The Clarifying Catholicism Compendium

Coat of Arms Final Final

Below is a transcript of the original script for the Clarifying Catholicism Compendium, a mini series that aired on the Channel. Unfortunately, the full-script had to be cut down for the video, so here is the full-length version! Above is the Defenders of Faith Coat of Arms, designed by Andrew Plasker.

Here is the list of subjects in order: Why am I Catholic?, What are Saints?, What is the Church’s Role in Government?, How does the Church View Homosexuality?, and What’s the Deal with the Old Testament?

-Written and Recorded by William Deatherage, Executive Producer of Clarifying Catholicism and Chief Executive of The Defenders of Faith.

Why am I Catholic?

So other than the fact I look like a priest in the first episode of Clarifying Catholicism (Why Catholicism) there’s several things I should affirm as an independent kid in college.

As you can see, I’m a guy who still embraces the Catholic faith. There’s a wonderful misconception that Catholic teens are a bunch of brainwashed little yuppies doing whatever their parents tell them to. And yeah. That’s actually quite correct in many cases.

One of the reasons Clarifying Catholicism is even a thing is to educate Catholics about their own doctrine. I honestly think that a person blindly following faith is no better than a person who outright rejects God. We need critical thinking in the Church.

Now that I’ve gone on a miniature tirade against my own people, why am I Catholic? Well, it all boils down to the ideas of tradition and universality.

Human progress is a wonderful thing. We make amazing discoveries every day, but we do so by building on the ideas that our predecessors had. In this sense, we don’t have to go out and rediscover the atom if someone else already did so. We just keep trucking along. I actually find it ironic that other Christian groups criticize the Church as being fluid with interpretation of scripture, when other Churches insist on starting from scratch with the mentality of: well, I know I’m right, so I’m starting the fifteenth reformed Church of Jesus Christ.

Tradition secures and cements progress. Y’know why it’s so difficult to change doctrine in the Church? Probably because billions and trillions of man hours have led to the development of these ideas. To assume that they’re wrong without substantial evidence seems a bit arrogant, I think. We could be wrong about stuff, that’s totally possible. But today’s culture tends to be a bit reactionary and there’s a reason to be skeptical about reactionary ideas. We don’t want to repeat the same mistakes as yesterday, so we often rely on the ideas of our forefathers who failed so we could succeed. That’s the importance of tradition.

Then I mention the universality of the faith. No matter where you go in the world, we celebrate the same Mass. That’s cool. Like really cool. It not only ensures consistency, but also total unity with one another.

I’ll get into this subject with my upcoming Absolute Truth video, which I promise is in the works, but we as humanity should be striving toward this idea of unity. Through our diversity, we will find our commonalities and figure out what works best for us as a species. Once that is accomplished, much to the dismay of Alex Jones, there will be total global harmony.

Anyways, I like philosophy. Data. Science. Good wine. The Church is pretty compatible with those things, from a doctrinal standpoint.

 

What are Saints?

Ladies and gentlemen, Saints and Sinners, we have officially done this topic, to death.

That said, my initial video’s theology was pretty fine. But as I stated earlier, today we focus on practicality! 

Jesus liked metaphors. So. Let’s use some.

Lebron James. Amazing basketball player. He’s a hard worker and a role model. A spitting image of the American dream. Kids look upto him and emulate his play-style.

Guess what, kids. We’re players in a game, too. And this game is called life. And guys. If you die in the game, you die in real life.

So, Saints are basically the MVP’s of life. We seek to copy their virtuous habits and hold them up as examples to follow. That simple. Now, I don’t worship Lebron James, no matter how good he is. So don’t go around holding Saints to the status of God, either.

There’s another aspect to the whole Saints thing. Y’know how as Christians we have this habit of asking friends to pray for us? Yeah, slight thing we do almost every Sunday, no matter which denomination.

Guys. Did you know, that when you die, you don’t zap out of existence? Like. There’s still a part of you that’s there. It’s called a soul. And guess what. When you die, you don’t really die forever.

