Who Decides What Catholicism Is?

For many Catholics, the Roman Catholic faith is nothing other than the version of Catholicism in their own hearts, minds, and lives. So when any Pope or Council speaks or acts contrary to that version, they automatically assume that the Pope or Council must be wrong. For them, the standard for judging all things in religion and morals is themselves. They are their own scale for weighing all things. Whatever contradicts their own understanding, can’t possibly be good or right in their view. So when Pope Francis speaks or acts contrary to the version of Catholicism inside their hearts and minds, they reject him.

But that is not how true faith works. Love, faith, and hope are infused theological virtues; they are gifts from God. And those gifts are transcendent, they are goods beyond the goodness of human nature. So we are not our own definition of goodness or truth. And the Faith is goodness and truth beyond what we find within our own natures.

We believe, because the teachings of the Church are the teachings of Jesus Christ. We believe, even when a Church teaching is difficult to understand or accept. We believe, even when the Church makes decisions on doctrine or discipline contrary to our own understanding or preferences. The faithful Catholic considers each and every Pope to be Teacher and Shepherd, regardless of his personality or socio-political leanings.

If you only accept the teachings of Pope Francis (or any Pope or Council) after you evaluate those teachings, and after you find them to be correct according to your own understanding, then you do not have faith at all. Faith is to believe beyond what your own fallen sinful mind can understand, beyond what your own heart can discover and confirm. Faith is to believe even when your heart does not see the full value of the teaching. For we are all fallen sinners, whose ability to reason and love is obscured by concupiscence and personal sin.

Whosoever rejects Pope Francis, rejects Christ. Whosoever rejects the Second Vatican Council, rejects Christ. Whosoever rejects any Pope or Council, rejects the plan of God for humanity, revealed in Christ Jesus.

Choose Christ.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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1 Response to Who Decides What Catholicism Is?

  1. Debbie says:

    I really do enjoy reading your blogs! You see I was raised as a cradle catholic. I grew up in the time when what was taught in R. E. Classes ….was Gods love. I wasn’t instructed in His truth and doctrine. So be it …it is what it is. My spouse and I agreed to use birth control pills. I never knew it was a mortal sin. I thought it was something the church frowned upon. You wouldn’t want your priest nor parent know of your doing but not a mortal sin after all I haven’t killed anyone. That’s how ignorant I was growing up. I truelly believed it was our choice to decide. I recall our meeting with our priest prior to marriage and discussing our test questions. My spouse and I answered differently pertaining to children and use of contraception. I thought to myself oh my what is the priest going to say about this to us and he said he thought it best for every married couple to wait at least 5 years before you have kids. No talk on NFP…. In fact I never even heard of NFP before. That was that….the priest seemed to think it was fine for us to use birth control….he said in so many words without really saying it. So here we are ,,.my spouse and I receiving our lord while using birth control (sorry Lord!). It wasn’t until about a little over a year into our marriage that a strong ferverent pastor of our church started talking about birth control and it being a mortal sin! This priest talked several times about the intrinsic evil of the usie of birth control and how one should never receive our Lord while on it and not repentant. Wow. I didn’t know! I started praying to God and asking him about this matter. I was praying ferferently! All the while the priest giving more sermons on this topic in which he seemed to be looking right at me!! I felt torn, conflicted..I always thought to be a good catholic and now I’m realizing I could be committing mortal sin!!. I prayed earnestly to understand Gods desire for me and my spouse. After having an encounter with our Lord in a dream did my husband and I repent fully in the confessional and named our first born son(#4) after this Godly priest. In my dream…..Jesus revealed to me that He loves me no matter what but that I had to make this choice for myself that he couldn’t make it for me. I was made to understand that he would love me no matter what but I would live with the consequences of my choice . His deep love and peace for me came over me and I knew what I had to do! Today God has blessed us with 6 living children! My point is we all need to try harder not to judge others so harshly….I truly didn’t understand my faith as I should have. We must educate others and pray for them and then get out of the way and let God work in their lives. I believe that if you truly love God you will want to seek the truth and in His way and timing the truth will set you free. God was patient with me yet loving me the whole time while he was trying to teach me what should have been taught to me by my parents and the church of my younger years. I’m learning. We’re all learning. I’m 46 years old and still learning my faith and how to love. My we never stop and may we never stop seeking His truth which always leads us to His Holy church. Let us pray for others to seek This trutth! God wants everyone back in His fold!! His heart aches when we’re away from Him! Thank you for letting me share this with you!

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