Friday, October 21, 2011
On the Gridiron
I was in a discussion recently with a Protestant friend who insists that the Catholic Church is just as fractured as the Protestant groups. I was sort of taken aback and had to dig deep to figure out what he was saying since the only real "fracture" I could think of was the Great Schism. Apparently he was referring to the differences in the Catholic orders, like the Franciscans, the Dominicans, the Jesuits, and so on. He has been taught that the different orders are like the fractured Protestant faiths, the Methodists, the Lutherans, the Baptists, and so on. How can I explain the difference to him? How can I show him that the Jesuits are just as Catholic as the Benedictines, that they have a different name but they're all part of the same team? Do you have a good analogy? I don't know what to say to him. Thank you for your help!
Well the poor thing. There really is no end of misinformation available for the separated brethren.
Although, the Great Schism isn't the only "fracture" in our illustrious Church history. Anti Popes spring to mind. At one point in time, we had two Popes, one in Italy and one in France. Since neither of them would step down, a third Pope stepped up and then he wouldn't leave either. Don't worry, it all worked out. As you can tell, there is only one Pope now.
I think your analogy of all playing for the same team is brilliant! Pick a sport he likes. Football? They're all playing football. Some are centers, some are place kickers, some are quarterbacks.
Some orders teach, some spend all their time praying for you, some nurse. They all play for that one team and they all play the same game, but their job in that game differs.
The people who populate different orders within the Catholic Church have one thing in common, they believe every single thing the Catholic Church teaches. The Catholic Church will not give its blessing to groups who believe otherwise. If a group believes something different, they will not be allowed to be an order. And if the group somehow comes to some wacky conclusions after they have formed and been approved, they get the boot, orderwise. It's really not possible to have an order that is not fully in harmony with the teachings of the Catholic Church. If they are, they are no longer a Catholic order.
I hope this helps. I don't watch football.