From a technical standpoint, the whole point of an eventual “Ressurection of the dead” is that people will be reunited with their bodies in the ultimate combination of flesh and soul. So basically, the people we call dead are basically just in a deep sleep. And since the dawn of our foundations, Christians would engage in the practice of eating with dead people. Yeah.

Essentially, Christians would visit the graves of their relatives, especially in the catacombs, sit down, have lunch, especially on holidays, talk with them a bit, and gossip about fig trees with each other.

Asking Saints for prayers is basically an extension of this practice. Hey, St. Joe. Pray that my teacher doesn’t find out I faked being sick for class so I could sleep in.

Saints are our closest allies to God. Though asleep, their conscience does transcend into a deeper spiritual communion with the big man upstairs. And just as it is the priest’s duty to help us achieve holiness, I’m sure that these upstanding dead but not dead men and women would love to lend us a helping hand.

 

What is the Church’s Role in Government?

Who are we and who are we meant to be?

I am not satisfied with our current global situation until I can understand how we got to be the way that we are. To find answers, we have to look at history. We can learn so much about ourselves by analyzing the past.

When we do analyze the past, I find a human morality that has largely been shaped and influenced by the subject of Religion. Any person who denies Religion’s historical influence is just trying to be edgy. Whether you like it or not, Religion does influence many events.

This especially applies to politics. People fail to understand that Christianity, in particular, advocated for social reform, economic opportunity, gender equality, education, health care, and many other areas, following its legalization by Emperor Constantine.

The values that Jesus Christ laid out are not simply practical to the Religious community. They are philosophical, scientific, and political. So. If you don’t look at Jesus from a theological perspective, at least look at Him from a philosophical standpoint. As Americans, we revere Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau, and many others for their writings on morality and human nature. Put Jesus Christ up there. It’ll do us some good.

Heck, not even just Christ. The Buddha, Muhammad, Martin Luther, Lebowski. All of these dudes founded revolutionary movements in the fields of theology. Don’t take them out of the public. Here’s something they had in common. They were all people with a message. And their followers today are also people with messages. Religion deserves a voice in politics.

That said, the Catholic Church, from a doctrinal standpoint, advocates for the freedom of discourse and debate among other religions and cultures. So, technically speaking, a Catholic theocracy would defeat itself, as it has been proven many times in history that once the public has access to literacy and education, they discover that Jesus’s message is one of freedom and liberty, NOT tyranny.

Regarding God’s place in politics, I can think of no better unifying factor than for politicians to acknowledge two things. One. No matter who are what “God” may be, there’s something out there that we will never be able to grasp. Whether God is a person, an idea, or nature itself, keeping Him at the center of a nation acknowledges that, guess what, us humans aren’t always in control. But we are bound together in this massive universe by some sort of common essence.

In a nation under God, we celebrate the fact that every person’s perception of God will be different. It is, therefore, the job of government to ensure that all people receive this opportunity to express their own idea of who or what God is. That is the function of Church and State.

 

How does the Church View Homosexuality?

This subject was one I promised to revisit… and I never really did. This has been for a number of reasons: primarily, I didn’t want to overdo it on attention, since there’s so many other topics to talk about. And when it comes down to it, my personal favorite area of Catholicism is the Theology behind the family, so I tend to ramble about it.  That said, I never really said enough on this subject and I feel like I played it too safe with doctrine over practicality. So, let’s get practicool!

Let’s get something straight, first. It is not now, nor has it ever been wrong to be attracted to anyone. I give my friends a hard enough time for being attracted to girls of certain hair colors or other physical traits. And people tease me all the time for my attractions, as well. Guess what! Attraction is something you just can’t fight.

Is it possible for two dudes to love each other? Yeah. It’s been demonstrated countless times throughout history. Funny thing about love, though. There’s more than one type! Seriously, for every kind of relationship you can have, there’s a different type of love associated with it, as acknowledged from Ancient Greek Philosophy to modern social science.

However, there’s something special about love between men and women that makes their interactions so peculiar and so unique. This is because there is no other type of relationship or love that is so intimate that brings forth new life.

