Letter: The Catholic Church’s staying power
The Catholic Church’s staying power
When in his letter“Archaic mindset plagues Catholic Church” (Sept. 24, The Aspen Times) James DeFrancia declares that “the church is running about 300 years behind the rest of Western culture,” he reminds me of precisely why I chose to become a Catholic.
Let’s see, 300 years ago is when the French Enlightenment began its crusade to stamp out belief in the existence of Satan, as being nothing more than backwards, archaic mythology.
It succeeded so well that — fast forward — The Church of England is now setting about removing all references to Satan in its Rite of Baptism.
Tell me again, what is the purpose of baptism? With Satan out of the picture, isn’t it rather like vaccinating a child against a disease that doesn’t exist?
And if Satan doesn’t exist, then tell me, what need do I have of Christ (who, strangely enough, spoke of Satan frequently)? I mean, why did he even show up in the first place, dropped like a paratrooper behind enemy lines, as C. S. Lewis characterized it?
Not surprisingly, 18th century enlightened rationalists concluded that, indeed, they didn’t need him (after all, claims of his divinity were also mythological): All they needed in order to navigate the waters of life was to exercise their reason.
Fast forward again: How’s that working out? Our spiritually sterile school curricula and social sciences have not kept us from becoming a nation of dependents, addicts and suicides, with many more of us leading lives of quiet desperation. And this is the world that Mr. DeFrancia says the church “needs to join … in order to be relevant.”
No, the reason the church is fondly called “The Rock of Ages” is that rocks are not easily moved or eroded. The church is in the world, but it better not be of the world. The more it accommodates its orthodoxy to post-modern tastes and values, the more irrelevant and useless it will be to anyone and everyone.
Western culture is on a suicide mission. My hope is that the church will be there to pick up the pieces.