Gary Gutting is a Catholic professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. Suffice it to say, Notre Dame (Our Lady) is rolling in her… sleep in glorious Heaven. It is difficult to describe how I feel right now, reading this. It is like that empty pit in your stomach when someone else totally does not understand or care about something at all and you just have to stand there in absolute shock. I seriously feel like I got punched in the gut. To quote good ol’ Rick Santorum, this made me want to “throw up”.
If you needed proof of the death of American Catholicism, this is it. From Gutting’s interpretation of Catholicism, the bishops serve as nothing but administrative servants for the rest of us, the real authoritative “Church”. Their authority is hardly divine, it is a secular and human creation of their own making, and their teaching authority is only validated by the approval of the masses. Obama does not need to care about the actual teachings of the Church, the “actual” teachings of the Church are those that majority of people wish to believe.
Are we all authorities? Is there no definitive teaching body of the Church? Let’s ask St. Paul:
Now the body is not a single part, but many. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended. If they were all one part, where would the body be?
But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I do not need you.” If (one) part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.
Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it. Some people God has designated in the church to be, first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then, mighty deeds; then, gifts of healing, assistance, administration, and varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work mighty deeds? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.
1 Corinthians 12:14.17-21.26-31
So no Mr. Gutting, contrary to your personal belief, we are not all heads making up one monstrous body. We are all apostles in some way. But not in the way the bishops are. We are all teachers in some way. But not in the way the Magisterium is. The way Gutting dismisses the bishops and even the FREAKING POPE is nothing short of appalling. I’ve never seen anything like it and as much as some Catholics might not listen to the authority of the Church, I always chalked it up to ignorance rather than willful disregard. The stench of relativism is palpable in his writing. I am in utter and total shock. He writes:
There was, perhaps, a time when the vast majority of Catholics accepted the bishops as having an absolute right to define theological and ethical doctrines. Those days, if they ever existed, are long gone. Most Catholics — meaning, to be more precise, people who were raised Catholic or converted as adults and continue to take church teachings and practices seriously — now reserve the right to reject doctrines insisted on by their bishops and to interpret in their own way the doctrines that they do accept.
No, Mr. Gutting. It is not new that believers can reject the teachings of the Church. It is not even new that the majority of Catholics reject the teachings of their leaders; it has happened more often in our history than you might think. Nor is it a real change to suggest that we, as Catholics, can choose our own path apart from the teachings of the Magisterium. There have always been people who believed that, and there have similarly always been people who have remained faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church. We even have words for them, ancient words:
1580s, from Late Latin orthodoxus, from Greek orthodoxos “having the right opinion,” from orthos “right, true, straight”+ doxa “opinion, praise”
from Gk. hairesis “a taking or choosing, a choice,” from haireisthai “take, seize,” middle voice of hairein “to choose”
We’ve always had people who clung to the Church, and those that chose their own path. Those who walked the “right way” were the orthodox faithful. Those who took upon their own authority to “choose” their own moral and divine teaching were called heretics.
In our democratic society the ultimate arbiter of religious authority is the conscience of the individual believer.
Even that in itself is enough to require us all to oppose the HHS mandate. If the arbiter of religious authority is the individual believer (which he argues in order to prove that the bishops are not), the HHS mandate requires Catholic run businesses and employers to violate that very same conscience. So what are you doing on the other side of the fence, Mr. Gutting? Are you trying to obfuscate the debate? In the end it doesn’t even matter who has the authority; what matters is that religious liberty is being violated. Faithful Catholics will be forced to violate their consciences, which you yourself have stated is “the ultimate arbiter of religious authority”. I get it though, basically what you are saying is that each person is the ultimate authority, each person should change their views to yours, and if they do not, they should be compelled by law to do so.
May God have mercy on you, Mr. Gutting, and all those you are leading astray. This is a dark day. I’ve read so many anti-Catholic pieces, I’ve come face to face with so many heretical and relativistic writings, and yet I’ve never felt like I looked into the rotten core of the failure of the modern ‘Catholic’ until this day. If you want to know why the Church is losing relevance, look no further than yourself, a self-proclaimed Catholic who believes it has no relevance. The religious authority is yourself, you say; not God, not the pope, not a bishop- yourself.
I just realized the way Gary Gutting’s Op-ed piece made me feel. I couldn’t describe very well the feeling of betrayal, of total misrepresentation and total lack of understanding. I have a feeling of “Why don’t you get it?”, a feeling of “You are a believer, you are one of us, how can you say this and think like this?”
