By SOPHIE DRUFFNER
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing,
but underneath are ravenous wolves.
By their fruits you will know them.
Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Just so, every good tree bears good fruit,
and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit,
nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down
and thrown into the fire.
So by their fruits you will know them.”
As the video on modesty began to finish up in Theology class, I could hear the indignant conversations. “They don’t know how hard it is to find clothes like that today!” “Why should I let a bunch of old white men tell me what to do?” “Why do I even care? They just keep saying the same things over and over again. It doesn’t even make any sense.”
I’m going to take one of these comments--the one about the “old white men.” One of the things I love about the Catholic church is that there are so many different “good trees” just like in today’s Gospel. And just as trees have many different species, such as oaks and maples and dogwoods, so too does the Catholic Church have so many different kinds of people, not just at the parish level, but at the cardinals’ level as well. Cardinals come from all over the world, from Africa, South America, and Europe. They come from so many different backgrounds; some were married before becoming priests, some entered the seminary at a very early age. Some were atheists before they became Catholic, some have been devout Catholics their whole lives. And when they meet, I can only imagine the animated discussions that they must have about the tenets of the Catholic faith and its teachings. So the Church does not encapsulate only one group of people by skin color or age, nor by intellectual ability or faith. No one can say that one single group of people is the Catholic church, for we are all the Body of Christ.
Everyone has questions about the Catholic faith. It’s so natural because there’s so much to question and then, of course, that eternal question--but how do they really know that there’s a God? How do they really know that this is the right way? But when you read the teachings on human sexuality or the gift of human life, the writing is very logical. Every aspect of a question is considered before it is answered. And then there are groups such as those behind Chastity.com, which seek to illuminate the teachings of the Catholic Church on issues such as birth control, abortion, etc. in a way that is supported by scientific studies and additional analysis for the average lay person. And the amount of logic in the teachings of the Catholic Church also makes sense, because those who write down these teachings always invoke the Holy Spirit. If you knock, the door will be opened.
Beyond just reading the Bible, I would encourage everyone to open up the Catechism and read it for five minutes or so, on any topic. The Catholic Church is so beautifully intellectual and it really is amazing to read the text of its teachings.