This is one of my favorites because it’s just so stupid that a lot of people believe it. In a discussion about religion, it’s kind of like saying, “oh, yea?” It’s a last resort used against the Church when the person has nothing else to say. But, in a way, I can see where it comes from.
Having been raised protestant, I remember thinking that the neighborhood Catholic church was mysterious. All I knew about what was going on in there came from adults who didn’t like the Church. Honestly, sitting with my Catholic friends on Friday night, waiting for the clock to strike twelve before they could eat their sausage pizza, the thought might have crossed my mind that they really were brainwashed.
The fact that Catholic kids go to Catholic schools is also a reason given by some haters for their brainwashing comments. If that were true, maybe three of my four adult kids who don’t attend mass regularly could explain what went wrong. In fact, Catholic-educated young people are leaving the Church in droves.
Here’s the thing. I believe in everything the Church teaches. I accept it 100%. It has nothing to do with being brainwashed. Could it be possible that more than 1 billion people currently residing on planet Earth feel the same way? Could it be that these people take Jesus’ words to heart? Don’t we all have the freedom to leave if the Church teaches something we don’t believe?
Let me offer this disclaimer. The majority of people who call themselves “Catholic” don’t attend mass. If these people can’t agree with this simple teaching, chances are they disagree with other things, too. So the number of people who accept the Church’s teaching is somewhere less than 1 billion. Still it’s a big enough number to make you think that they aren’t brainwashed or victims of some mind-control trick.
Cult members are brainwashed. You may have read our earlier post about cults. When Jim Jones convinced 419 people to commit suicide, that was brainwashing and it’s something very different from what goes on in the Catholic Church. If the Church were to suddenly tell us to commit suicide (which she won’t) then I would have to spend my Sunday mornings somewhere else.
In a nutshell, here’s what Jesus said:
He said to Peter, “you are rock and on this rock I will build my Church”. (Matthew 16:18) He also said, to the twelve, “whoever hears you hears me.” (Luke 10: 16) And, “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 18:18)
That sounds like He was giving authority to His Church to speak for Him, and that’s enough for me. Until someone can show me where the Church has made an error in its teaching on faith and morals, I’m going to accept 2,000 years of infallible teaching. Or, if the Church comes up with something that I just can’t agree with, then I will have to cease being Catholic. But I would have to think long and hard to convince myself that it was the Church teaching that was in error and not me. Believe it or not, I have been wrong before.