But I’ve got it now. It sounds like what Jesus might have been thinking and feeling when one of his own betrayed him with a kiss.
Peter gets a chance to rant, and I want one too :D Anyway, if Mr. Gutting responded to me, this is what I would say:
In regards to Mr. Gutting’s response, I would tell him, the people of the Church DO NOT give authority. The Church is NOT founded on majority rule or a sort of social contract, as it seems that his article implies. His point is that the people give the authority to the bishops. That is not what the Church has ever founded its principles of authority and Magisterium on. If he had done his theology correctly and philosophical discourses, it would be clear and reasonable to conclude that according to his perspective, that YES, the bishops would have no authority. However, as Catholics, we do not base the authority of the papacy and apostolic succession on the people, but because Jesus, the one he claims to follow, instated specific apostles to share in His ministry. If he reads his Scriptures, he would see that God, throughout all of human history recorded in the written tradition and in the oral and religious tradition of Jews and Christians, chooses people to lead His people, whether it is one or multiple. What God does NOT do is leave us alone. He is the Good Shepherd, a good shepherd does not leave his flocks to fend for themselves, to try to fend off the world according to their understanding. I appeal to the tradition of the Church he so believes in, I also appeal to the human condition that left to our own devices, we will ruin all things. The sinless Adam and Eve, before the taint of original sin, chose to turn against God. We are tainted already, and we are struggling to follow natural human rights in a world that believes that fetuses, infants, and people that are undesirable should be quarantined from our lives, put in elderly care, orphanages, or done away with if they are too burdensome. As Catholics, these are the very people we are called to love, because their cries are what God hears.
Mr. Gutting, you speak of determining who is right, and I agree, we should consider: Who is right? You place your faith on a generation which promotes the sexual revolution, a world of promiscuity, lack of control, and self-oriented merchandise and entertainment. You place your faith in a world where Man becomes the center, the authority of morality and belief, creating their own Tower of Babel, where we might touch the heavens and become gods. You place it on a culture whose greatest concerns are living day by day, sustaining themselves for their pleasures and passions. I ask you simply, you hold a different view from the bishops, the apostolic successors of the first disciples of Jesus, passing on a tradition of faith, hope, and love, fighting for the life of the individual. But, what say you, when the political entity has determined to enforce a principle of belief that defies the essential teachings of the faith?
You speak of 98% of American Catholics and 78% of Catholics opposing the Church’s stance on contraception. Is that what we should abide by? You speak of majority rule, where morality is defined only when the majority decide it so. Is your opinion of morality so low, that the whim of the custom defines the essential being of humanity? Is the freedom to choose anything without consequence except of our legal making the binding factor that makes a human Human? I ask this only to remind you that Hilter, Stalin, and Mao presented the same perspective. They made the majority, they taught what the people would believe, and the people obeyed. There was a majority that abided, sure some dissented, but the vast majority consented. Are we supposed to consent in the same way, because our government decides it is alright?
I see you from your article, I do not know you. I only ask, are you willing to lay down your life for your belief, where you place the individual above the tradition and teachings handed down from Jesus to us today, where we allow everyone to be their own interpreter of the moral code? Because if you are, please consider the ramifications of your statement. Let everyone decide their moral principles and beliefs, without a telos to aim toward. Let man determine his own self worth. I propose, we will fail as soon as we begin, because our worth is indeterminable, and it is only indeterminable because God loves all men, and intends for all men to live in Him, the only source of life.
The Validity of Angelican Orders. Although I realize it is offensive towards my angelican brothers and sisters, I wanted to clarify the postion on the Church, this writer does so much better than I could.
God made us with 2 ears and 1 mouth. So we can listen more than we can talk. People talk way too much. Not enough listen. They just go about having it their own way without giving someone a chance. A chance to offer a different perspective. Listen to one another and see what you can learn.
The pope is infallible when he speaks Ex Cathedra, as well as on the faith and morality. It’s also when he doesn’t go against the Church teaching and tradition. The pope can only be speaking infallibly when it is:
a decision of the supreme teaching authority of the Church
Concerns faith or morals
Bind the universal Church
Be proposed as something to hold firmly and immutably, such as the assumption of Mary.
It’s very rare that a Pope speaks infallibly, such as when Pope Francis speaks about climate change..that’s not infallible by any means.
Pope Benedict XVI said, “
The Pope is not an oracle; he is infallible in very rare situations, as we know.”
