It is plain to see that the concept of truth and moral values has become so distorted. Consider the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence”, a group of anti-Catholic drag nuns doing unimaginable acts, like pole dancing around the cross of Jesus. These so-called “sisters”, who are actually men, were honored yesterday, June 16th by the LA Dodgers at the ballpark for their apparent charitable works. To object to their antics may bring charges of being insensitive, or worse a “hater”, not appreciating the good these so called “nuns” do for others. I wonder what LA Dodgers’ baseball fans will think, and I’m afraid many won’t be phased one way or the other. I can hear some people saying, “Who cares?” and others shouting, “Let’s play ball!”
People are becoming more and more desensitized to outrageous acts, and may fear protesting what is wrong, sometimes for concern of being ostracized or even “cancelled” for being too judgmental. Still, others will speak up for what is right, and are not afraid to be obedient to their informed consciences, which require action, to speak to truth, despite the pushback from the crowd. We need more of those.
The problem here is lack of sufficient formation at home, in schools, and even in churches, where far too many people, I’m afraid, are more inclined to be self-indulgent and lack self-discipline when it comes to morality. Spending so much time online viewing questionable content does not help.
During our May 2023 Lay Carmelite monthly community meeting, we discussed an article written by a Carmelite Catholic priest, Fr. Gerald Alford, entitled Existential Obedience. The point of the article was that obedience that matters most is being faithful to God’s will and purpose as revealed to each of us in our lifetime. That faithfulness must also be grounded in a moral framework for discerning a life in keeping with our faith and values. Accordingly, choices which flow from these foundations may be more likely to sustain us and should correlate better with what God wills for us in our lives.
The big question here is the definition and substance of “moral framework”. As Catholics, we have Sacred Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and centuries of magisterium-based church teachings as a foundation for truth. These principles help guide us in dealing with questions related to sanctity of life, for example, and the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman, based on biology, not choice. All this feeds into and helps align our moral compass.
An informed conscience, where our decisions are influenced by our understanding of the truth, should help keep us on the right path, with prayer, contemplation, and Holy Spirit-driven discernment, informing our decisions and actions. We will have our setbacks and perils, yet the peace of knowing our respective path is more closely aligned with God’s will and our faith and morals, should bring about a more sustainable peace, joy and confidence which can serve us well in our lifetime.
Yes, we will have our challenges, including scandals, personal setbacks, and doubts at times about the practicality of matters of faith and morals. The world often encourages us to go with the flow, to avoid being so dogmatic about our faith. The response to these distractions is perseverance, being unafraid to get up when we fall down, keeping our gaze on Jesus, being submissive to his will, and always being thankful for his many blessings. That’s a good start!