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Wednesday, August 15, 2018
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Holy Spirit Interactive: Fr. Robert D Smith : The Basics of Christianity

The Basics of Christianity

by Fr. Robert D Smith

Many who claim to be Catholic in today's world say "I accept the Church's moral teachings except for that on abortion, or except for that on contraception, or except for that on divorce and remarriage, or except for that on sodomy, or except for that requiring church attendance every Sunday." And of these people, a great many would claim to be still Catholic even when they reject all five of the above moral directives. "I still accept most of the moral teachings," they say. "Besides, the other parts of the Catholic religion are much more important. The points above are only minor elements of religious practice, not essential parts of the faith at all."

What have such people done when they reject one or more of the Church's moral directives? Is this really a side issue? Is this, indeed, really irrelevant to the basics of Christianity? What they have done by rejecting a moral directive of the Church is to reject one of the Ten Commandments. The moral teachings of the Church are the same as the Commandments. The Commandments, correctly understood, are the same as the moral teachings, the moral directives, of the Church. A person who has rejected one or more of the moral teachings of the Church has placed himself back with the pagans. This does not make him excused from the Commandments, any more than the pagans are excused. The pagan and the renegade Catholic both still have the Commandments written in their hearts.

The faithful Catholic has the Church helping him on moral matters, warn- ing him that what his heart tells him about right and wrong is correct, and that the world is wrong. The pagan and the renegade Catholic have only that tiny voice in their hearts, so opposed to the world, telling them that the world is wrong. The renegade Catholic breaks away on the very thing that will keep him on the road to salvation.

Abortion is cruelty, it is the killing of an innocent person, and is directly contrary to the Fifth Commandment,"You shall not kill." Contraception, the use of contraceptive devices, is engagement in a sexual perversion. Divorce and re- marriage is adultery. Sodomy is also a sexual perversion. All three of the above are contrary to the Sixth Commandment, "You shall not commit adultery." They are all forms of adultery. Those who skip regular churchgoing, and who do not substitute for it by some kind of religious reading or prayer at home or elsewhere for an hour a week year 'round, are disobeying the Third Commandment, "Remember to keep holy the Sabbath Day." The need to worship and learn about God on a regular basis is written on everyone's heart. The Third Command- ment defines a minimum for this.

Disregard of one or more of the Church's moral directives is not a trivial matter, nor a matter of secondary importance. It is disregard of a Commandment of God, disregard of something required of every man on earth. Moreover, even on essentials, this comes first. The reason that Christ came to earth was to reveal to man in doctrinal religious form a correct and exact explanation of the Commandments, and to teach that repentance according to these correct notions of the Commandments is required of all men on earth, Christian and non- Christian, Catholic and non-Catholic, as an absolute condition of salvation.

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