By Matthew D. Ruhl, SJ
Wednesday/November 15, 2017/Belize City
Swift Hall now has a sports floor made of sturdy plastic rather than the shin splint-inducing cement floor. It is lovely. There will be no end of persons and programs wanting to use this facility, a facility for which I am still receiving thanks and gratitude from all kinds of people. Parking spaces of cement are being created on the south side of the building. The last thing that we will do is landscape, and a local family dear to my heart has already stepped forward to say they will take career of this.
When my brother Jesuit Quang Tran went into the church on Monday morning in order to preside at our daily 6:30am Mass, somebody was already in the pulpit preaching! The fellow was railing against Catholic blasphemy. The congregation that had been waiting for Mass were taken back by this morning intrusion. Quang went to the fellow and said he would have to leave. The man persisted. Quang said you are now trespassing so leave or we’re calling the police. Some of the men in the congregation stood to defend Quang. The ‘preacher’ began to leave with his partner but turned and pointed at our November display honoring our Faithful Departed and yelled, “That is adultery.” Quang responded, “I think you mean ‘idolatry’ now please go.” The man and his friend left in a righteous huff, but not before…and get this…dipping their hands in the holy water font and blessing themselves.
Let us continue our examination of Biblical things said and done in Christian culture but are not necessarily found in the Catholic Faith, and can even be antagonistic to our Church.
The Bible says, “Confess your sins to no man.” This is another one of those ugly stones thrown at Catholics and our sacraments, and it is nothing short of foolish bigotry. The Bible says quite plainly that sins are in fact confessed to one another. In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 3, verse 6, the people flock to John the Baptist, confessing their sins and getting baptized. In James 5:16 the author encourages his church to confess their sins to one another. Confession is, in fact, not only Scriptural, but quite humane and commonsensical. (You do not have to be Catholic to know confession is good for the soul.) And finally, nowhere, absolutely nowhere in Scripture does it say “Confess your sins to no man.” If you believe only in Scripture, it helps to know Scripture. Lamentably, that is very often not the case with those using Scripture to criticize Catholics. Which brings us to a major stumbling block between Catholics and certain other denominations. This issue we shall tackle next week.