Pope John XXIII said, “I am only infallible if I speak infallibly but I shall never do that, so I am not infallible.“
“The Catholic Church is often criticized as rigorist, unrealistic, and unbending, especially in regard to its teaching on sexuality. How could anyone, we hear over and again, possibly live up to the Church’s demands concerning masturbation, artificial contraception, or sex outside of marriage, etc.? Moreover, every poll that comes out suggests that increasing numbers of Catholics themselves don’t subscribe to these moral demands. Few expect the Church to acquiesce to the moral laxity of the environing culture, but even many faithful Catholics think that it ought at least to soften its moral doctrine, adjust a bit to the times, become a tad more realistic.
I wonder whether I might address these questions a bit obliquely, shifting the focus from the sexual arena into another area of moral concern. The Church’s teaching on just war is just as rigorist as its teaching on sexuality. In order for a war to be considered justified, a number of criteria have to be simultaneously met. These include declaration by a competent authority, a legitimating cause, proportionality between the good to be attained and the cost of the war, that military intervention is a last resort, etc. Furthermore, in the actual waging of a war, the two great criteria of proportionality and discrimination have to be met. The latter means, of course, that those engaged in the war must distinguish carefully between combatants and non-combatants, targeting only the former. If these criteria are strictly applied, it is difficult indeed to find any war that is morally justifiable. Many would hold that the Second World War met most if not all of the criteria for entering into a war, but even its most ardent moral defenders would have a difficult time justifying, in every detail, the waging of that war. For example, the carpet bombings of Dresden, Frankfurt, and Tokyo, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents, certainly violated the principles of discrimination and proportionality. Even more egregious examples of this violation, of course, were the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Catholic moral theology would characterize all of these actions as intrinsically evil, that is to say, incapable of being justified under any circumstances.
In the wake of the atomic bombings in 1945, the English moral philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe made the Catholic case vociferously in a number of public debates. She went so far as to protest President Harry Truman’s reception of an honorary degree at Oxford, on the grounds that a great university should not honor a man responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents. In answer to Anscombe’s criticisms, many Americans—Catholics included—used frankly consequentialist forms of moral reasoning, arguing that the atomic bombings undoubtedly saved untold numbers of lives, both American and Japanese, and effectively brought a terrible war to an end. And I am sure that a poll of American Catholics conducted, say, in late 1945 would have revealed overwhelming support for the bombings. But does anyone really think that the Church ought to lower its standards in regard to just war? Does anyone really think that the difficulty of following the Church’s norms in this arena should conduce toward a softening of those norms?
Here is the wonderful and unnerving truth: the Catholic Church’s job is to call people to sanctity and to equip them for living saintly lives. Its mission is not to produce nice people, or people with hearts of gold or people with good intentions; its mission is to produce saints, people of heroic virtue. Are the moral demands regarding warfare extravagant, over the top, or unrealistic? Well, of course they are! They are the moral norms that ought to guide those striving for real holiness. To dial down the demands because they are hard and most people have a hard time realizing them is to compromise the very meaning and purpose of the Church.
Now let us move back to the Church’s sexual morality. Is it exceptionally difficult to live up to all of the demands in this arena? Do the vast majority of people fall short of realizing the ideal? Do polls of Catholics consistently reveal that many if not most Catholics would welcome a softening of sexual norms? Well, of course. But none of these data prove much of anything, beyond the fact that living a heroically virtuous life is difficult. As in regard to just war, a compromising of the ideal here would represent an abdication of the Church’s fundamental responsibility of equipping the saints.
However, here is the flip-side. The Catholic Church couples its extraordinary moral demand with an extraordinarily lenient penitential system. Suppose the pilot of the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima (I believe he was a Catholic) came into a confessional box and, in an attitude of sincere repentance, confessed the sin of contributing to the deaths of 100,000 innocent people. The priest would certainly give him counsel and perhaps assign a severe penance, but he would then say, “I absolve you of all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” And that man’s sins, before God, would be wiped away. Period.
The Church calls people to be not spiritual mediocrities, but great saints, and this is why its moral ideals are so stringent. Yet the Church also mediates the infinite mercy of God to those who fail to live up to that ideal (which means practically everyone). This is why its forgiveness is so generous and so absolute. To grasp both of these extremes is to understand the Catholic approach to morality.”
So after waking up feeling like I’m coming down with a cold and more dreams dealing with the situation with my parents and understanding just how much religious trauma this is putting me through, Mary showed up while I was at work and basically said “you need a break, I’m gonna do what I can to give you a break. Take it easy, kid. I’ve got your back.”
