Monday, June 22, 2015

Read It Like This, Part 1

There is so much in the Holy Father's new encyclical that even picking through it seems like an injustice. I thought it would be most helpful just to ask a few questions pertaining to terms that Pope Francis uses, to help us see where he is coming from. A big problem I see from Catholics is that we ask, "Am I bound in conscience to this? As a matter of divine faith? No? Then I will ignore it." We can't do that. We are Catholic. We have an all-embracing gospel that is supposed to touch every aspect of life; thus, the Holy Father as the Successor of St. Peter has an important role to play in reminding us of the principles of the faith we profess. The Church never agrees with the common sentiment you hear in the world: "Well, religion is religion, and politics is politics, and each should stay clear of the other." Anything that affects the dignity of the human person, and how she relates in this world, and how she seeks God within it, is fair game. I don't have to agree with everything the pope says, but I'm bound by a lot more of what he says than most people realize. The Sacred Tradition has much more to say about living the Christian life than just abortion, sex, and whatever else Obama is wrong about. The upshot of that, friends, is that even when the pope is giving a private opinion, it still counts for more than ours does. This is very humbling and challenging. So even if the social doctrine didn't exist--but it so totally does--I'd still need to listen, to a degree that I do not listen to any other person. We do more than respect the office, as they say. The pope is our spiritual father, and the first guardian of the deposit of faith. I wouldn't say there is an abundance of this awareness out there. Even "faithful" Catholics treat the pope like a president they don't like.

I digress. Here we go:

What is the "common good"? (CCC, 1905-1912, 1924)

What 3 essential elements comprise the common good? (CCC, 1925)

Why should the common good be pursued? (CCC, 1926)

What is the Church's position on the existence of an international community? Why is this important? (CCC, 1927)

Let's stop for now, and we'll pick it up later, eh?

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