Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ
There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”
Ven. Fulton Sheen
It’s been known for a very long time that Catholic Schools are not producing Catholic adults. In fact the very opposite. Concerns have been raised over and over again, and no action is taken. Parents who don’t know their faith cannot pass it on to their children and if they think their children will get the faith in school, they are wrong.
A few things have happened recently that has brought home to me that Catholics are often the problem. Let’s take marriage for example. Some gay people think Catholics are anti gay marriage because Catholics are anti gay people. They can point to the sudden resistance to gay marriage where before this, the shocking breakdown of marriage, the use of contraception and even abortion among Catholics has barely raised an eyebrow. Catholics are no better than anyone else when it comes to sexual morality, divorce and anti-children behaviour. It does seem quite late for the outcry over what is called “gay marriage.”
Recently, I’ve had two conversations with someone who does take their faith seriously and knows it reasonably well. I was told that she feels isolated at times even among fellow Catholics because she practices and understands her Faith and even some of her friends who attend Mass, simply have no clue and want to follow the culture rather than the Church.
I have also been told that when a few Catholics were faced with a question from a protestant about why Catholic baptise babies that not one person there could answer the question!
Invincible ignorance is ignorance that can’t be avoided – but I really don’t believe all that many Catholics are genuinely invincibly ignorant; they simply can’t be bothered to find out.
St Peter gave us a strict command:
In your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to anyone to asks for a reason for the hope that you have. Do this with gentleness and respect.
1 Peter 3:15
If we are going to obey this command then we are obliged to know the answer to the questions we might be asked.
I don’t really blame those young’uns who, having been through years of Catholic school and in at least one case, a (pseudo) Catholic University don’t even know why we baptise babies. I don’t blame the questioner, who despite belonging to a “Bible alone” church hasn’t enough knowledge of Scripture to see where whole families are baptised and no knowledge of the history of the Church to see babies were baptised throughout. The only time in the early Church infant baptism was questioned was on whether to wait for the child to be 8 days old, in continuity with the Old Covenant law on circumcision; receiving the answer that as “baptism now saves you,” (1 Pet 3:21) that a baby shouldn’t have to wait. Remember infant death was much more common back then.
Catholics in the west are heading towards a third generation of Catholics who haven’t a clue about Christ, His Church, Scripture or even basic morality. They walk around soaking up the culture and unaware or even uncaring that the most important person in their lives – God – is practically a stranger to them.
I constantly hear a call for the laity to take up the battle. But a laity going into battle with no generals or officers and totally unarmed are going to be spiritually slaughtered. Starving sheep cannot become shepherds.
Thankfully there are some good things happening, mostly coming from America, but some from Australia too. There are good catechetical and Scriptural materials on the market and free radio and podcasts to help us learn our history and faith.
Mother Angelica who surely will be canonised very quickly when her time to go home comes, set up the Eternal Word Television Network and from her work a global network of TV and radio in at least three languages (I’m aware of English, Spanish and German) goes out. Now, I know many people are concerned by the quality of some of the TV work and I have to agree, but some of the radio affiliations are excellent.
There is also the amazing work done by The Institute of Catholic Culture. They offer all the events free online as video or audio and you can literally learn the Faith, it’s history, Scripture, ethics and morality. It’s all done for parish level most lectures are of a fantastic standard.
Catholic Answers has an excellent question and answer format where anyone can phone in with a question. They have programs especially aimed at non-Catholics, atheists and others.
Like many people I have a wall of Hahn, but there’s free audio too. Dr Hahn also offers Scripture Study for free Buy his books! They aren’t difficult to understand and if God is the most important person for eternity then a few dollars/quid on books by Dr Scott Hahn is an investment – so long as you read them.
There is so much out there now – thank God for American universities like Franciscan Steubenville and Ave Maria and Christendom etc.
Ignorance is not bliss and it needn’t be that way.