Socrates affirms this by stating that the most intimate love is to engage in an action that preserves the other person’s legacy. A child is the longest lasting thing that could ever be produced between two people. Period. In this manner, men and women complete each other in a biological and emotional manner. This is why it is necessary to dedicate a sacrament to preserve sex as sacred, and not just a tool for pleasure.

Does this mean that love between heterosexual couples is superior to alternatives? No. As I said earlier, there’s many types of love. And quite frankly, it’s unfair to pit them against each other. But marriage specifically targets a specific type of love that can be expressed only through the creation of new life. As I stated earlier, a baby changes everything: physically and emotionally.

Countless studies show that man, woman, and child create a triangle that loses stability without one aspect. The same data has shown the immense importance of maintaining the traditional structure of the family. This is because marriage ensures that children are the pinnacle of what men and women can create out of love, yielding the most important unit in society: the family.

Because of this, the Catholic Church kinda holds an idealistic vision of what marriage should be. As a faith, we kinda have an idealistic vision for what everything should be like. And, we could be wrong. We totally could. And if you think we are, that’s fine. Diverse opinions will pave the way of the future, as long as they’re accompanied by healthy dialogue.

All people have a place in the Church. Just as women are not called to priesthood, and men aren’t called to sisterhood, we have a set of models. It is impossible to collect all seven sacraments. You will not become super Saiyan Jesus if you do. God calls all people into his Church. Regardless of sexual orientation. You can be gay and Catholic at the same time.

Oh. And regarding political marriage, If a person wants to share tax benefits, inheritance rights, or hospital visitation rights with another dude, that should be their choice as a free citizen. Not commenting on the morality of it, but they should, theoretically, have options here.

Can two men or two women raise a child? Depends on the kid and the situation. The triangle between man, woman, and child exists. But to base every decision regarding adoption without looking at more specific circumstances would be foolish. This is all I’m gonna say on the matter for a while. More info in the description.

 

What’s the Deal with the Old Testament?

I really really wanted to make a separate video on this subject. Even more than a follow up on the gay marriage stuff. This is because Christians need to do a much more thorough job at investigating the true implications of the Old Testament.

I already mentioned how God’s relationship with humanity changes over time. I used the analogy of God as a great war General in Old Testament times, and how his orders and commands during war are not meant to be taken at face value once the war is over. General George Washington was much different from President George Washington.

So. The Old Testament. Let’s break this down. We’ve got a little over forty books or so. Out of those forty, a majority of them are either historical accounts or allegories. Yes, allegories. Biblical scholars have come to the conclusion that, guess what, Adam and Eve may have been an allegory the whole time. The ancient Jews understood it like a myth and it wasn’t until the Reformation that theologians started advocating for literal interpretation.

Other than these, a bunch of books were written by kings and scribes. Human scribes. Lots of poems and songs meant to convey and explain what was happening. So, when we get out of the realm of histories and personal accounts, we finally get into the rules of the Bible, which account for a whopping two and a half books officially designated to rules and regulations.

Out of those two books, we got a mixed bag of goodies. A third of the laws were customs. That’s it. Traditions that the Jews had. They basically applied their own customs to a greater theological sense, meaning if you wore mixed fabrics, you were toast. Even if these laws came from God, it begs the question why they were instated? Many scholars wager for customary reasons to set the Jews apart as God’s chosen people.

This leads to the political laws on how to run a country. Remember that many leaders in the old testament were military or royal heads of government. Of course they’re gonna integrate their own rules and laws into a text that held a people together. You have to understand this. The bible as we know it today has been referenced as a theological work. That is not how they understood it in those days.

The people knew that the Bible not only held religion in place, but also dictated their social and political customs. It was a cure all. There was no separation between Church and State. And because of this, it’s really hard to tell the difference between when a reading is being political, social, or divine.

So, the Old Testament shouldn’t be taken literally. It requires an intense amount of research into context, relying on tradition to show us how these documents were viewed in the eras they were written. I may actually end up doing a video on the historical value of the Bible.

This marks the end of Compendium Volume One. The video is below:

 

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