Thursday, May 28, 2009


It was such a happy time when the law was changed and we could begin turning right on red. What a relief that was! No more senselessly sitting at light with no traffic is sight! When that law was changed, it did not have an influence on other laws to any great extent. We did not have to redefine stopping or driving or intersections or the definition of cars. Most laws are rather independent of each other in this way. Where this changes is when law starts touching on morals.

Church teaching is mostly faith and morals and at least within the Catholic Church it is very difficult to change a teaching on faith and morals without having a profound effect on other teachings. Unlike many Protestant denominations that see individual teachings as independent agents that can change if the church body thinks Scripture can be reinterpreted to support a particular issue.

It is not quite the same with Catholic teaching. Catholic teaching more like a great ball of yarn. You cannot take one strand and pull on it without affecting the whole ball. Catholic teaching is that solid and interconnected.

For example, some denominations see no problem in allowing same sex marriage. It is an independent issue and a decision on this matter affects only this independent teaching. Ta-da. However to change this one teaching would be to put much of Catholic teaching into question. How sex is defined will in part define for us what it means to be a human being. It makes us reevaluate what the purpose of sex is and what marriage is. That will change what it means to be in relation with each other and with our God. For such a radical change in the 2000 years of Church teaching would mean a change in the very fabric of what it is to be Church and how faith is handed on. It would mean that there is possibility of a complete cut with Tradition and that faith is not necessarily a thing to be passed on from one generation to the next for it may not be the same thing from one generation to the next.

Our faith teaching is solidly built on Scripture and Tradition, well thought out and heavily interdependent. That is not to say that there is no room for dissention. There is. To begin there is a hierarchy of belief, those things that are essential for being called catholic and those things that, while important, are not essential. Otherwise for a person to dissent the first step would be to know WHY, through Scripture and Tradition, a certain teaching is taught and how it is interdependent with other teachings and the ramifications of changing it.

So if someone is saying that a teaching should be changed because, “This seems more fair,” or “Jesus just wants us to love,” or, “this is more modern and where people are today,” run away.

Run very far away.


Anonymous said...

This is a great explanation. Thanks for the enlightenment.

Anonymous said...


Fr. V., you must be eating your "spiritual" Wheaties! You are coming out with some GRRRRReat (as Tony the Tiger might say) blogs!

Terry Nelson said...

Very good advice.