Saturday, July 23, 2016

Why Judgmental Catholic Christians should Love Everyone

Many faithful Catholic Christians, although innocently, don’t acknowledge the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. For many Catholics, choosing to explore theology or the deep teachings in the Catechism is not important to their faith life, and I don't blame them. They go to Mass, tithe, and even claim their Catholicity among their friends, families, and acquaintances. They, for the most part, don’t care about or concern themselves with the theological/moral teachings of the Church, at least beyond the basics. The Eucharist is communion with Christ for them, and maybe they learned about the real presence in their Baltimore Catechism or the experiential teachings of the 70’s -90’s, but they are not concerned so much with that. They are faithful and live the best they can in the Catholic tradition. It is not really their fault. These are wonderful, loving people who lead busy lives and do all they can to embrace their faith.

On the other hand, there are some who are zealous to learn and embrace the doctrines of their faith. They love to delve into the catechetical teachings of the Church and contemplate the tenets of faith and Tradition. Through this experience, they get to mull over the theological/moral positions of the Church. This can be both constructive and deconstructive, in a sense. Many equipped with this grace of knowledge use it to love God and neighbor more; it draws them closer to Christ and equips them to better love the person in front of them. Some, conversely, use the teachings of the Church and their knowledge to ostracize sinners. The Eucharist, given to us by Christ as the great thanksgiving, is something the traditionally-minded and catechetically astute sometimes use as a tool of exclusivity, denying people who are most hurt and in need of mending access to the medicinal repair of Christ’s flesh and spirit.

There are many in the apologetic, orthodox circles of the Church who believe they can cast judgment on those who can and cannot or should and should not receive the Eucharist. And this false judgment reduces to nothing more than pharisaic finger pointing. All the faithful (myself included) would do well to remember the words of Jesus to the Pharisees in Matthew’s gospel: “So Jesus said to them, 'I tell you: the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the Kingdom of God ahead of you'” (Matthew 21:31).