Wednesday, January 18, 2012

QUOTATION: The Nominal Christian

No decent person wants free love; no decent person wants race suicide. They live, therefore, not by principle but by a compromise between principles; they are in favour of divorce, but not of easy divorce, of small families but not of too small families. Consequently, they feel themselves responsible for the decision where exactly the line shall be drawn, within the generous limits which our legal system allows. They do not like the responsibility; who would? Who, in tampering with institutions so sacred as those of the family, would not like to feel that he had an authority behind him, a "warrant" from somewhere to ratify his behaviour? If only there were some great spiritual institution which would act, in these matters, as a sort of public conscience, guiding, from a higher point of vision, the moral choice made by the individual!

So, naturally, he feels; unfortunately, he does not feel that the views of any non-Catholic denomination are worth having, even if they are discoverable. He knows that the advice of an individual clergyman will be unofficial and inexpert. He knows, if he has followed the course of recent ecclesiastical deliberations, that representatives of Christian thought speak with an uncertain voice on such subjects. He respects our Church for having, at least, definite opinions and fixed rules. He respects it, although he disagrees with it. He thinks us far too severe in forbidding remarriage after divorce, in forbidding the artificial restriction of the family; but although he disagrees with us for the rules we have, he respects us for having rules. If only the people whom we value as advisers would give us the advice we want!

--Msgr Ronald Knox, The Belief of Catholics, 1927