Maybe the best part of breaks is that I get to catch up on my reading. As I was finishing up my latest tour through ZENIT, I stopped to read the pope’s homily at the close of the Year of St. Paul, a year which I basically ignored because work/school was eating my life.
Paul wants Christians to have a “responsible” and “adult faith”. The words “adult faith” in recent decades have formed a widespread slogan. It is often meant in the sense of the attitude of those who no longer listen to the Church and her Pastors but autonomously choose what they want to believe and not to believe hence a do-it-yourself faith. And it is presented as a “courageous” form of self-expression against the Magisterium of the Church.
In fact, however, no courage is needed for this because one may always be certain of public applause. Rather, courage is needed to adhere to the Church’s faith, even if this contradicts the “logic” of the contemporary world. This is the non-conformism of faith which Paul calls an “adult faith”. It is the faith that he desires.
I studied education in undergrad, so I’ve been reading and thinking about human development for several years. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people think of religious faith as something childish. You can’t possibly continue being religious unless you’ve been brainwashed into it for your whole life, and you’re not really an adult until you break away from that, i.e. stop going to church. That view is, of course, ridiculous. Being independent is not about getting rid of any influence anyone has ever had on you. It’s about claiming opinions for yourself. True, you might grow up in a house full of Democrats and realize that you’re actually a Republican, but it is just as valid, independent, and adult to realize that you really have been a Democrat all along. The same is true for religion.
Religion is not a crutch. Choosing the follow the religion your parents practiced and raised you in is not a sign of childishness. If it means being countercultural, like faithful Catholicism these days, it might be the most free-thinking, grown-up choice of them all.
submitted to Sunday Snippets, a Catholic Carnival