Practice What You Preach! Believe What You Profess!

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The Diocese of Arlington, Virgina recently announced that, as part of the world wide celebration of a Year of Faith within the Church, they would be requiring a Profession of Faith for all catechists and teachers of the Faith.

It’s hard to imagine that something like this should even be necessary. Why would anyone want to TEACH or be in a role of AUTHORITY in a faith that they didn’t wholly believe to be true? Yet, this new requirement is already causing some to be upset.

We all know there are plenty of Catholics who struggle with Church teachings. There is nothing wrong with having difficulty understanding or following what is right in every way. We are all sinners who fail miserably to live up to our aspirations of holiness and morality. But therein lies the crux of the issue.

How do we know what holiness and morality are?

Isn’t this why we turn to the Church in the first place? We put our trust in those who teach the faith to be a model and an example, to help shepherd and guide others along the way of our faith. If the catechists who teach us the Faith are not following the same moral compass as the Church, confusion arises and souls are not properly formed.

I’ve witnessed a former Director of Religious education write public letters to the editor of the local paper about her personal frustrations over the Church’s teachings on the male priesthood and contraception. I have known Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion to rant and rave against the Church’s pro-life teachings and stance on Holy Matrimony. It’s mind-boggling that these things can even happen! How are people who are so torn about the teachings of the Faith even drawn into positions of authority and leadership in the very institution that they, themselves, have publicly questioned and condemned?

My mind twists and contorts to understand their motivations. Our faith and the morals of the Church are not enacted by some sort of democratic vote, as if the Bishops of the Church even have the ecclesiastical authority over these sorts of issues! It’s almost humorous to watch the fruitless ranting.

From an article in The Washington Post:
Arlington’s Diocesan spokesman Michael Donohue said, “I can’t imagine there are many [teachers] who have issues with the Church’s teachings on faith and morals,” Donohue said. Asked about polls showing that the majority of American Catholics use artificial contraception, forbidden by Church doctrine, he said he “found it hard to believe” that anyone who had concluded that a Church teaching was wrong would want to teach it.

It IS hard to believe. But evidence proves otherwise.

So I find it extremely comforting to see a diocese make this a requirement, despite how shocking its necessity even seems. I hope this becomes standard practice for other dioceses, so that we can rest knowing and trusting that those who shepherd and guide others through the Faith are themselves adhering to those same beliefs. Without this foundation we would be a community of hypocrites.

Yesterday’s First Reading (Jeremiah 23:1-6) may be all too timely…

“Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture, says the LORD. Therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, against the shepherds who shepherd my people: You have scattered my sheep and driven them away. You have not cared for them, but I will take care to punish your evil deeds. I myself will gather the remnant of my flock
from all the lands to which I have driven them and bring them back to their meadow; there they shall increase and multiply. I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them so that they need no longer fear and tremble; and none shall be missing, says the LORD.”

2 Replies to “Practice What You Preach! Believe What You Profess!”

  1. You are priest, bishop and Pope because Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died and was raised from the dead as the Son of Man. A woman cannot be a son, a man, a priest. Created as woman, addressed as “Woman” by the Son of Man, by the Crucified Son of Man, from His cross, a woman cannot be in persona of the Son of Man, crucified. A woman cannot act in persona of the Son of Man because the Woman is addressed as “Woman”, and “Mother”. Man is addressed as “son”. Baptized as priest, prophet and king, the woman is baptized into the Holy Mother, the Catholic Church. A woman is baptized into being “Mother” to the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, WHO is the Son of God.

  2. As I was about to post a comment this morning, my computer crashed. I hope I can improve on what I was about to say concerning this excellent post.

    Let me start by saying that, as a very, very long time catechist, there has not been any substantive teaching of our beautiful and holy Faith for more than forty years. I have found Protestantism at first creeping and now galloping into the Holy Catholic Faith.

    I believe *all* teachers of Religious Education should have to make a “Profession of Faith.” Nay more, I believe that every member of every parish should be required to make a “Profession of Faith, every week.” Once it was sufficient to renew our Baptismal Vows (promises) annually at Easter. However, the assault on the Church and the teachings, doctrines and traditions left to humanity by God, our Savior, and the apostles are under stronger and more strident attack.

    There is one out there who hates God with all his might. He hates the Catholic Church because it is the Bride of Christ. He hates the Virgin Mother of God because her “fiat” crushed his head. He hates Latin, because for so long it was the language of the Bride of Christ. He hates beautiful music which praises God. He hates Catholic art whether painting, sculpture, poetry, literature once again, because it praises our Creator, Savior, Teacher. This is the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. The battle has long been going on, since the dawn of creation, in fact, but, as we draw ever closer to the end it is just intensifying.

    We are all sinners. We all make errors, grave errors. We need some very old-fashioned virtues: faithfulness, love, humility, learning. Will the perceived fetters of obedience make us restless and uncomfortable? Of course they will!! God created us with free will. We are perfectly capable of choosing evil, self-will, defiance. But the “wise serpent” within us should be cultivating the “guileless dove!”

    Many thanks go forth to the writer of this excellent article and to its publisher.

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