Click on the above link.
I dare you.
Ofttimes I am challenged by non-Catholics about the 'Authority' of Holy Mother Church. The arguments usually go something like this:
"I don't need a Church to tell me how to have a relationship with God".
"It's all about Jesus and me; a Church just gets in the way".
I understand the hesitation. After all, accepting Church Teaching means entertaining several ideas that don't sit well with most of us. We have to think about whether or not we are ever wrong. Left to our own devices, do we rationalize our behaviors? When we decide for ourselves, do we sometimes take action that feels really good at the time (either physically or emotionally) and then figure that, if it feels good, it must be good?
Look, I cannot speak for anyone other than myself. What I know, when I do a really tough examination of my life, is that I have made decision after decision that has been absolutely bad for me. I have taken actions that, while I was sure at the time seemed like GREAT ideas, later turned out to have been based solely on 'self' and really blew up in my face. I can blame others. I can cry my eyes out and go to therapists and talk to my sponsor and bang my little spoon against my highchair but the honest to GOD truth is this: whenever I have made a decision that has resulted in an action that is clearly against the teachings of Holy Mother Church I have fallen flat on my face and made myself miserable.
And since I am an alcoholic, and I do not suffer well or suffer alone, you can bet I have made people around me miserable too.
At some point, I had to be honest about the idiotic stuff I was doing and apply some logic to it. What I discovered was, living WITHIN the parameters of God's Law gave me a freedom from pain and suffering. It did not eliminate it (OK, it did eliminate some of it); rather it gave it meaning and purpose.
And the TYPE of suffering and pain changed. I was not suffering because I had done something stupid; slept with the wrong man, gave money to the wrong girl, drank too much, taken the wrong combination of drugs, stolen something, demanded attention from the wrong person. Now, when I suffer, it is usually because I am standing firm in my convictions and I am getting beat up for it - and that's fine. It hurts like heck and I don't like it but I would rather take a blow to the heart or ego for THAT than cry my eyes out because one more time I am packing up my clothes and moving out of another boyfriend's house.
And there is something to be said for Church Authority regarding Holy Scripture. To state that anyone can read the Bible and let the Holy Spirit guide them as to its meaning is dangerous.
Holy Scripture must be read in light of context, historical revelation and Church Teaching. Any yahoo can pick up a Bible and declare they have been 'told' what it means. I want to know where they get their authority to interpret Holy Scripture.
I know where The Church gets Her authority. I also know that, when some theologian declares that he knows what a certain passage means, unless his declaration squares with 2000 years of Doctrine and Dogma then he is a doofus.
Theology can develop - that's certainly true. The idea of "Lust" being a sin in the the first century of The Church is going to be applied very differently today when we have a bombardment of porn on the Internet and things happening during television commercials that make sailors blush (Girls Gone Wild, anyone?). However, the dogmatic teaching that regarding someone merely as a means for physical release and satisfaction is an affront to them and to God remains the same.
Any one can pick up a Bible, declare themselves in charge and start spouting nonsense. Without the teachings of Holy Mother Church - the Magisterium that decided what would BE in the Bible in the first place, remember? - waving a Bible around can be as dangerous as waving a gun. You can hurt people, you can justify murder, you can cause others irreparable harm.
It Is DANGEROUS.
Click on that link...I dare you.
And may God have mercy on these "Christians" - because, God forgive me, I have a hard time showing them anything but contempt.