Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Magisterium and Morality

neO significant sign of God's love for us is the teaching Church. Jesus ascended into heaven. Yet, He remains with us. He is every tabernacle of every Catholic church and chapel throughout the world. In the Church He continues to give us all that is true regarding our salvation. Jesus said to his Apostles: "Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." (Mt. 28:20)

This is one reason why the media and the entertainment industries are often so against the Church, the Pope and priests. The teaching Church, called the Magisterium, upholds the moral laws of Jesus. These run against the grain of the morals of many today. After all, there is a lot of money to be made by promoting sin.

Many of the hot button issues have to do with sexual behavior. The Church continues to inform everyone that abortion and artificial means of contraception are gravely immoral. Also, sexual intercourse outside of marriage, whether it be heterosexual or homosexual, is seriously wrong. By God's design marriage can only be between a man and a woman. Homosexual activity and expressions thereof are seriously opposed to the way God made us. Also, sexual self gratification alone with oneself is immoral. Pornography certainly falls under the same prohibition. Included also with the above are deliberate impure thoughts and cultivating impure desires. All of these are grave disorders. To have a good understanding of this, it would be helpful to read Blessed John Paul II's Theology of the Body.

It's important to note that the Church teaches these things because it is ultimately for our happiness here on earth as well as in heaven. In the area of morality, she points out the danger of the sin but always loves the sinner. We need to remember this. None of us should have a condemnatory attitude towards another. The sin is wrong, yes, and hurtful to the one committing it, but we should always show the greatest respect to that person. We must love all including sinners. This means loving ourselves as well; indeed, each of us is a sinner.

St. Bernard said that we should always make excuses for the ones who commit obvious sins. He said that, if we know someone committed a great sin, we should say that the one doing it did not know it was a sin. Bernard then said if it's pretty clear that the person knew that it was a sin, we should assume that the temptation was so great that he couldn't help it. The one who is quick to condemn another is often looking to mask his own sins.

St. Paul wrote to the Christians at Phillipi: "...Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may be innocent and pure, as God's perfect children who live in a world of corrupt and sinful people. You must shine among them like stars in the sky." (Phil. 2:14-15) May we be better examples of what the Church teaches. May we always love every sinner and hate every sin.

Father Stanley

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