I was reading this article on yahoo news reporting on the Pope’s homily today. First of all, when the secular media reports on the Pope, it usually spells disaster. I don’t know what’s so hard about reporting facts exactly as they are, but whatever. This time it wasn’t too bad, but it still irks me. People accept the news as factual and reliable, so, please, report factual and reliable information. But now isn’t the time to climb up on that soapbox….
As the article wraps up, it states, “The Church no longer teaches Creationism.” Umm…when did the Church ever teach Creationism? The Church has always taught that we, humans, are created to know, love, and serve God. The Church has never taught that Genesis is a scientific account. The Church has never attempted to explain scientifically or otherwise exactly how we came to be. Only why. The Church and Science do not and can not contradict each other, both lead to truth, and there is only one truth. What is so hard to understand about that? (Obviously, science can be used for immoral things, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.)
Some Protestant Christians teach Creationism. The Catholic Church does not. Just because you never knew this doesn’t mean you should imply that it’s a new Church teaching. In fact, we don’t have NEW church teachings. We never have. We never will. The day the Church teaches something new is the day I leave. We’ve been teaching the same things for 2,000 years. That’s one of the many things I love about being Catholic. Jesus didn’t intend to have 33,000 Christian churches all supposedly teaching truth, all based on their own opinions and interpretations. He didn’t intend for “truth” to ebb and flow with cultural trends or become a relevant notion applicable only to the individual who believes said truth.
In discussing differences in theological views with non Catholic Christians, they often point to documents from various Church Councils as an illustration for when Catholics began believing _______. But that is just a misunderstanding. When a Church Council is held, it is because some kind of trouble, confusion, or false teaching has popped up. The Council then formally declares what we believe and have always believed. It doesn’t create new teaching.
When Pope Benedict gives a homily, he is simply teaching the Catholic faith. He may state something in a way that makes sense to you in a different way or even share something you never knew, but he is not standing up there creating new teachings. As Catholics, we don’t believe we have the right to do that. We teach what Jesus taught. In fashion or out of fashion. Period.
I don’t, however, imply that the Church is perfect. The Church herself has never said that either. The Church is run by sinful humans who can and will make grave mistakes, such as the recent scandals so frequently referred to in the comments of the above mentioned article. People sinning is an absolute guaranteed fact. That has absolutely no bearing on the fact that Church teaches truth. Jesus promised in Matthew 16:18 that the gates of Hell would not prevail against His Church. That’s why we’re still here, more than 2000 years later, thriving and strong, despite huge human errors along the way.