Monday 8th May, 2000

This morning, I worked it so that I was able to get some time with P. I was looking after Maddy, and P. and I took her for a walk in the park and a play on the swings etc. in the park near St Paul’s. In talking with P., I emphasised my need for prudence. He emphasised my duty to follow the truth where it leads. Surprisingly, I was looking through my old journals from 1986 and found a card on which I had written precisely the words “Follow truth where it leads”. That will take great courage.

Here is the question I am currently grappling with: What if, to be a Catholic, I must resign myself to being a lay person? How can I follow my clear calling to be a servant of the church as a Catholic layman? There must be a way. Maybe I can serve in something like the baptismal program or in adult education in any parish that I may belong to? Maybe I need to undertake some more theological studies as a Catholic?

I need to hear from Fr D. regarding his discussion with the Vicar General.

In talking with P., I am now convinced that I am indeed a Catholic and not a Lutheran. A few examples:

1) It doesn’t matter how “catholic” the teachings of the Lutheran Church may be, the Lutheran Church is not, and does not claim to be, the Catholic Church.

2) The teaching authority of the church is central. I am prepared to put myself under the authority of the church, and not to make my own personal opinion the arbiter of truth. Lutherans say that we must stand “under the word”, and yet in every practical instance, we have made ourselves the judges and interpreters of the word.

3) Why should I have difficulty with the notion of Papal infallibility? Is it any harder to believe that a minister of Christ has the authority to teach infallibly than it is to believe that a minister of Christ has the authority to forgive sins?

4) Though there may be many priests and parishes in the Catholic church (as there is in the Lutheran Church) who do not tow the official line, yet where a Catholic parish/priest so acts it is plain that they are being disobedient, whereas in the Lutheran church there is no such clarity.

As a Catholic, whatever my status, lay or ordained, I will endeavour to continue to study theology and to use the knowledge I have in the service of the church. It seems I must do this, not only to use the gifts I have been given, but also to maintain my own commitment and personal involvement in the church.

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