Recently, a significant reconciliation took place between two opposing factions within Roman Catholicism. In light of divisions plaguing the Unification faith community at present, it is instructive to look at how this reconciliation took place.
After watching a video on Franciscan Mysticism by Father Richard Rohr, it occurred to me that there is quite a contrast between traditional Roman Catholic theology, such as found in the Baltimore Catechism I studied as a child in parochial schools, and Franciscan Mysticism.
Here, I examine the possibility — perhaps even probability — that these two traditions contradict each other in various ways. I briefly describe the different theological positions of traditional Roman Catholicism versus Franciscan Mysticism. If these positions do contradict each other, then there might have been, and still may be, tension and conflict within Catholicism at large between these two traditions. I investigate this possibility and discuss any attempts that have been made to deal with and perhaps resolve these intrafaith tensions.
Traditional Roman Catholicism
Roman Catholicism teaches that all human beings since the fall of “our first parents,” Adam and Eve, have been born with original sin, making necessary the coming of Christ for the purpose of redeeming us from sin through his crucifixion.
These teachings are clearly stated in the Baltimore Catechism, an official text used to educate Catholics and prospective converts about the basic doctrine of the Catholic Church. Most Catholics, in the United States at least, studied this text as part of the curriculum of their parochial school education, or by attending Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) classes usually held on Saturdays. The catechism book is presented in a “question and answer” format, with each question identified by a unique number. It was originally written in 1885; the following questions have been selected from the 1941 revised edition:
47. Q. What is the sin called which we inherit from our first parents?
A. The sin which we inherit from our first parents is called original sin. Because of this sin, it was necessary for Jesus Christ to be born. His purpose was to redeem humankind by dying on the cross.
60. Q. Did God abandon man after he fell into sin?
A. God did not abandon man after he fell into sin, but promised him a Redeemer, who was to satisfy for man’s sin and reopen to him the gates of heaven.
83. Q. Why did Christ suffer and die?
A. Christ suffered and died for our sins
103. Q. What do we mean when we say that Christ sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty?
A. When we say that Christ sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, we mean that Our Lord as God is equal to the Father, and that as man He shares above all the saints in the glory of His Father and exercises for all eternity the supreme authority of a king over all creatures.
Continue reading “Traditional Roman Catholicism vs. Franciscan Mysticism: A Case Study for Unificationists”