All I can say is that I have some awesome friends, both on this earth and in Heaven. Not really sure what exactly Mary is planning, but I trust her. Thank you, Lord. Hail Mary, full of grace. I’m gonna make it through this after all.
I know that Dey is spared to be mostly unlikable for good reasons, but I feel bad that he had a plate thrown at him. Where do you see him in 6 months?
But nah! (or maybe)
To be honest, it’s very difficult to tell what will happen to or with Deyaenus in six months because he is a “one step forward, two steps back” sort of character that has shown very slow, very little progress over the years.
Deyaenus believes that priests were never meant to be people. It is an old, archaic saying that is not applied to church teachings anymore, but it is one that Deyaenus has just hold on to and rightly believes in very dearly. A servitor of the Light is meant to be a living vassal in between the mortal realm and the eternity of the Holy Light, a sort of guide whose job is to keep the faithful and devout on the righteous path so that they too can be part of this great heavenly divine. It’s basically a full-time job and they can’t be distracted by personal wants and whims, or have deep connections, or have family - nothing that will put the Light second. To take care of one’s spiritual community you cannot have a personal life. So, Deyaenus has been just that for almost all of his life. A priest. A preacher. A man of faith and strong spirituality, but not a person.
So now, after the years in the Sunguard, he’s sort of figuring out this ‘person’ thing and it’s not going well. He’s been a priest for so long he can’t just turn that off and be social and fine and friendly like others are, like he wants to be as well, because that priest mentality is so much a part of him still, so present, that it often overrides everything else. Also, he has no idea who he is as a person and can’t tell whether what he does is because that’s who he is or that’s what he’s forcing himself to be. So he fucks up, a lot. Often. And whatever progress he’s done up to that point immediately gets wiped after he opens his mouth or does something PRIESTLY. Combine that with what seems to be a short fuse and an unchecked anger issue (from stress) and there you go! One step forward, two steps back.
He definitely needs to learn to take more responsibility for himself, which, again, as a priest he didn’t really have to since what a priest did they did in the name of the Light and for the Light and personal responsibility was never really a thing. He needs to learn to say sorry, and mean it. He needs to learn to sympathize and not always have to make everything about the Light - or at least not always shove the Light in people’s faces. He needs to learn to be a person, not a priest, to just be… Deyaenus.
I think… he may learn that when he starts to see others as the people they are as well. Just as flawed, just as scared, but a lot better at hiding it (they’ve had way more years of practice). Deyaenus really thinks, right now, that everyone is leading a good ol’ perfect life, aside from some troubles here and there, and he’s the only one that’s fucked up the way he did.
Lol I know I'm not converting anybody with my "Make heretics Papists Again" memes, I just really like that "Make _____ _____ Again" meme.
But see this is what I mean? You know that according to canon law, the Orthodox are only in schism with Rome. Their apostolic line of succession was never broken and in a time of crisis “Papists” are allowed to receive sacraments from the “Heretical” Orthodox Church. The Anglican’s were the same at one point too. Their issue was one of authority, not teaching. The Church of England under Henry VIII still had a complete apostolic succession. It wasn’t until Elizabeth I created her own bishops that the line was broken.
The Baptism of Blood and Desire are still things taught in the catechism. (Last time I checked)
Ideally yes, in a perfect world we’d all sit around holding hands singing Kumbaya. Unfortunately we’re all deeply flawed and prone to conflict, so we try to know and love God to the best of our ability.
Divine providence often furnishes Catholic converts with ironic stories about the twists and turns on their journeys home to the Catholic Church. In my case, as a former Protestant minister, with deep anti-Catholic convictions, it was my Saul-like crusade against Mary that was wondrously transformed by God’s grace into a deep filial love for the Mother of God.
“Down through the centuries, many of the doctrinal seeds that were planted by Christ and the apostles have blossomed into dogmas, as defined by the magisterium… and doctrine is nothing other than the Church’s teaching and preaching the gospel truth, as Jesus commissioned and empowered her to do. If the Pope chooses to define this Marian dogma, he will be doing much more that teaching the world a valuable lesson in theology – he would be using his God-given charism to fulfill his apostolic mission to preach the gospel to all nations (Mt 28:18-20).
Throughout the history of the Church, the definition of dogmas have stimulated the apostolic and theological energies of some of her best minds, especially when a definition became the occasion of controversy. More recently, many Protestants, including the late Max Thurian of Taize, France, objected strenuously after hearing rumors that Pope Pius XII was about to define the dogma of Mary’s Assumption. Where is that in the Bible?”
