, although not publicly and causing scandal. But I went to confession and repented and did not kick and yell that the Church was wrong, refuse to repent and continue to receive Holy Communion. Nor did I expect that any real Catholic would tell me I was right and that I had the “right” to receive Holy Communion.
In thinking about the present situation in the hierarchy and the seemingly diabolical determination to call active and ongoing adultery and homosexuality “goods” instead of sin, I thought back to what my friend had said long ago. Perhaps it is not so much about pastoral concerns for others but about holding onto what they are actively engaged in, or have done happily in the past. Maybe that is the real situation, where the proposed changes will permit them to continue what they are doing and free their own consciences. Maybe this explains why they seem hell-bent, literally and figuratively, on imposing this on the Church, for themselves and their friends in like situations.
Of course, this is speculation and I am not pinning any specific sin on any specific man in the hierarchy. I am noting that in my experience this has been seen and proven to be true for me, my friend, and no doubt others as well.