Guest Columnists

Our Duty to Those Who Doubt

By Father John Catoir

Recently, I received a letter from a person desperate because his brother left the church in anger, saying a lot of what the church teaches is a myth. I told the person I would pray for the situation. But I imagine there are a lot of similar situations out there.

Here are a few thoughts to help you sort things out, if this is the case. It doesn’t take much to see that there is much hatred, vicious violence and warfare in the world. We are living in a flawed world. None of us fully understand it.

Struggling to Get Back

But Christians know from the revelation of Jesus Christ that in some way, humanity departed from God’s will, and we are struggling mightily to find our way back. We need to be purified. We need a savior.

Faith accepts the mysteries revealed to us by Jesus Christ. Life is a trial. There is an afterlife and only the children of God can enter it. God is love. He proved it by sending his only begotten son to save us from our sins.

The most simple among us understand that the suffering and death of Jesus was born out of divine love for us. To benefit from His sacrifice, He asks only that we repent and follow Him.

Faith and Logic

Faith can never be superseded by logic. It is something different. No one can prove scientifically that God does not exist.

Nor do we have to exclude science to believe. There is such a thing as theistic evolution, where we understand that God, our creator, set things in motion in some mysterious way so that we would have this experience of life on earth.

Yes, there is substantial evidence that life evolves. Members of the same species change certain features to meet the challenges of life, or of a new terrain or conditions.

Some dismiss the mysteries we hear about in the Bible. But the essential is answered: God was at the beginning. The world as it is can be explained by evolution but before that evolution, there was God.

Trying to Be Better

I have been a Catholic priest for 50 years and for me, the church is the mystical body of Christ. It is filled with sinners trying to be better.

Those who leave us to find a perfect church somewhere will soon find it too, to be imperfect by the very fact that they enter a church filled with humans.

Whether someone leaves because they didn’t like others in church or simply don’t want to accept our teachings, our duty is to embrace the path of love toward them – and toward others – and not let them disrupt what we have found in faith.

Father John Catoir writes a syndicated column for Catholic News Service.