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What Does It Mean To Be Catholic?


A good friend sent me a link to a very interesting article today. It is a letter from Providence Bishop Thomas Dolan to Congressman Patrick Kennedy in response to Kennedy’s statement, “The fact that I disagree with the hierarchy on some issues (primarily abortion) does not make me any less of a Catholic”. We see this faulty logic echoed by many other Catholics in the world today, many of whom are in the public eye.

The bishop does an outstanding job of deflating Kennedy’s self-affirming argument and I highly recommend that you read it for yourself (link to article is at the end of this blog), but I would like to comment on a few things. This concept of “I can still be a good Catholic even though I disagree with the authoritative teaching of the Church” cannot be defended by any official Church document and I challenge anyone to produce evidence to the contrary.

The second problem I see with Kennedy’s statement is that he refers to the Church as a “hierarchy”. There are far too many people (Catholics included) who view the Church as nothing more than a bureaucracy. They view the successors to the Apostles, the bishops, as a group of men who covered up the despicable actions of child abusers or individuals who are out of touch with reality. Here is what Our Lord Jesus Christ said of these men:

“All power in Heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Mt 28:18)

We need to stop focusing on the leaders of the Church as a group of executives who are imposing their human will on us. They are our shepherds and it is their job to help us get to Heaven. Yes, abuses took place by imperfect human beings and horrible damage was done. That does not take away from the commission that the bishops received directly from Our Lord. The official teaching of the Church is protected from error by the authority of Jesus Christ Himself. When they state that abortion is murder, then we better listen!

Congressman Kennedy makes the same mistake made by Adam and Eve. He has authorized himself to declare what is right and wrong, without even considering the inerrant teaching of the Church which he claims to “embrace”. The bishop refers to Kennedy’s support of abortion as a “deliberate and obstinate act of the will” and I would most definitely agree. Those of us who are members of the Church founded by Jesus Christ should listen to His words granting authority to the Apostles, shouldn’t we?

Are the individual leaders of the Church imperfect? You bet!

Can they collectively teach infallibly when united with the Holy Father? You bet!

Who says? Jesus!

Read the full story HERE

One Comment

  1. Qorban Ministries says:

    MY MAN!!! AWESOME Blog!!! ABOLUTELY AWESOME!!!

    Keep on PREACHING the GOOD NEWS Brother, ESPECIALLY IF THAT GOOD NEWS HURTS!!!

    Baruch HaShem Adonai! – Blessed Be the Name of the Lord!

    Richard Lane

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