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God's faithful people are walking steadily towards Heaven, bravely remaining true to Him, and to His laws, and united in love for Him and one another. Dissident Catholics are like people who stand at one side, saying to them, "You're going the wrong way!" - and inviting them to ignore the teachings of the Church and to resent her discipline.
Very few Catholics accept the truth: that it is Christ Who teaches us through His Church; and that she teaches the truth about faith and morals. It is with pride that many speak, when they say, in effect: "On the subject of contraception, I know better, what is right and wrong, than all these Patriarchs, Prophets, teachers, Popes, Bishops and Saints."
A priest should lead his people upwards towards Heaven, on a sure path. If he teaches them to ignore the Pope's teaching, and says that we should dispute Church teachings, and that there is plenty of time and no need to repent, it is as if he leads them into a comfortable house in a cul-de-sac. It was built by Satan, as a trap, so that they might sit there discussing moral issues and never make up their minds to obey God and to do His Will, made known through the Church.
The Catholic Church is a visible body on earth, that cannot be mistaken for any other. It is not possible for her to water down her teachings in order to placate Christians in other bodies; yet her Bishops and other clergy can speak, side by side with other Christians, about matters in secular society on which all Christians agree.
It is unwise for Catholic Clergy to suggest 'pulpit exchanges' with other Christian leaders. When Catholic lay-persons, quite rightly, are not allowed to preach during the Sacred Liturgy, it is hardly fitting for a Protestant to do so, who is not in full Communion with the Church and does not share all of her teachings - nor does he have valid orders.
In God's sight, without the Pope, civilization is lost. He is the 'Rock', the reminder for the world of the existence of God, and the importance of God's laws, as people in many council chambers in Governments or international organisations deliberately leave out all mention of God, and even enact wicked and immoral laws.
Christ is the way, the truth and the life: the only Saviour. Christ asks every Christian teacher, author, parent, religious, Clergyman and missionary to do what St. Paul did, who urged people to be reconciled with God, through Christ, in Baptism or Confession. It is as if Christ says, in this age of hesitation or even doubt: 'Would you send people to a false god or to false prophets?' He is the Way.
Christ wants everyone to see what He sees: that many people are ignoring what is good and embracing evil; but of those who have stepped onto His path to Life, a large number are making little progress. They argue so much about the teachings of His Church, disagreeing with His chosen teachers - the Pope and other Catholic Bishops; and Christ cannot ask them to do great work.
God the Father sent His Son to earth not just to die for our sins, but also to found a Church. If we follow her teachings about good and evil, by the grace of Christ, we bring about the fulfilment of God's plan for human life. People who claim to be practicing Catholics but who dispute long-standing teaching and discipline are like jigsaw pieces who agreed to be parts of a beautiful landscape but who now do what they please, and refuse to complete the Designer's plan.
Those Christians who enquire and explore, like children in Narnia, find a place where it is already spring-time. In the Catholic Church, Christ already reigns. He has banished the snow and ice by His love, His true teaching, His provision of the precious drink of Eternal Life - His own Precious Blood; and He asks all people to come and live in His Kingdom, here on earth, and then forever, in Heaven.
It is not enough to be content to be spiritual. Some people want to worship God, and serve Him, without being asked to believe in important doctrines; yet sound doctrine provides the framework and the strength to persevere in our spiritual life. If we know the truth we are set free to build with confidence, and to believe that our house of faith will last until we reach Heaven.
It can be distressining, to see people we know apparently taking the wrong road, away from Christ, and Heaven. Only God knows their final destination; and we are right to hope, and to intercede for them; however, some people use their gift of free-will deliberately to disobey Christ, act unjustly, or ignore the teachings of the Church about charity, and penance; and, like Christ, we must accept that they have made their own choices, even foolish ones.
Those who are constantly within the Church but fighting in the Church, protesting against her doctrines and disciplines, will not make much spiritual progress. Discontented, acting against Christ Who has given us the Pope to guide us, and the other Catholic Bishops, the dissenters should do what Saint Peter did before Christ. He surrendered to Christ and to His Will, just as the Saints have, through the ages, in love and obedience. Surrender is the 'key' to joy in Christ.
Just as a school child can learn nothing and make no progress if he opposes his mother's request, and has to be carried screaming into school, so a Catholic can make little progress in prayer or the spiritual life if he or she is constantly 'fighting' - by words, actions and campaigns - against the constant teaching of the Church, and her discipline.
The key to happiness within the Catholic Church, and joy in Eternity, consists of obedience to the Commandments and to legitimate discipline, and humble agreement with every matter of faith and morals - rather than doing what so many Catholics do, as they spend their lives complaining and arguing, and do not allow God to make them joyful.
It is a tragedy, greater than most Catholics realise, that in Europe, including England, it is almost seen as normal Catholic practice to be opposing the constant teaching of the Church, founded by Christ to teach us, and complaining about the disciplines imposed by those in the Church, especially the Pope, who have authority from Christ to impose them.
If a child could look back five centuries, then another five, then another - to when Christ lived on earth, she would see: the very same Catholic Faith is taught today, as in the first century after Christ. God the Father looks upon the earth, glad to see people who believe in the whole Deposit of Faith, handed down from the time of Jesus Christ and the Apostles. Yet very few believe the Faith in its entirety; so, in our age, as in the first century, and the fifth, tenth and fifteenth, there is a great need for witness, evangelisation, and intercession.
Since Christ ascended to Heaven, having asked His disciples to hand on His message, the Clergy have taught the truth all over the world, instructing people, handing on the Deposit of faith; so it is a disastrous aberration, when an individual priest choses to hand on a distorted Faith, or waters it down, or omits what is important to make it more palatable to sinners who want to continue in their sins. Language changes, but not truth. There is no room for 'creativity' in dogma, or in Liturgy.
What we believe affects how we behave, in life; so it is tragic that there is a current mind-set within certain groups of priests, Bishops and Catechists, which makes a thoroughly orthodox Catholic priest into an object of dislike and suspicion. It's as if a person who believes all that the Church teaches, and encourages others to teach it and practice it must necessarily be 'rigid, lacking in compassion', whereas those who criticise him usually offer a distorted, truncated, or watered down version of the Faith.
It is astonishing, how careless we are, in the face of danger. What the Lord allows us to picture as the fires of Hell are only images; but they represent a terrible reality, which is that there is no greater torment than alienation from God, forever. Christ often warned us about Hell. He has done so, through His Church, for 2000 years; and so He wants us to see that if we deliberately walk towards those flames, by refusing to repent and to live in His love, we are foolish as well as disobedient. For people who die in their sins, Hell never ends.
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