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THE CHURCH


 

 

CHAPTER TWO

 

"DO NOT BE CONFORMED TO THE WORLD.

I.   The Church and Her Role of Discerning Present Day Tendencies in MORALS.

MORALS is obedience to Christ's commands, i.e. the subordination of man and his activity to God. Good moral acts lead to eternal life. And these acts are embodied in the commandments of Christ.

What are ACTIONS pleasing to God? This is what Christ commanded His apostles to preach to all nations: ". . .ALL My commands and HOW to observe them." The apostolic commission is to teach all nations the ACTS pleasing to God. Though the ALL are found in Scriptures, most of the HOW are found in Tradition.

An action pleasing to God, then, is a Christ-like action Who alone is good, "Good Teacher." It is in becoming Christ-like that we become "good".

The deposits of the truth of our faith, i.e. ALL the commands of Christ and HOW to observe them, AND the manner it must be communicated in the world today may be found in Scriptures but more in Tradition. God, in the early Church, had explained this all. Nothing had been left unanswered. After all, the early Church needed this information then as much as we need it today.

And so, today, when we in turn present the faith to others, let us preach it with a holy life, thus showing we have practiced what we are preaching. A holy life is the best presentor of Christ's teachings.

The purpose of this encyclical is to remind us of truths we have forgotten, misinterpreted or inadvertently contradicted with regard to salvation.

To the question, "What must I do to have eternal life," many are giving different answers. Christ gave three simple steps; many are subtracting, others are misinterpreting, and a few are complicating the answer. This is made worse in that we live in an age when people will not endure sound teaching but, having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own liking, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.

The encyclical wants to correct the present day concept of freedom. Today, we have adapted an atheistic concept of freedom: "I am free to do what I want." This is an individualistic criterion completely oblivious of the existence of God. Anyone who makes such a declaration has already descended from his rational nature down to the bestial nature. The next step is the freedom to kill one's own child.

The encyclical wants to correct the other extreme, the denial of freedom attributing human acts to a variety of factors, like genes. To the question, "What must I do. . ." only he who has true freedom can DO what is required to have eternal life.

 

 

 

 

 

(09-01-03)

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