June 25, 2017 by Fr. Dwight Longenecker
From time to time one hears from the progressives that “doctrine is divisive”. We’re to have “a pastoral approach” and not speak about doctrine and discipline in the church.
This is a lie, and not even a very smart one, and yet it is amazing how many people fall for it.
Rather than doctrine and discipline being divisive they are actually unifying, and you can see how they are unifying with a simple analogy.
What is doctrine and discipline anyway? Doctrine and discipline make distinctions. It is Christ’s church saying, “We believe this and not that. We expect this behavior and reject that behavior.”
Think of it like this: if you are playing football you have a set of rules and regulation. There is a rule book. In order to play the game you not only need the rule book, but everybody involved in the game needs to know the rules and agree to abide by them. Both teams agree to the rules. The individual players agree to the rules. The referees and coaches agree to the rules and the audience in the bleachers know and agree to the rules.
The rules of the game do not divide. They unify. They unify everyone who wants to play the game. Do the rules of football exclude people who are playing lacrosse? Sure. Do they exclude people who are playing a tuba in an orchestra? They have nothing to do with music.
You get my drift. Therefore, when people say that Catholic doctrine and discipline divides, they only divide people who don’t really want to play the Catholic game.
What really divides the church is dissent. But why do people not point this out? Dissenting groups are just loved by progressives, but no one points out that they are divisive, and yet the whole purpose of their existence is to cause division and dissent in the church.
Doctrine divides? No. It unites Catholics around a shared belief. Discipline divides? No. It unites Catholics around a shared practice and shared expectations
We should be clear. What divides is dissent.
It is a lie of the Father of lies to turn this around and say that doctrine divides.
While we’re thinking about it, why does no one every call out the hypocrisy of the dissenters. Let’s take the notorious case of politicians who call themselves Catholic, but support abortion.
Take Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden–who has conducted gay weddings–everybody celebrates them? They’re open and public hypocrites saying they are good and faithful Catholics but blatantly contradicting the clear teaching of the church by their behavior and their public stance.
Instead the world says, “Gee, aren’t they brave? Aren’t they courageous? Aren’t they strong to stand up to the big, nasty old Catholic Church.