John wrote an excellent post about the lack of effort on the part of the bishops teaching the Truth on key moral issues. While some bishops have gone on record as being opposed to attempts to legalize same-sex marriage, their “effort” is not nearly enough. One may ask: what more should we expect of them?
For starters, I think the bishops must repeat the teachings over and over and over until the faithful “get it”. The clergy need to constantly present the truths of the Faith in accessible ways that are adapted to our current reality, to make it real and applicable for us today.
Repetition and emphasis is important. That’s how we teach our children. That’s how university students are taught. That’s how coaches teach their athletes. That’s how the military trains their soldiers. That’s how policians build a platform. Etc. Repetition is essential because humans, by nature, are inconsistent. Our brains require repetition and continuous explanation for lessons to sink in.
This isn’t new, even within the Church. After all, there are only 73 books in the Bible and we’ve been repeating the same readings at Mass for 2,000 years. So yes, there is obvious repetition, even in the Church, but not on issues related to sexual morality. That’s the problem. So far during my life, I’ve probably heard thousands of homilies about helping the poor and being “nice”. But how many have I heard on abortion, homosexuality or contraception? Probably less than 5 in my entire lifetime so far.
This isn’t about being a prude. Sexual morality has big-time consequences for our relationships with our fellow citizens, the harmony of our society and our relationship with God. If these implications do not jump off the page as you read these lines, that just proves my point that the Church has done a lousy job of teaching these matters. Surf about on this blog and you’ll find some good explanations of these implications. John has written extensively on this topic over the years.
Little wonder that Catholics tend to believe that Christianity is primarily a social program and that sexual morality is optional.
Aside from emphasizing these truths, bishops and priests also need to make it clear that there are consequences to disregarding Church teaching. Denying communion is an essential part of this. Removing the name “Catholic” from schools that are festering with heresy is another. Only then will the faithful, includig politicians, finally understand that the Church is much more than helping the poor and being “nice”.