Friday, March 2, 2012

Pat Arensberg: Why Infallibility?

“In order to preserve the Church in the purity of the faith handed on by the apostles, Christ who is the Truth willed to confer on her a share in his own infallibility.”  -CCC #889
It is so sad to see the splintering of peoples taking place in the congregations of our separated brothers and sisters.  But, this seems almost inevitable when the teaching authority is lost.  We are so blessed to have the Office of the Pope and our shepherds, the bishops, who are in union with him.  

The gift of infallibility that Jesus shares with Peter and his successors is really a gift to the Church.  Imagine that you are taking an advanced math class.  You are given some problems to work out for homework and the instructor tells you that the answers are in the back of the book.  When you finish a problem and check the back of the book you notice that you answer is at odds with the one given in the book.  What do you do?  If you are a conscientious student you try to figure out why you got it wrong.  You know the book is right, so you know you are wrong.  What if the book was known for making errors?  Well, in such a case you might just assume it could be wrong and not check your work.  The same is true with faith and morals.  If my opinion of right and wrong is at odds with the Church then I know I am wrong and I should figure out where I made my error.

Imagine if a lighthouse did not actually lead ships to safety.  What value would they be?  They would be just pretty decorations.  Unfortunately, our separated brothers and sisters look at their leadership this way.  They put on some nice bling for ceremonies, but they are just there for show.  Each person interprets Scripture for themselves.  The end result is often the splintering mentioned above.  Jesus longs for us to be unified!

About Pat Arensberg
Patrick Arensberg is the Director of Religious Education for the Archdiocese of Mobile. Previously, he taught for 17 years at McGill-Toolen Catholic High School, where he served as Chairman of the Theology Department. He attended the Gregorian University in Rome and holds an M.A. in Theology from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. He is married to Connie and they live in Mobile with their 5 children.

No comments: