"We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves; let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to edify him. For Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached thee fell on me." Romans 15: 1-3
Hm, interesting that I fell upon this a week or so ago. "We who are strong ought to bear with the failing of the weak" This passage has been sitting on my draft for that long waiting for me to find a connection to write about. I think I've found it!
Presently speaking, we have government officials whittling away at society in its fight for religious freedom, Life, and the pursuit of good conscience decisions and adherence to basic and central Christian teachings by her citizens. Catholics all over the world are faced with constant attacks on moral issues, not only Catholics, but Christians sharing in the love of Christ's teachings and Christian moral living. Worse are the "catholics" or cinos (Catholics In Name Only), who want the Catholic Church to be what they want it to be, in high-profile positions working hard to make their changes acceptable to the weak in high profile positions throughout society.
Unfortunately, much of this struggle is the result of a weak catechesis of the believers in the pews. For years the Catholic Church has allowed watered-down religious studies to be the mainstay in the parishes. Weak catechist preparation and requirements allowed anyone to come in and teach the children with very little quality assurance or checks and balances of what was being taught.
Lack of a Catholic Identity
In the Catholic schools, hospitals, and universities, the religious were replaced by lay teachers, nurses, and administrators many of which were and are non-Catholics. No longer was the presence of devout examples and experience in the eyes of the public. Also, nuns, no longer required to wear habits which revealed the outward sign of their vow to Jesus as their vocation to the point that now when one sees a nun...well, is she or isn't she?
Commercial America/Europe have seized the young with their constantly growing illicit music, clothing, and television/movies. What was wholesome and funny then is now just weird or hokey and definitely not interesting. More and more through the years we have seen high profile Catholics fall from grace due to greed and power, ie Kennedy family, etc. Materialism and sexuality have a more glamour appeal in the media for the youth.
Church and State separation
Afraid of losing tax-exemption status, Church leaders kept their political opinions off the pulpit and out of the public eye. Hence, we have believers left to their own devices without spiritual direction. For years, the government has stripped away religious presence in schools, government offices, and public arenas for the reason that.....it could! Without a strong backlash by the Christian church leadership, the government could and did and continues to practice it's power grab of God in the public forum. Because, with God out of the way, moral issues such as same-sex marriage, gay rights and its approved presence can be addresssed as a right and not a moral issue of right or wrong. As the growing trend towards homosexuality being released from it's immoral bonds in the Christian world, more voters are created for the liberal side. More votes, more power, total control of society. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything." We have Catholics falling all over the place for what the majority is deeming the right way.
Back to the above reference,"We who are strong ought to bear with the failing of the weak". This passage goes on to say that "For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope...." There is a strong evangelization arising with cyberspace, strong Christians, strong Christian Catholics writing fervently the truth in many venues throughout the internet, in podcasts, blogs, websites, and online chat rooms. The Word is getting out, but we must be consistant and deliberate in our task. The strong in faith, wisdom, and knowledge must be appointed to do this work daily!
To help in this effort, Pope Benedict XVI will be opening Oct 2012 as the year of Faith, what a blessing! With so many Catholics under-catechized and practically floating with very little to save them, we need to reach these people in a very big way and where they are...online! The Church cannot waste any time getting the New Evangelization on the move, a return to stronger and deeper spiritual resources are available everywhere. Authors, strong priests and religious men and women are writing, posting, and podcasting great messages of hope, faith, and strong moral teachings. One comes to mind, Theology of the body. Amazing teaching and from an amazing man, bl. John Paul II.
We who are strong, must lead the weak to the promised land of religious freedom, life, and the pursuit of religious justice and conscience for the good of society and all the world.