Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Complexity of Catholicism

Here's an interesting article on the topic of whether Catholicism is too complex.
Thus, Catholicism cannot be and does not announce itself to be a religion that seeks simplicity and easy intelligibility at any cost. To be overly simple is to be neglectful of the distinctions that are actually used by the mind to understand things, in the fullness of what they are and mean. Nonetheless, Catholicism does not disdain simplicity. The famous Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds are designed to state the essence of what is held in the most spare and succinct ways. Yet, every word of this creedal simplicity was hammered out in controversy and contains within itself a whole historical and intellectual reflection that is not to be forgotten or ignored.
It is a valid point. Sometimes it does seem like the faith is too complicated. (True story: once, while at a Mass in Colorado, the priest's homily consisted of him pulling out from behind the podium one item after another, from a letter from his Archbishop to the Catechism to the Code of Canon Law to various encyclicals, until he had a stack of books about 2 1/2 feet high on the altar, after which he proceeded to complain about how it was all too complicated, and how he was more than satisfied knowing that his parishoners were "just trying their best". Needless to say, Joy & I were not very impressed.) Yet by the same token, one of the faith's attractive features is its very depth. It can be understood on a simple level, yet as one digs deeper, one is always rewarded. This is a process which is never exhausted. As the article states, even something as simple as the Apostles Creed is the result of a long process, and so parsing out the deeper meaning in its precise formulas can be a rewarding experience.


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