We are left with the certainty of judgment, the certainty of reason, and the certainty of grace. In the end, I suspect, the “subjective” Church is judged by the standards of the objective Church. Why else would the Lord have bothered to establish an institution whose principal purpose was to lead us to eternal life? It does this by telling us to keep the commandments, seek repentance when we violate them. We are given enough grace to see the difference between what is good and what is evil. When Socrates, at his trial, said that “It is never right to do wrong”, he set the standard of all judgment. The life of Christ reaffirms this principle—and teaches us what happens when it is violated.
James V. Schall, S.J., who served as a professor at Georgetown University for thirty-five years, is one of the most prolific Catholic writers in America. His most recent books are The Mind That Is Catholic and The Modern Age.