One day the devil was walking along with one of his demons when they saw a man ahead of them bend down and pick up something shiny. “What did he find?” asked the demon.
“A piece of the Truth,” answered the devil.
“Doesn't it worry you that he has found a piece of the Truth?”
“Not at all,” replied the Devil, “I will see to it that he makes a religion out of it.”
Is the Church behind the times? Or more precisely, are Church teachings behind the times?
This is a complaint we hear frequently, claims that the teachings of the Church are outdated and need to keep up with the times.
We must remember that the “teachings of the Church,” or to put it another way, the Truth, does not belong to the Church. The Truth belongs to God. It is the duty and responsibility of the Church, the bride of Christ, to teach the Truth to God’s children.
The teachings of the Church cannot be behind the times because they are the teachings of God and God transcends time.
These Truth is supported by three pillars; Scripture, the Word of God; Tradition, handed down to us by God in the flesh; and the Magisterium, composed of successors to the apostles personally appointed by God. Each of these is so inter-related that one cannot stand without the other two, and where one is present, the other two are also there.
This is what we mean by absolute Truth. It is a truth that cannot be mitigated by personal preferences, perspectives, or individual conscience. The idea that there is an absolute, transcendent Truth is not popular these days but that does not make it any less True.
President Abraham Lincoln was once have a heated dispute with a man who did not understand this. Finally in exasperation Lincoln asked the man “how many legs does a cow have?”
“Four of course,” replied the man.
“That's right,” said Lincoln. “Now suppose you call the cow's tail a leg, then how many legs does it have.?”
“Five,” said the man confidently.
“You see,” said Lincoln, “That's where you are wrong. Calling a cow's tail a leg, doesn't make it a leg.”
It is to our bishops that the responsibility falls to pass on the Truth, the teachings of God. And the bishops share this authority with their priests. And our priests, particularly our pastors, take this responsibility very seriously, for they are charged with the care of souls.
This responsibility extends to all of us, for we are told to go and spread the good news to all the world. We too are included in the warning God gives to the kings of Israel. “Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture.”