I am not a very good Catholic. I know very little Latin by heart - I can't pray the Hail Mary in Latin without a missal in front of me, nor the Our Father, for that matter. I understand it even less (I got a D- in Latin in high school), except for that required in order to serve a Latin Mass (I've never served an English one, even as a teen). I have sinned and, sadly, many times grievously so. I feel rather embarrassed when the priest may recite the Prayers after Mass in Latin and almost the entire congregation at that Mass follows effortlessly along - without looking at their missal (I know...I've stolen a look or two just to be sure.) I've bookmarked webpage after webpage of Papal Encyclicals to read, but have yet to read a single one - save Casti Connubii many years ago. One could say I am a small-c Catholic, at worst; a mediocre Catholic at best. If I am objectively honest about the whole matter, I really only do slightly more than the minimum necessary to attain salvation...like praying the Rosary daily.
But regardless of the above, I've never tried to sidestep or internal forum-ize the gravity of sin, hoping to get a definite mortal one, for instance, modified into a teeny-weeny venial one ("...no Father, I really and truly was pushed into that strip club by the crowd"). I've never lost the Conscience-pricking knowledge that my tiniest and least grievous mortal sin - left unconfessed - could send me for eternity into the darkest reaches of Hell, forever spewing vitriolic hatred towards myself, everyone else and God. I always knew that if I ever got the chance as a young male adult - and a more-or-less non-practicing Catholic - to wake up next to a warm female body - sans marriage, of course - that I'd just as likely wake up in Hell if I died in my sleep. The same thing in my wanting to date and hopefully marry an attractive, but divorced, young woman, which I seriously tried to do once a very, very long time ago - and almost succeeded but for that prickly Conscience thingy.
I still know that the Catholic Faith is predicated upon plain old Objective Truth...you know, the Truth that:
- God is God;
- Jesus Christ is God;
- The Holy Spirit is God;
- The Ten Commandments were written by God Himself and handed down to Moses.
- God smited by the thousands the Israelites who revolted against Him while He and Moses were chatting (and wasn't this the first case of the just punishment due to man for violating the 6th Commandment, written just hours or minutes before?)
- The Bible is the inspired Word of God, written for our instruction and sanctification by men enlightened by God Himself. Therefore, it cannot be in error.
- Christ told Mary Magdalene to go and sin no more in order to be saved, not to just "go" and still be saved simply because she touched His hem, spoke His name and/or gazed upon His countenance.
- Outside of the Catholic Church there is no Salvation (and no amount of ecuminism now or in the future will change that Objectively True statement. One either dies in the bosom of Holy Mother Church, or one doesn't...God won't let us have it both ways, I'm afraid.)
Copyright 2016 David Heath - All Rights Reserved