(Incidentally, Max Thurian died a Catholic priest on the feast of the Assumption, 1996).
Catholics claim Christ constituted his church as a visible society with a hierarchical structure. And as Dominus Iesus
teaches, this society “subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the
successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him” (16).
Catholics also claim membership in this visible and hierarchical society
And yet Jesus’ teaching in Luke 9:49-50 seems to contradict this
belief. Jesus commands the apostles to not forbid a person from casting
out demons in his name just because that person is not numbered among their group:
“Do not forbid him; for he that is not against you is for you” (9:50).
If Jesus forbids hindering someone outside the visible body of the
Twelve from performing miracles, then wouldn’t it follow that belonging
to a visible body of believers is not necessary? Perhaps believing in
the name of Jesus is all that matters, and the true church is merely
Here’s why that isn’t true.
Jesus established a visible and hierarchical church
We know from elsewhere in Scripture Jesus clearly intends his church
to be visible with a hierarchical structure. Take for example Matthew
16:18-19: Jesus promises to make Peter the rock upon which he will build
his church, which indicates Jesus’ intention for Peter to be the visible foundation
for the Church of Christ on Earth—a visible marker that identifies
Jesus’ true church. Wherever the foundation is, there is the true
Jesus also gives Peter the keys of the kingdom (Matt. 16:19). In the
Jewish tradition, the image of the keys signifies a governing role in
the Davidic kingdom known as the royal steward (see Isa.
22:15-22). If Peter is a governor, then there must be a society to
govern. Sounds like a visible and hierarchical church to me.
In another passage in Matthew, Jesus makes it clear the church, and not the individual, is the final court of appeal when it comes to settling disputes among Christians:
“If your brother sins against you, go and
tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you
have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two
others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence
of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to
the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be
to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever
you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on
earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 18:15-18).
If Jesus doesn’t intend for there to be a visible and hierarchical
governing body of officials, and the church were merely an invisible
community of believers, then what sense can be made of him saying, “Take
it to the church”? Furthermore, since Gentiles and tax collectors were
considered outcasts, Jesus’ use of these terms for those that disobey
the church signifies visible boundaries for church membership.
The language of “binding and losing” in Matthew 18:18 also signifies
Jesus’ intention to constitute his church as a visible and hierarchical
society. This language is familiar terminology in the Jewish tradition.
It signifies both doctrinal and juridical authority. Biblical scholar
Edward Sri writes:
Binding and loosing sometimes denotes
teaching authority. Rabbis, for instance, were said to bind and loose
when they made authoritative rulings on what was lawful and unlawful
behavior and what was acceptable and unacceptable doctrine. The
expression can also refer to juridical authority. By this is meant the
power to accept or forbid a person’s fellowship in the community of
faith, which includes the authority to excommunicate and the authority
to restore to membership (Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture: The Gospel of Matthew, 210).
Notice embedded in the meaning of “binding and losing” is the idea of
hierarchy and the idea of a community of believers with distinct
boundaries of membership. Since Christ uses this language with reference
to his apostles, it follows that Christ intends his church to be a
visible society with a hierarchical structure.
So, if Jesus is not teaching in Luke 9:49-50 the invisible church doctrine common among Protestants, then what is he teaching?
The boundless God
Jesus is merely pointing out that God is capable of performing
miracles and giving grace outside the visible boundaries of the
institutional structure of the Church. This is nothing new under the sun
for Catholics. Dominus Iesus states:
With the expression subsistit in, the
Second Vatican Council sought to harmonize two doctrinal statements: on
the one hand, that the Church of Christ, despite the divisions which
exist among Christians, continues to exist fully only in the Catholic
Church, and on the other hand, that “outside of her structure, many elements can be found of sanctification and truth,”
that is, in those Churches and ecclesial communities which are not yet
in full communion with the Catholic Church. But with respect to these,
it needs to be stated that “they derive their efficacy from the very
fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church” (16;
Just because Catholics believe the fullness of grace and truth
subsists in the Catholic Church it doesn’t follow that no grace and
truth can exist outside her visible boundaries. While we are bound to
the visible confines of the Church, God is not.
No evangelistic exemption
Now, many think this exempts Catholics from evangelizing. If God can
give non-Catholics grace and truth, then why should they become
Catholic—aren’t they fine where they are? This way of thinking is far
from Catholic. We are always called to put forth effort in
bringing others into the fold of the Catholic Church. If, as Pope St.
