My father-in-law, who recently passed away, was a life-long teacher of Catholic Confirmation. As we’ve been going through his belongings, I have found hundreds, maybe even a thousand, different documents/books/pamphlets/articles/bulletins/notices/notes about every facet of the Catholic faith. A life’s worth of a collection.
I realized that the same information that I am learning about my Catholic faith has been printed and taught and reprinted and retaught over and over and over again. I guess that’s what happens when the faith has been around for over 2000 years.
But something occurred to me… with so much information available and recreated generation after generation, why are so many Catholics unaware of the full tenets of their own faith?
I’m assuming the same question could be said about other denominations.
I had thought that most people, like myself not too long ago, were ignorant about their faith because the information was not readily available. It was only available in stuffy, old, dusty books stashed in libraries and rare book stores. I was wrong. Year after year, God has called someone, some group, to make the teachings available to the masses.
So, why didn’t I know that? Why is the message not being delivered?
This challenge not only faces the church as a whole, but anyone trying to get their message out. How do you rise above the noise?
How do you compete with the static from Hollywood, the noise of television, of the internet, of songs and video games and school curriculum and political correctness?
How many times a day do you and/or your children face information that contradicts your faith? And from how many different sources?
Its a tsunami of moral relativism crashing against our beliefs day after day. How can we stand firm?
The first place the message needs to take root is, of course, at home. The parents should know their faith as much as their pastors. Why shouldn’t they? Why wouldn’t they? What is a good excuse not to know it? And they must live that faith. How can children possibly believe a faith is critical to happiness and salvation when they don’t see it being a critical factor in their parent’s lives?
The second place, and a location that the Catholic Church in particular has done a horrendous job of utilizing for the passed 40 years, is the pulpit. Somewhere in my childhood Catholicism became about me instead of about God. It started focusing on my needs instead of God’s call. It started worrying about whether I was happy with my relationship with God instead of worrying about whether God was happy with our relationship with Him.
Lastly, I believe these last two examples have bled into our surrender of the cultural arts to influences that contradict our faith. That defending our beliefs was somehow rude and insensitive. We thought that allowing for sin was somehow being Christian.
Society WILL reflect someone’s belief system. We appear to have allowed it to reflect someone else’s. And, perhaps, I think we allowed the enticing and intriguing lure of sinful behavior to foster itself in pop culture because it gave us permission to indulge in it, like a guilty pleasure, without feeling as if were morally accountable for allowing it to happen.
Either way, we have lost that battle, and many, many others.
So what do we do? How do we rise above the noise? How do we deliver God’s holy message?
- We need to acknowledge our errant ways and start rejecting paths of sin.
- We need people passionate and knowledgeable about their faith to proudly live it and openly discuss it.
- We need to reject the lure of sin in all of its forms, especially in the mass media, and live our faith with our wallets. Stop supporting entertainment that is in opposition to God’s teachings.
- God’s truth has never been politically correct, no matter the century. The church should stop trying to make friends and, instead, start focusing on saving souls, no matter the earthly costs.
And those are just a few humble suggestions. We can create as many books/pamphlets/bulletins/novels/movies/television shows as we want. It won’t matter. It won’t change anything.
The only way the message rises above the noise is when we rise above the noise.