As a Roman Catholic deacon since 1974, adhering strictly to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, and now writing almost exclusively about issues that are in communion with our doctrines, I must respond to an article I read in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Saturday, September 9, 2017, regarding something that made the hairs on the back of my neck rise. The article centered around the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) and some changes being anticipated regarding world view that may tend to direct thinking towards a new reformation in lieu of who Christ is. Holly Lott, who wrote the piece, alludes that the PCUSA seems prone to placing Jesus along side of Muhammad as a comparable prophet, this to not offend our Muslim brothers, when at a recent conference were offered a Muslim prayer indicating this. Jesus simply a prophet like Muhammed? Where is their thinking?
Take a moment to understand how the Christian religion had to struggle for many years over attacks of various heresies, especially those that would refute the divinity of Jesus Christ or compare him to just an adopted person which would indeed deny his divinity. The Arian Heresy was one that directly denied the divinity of Christ and was condemned by the Council of Nicaea in 325.
My intent is not to headline any one person or Christian denomination as heretical, schismatic, or agnostic. It does, however, appear that to declassify Jesus Christ as a prophet (Jesus was Priest, Prophet, King - (see CCC 897-913) in a human sense hedges on heresy because it completely removes the divinity of Jesus. Jesus was God and Man; Hypostasis.
This article is not meant to fight or take issue with the Presbyterian Church or any other Christian denomination, but is pointed towards any Catholic who may have read the article and agrees with the tenets of what the article points to. It has become so easy to allow the thoughts of New-age philosophy, extreme liberal thinking and practices to become norms in our present society that would be compromising to those of us that are conservative in spiritual living. Many of us grew up in a culture that saw the church as a mainstay and the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church must be kept at all costs. Yes, there is room to allow new ideas to become factual but the basic premise of the Dogmatic Institution of our Church can not be compromised to the point of changing what is basic truth to meet the demands of confusing thoughts within a new generation that does not see the Catholic Church’s teachings as relevant or God-given.
Allowing the future youth to make decisions, for the future of the church, that could entice new congregants in the name of regeneration of a fledging church is not only dangerous, but would become the path to a destructive journey away from God and the Paschal Mystery wherein all of our beliefs lie. We can all agree that the church is facing a downward trend as far as attendance at Mass and the diminishing numbers of priests that strangles our need for the Sacraments. But to create a new path in order to satisfy numbers, we would be neglecting the position of the Holy Spirit in our personal lives and the very church we so much love and depend upon for our eternal salvation.
Not too long past I wrote an article “Holy Mass - Too Long or Too Short” published here March 23, 2017, which certainly supports some of these thoughts, but here we must adhere to the fact that heretical thinking could very well creep back into Catholic thought and might even cause people with a weak Catholic belief to say; “See we don’t need to follow those old and outdated rules!” “Follow your own conscience!” But, that is an uninformed conscience that has no basis or merit.
Holly is a prolific writer with much of her thoughts leaning towards the Catholic view. She, like many others in communications’ ministry is seeing the evils that can become the gifts of Satan; attacking the Church, delivering false ideas and subjecting paths to eternal destruction. Remember the saying; “Strike the Shepherd (the Church) and the sheep will be scattered”. (Zachariah 13: 7-9).