Sunday, October 2, 2016

In Non-Essentials Freedom, In All Things Charity

We often see persons who ignore what is central and concentrate on a side issue or something preposterous. They either don't understand the issue or  beat around the bush. We find them in the Pharisees and Sadducees of the Scriptures. They are enamored with the surface and formalities. So begins an article in the WithBible magazine by a retired humanities professor who spends his time in study and writing.

He feels that this kind of thinking is rampant in society. Moreover, many are within religion who are prominent and cling to the unimportant and consider themselves not only the true believers but also the protectors of true religion, often bringing down ridicule on religion. No reason here to distinguish between Catholic and Protestant.

In Korea, many Protestant Churches consider smoking and drinking sinful. They are harmful to health but are considered like an article of their creed. Probably, he says, without Christian justification, there is no place in the Protestant world that adheres to this teaching as in Korea.  

In Greek, the word 'adiaphora' is used to  express things that morality neither mandates nor forbids. It is an action that has nothing to do with right or wrong or salvation (an indifferent act). These actions are left up to the person to judge and act appropriately. The Church according to the writer should refrain from entering this area. Consequently, Catholics have difficulty with the Korean Protestant notion on smoking and drinking.

Many of the sermons  the professor  hears  are theological and have little to do with the important areas of life. It is not  seeing the world as it is. Sermon topics miss the important and  remain on the 'adiaphora'.

Much of Protestantism is tied down to the adiaphora, partially from the literalism of interpretation, so-called fundamentalism, praying for blessings, centering their faith on their pastor and he includes Orientalism in his evaluation. Inner freedom of a person of faith is destroyed.

In 2017 we will have the 500th anniversary of the proclamation  of the Reformation by Martin Luther. Let's forget whether Protestantism has realized their goal but it's a good time for Catholics to look back in history and examine and reflect on the event.

Luther at that time was fighting against the 'adiaphora' that were confusing the Church and asked for change. For him, it was (Sola Scriptura) only the Scripture. Luther was fighting to get rid of all the 'adiaphora'  that he believed accrued to the Church's teaching and did not match the Gospel message. 

He concludes the article with the impression  that many in the Church spend too much time with the 'adiaphora' and miss the essence. He singles out the treatment of workers  within Church facilities. 

Our actions are often on the side of the strong and ridicule the justice that is due the weak and poor. There should not be any temporary workers in our hospitals, schools, and parishes. This is not a case of 'adiaphora' but an essential teaching of the Gospel. Love should inform all that we do for it is the essence of our faith life. However, we often see the opposite.