Monday, August 1, 2011

The Church is Full of Hypocrites!!!

I am guessing most Catholics have heard someone who doesn't go to church tell them one of the reasons they don't darken the doorway of churches anymore is because they are "full of hypocrites".  Is it really?

Well, yes and no.

First things first, we need to define our term. What is a hypocrite?
There are two definitions in the dictionary:
  1. a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
  2. a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings
Do Catholics fall into either of these definitions? Sometimes we do. Anytime you sin or fail to live up the the standards that are set before us by Christ and the Church, then it could be said we are hypocrites.

But, what most people mean when they call someone a hypocrite is that the person is two-faced and does not even try to act in accord with the standards of their faith. So, in this respect many Catholics are not hypocrites.

Regardless of the semantics, I think some motherly wisdom is the best way to get to the heart of the matter.

My mom was a public high school teacher for decades. She frequently had her students throw the hypocrite charge at her as a reason they didn't care to engage Christianity. My mother simply replied with something similar to this (she also used it on me when I made the same accusation of hypocrisy when I was rebelling):
"You are correct, the Church is full of hypocrites. Come join us."
Motherly wisdom for the modern man.


KPK said...

I remember hearing Zig Ziglar say something to the effect: if a hypocrite is standing between you and God, the hypocrite is still closer to God than you!

JWP said...

This reminds me of those who were condemning ALL Catholics for the actions of a few bad priests. I always wanted to shrug my shoulders and respond, "My church is full of sinners. What's in yours?"

stceolfrithtx said...

KPK, that is a humorous quote, but I wouldn't share that around those with good reasons to be scandalized by hypocrites in the Church. There are certainly some whose hypocrisy is so great that they are NOT closer to God than the average non-church-goer.