The Roman Catholic Church has been under a lens of constant scrutiny from society for a long time. I can easily see why that is. The Catholic Church was the first church post the death of Jesus. They have an objective style of belief that rubs a lot of people the wrong way. They also have a lot of teachings that are looked at in a negative light today. 

I have been raised Catholic and have taken my Catholic faith as my own over the last couple of years. This belief could not have come without my share of doubts and search for answers. I was confused about so many teachings because of the lack of proper education in my high school. I searched for clarity and I found it early on in college. I want to look at those teachings that are misunderstood. Consistent clarity is the thing the Catholic Church is missing. 

I think the most blatant disagreement is the idea that the Catholic Church believes you are saved by good works. I struggled with this teaching, but as I dove into it I learned that it is truly the opposite. This is Pelagianism, a heresy rejected by the early Catholic Church. Only the grace of God, freely given and unmerited, may save a human being from the eternal consequences of original and personal sin. 

A Catholic receives and cooperates with this grace by living in a manner consistent with an acceptance of the love of Christ, and they may lose it by sinning so gravely as to deny their faith in action, but Catholics cannot and do not earn it. 

Another common dispute between the Catholic Church and the secular world is that the Catholic Church is anti-science. In the past, and to this day, the Popes have clearly declared that the theory of evolution by natural selection is compatible with a Catholic understanding of the universe. The Church has long supported scientific research (and, in fact, many famous scientists, including Mendel, Lemaitre, Picard, and Heller, were priests), and holds that science and religion, properly understood, can never contradict each other. 

We do, however, engage in supra-scientific metaphysical and ethical reasoning, which is outside the bounds of natural science, and in some cases must constrain our use of the findings of science. This is where the aspect of faith comes in because you need true faith to understand and believe in these metaphysical ideas. 

Stemming from that idea of faith, a lot of modern people believe that the Catholic Church is simply following blind faith. The church has always held that the truths of the Catholic faith are accessible to human historical and philosophical reason, whether unaided (the natural law) or working upon the content of divine revelation (the existence and character of which may be assessed by human reason). Fideism, the idea that Christianity is accessible only by unaided “blind faith,” has been specifically condemned as a heresy.

Lastly, I want to handle a very topical dispute in The Church today: “The Catholic Church is Misogynistic” or anti-women. 

While the track record with this idea in the Church is not good, the basic teachings of the church are very equal. The content of the Faith clearly proclaims the equal dignity of the sexes, highlights the unique value of female contributions to the Church and life in society, and condemns all violence and unjust discrimination against women. The priesthood of The Catholic Church is male because of a particular metaphysical understanding of gender and the historical example of Christ and his apostles being men,  not because women are considered “inferior” or “unclean.” 

The original creation story shows equality as well. Adam was created by God first to show an aspect of leadership but he was created from the dirt to show that he is not perfect whatsoever. God then created the first woman, Eve, from Adam’s rib to show that she is of equal standing and that Adam needs her to live. Adam had everything he needed on earth but was fulfilled by Eve. The woman is a part of his complete body.

The Catholic Church is so greatly misunderstood. I could write a 10-page thesis paper behind all the misunderstood teachings. I wanted to show that it is not as hard to simply look into the teachings of The Catholic Church as people think. If people only took a little time to understand the reasons and true meaning behind what is taught, society would begin to relieve themselves of this idea that The Catholic Church is an evil threat to society.

Sam Ojeda is a Lincoln, Neb. sophomore studying journalism. He is the Collegian’s Sports Editor, a pitcher for the Blue Dragons baseball team and a practicing Catholic.

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4 thoughts on “The Catholic Church is misunderstood

  1. Henry Meyer says:

    Best essay I’ve come across regarding this topic. Very good job to this Sam Ojeda guy

  2. Jonah Walker says:

    This entry sucks

  3. Marylee Chang says:

    Well done Sam and you wrote it so this old lady could understand it! Keep up the good work!

  4. Henry Meyer says:

    This dude is an idiot

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