Sunday, May 11, 2008

The right to be taught

Heard something interesting from a friend at church this morning-- interesting in a sad way. He teaches classes on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius, and the classes have really been expanding; there are 150 people taking them right now. The Exercises include an hour of prayer and meditation every day for ten weeks, so it's impressive that so many people are doing it!

But the folks who are attending from other churches haven't all had the years of solid teaching that our priests give at St. Peter Chanel, and it showed when my friend got to talking about Hell (the Exercises have meditations on the Four Last Things). He could see that some people were really rejecting it. Their perspective was "I've been going to St. John's (or wherever) for forty years and they never mentioned that!" So they don't believe the actual Catholic doctrine when they do hear it. They seem to figure that if it were true, their own priests would have been talking about it all this time.

It makes me think that the failure to teach Christian doctrine in its fullness is even more harmful than I thought. It doesn't just deprive people of the truth; it actively teaches them to deny it. Never teaching an important doctrine seems to be tantamount to saying it's not doctrine at all.

The Catechism has this excellent point: "The law of God entrusted to the Church is taught to the faithful as the way of life and truth. The faithful therefore have the right to be instructed in the divine saving precepts that purify judgment and, with grace, heal wounded human reason."

Say you have cancer and your doctor gives you a sugar pill instead of chemotherapy because he doesn't want you to get mad at him about the nausea and hair loss. Is he doing you any favors? We have a right to expect real medicine.


James Bernard said...

Great analogy!

Rachel Gray said...

Thanks, I ripped it off from David Mills in Touchstone Magazine! :)

Rachel Ann said...

Wow, this is really eye-opening! I bet the same thing is happening in the Protestant churches...what people don't realize is that while truth may hurt more in the beginning, in the end, it will hurt less. Like when I wait too long to get a cavity filled, and then I have to get a root, I'm not speaking from experience, what makes you think that? ;)

Free now, so we need to find each other again and talk about life and doctrine! Much love.

Rachel Gray said...

Wow, not only are we both named Rachel, but we both procrastinated on the dentist and ended up needing root canals! I hope at least we're both brilliant and beautiful too.