The Catechism of the Catholic Church contains four entries on “doubt,” all of them negative. The first (644) concerns the doubt of the Apostles about the resurrected Jesus, the subject of this morning’s Gospel reading from John; the second (2119) how tempting God “always harbors doubt about his love, his providence, and his power; the third (1806) that prudence is “the virtue to overcome doubt about good and evil”; and the fourth (2088) the distinction between voluntary and involuntary doubt, both of which are to be avoided.
Thus, in Catholic teaching, doubt is a no-no. Of course, any reasonably catechized first communicant could tell you that, yet nonetheless at St. Rose this morning a priest on what appears to be a long-term loan from the cathedral explained to worshippers that doubt is a virtue to be embraced. “Indeed faith and doubt are necessary for us to get to where we want to be.”
What he may have meant is that questioning, wonderment, and mystery are compatible with authentic faith, but explaining that in a straightforward fashion wouldn’t have the cheeky appeal or shock value of his “Let’s break-out the doubt!” message.
The upside of Archbishop Schnurr’s reputed laser-focus on priestly vocations is that when the biological solution kicks into high-gear, there will be good men to replace these fools. The downside is that most of us will be in our retirement before that happens.