By Fr. Jerry Pokorski ( bio – articles – email ) | June 20, 2022
Among the many lessons learned in recent years is the need to verify every story. USA today removed 23 articles from its website following an audit that revealed fabrications by a reporter. The journalist was a liar and she dishonored her profession. On his small scale, his misrepresentations have distorted history. She is not alone. But in a rare victory for journalistic integrity, she was caught. A comment added to the story read, “What else is new? Religions do the same.
Our perception of reality depends on real encounters, honesty, and our ability to use the correct terms to describe or define our experiences. When in doubt, we consider the history of the words we use by checking definitions in the old Oxford dictionary (avoiding most modern dictionaries). When we fail, with good will, we recalibrate our thinking to conform to reality, using the right word. Reality distortions almost always begin with a deliberate redefinition of a word. Did God create us in his image and likeness? Or do we invent reality in our image and likeness?
On the face of it, the Creed (Apostles or Nicene) is a complete statement of truth, with assertions rooted in the history of revelation. God creates, and He sends His Word Jesus into the world. His Word becomes flesh and dwells among us. Jesus suffers and dies on the cross, and he rises from the dead. He ascends to heaven and sends the Holy Spirit upon us. The Church supports us and leads us to the Day of Judgment, and with the grace of God, we enter into celestial glory.
As Catholics, deriving from the revelation of God recorded in the Creed narrative, we believe that Jesus Christ is present in the guise of bread and wine after the consecration at Mass. We call the consecrated species “the real presence” – Jesus is truly present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Theologians have coined the term “transubstantiation” to help explain how the substance of bread and wine changes, but the “accidents” – taste and appearance – remain the same. Jesus is present whether we believe it or not. Our faith revealed in history affirms these truths, and we are witnesses of God.
Are these presumed truths pious fabrications? Is the Real Presence a cleverly concocted myth? Did we invent the Creed as a false narrative to mask the harsh realities of life? (But there is nothing more brutal than “He suffered under Pontius Pilate”!) Who is the master of reality? Before dismissing the Creed as a pious figment of the Church’s imagination, consider some competing accounts.
The eternal temptation of the Devil degrades human dignity. “You will be like gods. (Gen. 3:5) It aims to persuade all of us, including bishops and high priests, that we are masters of reality. When the philosopher Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am,” he concluded that our awareness of our existence – perhaps existence itself – depends on our ability to think. He had it upside down. Here is the truth: all of God’s creation calls me to knowledge. In my understanding, with self-reflection, I perceive that I exist now. I have a past and a future. Philosophical narratives have consequences. The Cartesian dyslexic maxim reverses this order of reality and generates errors with devastating consequences.
Karl Marx was not happy with history, so he envisioned a future in the image and likeness of his dreams. In the communist manifesto, he advocates the overthrow of all institutions. Religion is the opium of the people, he says. His ideological successor, Lenin, endorsed all possible means to destroy the existing order – lies, violence and mass murder. In 60 years, the Communists have murdered 200,000 priests and destroyed 40,000 churches. Churchmen were crucified, shot, scalped and strangled. priests frozen to death in winter and turned into columns of ice. Communism murdered 100 million people in 100 years. Marx’s vision of history created unspeakable horrors. His nightmare continues, seeping like sewage into most of our institutions.
In recent years, directionless agitation, discouragement and confusion have led to widespread disillusionment. So many are eager to reinvent themselves in the image and likeness of their dreams. Most of our institutions have become complicit in enforcing the pathological illusions of gender ideology. Recently, three Wisconsin college students faced harassment allegations after they refused to use the pronouns “they/them” talking to a classmate.
In several Virginia counties, schools demand that you believe them rather than your lying eyes. You must call a boy a girl and a girl a boy if that is the identity the parents or child choose. Our public schools have become communist re-education camps. Even the recently approved Supreme Court justice admitted that the meaning of “woman” is so vague and controversial that she couldn’t risk a definition. When ruling authorities celebrate ideologies more than historical realities, reality becomes an enemy of the state.
Thoughtful Catholics suffering from a crisis of faith must ask themselves: Am I willing to deny the supremacy of God and the history of His Word? Am I willing to deny God’s creation and the historical claims of the Creed? What are the consequences if we deny these truths of history? Don’t make a mistake. Replacement stories will fill the void. Check them out. Will they be able to satisfy a heart hungry for eternal truths?
I am because God created me and the world. I therefore think of God in all his splendor: his revelation and his providence. The crown jewel of Christian revelation is the Holy Eucharist, the Real Presence: “This is My Body” and “This is My Blood”. At each Mass, the Word becomes flesh and dwells among us, and with his grace we lovingly conform to his reality.
Given the proliferation of dangerous and dishonest alternative historical accounts, the Creed – with its lifeline for apostolic tradition and history – seems more reasonable and reliable every day. “For it was not by following skilfully devised myths that we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” (2 Peter 1:16)
Ring ! Supporters of CatholicCulture.org weigh in.
All comments are moderated. To ease our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a current donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise, support our work, and Sound Off!