CAN WE BLAME THEM IF SOME CHRISTIANS ARE RESENTFUL OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ?
Can we blame them if some Christians are resentful of the Catholic Church? I am thinking in particular of those people of older generations who experienced an autocratic Church that seemed to preach little about the love of God but a great deal about sin and hell.
From todays viewpoint, the Church of yesteryear may appear to have been very severe, perhaps too much so! Sermons rigorously denounced sin, especially sexual sin, and words about hell and damnation echoed from the pulpit. Many were traumatized by these memories. But we must not conclude that the Good News of Gods love was not shared as well. Fear could overshadow love, but love sanctified many. In fact, the love of God was not excluded from the sermons of earlier generations. Remember the devotions to the Sacred Heart, to the Blessed Sacrament, to the Passion of Christ and to the Virgin Mary. Fear was often used to motivate Christians to stay on the right road towards conversion, and then love took over to strengthen and maintain that conversion in faithfulness to good works and prayers.
Since Vatican II in the 1960s, the skies have cleared. There is no longer thunder and lightning in todays preaching. Homilies now emphasize the love and mercy of a redeeming God. In this, I rejoice along with you! We can never hear enough about the immensity of Gods tenderness towards us. This is the gospel message. This is the Good News to soothe our broken spirits.
We must be on guard, nevertheless, to avoid taking Gods love for granted or rendering it infantile and overly sentimental in order to excuse the choices we make as human beings.
Between the fear of sin and hell, and totally allowing our human nature to rule our actions, there is opportunity to show our love for God by keeping his commandments (Jn 14:15). Quietism, passiveness and inactivity are not the alternative to the austere practices and moral rigorism of Jansenism. These two extremes should be avoided so that the true love of our Lord can triumph, that perfect love that yields so much trust and joy.