What we watch and listen to definitely have an effect on how we form our Catholic consciences, especially during political elections. Let’s be honest; neither you nor I have all the answers. This is why we must seek those sources that can help us find the answers.
For years, I was ill informed about Catholic teaching. Raising children and holding down a job kept me too busy to educate myself—or at least that was my excuse. As a result, I allowed myself to be led right out of the Catholic Church.
It was a short journey, thanks to God and to my faithful Catholic friends who prayed and helped me learn the truths about my Catholic faith. Even so, it was a lesson that became deeply ingrained in my heart. From that point on, I felt determined not to let anyone deceive me again. This led me to discover the beautiful and profound golden nuggets of the Catholic Church.
Following the Holy Spirit
I am a member of the laity. I do not have a degree in theology or canon law. I simply try to listen to the Holy Spirit for the knowledge and truths I need to grow in my faith. I carefully discern what to listen to, what to watch, and which books to read so that they help me more deeply understand and grow closer to Jesus and His Church. As St. Frances Xavier Cabrini taught: “If you invoke the Holy Spirit with a humble and trusting heart, filled with good desires, He will descend with His blessed light and inflaming fire.”
The Church is a loving mother who cares for, guides, and sometimes applies correction to us along the rough sea of life’s journey. Unfortunately, and for many years, there have been some shepherds in wolf’s clothing within the Catholic Church who teach incorrect, watered-down Catholicism. There are other shepherds who have been silent on issues regarding life, marriage, and assisted suicide. These shepherds do not want to rock the boat or upset the status quo out of fear that some people might leave the Church or withhold their donations.
Through their silence and lack of courage, some of these weak shepherds have helped create poorly formed consciences in the laity. Further, they have managed to lead many down the path of what has been called “cafeteria Catholicism”—the decision of some Catholics to pick and choose which tenets they believe or follow. These Catholics think they can separate their religion from their political views and the way they vote.
Is this why, during the 2020 election, almost 50 percent of Catholics voted for the most pro-abortion platform ever in Joe Biden and Kamala Harris?
To see for myself what they teach their followers, I have tried to read and listen to these dissenting leaders in our Church. Each time, I come away horrified.
Regardless of Catholic voting statistics, one thing is for sure: One ill-informed Catholic is one too many. It truly is a matter of protecting human beings, not destroying them.
In addition, pastors, bishops, and cardinals who have authority over their priests have a moral obligation to support and encourage these priests to teach the truths of Catholicism. For instance, when a newly ordained priest, full of zeal for the faith, speaks from the pulpit about abortion, contraception, assisted suicide, or the sanctity of marriage, it is a welcome message for many Catholics who are thirsty for the truth. However, as happens frequently, this message causes some of the laity to become upset, so they complain to the pastor or bishop. Sometimes, the bishop or pastor supports this priest’s message and offers good counsel to those who are upset. But, as I have witnessed too often, there are times when the bishop or pastor will admonish the priest and instruct him not to speak on these topics anymore. How very sad and upsetting.
As Catholics, we have a duty to defend and stand up for human beings from the moment of creation until death. Our pope, cardinals, bishops, and priests have an eternal responsibility to teach and guide the flock in all the truths of the faith.
Each of us will come face-to-face with Jesus when we die. At that time, He will ask: “Did you speak out and defend My preborn babies?” I pray every day that I can answer yes.
What is the solution to this growing apostasy within our Church today? The solution begins with me. The solution begins with you. We can begin by praying for all the shepherds in the Church.
Further, we must encourage the many holy and faithful shepherds who speak out and defend the most vulnerable among us, especially when it is not popular to do so.
Let’s face it, we are bombarded with all kinds of podcasts, teachings, and articles that claim to teach the truths of the Catholic faith. How are we to weed out the dissenters?
We seek out and get plugged into good, wholesome Catholic teaching. Studying scripture and reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church are essential in learning and living out our Catholic faith.
If we are only listening to a 10-minute homily each Sunday and doing nothing else, we will get swallowed up by the world and by Satan.
The first person we should share the truth of the Catholic Church with is the individual next to us in the pew. Let us become pew evangelists by sharing in love the golden nuggets of the good, solid Catholic resources that God has revealed to us.
We each have a personal responsibility to know our faith, to live our faith, and to help bring others into the faith. Let us stand on the promise of Jesus as we continue on this journey in these difficult and uncertain times.
And let us each become that brave Catholic that Jesus calls us to be. Our Lord is counting on us to defend the truth.