A lot of 'good' people would be Christian if it weren't for the Cross. I lot of 'good' people would be Catholic if it weren't for the stumbling stones of the 'dogmas' of Jesus Christ, the necessity of the Church, and the living successor to St. Peter, in the Pope.
But the real stumbling stone, we all know, isn't in the gospel story of Jesus, the history of the Church, or the prominent position of the Pope. What really is at stake is personal autonomy versus divine authority, 'Thy Will be Done' versus 'my will be done,' humble-poverty-sharing-undeserved-Mercy as charity versus arrogant pride wishing to dominate, and submit, man, beast, and all Creation, for personal comfort, power, and fame.
The Rock of Jesus, therefore, is either a building block for the Kingdom of God--in faith, or a stumbling stone in pursuit of the utopia of man--in pride.
"Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom that he promised to those who love him? But you dishonored the poor. Are not the rich oppressing you? And do they themselves not haul you off to court? Is it not they who blaspheme the noble name that was invoked over you?" James 2:1-9
The REAL problem, however, is something different than faith versus pride! After all, Jesus conquered pride, in the arrogance of the devil and death, through His Cross and Resurrection.
The REAL problem is that Catholics, and self professed 'Christians,' would rather listen, mimic, and serve those who not only deny the Divinity of Jesus, but attack Him through attacks on His Church, and His poor. The REAL problem is cafeteria Catholicism and progressive Christianity, which seeks a watered down Jesus that is shaped by the whims of popular opinion and personal comfort.
Cafeteria Catholics and progressive Christians would rather turn their back on the Crucified Jesus, preferring not to stumble over the stones which lay on the Way to Calvary, in order to fit in with blasphemers, demons, and heretics.
Just look at all the abortions, contraceptive life terminations, gay 'marriages,' attacks on religious freedom, distortions of Truth--particularly about Jesus and His Church--committed, supported, and paid for, by 'cafe' Catholicism and 'moving forward' Christianity.
"The Lord hears the cry of the poor." 34:2-7
Pope Francis has been calling for a radical spiritual diet ever since he has become Pope.
A radical spiritual diet?
Yes! Because all too many cafeteria Catholics--and let's not forget our progressive Christian brethren--have become bloated, rich, pompous, and comfy with the world. Poverty is the only Way to the obedience which leads to salvation. Humility is the only Way to poverty. And the Cross of Christ is the only Way to humility.
Crosses come in parenthood, and adoption, instead of abortion. Crosses come in abstinence, instead of contraception or masturbation. Crosses come in responsible tender mercy instead of cold, clinical euthanasia. Crosses come in the faith-filled single life instead of the apostasy of gay 'marriage.' Crosses come in obedience to Holy Mother Church instead of acting like a spoiled child, thinking you have more knowledge in your shallow, individual little pool, than in the centuries deep well of Apostolic Wisdom found in the Living Water of Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium within the treasury of the Body and Bride of Christ.
Crosses, however, are stumbling stones for EVERYONE! Yet, in faith, and in humble Love for their Merciful Lord, some poor people--poor in spirit--would rather fall on stones, carrying their cross, rather than disappoint their Lord. Others, of the cafe or progressive mode, would rather turn and run the other way.
"'But who do you say that I am.' Peter said to him in reply, 'You are the Christ.'" Mark 8:27-33
We, the faithful, must not get too proud, however, since, in one moment, Simon is graced by God the Father to announce Jesus as the Christ (see Matthew 16:13-20), and becomes Peter (Cephas in Aramaic, meaning Rock), the Vicar of Christ.
But that is by the grace of God!
"Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, 'Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.'” Also from Mark 8:27-33
Aside from the fact that this is used as ahistorical criticism of the Catholic position on the Papacy, this should remind us that being faithful to God has nothing to do with our own perfection. For, in our own pride, we too stumble over Jesus. For Jesus is without pride, and He desires for us the very same. So, even within our graced Eucharistic Life as faithful Catholics, alongside the faithful brethren of non-Catholic Christian--in virtue of one baptism--we must not close the door on cafeteria and progressive types.
Rather, we must constantly call on them to embrace the Rock of Christ, even while stumbling ourselves.
Thoughts, criticisms, comments? firstname.lastname@example.org