Hypocrites and Heretics: Welcome to the Catholic Church!

Hypocrites and Heretics: Welcome to the Catholic Church! December 30, 2015

pope's blessingOne of the things that troubles me as a pastor and as a man trying to be a disciple of Jesus Christ is the hypocrisy and heresy in the Catholic Church.

I should be more precise. What troubles me are the heretics and hypocrites in the Catholic Church.

A heretic is someone whose Catholic belief is faulty, partial, incomplete or mixed up with falsity, lies and corruption. A heretic’s Catholic belief is polluted by modernism, twisted by false logic, cluttered up with sentimentality or distorted by poor catechesis.

A hypocrite is a heretic in action. While the heretic doesn’t believe correctly, the hypocrite doesn’t behave correctly. The hypocrite wants to be a pure and spotless disciple of Jesus Christ, but his Christian life is skewed by ambition, polluted with lust, distorted by self interest, weighed down with anger and soiled with rage, confusion, fear and pride.

In other words, its not very easy to be a perfect Catholic. The bar is high. The standard is gold. The target is no less than perfection and when we fail to believe and behave to the best we have to face up and pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and keep going remembering that a saint is someone who never gave up.

Nevertheless, the hypocrites and heretics bug me, and there is one heretical hypocrite who terrifies and annoys me more than any other.

It’s me.

Sir,

What’s wrong with the Catholic Church?”

I am,

Yours Sincerely,

Fr Longenecker

Apologies to the portly prophet, and remember that good old joke about the man who told the priest he wouldn’t come to church because it was full of hypocrites.

Father chuckled cheerfully and said, “Why not come along anyway? We can always make room for one more.”

In the midst of this cheerfully pessimistic rejoinder there is one group of hypocrites and heretics we really must point a finger at: these are the ones who don’t think they are hypocrites and heretics, and you can always tell which ones they are because they spend all their time pointing out, naming, shaming and blaming everyone else.

If you want a clue to help spot them watch closely. They never smile. C.S.Lewis said about them, “You can always tell the pillars of the church because their faces look like stone.”

It’s true, and if you want to be happy as a Catholic then you had better get used to the fact that there are people in the church who are likely to be hypocrites and heretics. The sheep and the goats look alike and they are in the flock together. The wheat and the weeds grow in the same field and will do so until the day of harvest.

What to do about it? Here’s six things: Continue Reading

 

 

 


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