Sunday, February 26, 2006

CCD Week Nineteen

So today was the last class of this term. As a culminating event, the teacher had us basically use all of the stuff we were supposed to have learned over the classes and use them in a fundamentalist asks, Catholic answers format. One student would get up, ask a question, and the other one answer it. Well pair after pair were called up when it became apparent tat the teacher was reserving me for himself, I guess to give me a bit more of a challenge. He certainly did a good job of playing the hyper and eccentric fundamentalist. The question I got was why do you confess your sins to a priest?

I said because Christ told us to, and had he not willed that people would confess their sins for the remission and absolution of them, He would not have given them the power to forgive sins which He did (Jn 20:23), I tacked on, in no uncertain terms. Plus, all through the New Testament, we see Christ forgiving sins. After His Resurrection, he empowers the apostles to baptize and teach all nations teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. The power to remit and to retain sins is just one of the things Christ tells the apostles to do.

"But where in does it say anything about 'confession'?", he asked. "Where in the Bible does it say anything about 'gathering' together as a 'community' to sing songs?", I asked back. Not that someone else's unfounded belief justifies another unfounded belief, but in addition to showing the scriptural foundation for the Sacrament of Confession, I also wanted to show, if I could, the inconsistencyof fundamentalism.

It's true that you shouldn't answer a question with a question, but in the case of fundies, this is one time you just say "hey...I'm asking the questions here," and then proceed to ask "what, I ask you, does John 20:23 mean if it does not mean that the apostles and their apostolic succession had the powers to forgive and retain sins? Pray, enlighten me, what does it mean?" This is where I think they would get caught up. I was actually encountered by a fundamentalist once who said that Christ's perfect sacrifice of the cross paid for all sins, past, present, and future. So in other words, you can do whatever the hell you want and not have to answer for it or confess it because hey..you've accepted Christ into your heart right? If they believe that about the sacrifice on the cross, than what exactly do they think Christ means in John 20:23? It will be interesting to see what a fundamentalist says (or doesn't say, as the case may be).

So that is the end of that class. Before this one, I went to the guy I know will be teaching us next term about what exactly it is he'll be teaching. I had a nagging suspicion that it was going to be Church History. That would've been awesome. But actually, he'll be teaching morality. That will be pretty cool too, I'm sure!

I asked him if he's received many questions or objections so far, and he says no, not really. He also mentioned, in a proper context, that there were some things he didn't reflect the Church about. My heart sank. I asked to give me an example, and he said abortion and capital punishment. I stuttered for a minute. He must have heard the question wrong. I said, "wait, you're pro-abortion?" He said that no, of course he was not. I said "oh, good then." And then I just said that what the Church says about capital punishment is that it should be used only in extreme cases and with the utmost amount of caution. In those extreme cases, the Church says that not only is it permissible, but sometimes morally required. Explain to me why some person who goes around raping and killing and who shows no sign of sorrow, not even for the fact that he is about to be executed, and who would continue in his ways were he to escape should not be taken out of society he was/is such a real and potent threat to?

But yeah, extreme cases, but when those cases do arise it is totally dignum et justum est.

Anyway, I look forward to the coming weeks with a new teacher. I think he is a solidly orthodox guy, and am only encouraged in thinking this way when recalling a time that he said that it's as easy as looking at our Church, our system of beliefs, and seeing that it says "no" to such-and-such a thing, and that despite all our hardships and trials, two-thousand years knows humanity a hell of a lot better than our years do.