Same Data, Different Conclusion

Two women were studying the dispute between the Orthodox and the Catholic on the proper role of the Bishop of Rome.  They read the same history, often from the same books. They read the arguments for both rejection of Papal authority and the arguments in favor of Papal authority. They agreed that the extreme authoritarianism practiced by some Popes was not an essential component of the Primacy of Rome. They agreed that the early Church exhibited an attitude honoring Rome in a special way. Both found Pope Francis’s approach to the Papacy refreshing and much more the way it appeared to have been in the early Church.

Taking it all, the writings of the Early Church Fathers, history, arguments from both sides, and all the rest.

Praying diligently to understand and follow the will of God rather than her own will.

Loving Jesus above all else.

One became Orthodox, convinced that to accept the Papacy was wrong.

One became Catholic, convinced that to reject the Papacy was wrong.

So it is with people a good bit of the time and so it is why a saint like Saint Josemaria Escriva refused to discuss politics.  His focus was on the formation of the Catholic. Teaching on faith and morals and urging every Catholic to seek holiness in their everyday lives. This meant that the individual needed to apply Catholic teaching to his own life. Each individual needed to seek to do her daily work in such a way that she sanctified it and it sanctified her.

This meant that between Catholics there might be very different opinions on how best to live out the teachings of Catholicism.  St. Josemaria insisted that everyone respect the freedom of conscience of everyone else.  Focus in Opus Dei had to be on the specific teachings, the precepts, and on internalizing them, allowing Church teaching, daily prayer, visits to the Blessed Sacrament, and Mass (daily if possible) form your conscience according to the plan of God and then going out into the world and applying all to your specific life and career.

Dear Lord, please help all Christians to understand that forming our consciences according to Church teaching is very important, and that even when two people agree on all points, they may very well conclude differently.  Please help each person seek to become holy. +Amen.


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