Reading up on the church

Counting on the world media to give one an accurate picture of the Pope, the Vatican, or the Church in general, is a pretty unreliable way to gain understanding.  There are so many inflammatory articles about the Church in the news.  Scandal, cover-ups, exaggerations, lies, commentaries from within and outside–the list goes on.  How much is true, how much is rumor, how is one to discern what is really happening?   Even reading various current books on Catholicism, as one of my book groups is presently doing, adds more confusion than understanding.  One book makes a staunch case for conservative action, for moderating some of the changes of Vatican II.  A second book takes the opposite stance, equally staunch and convincing, arguing persuasively for more and bolder change.  Scathing criticism from one, spirited defence from the other.  Both books, as I read them, were completely convincing in the moment.  Swayed completelyby the arguments put forth, book by book, left me bewildered and uncertain as to what was right, what was good.   How can anybody understand what Church teaching really is, or defend their faith and beliefs, when they haven’t a clue as to what is true in the allegations, reports, and the arguments of each faction. 

Perhaps it would be wise to begin at the source.  I decided to start with the Pope.  Who is he?  Is he a humble servant of God leading us wisely into a new era?  Is he a reactionary leader determined to return to medieval traditions?  Is he the Rottweiler of the Vatican?  Pope Benedict XVI has written many books, so I decided to read at least a couple of them.  I am glad that I have begun to do so, and I urge you to do so as well.  Just to balance out the world media reports.  I began with a book called “Light of the World”, an interview with the Pope by Peter Seewald.  I was surprised many times by what Pope Benedict said.  There are many pertinent, pointed questions, and simple direct answers to them in his own words.  It was good to get a sense of who the leader of our Church is, his accomplishments and ideas, his thoughts on a wide range of recent events, by reading his own words.

  I didn’t necessarily agree with everything I read. I am keeping an open mind and trying to understand the reasoning behind the thoughts, to step outside of my own agendas and opinions.

I was surprised to learn about many positive programs and actions that I did not know of before, that were never mentioned in the daily news.  Even after one book, I feel that my knowledge is more balanced.  I will continue to research and explore, and hope to make sense out of the jumble of words that comes to the world daily, and think carefully through the information offered.  I don’t have any answers right now, just a sense that I am headed in the right direction by looking at other sources besides TV and newspapers.  Approaching any important topic by looking at source documents and materials, by listening to the voices of those involved, can’t help but give you a more accurate picture.  It is foolish of me not to have done it sooner.

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About reinkat

I am an iconographer, and have been studying Russian/Greek icons since 1995. I'm married with 3 children. I love hiking, camping, animals, my family and church--and icons.
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3 Responses to Reading up on the church

  1. SR says:

    I really like this post and I understand well what you are saying. I am going to tell you how I look at the Church. When I finally did come into her, I made a vow to God that I would hold to her teachings no matter what. In fact I made it on Holy Saturday.

    She to me is as pure as the purest virgin. Within herself she is perfection as she holds the perfection of Christ. In her teachings there is no error as she holds the teachings of Christ. She is to be honored, she is to be glorified for within her she holds the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord. Man can never corrupt her, it is only themselves which they corrupt.

    As far as the media, so what? Do not think the molestations and the like do not happen on the other side they do. They are just not talked about as much, as the Catholic Church is. The Words of Christ to us were, “She will always be persecuted but the gates of hell will never prevail over her.” Over two thousand years later she is still standing. That Church will never be destroyed. Ever.

    When we walk into her, we are seeing the beauty and fullness of God. Everything in and about her is the completion of God in His omnipotence. She has everything.

    To try and figure her out in our human minds we cannot, as she is Divine. She is a gift to us, she is God’s grace.

    We can read, and I have read tons of books about her all we want. We can listen to all speaking people in the world and what they have to say. Pro and cons. But until we see her for what she is in our souls, we will never comprehend her. She has to be imbedded within us.

    See when I go to Mass I am going to God. I am going to offer myself to Jesus with all perfections and imperfections. He is going to take me just like that, as that is all I can truly offer to Him. In return He is going to give Himself to my soul. When I walk out of Mass, I have received everything that is Catholic and is held inside of her. She is timeless. There are no boundaries on earth which can contain her, as she is universal.

    Within her lies God’s love for His creatures, as wretched as we are. She is holy, as Jesus is holy. She stands on her own as she is the foundation of the truth.

    For me one of the greatest blessings of my life. She is a blessing though for all of us. So get her imbedded within you, and do not worry about all that is going on around her. She is our Mother and stands there with open arms to all of us. God Bless, Sr

  2. SR says:

    Thank you. You are not exactly a first grader when it comes to your writings either.

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