Consistency with the Rest of Revelation

Calling of Saint MatthewFr. Dubay writes, “The divine disclosure is a closely knit whole. One doctrine cannot be rejected without the rejection affecting other doctrines. It is both interesting and significant that they who reject a single teaching usually go on eventually to reject others and, sometimes, the whole. It is doubly significant that they never succeed in presenting to their listeners or readers a substitute and consistent whole to replace what they have mutilated. Each of the interlinking parts of our theology strengthens the others, and each multiplies the probative power of the others. In his ‘Essay on Development’ Newman noted that a person may easily object to one doctrine by itself and seem  to have something of a case when the related doctrines are not considered (and this is common in merely popular articles and conversations), but for any thinking, informed person this objecter is demolished by the weight of the whole” (p. 31-32, HAYP).

This morning’s Gospel is a great example of how we miss the teaching when we do not consider the whole. In countless counseling sessions, in spite of Jesus’ consistent teaching against sin, and repeated call for immediate repentance, this Gospel reading is referred to as a way to somehow make the case that Jesus condones or approves of sin because – “see?” – even though they are sinners, he dines with them.

Of course this completely misses the point of this reading. The real point is that there is no sin greater than God’s mercy. In other words, while the religious elites of Matthew’s day had long since disposed of them as not deserving mercy, Jesus breaks through to infuse repentance, forgiveness, and healing into their lives … Jesus was not condoning, but offering a way out, when the world would not.

We can see how easy it is to slip into moral relativism when we pick and choose certain truths, while rejecting or disregarding others. For us Anawim, we must resist the temptation to inflate ourselves to such a state that we consider ourselves more intellectually and spiritually imbued than Sacred Scripture or Sacred Tradition itself.

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6 Responses to Consistency with the Rest of Revelation

  1. Marianne Virnig Gernetzke says:

    Fr. Rick, Thank you for all of these thought-provoking posts. I appreciate each one and the time you put into them. I am enjoying your discussion thoroughly.

  2. Richard McKellar says:

    All of what is stated in today’s blog is true and consistant. I believe, after many shortcomings of my own, that conversion is a process by which doctrine and practice of our faith are a part of progressive and ongoing revelation. Both the church’s faith and its understanding as a whole has grown deeper and progressively throughout history and this same process also exists in our faith at the individual level. I believe this is best stated in I John 4:1-6 where those who listen to the truth are being guided by the
    Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth which ultimately reveals the truth of the church as a whole. Many “Cafeteria Catholics” have this desire to listen and to learn the faith but it may take alot of time, patience and assistance in love. As long as we and they are willing to listen to the Spirit of the church they possess the spirit of the truth which will lead them eventually to a deeper understanding and apreciation of what we find to be the truth. Those who are willing to listen to the truth are going to be converted if they persist in seeking the truth. So we have to be carefull in how we present the truth so we all may grow in full Christian maturity as Roman Catholics. We cannot Lord it over people lest we potentially destroy the faith some already possess in part.

  3. Mary Smith says:

    Sorry to be a tad late in reading this…but…in reflection on this…
    It seems to me that we have to either BE CATHOLIC…or NOT…just like you can’t pick out what commandments you want to follow…
    Those who pick and choose…I now name the “comfort catholic”

    And since this is a late response…I visited my church this a.m. and lit the votive candles beside the statue of St. Paul…What a great example of having his eyes opened to faith and living…to see the truth and willingly conform himself to Jesus Christ!

    We hold too tight to ourselves…to our comforts…Let’s pray to let ourselves go entirely to the Lord…

    ms

  4. father says:

    Thank you, Richard, for your thought provoking comments. No doubt the truth must always be presented with love. Time, patience and assistance in love are all necessary as we do our best to counter the great modernist indoctrination which has been allowed to be the weeds among the wheat for over a century now. Sometimes, however, and every good parent knows this, love needs to be tough love in order to save a person from peril. Certainly the ultimate goal of modernism, which is atheism, has been seen as quite perilous in our time. Again, and parents are the first to admit this, coddling is not always the best approach, especially when, for instance, the child has wandered into heavy traffic. We have to be careful that we are not associating clear and bold teaching and preaching with “lording it over them.” We find no greater examples of such teaching than from Christ himself and his Apostle Paul. Clearly their choice to preach and teach with such zeal and holy boldness is born out of sense of urgency. Unfortunately, and Christ’s story of the Prodigal Son bears this out, you can present the truth with love all you want, but some will simply choose not to live under the house rules. Then, like that loving father, you let them go and pray everyday that they will “come to their senses.” That “free will” thing is tough sometimes.

  5. Richard McKellar says:

    I agree with your response and I did not look at it from that perspective. What I had written I wished to express as an exhortation not a rebuke even though I poorly expressed my thoughts. I really enjoy and encourage you to continue this blog because I have alot to learn about the faith. I am sorry, please accept my apollogy. Peace be with you, Richard McKellar.

  6. Richard McKellar says:

    I was too harsh with my words and did not consider the matter from a parent’s point of view with their chiuldren that love must be tough at times. I agree and apollogize. Peace be with you,
    Richard McKellar

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