Earlier this week Eutychus posted something that one of his RCIA instructor said.
One instructor said that the Catholic Church can be a very comfortable place for unthinking people, people who are happy to be told, ‘This is Right’ and ‘This is wrong’ and that’s that. The instructor said that the church can also be a very turbulent place for people who think.
This kind of crap really angers me. That someone who seems to have such a low opinion of the intellectual tradition of the Church should be allowed within a 1,000 feet of people learning about the Catholic faith is just plain wrong. I would like to look this guy up in a room with the writings of St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Edith Stein for a start. When I bought a domain for this website I wanted Splendor of Truth in honor of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor.
THE SPLENDOUR OF TRUTH shines forth in all the works of the Creator and, in a special way, in man, created in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gen 1:26). Truth enlightens man’s intelligence and shapes his freedom, leading him to know and love the Lord. Hence the Psalmist prays: “Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord” (Ps 4:6).
There is only one good reason to become a Catholic, because it is true. In another of the Pope’s encyclical, Fides et Ratio, he says:
“Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth�in a word, to know himself�so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.”
Wow that really sounds anti-intellectual and that the Church discourages thinking; yeah right. Too often the Church is said to be opposed to thinking because it does not accept the thinking of those who support abortion, contraception or same-sex unions. That you are not thinking unless you come up with a new thought. That we should dump scripture and tradition in favor of the teachings of an enlightened society. Instead of standing on the shoulders of giants, they want us to scrap the giants.
One of the things that attracted me to the Catholic Church was its intellectual treasure. I had previously thought that science and religion were opposed to each other and yet I found that through much of the Church’s history that it was the monks who were the scientists. That the monastery was not placed in the confines of a city, but that the cities built themselves around the monastery because they were the centers of learning. Many of the Church’s teachings did not sit well with my previous atheistic beliefs. Yet when I studied further I found that they were not mere arbitrary rules, but instead were based on deep intellectual reflections arising from scripture and tradition.
This instructor saying “‘This is Right’ and ‘This is wrong’ and that’s that.” is just so far off the mark. We can come to understand why something is right and something is wrong. It does not end in a kind of parental “Because I told you.” Our intellectual journey can start with the guide posts that God has given us through his Church. We do not have to reinvent the road to complete our journey.