Apparently, questioning liberal dogma such as Darwinian evolution is enough to get you branded as a heretic in the scientific community. But, is there actually a contradiction between the physical and the spiritual? Can one believe in God and still believe in science? With the ascension of a new Pope, these are important questions we should all be asking:
Roughly two thousand years ago, a teacher crossed the “Holy Land.” He preached a code of life for three years before being executed by the occupying potentates of His age. One thing differentiated this man from other philosophers whose teachings survived them: He claimed to be God.
Before He died, Jesus Christ established a Church with a specific characteristic: it would be governed by a supreme authority. This leader would have a clearly defined job description: preserve twelve core teachings, instruct the disciples to practice love of God and neighbor by keeping the Ten Commandments, and hand down the seven sacraments — outward signs instituted to transmit the inner strength we all need to keep the commandments. The pope exists only to ensure that anyone who wants to know what Jesus taught can always find the essential message without alteration or perversion, along with the resulting morality and power to live it.
History has offered mankind a parade of successors of St. Peter, the first pope. Some were notorious sinners. Some were sublime saints. Most were a mix of both. Many non-Catholics mistake the outpouring of devotion and enthusiasm shown the pope for guru-worship or “idolatry.” It is precisely the opposite. The temporal, fleeting human being (even when he is holy and beloved by the people) is not the object of our respect and attachment. In the pope we honor the means Christ chose to pass on his teachings. We look at the pope and see another link in the chain that stretches, unbroken, back to the day when Jesus Christ set up the structure that would carry His gifts across the rise and fall of empires, the infection of plagues ,and the discovery of new worlds in spite of the evils in a broken world and every human weakness or corruption in His Church.
What appears superficially to be an arcane symbol of oppression and choreographed despotism originated with a person familiar with human nature who wished to be sure His followers would never have to say:
There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief.
We all want to know the meaning of our lives, particularly the suffering and injustice. The idea that our existences are nothing but jokes is profoundly painful and disorienting, and we crave, more than anything else, a “way out of here.”
This week, the world watched while “all along the watchtower,” the cardinals, princes of the Church, did keep the view. Today, two riders approached: the man who first built His keep two thousand years ago, and the one holding down the fort until the wind is done howling.