The New Evangelization and the hierarchy of truths
In the reports of an interview with Pope Francis, many were given the false impression that the Church's teaching concerning the hierarchy of truths in our Faith indicates that some Church doctrines are less important than others. Thus many have received the impression that these secondary truths are subject to change, so as to make our Faith more palatable to our society. Such an impression is false. Objective truths, even those that some consider to be secondary doctrines of our Faith, are not subject to change.
It was thus particularly painful to read that our Holy Father allegedly said that we should not obsess about serious moral issues such as abortion, contraception and euthanasia, but rather focus on the big picture. He used the image of a corpsman treating a wounded soldier on the battlefield. In such a situation, it is impossible
to follow all the normal protocols of sanitation that would be observed in an operating room. Yet, the pope's reflection would seem to indicate that the corpsman is thus
dispensed from following such protocols to the best of his ability in that situation.
Sadly, this observation did not faithfully covey the true meaning of the Church's teaching concerning the hierarchy of truths. The Church's teaching is that all truth is sacred and immutable. In matters of Church doctrine, however, some truths are secondary, in that they help to properly enhance and enlighten our appreciation of the more central truths of our Faith. For example, the doctrines regarding Our Blessed Mother help to enhance our appreciation of the mystery and ministry of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In this context, we can see that her Assumption into heaven objectively enhances our appreciation of how Christ is, even now, faithfully bringing His Bride, the Church, into full communion with Himself in the heavenly Kingdom.
This basic theological principle points out the error that was spawned by the reports on the pope's interview. It also brings into clearer focus the fact that such comments will actually sabotage the New Evangelization. We can see this reality at work in his alleged admonition that we should not obsess on the issue of contraception and abortion. This ignores, or at least trivializes, two serious questions, namely:
1) From whom does a human being derive the right to live - from God, from one's mother, from society or from some government bureaucrat?";
2) Is a human embryo, a human zygote or a human fetus a person?
If our own Church leaders are criticizing us for being obsessive, merely because we are decisively proclaiming God alone to be the Lord of Life, then how can we be viewed as credible witnesses to the sacredness of each human life, when the pragmatic demands of expediency and human development require that we marginalize, or even "terminate" those who are hindering the ongoing evolution of humanity? And if those same leaders seek to rein us in for insisting that a newly conceived human life is a person, how can we uphold the doctrines that the person of Our Blessed Mother was conceived without Original Sin or that the Person of God the Son was conceived in the womb of Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit?
(The shoes of the fisherman)
Thus it seems that there are certain powers at work, even in the Church, that would have us believe that the reality of the Incarnation of the Son of God is not really
central to our Catholic Faith. They contend that just as long as we embrace Gospel principles, carefully sanitized to appease the demands of political correctness, we will
find true salvation for all of humanity.
If the New Evangelization is going to be based on the obfuscation of central truths of our Faith in order not to appear obsessive, what little fruit it produces will soon wither.
And even if a majority of "Catholics" in America today are supporting the agenda of the Culture of Desecration and Death, we need to remember that truth is not the product of a Gallup poll. We need to keep in mind that, at the foot of Mt. Sinai, the golden calf was constructed and worshipped due to a consensus of the People of God at that time. And we can ill afford to embrace that historical anti-Semitism, which alleges that we, as "modern Catholics", would never sink to the depths of depravity manifested by "those Jews" back in Biblical times.
Speroforum columnist Rev. Thomas Collins is a Catholic priest who serves the people of Virginia.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, not of Spero News.
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