Saturday, December 11, 2004

Letters to a lapsed Catholic

Letter No. 1
Thanks for being forthcoming about not having been to church since last Ash Wednesday. So where is your relationship with God if you've left His Church out of it? Sounds either very Protestant or very indifferent-- which would mean very apostate.

Pascal's Wager might be worth a few moments' reflection here. Regardless of whether we spend time thinking about it, we're gambling spiritually with our lives by the little decisions we make every day, aren't we! As Peter Kreeft once said, there are finally only two kinds of people in the world: saints who know they're sinners, and sinners who think they're saints; or, as C.S. Lewis preferred: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says: "Thy will be done."

If it's disillusionment with the local Catholic parish, I could write a book of my own about that. I find contemporary Catholic practice appalling. There's better music in Anglican and Lutheran churches, and better catechesis in Baptist and Presbyterian churches. The only problem is this little darn thing called truth: it's still the only real Church-- His Church. And I can't pretend to live obediently and garner His blessing apart from His Church. It's a blessing to me, actually, that Peter and Judas both betrayed Christ, not only because I realize that even those whome Jesus chose to be members of His varsity team were morally fallible (i.e., peccable), but because it shows me that those whom He placed in charge of His Church (Peter, at least) was morally fallible and yet to be obeyed (becaue under the infallible guidance of the Holy Spirit). If you want a good illustration of that, read the first two chapters of Galatians, which relates the first meeting of Paul with Peter, as well as his later meeting with him. Imagine Paul, the most educated Jew in all Palestine-- the protoge of Rabbi Gamaliel, a Roman citizen, speaker of Latin and Greek as well as Hebrew and Aramaic, a Pharisee by training-- just imagine this Paul, converted independently on the road to Damascus, after three years going up to Jerusalem to submit himself to this head-strong and probably arrogant-seeming Joe Sixpack of a fisherman, PETER, accepting his authority as head of the Church!! A truckload to think about there.
[There are nine letters in all. Read all nine letters here.]

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