John Paul II wrote, “[E]very person has a right to hear the Good News of
God … so that each one can live out in its fullness his or her
proper calling” (Redemptoris Missio 46), and that good news
exists in full in the Catholic Church, then there can be no question as
to whether Catholics should seek to evangelize and persuade people to
Jesus established one church, the Catholic Church, and constituted it
as visible and hierarchical. And because he desires all men to become
members of that church, he works in the lives of those outside the
Church’s visible boundaries in order to draw them into the unity his
A strange phenomenon of pre-Vatican II Catholicism was that the average layperson was taught a very narrow and “safe” version of the Church’s moral teaching. They were unlikely to comprehend what Catholic film critic Steven Greydanus pointed out in his appearance on The World Over Live: that the story of Jean Valjean perfectly exemplifies Catholic Social Teaching. St. Thomas Aquinas famously states that it is not theft for a starving person to take what is necessary for survival from someone else. Thus, when Valjean notoriously steals his loaf of bread in 1796 to feed his sister’s starving children, he does nothing wrong according to Catholic teaching (except maybe the parts about breaking the glass and holding the baker at gunpoint). “ (from this site)
…okay in what adaptation or interpretation does Valjean HOLD THE BAKER AT GUNPOINT
Any tips for learning more about Catholic history/feeling closer to God? I'm new and I'm SO overwhelmed!
Welcome to the Church, anon!
As for Catholic history, you might consider this brief overview, thanks to Patheos. Admittedly, I don’t know which books with which to start looking at a history of Catholicism; most of my education on Church history and teaching took place in high-school, and those notes are long gone. Your best bet, aside from purchasing random books on Amazon, might be to look at the listings at your local library.
To any of my followers: if you have any recommendations for resources on Catholic history, please feel free to reblog with your comments.
For feeling closer to God, there’s tons you can do! Here are some of my favorite ways:
Download the free Laudate app. You’ve got tons of resources there: the Liturgy of the Hours / Divine Office; the intercessory prayers of tons of Saints as well as tons of litanies and novenas; various rosaries and chaplets; the daily readings; links to the Catechism, the Bible, and various Church documents. All Catholics should have this app downloaded!
Start a prayer journal. There, I list my daily intentions so that I don’t forget them, write poems, write prayers, track my spiritual journey – failures and triumphs alike, and speak openly with God in a way that doesn’t feel cheesy or contrived to me.
Go to Mass. Being in the presence of the living God and of His people sanctifies you and others. Even if you don’t receive that day, enjoy the silence of the Consecration; listen to where God speaks to you in the Scriptures; look around you, at all of those other souls who rely on the same grace and the same belief as you, and see yourself in them.
Read what the Saints (and other holy people) have written. Saint Francis’ nature- and God-centered poetry. Saint Catherine of Siena’s and Saint Teresa of Avila’s mystical visions. Thomas Merton’s
Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander. Pope Francis’ homilies. Don’t stay restricted to this list! You might even start with the writings of your Confirmation Saint. Their example is meant to guide you. In Heaven, they’re interceding for you. Foster this relationship.
Open the Scriptures. Open to a random page and draw your finger upon a place in the text, and read that verse to yourself. Let God speak to you through these ancient and holy texts. Allow yourself to learn about the history of our salvation and of God’s people, one little verse at a time, by turning to the footnotes if the context is difficult or unclear. Remember: the Scriptures are not a word-for-word dictation from God, but rather, a series of poems, customs, stories, and testaments, where the truth of man and the Truth of God coexist. Treat these texts as a love story written by God: a story that does not end in Revelation, but includes and lives inside the wonderful you!
Please stop dissing other religious beliefs. I know that some people have had really poor experiences with Christianity or people that follow Christian beliefs. That doesn’t mean that 1) all Christians are hateful, 2) the church itself preaches hate.
I grew up in a Baptist church, both my parents are Baptist and my sister is Episcopalian. They don’t go to church anymore for a lot of different reasons but my parents are 100% accepting of my beliefs and my sexuality.
I don’t exactly agree with a lot of things the Baptist church teaches but that gives NO ONE the right to roll their eyes and talk about how stupid another person is for following that church.
I hear a lot of my friends talk about peace and how we can get that. Sadly, I also hear the same people talk about how disgusting Christianity is. I’m Wiccan but all religions amaze me. We need to support each other.