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May 2016

QUESTION TIME

The world has witnessed social and cultural changes through the ages. Should the views of the Catholic Church change to reflect those of the majority of people these days?

The Church must, and has, changed with the times. This has been more about how she views the world and interacts with it, rather than in her teaching and tradition. For example, it is only in the last ffty years that languages other than Latin have been allowed for the Mass. The teaching of the Church is based on the principles that God has revealed to man through the Scriptures, and the Church does not have power to change these divinely revealed truths. “The Old Testament attests that God is the source of all truth. His Word is truth. His Law is truth. His faithfulness endures to all generations. Since God is true, the members of his people are called to live in the truth.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2465)

The world has seen many changes over the centuries, but God doesn’t change, “I, the Lord do not change.” (Malachi 3:6) What was considered as sinful behavior by people for centuries is now seen by many as valid ‘life choices’. The Church does not condone such sinful behavior and cannot change her teaching to reflect popular views rather than God’s view. But she regularly considers how best to show God’s loving mercy to those who are far from Him. As Jesus said on the Cross, “Forgive them Father, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

Today, morality is seen by many as personal and relative. They want to decide for themselves what is acceptable, and readily copy what others are doing. But we must learn to discern right from wrong and form our conscience on Christian values. What the majority do or feel might not necessarily be right – “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong’’ (Exodus 23:2). Rather than moving with the times, our personal ethos must be firmly rooted in Christian values according to the Bible and Catholic Teaching. ‘‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever’’ (Hebrews 13:8). The greater change should occur in each and every one of us – ‘‘If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come’’. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

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