A disturbing trend in the West that has been on the rise in the past few decades has recently manifested itself on our shores. A trend resulting from the progressivism of the last century creeping its way into the Church. It is called cafeteria Catholicism.
Every problem at its root is a spiritual one. In this case we see the faithful failing – and in some instances even refusing – to acknowledge and practice the virtue of humility. If Jesus, true God and true man, did not exempt himself from “submission to the Law” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 527) like any other Jew, as was the case in the Presentation in the Temple and in His participation in the feast of Passover, who then are we, his followers, to do otherwise?
A life imbued with humility produces the fruit of obedience. We profess as Catholics that original sin has tainted human nature, the result of which was a weakened will and darkened intellect. Even if you are a secularist, you just have to look at the West, which has abandoned its Christian heritage, to see what happens when man is left to his own devices. Case in point: the recent riots that took place in London, a city which has abandoned traditional moral values. For that reason the very notion of a “primacy of conscience” is inherently flawed. Why? Because we are flawed. Primacy belongs to God alone, from Whom we receive the gift of sanctifying grace, which ennobles human nature.
We should all be honest with ourselves when we are lacking in virtue. We should be humble enough to acknowledge when we let our pride go unchecked in defying the “Vicar of Christ... (who has) supreme and universal power over the whole Church” (CCC 882). And we should be strong enough to admit our failings in meeting the ideals of Christian life, and, in our arrogance, trying to make Christianity suit ours.
In the end, however, the “Catholic” senators, priests, and lay people who continue to defy the teachings of the Church come as no surprise. For it was because of the sin of disobedience that Christ came into the world to redeem mankind. “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous. (Rom 5:19)”