Speaking of trust, one of my readers pointed out that distrust in medical and government authorities seems to be connected to distrust in religious authority. I think she’s on to something: the same attitude that leads people to reject medical recommendations just because they come from a big establishment leads people to reject the authority of the Church because they don’t want to accept any ideas that they didn’t arrive at on their own power. I’m not quite sure that I convinced myself with my last post about governmental authority, but I do know that I love the authority of my mother Catholic Church.
This is something I didn’t realize until recently. I didn’t really understand what the Church’s motherhood had to do with her laws, and I accepted her authority readily, but never thought of it as an object of affection or love. Now I do. I’m extremely grateful for the fact that I don’t have to figure out end-of-life decisions, or the question of when life begins, or who’s a real priest and who’s not, or what exactly is wrong with gay marriage, or what is necessary for salvation, or ANYTHING about sex, all by myself.
Is this because I’m slavish or intellectually lazy? I don’t think so. I still try to understand these things as well as I can, when I have the time and energy; and I am still not at peace with all of the Church’s teachings, although I accept them. But it is such a relief to have a trustworthy authority to fall back on. I don’t have to be constantly worried that I made the wrong decision, or that I don’t know what to do, or that I just don’t understand enough to make the right choice. God gave me the comfort of an authority that will never betray or mislead me, that will be there for me until the end of time. Isn’t that generous? I can very well imagine if He hadn’t decided to institute the authority of the Church, but it makes perfect sense to me that He did. It’s a gift.