On September 2, Commonwealpublished an article by Gehring entitled Who’s a ‘Fake’ Catholic? The article itself discusses the “faith” of the Democrat Presidential nominee, Joseph R. Biden. Gehring’s central point is that recent (and, by extension, not so recent) questions surrounding the “faith” of Joe Biden are not “fair.” The tagline for the article is explicit: “It’s fair to challenge Biden on his positions, but not to question his faith.”
While reading the article, I noticed a glaring omission: there is no definition of the word “faith.” An old adage states that “he who defines the terms wins the debate.” Thus, for Gehring to omit the definition of “faith” is a glaring oversight as it is a necessary component to the discussion.
This article, written by Fr. Matthew MacDonald for Catholic World Report is, perhaps, one of the best articles that I have read in a long time. It is well worth the read!!
One of the major box office hits in 1999 was the Wachowski Brothers’ film The Matrix. A famous scene in the film is when Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne) offers Neo (Keanu Reeves) a choice between a red pill and a blue pill. The concept of choosing the red pill or “red-pilling” refers to the journey of personal realization and integration of the full truth of reality, beyond one’s personal preferences and experiences alone. In the movie, the choice of the red pill or the blue pill has its consequences. The choice of the blue pill brings about a life of ignorance and confined comfort and slavery within the façade of the digital dream world to machines that is the Matrix. The choice of the red pill, however, will free Neo from the enslavement of the Matrix. This would be a path towards an uncertain, unstable future, living the full truth of reality in all of its raw difficulty. Neo chooses the red pill and Morpheus serves as a guide for Neo in adjusting to the harshness of this new reality, helping him to become “the chosen one” that he was destined to be.
This “red pill/blue pill” analogy is an apt description of a spiritual journey taking place today in the lives of many Catholics. This awakening is marked by a coming to terms of these Catholics with the truth of the reality of the sin, evil, and corruption presently infecting the human nature of the Church. Examples of this infection manifest through teaching errors in faith and morals, banal liturgies in parishes, and the failure by some of the Church’s pastors and lay members in leadership positions—to say nothing of the clerical sex abuse scandals in recent years.
I would like to provide to the general public the text that I had prepared for the debate. The event was a little late and so some things had to be shortened, unfortunately. Nevertheless, I present what I had prepared, with some slight editing for online format.