Who says so?

Father Patrick Toner - Contributing Columnist

Everyone has an opinion about religion, politics, and sex. Everyone believes they have the correct opinion. Sometimes we are tolerant of the opinions of others. Have you ever considered where your opinions come from?

There are several questions that are important. Is the opinion grounded in truth? Prejudices are often partial or distorted truth. They are handed down within a culture or family. They are seldom questioned, just accepted as truth. Like clichés, they may be true in some settings but not overall. Yet, we say “the exception proves the rule” and so we keep the prejudice.

Among some Christians there is the belief that Catholics are not Christian. It is true that some who call themselves Catholics do not act like Christians or even hold to some basic Christian beliefs. If you listen to St. Gabriel Radio, 820 AM, you will hear Catholics who as evangelical and in love with Jesus as you would find anywhere.

Another question is “by what authority is this idea espoused?” This may reveal another weakness. The “so-called” authority may be self-appointed. Just because you read it in a book doesn’t make it true. One of my favorites is “I heard it on television.” We accept some opinions without checking their credentials.

People believe some strange things about Catholics because “A Catholic told me so.” Being Catholic does not make anyone an authority on what the church teaches. Why don’t people go to the source, like the Catechism of the Catholic Church which is the authoritative source for what the church does teach.

Public opinion plays a major role in what people will accept. Does a majority vote make it right? Have you ever heard “well everyone knows that.” Majority opinions do change, so does the truth change? If the majority declares abortion is a medical procedure related to a woman’s health, does that mean that a human life is not terminated? Doesn’t that depend upon whose definition you accept?

Remember when “the Bible says so” was considered truth you could count upon? Now we are told it doesn’t mean what we thought because there is a new interpretation. We are asked to accept that when the Bible condemned sodomy as a sin that it really was just a cultural bias and no longer is true. Remember when Satan was “the Father of lies?”

Now that truth is relative to what someone wants to believe. Maybe Satan will retire and leave us alone.​

Father Pat Toner is chaplain to the Columbus Courage Chapter. He is also pastor at Saint Joseph Catholic Church, 140 West Ave., Plain City. He can be reached at patoner@saintjosephplaincity.com or 614-873-8850.


Father Patrick Toner

Contributing Columnist