I was speaking to a fellow Catholic and the topic of young Catholics came up. This person recently attended a talk where a Catholic priest discussed the fact that many younger Catholics are abandoning the Faith because they don’t agree with some Church teachings. My friend then made the point that the Church has to “change with the times”. I have heard this argument many times and my reaction is always the same – Why is it that the Church has to change? Why shouldn’t we change?
This attitude is not unique to young Catholics. It is shared by people of all ages. If we can’t get Catholics to follow Church teaching about such things as artificial birth control, in vitro fertilization, missing Mass on Sunday, pre-marital sex, homosexuality (all declared to be gravely immoral by the Church in case you haven’t heard it lately), many feel that we should change the rules or risk losing people. Fortunately, this is not the position of the one, true, Church founded by Jesus Christ. It is not the opinion of the Church who is protected from teaching error by the Holy Spirit (as promised by Our Lord). Rather it is the opinion of people who are influenced by the lies of the modern world. Furthermore, these people are flat out wrong and should be ignored!
Approximately 25,000 Christian denominations have changed “the rules” to suit the needs of the people. For many non-Catholic Christians, if you don’t like the teachings of one local Church, you simply shop for another one. It doesn’t work that way with the one, true Church. Our Lord still speaks through His Catholic Church today in the same way as He did 2,000 years ago. Instead of changing the rules, we need to explain the teachings of the Church in a positive way. For many Catholics, this involves first learning and understanding the teachings themselves. Furthermore, this education is not just the job of the priests, deacons and sisters…It is the job of lay people like you and me. By virtue of our baptism, we are all called to evangelize and spread the TRUTH of the Catholic Faith. While it is important that we be charitable when explaining the teachings of the Church, we also should avoid watering down the message. Even after explaining the truth in a logical and charitable way, you will encounter some people who will not listen. They will need to explain that to the Lord someday (and it’s not our business to judge them), but you will have done your job.
It is up to us to proclaim the true teaching of the Catholic Church at home, in school, in the workplace…always remembering that when we remain united with the Church’s teaching, we are united with Christ. If you have any doubt, always remember the words of Our Lord when He said, “He who hears you, hears Me.” (Lk 10:16)