Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

The Antibodies of Catholic Truth

By Fr. Jerry Pokorsky ( bio - articles - email ) | Feb 12, 2024

Ideologies impose abstract ideas on reality and distort human nature: Marxism, National Socialism, globalism, consumerism, materialism, multiculturalism, etc. The Church is not immune to the threat of ideological impositions. In recent years, some have caused distress in their attempt to deform Church teaching with the LGBTQ ideology disguised as an “anthropological” development of doctrine. However, the compatibility of Catholic teaching with the realities of nature and history overcomes ideological impositions.

The Creed and Commandments help us understand ourselves in history. Prayer opens our hearts to God’s revelation. Virtue is the incarnation of the Commandments. The sacraments validate the integrity of our beliefs.

The Apostles’ Creed summarizes our Catholic understanding of the world. God creates. He reveals Himself to us in history. Jesus redeems us. He establishes His Church for our salvation. He sends the Holy Spirit to sanctify us. Our destiny is the resurrection of the body and everlasting life.

The Ten Commandments—and the precepts of morality clustered around each commandment—provide the objective criteria for a good and holy life. When we abide by the Commandments we cement our response to God’s covenant. God inscribes His law on our hearts. The Commandments reinforce those lawful inclinations. An open heart already engraved with God’s law needs little persuasion.

The Decalogue stirs our God-given inclinations to worship the one God, never use His name in vain, and attend Sunday Mass. The Commandments—and human reason—require that we honor our parents and reject hatred, murder, acts of impurity and infidelity, acts of theft, and lies.

The Creed and God’s Commandments provide a vision of human integrity and happiness. The teachings are not abstractions or disembodied ideologies incompatible with created realities. The Creed and Commandments take flesh through prayer, virtue, and the sacraments.

Prayer harmonizes God’s grace with our humanity. The Our Father is the crown jewel of prayers because Jesus Himself taught it. The Lord’s Prayer on our lips reconciles heaven and earth, God and man: “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” The prayer foreshadows the Blessed Eucharist: “Give us this day, our daily bread.”

Habitual obedience to the Commandments is virtuous and harmonizes our humanity with God’s will. Virtue perfects human nature and validates the glory of the Commandments, placing them on display. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Mt. 5:16)

A prudent person immediately dismisses evil actions and chooses—according to his lights—the best of the good options. A just man renders unto God and neighbor their due. A temperate man controls his appetites—food, drink, sexual inclinations, and human comforts. Courage regulates our volatile passions of fear, daring, hopes and discouragements, impatience, and anger.

God is present in the world in virtuous people. The beauty of human virtue confirms the truth of the Ten Commandments and the reasonable (and observable) synthesis guards against distortions.

The sacraments sustain virtue and harmonize heavenly realities with creation. The sacraments use words, deeds, and outward physical signs to accomplish our sanctification. Baptism washes away Original Sin and makes us members of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church. Jesus feeds us with His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Eucharist. The anointing of Confirmation completes our integration into the Church and bestows the Gifts of the Holy Spirit upon us.

God ensures the historical continuity of His Church. The sacrament of Holy Orders bestows on men the graces of priest, prophet, and king to continue the ministry of Jesus. He sanctifies marriage with the sacrament of Matrimony. The Lord forgives sin with certainty in the sacrament of Penance. He strengthens us and prepares us to meet God in the Anointing of the Sick. We experience the outpouring of God’s grace on both body and soul with the “matter and form” (words, water, oil, bread, gestures) of the sacraments.

The Word becomes Flesh in Holy Communion. Our reception of Holy Communion brings us into a physical union with Jesus in the New and Everlasting Covenant. A worthy reception of the Eucharist exalts the natural dignity of the unity of body and soul. The sacraments reaffirm, ratify, and sanctify the integrity of our humanity as we aim for perfection. “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (cf. Mt. 5:48).

The quest for our sanctification is a life-long task. In the Gospel, leprosy is a metaphor for sin. Like leprosy, sin deforms our natural condition. As with leprosy in its early stages, we are often unaware of our sinful condition. We need God’s grace to know our sins and their harmful effects. We use the objective criteria of the Ten Commandments to help us become aware of our sins and renew our resolutions to grow in sanctity. As we freely respond to His grace, Jesus affirms and restores our human dignity. The infinitely merciful Lord of History guides us throughout our lives—usually including the finishing school of purgatory—as we anticipate the reunion of our body and soul at the end of time.

The sacraments unite the Creed to the realities of human nature and history. Just as the virtues give flesh to the Commandments, the sacraments give flesh to God’s Word. His grace literally (and mysteriously) becomes part of our bodies. The proper celebration of the sacraments prevents us from departing from the tenets of the Creed, authentic Church teaching, the Commandments, and the realities of our existence. The sacraments informed by the Creed are the remedy for every disembodied ideology.

The unity of Word and Sacrament in the Mass maintains the integrity of the faith rooted in reality and protects it from ideological distortions. All truth finds expression in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The Mass celebrated with integrity provides the antibodies of truth that overcome every ideology threatening our faith and salvation.

Patience is a virtue.

Fr. Jerry Pokorsky is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington who has also served as a financial administrator in the Diocese of Lincoln. Trained in business and accounting, he also holds a Master of Divinity and a Master’s in moral theology. Father Pokorsky co-founded both CREDO and Adoremus, two organizations deeply engaged in authentic liturgical renewal. He writes regularly for a number of Catholic websites and magazines. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: euan61003909 - Feb. 14, 2024 6:38 AM ET USA

    Thanks Fr. for the above. Will read it to my family. Have been searching for this explanation for so long in the current climate of Society and you have executed it in amazing English language. Will keep it in my favourites to revisit when I may be getting knocked off course. God Bless.