Catholic Conservatives and Their Prodigal Brothers

A recent interview on YouTube reminds me that the main concern of Catholic Conservatives is not so much the sex abuse scandal but the Church’s teachings about marriage. I don’t have a stake in the marriage debate but this interview reminded me of certain realities that I have come across in my studies. And I have to say, the struggle between Catholic Conservatives and the Church’s leadership is getting old.

The interviewee is concerned that changes in the Church’s teachings make God look like a trickster who handed down a set of difficult rules only to change his mind two thousand years later. He is concerned that it might begin to look like the rules never really mattered. He is also concerned that a changing church makes it difficult to know how to behave.

I wonder about his reasons. Lately I get the impression that conservatives know better than the Pope how to behave. Perhaps the real problem is that they feel their own rewards are diminished if other people who don’t follow the rules are allowed to be members in good standing. That’s how the brother of the prodigal son felt (Luke 15:11-32). The moral of the story: the brother got it wrong.