I noticed the following on the letters page of yesterday's 'Metro' - a free newspaper that is distributed on railway stations and similar in London (I believe there are also versions for some of the other big cities in the UK.). It refers to the Church of England, and I am guessing from the way it is worded, that it writer is probably an agnostic (or deliberately trying to sound like one); the key points it makes, however, could perhaps be applied even more accurately to the Catholic Church.
"Why is everyone making such a fuss about the Church of England's decision on female bishops?
The Church does not exist to create a designer religion that suits the people. It exists to determine whether any God exists and, if so to work out exactly what that God's position on all issues of equality"
I feel this shows a clear and succinct understanding of two key points about the Church:-
- She doesn't offer 'cafeteria religion' - she requires us to accept the whole deposit of Faith that God has revealed to us, regardless of what bits we like or dislike, or find easy or difficult to understand (I think here of the words of Blessed John Henry Newman 'Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt', and the prayer 'I believe, Lord: help Thou my unbelief')
- Her mission is to lead souls to their salvation by enouraging and helping them to fulfil the will of God (Fiat voluntas Tua). God has told us that there are particular ways in which he wants us to act, and has revealed many of the ways in which he wants to be worshipped and followed. We may not understand why all of these are so, but then we aren't God, so how can we question His desires? We do not make the rules. All we are required to do is live by them, and this, we believe, will ultimately lead to our reward in Heaven.