Wafting Melodies and Jolting Dissonances

Catholic teaching must not be reduced to a set of museum pieces with the church minister as its curator. Any effective presentation of Catholic teaching must speak to human experience. There must be a firm conviction that, as James Bacik put its, “human experience and Christian doctrines are connected not simply logically and externally but organically and intrinsically.” If church teaching is true, as we believe it to be, it will illumine daily living. This means that an effective presentation of the Catholic faith must be attuned to ordinary human experience if it is to make a difference in people’s lives. When we teach of sin and the reconciling love of God made manifest in Christ, these cannot be left as abstractions. They are terms, doctrines, and concepts that will speak to people only to the extent that they help interpret the gently wafting melodies and jolting dissonances already playing in their life stories. We must be convinced that God’s revelation gives meaning not only to the few precious hours of “religious time” we fight to preserve for going to church, reading the Bible, or for formal prayer but also to our most mundane human engagements.

Richard R. Gaillardetz, An Unfinished Council: Vatican II, Pope Francis, and the Renewal of Catholicism (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2015), p. 184. ISBN: 978-0-8146-8309-5.

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