I was listening to something on the radio t’other day and the speaker said he thought the main commandments that Christians want to ignore these days are the 6th (against adultery) and the 9th (against envy of another’s spouse). The laws on chastity, he believed, are the ones most Christians would like laid aside. Certainly he has good reason to say so, but I couldn’t help thinking that the 8th gets short shift among Christians too. It’s not just that people love to gossip and the 8th gets in the way of that, it is the way Christian’s try to put forward their arguments for what they think God should think and how His Church ought to be, by misusing the words of saints, popes and worse still Scripture. Surely this is baring false witness. Far too often Christian’s speak out very publicly-or write in their books things which have been stripped of all context in order to try and be right about something (they are probably wrong about).
I have just finished reading The Quiet Light about St Thomas Aquinas and there is the quote in full context of when he refused to write any more because what he had written seemed as straw compared to what he had just seen and experienced. He had just been through a deeply mystical experience getting so close to Christ and His Heaven that he longed to be there. Obviously no one, not even someone with the genius of St Thomas could write in such a way as to show Heaven for what it truly is. In comparison to Heaven all is straw. It should be easy to understand that and yet so many Christian’s have misused the saint’s words to make out that he was denying the truth of what he had written in the Summa or other documents. He never said anything of the sort and it is totally dishonest to suggest so.
The number of times Church documents have been used out of context to support some dodgy idea or to make out the Church was backward and silly is staggering.
It seems to me that a person who has something truthful to say, can say it. If there is something about the Faith that needs extolling then it can be done without recourse to twisted texts and obfuscation. The best way you can convince me that what you have to say is worth hearing is to tell the truth.
St Thomas Aquinas seems such a simple man because that is all he did.