I could rattle off a range of topics that inevitably seem to always be top of mind for many Catholics and which the Catholic media leaps at each time it can publish something in this regard. Contraception, ordination of women, divorce, praying the Confiteor, the new English translation of the Mass, in vitro fertilisation, same sex marriage and abortion are just some of the many subjects that many Catholics challenge continuously. There are many more!
These debates and challenges, of Church teaching, are always positioned to be in the best interest of all members of the Church. They are presented as the means whereby the Holy Spirit is allowed to work and guide the Church. I don’t presume to know how the Holy Spirit may or may not choose to work so I won’t make any comment about this point.
I do however understand a little bit about common sense. Common sense firstly tells me that certain subjects are naturally just wrong and that no amount of arguing or discussion will change this fact. It is therefore a senseless debate. Same sex marriage is just one example of such a topic.
Common sense however also tells me something far more important. Common sense tells me that Satan has managed to very effectively distract most Catholics from the reality of their personal relationship with God. He has used these “hot button” subjects to his advantage to distract us.
Satan, that being who many Catholics today sadly don’t truly believe exists, is successfully creating much confusion amongst Catholics and is achieving his objective, of leading us away from God, quite successfully. If Satan used Twitter, I bet he would be tweeting right now, “ROFLMAO at these Catholics”. (That’s “Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Ass Off” for those who may not be familiar with Twitter speak term "ROFLMAO".)
The reality is that, for the majority of Catholics, many of the “hot button” subjects, like the subject of whether women should be ordained as priests or not, whether same sex partners should be permitted to marry or not, whether IVF should be permitted or not, and many of the other topics, just are not material in their personal pursuit of holiness. Allow me to illustrate my point with this example:
When my son was in primary school, aged about 13, he engaged me in a very serious debate regarding what degree he would be studying towards when he went to University. He also explained to me what subjects he would therefore need to study in high school in order to gain entrance to that degree. While it was good to see that he was thinking ahead and that he had goals to which he was working, the discussion was actually immaterial at that point. If he had then proceeded in that same conversation to debate with me why it was necessary for him to be studying certain subjects in primary school, which he clearly would not need for university entrance, I would have explained to him that it was immaterial to him at that point. The only material discussion at that point in time was whether he needed the subjects to get into secondary school, which precedes university. He would be foolish to stop working on those subjects because this would result in him failing to get to secondary school, never mind university.
Satan wants us to be distracted from the matters that are really of material concern to each one of us in our own personal journey to personal holiness. He wants us to worry about subjects, like, for example, whether women should be ordained as priests, so that we forget that which is important to us personally.
Satan wants us to forget to pray regularly every day, to forget to attend Mass frequently, to forget to do an examination of conscience each day, to forget to receive the Sacrament of Confession frequently, to forget to study our faith continually, to forget to do our ordinary daily work in such a way that it gives glory to God, to forget to help those in need and so I can go on.
As Satan successfully distracts us from the material matters in our personal circumstances, which will lead to our personal holiness, he is happily able to tweet “ROFLMAO”. He has successfully stolen from us the wonderful gift that God wants to give us, the gift of eternal happiness with God in heaven. He has caused us to be like those invited guests, in today’s Gospel of Matthew, who made excuses and were not willing to go to the Kings wedding feast because they had other things to do.