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Riddle me this
Still puzzling over the crisis in the Church
Tue August 28 2018  5:06pmFaith/Philosophy

I revel in riddles and logic puzzles, especially the kind that at first seem nonsensical or unsolvable. I might puzzle and noodle for several minutes, or hours, to no avail. Can't write an algebraic equation or a computer program to solve it; there seems no answer. I put it aside; have things to do, a life to live. But the noodling continues as a 'background' process within my frontal lobe, perhaps for weeks or months or even years, as I go about my daily business.

a riddle

Then suddenly - a flash of intuition, a spark of creative thinking, and the answer jumps out. I shout aloud, "I'VE GOT IT!" to no one in particular. (If there are people within earshot, they may suspect that I definitely don't have it, that I've lost it.) The thrill, the adrenaline rush of finding the answer makes all the puzzling worthwhile, and satisfying. I've got it. Now I understand.

I can only do this if it's a real puzzle with a rational answer, and not some stupid Zen riddle whose only answer is that it's vain to seek an answer. No, I have to know before I start noodling that there is an answer, and that I will know when I've found it.

Man the rational animal is also Man the religious animal. Intuitively, I know that the religious instinct - the desire to know the meaning of life, and what lies beyond - is part of our rational nature. The Ultimate Question must have a rational answer. And we can know when we've found it. The Zen-like notion that the quest itself, the seeking, is of sole importance, that you cannot find the answer - that notion is supremely irrational. Why seek something that cannot be found? No, I have to know, before beginning to ask religious questions, that there is an answer, and that I will know when I've found it.

The above explains why I am Catholic, and not Protestant nor pagan nor Buddhist nor atheist. Catholic theology simply makes more sense; it involves a rational system of thought that explains better than the others the meaning of life, of suffering and death, of what lies beyond, and what we must do to get there. I've raised a few eyebrows by stating that I am a Roman Catholic because I have a brain and am not afraid to use it.

Which brings me to the point of this article: a religious riddle that has me stumped, at least at present. Have written about it here in other Jerry's Blog posts, and in my old blogspot blog dating back several years. Indeed, my writing blog posts may be my way of noodlng over this perplexing riddle in the hope of drawing closer to an epiphany. Allow me to quote from my own blogspot article of some 3 years ago:

After many years as a nominal Catholic / practicing Evangelical, I gradually began to realize that Truth must be singular. The false dogma of Sola Scriptura is ever subject to individual interpretation and can therefore never lead to anything like verifiable Truth. Real authority, established by God, must trump personal and subjective interpretation of the Bible. Thus I returned to Catholicism and to the divinely established authority of the Church's Magisterium. It is no accident that 'Catholic' simply means 'Universal'...

The sad fact that many Catholic 'faithful' and clergy were believing and practicing soft heresies was troubling, but did not detract seriously from my faith in the aformentioned Church authority. Always needful is a clear distinction between Church teaching and the beliefs and practices of individual 'Catholics', including clergy. The solid teachings remain a sure anchor, and the Magisterium - i.e, the bishops collectively in union with the Pope - could be counted upon to faithfully safeguard and transmit those teachings. I took no small comfort in the fact that while other denominations were altering their doctrines to conform with worldly values and norms, the true Church would never follow suit.

Yet here we are in 2015, and I must declare honestly that what I thought could never happen is in fact happening, has been happening for some time. I first began having some misgivings over 5 years ago, and have seen practically nothing since then to relieve my doubts. To the point where, starting about two years ago, some kind of threshold seems to have been crossed. When the reigning pontiff says he cannot judge homosexual clergy, he is in fact publicly confessing that he is not their pastor. When a majority of bishops, led by the bishop of Rome, meet to discuss the possibility of changing Church teaching on marriage, something is seriously, seriously, seriously amiss.

The excuse, "Who am I to judge?" may tell us all we need to know. When Bergoglio and other bishops cannot or will not judge clearly and in accord with Catholic Truth, or, worse, when they presume to alter Catholic teaching, they demonstrate that they do not understand apostolic authority. That would seem to indicate that they do not in fact possess true apostolic authority. Everything else that comes from their mouths and documents might be understood in this light. That is, everything else these false shepherds say may be ignored by the serious Catholic. cf. Gal.1:7-9

Now - If we have no apostolic pastors, if there is no Magisterium, are we not thrust back into the Protestant dilemma of individual subjective interpretation? Or worse, into agnostic confusion as to whether or not Truth even exists? Which is to say, that there is no answer to the riddle, and it is vain to seek one? In such a case the whole riddle of life must be nonsense; there is no purpose, and my mind cannot know any religious truth with any degree of certitude. I find this non-answer supremely irrational. No, there must be an answer, and it must lie within my mind's ability to find, otherwise my mind itself has no ultimate purpose.

What I confess is that right now I am quite uncertain as to what the answer might turn out to be. The noodling continues in the background, no epiphany so far. But there are a couple possible ways to explain the present crisis in the Church and what it might mean. Perhaps writing about them will help.

rev. Feb 22 2020  1:52pm
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Lenore Sep 9 2018  1:45pm
Only man is a rational animal because we alone are made in the image and likeness of God and he has bestowed on us a freewill whose tantamount purpose in life is to chose God's Will in everything but it seems like we need our entire pilgrimage to solve the mysterious Love of God for us. better end here. Love and Prayers, Lenore Helen
Lenore Sep 14 2018  1:19pm
Feast of Triumph of the Cross

i need help with your riddle. i solved the 3s and 7s but the 2+2 is still a riddle and i would like to solve it on this Feast. i love you, Lenore Helena
Jerry Sep 15 2018  3:05pm
Tell me how you solved the 3s and 7s.
Do the same thing with the 2s, and you've solved the whole riddle.
Lenore Sep 17 2018  12:20pm
o.k. i did try that with the 2s but it just don't look like a fish. i remember how i told the children i was the same age standing on my head and they eventually figured it out. i guess fishes comes in all shapes. i love you.Lenore
Jerry Sep 20 2018  7:12pm
The 'fish' is standing on its tail. Here it is, in graphic form:
Lenore Sep 22 2018  1:11pm
Thank you for the graphic disclosures of the riddles. you certainly know how to manipulate truly the capacities of this tool. i love you, Lenore

The power of evil men lives on the cowardice of the good
- St. John Bosco

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